We come now to the words themselves, wherein Christ asserts that he is, 1, "the way;" 2, "the truth;" 3, "the life;" and, 4, "that no man cometh to the Father but by him."
In them we learn these two things in general.
First, The misery of wretched man by nature. This cannot be in a few words expressed.
These words will point out those particulars thereof, which we will but mention.
1. That he is born an enemy to, and living at a distance from God, by virtue of the curse of the broken covenant of life made with Adam.
2. That he neither can nor will return to God, of himself. His way is not in himself; he hath need of another to be his way.
3. That he is a blind, wandering creature, ready to by-ways and to wander; yea, he loveth to wander. He goeth astray as soon as he is born, speaking lies.
4. He cannot discern the true way, but is blinded with prejudice thereat, and full of mistakes. He is nothing but a lump of error.
5. He is dead legally and really: how can he then come home? How can he walk in the way, though it were pointed out to him?
6. He, even when he entereth into the way, is subject to so many faintings, swoonings, upsittings, &c. that except he get new quickening, he must lie by the way and perish.
In a word, his misery is such as cannot be expressed; for as little as it is believed, and laid to heart; or seen and mourned for, and lamented.
Now, for a ground to our following discourse, I would press the solid, thorough and sensible apprehension of this, without which there will be no use-making or application of Christ; "for the whole need not the physician, but the sick;" and Christ is "not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance," Matt. ix. 12. Mark ii. 17. Yea, believers themselves would live within the sight of this, and not forget their frailty; for though there be a change wrought in them, yet they are not perfect, but will have need of Christ as the way, the truth, and the life, till he bring them in, and set them down upon the throne, and crown them with the crown of life. And, O happy they, who must not walk on foot without this guide leading them by the hand, or rather carrying them in his arms. Let all them who would make use of Christ remember what they were, and what they are, and keep the sense of their frailty and misery fresh; that seeing their need of him, they may be in better case to look out to him for help and supply, and be more distinct in their application of him.
The second general is, that Christ is a complete mediator, thoroughly furnished for all our necessities. Are we at a distance from the Father? He is a way to bring us together. Are we wandered out of the way? He is the way to us. Are we blind and ignorant? He is the truth. Are we dead? He is the life. Concerning this fulness and completeness of his, we would mark these things:
1. That he is thoroughly furnished with all things we stand in need of; the way, the truth, and the life. He hath eye-salve, clothing, gold tried in the fire, &c. "For the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, and hath anointed him," Isa. lxi. 1.
2. He is suitably qualified, not only having a fulness, and an all-fulness, so that whatever we need is to be had in him, but also a suitable fulness answering our case to the life. Are we out of the way? He is the way. Are we dead? He is life, &c.
3. He is richly qualified with this suitable good. He hath not only "wisdom and knowledge," but "treasures of it," yea, "all the treasures" thereof, Col. ii. 3. There is fulness in him; yea, "it hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell," Col. i. 19. Yea, "the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth in him bodily," Col. ii. 9.
4. Hence this is an up-making completeness and fulness; for we are said to be "complete in him," Col. ii. 10. And he is said to "be all in all," Col. iv. 11. "He filleth all in all," Eph. i. 23.
5. It is also a satisfying completeness. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing. The avaricious man is not satisfied with gold, nor the ambitious man with honour; but still they are crying with the loch leech, give, give! But the man who getteth Christ is full; he sitteth down and cryeth, enough, enough! And no wonder, for he hath all; he can desire no more; he can seek no more; for what can the man want that is complete in him?
6. There is here that which will answer all the objections of a soul; and these sometimes are not few. If they say they cannot know the way to the Father, then he is the truth to instruct and teach them that, and so to enter them into it. And if they say they cannot walk in that way, nor advance in it one step, but will faint and sit up, succumb and fall by; he answereth that he is the life, to put life and keep life in them, and to cause them to walk, by putting a new principle of life in them, and breathing of new on that principle.
O thrice happy they who have fled to him for refuge! It is easy for them to answer all objections and cavils of Satan, and of a false heart. It is easy for them to put Christ to answer all. And, on the other hand, who can tell the misery of such as are strangers to Jesus? How shall their wants be made up? How shall they answer challenges, accusations, temptations, doubts, fears, objections, and discouragements, cast up in their way?
Oh! should not this endear the way of the gospel to us, and make Christ precious unto us! Is it not a wonder that such an all-sufficient mediator, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God through him, should be so little regarded and sought unto; and that there should be so few that embrace him, and take him as he is offered in the gospel.
How can this be answered in the day of accounts? What excuse can unbelievers now have? Is not all to be found in Christ that their case calleth for? Is he not a complete mediator, thoroughly furnished with all necessaries? Is not the riches of his fulness written on all his dispensations? The mouths, then, of unbelievers, must be for ever stopped.