SECOND. [His second office]. After that Jesus Christ had stood bound, and was become our Surety in things pertaining to this covenant, His next office was to be the Messenger of God touching His mind and the tenor of the covenant unto the poor world; and this did the Prophet foresee long before, when he saith, "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me"; speaking of John the Baptist. "And he shall prepare the way before Me." And then He speaketh of Christ to the people, saying, "And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple." Who is He? Even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in," that is Christ. "Behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Mal 3:1).
Now the covenant being made before between the Father and the Son, and Jesus Christ becoming bound to see all the conditions fulfilled, this being done, He could come down from Heaven to earth, to declare to the world what God the Father and HE had concluded on before, and what was the mind of the Father towards the world concerning the salvation of their souls; and indeed, who could better come on such an errand than He that stood by when the covenant was made? than He that shook hands with the Father in making of the covenant? than He that was become a Surety in the behalf of poor sinners, according to the terms of the covenant.
Now, you know, a messenger commonly when he cometh, doth bring some errand to them to whom he is sent, either of what is done for them, or what they would have them whom they send unto do for them, or such like. Now what a glorious message was that which our Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven withal to declare unto poor sinners, and that from God His Father? I say, how glorious was it; and how sweet is it to you that have seen yourselves lost by nature? and it will also appear a glorious one to you who are a seeking after Jesus Christ, if you do but consider these following things about what He was sent-
First. Jesus Christ was sent from Heaven to declare unto the world from God the Father that He was wonderfully filled with love to poor sinners. First, in that He would forgive their sins. Secondly, in that He would save their souls. Thirdly in that He would make them heirs of His glory. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.-For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16,17).
Second. God sent Jesus Christ to tell the poor world how that He would do this for poor sinners, and yet be just, and yet do His justice no wrong; and that was to be done by Jesus Christ's dying of a cursed death in the room of poor sinners, to satisfy justice, and make way for mercy; to take away the stumbling- blocks, and set open Heaven's gates; to overcome Satan, and break off from sinners his chains (Luke 4:18) to set open the prison doors, and to let the prisoners go free (Isa 61:1-3). And this was the message that Christ was to deliver to the world by commandment from His Father; and this did He tell us when He came of His errand, where he saith, "I lay down My life for the sheep-no man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:15-18). Even this commandment hath My Father given Me, that I should both do this thing and also tell it unto you.
Third. He was not only sent as a Messenger to declare this His father's love, but also how dearly He himself loved sinners, what a heart He had to do them good, where He saith, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me"; and let me tell you, MY heart too, saith Christ-"Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). As My Father is willing to give you unto Me, even so am I as willing to receive you. As My Father is willing to give you Heaven, so am I willing to make you fit for it, by washing you with My own blood; I lay down My life that you might have life; and this I was sent to tell you of My Father.
Fourth. His message was further; He came to tell them how and which way they should come to enjoy these glorious benefits; also by laying down motives to stir them up to accept of the benefits. The way is laid down in John 3:14,15, where Christ saith, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up," or caused to be hanged on the Cross, and die the death-"that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The way, therefore, that thou shalt have the benefit and comfort of that which My Father and I have covenanted for, for thee, I am come down from Heaven to earth on purpose to give thee intelligence, and to certify thee of it. Know, therefore, that as I have been born of a woman, and I have taken this Body upon Me, it is on purpose that I might offer it up upon the Cross a sacrifice to God, to give Him satisfaction for thy sins, that His mercy may be extended to thy soul, without any wrong done to justice; and this thou art to believe, and not in the notion but from thy very whole soul. Now the motives are many. 1. If they do not leave their sins, and come to Jesus Christ, that their sins may be washed away by His blood, they are sure to be damned in Hell; for the law hath condemned them already (John 3:18,19). 2. But if they do come, they shall have the bosom of Christ to lie in, the Kingdom of Heaven to dwell in, the angels and saints for their companions, shall shine there like the sun, shall be there for ever, shall sit upon the thrones of judgment, etc. Here is grace.
Methinks if I had but the time to speak fully to all things that I could speak to from these two heavenly truths, and to make application thereof, surely, with the blessing of God, I think it might persuade some vile and abominable wretch to lay down his arms that he hath taken up in defiance against God, and is marching Hellwards, post-haste with the devil; I say, methinks it should stop them, and make them willing to look back and accept of salvation for their poor condemned souls, before God's eternal vengeance is executed upon them. O, therefore! you that are upon this march, I beseech you consider a little. What! shall Christ become a drudge for you; and will you be drudges for the devil? Shall Christ covenant with God for the salvation of sinners; and shall sinners covenant with Hell, death, and the devil for the damnation of their souls? Shall Christ come down from Heaven to earth to declare this to sinners; and shall sinners stop their ears against these good tidings? Will you not hear the errand of Christ, although He telleth you tidings of peace and salvation? How, if He had come, having taken a commandment from His Father to damn you, and to send you to the devils in Hell? Sinner, hear His message; He speaketh no harm, His words are Eternal Life; all men that give ear unto them, they have eternal advantage by them; advantage, I say, that never hath an end. Besides, do but consider these two things, it is like they have some sway upon thy soul-1. When He came on His message, He came with tears in His eyes, and did even weepingly tender the terms of reconciliation to them; I say, with tears in his eyes. And when He came near the city-i.e., with His message of peace-beholding the hardness of their hearts, He wept over it, and took up a lamentation over it; because He saw they rejected His mercy, which was tidings of peace; I say, wilt thou then slight a weeping Jesus, One that so loveth thy soul that, rather than He will lose thee, He will with tears persuade with thee? 2. Not only so, but also when He came, He came all on a gore blood to proffer mercy to thee, to show thee still how dearly He did love thee; as if He had said, Sinner, here is mercy for thee; but behold My bloody sweat, My bloody wounds, My cursed death; behold and see what danger I have gone through to come unto thy soul; I am come indeed unto thee, and do bring thee tidings of salvation, but it cost Me My heart's blood before I could come at thee, to give thee the fruits of My everlasting love. But more of this anon.
Thus have I spoken something concerning Christ's being the Messenger of the new covenant; but because I am not willing to cut too short of what shall come after, I shall pass by these things not half touched, and come to the other which I promised even now; which was to show you, that as there were Levitical ceremonies in or belonging to the first covenant, so these types, or Levitical ceremonies, did represent the glorious things of the new covenant. In those ceremonies you read of a sacrifice, of a priest to offer up the sacrifice, the place where, and the manner how, he was to offer it; of which I shall speak something.