And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.—Acts 4.32.

[Lectures upon the History... of our Lord Jesus Christ: Lecture 53, by Robert Rollock.]
 
LECTURES,
VPON THE HISTORY
O F   T H E   P A S S I O N,
RESVRRECTION,
AND  ASCENSION
OF  OVR  LORD
IESVS CHRIST.
Beinning at the eighteenth Chapter of
     the Gospell,  according  to  IOHN, and from the 16. verse
     of the 19. Chapter thereof,  containing  a  perfect Harmo-
     nie of all the foure Euangelists,  for  the  better  vnderstan-
     ding of all the  Circumstances  of  the  LORDS  death,  and
     Resurrection.
P  R  E  A  C  H  E  D     B  Y     T  H  A  T
reuerend and faithfull seruant of God,
M r.   R O B E R T   R O L L O C K E,
sometime Minister of the Euangell of
IESVS CHRIST, and Rector of the
Colledge of EDINBVRGH.
 

EDINBVRGH,
Printed by ANDRO HART.
ANNO 1616.


T H E   L I I I.   L E C T V R E,
OF THE RESVRRECTION OF CHRIST.

MATTH. CHAP. XXVIII.
  1. Then the eleuen disciples went into Galile, into a mountaine, where Jesus had appointed them.
  2. And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some doubted.
  3. And Jesus came, and spake unto them, saying, All power is giuen unto Me, in heauen and in earth.
  4. Goe therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Sonne, and the holy Ghost,
MARKE, CHAP. XVI.
  1. And Hee saide unto them, Goe yee into all the world, and preach the Gospell to euery creature.
WELL-BELOVED Brethren, these days bypast, we followed out the History of the Resurrection of the Lord, and of His manifold appearings unto sundry, but especially, unto His Disciples, as they are set down by the Evangelist John, who insists more largely in describing His appearings to His Disciples, than any of the rest, & as God gave the grace the last day we ended his Gospel, & spake last of the conclusion thereof: now it rests, that we follow out so much as remains of the History of the resurrection, as it is set down by the rest of the Evangelists: for John wrote his Evangel after all the rest, & omitted purposely such things as were written by the rest, willing us to address ourselves to the rest of the Evangelists, that there we might read & follow out the rest of the History {534} of CHRIST, which he left off: And so we are this day to enter into the description of another appearing of CHRIST, after His Resurrection, as it is set down by Matthew & Mark. This appearing of the Lord seems to be the ninth in number: for the first was to Mary Magdalene, The second to other women, The third to two disciples, as they went to Emmaus, The fourth was to Simon Peter, The fifth to James: Then three several times He appeared to His disciples, being gathered together, as ye heard out of John. So this is the ninth appearing, wherein it is likely, that He shews Himself not only to the eleven disciples, being met together, but also to a great number of brethren, being together with them: For this seems to be that appearing whereof the Apostle Paul makes mention, 1 Cor. 15.6, where he says, He was seen of more than five hundred brethren at once. In this appearing there are sundry things to be considered, As the circumstances of time and place, the disciples worshipping of Him, when they saw Him, the doubting of some of them, His communication with the disciples, & sending them out, with a commission, to preach to all Nations. Apparently this is that meeting which the Lord in His appearing to the women, enjoined to the Apostles: for by the women He gave the Apostles a direction, to meet Him in Galilee, Matth. 29.10. According to this direction, it is said, The eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto a Mountain, where Jesus had appointed them. So the place was in that Mountain of Galilee, wherein the Lord had appointed them to meet. The time is not particularly mentioned: yet it is likely, that as the Lord gave a direction concerning the place; so did He also concerning the time of their meeting. Then this whole meeting, the time, the place, and all, is according to the direction and appointment of the Lord. Now as they keep this meeting upon hope to see the Lord, according to His promise; so they are not disappointed of their hope: The Lord is as good as His promise, He shews Himself present unto them. Mark the lesson: The Lord who has appointed & ordained the meetings & assemblies of His own, & has promised to be amongst them when they are gathered together: He disappoints them not of His promise, but shews Himself to be present with them. This the disciples found by experience, when they met together by His appointment, the Lord shews Himself present unto them. This same have all the godly found in all ages, & the faithful find it this day in their meetings: for albeit He shew not Himself present after a bodily manner, as {535} here He did to His disciples; yet He is present, yea, no less present with His own now, than He was then; but He is now present after a spiritual manner: and the faithful find His presence to be no less powerful & effectual now, than it was then: for from whence comes this unspeakable joy, comfort, and peace of conscience, which the faithful find in their meetings, but from the presence of Jesus? for except the Lord Jesus were present in our souls by His Spirit, it were not possible that we could find such a powerful working, and such sweet motions, and alterations in them. Vain and foolish men, who are touched with no sense of sin, disdains & scorns the meetings of the Saints, they think them all to be but feckless [useless] & for the fashion, they think they feed upon fantasies: But the faithful find by experience, that the presence of Christ in their meetings is so powerful, & comfortable, as no tongue can utter, nor the heart of man is able to conceive. And thou that contemnest [despisest] and scornest these meetings, thou shalt find one day, by sorrowful experience, of how great comforts thou hast deprived thyself: And if thy conscience were once wakened with the sense of sin, thou wouldest find, that there were no joy, nor comfort to thy soul, but by these meetings: Then thou wouldest have greater pleasure to frequent these meetings, than ever thou hadst to eat or drink when thou werest hungry and dry.

Now when the Lord appears to them, what do they? what is their behaviour? It is said, When they saw Him, they worshipped Him. What made them to fall down, and worship Him? What saw they into [in] Him? No question they saw in Him a glorious Majesty. By all appearance at this time He has shewed himself in greater glory than He did of before. So beholding His glory on the one part, and their own unworthiness on the other, as He approaches unto them, they humbly fall down, and worship Him. This their behaviour teaches us, that wheresoever the Lord of Glory is present, there He should be worshipped and adored: His presence requires adoration. Seest thou the Lord present with thee? Then in humility fall down, and worship Him. But thou wilt say, I cannot see Him, how then can I adore Him? The Apostles saw His glorious presence with their eyes, therefore they ought to have worshipped Him: but as for us, who live in these days, after his ascension to Heaven, we see Him not, and therefore how can we worship Him? But I answer thee, It is true, thou seest Him not now with the eyes of thy body, but thou seest Him with the eyes of thy soul, {536} thou seest Him with the eyes of faith, thou seest Him in the word and Sacraments; first crucified, and then glorified. And if thou wilt not worship Him when thou seest Him here present in the word and Sacraments, thou wouldest not have worshipped Him if thou haddest seen Him with the eyes of thy body face to face. These profane bodies, who will not worship Him now when they see Him present in the mirrour of the Gospel, they will never get leave to worship Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. Thinkest thou not that the Lord is seen present in His word? What means Paul then, when he says, that an unlearned man coming into the meetings of the faithful, where many are prophesying, finding himself rebuked and judged of all, and the secrets of his heart made manifest, that he will fall down on his face, and worship GOD, and say plainly, That GOD is among them indeed, 1 Corinthians 14.24,25. What sees the unlearned man among them, that makes him to fall down and give such a confession? No question, but the glorious light of the GOSPEL shines into his soul, and Christ offers Himself present to be seen by the eye of faith. The faithful this day by experience find in their meetings, this same presence of the Lord: And therefore it becomes us, in all our meetings, ever to worship the Lord, and to sit with fear and reverence, to hear the word, and to prepare our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord promises, and offers, with the preaching of the word to all His Chosen. Again, this their behaviour teaches us, what force and power there is in the glorious presence of Christ Jesus. His presence is powerful to humble and bow both the body and soul of the creature. This made Paul to say, that at the Name of JESUS every knee should bow, both of things in Heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth, Philippians 2.20. For that sublimity and highness whereunto the Father hath exalted Him, is so effectual and powerful in all creatures, and of all sorts, that either sweetly & willingly it moves them to worship Him in all humility, or else it breaks & bruises them with fierceness and violence, and compels out perforce obedience of them. The sight and sense of this sublimity and highness makes the blessed Angels in Heaven, in all reverence to worship Him. The sense of this sublimity, makes the Saints on earth, when either they speak or hear of Him, reverently and in humility to bow both their bodies and their souls unto Him. And by the contrary, The {537} sight and sense of this same sublimity, raises up in the Devil and his angels, such horrours and dread, as cannot be expressed. The sense of this sublimity, makes the wicked, how proud and jolly soever they be in their own conceit, oft times, when they hear of Him, to quake and tremble.

The Evangelist Matthew notes, That notwithstanding of their worshipping of Him, yet some of them doubted. But who were these that doubted? Even some of these who before worshipped Him. And what moved them to doubt? Apparently that same that before moved them to worship Him, moves them also now to doubt: to wit, that extraordinary & unaccustomed majesty and glory wherein Jesus appeared to them, which scarcely they could have deemed to be so great & wonderful. And certainly, the glory of the Lord, sitting this day in the Heavens, at the right hand of the Father, is so exceeding great & wonderful, that if it were permitted to us to behold it, as it is with our bodily eyes (such is the corruption of our nature) we could not but doubt whether He were the Christ, who was so far humbled & abased in the earth, & of whom we heard before in the Gospel. Beside this cause, the difficulty to believe this article of the Resurrection of the dead seems likewise to have furthered their doubting: for indeed among all the articles of our belief, there is none more contrary to nature, nor harder to believe, than this article of the Resurrection of our bodies from the dead. Nature can never be persuaded, that a dead body, that has been a prey to worms, & is resolved in dust & ashes, can rise up again to life. But, as of all articles there is none harder to be believed, so there is none more necessary to salvation, nor none that brings greater consolation. And therefore the Lord (that we might have the more full assurance and persuasion thereof) took great pains upon Himself, and for the space of forty days He remained upon the earth, after His Resurrection, and sundry times shewed Himself to His Disciples, and many other of the Faithful, that all occasion of doubting might be removed, and so their joy and comfort might be the greater.

Now this doubting of the Disciples lets us see what is the disposition of the hearts of the Godly, even in their best exercises. For even their best exercises are ever accompanied with a piece of doubting, of want, of infirmity, &c. their worshipping of GOD is with doubting, their prayer is with infirmity, and wavering of the mind, their meditation falls from GOD, and {538} spiritual things to carnal and earthly things, their hearing of the word, is ever with some piece of loathing, their Faith is mixed with infidelity: so that, before they can come to any great measure of grace, they must strive and wrestle through many infirmities, and overcome many difficulties and tentations: so that the best man, even in his best works, hath no matter of rejoicing, if the Lord would enter in judgment with him. Ye have heard the disciples behaviour, now look how the Lord meets them: First, He draws nearer to them, and then He enters in communing with them: for it is said, Jesus came and spake unto them: He approached to them, partly, that He might take away all occasion of doubting from them, partly, that with the greater profit and commodity He might instruct them, and that His teaching might be the more powerful and fruitful: for no question, while He draws nearer to them with His body, & offers Himself to be seen more clearly with the bodily eyes, in the meantime He draws nearer to them inwardly & joins Himself by His Spirit more powerfully and familiarly to their souls: for this is the accustomed dealing of the Lord, when by the word He is purposed to be effectual and powerful in the soul of any man, He draws near them by His Spirit: whereas by the contrary, when He is not of purpose to be effectual by his word, in the heart, He approaches not inwardly to the soul, but He holds Himself afar off, and gives them only a shew of His power and glory outwardly afar off.

Now follows the Lord's communing with His Disciples: wherein He gives them a commission, to go out and preach to the world, baptizing them that believe. But before He gives them this commission, by way of preface, He sets down the ground of this commission: to wit, that power and authority which He had: for says He, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth: for it was necessary that the Apostles should be informed of this His power and authority, which He had given Him, to the end, that knowing that infinite power, whereupon their commission and Apostleship was grounded, they might the more cheerfully and willingly with free hearts, and open mouths discharge their commission & message, being assured, that they had Him, who was Lord of Heaven and Earth to be their protector & maintainer. Mark this, Brethren, This Ministry of the Gospel, albeit it be but a sort of service in the Church of God (it is no Lordship) and albeit men count very {539} basely of it, and esteem it of all callings in the world, to be the most vile and contemptible: yet it is grounded upon such a power as far surpasses all the power of all the Kings and Monarchs of the earth: and it is the Lord's will, that both the Ministers themselves, and likewise the people that hears them, have their eyes fixed, and be exercised continually in the contemplation and consideration of that incomprehensible and infinite power, whereupon this Ministry is grounded: to the end, that both the Ministers may the more cheerfully and courageously discharge their calling, and also the people that hear them be not offended, nor stumble at the baseness of this outward form of the ministry, not measuring the Majesty and glory of the Gospel, preached unto them by the outward shew and form which they see, but by the infinite and incomprehensible power of the Lord, whereupon it is grounded. Next, it is to be marked that He says, All power is given me, not in heaven only, but also in earth. He joins them both together, and that for the comfort of His Apostles, whom He was to send out, and of the Ministers who were to follow them to the end of the world: for when He says, that all power was given to Him in the earth, it serves to encourage the Apostles, and all Ministers in the Church faithfully and cheerfully to discharge their calling, so long as they remain here in the earth, and grounding and anchoring themselves upon that infinite power which the Lord Jesus hath upon the earth, to strive and fight courageously and boldly against the assaults of Satan, against the allurements of sin, against the fear and terrour of trouble and persecution, & against the manners and behaviour of this unthankful world, as assured, that His almighty power in the earth, shall guard & defend them in their calling, so long as the Lord hath a work ado with them. Again, when He says, that all power was given to Him in Heaven, it serves to comfort the Apostles & Ministers upon the hope of a reward, that after they have discharged their duty in their calling, & after they have striven against all difficulties, & hath overcome all tentations, at last they should wait for the Kingdom of Heaven, where they shall rest from their labours, & enjoy the presence of their Lord & King forever, 1 Cor. 15.19, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, of all men we are the most miserable: By the which words, He means, if the power of Jesus Christ, whereupon we repose & anchor ourselves, extended no further, than within the {540} bounds of this present life, then our estate & condition of all men were most miserable: yet ere [before] we leave these words, it is to be considered, what manner of power this is, whereof he speaks, & whereupon their Apostleship is grounded: that ye may understand this the better, ye must consider, that there is a twofold power in the Lord Jesus the Son of God: the first is heritably, the other purchased: The first He hath as the Son of God, equal with the Father, before the foundations of the world were laid, & of this He speaks in His Prayer to His Father before His Passion: Father, glorify me with thine own self, with that glory which I had with thee, before the world was, John 17.5. The other, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, purchased to Himself for our cause, when He made Himself of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant, humbled Himself, and become obedient to the death, even to the death of the Cross: for the Lord then exalted Him highly, and gave Him a Name above every Name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, Philip. 2.6. Here the Apostle speaks of that power, which He as a Mediatour, acquired by His perfect obedience in all things, and of this acquired power it is which the Lord speaks in this place: for from this power which He purchased to Himself, by His obedience in our flesh proceeds the Gospel: from this power proceeds the Ministry in the Church: from this power proceeds Salvation to the world: for that heritable power which the Son of God had with the Father from all eternity, without the manhead of Christ and His acquired power by His obedience, would never serve to bring life & Salvation to sinners.

Now to come to the sending out of the Apostles: He says, Go therefore and teach all Nations, baptizing them: In these words He gives them their commission, and commits unto them the Ministry, and office of the Apostleship, commanding them to go forth to all Nations, to teach and baptize them: for the Lord sets down here distinctly three points of their calling: First, that they should go forth to all Nations of the world not holding themselves within the narrow bounds of the land of Judea, as they did before: Next, that they should preach the Gospel: thirdly, that they should baptize, that is, that by baptism they should seal up that Gospel which they had teached before. But to whom should they go out? to whom should they preach? Whom should they baptize? Not the Jews only, but all {541} Nations: & Mark says, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature: As if He had said, My power is extended to all Nations, to every creature: and therefore this my Gospel, & your Ministry, whereby my power is manifested and declared to all, must likewise be extended to all creatures in the world. These words of the Lord furnishes us sundry lessons for our instruction: First, we may learn here, that this office of the Apostleship, which the Lord commits to His Disciples, is not a bare style of honour: No, but it is a laborious and painful charge and calling: they are commanded to go out into the world, to preach diligently the Gospel to every creature. The Pope, his Cardinals, and Bishops, vaunt & brag, that they are the successours of the Apostles: they claim this as a style of honour to themselves: but in the mean time they refuse to undertake any pains and travail for man's salvation, as the Apostles did: these idle-bellies live in carnal security and sensuality, taking their pleasure and pastime, and deceitfully gather in to themselves the substance of the world, and commit the charge of Preaching to Vicars and Curates, as if the Gospel were too base an exercise for them, and a thing whereof they had just occasion to be ashamed: and therefore let them claim what styles they list to themselves, they are nothing less than "successours to the Apostles!": Next, these words let us see, that there are two points of the Ministry: for the Lord gives His Apostles commission to preach the Gospel, & to baptize: so the Ministers have these two things enjoined unto them: to preach the word, & to minister the Sacraments: we hear nothing spoken here of offering of a Sacrifice, either bloody, or unbloody, or of a Priesthood: and no question, if there had been such a thing, or at least, if it had been a matter of such importance, & so necessary, as the Pope & his shavelings say, the Lord would altogether have misknown it, & passed it over with silence, but He would have spoken something of it to His Apostles: so it is but a folly & vanity, to think, that since Christ hath once offered Himself a propitiatory Sacrifice for the Redemption of the world, that now there remains any propitiatory Sacrifice in the Church. The Lord hath put an end to them all by His death & Sacrifice: there is no Priesthood committed either to the Apostles before, or to the Ministers now, but that, whereby the preaching of the word they offer the souls of men & women in a Sacrifice to the Lord: Away with that devilish sacrifice of the Mass, whereby the {542} Pope and his Clergy deceives the world, making men believe, that daily they offer up Christ again, as a propitiatory sacrifice to the Father, for the sins of the quick and the dead. No, there is no propitiatory sacrifice now left to the Kirk [Church.] That sacrifice which the Lord once offered upon the cross, is sufficient & perfect enough, to take away the sins of the world. Thirdly, these words teach us, that these two points of the calling of the Ministry, Teaching & Baptizing, were not committed to diverse & sundry persons; but both were committed to one & the selfsame person. So that he who is ordained to preach, is ordained to baptize: and he who cannot preach, has no power nor liberty granted him of the Lord, to baptize: and if he baptize, he does it without the Lord's commandment, he has no warrant of Him: and therefore his doing is but a profanation of that Holy Sacrament of Baptism. This baptizing of infants, which is ministered by private men, has no warrant nor allowance of God, much less that which is done by women. Fourthly, out of these words we may learn, what order ought to be kept in the ministering of Baptism, to wit, the word must be first preached, the covenant of grace and the glad tidings of salvation must be first opened up unto us: and then Baptism should be ministered, to seal up that same word and covenant, which before was preached. Wherefore serves Baptism, except first the word be preached? Baptism is a seal. And what serves the seal for, if there be nothing to be sealed? Wherefore can it serve, if the charter of the word precede not. Therefore, except the preaching of the covenant of grace precede, Baptism is nothing, but an unprofitable ceremony, and a dead element. Now in whose name should this Sacrament of Baptism be ministered? The Lord says, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: That is, Ye shall baptize, by the authority & power of the Father, the Son, & of the Holy Ghost. Whereof we have to learn, That the power & efficacy of Baptism depends neither upon the power of the Minister, who baptizes, nor upon the force nor power of the words pronounced by the Minister in Baptism, as if there were any such power or operation in the words, as the Papists falsely attribute unto them: but all the force & efficacy of Baptism depends upon the power of God only. And therefore, it is the duty of him who is baptized, to lift up his eyes & his heart to Heaven, and to crave the blessing & efficacy thereof from God only. Next, it would be noted, that He says not in a general term, {543} Baptise in the name of God: but He says distinctly, Baptise in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Therefore it is the duty of him who is baptized, not to content himself with a confused knowledge and consideration of God, but he ought to behold that glorious Majesty, & that incomprehensible essence distinctly in the Trinity of the persons: that is, three distinct persons in one Godhead: for faith is a distinct & a clear knowledge & apprehension of the Majesty of God: for whosoever truly and sincerely believes, & puts his confidence in God, he finds sensibly by experience, that all good things flow first from the Father, as the fountain of all grace and goodness, through the Son, as Mediatour, by whom all grace is conveyed and communicated unto men: and by the Holy Ghost, who powerfully & effectually works all grace in the heart. Last, we see here a clear and a plain naming of the three distinct persons of the Godhead, the Lord names distinctly, The Father, the Son, & the Holy Ghost. In all the Old Testament, we will not read so plain & clear a distinction of the three persons of the Godhead. Then learn here, that Jesus Christ the Son of God brought first of all into the world a distinct knowledge of God: and that He first of all distinctly named, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Indeed it is true, that God was known in the Trinity of persons in some sort by the Fathers, who lived under the Old Testament, before Christ's manifestation in the flesh: but the knowledge which they had was obscure and confused, in respect of that knowledge which JESUS brought into the world at His coming: but chiefly this distinct knowledge of the three persons of the Godhead, was manifested after Christ's Resurrection from the dead, and His Glorification: for Christ glorified, is chiefly the image of the invisible God, and the brightness of His glory, and the engraven form of His person. And from Christ glorified, especially proceeds the effectual operation of the Holy Spirit, in the souls of His Elect. All tends to this, To let you see, that the clear and distinct knowledge of the Godhead, in the Trinity of the persons, proceeded chiefly from the Kingdom of Christ, and from His glory. Now to this God, one in essence, in three persons, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be all praise, honour, and glory for evermore, Amen.