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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE PROPHETICAL OFFICE OF CHRIST
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ON THE PROPHETICAL OFFICE OF CHRIST
I. The prophetical office of Christ comes under consideration in two views -- either as he executed it in his own person while he was a sojourner on earth, or as he administered it when seated in heaven, at the right hand of the Father. In the present disputation, we shall treat upon it according to the former of these relations.
II. The proper object of the prophetical office of Christ was not the law, though [he explained or] fulfilled that, and freed it from depraved corruptions; neither was it epaggelia the promise, though he confirmed that which had been made to the fathers; but it was the gospel and the New Testament itself, or "the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness.
III. In this prophetical office of Christ are to be considered both the imposition of the office, and the discharge of it. 1. The imposition has sanctification, instruction or furnishing, inauguration, and the promise of assistance.
IV. Sanctification is that by which the Father sanctified him to his office, from the very moment of his conception by the Holy Spirit, (whence, he says, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth,") and, indeed, in a manner far more excellent than that by which Jeremiah and John are said to have been sanctified.
V. Instruction, or furnishing, is a conferring of those gifts which are necessary for discharging the duties of the prophetical office; and it consists in a most copious effusion of the Holy Spirit upon him, and in its abiding in him -- "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;" by which Spirit it came to pass that it was his will to teach according to godliness all those things which were to be taught, and that he had the courage to teach them -- his mind and affections, both concupiscible and irascible, having been sufficiently and abundantly instructed or furnished against all impediments.
VI. But the instruction in things necessary to be known is said, in the Scriptures, to be imparted by vision and hearing, by a familiar knowledge of the secrets of the Father, which is intimated in the phrase in which he is said to be in the bosom of the Father, and in heaven.
VII. His inauguration was made by the baptism which John conferred on him, when a voice came from the Father in heaven, and the Spirit, "in a bodily shape, like a dove, descended upon him." These were like credential letters, by which the power of teaching was asserted and claimed for him as the ambassador of the Father.
VIII. To this, must be subjoined the promised perpetual assistance of the Holy Spirit, resting and remaining upon him in this very token of a dove, that he might administer with spirit an office so arduous.
X. The propounding of the doctrine was made in a manner suitable, both to the things themselves, and to persons -- to his own person, and to the persons of those whom he taught with grace and authority, by accepting the person of no man, of whatsoever state or condition he might be.
XI. The confirmation was given both by the holiness which exactly answers to the doctrine, and by miracles, predictions of future things, the revealing of the thoughts of men and of other secrets, and by his most bitter and contumelious death.
XII. The result was two-fold: The First was one that agreed with the nature of the doctrine itself -- the conversion of a few men to him, but without such a knowledge of him as the doctrine required; for their thoughts were engaged with the notion of restoring the external kingdom. The Second, which arose from the depraved wickedness of his auditors, was the rejection of the doctrine, and of him who taught it, his crucifixion and murder. Wherefore, he complains concerning himself, in Isa. xlix, 4 "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought."
XIII. As God foreknew that this would happen, it is certain that he willed this prophetical office to serve, for the consecration of Christ, through sufferings, to undertake and administer the sacerdotal and regal office. And thus the prophetical office of Christ, so far as it was administered by him through his apostles and others of his servants, was the means by which his church was brought to the faith, and was saved.
We allow this question to become a subject of discussion: Did the soul of Christ receive any knowledge immediately from the Logos operating on it, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, which is called the knowledge of union?