“Your Lord and your brother and your friend” by Jonathan Edwards

“Whatsoever there is or can be desirable in a friend, is found in Christ, and that to the highest degree that can be desired.

Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much above them; because they look upon themselves honoured by the friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent prince.

But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the princes of the earth; for He is the King of kings. So honourable a person as this offers Himself to you, in the nearest and dearest friendship.

And would you choose to have a friend not only great but good? In Christ infinite greatness and infinite goodness meet together, and receive lustre and glory one from another. His greatness is rendered lovely by His goodness.

The greater any one is without goodness, so much the greater evil; but when infinite goodness is joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable greatness. So, on the other hand, His infinite goodness receives lustre from His greatness.

He that is of great understanding and ability, and is withal of a good and excellent disposition, is deservedly more esteemed than a lower and lesser being, with the same kind inclination and good will. Indeed goodness is excellent in whatever subject it be found; it is beauty and excellency itself, and renders all excellent that are possessed of it; and yet most excellent when joined with greatness.

The very same excellent qualities of gold render the body in which they are inherent more precious, and of greater value, when joined with greater than when with lesser dimensions. And how glorious is the sight, to see Him who is the great Creator and supreme Lord of heaven and earth, full of condescension, tender pity and mercy, towards the mean and unworthy!

His almighty power, and infinite majesty and self-sufficiency, render His exceeding love and grace the more surprising. And how do His condescension and compassion endear His majesty, power, and dominion, and render those attributes pleasant, that would otherwise be only terrible!

Would you not desire that your friend, though great and honourable, should be of such condescension and grace, and so to have the way opened to free access to Him, that His exaltation above you might not hinder your free enjoyment of His friendship?

And would you choose not only that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be, as it were, mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace; but would you also desire to have your friend brought nearer to you?

Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a level with you too? Though it be taking with men to have a near and dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances. Thus is Christ.

Though He be the great God, yet He has, as it were, brought Himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become man as you are, that He might not only be your Lord, but your brother, and that He might be the more fit to be a companion for such a worm of the dust.

This is one end of Christ’s taking upon Him man’s nature, that His people might be under advantages for a more familiar converse with Him, than the infinite distance of the divine nature would allow of.

One design of God in the gospel, is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that He may engross our regard every way, that whatever natural inclination there is in our souls, He may be the centre of it; that God may be all in all.

But there is an inclination in the creature, not only to the adoration of a Lord and Sovereign, but to complacence in some one as a friend, to love and delight in some one that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness do not destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature.

But so hath God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in order hereto, such an one is come down to us; and has taken our nature, and is become one of us, and calls Himself our friend, brother, and companion.

Psal. cxxii. 8. ‘For my brethren and companions’ sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee.’”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 1:688. The sermon may be read here in its entirety.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Christology, Incarnation, Jesus Christ, Jonathan Edwards, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

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