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that ruas made. Behold the execution of the eternal plan. The design is copied to an iota. It is the incommunicable prerogative of Deity to create. He who creates cannot be hiinself a creature. By the WORD were all things made, the WORD therefore could not have been made. What God did by the Word of his power he did by himselt ; and " through faith we understand that the worlds were trained by the Word of God." Maik the univerfality of this creative energy ; All things were made by Him. The apostle makes a splendid enu. meration of those all things, in his epistle to the Colossians, ch. 1. v. 16. “ For by Him vere all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers ;
all things were created by him and for him.” Wherever .. therefore there is created existence, there is omnipotent, omni
present, creating and lustaining virtue, and there can be but One Omnipotent, Omnipresent. “ Angels” are said to " excel in strength," but that strength is imparted, and it is exerted or reIrained by a will not their own; they “ do His command. ments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” Man is capa-' ble of doing great things, but his power is limited to the modi. fication of mterials provided to his hand. Chriftians are indeed said to be " labourers together with God,” and “workers together with him ;" it is the highest glory of human nature : but this labouring and working is not in aid to feebleness, it gues not to the production of what had no previous being; it fimply implies the adoption of the same views with God, and te imitation of his works of goodness and mercy.. The united powers of angels and men are unequal to the formation of a single atom, for, to the ascription of the creation of universal nature to the Word, John lubjoins his exclusive title to the character of Creator : it is a glory which he will not give to a.'. ny other; “ without him was not any thing made that was made." "He spake, and it was done ; he commanded and it itood fast," " God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” And who but God could thus speak, ihus produce ?
In Him was life. In the vegetable world life is a state of expansion, a progress of fructification, a power of reproduction, but all issuing in the decay and dissolution of the parent germ. A grain of wheat in order to vitality must itself consume. “ That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die." It has not therefore life in itself. It was the divine mandate which first generated, and which still supports the wondertul process. “God said, Let the earth bring forth grals, the herb yielding feed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, whose seed was
in itself, upon the earth, after his kind : and it was so : and God saw that it was good.” From the same tountain of life proceeded animal nature : “All sheep and oxen, yea and che beasts of the field : the towl of the air, and the fish of the sea. and whatloever pasleth through the paths of the leas.” A higher species of life iffues froin the self same source. “The Lord God formed man of the duft of the ground, and breached into his noftrils the breath of life ; and man became a living foul.” In all these gradations we behold a vital principle, but that principle derived, standing in need of continual iupplies, and hastening to extinction. Here we are presented with lite underived, needing no external support, inexiinguishable. “ In Him" fupereminently " was life ;" a life of which man is in a peculiar sense partaker : and the life was the light of men.
"The light of the body is the eye ;” and a precious gift ic' is. “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleafant thing it is for the eyes to behold the fun." But the faculty of vision, as well as some others, is bestowed in a higher degree of acuteness on certain of the animal creation, than upun man. He however possesses a light denied so the beasts that perish. “There is a spirit in man; and the infpiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,” by which he is distinguished from, and exalted far above the beaits of the earth and the towls of heaven. And this " light of men" is the gift of Him who “ has lite in himself." “ He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? He that tormed the eye, shall he not lee? He that teacheth nian knowl. edge, shall not he know ?**
And the light shineth in darkness. Material light necessarily difpels darkness; when the sun rises the shadows flee away. But mental darkness reGsts the clearest light. The great fowrce. of intellectual day has shined through every age and upon every land ; but every age and every land have exhibited men grovelling in the dark, wilfully shutting their eyes, and then denying the existence of light. The history of mankind is a melancholy demonstration of this, and this is the condernnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil, for every one that doth evil hateth the light, neilher cometh to the light, left his deeds should be reproved.” It is a corrupted heart that diflubs and misleads the intellect. “If, therelore," o man, " the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is tiat darkn-ss !" On whom does this censure fall ? On the ruder nazions, and the grosser periods o? ignorance and b.rbarisın?
Yes, and likewise on periods of illumination and refinement; on nations who, in the pride of their heart, appropriated all wisdom to themselves, and stigmatized the rest of mankind with the name of Barbarian : it falls on the boasted ages of Alexander and of Auguftus, on learned Athens and imperial Rome. Or them it is that the apofle Paul thus writes : “ When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neith. er were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing ihemselves to be wise, they became fools : and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.”. This accounts for that earnestness of exhortation employed by the same apostle in his epistle to the Ephesians : “ This I say, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the underi ftanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart : who, being paft feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." Thus though the Light of the world thone, and still shineth, the darkness comprehended it not. On whom does the censure fall ? On pagans of ages past, and on pagans now 1" walking in darkness, and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death ;" on unbelieving Jews and the blinded pofterity of
Ihmael ? Alas! “ darkness still covers earth" of lands de. * nominated Christian, “and gross darkness the people" who bear that venerable name. What grievous ignorance have we to deplore! what impudent infidelity, what abounding iniqui ty, what horrid profanation of the name, of the day, of the book of God!" Sun of righteousness, arise” on thele finful lands “ with healing in thy wings," " deliver us from the power of darkness,” that we may be " light in the Lord."
The evangelist having displayed the glory of the WORD, as the source of all being, whether material, animal or intelligent; adverts to the mission of John Baptift, his immediate torèrun. ner, " the voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a high-way for our God;" the finger pointing to "the Lamb of God which taketh away the fin of the world.” Paying all due honour to that“ burning and shining light" which came in the spirit and power of Elias, he reprelents him as merely the harbinger' of
the LIGHT, the true Light, which lighteth every man that com. eth into the world. John Baptist came for a witness, and he faithfully delivered his testimony : " He that cometh after me is preferred before me ; for he was before me-whose shoes' latchet I am not worthy to unloole : He must increase, but I muft decrease,” as the morning star "hides his diminished head” when the great orb of day appears.
" Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God,” but “ the world by wisdom knew not . God.” He was in the world through ihe whole extent of its dutation, as the all-upholding Word, the all-regulating power, but the men of the world, even " the wise and pr dent” discerned him not, acknowledged him not, adored him not. " The fulness of time” at length came. The Scriptures were Julfilled ; the day which " Abraham rejoiced to fee” began 10 dawn ; the “ Star out of Jacob” arose. Surely man will fall down and worship him. They furely, at least, “ to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and ihe giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promis. es, whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Chrift came," they surely will flock to “The brightness of his Tiling.” This is a reasonable expectation, but it was not real. ized. The melancholy fact is, He came unt, his own, and his own received him not, and the prediction is verified by the event ; “ When we shall see him, there is no beauty ihat we hould desire him : He is despiled and rejected of men'they " hid their faces from him ; he was despised, and they esteemed him not." ..
This carries us forward, with our evangelist, to the great, . the eventful day when the WORD was made flesh and duelt among us. The Scripture term, flesh, it is well known means inan, human nature, the human race. Thus in describing the universality of human degeneracy it is said, “ All flith had corrupted iheir ways." Thus, in confidence of divine protection, the Plalmilt exultingly exclaims, " I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” And the Prophet, viewing the redemption of mankind as co-extensive with mortality, while he declares that“ all flash is grass,” triumphs in the thought that “all flesh should ice the salvaiion of God.” To these, intumerable instances might be adduced to prove that the Evangelist, when he says" the Word was made flesh" means to convey this idea, that the WORD, all-creating, all-viritying, all-illu. minating, affumed humanity, " was in the world," tabernacled among men, emitted a sensible glory, “as of the only begotten
of the Father, full of grace and truth.” “Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the feed of Abraham"-" as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the lame"_" in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren"-"for which caule he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
And thus, Men and Breihren we perceive one and the same animating principle calling worlds into existence, peopling them with angels and men, communicating intelligence, exercising unbounded empire-and making himselt of no reputation, in the form of a lervant, in the likeness of men, and being found in tashion as a man, humbling himself to a mean eftate, to the suffering of reproach and contempt, becoming “ obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." To what meanness of condition ought not we his disciples, therefore, cheerfully to submit ? “ For our sakes he became poor,'' and fhall we be ashamed of honest poverty ? Did he go by the Teme of " the carpenter's son,” and dare a Chriftian oftentatiously to display the heraldry of his ancestors, or to blush at what the world calls low birth ? “ He hath not despised, nor abhorred the affliction of the aflicted, nor hid his face from him when he cried," and can one called by his name turn a deaf ear to the cry of distress, or hide his face from a poor brother ? We cannot like him say " Let there be light” -“ Laza. rus come forth ;" we cannot like him walk on water or silence the wind; we cannot like him give eyes to the blind, or speech to the dumb. But we may with him be “ meek and lowly in. heart,” merciful and compassionate, forbearing and forgiving: we can go abou doing good, and ministering io the necessitous. We cannot attain to the height of his divine excellence and perfection, but we may with him descend to the lowlieft offices of beneficence and condescenfior! we may learn of him 10 “ overcome evil with good." ;
On the other hand, to what height of elevation may not the Chriftian aspire ? Let not the idea of temporal elevation seduce you. Think not of" the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them," which perish with the using. Christ's " kingdom is not of this world." Let not the blind ambition of the sons of Zebedee suggeft a dream of right and left hand places by the side of an earthly throne. Be it your study and ambition to “ have this mind in you which also was in Christ Jesus." Let the avarice of the worldly mind accumulate bag upon bag, add house to houle, field to field, but let a nobler avarice excite you, the disciples of the bleffed Jesus, to " add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temper