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the paths of the seas." A higher species of life issues from the selfsame source. « The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul.” In all these gradations we behold a vital principle, but that principle derived, standing in need of continual supplies, and hastening to extinction. Here we are presented with life underived, needing no external support, inextinguishable. 6. In Him” supereminently " 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 it is. "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." 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 upon man. He however possesses a light denied to the beasts that perish. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty givezh them understanding," "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord," by which he is distinguished from, and exalted far above the beasts of the earth and the fowls of heaven. And this “ light of men" is the gift of Him who “ has life in himself.” “ He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?" .
And the light shineth in darkness. Material light necessarily dispels dark, ness; when the sun rises the shadows flee away. But mental darkness resists the clearest light. The great source 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 condemnation, 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, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." It is a corrupted heart that disturbs and misleads the intellect. “If, therefore.” O man, “the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" On whom does this censure fall ? On the ruder nations, and the grosser periods of ignorance and barbarism ? 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 Augustus, on learned Athens and imperial Rome. Of them it is that the apostle Paul thus writes : “ When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves 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 serve ed 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 ihe understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart : who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Thus though the Light of the world shone, and still shineth, the darkness comprehended it not. On whom does the censure fall? On pagans of ages past, and on pagans now " walking in darkness, and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death ;" on unbelieving Jews and the blinded posterity of IshInael? Alas! " darkness still covers the earth," of lands dolominated Christian, “and gross darkness the people” who bear that venerable name:
What grievous ignorance have we to deplore! what impudent infidelity, what abounding iniquity, what horrid profanation of the name, of the day, of the book of God! “Sun of righteousness, arise" on these sinful 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 Baptist, his immediate forerunner, " the voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God;" the finger pointing to " the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” Paying all due honour to that “ burning and shining light" which came in the spirit and power of Elias, he represents him as merely the harbinger of the Light, the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the coorld. 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 unloose : He must increase, but I must 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 the whole extent of its duration, as the all-upholding Word, the allregulating power, but the men of the world, even “ the wise and prudent" discerned him not, acknowledged him not, adored him not. “The fulness of time" at length came. The Scriptures were fulfilled : the day which “ Abraham rejoiced to see” began to dawn; the “ Star out of Jacob" arose. Surely man will fall down and worship him. They surely, at least, “to whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came," they surely will flock to the brightness of his rising." This is a reasonable expectation, but it was not realized. The melancholy fact is, He came unto 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 that we should desire him: He is despised 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 dwelt among us. The Scripture term, flesh, it is well known means man, human nature, the human race. Thus in describing the universality of human degeneracy it is said, " All flesh had corrupted their ways." Thus, in confidence of divine protection, the Psalın. ist exultingly exclaims, " I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” And the Prophet, viewing the redemption of mankind as coextensive with mortality, while he declares that “all flesh is grass," triumphs in the thought that "all flesh should see the salvation of God." To these, innumerable 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-vivifying, all-illuminating, assumed 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 seed of Abrahamn" " as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same”_" in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren"--" for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
And thus, Men and Brethren 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 himself of no reputation, in the form of a servant, in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbling himself to a mean estate, 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 shall we be ashamed of honest poverty? Did he go by the name of the carpenter's son,” and dare a Christian ostentatiously 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 afflicted, 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”-“ Lazarus, 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 about doing good, and ministeriog to the necessitous. We cannot attain to the height of his divine excellence and perfection, but we may with him descend to the lowliest offices of beneficence and condescension ! we may learn of him to * overcome evil with good.”
On the other hand, to what height of elevation may not the Christian as-, pire? 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 suggest 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 house, field to field, but let a nobler avarice excite you, the disciples of the blessed Jesus, to “add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” These are the titles, the stars and the ribbons in the kingdom of heaven, and “if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Let the spirit of adventure and science discover unknown regions and nations on the globe, and new planets in the firmament of heaven; be it your concern, Christian, your study, your employment, to contemplate, through the glass of promise, “ new heav. ens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Suffer the man of the world to enjoy his triumph; suffer him to outstrip his rival, to run down his enemy; be thine the more glorious triumph to promote a rival, to spare an adversary, as knowing that "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty ; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”
Such, disciple of Jesus, be thy holy aspirations, such thy pride and ambition; and may such be thy blessed attainments even in time : thought is lost in contemplating “ the glory that is to follow.” The beloved disciple shall declare it, in the sublimity of his own conception and expression, or rather in the idea and diction with which the Holy Spirit supplied his pen: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
ISAIAH LIII. 8.
IVho shall declare his generation 3
Tue history of countries generally commences with a geographical account of their situation and extent; of the climate and soil; of the names and the reason of imposing such names; of the era and the means of discorery ; of the original inhabitants, and of other circumstances tending either to communicate useful information or to gratify curiosity. The biographer, in like manner, in delineating the life of his prince, statesman, hero or philosopher, usually begins with tracing his pedigree and parentage, and enables the reader to form some acquaintance with his ancestors, in order to introduce the personage himself with greater advantage and effect. But both the general historian and the biographer quickly lose themselves in research. The origin of no nation or individual can be traced up to its source. The light becomes sainter and fainter as we proceed, the object is rendered more obscure and uncertain, till time at length spreads his sable mantle over it, and we behold it no more. Who then shall declare his generation, who “ was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made and without whom was not any thing made that is made.” . We are advancing, men and brethren, upon holy ground; ground sacred as Eden's blissful plains, as the region which surrounded the bush that burned with fire, as Sinai's awful summit. Borne aloft on the pinions of the celestial dove, we are aiming a bold, adventurous flight into the heaven of heavens, to expatiate through the boundless regions of eternity, to contemplate objects which "angels desire to look into," to search into the “ great mystery of godliness,” to lose ourselves in seeking “to know the lore of Christ which passeth knowledge.”
We are going to attempt a delineation of the Life and History of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of Men. My heart fails at the thought of the task which I have undertaken; my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth. Spirit of Grace, establish thou my heart
"O thou mr soice inspire.
The question of the prophet which has now been read, and which suggest. ed the idea that we mean to pursue through this Lecture, is interwoven with a variety of pointed and striking predictions which, whether taken separately or in their combination, can apply only to one person ; and who that person is, no doubt can possibly be entertained when we consider, that this is the
very passage of Scripture to which Philip the Evangelist was providentially directed, as a text for “ preaching Jesus,” to the Ethiopian Eunuch. I shall not employ any part of your time in detailing the various opinions which have been entertained respecting the meaning of the passage in general, or the precise import of the term “ generation" in particular. The question appears simply to be a bold defiance given to all created wisdom to investigate, to unfold the generations, the origin, the essence of that wonderful Person concerning whom such singular circumstances and events are predicted ; it amounts to a strong and positive affirmation that it is impossible to declare Him as he is, to trace his existence through the successive periods of duration up to its commencement, as you may do that of a mere man from the moment of his birth, or, through a series of ancestors. What in this view is the obvious doctrine of the text ? That the generation of Him who the Spirit of prophecy, and the corresponding history represent as an innocent, patient, vicarious sufferer, extends beyond the sphere of created nature, eludes pursuit, spreads the glory of eternity around it, and conceals it from mortal eyes. It is worthy of remark, that the genealogy of our blessed Lord's humanity is more clear, and distinct, and extended, than that of any other person. Two several Evangelists have declared it, pursuing it, through two different but parallel channels, up to Abraham, and from him up to the common Father of the human race. In this respect, therefore, “ the Spirit himself helpeth our infirmity ;" and he who by the mouth of Isaiah seems to forbid and defy all inquiry, by the pen of Matthew and Luke, makes a clear and full discovery, and enables us to trace the pedigree of Jesus Christ, like that of any other man. It is the peculiar privilege of the sacred volume to unfold the real history of human nature, of the globe, of the universe, to follow nature up to the hour of her birth, lo declare " the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created; in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens;' to exhibit the first man Adam in the plastic hands of the Creator springing out of the dust of the ground, and, inspired with the breath of life, becoming " a living soul.” The same inspired volume represents to our attention one person, and one event, as of peculiar importance; as pervading, influencing and affecting the whole course of Nature and Providence; as contemporary with every generation of men; as looked unto, and longed for by successive ages. In order that the truth of God might be fully justified and have its complete effect the relation, in which this illustrious person stood to those who had received the promises of his coming, is distinctly ascertained and minntely described ; so that at every period of the world we can say, lo He is here, and lo He is there. But the inspired volume likewise represents him as before all and above all. If therefore this book be a Revelation from heaven, it must contain real and important truth, and that truth clothed in plain, simple and intelligible language; we must perceive, of consequence, in the “ man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," a person whose generation no one is able to declare, who is “ before all and by whom all things do consist:" whom all the angels of God are commanded to worship, “the heir of all things," by whom the worlds were made and are upheld, whose “throne is for ever and ever :" in one word Christ Jesus, “who is over all, God blessed for ever.”
You are well aware that the doctrine, which we wish to establish, is in the present day violently opposed ; and while it is maintained in this place, it may be perhaps in the next street the subject of profane mirth, or of serious argumcntation. Thinking as we do, we will not enter the lists of controversy. We will not employ your time, nor endeavour to enlist your passions, by running down one name, party or opinion, and exalting another; but will simply and humbly, though at the same time, firmly and unreservedly, propose for