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of the human intellect, as well as the poverty of human language, compels me to speak of the “ HIGH AND LOFTY ONE, that inhabiteth eternity," (if I speak of him at all,) in terms which I yet know to be inconsistent and degrading ;-to speak of Him as a Person, as a corporeal Agent, as a vindictive Judge. Nay, even the language of inspiration must necessarily be thus inadequate and defective, and describe the immutable, unimpassioned, omnipresent Spirit, as repenting of his purpose, and rescinding his decrees; as “ taking vengeance on his foes, and trampling them in his fury;" as seated in heaven," the skies his throne, the earth his footstool”—“ making the clouds his chariot, and darkness his pavilion:"-expressions, which, though comparatively noble and sublime, are yet no just and discriminating representation of a Being without body, parts, or passions.
Since, then, those whose studies and pursuits prepare their minds for such investigations, can attain no clear conceptions of the unknown and unseen FATHER,—since even prophets divinely inspired, and apostles, “ baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” can find no terms to define His nature and essence, we must be content with such imperfect knowledge of the Deity as can be gathered from the contemplation of his works, and his dispensations to his creatures; but more especially from the communications he has vouchsafed to make, through the medium, and in the person, of HIS ONLY Son. The heavens, the earth, the air, the floods, the myriads of creatures inhabiting every particle of matter, proclaim their invisible Author; “ Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world:"—but “ the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is more sensibly and forcibly displayed in the face of Jesus CHRIST.” Through the intervention of a Mediator and Intercessor, He, “who dwelleth in the light which no living thing can approach," becomes accessible to mortal men, and investing a portion of the Divinity in the form of the Son of Man, converses familiarly with his creatures, “as a man talketh with his friend.” By the sacred Shepherd of Israel, the leading attributes of the great God are conveyed to the human intellect, in far more lively and impressive terms than natural religion can devise. Nature, animate and inanimate, speaks his power, wisdom, and goodness; but in the person of Jesus Christ we behold those perfections palpably and immediately operating. We need not pursue a chain of abstruse reasoning, and draw conclusions from remote premises :—we have only to turn our eyes on this breathing image of the Father, and see all things subservient to his word. He speaks,—“the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up.” While the fisher's bark is tossing on the lake, He walks forth upon the waters—the yielding element becomes fixed and solid, and he treads as on dry ground. When the coming tempest agitates the surge, threatening to overwhelm their slender vessel, and they awake Him, crying, “ Master, we perish,”—He arises, rebukes the winds and the waves, and there is “a great calm!”—“What manner of man is this,” exclaim the astonished disciples, “that even the winds and the seas obey Him !" When the multitude follow Him to the desert, and grow faint for want of sustenance, He blesses the scanty provision which the apostles had provided solely for their own wants, and with a few loaves of bread satisfies the hunger of thousands. When the brother of Mary and Martha was enclosed in the sepulchre, and the body, as they conceived, began to be tainted with corruption, He pronounces the words, “ Lazarus, come forth,"—the dead hears the mandate, and bursts the bars of the tomb !If you seek in our Lord for the wisdom, as well as the power of God, attend to his discourses, his parables, his replies to his adversaries, his instructions to his apostles, his prophetic warnings of future events, all subsequently verified,—and you will confess with awe and astonishment, that such deep insight into human nature, such powerful appeals to the heart and the understanding, such perfect knowledge of what time should bring forth, far exceed “what man's wisdom teacheth," and could never have been learned under the shed of a village mechanic.
“ Never man spake like this man !"-Nor is the Divine goodness less conspicuous in the beloved Son: observe, in his demeanour to all that approached Him, unexampled kindness and gentleness, patience and long suffering, compassion and tender mercy : “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out :” “I came not to destroy men's lives, but to save :” “Hath no man condemned thee?-Neither do I condemn thee-go, and sin no more :" “ As my Father hath loved me, so have I loved you :” “I lay down my life for the sheep :"-and, at the last, suspended on the accursed tree, and in the agonies of death, when the malefactor by his side acknowledged his guilt, and implored acceptance, divine mercy spake from the lips of the crucified Jesus, " To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."
Here, then, in this living image of the FATHER, let us contemplate and venerate the inscrutable Divinity. No longer vainly seeking to explore that uncreated Essence, which is far beyond the grasp of man's comprehension, let us rejoice in the light He hath condescended to impart, by the ministration of His ETERNAL WORD. Let his Gospel be our delight in prosperity, our consolation in adversity, our refuge in danger, our defence in temptation, our support in sickness, our triumphant hope in death. Calling ourselves the servants of Christ, let us remember that we must keep his commandments ; nor presume to think that we become Christians, by signing the forehead with the symbol of redemption, till we can take up his cross the cross of self-denial, and follow him in our lives, " by crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts.” In passing over this stage of trial, “ let us walk, as we have Him for an example," " in all lowliness and meekness," being “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another;" “ above all