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sustain them by his power, on his heart that he
NINTH DAY.-EVENING. may bless them with his love. Whether he needs to mediate for them by express words is a use
• He that cometh from above is above all,' John less inquiry. The blood of Abel had no audible voice, any more than the spheres in the firma- It is of the utmost consequence, that we enterment, which nevertheless speak the Maker's praise tain correct and scriptural views of the person of to men of every tongue. Abel's blood had a Christ the Mediator. Now his forerunner, John, voice, and so has the blood of Christ. But it here solemnly testifies to the great and essential speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. difference that existed between himself and the The blood of Abel cried loud for vengeance; the Master, in that, while he, like all former divine blood of the Lamb slain, seen in the midst of messengers, was of the 'earth, earthy, Christ was the throne, gently whispers peace. This is the from heaven above, and coming as the Lord from true Israel, who as a Prince hath power with heaven, is above all.' God and with man, and prevails.
Mark here the recognition of a distinction of But if it be a blessed truth that there is a natures in Christ; for the words seem clearly Mediator between us and our offended Sovereign, to imply that he possesses another nature belet it be deeply impressed upon our minds that sides his human. And the same idea is confirmed there is but one. This necessarily results from by a variety of other passages, where there the fact of there being but one God, with whom is no express assertion of his Supreme divinity. we have to do. As he is the infinite and un- What and if ye should see the Son of Man changeable, there is but one sacrifice can meet ascend up where he was before? I went out the demands of his perfect law; there is but one from the Father, and am come unto the world; Intercessor who, upon the plea of that sacrifice, again I leave the world, and go unto the Father. can propitiate his favour. Every saint, however No one hath ascended up to heaven, save he who holy, is a sinner saved by grace; every seraph, came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, however exalted, is but a servant fulfilling his who is in heaven.' To denote his possession of a own appointed work. Other foundation for ac- nature superior to the human, is he not often exceptance can no man lay, save that which is laid, pressly distinguished from men? •Paul an aposwhich is Christ Jesus. His is the only name tle not of man nor by men, but by Jesus Christ. given under heaven among men whereby (if we · Not as pleasing men, but as the servants of are to be saved at all) we must be saved. 'I Christ.' "The law maketh men high priests, but am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man the word of the oath maketh the Son. What cometh unto the Father but by me.'
mystery, indeed, could there have been in the Rejoice, O Christian! in your having such an Word being manifest in flesh, unless it was advocate with the Father, as Jesus Christ the the manifestation of a higher nature than that Righteous One, who urges your suit at the of mere man-a nature till then invisible ? court of heaven in the form of a man, and with But the Baptist here further asserts the prethe feelings of a brother. Yes! the Mediator is existence of Christ, or that his superior nature the man Christ Jesus. Men as they rise in had a being before his appearance in our world. honour and power too often lose the recollec- The same sentiment had previously been uttered tions and forsake the friendships of their humbler by John when he said : “He that cometh after days. But though Jesus the Son of God hath me is preferred before me, (or goes before me) passed into the heavens, we have not there a for he was before me.' Witness, too, Christ's High Priest who cannot be touched with a feel- own remarkable declaration to the Jews: “Verily, ing of our infirmities, but one who feels with us verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I and careth for us. Does Christ live for you in am. Even if that does not imply self-existence, heaven, and ought not you to live for him on it must certainly denote an existence prior to that earth? Does he represent you before God? of Abraham ; for this was the proof which he And should not you, in your humble sphere, adduced of his being 'greater than Abraham,' and seek to represent him among men? Does he so the Jews understood him, nor did he contrastand and plead your cause with God? And dict the inference they drew from it. will not you stand up for him before the evil- It is farther intimated here, that this higher, doers, and plead his cause with the workers of invisible, pre-existent nature of the Christ, had iniquity?
its abode in heaven; and lest we might suppose that it was an angelic nature, other passages assure us that it was not the nature of angels, but a nature far superior to theirs. In describing his not who refused him that spake on earth, much incarnation it is said, 'He took not on him the more shall not we escape, if we turn away from nature of angels,' i. e. the new nature he assumed him that speaketh from heaven.' was not that of angels; the angelic was not his former superior nature, nor was it the inferior nature which he afterwards assumed. Angels, as their name imports, are only messengers or servants ;
TENTI DAY.-MORNING. and the Almighty employs, in that capacity, even inanimate creatures, making the winds his mes
"That all men should honour the Son, even as
they honour the Father, John v. 23. sengers, and the flaming fire his ministers. But unto which of the angels saith he at any time, We have seen the plain testimony of scripture as • Thou art my Son. Sit thou at my right hand!' to a distinction of natures in Christ—the one Unto which of the angels saith he not, Let all human, the other superior to the nature of man, the angels of God worship Him!'
superior to the nature of angelsa nature which • He that cometh from above is above all,' be- existed before his manifestation in Alesh, yea, cause he was before all. He had an existence before the foundation of the world, even from all prior to the foundation of the world. “In the eternity. But, in addition to this, the bible beginning was the Word,' even in that beginning contains many intimations, more or less direct, of when God created the heavens and the earth. his true and proper divinity. He had a glory with the Father before the world How is the Supreme God known and acknowwas, for the Father loved him before the founda- ledged by his rational creatures? Is it not by tion of the world. The same was in the be- the perfections of his character, and the names ginning with God;' he was before all things.' that are consequently given to him? Is it not These declarations, if they do not explicitly assert by the works of his hand, and the worship that his existence from eternity, seem necessarily to is consequently paid to him. imply it; and it is elsewhere set forth in terms Is omnipotence, or the power of doing every as plain and distinct as can be furnished by the thing that seemeth to him good, an essential language of man. He is that · Eternal Life that attribute of Jehovah? Jesus is the Mighty was with the Father and was manifested unto us.' God. In nothing is the exceeding greatness' of To him the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews the divine power more signally exhibited than in applies the sublime description of the psalmist : raising the dead. Yet he had power to lay down * Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foun- his own life, and he had power to take it again; dation of the earth, and the heavens are the and he will raise and change the vile bodies of works of thy hands,' (there is the past eternity). his saints, and fashion them like unto his glorious They shall perish, but thou endurest—thou art body, according to the energy whereby he is the same, and thy years shall not fail,' (there is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Is the eternity to come). How is the eternal, inde- omnipresence a necessary perfection of the divinpendent, necessary self-existence of God the ity, no less than underived eternal self-existence? Father set forth in the book of Revelation? By Christ's ability to show himself everywhere prelangnage which is elsewhere in the same book sent is asserted in terms as express as those which applied to the Lord Jesus Christ: “I am Alpha the Old Testament had employed in reference to and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the the God of Israel. By Jehovah it was promised: first and the last. Connecting all these proofsIn all places where I record my name I will together, can we now err in acknowledging, that come unto you, and I will bless you. And by he who came from above is above all, seeing that the Saviour it is promised: “Where two or three he is God over all, blessed for ever? Amen. are gathered together in my name, there am I
How consoling to the Christian to know, that in the midst of them. Lo, I am with you his Lord and Saviour came “from above !' Did always, even unto the end of the world. The he reveal the character of God? He had been same perfection is involved in his omniscience, or in his bosom from eternity. Did he make known the prerogative of knowing all things. Every the bliss of heaven? It had been his eternal circumstance in human character and human conhome. On the other hand, how much does this duct lies naked and open before him. He “knew all consideration enhance the responsibility and ag- men, and needed not that any man should testify gravate the guilt of those who reject him ! He to him of man; for he knew what was in man.' is “the Lord from heaven !' “See then that ye He knew from the beginning who they were that refuse not him that speaketh ; for if they escaped | believed not, and who he was that should betray
him. Now to know the human heart is de-honourable and glorious, which demonstrate his scribed as a distinguishing characteristic of existence, and show forth his praise, and these Jehovah. · The heart is deceitful above all likewise are ascribed to Christ. The Father things. Who can know it? I, Jehovah, search loveth the Son, and hath given all things into the heart, I try the reins, even to give every his hand-all things pertaining to the proman according to his ways, and according to the vidence of the universe, the government of fruit of his doings. But the self-same power is the church, the judgment of the great day. asserted of the Son of God, who hath his eyes He upholdeth all things by the word of his like unto a flame of fire:' “All the churches power; by him all things consist. When on shall know that I am He which searcheth the earth he had power to forgive sins, and now he reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one is exalted far above all principality, and power, of you according to your works. Hence the and might, and dominion, and every name that declaration of Simon Peter: “Lord, thou know- is named, not only in this world, but also in that est all things, thou knowest that I love thee.' which is to come. All things are put under Hence the prayer of the disciples when assem- his feet; in all things he has the pre-eminbled to appoint a successor to Judas: Thou, ence; he is the Head over all things to his Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show church; and as in him dwelleth all the fullness whether of these two thou hast chosen. Hence of the Godhead bodily, he filleth all in all
. the expectation of the waiting church for the Hence to him belongs the mighty work of the time when the Lord shall come, who will bring resurrection, and none but He shall fill the seat to light the hidden things of darkness, and will of judgment. We must all appear before the make manifest the counsels of the hearts.' judgment-seat of Christ : so then every one of
Turn we from his perfections to his works,— us must give an account of himself unto God! from what he is to what he does. What is the It is after we find these attributes and works most common representation given of the Supreme of God ascribed to the Saviour, that we are preGod in the bible? Is it not as the Maker of pared to understand the sense in which the names heaven and earth?' What is the most common and titles of God are given to him, for we then of all the proofs appealed to there, as well as in perceive that it is not the language of figure but natural religion, for the being of a God? Is it of fact. “The Word was God. "God was maninot the work of creation, in which the invisible fest in flesh. As concerning the flesh he was of things of him, even his eternal power and God- the seed of David, but being justified in the head, are clearly seen from the things that he Spirit, he was declared to be God over all, blessed made? But of Christ it is asserted, in terms the for ever. most explicit and comprehensive, that he made Need we wonder then that he has been, and the worlds—that without him not any one thing now is the object of humble adoration, and the was made that was made—that by him were all subject of grateful praise, both on earth and in things created that are in heaven, and that are heaven. The first disciples in every place called in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be upon the name of the Lord. Thomas owned thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; him as his God; often was he besought of Paul, all things were created by him and for him. Is and to him Stephen commended his departing it alleged that he may have done all this by spirit. All the angels of God worship him; all delegated authority and communicated power ? men should honour the Son, even as they honour What then becomes of the argument for the ex- the Father; and a time is coming, when at the istence of a Supreme God, drawn from the works once despised name of Jesus every knee shall of his hand? Is it supposed that nothing more bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, was intended in these passages than a spiritual and things under the earth, and every tongue and moral creation by the gospel ? But did the shall confess that he is Maker, Proprietor, Goverunfallen principalities or powers stand in need of nor, Lord of all—to the glory of God the Fathis new creation? Or can it be said that in ther. this sense the world was made by him, when it is added of the same world, the world knew him not. Moreover, of the earth and the heavens which he created, it is affirmed that they shall perish,' but can that be affirmed of any part of his new creation?
But there are other works of God, no less
reached the stature of a perfect man.
susceptible of hunger and thirst, cold and heat Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be and weariness; in short, of all the sinless pleasures
made like unto his brethren, Heb. ii. 17. and pains of our common humanity. In setting forth the love of God the Son towards This truth of the incarnation is set forth by our sinful race, as shown in his spontaneous and the apostles of the Lord in a great variety of devoted interposition between them and merited phraseology; and the frequent and emphatic punishment, the scriptures often dwell upon the manner in which they dwell upon it seems to fact, that he did not disdain to assume their own show, that they thought there was a risk of frail and dying flesh. And it is, indeed, very the primitive Christians losing sight of it in the evident, that this is a circumstance which is well acknowledged glories of his divinity. But while fitted to show the deep intensity of his attach- they delight in unfolding that glory in all its ment to them, and the low condescension to which, splendour, they represent it as enshrined on earth on their account, he was willing to submit. For in the tabernacle of his flesh. Great, indeed, is suppose the case, that it had come within the the mystery of godliness, ‘God manifest in flesh.' purpose of the Father's mercy to have devised, It passeth the knowledge of men ; it transcends and of the Son's grace to have undertaken a the comprehension of angels; and, therefore, all scheme of redemption for fallen angels, and that, our speculations and conjectures about the mode in order to its execution, Christ had taken upon of the union and co-existence of the two natures, him the nature of angels ; though doubtless it had divine and human in one person, are unprofitable been infinite humiliation for the Creator to have and vain. But as a clearly revealed bible-truth vailed himself in any nature not his own, still as we must receive it in the simplicity of faith, in he made angels spirits like himself, and as they the same manner as all but atheists receive the retain their high powers of intellect, even in their truth of the being of a God who yet cannot be apostacy, there would have been some shadow of searched out or understood—in the same manner assimilation in point of spiritual capacities and as all but materialists admit the union and co-exspiritual energies between God the Spirit and istence in one person of the fleshly body and those angelic spirits whose nature he had deigned spiritual soul of man, who is himself one of the to assume.
*But verily he took not on him the greatest mysteries with which he is conversant. nature of angels—he was made lower than the But if the Son of God became man, it was angels,—he took on him the seed of Abraham.' purely for the benefit and advantage of men his There was this peculiarity in the case of ruined brethren ; it was that he might be a High Priest, man, that that body in which, had he pre- merciful towards them, while faithful in the served his innocence, he would have flourished in things of God, and that fulfilling the law's righteimmortal health and strength, has now become ousness and suffering the law's penalty in the the source of debility, disease, death. And yet nature that had transgressed, he might make rethat is the very body in which, with all its weak- conciliation for the sins of the people. The heanesses, the Son of God appears—that is the then represented their deities as sometimes comvery body which, with all its meanness, misery ing down to earth in the likeness of men. But and mortality the ever-blessed One deigns to put with their grovelling conceptions of the divine on. Knowing that without this depth of humi- character, they ascribed as the reasons for this liation, the salvation of men could not have been disguise, either motives of curiosity, a wish to accomplished, he despised not their affliction, he engage in vain-glorious exploits, or to indulge in abhorred not their misery, he consented that a the most debasing vices. But contrasted with body should be prepared for him, and forasmuch these imaginary visits, 0 how holy and beneficent, as 'it behoved him to be made like unto his how pure and godlike, does the manifestation of brethren,'-like unto his brethren in all things, the Son of God appear, when He descends into sin only excepted, did he become.
the lower parts of this earth. The meanness of The leading fact involved in this statement is our origin, the frailty of our frame, the agonising the incarnation of our blessed Lord, or his taking sufferings and ignominious and accursed death to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, be- which in our flesh and blood he knew he was to coming a partaker of the flesh and blood of those undergo, nothing repelled him, nothing could diswhom he came to redeem, and whom, in conse- courage him. Never was there disinterestedness, quence of this assumption of their nature, he ac- never self-devotedness like his; for he became knowledges as his brethren. Like them he passed like unto man, not merely that he might introthrough infancy, childhood, and youth, till hel duce them into God's family as his brethren, but
in order that in their nature for them he might writings, which was sometimes simply called suffer, and for them he might die, and that by his the Psalms,' from the book with which it began. sufferings and death they might escape endless Our blessed Lord then in the above passage, besuffering and death everlasting. The importance fore 'opening the understandings of his disciples then of this doctrine cannot be too greatly magni- to understand the scriptures,' intimates to them fied. Reject the fact of the incarnation, and you that all these scriptures had testified of himself. undermine the whole gospel scheme, you destroy He was the sum and substance of all the ancient the possibility of a sacrificial atonement, you de- revelations, and especially of the recorded predicprive the Christian of a suffering and sympathis- tions. To Him gave all the prophets witness, ing brother, a powerful succourer, a once crucified throwing around him the beams of their united but now ever-living Redeemer.
light. The spirit of prophecy' was 'the testiLet his own people, whom he is not ashamed mony of Jesus;' for it was the Spirit of Christ' to call his brethren, fix their adoring and grateful that was in these holy seers, and it testified contemplation upon this marvellous truth, that he beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory was in very deed partaker of their flesh and that should follow. blood. We see him who thought it no robbery Even in the age before the flood, God left not to be equal to God, vailing for a time his glory himself without witness to the great work of behind our feeble, dying clay, and humbling him- redemption that was to be accomplished by his self to the manger, to the cross, to the dust of Son. No sooner had man fallen, than his guilty death. We see him who inhabited the praises fears were relieved (even before the threatened of eternity, leaving the happy society of heaven, curse was uttered) by the cheering announcement and mingling with wretched outcasts; becoming that the woman's seed should bruise the seran heir of the same infirmities, subject to the pent's head. In the faith of his advent, Adam same laws, exposed to the same curse, and com- worshipped and Abel sacrificed before the preing down among us, not in the splendours of ma- sence of the Lord' at the east of Eden ; and jesty and power, but in a form of meanness and Enoch walked with God as reconciled by the poverty, degradation and servitude. When we can Messiah's first coming, while he prophesied of realize the simple fact that in that young man of his second coming to judgment. Noah, too, Nazareth there dwelt for a period of thirty-three was a preacher of that righteousness of faith of years, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,' which he was an heir, his deliverance by the ark we stand in amazement at the divine condescen- being a figure at once of the resurrection of sion; we are overawed by a sense of the divine lov- Jesus from the dead, and of the baptismal purifiing-kindness; we 'fear the Lord and his goodness.' cation of his people. Will God in very deed dwell with man upon the In patriarchal times the Redeemer was made earth? When we know that God did, in very known to Abraham as he in whom all the famideed, dwell with man upon the earth, we feel as lies of the earth shall be blessed ;—and the gospel if this polluted globe had been sanctified by such promise thus preached to him was, through his a visitant, and every spot of it on which we tread faith, counted unto him for righteousness. The is now holy ground.
same assurance was often renewed to him, more especially on the occasion of his offering up Isaac the son of promise—an affecting emblem of God
not sparing his own Son but delivering him up ELEVENTH DAY.-MORNING.
for us all. In Melchisedec, the righteous and
peaceful king of Salem, and the priest of the * And he said unto them, These are the words Most High God, do we not perceive a figure of
which I spake unto you, while I was yet with the Son of God, who is now a priest upon his you, that all things must be fulfilled which throne, and being a priest for ever after the order were written in the law of Moses, and in the of Melchisedec hath, like him, a divinely-derived Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me,' and untransferable priesthood? At Bethel, where Luke xxiv. 44.
the Angel of the covenant talked with Jacob, The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament he saw a mystic ladder bringing heaven and scriptures into three great portions, viz. the earth into union like the great Mediator, and Pentateuch, or five books of Moses: the Prophets, upon which the holy angels of God ascended and comprising the historical books (exclusive of the descended as on the Son of man. But from Pentateuch), and the Prophets strictly so called: which of Jacob's many sons is the Messiah to be and the Chetubim or Hagiographa, i. e. holy born? "That our Lord was to spring out of Judah