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Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.'
Heb. i. 3.
Jesus is thus distinguished in two other instances. Col. i. 15. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Man is also said to be made in the image of God. Gen. i. 27. 1 Cor. xi. 7. The more closely the intellectual and moral nature of man is examined, the more evident will this truth appear. In man we find wisdom, power and benevolence. These attributes all exist in God, and in man; they are of the same kind, though differing in degree. But our plan does not permit us to enlarge upon the thought here presented.
In an apocryphal work, a form of expression is found very similar to that in the motto. Speaking of wisdom, the author breaks forth in the following very sublime strain :- She is the brightness of the everlasting light; the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.'* One would almost think that the Apostle in writing to the Hebrew church had his eye on this passage.
But how are we to understand that Jesus is the express image of God's person? An image, as all know, is a mere representation of some object, either
* Wisd. vii. 26.
animate or inanimate. On beholding the work of the painter or the statuary, we perceive that the design is to image forth to the mind some being or object. We know it is not the thing itself, though it may be an exact resemblance, for it possesses no life. Herein lies the superiority of God over man.
The one may fill the vacant canvass with images of life and beauty, or awake the sleeping marble, and mould it into form; but to bring into being, to impart life, requires a God ! Jesus is not God; he is a representation of his perfections and attributes. Those who have discoursed largely and systematically on the Being and Attributes of God, have described him as possessing natural, intellectual, and moral perfections. Under the first is comprehended his unity, his self-existence, his spirituality, his omnipotence, his immutability and eternity. Under the second, his knowledge and wisdom. Under the third, his justice, his goodness, his mercy and his holiness. Manifestations of these attributes may be found everywhere in the physical, moral and intellectual departments of creation. But for a bright, unclouded, moral exhibition of Jehovah, we must look to him who is the brightness of his glory, and the express Image of his person. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.'* In the Image of his person, God shines upon us in all his brightness and glory. Indeed, in this Image is a full display of the entire character of Him whom the heavens cannot contain. As in the rainbow all the
* 2 Cor. iv. 6.
colors are beautifully mingled, so in Jesus every perfection of God centres and is shadowed forth in life and beauty upon the world. In Jesus, we see God moving and acting before us. We see in this Image love, tenderness, pity and compassion. Indeed, every lovely trait shone forth in his character. 'He laid his hand upon the pale brow of disease, and life and health coursed freely through the veins of the sick
He touched the withered limb, and it was made fresh and strong. He saw the poor blind man, sitting by the way-side, and he pitied his darkness and poured a flood of light upon his sightless eyes. He came to the lame, and bade him walk and run. He witnessed the agony of the poor widow of Nain, and he drew back the covering of the bier and her only son was restored in life to her arms.' 'In every period and circumstance of his life, we behold dignity and elevation blended with love and pity; something, which, though it awakens our admiration, yet attracts our confidence. We see power; but it is power which is rather our security than our dread; a power softened with tenderness, and soothing while it awes. With all the gentleness of a meek and lowly mind, we behold a heroic firmness, which no terrors could restrain. In the private scenes of life, and in the public occupation of his ministry, whether the object of admiration or ridicule, of love or of persecution; whether welcomed with hosannas, or insulted with anathemas, we still see him pursuing with unwearied constancy the same end, and preserving the same integrity of life and manners.'* What a lovely char
* White's Sermons, ser. 5.
acter! Well might the Apostle say, 'in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.'* Would we know the disposition of our Father in heaven, we must look to Jesus, whom he commissioned and sent into the world as an Image of himself. See the forgiveness and compassion of the Son. He extended mercy to all. He cured all that were brought unto him. In trouble then we may look upon this Image and find rest. It was the Image of God that bent over the troubled couch of the sick man and said, "Be healed"—that appeared to the bewildered vision of the blind man as he opened his eyes to the light of day—that moved in the pathway of the lame, and restored him to strength-that appeared to the disconsolate widow, and gave her her son. And when these afflicted ones lifted up their heads at the sound of the kind and healing voice that addressed them, and gazed upon the lineaments of meekness, and pity, and tender love that beamed in his countenance then, then, did they behold an Image of the merciful Father--then did they see the "glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 1
* Col. ü. 9.
'And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people from their sins.' Matt. i. 21.
This title is found only in the New Testament. Singly, one hundred and forty-three times; Jesus Christ, seventy-four times; Lord Jesus, twenty-two times; Lord Jesus Christ, twenty-eight times. Put for Joshua, twice; for Justus, once. The LXX uniformly translate Joshua (Jehoshua) Jesus. The translators were unwise in calling Joshua * by this name, as it rather perplexes the English reader.
It is worthy of remark, that the phrase Jesus Christ occurs only four times in the gospels. Matt. i. 1. Mark i. 1. John i. 17. xvii. 3. In the last instance, our Lord uses it in reference to himself, though Campbell remarks that 'this is so singular, that he suspects an accidental omission of the article, and that the clause must have stood originally, Jesus the Messiah, whom thou hast sent.'
In some instances, the word Jesus undoubtedly signifies doctrine. The sacred historian, in speaking of the labors of Paul at Athens, says, 'He preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection.'t The original reads τον Ιησού, the Jesus.
* Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8.
† Acts xvii. 18. # For some excellent remarks on the importance of the definite article, see . The Four Gospels.' By GEORGE CAMPBELL. Dis. V. part iv.