Page images
PDF
EPUB

guidance of a few transitory and uncertain beacons, amid desolate realms of mental darkness and chaos. At last, the auspicious hour arrived. The voice of the Almighty was heard to exclaim, 'Let there be light and there was light!' Then the Sun of Righteousness arose in glory, and forever dissipated the darkness from our world. From that moment, the great Redeemer became the author of man's faith in life and immortality.

II. Finisher: one who completes his own work, or that of another; applied to Jesus in a substantive form only once.

The Redeemer will finish his work by giving eternal life to the world. Hear him 'My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work.'* And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.’t But passages might be multiplied here to any extent.

Let me therefore lead the reader at once to the conclusion of the grand scene. "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. * * * And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.'I Jesus, when on the cross, saw in faith this grand result. He looked through all the periods of human trial and suffering. He saw with a prophetic eye the end of sin, and exclaimed in view of the whole, It is finished !'

* John iv. 34.

# Ib. vi. 39.

# 1 Cor. xv. 24-28.

VIII. BEGINNING OF THE CREATION

OF GOD.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These

things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God.'

Rev. üi. 14.

The above passage is the only instance where this phrase occurs, though one very similar is found in Col. i. 15. the first-born of every creature. There is some little difficulty in arriving at the exact meaning of this appellation.*

Jesus is called 'the beginning and the ending;' "the First and the Last;' Alpha and Omega.'t This last mode of speech is borrowed from the Jews, who express the whole compass of things by aleph and tau, the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. But St. John, as he was writing in Greek, accommodates the whole to that alphabet, of which alpha and omega are the first and last letters.

Jesus may be considered as the beginning of the spiritual creation of God, as Adam was the beginning of the natural creation. This view seems to agree with the Scriptures: 'He is the head of every man.'f

* The Jews term Jehovah, the first-born of all the world, or of all the creation, to signify his having created or produced all things.* See Wolfius in loc. | Rev. i. 8. xxii. 13. xxi. 6.

1 Cor. xi. 3.

* Bellamy says the Hebrew word Bervesh, when applied to time, means in the beginning; when applied to persons and things, it means the most escellent.

BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD.

33

And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.'*

Thus Jesus is the Chief or Head of all mankind : the first fruits of the resurrection, the first-born from the dead. The spiritual or immortal state has commenced. Jesus is the beginning. He is our forerunner. As he lives, we shall live also. All souls are redeemed by him, and will enter on that better state of being as they throw off the frail tenement of mortality. 'As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.' 'As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'

'Hallelujah! Christ in God,
God in Christ, is all in all.

* Col. i. 18-20.

IX. BISHOP.

For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.'

1 Peter üi. 25.

6

The word Bishop occurs four times in the singular, and once in the plural. Rendered overseers in Acts xx. 28. Greek, Episcopos. Latin, Episcopus. From

over,' and 'I look.' Signifies an over seer, an inspector, or one that has the oversight. Jesus is Episcopus episcoporum ; i. e. Bishop of Bishops. The Hebrew pâkid, rendered episcopus, has the same signification. The Athenians gave this name to the person who presided in their courts of justice, and the Digest gave it to those magistrates who had the inspection of the bread market, and other things of that nature. In Phil. i. 1. it signifies the pastor of a church. It would seem from the Apostle Paul's directions to Timothy and Titus, that he considered the office to be of a very sacred character. The former is supposed to have been bishop of the Ephesian church.

There has been much dispute about the genuineness of Presbyterian and Episcopalian form of government. All such matters we leave to those who have leisure and inclination to pursue them. Our chief business is with the title as applied to the Bishop of our souls.

It would seem from the definition of the word, that it signifies an overseer. Jesus then is appointed to oversee the concerns of the Christian church. All

men belong to him, by heirship, and by his death. Of course, he will take care of his sacred charge. If one is lost, Jesus will be required to account for it by Him who appointed him to his office.

Earthly bishops too often provide for themselves to the neglect of those of their charge. The Heavenly Bishop provides for his flock. One leaves in times of danger. The other never forsakes. Earthly bishops must die. Jesus lives forever. In fine, the one sacrifices his flock. The other sacrifices himself.

Thus all are committed to the Shepherd and Bishop of souls. He will oversee and instruct till all are brought home to glory, that God may be all in all.

« PreviousContinue »