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BRIGHTNESS OF THE FATHER'S GLORY.
us in his Son. In what a grand and dignified style, does the Apostle introduce this subject in the opening of his epistle to the Hebrew church :
"God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; 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.'
If we would see the glory of our Father in heaven, we have only to turn to his Son. As the golden orb of day exhibits to us the natural light and glory of God, so Jesus exhibits to us the moral glory of the Father of the universe. Well did the poet express this subject :
“The spacious earth and spreading flood
But in thy Son a glory shines,
* Heb. i. 1-3.
For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all
things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb. ii. 10.
With the first part of this passage we have nothing to do. It would, indeed, be going into a wide range of subject, to show in what manner all things are for Christ, and by him. The language was evidently intended to show the greatness of the possessions of our Captain, and the extent of his power. Our labor is sufficiently extensive when confined to the signification of each name.
The motto is the only instance of the application of the word to Christ. God himself is thus distinguished in the address of Abijah to Jeroboam and his army.* Commentators generally suppose Christ is intended in one of the admirable chapters in Isaiah, where God has beautifully mingled his invitations and promises : Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.'t These names will be found in their appropriate places.
Without dwelling particularly on the import of the title, which must be obvious to every reader, we shall present the whole subject under three divisions.
I. The manner in which the Captain of our salvation was made perfect.
JI. The commands of our Captain.
2 Chron. xiii. 12.
† Chap. lv. 4,
III. The importance of following him.
I. The manner in which the Captain of our salvation was made perfect. It was through suffering. The characters of the wise and good have all been formed in the school of adversity. Prosperity corrupts and enervates the heart. Neither nations nor individuals can be perfected by prosperity. It may be laid down as a political axiom that no nation can ever rise to the highest point of glory unless it is carried through scenes of suffering. Were all suffering now, with man's weakness, to be removed from our world, most of the virtues would cease to exist. Suffering calls forth the noblest feelings of man, his love, pity and compassion. Man, without affliction, is like the marble in the quarry; possessing all its veins of beauty, but needing the hand of the sculptor to bring them to view.
It was in this way that our Captain was perfected. He was prepared by constant suffering for all the trying scenes which marked his eventful life. Nothing else could have ever brought out to the world such a variety of moral excellencies. His whole life was grand, striking and beautiful. But, if we would see it in all its glory, we must follow him to Calvary and see him die. He had shown to the world brighter examples of virtue, patience and resignation than had ever been seen before, but when he exclaimed, while expiring on the cross, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,' his character was perfected. It received the last touch from the Divinity. From that hour he became a perfect example throughout all time; he then taught man how to live and how to die. Never was a character at the same time so
commanding and natural, so resplendent and pleasing, so amiable and venerable. It is brighter than the sun, fairer than the morning star. Each separate virtue is made stronger by opposition and contrast, and the union of so many virtues forms a brightness which fitly represents the glory of that God 'who inhabiteth light inaccessible.' Gladly would we linger here till we drank in the spirit of him whom we have thus feebly portrayed, but our work urges us onward to consider other beauties connected with the various names and titles which everywhere appear in the Bible like stars in the blue heavens.
II. The commands of our Captain. These are everywhere scattered through his discourses, so that it becomes a greater effort to collect, than to understand them. They are found beautifully blended with his public teachings, as well as his private instructions. They are remarkable for their simplicity, variety and adaptation :—'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.'* "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.'t It was Jesus who summed up the whole of man's duty in two precepts: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'I More citations might be made, but these will answer as an example of the whole. The commands of our Captain are all made in love. He will never
• Matt. vij. 12.
John xv. 12.
| Matt. xxii. 37–39.
require any thing on our part that is not for our highest good.
III. The importance of following him. This must be readily admitted by every reflecting mind. 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.'* Similar directions may be found throughout the teachings of our Captain. One virtue especially is required in those who would follow this Captain. This is selfdenial. Without this we are wholly unfit to be in his ranks. Thousands would have followed him in the days of his flesh, if this had not been the condition. This seems to have been the great difficulty in the mind of the young man, who came to him, and said, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' After a gentle reproof for calling him good, he was told that he must keep the conmandments. "These things,' said he,'have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?' Jesus said, 'If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.' And he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.'+
In fine, to be faithful soldiers, we must love our Captain supremely, renouncing the pleasures of wealth, the charms of popularity, and even the love of kin
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.'I Our Captain has reared his standard. He has placed it upon an impregnable fortress. We must bring our conduct up to that, not bring that down to our conduct.
* Matt. xvi. 24.
Matt. xix. 16–22.
Matt. x. 37.