Imágenes de página

me. He encouraged himself in the review of his dealings. First, his dealings with others. “Our fathers trusted in tbee and thou didst deliver them.” Secondly, his dealings with himself. “O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice."

Ah! Christian, know your resource. Hear your God saying, Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee; and thou shalt glorify me. Make use of him as your“hiding place," your“ rest. ing place," your " dwelling place.” Beware in your distress of crooked policy, of unlawful means of relief, of impatience, of dejection. By nothing can you so much please God as by your confidence in him; and by nothing can you so recommend your religion as by showing the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeping your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Check therefore every tendency, not only to murmuring, but to despondency; and after the example of your model this evening, say, “ What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.” “ Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God : for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

SEPTEMBER 6.—" The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." .

John i. 14. THERE is something peculiar in this name The Word." Jobs is the only one that applies it to the Messiah. Yet it is not on this account the less entitled to regard, for John wrote as he was moved by the Holy Ghost; and he has supplied many things omitted by the three former Evangelists. But the origin of the title has given rise to much inquiry. Some have supposed John derived it from Plato the philosopher, and some from Philo the Jew. Yet why should we suppose that he borrowed the term at all? Why not consider it as one of the words the Holy Ghost useth ? and which it is possible the writer did not fully understand himself ?

Yet what is the term designed to intimate? His office and de signation? That as by his reason and speech a man displays his mind and will, so Jesus makes known the mind and will of God? "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Three things may be safely observed.

First, John uses it to express a person. Nothing would be more forced and false than to suppose * the Word” means an attribute only, that is, the wisdom of God. Of what use would it be to tell us that the wisdom of God was in the beginning with him? Could it ever have been separate from him? And how could this wisdom be made flesh, and dwell among us ?

Secondly, That this person had a being previously to his birth. For in saying the Word was made flesh, John intimates that he was something before this took place. Yea, he fully expresses this.. * In the beginning was the Word”—In the beginning of what? The Gospel ? No, but the world—The creation of all things. How

useless and absurd to say that he was in the beginning of his own ministry!

Thirdly, That his pre-existence was a Divine existence. Observe the name of God is given to him and “the Word was God.” And the creation is ascribed to him : “ All things were made by him ; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Could all this be affirmed of him, without the possession of Deity ? Had he been but a man, an angel, a super-angelical creature, would John have expressed himself in a way so proper to lead men into error and idol. atry-telling us not only that he was with God, but that he was God, and making him the fountain of all life and being? Is not this enough to entitle him to all adoration and praise ?

But “ the Word was made flesh.” Sometimes flesh signifies the corruption of human nature; as when it is said, “ So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” And " the flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” At other times it intends only the composition or constitution of humanity. Thus we read, “ Except these days should be shortened, no flesh could be saved;" that is no human being. And thus it is to be understood here: and as the Jews used the term flesh for man, there would be nothing strange or harsh in the phrase, “the Word was made flesh :" it was precisely the same as saying, The Word became man-Campbell therefore renders it, “ The Word became incarnate."

But did he cease to be what he was, in becoming what he was not? Here was union, but not transformation. He was God before he was in the flesh, and he was God after ; but he assumed our nature into personal subsistence with his own. Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he likewise himself also took part of the same. He took not on him the nature of angels, but of the seed of Abraham. Hence in the Scripture many things are as. cribed to him which will neither agree with his divinity or humanity separately. “Unto us a child is born ;” this does not belong to him as Divine. And his name shall be called “the mighty God;" this does not belong to him as man. Man is a spiritual and a material being; spiritual as to his soul; material as to his body. Yet no confusion is produced by this conjunction : both retain their respective properties. It is not the body that thinks and reasons; and it is not the soul that eats and drinks. It is not the humanity of our Lord that is every where present; and it was not his divinity that was crucified. He died as man; he fills all things as God. We pretend not by these reflections fully to explain the subject : but ihey are sufficient to show that there is no contradiction or absolute impossibility of conception in the case. But we allow with the Apostle, that “God manifest in the flesh is a great mystery"—And what is not mysterious ? Who can explain the most ordinary appearances and the most undeniable operations of nature? But this is also “ a great mystery of godliness." It meets our condition. It brings down Deity to our reach. It renders him our example, our sympathizing friend, and the propitiation for our sins. And

" While Jews on their own law rely,

And Greeks of wisdom boast;
I love the Incarnate Mystery,

And there I fix my trust." And dwelt among us." This adds to his humiliation-"Will God in very deed dwell with man upon the earth ? He might have been incarnate, and have dwelt in heaven, and among angels. But he dwelt among us. And not in the highest style of our being. Some of our race live in palaces; but he had not where to lay his head. They travel in ease and splendour; he travelled on foot, and was “weary with his journey. We only read of his riding once, and then it was on a colt, the foal of an ass. They are attended with officers of state; he was despised and rejected of men. They come to be ministered unto, but he to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Dwelling expresses permanent residence. He had appeared of old, and had visited the children of men, but he soon again disappeared. But now he took up his abode with us for thirty-three years, well satisfied to keep out of heaven, and to remain here as long as there was any thing for him to do or suffer. This shows intercourse. He occasionally retired; but it was to prepare by privacy for publicity. He never refused society. He was present at the marriage in Cana of Galilee. He accepted the invitation of Levi when he made a great feast and bade many. He also received sinners, and did eat with them. There was nothing in him like extravagance, or sinful indulgence; but there was nothing monkish, abstemious, and austere, as we learn from the companson and reflection : “ John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” This was a slander, but as he went about doing good, so he never by his example taught his followers to shun their fellow-creatures, and exclaim,“ Stand by thyself, come not near to me; I am holier than thou.” The truth is, we are to be in the world, but not of it. The religion of the Gospel calls us both out of the world and into the world-out of the world as to its maxims and temper-into it as a field of labour and a sphere of usefulness, where we are to be diligent in business, to relieve the distressed, to teach the ignorant, to reclaim the vicious. We are to fill our days; and live as long as we breathe. When Calvin was requested to leave off writing and correcting, What, said he, shall the master come and find me doing nothing? And Philip Henry's remark is well known, who, when desired to spare him self, said, What are candles for but to burn out? .

September 7.—"I will fill this house with glory.”—Haggai ii. 7.

Two things are certain. First, that “this house” means the temple reared by the Jews after their return from Babylon. Se. condly, the“ glory" with which it was to be filled was to arise from the coming of the Messiah to. dignify it-“ For thus saith the Lord of hosts, yet once, it is yet a little while, and I will shake the hea. ven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land ; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come and I will fill

this house with glory.” This was to be more than a substitute for all the distinguished articles that were found wanting in the second temple, compared with the first : and to account for the assurance, " The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former."

Accordingly he appeared on earth while this house was standing and was often found in it. The first time we read of his being there was as an infant, to be presented to the Lord. The offering that accompanied the dedication was “ a pair of turtle doves, o two young pigeons.” As this was the sacrifice allowed for the poor. in lieu of any thing more valuable, it shows the lowly conditior into which he had entered. Few, therefore, for want of splendour would notice the event. But this was not the case with all; ani another kind of greatness was displayed. “There was a man ir Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was jus and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord' Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custon of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, ant said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thoi hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” “And there was on Anna, a prophetess, and she coming in that instant gave thank: likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” At the age of twelve we find hin in the temple, “ sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him weri: astonished at his understanding and answers.” How was his glory shed abroad when he “ went into the temple of God, and cast ou: all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the ta bles of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” And “th blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful thing that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying Hosanna to the son of David ; they were sore displeased, and saio unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and suckling: thou hast perfected praise ?"

Here was now found in the temple the body, of which the lau was a shadow: the reality of all the types; the accomplishment o all the prophecies; the fulfilment of all the promises; the consolaion of Israel. Many eminent characters had entered the former emple: but he was fairer than the children of men: and highe: han the kings of the earth. Think of his innocency. The forme. emple had seen good men, but never a sinless one. But he wa: armless, holy, undefiled, separate from sinners : in him was no in. Think of his devotion. What faith! what trust! what spi tuality of mind! what fervour of love! what ardour of zeal' VOL. II.


Such worship had never been rendered in Solomon's temple—no, nor by Adam in Paradise; nor by the angels in heaven. Think of his preaching there. “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation;" and in him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and he spake as never man spake. O to have heard him, when early in the temple he said, “I am the light of the world : he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” O to have heard him at the passover, when, on the last, the great day of the feast, he stood and cried, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink." Other teachers received a measure of the Spirit; but he was full of grace and truth. Think of his divinity. He could say, " There is one in this place greater than the temple.” In him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He was the Lord of all-Well might he fill the house with glory.

The temple once thus honoured has long since been consumed. But there are temples sacred to his service now: and the Savicur's presence is the glory of them. And every believer loves the habi- 1 tation of his house; and repairs to it, not for the stateliness of the edifice, the superbness of the decorations, or the effect of the ceremonies—if there was every thing in it that was Jewish, Pagan, or Popish, it would all be nothing, less than nothing and vanity, unless he could see the beauty of the Lord; but because he has said, “ Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” And they find him faithful to his word. They hear his voice; see his goings in the sanctuary; taste that he is gracious; and are made joyful in his house of prayer: and though it may be a private room, or an upper chamber, when thus blessed and ennobled it is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.

Christians themselves are a building fitly framed together, and growing unto a holy temple in the Lord. Know ye noi, says the Apostle, that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? And he is all in all as to his church: “ For I. saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”

There is yet another temple; and this too is filled with the same glory-" Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

SEPTEMBER 8,_"For the Lord will have mercy on Jacoh, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”—Isaiah xiv. I.

The Jews were carried away captive to Babylon. But they were not to be destroyed there, or to remain. “ After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I

« AnteriorContinuar »