Imágenes de páginas

in love, may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ : from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. iv. 12, &c.).“ Thé boar out of the wood may root and devour” (Ps. lxxx. 13), and more cautious foes may undermine by their sleight and “cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in weight to deceive ” (Eph. iv. 14): but the vine will spread, the body will grow, the divine life of Christ will become universal to all people; and his person, to every person.

We have evidence enough of the development of this universal life so far as the present state, in the page of historý,-and particularly in that portion which from its peculiar relation to the Subject is justly termed Sacred, sometimes with a special reference to the same life, sometimes without it by a plain inference: and to mention examples.

=1, For examples of a special reference to the Subject's universal life we have a whole tissue in St. Paul's enumeration of elders who obtained a good report by the life of faith (Heb. xí. 4, &c.), with some very affecting instances; as the patriarch Jacob's blessed end (Rev. xiv. 13): who by faith, “ when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Heb. xi. 21). Also the case of Moses : who, loving Christ, “ when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward .... For hé endured, as seeing him who was then invisible" (Ib. 24, &c.)—in the same manner or word as afterwards HE WHO WAS THEN INVISIBLE, whom Moses foretold (Deut. šviii. 15), “ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, ..... for the joy that was set before him endured the

cross, despising the shame” (Heb. xii. 2): “ and others also, who had trial of mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned: they were sawn asunder; were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep-skins and goatskins; being afflicted, destitute, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy). They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, in dens, and caves of the earth” (Ib. xi, 36, &c.). In all which one seems to be reading of only one person, “ THE MAN OF SORROWS” (Isai. liii. 3); as he is emphatically called, from the striking affinity of their lives in this respect, and the identity of the principle, first act, or impulse from which they proceed, and of the mode or word in which they are contained or described. For,

· =2, It will also appear of the Subject by inference, how he lives in the lives of the saints, whether elders or moderns, who live by him: “in all their affliction he is afflicted” (Isai. Ixiii. 9). Their sufferings are his; his are their tears, their prayers, their aspirations to the throne of grace. His wounded spirit breathes in the lamentations of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others : it is his sympathy that they express : but especially in the Psalms is his soul poured out: the same mournful soliloquist who coming near to Jerusalem, “beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke xix. 41, &c.)—is the author of such plaintive numbers as the following in that divine collection; "O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance: thy holy temple have they defiled, and made Jerusalem an heap of stones: the dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the air; and the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the land: their blood have they shed like water on every side of Jerusalem ; and there was no man to bury them” (Ps. lxxix. 1, &c.). “ By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, when we remembered thee, O Sion .... If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning: if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth” (Ib. cxxxvii, 1, 5, 6).

But it is not only in suffering and in sorrow that the Subject lives universally, and for ever; he lives also in judgment and triumph : with Moses, and Joshua, and Jephtha, in their chastisement“ of the Edomites and the Ismaelites, the Moabites and Hagarens; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amaleck; the Philistines with them that dwell at Tyre”; Assur (also in his infancy) helping the children of Lot (Ps. lxxxiii. 6, 7, 8); with David in his devotion to the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel (Sam. I. xvii. 45); as likewise after victory, panting and exhausted,—“O Lord, God, thou strength of my health: thou hast covered my head in the day of battle” (Ps. cxl. 7):with Jehu in his zeal for the Lord (Kings II. xvi, &c.): with all the worthies of Israel in short, from the first of the judges to the last of the Maccabees, even to Judas, that honest patriot; when he and his company encountered the enemies with invocation and prayer. “ So that, FIGHTING WITH THEIR HANDS AND PRAYING UNTO GOD WITH THEIR HEARTS, they slew no less than five and thirty thousand men” (Maccab. II. xv. 26, 27): finally ; he lives with himself in the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and his scouring of the temple (Matt. xxi.). And if the greatness of these doings will bear no comparison with those of the second advent, or coming of our Lord; “ for the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. xvi. 27); “to render vengeance

to his enemies, and to reward them that hate him” (Deut. xxxii. 41): nor yet, on the other hand, the greatness of any sufferings will bear a comparison with the vast and enlightened sympathy of our blessed Redeemer, they will all still be found of the same character, all of a piece, as we say,-woven in the same destiny, described in the same word, issuing from the same principle, acted in the same universal life, that is to say, the Life of Christ.

And whereas some appear to think that such life is not to be attained or enjoyed by its associates before manhood, or the years of discretion; it may be right to observe, that the common or universal, which is the divine, life of Christ, differs not in this respect from his human or particular life; but will run on, like this, from infancy to manhood, and from weakness to strength, as well as back again from strength and manhood to weakness and second childhood. They who can assert, that Christ only lives in adults and in unimpaired intellects, may as well assert, that he never went through a minority in person, or that had he lived long enough he would not have been subject to a state of senility : but although his infancy was preternatural, and he was not exposed to the trials of age because this state was not for his purpose, as the pains of death were also loosed in his favour,“ because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts i. 24); there is still no reason to understand any exceptions like those above mentioned. His whole existence is the grace of God to mankind, extending through every stage in life, and through all times and circumstances, AN UNIVERSAL AND PERPETUAL TISSUE OF DIVINE GRACE. If there be a tittle of this property in any other man, it is originally derived from his fulness: and every one owes to him, and through him to God what he only owes directly to Him.

Such is the Subject's peculiarity: with him grace is a natural and universal property : that is natural, as immediately derived from God; universal, as a property pervading every other in him, and his in others; whether the

same be spiritual, material, or intellectual-properties of spirit, flesh, or intellect. And while grace is natural with him, or one with his nature; with all the rest of us nature and grace are two; we are naturally as false and graceless as the only begotten of the Father is full of grace and truth (John i. 14). For we are dead; and our life is hid with Christ (Col. iii. 3). From him alone we draw our immortal food, life, and increase, whether intellectual, spiritual, or material. We eat his body, drink his blood, imbibe his spirit, apprehend his mind' or intellect; as St. Paul says, “We have the mind of Christ” (Cor. I. ii. 16): “ from whom (says he) the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself into love” (Eph. iv. 16).

The extent of life and grace in and through or by Jesus. Christ must needs appear vast when we reflect, 1, that there is enough in that precious fountain for the salvation of all men; and that all men are not only welcome, but earnestly invited to partake of it; as if there was in the Subject a superabundance of grace, and objects only wanting: for the consumption must needs be short, one should think, compared with the supply; when the highways and hedges are to be scoured for receivers (Luke xiv. 23), and the fountain of grace is overflowing like a full raised vat (John vii. 37; Isai. lv. 1)-2, how many joints or properties of the moral body or combination are nourished by this one property of divine life or grace; and not only in the moral but in the natural likewise: so that this one may be considered as a common parent, root, or stimulus to good properties therein, rather than as one of the body; the other properties of Christ being also singly productive of them. selves in other subjects by means of this. We may therefore aver, that this property, or rather principle, of grace is the husband of the flock, and parent of every virtue or grace; that is to say, the grace of God by our Lord, Jesus

« AnteriorContinuar »