Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Christ; whereby he is also the author of every consequent blessing to us, is our Lord Jesus Christ; “ who of God is (accordingly) made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption” (Cor. I. i. 30). By being in them a cause or principle of each, he NATURALLY almost imparts the same to his followers, “according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Eph. i. 7, 8).

For the life of Christ may be considered as either abstractor concrete; the abstract life being that above described in Christian Modes of thinking and doing; the concrete, -in the life of the Subject, the life that he draws or protracts from his Father downward in every blessing whether spiritual or corporeal, and upward-to a meeting or communion, in the lives of his followers, or the life that we also jointly protract from him." Were we to trace the life of Christ in its other subjects or partakers, to whom, in whom, and by whom it is continued, we should have to enumerate a blessed host of constituent lives devoted to Christ, with all their constituent array of Christian properties, acts, and accidents,-we should have to enumerate all “ the saints that are in the earth” or their sorts; and more likewise, even the angels which excel with them in virtue, with every species or instance of virtue in which they excel: but it does not here seem necessary to anticipate that happy relation in detailing the properties of another. For

-9, We have still to consider another divine property of the Subject, that is equally diffusive with the life, being what we understand and have also adverted to before by the name of divine Light. But whereas we are apt to regard this also as a single constituent of the Subject, it will appear to be both in him and from him a general consequence, if not a correlative, of that same principle of life. For when it is said by St. John, “in him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John i. 4), we can easily comprehend in these divine attributes the originals of two kindred principles or productions of One, v. g. the spiritual and intellectual, proceeding from THAT WHICH CONSISTS OF NEITHER,—to pervade, form and compose the better part of the Kingdom above described, and answering to the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. ii. 9) mentioned by another principal historian of the Kingdom. Which two principles, being of one production as aforesaid,-are hardly discriminable, as stated long ago, in their commencement, though widely differing in their progress. And neither of these comes first into the world according to the Mosaic account; but sluggish matter first (Gen. i. 1); then life in its lowest exhibition, fluidity (Ib. 2); then the light of nature (Ib. 3), blessed indeed, though far enough below the light of the understanding, as that is likewise below the divine light here mentioned; which St. John the Evangelist writes of like another Moses, and John the Baptist was sent to witness by preaching, “ that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John i. 7, 8, 9), the Subject himself among others; but differently from them, as being his immediate principle, and that of others by him ; making him to be that light, and not John, who reported it; as he is also the Word and the Life: because these three, namely the Light, and the Word, and the Life, are all one, that is one Principle. For not only in this chapter of St. John are these three ; the Word, the Light, and the Life, shewn to be one, but also in the book of experience by their common effects; which in either view we find are natural to the Subject, but not necessary. For if he says in one place, “ As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (Ib. ix. 5); meaning in virtue or operation, as he also means elsewhere in saying to the sister of his departed friend whom he afterwards restored to life," I am the Resurrection and the Life” (Ib. xi. 25); that is the medium of restored life, both posthumous and ultramundane-we find it is still possible for the world to lie in darkness all this while notwithstanding; as a very considerable portion of the same ever does, and ever will do, most likely, if it be true, as St. John says, “he that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother is in darkness even until now” (John I. ii. 9). And while the Psalmist felt, as he says, appealing to the Fountain of light, “Thy WORD IS A LANTERN UNTO MY FEET, AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATHS” (Ps. cxix. 105); and his wise son also, how “ THE SPIRIT OF A MAN IS THE CANDLE OF THE LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Prov. xx. 27), for Christ is also conscience, or for conscience, as well as light, -there are multitudes of persons in the world, who seem to have little or no perception of any other sort of light than the natural or visual ; and at the same time likewise, no more enjoyment of the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, than as if there had never been any such productions.

Well might it be said by the forecited EMPYREAL historian, “the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not” (John i. 5): for it shineth even in a chaos of disorderly passions; as St. Paul exemplifies, but whether in a real or fictitious person has been disputed, when he exclaims, “ O wretched man that I am ; who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? "_" For I delight in the law of God after the inward man : (that is, the light of Christ) but I see another law in my members, (my own passions and prejudices) warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members,” &c. (Rom. vii. 22, 23). Such is the light of Christ glowing in the embers of a soul half consumed between guilt and remorse ; no unreal nor unparalleled case in the world, however imaginary it may possibly be in this instance! And even with some to whom the divine Light may seem almost natural and the fruits of the Spirit nearly indigenous, it seems by experience, that there will still be a casualty in their appearance and production. So David found it, as he declares, “ Thus my heart was grieved; and it went even through my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant; even as it were a beast before thee!” (Ps. lxxiii. 20, 21): and Job, before he, also exclaims in the anguish of his heart on account of such a casualty, “ Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me, when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his Light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, WHEN THE SECRET OF GOD WAS UPON MY TABERNACLE !” (Job xxix. 2, 3, 4). For the Light is not a particular property, nor a general either of any man, but a divine emanation, or rather divinity itself, manifesting itself in properties and by symptoms like some above mentioned; but more particularly by a divine wisdom and prescience amounting nearly to omniscience; which, if not synonymous with That Light, will only differ from it, as being more expressive of the same in effect than in principle or beginning. “For whatsoever doth make manifest is light” (Eph. v. 13), and a part of wisdom; which has its beginning in light, and by a similar emanation is often, or rather generally, proceeding through ignorance, as light through darkness.

The doctrine of divine Light, with the distinction of its natural and necessary effects, as now proposed, may enable us to reconcile not only the contradictions that are found in some, if not in all, of its most eminent partakers, but some difficulties also relating to its Presence or Medium, the Sun of righteousness himself; of whom, as we shall soon have occasion to notice some striking contrarieties in other respects, so particularly now in the respect under consideration; as for example, two different, and generally opposite grades of intellectual light, the divine and human, or greater and less. For without this inequality, or rather, this double accommodation, the Subject could not either be ignorant of what he ought not to know, or know and foresee what he did, so as to verify that seemingly paradoxical prediction, “ He shall see of the travail of his soul” (Isai. liii. 11): seeing, as it were by day what he has earned in the dark. And truly HE MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING MORE THAN MAN, TO FORESEE THE REMOTE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS TRAVAIL SO EXACTLY AS HE FORETOLD THEM; while the nature of those consequences also shew him to have been SOMETHING BETTER. No being less than divine both in prescience and in other necessary endowments could have foreseen and foretasted the extensive blessings which he foresaw, or devoted himself so fully and freely to insure them. He saw in the instant reflexion of divine Light what others have seen more distantly, being enough to encourage but not to compel his obedience: he felt enough of the divine Spirit to smooth the travail of his soul and complete its success; but not enough to supersede that travail and make it needless.

And hence another paradox in the way of wisdom and ignorance: where the children of God and of light, with Christ their Head, instead of knowing all that is to be known, as many conceive, appear by the acknowledgment of Christ himself to be more backward than the children of this world,-if not in spiritual, at least in temporal information; in secular and quotidian, if not in eternal and immutable policy. “ For the children of this world (says he) are in their generation wiser than the children of light" (Luke xvi. 8). Indeed, speaking for ourselves now in this present year, the eighteen hundred and thirty-seventh of the Christian era, we may reasonably infer from such a comparison as we are able to make, that many children of this generation are wiser in the knowledge both of the heavens and of the earth than many men of that day were or even the Subject himself apart from his divinity. It may be thought an insupportable paradox to talk of omniscience with partial ignorance, of prescience and inscience in the same Subject; that he should at once both know all

VOL. III.

« AnteriorContinuar »