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Still more, Christ, as the final organ of divine revelation to man, transcends all preceding organs :-Thirdly : In the moral service He has rendered to humanity. He has," by himself, purged our sins." He died to expiate our sins, and to cleanse our hearts. “He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." “He taketh away the sins of the world.” None of the old prophets did any thing like this. Once more, Christ as the final organ of divine revelation transcends all preceding organs:--Fourthly : In His superiority to all angelic intelligences. “Being made so much better than the angels,” &c. (1) He is superior in His position. He is exalted above them. They are His loyal subjects, His willing messengers, His devout worshippers. (2) He is superior in His reputation. “He has obtained a more excellent name than they.” Some of them are very famous in the universe; they have sent their names over vast districts of the great spiritual empire; but not one of them has such a reputation as Christ. “His name is above every name."
“It fills all things”; it vibrates in all the thoughts of the universe.
Brothers, under what obligation are we laid to praise our Maker for this revelation of Himself to our race ! Praise Him, that He condescended to open up any communication with us at all. He might have left us in utter ignorance of Himself. Praise Him, that He has made His communications to us through man, thus rendering His great thoughts in some measure intelligible and attractive. Praise Him, that He continued through so many ages to communicate Himself at sundry times, and in divers manners to our world. Praise Him, that we in these last days have the fullest revelation of Himself through His Son. We live neither under the light of stars, nor the twilight of morning, but under the sun-radiance of His thoughts, as shining through Christ. We see the infinite through Christ, as we see the solar orb through the bright beams of day. The New Testament for me. Not that I would undervalue the Old. It has done good service, and in its place is useful still. But let the cold dim stars hide their heads before the warm bright sun of day. They have "no glory” “by reason of the glory that excelleth."
“O that His bright influence,
Would work effectually in me
Another new Epiphany,
Star-like, I may to others shine;
And guide them to that sun divine,
SUBJECT :-God's Redemptive Love.
“ But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”—1 Peter, v. 10, 11,
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and fifty-sebenth.
Man's existence on earth is a subject of profound interest to the universe. The Prince of Evil and the “God of all grace" are represented in the context as earnestly active in connexion with man's earthly history. Satan is spoken of as
roaring lion, going about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is prowling about in all the spheres of human activity. He is in the current of polluted passions ; he is in the false maxims and the corrupt spirit of the age ; he is in the policy of unrighteous governments and in the cupidity of dishonest merchandize ; he is in the spirit and the stratagems of war; he is in the dark errors of Pagan superstition, and in the plausible hypocrisies of a mere formal Christianity. His roar echoes, his tread vibrates, and his breath pulsates, through all the districts of human life. The lion of evil “walketh about”-he prowls everywhere, and his work is to “devour :-to devour the virtue, the rights, and the joys, of humanity.
But whilst this Evil One is seeking our ruin, the “God of all grace,” is seeking our everlasting good. I shall use these words now to illustrate the wonderful love of God towards humanity. His wonderful love is seen :
I. IN CALLING US TO THE HIGHEST CONCEIVABLE DIGNITY. “Who hath called us into his eternal glory.” “His glory." First : He calls us to glory. All men are seeking glory in some form or other. They have an instinct for it. What wars have been fought to secure glory”!
To this we are called. Secondly : He calls us to His glory. To an identification with Himself; so that His excellencies are ours ; His blessedness is ours ; His possessions are ours ; His glory ours. The dignity to which He calls us is to sit down on the throne with Him ; to inherit the glory of our Lord, to be changed into the same image from glory to glory, is the destiny to which He calls us. Nothing lower. “ His glory." Not the tawdry glory of wordly magnates and potentates that merely dazzles for a moment the vulgar eye ; not even the glory of His wonderful creation, blazing through all its starred and sunned firmament, with the lustre of His throne; but His own glory; the glory of Himself.
Still more, Thirdly : He calls us to His eternal glory. Paul describes it as a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” All the glory of men is as the fading flower or the falling meteor. And even the glory of these glorious heavens will pass away like smoke. But His glory is eternal. The crown is unfading; the inheritance is “incorruptible." What love, then, does He display in calling us, enemies to
Himself, transgressors of His laws, and rebels against His government, to this “His eternal glory”! His wonderful love is seen :
II. IN EMPLOYING ON OUR BEHALF HIS BELOVED SON. How does He call us to His eternal glory?
“By Christ Jesus.' Christ is the logos-God's word-God's calling word to man; the organ through which the Infinite speaks to fallen humanity, and invites it to His eternal glory. “It became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,” &c. “The God of all grace" calls us to His eternal glory. (1) By the moral beauties of Christ's character. (2) By the elevating power of His doctrines. (3) By the mighty attractions of His cross. “Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us,” &c. His wonderful love is seen :
IN RENDERING THE TRIALS OF LIFE SCBSERVIENT TO OUR SPIRITUAL ADVANCE MENT. “After that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect,” &c. Perfection must be regarded, of course, as the grand design. Observe two things :First: The progressive stagestowards this perfection :-“Stablish, strengthen, settle.” Though there is a great similarity in the meaning of these terms, there is yet a difference, and the difference indicates the gradualness of the advancement. The first may mean a firmness of moral purposes ;
the second, a growth in moral force; and the third, a confirmation of moral character. Observe :-Secondly : The bearing of trials upon this spiritual progress. It is certainly suggested that trials are to help the soul on through these stages. They are to do something to "stablish, strengthen, and settle.” They are to act like storms upon the oak, to deepen the roots and strengthen the fibres. God overrules physical evil for spiritual good.
“all things to work together for good." “Our light afflictions which are but for a moment." His wonderful love is seen :
IV. IN INSPIRING OUR SOULS WITH THE SENTIMENTS OF HEAVENLY DEVOTION. “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” First: Here is a soul rendering a service manifestly right. All things are His, absolutely and for ever His. Practically to recognizethis fact, and ascribe all honor and power to Him, must be a right and proper thing. This is the work of heaven. Secondly : Here is a soul rendering this manifestly right service with a jubilant heart. It comes out in joyous music. Now this state of mind, which is heaven itself, implies, the effectuation of a great change in the human soul. Unregenerate men never feel thus, never act thus. Who effected this change? “The God of all grace.”
Brother, learn from this subject :-First: The beautiful propriety of true religion. What is it? Simply this : The cordial response of the soul; the answer of the heart to the “call” of God “by Christ Jesus.” Learn :-Secondly : The glorious destiny of the good. They are to inherit the very glory of the Infinite—“His eternal glory." What are palaces, sceptres, crowns, and all the pomp and pageantry of the mightiest monarchs to this ? Learn :Thirdly: The moral purport of life. Why are you here? To eat and drink, to amass wealth, to play the part of the sensualist, the ambitious or the vain ? This may be your practice. This, alas ! is the practice of millions. But this, I assure you, is not the moral purpose of life. Life is a moral school in which you should train yourself for a blessed future. You are here to be made meet for the “inheritance of the saints in light.” Learn :-Fourthly: The terrible monstrousness of sin. Sin is a reckless violation of our nature, a sacrifice of our interests ; it is the everlasting No to infinite love. He calls, we refuse. We were made to rise in light, and to expand in power; but sin robs us of our pinions, and presses us down with its millstone weight. We were made to be succored and blessed by the sympathies of the holy and the good ; but sin ruptures the ties, and links us to the degraded and the lost. We were made to anticipate higher and still higher joys for ever ; to have the region of hope widen and brighten with ages; but sin enwraps us in an atmosphere of cloud and storm.