« AnteriorContinuar »
acting evermore in conformity with the just and immutable laws of moral being. All the laws in the moral code of the universe may be reduced to two monosyllabic words: Be just. Be just to yourself ;--that is virtue. Be just to others, render to all their due, do unto others as you would others should do unto you;--that is morality. Be just to God: the best being love the most, the greatest being reverence the most, the kindest being thank the most ;—this is piety. This state of righteousness includes : -Secondly: Being treated as righteous by God and His universe. It is a state in which man is treated as if he had never sinned.
“His iniquities remembered no more.” Now the getting of man into this righteous state is everywhere in the gospel ascribed to Christ; and that for two reasons :- -(1) He furnishes the moral force, by which it is done. (2) He furnishes the moral reasons by which the past wrongs may be overlooked. In theological language, to Him both “sanctification” and “justification” must be ascribed. “He is made unto us," &c. Now this righteous state includes harmonious action -social usefulness-spiritual progress-Heavenly fellowships.
III. THE VOICE BY WHICH WE ARE SUMMONED. " Awake.” Paul is but the organ and echo of the DIVINE voice which is everywhere heard by those who have "ears to hear.” First: This Divine voice sounds through all history. Take up the annals of the world, and turn over its sin-stained pages, and you will find every chapter pealing with the word “ Awake." Amidst the intrigues of courts, the gorgeous crimes of men in power, the gross depravities of people, the bloody conflicts of nations, the throes of the oppressed, the demon mandates of the tyrant, the crash of thrones and the howl of stormy republics ;-in all I hear the voice of God to the men of this age, “Awake to righteousness." All the miseries of the awful past sprang from the want of righteous
Secondly : This Divine voice sounds through the moral constitution of our nature. Conscience, with more emphasis, calls upon every man to “awake.” Who has not
heard it? Thirdly: The Divine voice sounds through the memories of sainted friends. Fourthly: The Divine voice sounds through the whole Bible of God. The Old Testament and the New call us to “awake to righteousness.”
Would that this voice would wax louder still, wax so loud as to drown all other voices, and break the moral slumbers of the world, and that all nations starting from their moral graves, would exclaim,“ Arise, shine, for our light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us !”
SUBJECT :- The Mystery of Godliness.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness : God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”—1 Tim. iii. 16. *
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Tenth.
We have here an example of a double climax, each degree being twofold; relating to the visible world on the one hand, and to the invisible on the other. It may be arranged
MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT,
BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY; and all is declared to be a mystery indisputably great.
The first idea presented is :* This is not the place to enter upon the discussion of the disputed readings of this passage. To all who desire it, the means of doing so are at hand. We adopt, therefore, the received text; not for its criti. cal value, but because we believe it to give a true sense, and one which, not only this passage (read it as we may) must at last come to, but which the whole theory of the Gospel demands. The doctrine of Christ's proper deity does not depend on the microscopic examination of codices, and, in our opinion, stands wholly unaffected by the rival claims of “ΟΣ and ΘΣ.
I. THE FLESHLY MANIFESTATION OF DEITY. There is a sense in which all creatures are the manifestations of Deity. The Creator is visible in all His works : His hand sustains all, and His Spirit pervades all ;
“Blowing under foot in clover,
But such a manifestation as this does not satisfy the soul of
Man is a person, and the object of his worship must be a Person, too; not a thought, an influence, a sentiment, an abstraction. When Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” he expressed the craving of the universal race; and the answer,
“He that hath seep me, hath seen the Father," is the divine response to that craving. Here then is the Divine Impersonation,—“the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” Here we see God in His eternity—“before Abraham was I AM;" in His omniscience-"for he knew what was in man;" in His omnific energy—“the Father worketh hitherto, and I work ;” in His self-existence—“as the Father hath life in himself, so also hath he given the Son to have life in himself;” in His immutability—“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day and for ever;" in His holiness—"in him is no
in His infinite sovereignty—“God over all, blessed for ever.” But beyond all these personal attributes of God, Jesus came to manifest yet more specially the relations of God to man.
First: As the infinite Friend of man. His mission was at once the pledge of God's love, and the medium of its realization. Nature might teach the general benevolence of the Creator, but not His love and pity for sinful man. this element of sin in man's case that needed a peculiar Theophany.
Secondly : Jesus was not only the embodiment of Divine compassion, He was the channel of Divine grace ; —the Saviour of man. Bringing, first, pardon of sin—"the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins;" then reconciliation to God
atonement-"my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him ;" ensuring Divine favor—"if any man serve me, him will my Father honor;" and eternal life—“I will raise him up at the last day.”
Thirdly: We see in the Lord Jesus the reprover of sin in the impenitent, as well as the pardoner of it in the penitent. It is true that in His first advent He was the herald of salvation pre-eminently; and so, when He had proclaimed “the acceptable year of the Lord, he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down ;” not declaring at that time “the day of vengeance of our God,” which shall be the fiery burden of His second advent. Yet was He the preacher of perdition. The doctrine of a Hell was not promulged on Sinai. Had it been, men might have found excuse to treat it as part of a rigorous, legal dispensation now passed away; as a terror somewhat exaggerated by the glare of the lightnings which revealed it. But it was Jesus, moving so mercifully amongst us, feeding the hungry, healing the diseased, raising the dead, declaring His love to us, laying down His life for us, who ever and anon paused in His accents of mercy to speak in fearful menace of “the worm that dieth not, and the fire which shall never be quenched.”
Fourthly: Christ appeared as the lawgiver. “It was said by them of old time, but I say unto you :"_"A new commandment I give unto you.”
Fifthly: Christ appeared as the future Judge. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." He who uttered the parable of the Prodigal Son, shall one day say, “ Depart from me ye cursed.” Could we stay to examine them, we should find that these five particulars in the relationship of God to man were just those which the ancient heathen world felt after in vain. They are those most vitally important for man to know, yet most beyond the power of reason to ascertain.
But while this outward manifestation of God was taking place through the human person of the Saviour, in the presence of the world generally, there was also a spiritual attes
tation going on in the world of mind, appreciable to men only as spiritually revealed.
II. JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT. Without restricting the term “Spirit," either on the one hand to the divine nature of Christ, or on the other to the Third Person in the Trinity, we may remark that this "justification" applies to Christ immediately, and to God mediately. With regard to Christ the Spirit attested :-(1) His Divinity, by the circumstances of His conception—"therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” (2) His Messiahship, not only directly at His baptism, but indirectly by the prophetic announcement in the Old Testament Scriptures of those characteristics which met in Him alone, and by guiding and supporting His human nature under the pressure of His great work. Thus by the Spirit Jesus was led into the wilderness, to combat and to overcome the Tempter, before whom Adam fell, and as our Goël to avenge that fall ; "in the power of the Spirit he returned,” and entered on His public ministry ; and “through the Eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot to God,” a sacrifice for the world's sip. (3) The Spirit not only thus attested that there should be a Messiah, that Jesus as the Son of God undertook that Messiahship, and that as the Son of Man He carried out the daties of His mission; but, better than all, the same Spirit has avouched the sufficiency, the perfection, and the acceptance of the whole atonitive work by His special advent on the day of Pentecost, as the Sent of Christ (“ I will send him unto you”); and by His continual presence in the hearts of the faithful to take of the things of Christ and shew them unto us. The outward seal of this spiritual justification is found in our Lord's resurrection from the dead, ("quickened by the Spirit, ") wherein He was “declared to be the son of God with power.” Just as the resurrection of the believer's body will be the outward and material token of that justification before God, which in this life is inward and spiritual.