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and their children must enjoy it, and live it, and preach it, if they would have like power.”
The moral power which had been developed in his holy life, and had sustained and impelled him in holy activities, was obtained and retained through constant communion with God. He was eminently a man of prayer.
In the day of our Church's tribulation, there was no man more jealous of the honour of her ministers. Bold men were awed in his presence. He was not a blind champion of Methodism. He had closely studied its doctrines, polity and history. But his heart was catholic. He loved all good men, and was always ready to aid the work of the Lord in any Church.
I will only add the following letter from Mrs. Bowden :
“ Catcott, October 29th, 1868.—Dear Sir, I will give a few details of my dear father in Christ. From childhood he watched over my soul's welfare with Christian fidelity. For fifteen years I was with him in the Sunday and Week-day schools. In school he was firm but kind, and always tried to impress the meaning of God's Word on each child's mind. As a Prayer-leader he was punctual, zealous and earnest, often agonizing in prayer for the salvation of souls. As a Class-leader he was ever ready to strengthen and encourage the weak, comfort the feeble-minded, and instruct and warn all. In sick-visiting he was pointed and clear, and kept back nothing that was profitable. By his searching prayers he would leave a deep impression. He was fearless of man. In reproving sin he would at times cause irritation by his abrupt manner ; but the offended were the first to send for him in their affliction. In age he was daily ripening for heaven. When unable to attend public worship, & few of us whom he called his children, met in his house for singing and prayer. He would say, 'I wish I could take you all to heaven with me.' The night before he died I was with him. He desired me to sing, Nearer Home.' This I sang, as best I could, while his wife and his spiritual children were weeping around. He was often quoting some of his favourite hymns, or trying to do so. Once he seemed in a state of ecstasy as he exclaimed,
• Thrice blessed, bliss-inspiring hope !
It brings to life the dead ;
Triumphant with our Head.' “Yes, you and I-triumphant.' Then he added, “Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ !' Not long before his spirit passed away he shouted, · Victory! Victory !' His wife, speaking of the glorious nature of the victory, he added, with much emotion, ' Yes! Yes!'"
Thus the noble old soldier passed away from the conflict of earth, with his last enemy beneath his feet, in the eightieth year of his age.
“CHRIST: THE POWER OF GOD AND THE WISDOM
BY THE REV. JAMES BRANSOM.
1.-Christ is “the Power of God.”
The idea present to our minds when we use the word power is the ability to do some great deed,—to accomplish some mighty purpose. To think of “power," as an attribute of the Divine nature, is at once to have passing through our minds such thoughts as these : The stupendous acts of creation are God's doing; the subtle, silent forces of nature are under His control; the manifold developments of both mind and matter are subject to His command. Power is one of the highest forms of greatness; and perhaps there is no attribute of God which so solemnly and effectually impresses the average human mind with the idea of divineness as the “greatness of His power.”
More than once in human history Christ has acted as the impersonation of the "mighty power of God.” The story of creation as given by Moses is supplemented or summarised by John when, writing of Christ, he says, “ All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” On every page of sacred history which chronicles the displays of Divine power, we find traces of the Covenant Angel, the Son of God, acting as the Minister of that power, as though to pre-intimate His mediatorial reign and His mediatorial claims and authority.
II.—Christ is “the Wisdom of God.”
As to have power is to have one of the highest forms of greatness, so to know how to use that power is to have the very highest form of wisdom. We might venture to call power and wisdom twin attributes of Divinity : needful one to the other, helpful one of the other.
What we have said too as to Christ being the Minister of the power of God” might with equal justice be applied to the wisdom of God." Power and wisdom are interwoven in the works of Christ : they are companions so to speak on the throne of His mind, for where power rules wisdom guides.
That same power and wisdom which in our thoughts are inseparable from the act of creation and other acts of Divinity displayed in the Atonement, are concentrated in the Cross : only there, they assume more stupendous proportions and reach a sublimer height. “ Christ crucified” is in a surpassing sense " Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.”
The narrative of the Crucifixion is, in itself, one of the simplest ever related on the page of literature or by the tongue of a teacher.
In Judæa there lived eighteen and a half centuries ago a Jew of extraordinary character and pretensions. By His course of life and His tone of teaching He brought upon Himself the malice of the Jewish rulers and the mockery of the upper circles of Jewish society, the leaders of thought and custom in that day. They plotted His capture and at last succeeded : they brought Him before their own courts and condemned Him, and then passed Him on to the highest tribunal to have their condemnation confirmed. The Roman Governor, Pagan as he was, yielded to their wish, and commanded the death of the condemned by the torture of the cross. This is the history: there are few sadder, but there are many more romantic. It is in complete accordance with the craft and enmity which we know human nature to be capable of, especially when maddened by passion and intensified to a very hell of hatred.
The mystery begins to be felt when we are told that in these tragic facts is contained the world's Atonement for human sin; that by them God was redeeming man; was laying a basis for man's reconciliation to Himself; that He was through this human agency offering up His own Divine Son as an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and opening the only way to heaven. As we think of it, the question which comes to our minds with natural and involuntary force is, Is it true-not that the deed was done—but that so much was involved in the deed ? Is it true—not that Christ died: I have every proof of this which candid intelligence can require—but that He died for me ? Is it true—not that God permitted it, but that it came to pass by His “determinate purpose and foreknowledge”? That is the question for me—a question the immense importance of which we need not stay to point out. Should it be met with a proven negative, the whole fabric of the Christian Church crumbles into dust. But if it be met with a sustained affirmative, the Christian faith, founded by the Apostles on this truth, is the only refuge for the human conscience against the consequences of sin.
Look then at this great question, fraught with such tremendous interest, and full of such stupendous import. Is it true that “ Christ crucified” is the atonement for human sin ; that in the death of Christ God was redeeming the world, and reconciling it to Himself ? The Apostles preached that such was the case ; the early Church believed it, and to the Church of to-day it is the one central doctrine. But this fact is possible only on the ground of a Divine plan embodying “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” The “ power of God and the wisdom of God” did not gleam out incidentally in this scheme of the Cross; they were elements so essential, that without them the Atonement would have been impossible.
Now look at Christ as an individual ; suppose Him a man like ourselves; nay, suppose Him to have had more power over self and sin than we, alas! have ever possessed ; to have reached a point nearer to God
than we have ever attained. Suppose Him an angel, the Archangel ; the very nearest approach to Divinity, by whatever name that highest order of being may be called; suppose Him all this ; and then let Him be crowned with all the love and sympathy and favour which God could show, or He could bear; let Him be surrounded with Divinity, and supported and guided by Divinity ; let Him be as nearly Divine as possible, and yet not Divine :—what then ? Just this : the atoning virtue would never have entered into the Cross; the death might have taken place, but the atonement never; for only the power of God and the wisdom of God” could make that possible. In the victim there must be thoughts which can adequately reflect and appreciate the thoughts of God; purposes which harmonize with the purposes of God; love and pity which throb in sympathy with the love and pity of God. That there be communion, ever so exalted, is not enough; there must be unison-oneness; not the oneness of submission or sympathy merely, but of essence. And thus it was with Christ: one with God before His incarnation, He was one with God after that incarnation. Christ was God uniting Himself with human nature in order to carry out His purposes of love on behalf of human nature.
He is a man in whom “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” That fulness of the Godhead was with Him everywhere; it never left Him. The “power of God and the wisdom of God” was ever living in and acting through His human soul and body.
We are conversant with those blessed facts in which He displayed that wisdom and power in every step of His wondrous life. His presence was a signal for submission to devils, diseases, and death. He moved, worshipped by everything but the human heart, adored everywhere but in the human soul, till He reached the grand goal of His life—the Cross of Calvary. Christ's life was one unbroken prosecution of a Divine plan, and the manifestation of the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
What was the Incarnation ? It was God's taking upon Himself human nature for the purpose of living a human life, and dying a human death. This fact as opened to us in Revelation is sometimes stumbled at, as it seems to us somewhat unreasonably, as if it were more than a mystery, an absolute impossibility. Do we believe that God created human nature, that He was the Author of human life? We do; unless we prefer unreasonable and far more difficult theories. Since, then, we believe that God created human nature and originated human life, and ordained means for their perpetuation through all time, where is the impossibility that God should take His own ordained course to unite Himself with human nature and live a human life-unite Himself with His own creations, and carry out His own idea ? Surely if God could create my nature and life out of nothing by a simple act of volition, He could make use of His own provision for His own purposes ! Surely He could take to Himself a like nature and a like life!
The difficulty to faith is not so much in the Incarnation as in creation. The mystery is not so much that God should have taken any one particular step beyond the comprehension of human thought, but that He should have been able to step beyond our thought at all. O! it is far more reasonable—not to say reverent—to accept God's mysteries than it is to adopt man's theories. Faith brings daylight out of darkness : reason speculating without data in opposition to Revelation turns daylight into darkness. “ Lord, Increase our faith!”
These thoughts may perhaps do something towards disabusing the mind of any fancied impossibility in the Incarnation. - If so : we shall see more clearly that human nature was assumed by the Son of God in order to give effect to the power and wisdom of God before human intelligence and on behalf of human interests.
We have seen how the Godhead filled the man from His birth onward, and flashed out in those wondrous deeds of His and those equally wondrous conversations and discourses. Let us pass at once to His death : the scene of the crucifixion.
We must be careful to bear in mind that He even then held His divinity as independently and completely as before “He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” Christ could still say “I and My Father are one,” although the Father and the Son were fulfilling their different parts in the economy of redemption, but with one purpose and according to one plan. Christ was
“ the power of God and the wisdom of God:” the power and wisdom in the Son being the counterpart of power and wisdom in the Father.
Christ was now to crown His mission. He was to die: to shed His blood; and this purpose was to be carried out by human instrumentality. Now let us look at this human instrumentality. We see human power playing its part with entire freedom and independence. Men capture the Christ, “condemn Him," and crucify Him, just as we can suppose might be the case with any other, any mere man under the same circumstances. And yet Christ said, “I have power to lay it (His life) down, and I have power to take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of myself.” (John x. 18.) Hitherto He had defeated their intentions, sometimes by miraculous action-as, for instance, when the enraged Nazarenes sought to cast Him down from their city hill headlong; (Luke iv, 29, 30;) again, when the Jews sought to stone Him. (John viii. 59.) But He makes nó resistance now, because His “hour has come.” In presence of the assembled guard who met Him at the garden-gate, He said to one who had drawn the sword in His defence, “ Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew xxvi. 53.) Standing in the judgment hall before Pilate, the representative of the all-powerful empire, He boldly declared, “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were