« السابقةمتابعة »
“ to do them.” The Gospel is the dispensation of mercy, mild, gracious, forgiving, saying to the unhappy transgressor of the law, “ Believe in the Lord
Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.” The law could only make sin known, and, by consequence, ago gravate its guilt; the Gospel can pardon sin, and abolish its guilt. Such is the contrast between the moral law and “grace.
grace.” The ceremonial stands opposed to “truth,” not as being false, but figurative. “ The law had a shadow of good things to come; “ but the body,” the substance, the reality, the truth, pointed at, and delineated by such a shadowy representation," is of Christ.” The blood of bulls and goats, for instance, was offered, but it could not take away sin; it was never intended so to do; it was “ a figure for the time the present,” designed to direct the faith of the offerer to its correspondent truth, namely, the blood of Messiah, to be afterwards shed for that purpose. In itself the law was ineffectual, and of course, if rested in, proved fallacious and destructive.
But the words, as they stand in the text, may be taken in a more extended sense, comprehending the whole world, which, at the time of Christ's advent, was in a state of error and condemnation. The two blessings, therefore, of which it stood most eminently in need, were “ grace and truth;" grace to deliver it from condemnation, and truth to correct its errors. Both these God by Christ did vouchsafe to bestow
“ He hath made us accepted in the be
Exagitwasy guas: Ephes. i. 6.
“ loved," remitting our sins, and receiving us to fa
He hath also shown us the true and the right way, enabling, as well as directing, us to walk therein. Grace, without truth, can only mock us ; truth, without grace, can only affright us. But when grace hath brought us to him, truth will keep us with him ; and through grace we shall accomplish what truth requireth at our hands. Surely his salvation is nigh “them that fear him, that glory may dwell in our "land. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other'.'
With wonder, gratitude, and joy, therefore, let us reflect upon the honour done us by the Word being
Our nature is exalted to thie throne of God; there is a man in heaven! The disciples beheld Christ's glory in the days of his humiliation ; but
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the glory with which God hath now invested “ that body which “it hath pleased him to make his own; that body
wherewith he hath saved the world; that body “ which hath been and is the root of eternal life, the “ instrument wherewith Deity worketh, the sacrifice " which taketh away sin, the price which hath ran“somed souls from death, the leader of the whole
army of bodies that shall rise again. For though "it had a beginning from us, yet God hath given it “vital efficacy. Heaven hath endowed it with celes“tial power, that virtue which it hath from above,
* Psal. lxxxv. 9, 10.
“in regard whereof, all the angels in heaven adore •
And if “no man ever yet hated his own flesh,” can God hate the flesh, which, by being taken into one person with the Word, is united to the Godhead? Can the Father hate Him, of whom he more than once declared from heaven, “ This is my be“ loved Son, in whom I am well pleased ?"-"And
we are members of his body, of his flesh, and' of
HIS bones. It is a great mystery," saith the apostle, “but I speak concerning Christ and the • church?.”
When man had offended, he fled from his Maker, and dared no more to approach the divine presence. But now that the Word incarnate hath published his general invitation—"O thou that hearest the prayer,
unto thee shall all flesh come !" .
If the Son of God became the Son of man, why should it seem a thing incredible, that the sons of men should become the sons of God ? " Beloved, “ now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet
appear what we shall be ; but we know that when “ Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we “ also appear with him in glory; for we shall see him " as he is.”
Delight we, then, to talk (and, since the incarnation of the WORD, why should we not delight to talk?) of the dignity of human nature? Let us be careful to act up to it. To a Christian the advice of the philosopher comes with redoubled force; “Reverence yourself.”—Consider, to whom you are related, by whom you have been begotten again to a lively hope of an unfading inheritance. The stock, from which you are sprung, is noble, it is royal, it is divine. Disgrace it not by base and unworthy actions. Your inheritance is with the saints in light; have no fellowship with the works of darkness. Let your education be suitable to your birth, your conduct answerable to your expectations”. The infirmities and dishonours to which mortality is and must be subject, need not discompose and afflict you. Be not dismayed at the approach of pain and sickness; let not the coffin and the shroud terrify you. For though "all flesh be as grass, and all the goodliness of man " as the flower of grass;" though “ the grass wither" eth, the flower fadeth,” kindly admonishing you to prepare for an autumn and a winter, when the spring of youth and the summer of manhood shall be past and gone; yet “the Word of God abideth for ever. And this is the WORD, which hath been “made flesh, "and dwelt among us ;” this is the Word to which your nature is in Christ united; “ this is the WORD, , “ which by the Gospel is preached unto you;” whose glory there displayed, “ as the glory of the only be
» Hooker, Book y. Sect. 5.4.
* Ephes. v. 30, 1 John, iii. 2.
gotten of the Father,” you may now behold; and who, by his “grace” preceding, and his “truth " accompanying, will lead you to a glory, the excellence of which, enjoyment only can enable you to comprehend.
z Utile esse civitatibus dicit Varro, ut se viri fortes, etiamsi falsum sit, Diis genitos esse credant, ut eo modo humanus animus velut divinæ stirpis fiduciam gerens, res magnas aggrediendas præsumat audacias, et agat vehementius. Augustin. de Civit. Dei, lib. jii, p. 49. See Leland, Advant. and Necess. of Rev. i. 182.