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separated from all that was most horrible in it, divested of its “terrors,” disarmed of its “sting,” and no longer the same death.
Now let us turn to our more immediate subject, the temptation. Satan had brought into the world sin as well as death; sin before death ; its forerunner, and its cause. Now the temptation appears to have been with regard to sin, what the crucifixion was with regard to death. It was a vicarious representation. Christ was first tempted instead of his Church, and afterwards died instead of it. But, as his death did not imply that his Church was not afterwards to be subject to mortality, but only that the worst and most characteristic evil of death was done away with; so, with regard to the temptation, he was tempted instead of his Church, not in order that his Church should be no more tempted, but to show that the strongest temptations should no longer be necessarily fatal; that he who was then the earthly abode of the Godhead, having manifested, and given a specimen of, the curtailed and no longer resistless power of the evil one, his followers might know, that when he left the world, and God was manifested in another way, namely, by his Holy Spirit, that the abode of the Godhead on earth should still be equally secure against temptation, if the same use were made of the same power
working in it;” 8 that his Church, which is now the earthly residence of the Godhead, and whose members are "the 1 Cor. vi. 19. temple of the Holy Ghost,” should still indeed be tempted, as was
he in whom “dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” but like him not necessarily unto sin.
Col. ii. 9.
Matt. xvii. 2;
One cannot but be struck, on perusing the Gospels, with the Mark ix. 23. continual request of the Jews to have a sign given them from heaven,
even whilst our Lord was in the act of performing his signs and miracles for their conversion. Their desire (as was before observed)
appears to have been founded on the prophecy of Daniel, which Dan. vii. 13. describes the Son of man as “coming with the clouds of heaven.”
The belief evidently was, that the Messiah should be seen literally descending from the heavens, and arrayed in some brilliant emblem of his glory. That the fulfilment of this expectation might have been intended in the transfiguration, seems not improbable, from the remark of the apostles who were permitted to be witnesses of it.
Their words seem to denote that all ground of scruple was now Matt. xvii. 10. removed: “Why say the Scribes then that Elias must first come?"
The appearance of Moses and Elias conversing with him was obviously a token that the covenant was changed, and the Law and the Prophets succeeded by the Gospel.
8“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up, are words, which can be only understood as implying, that
Christ was then what the Jewish temple had been, and what the Church was to be, viz., the abode of the Godhead.
CONCLUSION. Before I close this part of my subject, the allegorical interpretation which has been claimed for certain passages of our Lord's ministry, may seem to call for some further remarks. It
be asked, “Why should such a mode of instruction be adopted, the more natural way being for our Lord to deliver his doctrines in express terms; and as he has actually done so, what need of another language to convey the same truth?
In the first place, then, to the Jews the more natural method was the allegorical; such being the character of their numerous rites, and of the greater part of their Scriptures.
Besides which, the Christian's view of the doctrines of his religion was hereby connected with the proofs of it. The same miracle furnished at once instruction and proof of the teacher's authority to instruct; so also did the completion of a prophecy.
To which I may add, that in the case of a miracle assuming the character of a prophecy, the miracle carries with it its own proof that it was not a forgery or delusion. The importance, then, of perceiving the secondary character of such miracles, at least, is obvious.
It cannot be denied that an injudicious application of the method very soon prevailed among Christians, and to this it is owing that it has so long fallen into disuse, and is so generally regarded as at best but fanciful.
Nevertheless, to reject it altogether (as many are disposed to do) is, perhaps, to close our eyes against one half of the meaning of Scripture; and it may always be at least safely adopted, when it is not made the ground of any new doctrine.
9 See Appendix (E.]
From A.D. 33-100.
DISTINCTION IN CHRISTIANITY, AS TAUGHT BY OUR SAVIOUR AND BY
In treating of our Lord’s ministry, it was remarked, that some of the most important points of the Christian scheme were either wholly omitted by him, or lightly touched on. Few, even preparatory, steps appear to have been taken for the establishment of his Church —that kingdom which was to comprehend all mankind. As if the very office of initiating members into this great society did not properly belong to him, he baptized none. His revelations were for the most part communicated in parables, or by hints and allusions equally obscure; and although it is true, that his apostles were allowed an explanation of these, yet it is clear that at his death, and even after his ascension, they were as much in the dark on some of the main truths of redemption, as were the Jews who crucified him.
It is evident, indeed, that our Saviour's object in his ministry was not to teach Christianity, nor to establish the Christian society. It was necessary that he should leave the world, in order that he might become the subject of the one, and the head of the other. “ It is expedient for you that I go away,” are words in which he plainly declares this himself. The office of making Christians was the office of the Comforter. God manifested himself in the flesh, to redeem the world, and to atone for sin—to be made the object of a new faith, the subject of a new religion. God manifested himself by the Spirit, to instruct men in what he had done, and to teach them what they were bound, in consequence of this, to do.
Evident as this may be when stated, it is very apt to be overlooked or forgotten. Many have been the fruitless and unsatisfactory attempts to reconcile the Gospels with the Epistles,-one part of the new covenant with the other, proceeding on a vague conceptiov,
John xvi. 7.
of the whole being promulgated at the same time, and with the same intent.
It may be useful therefore, for the purpose of marking clearly the distinction alluded to, to consider it more exactly, as exhibited in what was taught and what was done—in the words and the works of our Lord on the one hand, and of our Lord's apostles on the other; both proceeding from the same Divine source, and harmonizing so as to produce one common result; yet so different in their character and import, as to occasion serious error in those who neglect the difference.
First, then, our Saviour wrought miracles, and so did the Apostles, Difference and so did Moses, Elias, and many others commissioned by Heaven. in their To a careless observer, then, it may be satisfactory to say, that Christ's were superior to the others, because they were more in number, and perhaps greater in kind, than had been performed by his predecessors, or were to be performed by his followers. Granting this, however, we may still reasonably expect to find in Christ's miracles, not merely superior power, but somewhat in that superiority which should especially denote the character of his mission. Else the manifestation of superiority would be only a barren display of power, a thing very inconsistent with the general scheme of God's dealings. Indeed, as if to denote that the difference was not to be sought for in superiority of power, he expressly told his disciples, “ He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; John xiv. 12. and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.' Let any one, then, candidly and attentively examine the mode of exercising this power in both cases, and he will scarcely fail to observe,
I. That in our Lord's miracles, he was the primary agent; in Christ in His those of the apostles and others, they were instruments. Several
primary incidental circumstances may be noticed in illustration of this agent. position. No one, for instance, was more fully invested with the power of healing than was St. Paul; for we read, that certain sick Acts xix. 12. folk recovered only by touching his garments; yet we are equally sure, that he was but the medium through which the Comforter performed these miraculous cures; because we find him, on one occa- 2 Tim. iv. 20. sion, leaving behind him at Miletum a useful coadjutor, because he was sick, and on another occasion suggesting to Timothy an ordinary 1 Tim. v. 23. remedy for an infirmity under which he was labouring. Saviour's ministry, on the contrary, human means are never resorted to, so as to imply the want of miraculous power. His miracles are at one time the result of persevering importunity,' at another the dictate of friendship or of pity; and on one remarkable occasion he rebuked them for having recourse to ordinary means, as implying the failure of this resource in him. - Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray
Miracles the 53.
1 E.G. Luke xviii. 35; Matt. xv. 22. 2 E.G. The case of Lazarus, that of the widow of Nain's son, &c.
John xi. 43.
Matt. xxvi. to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve
legions of angels ?" All this was surely intended to point to the discretionary power which was peculiarly his. To him alone God gave the spirit not by measure. The very words which he used in the exercise of miraculous power have a distinct character; such as,
Lazarus, come forth, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise;" whilst in the miracles themselves, in many of them at least, the marks are more unequivocal. Take the cure of Malchus's ear-- --who does not see in such an act as this, the unconstrained agency of Divinity, called into exercise by the circumstances themselves, and not connected, as in the case of the Apostles, with any special commission, nor directed to any special purpose, beyond the display of Christ's real character ? Who, in short, can peruse the course of his
ministry, and not sympathize with the sister of Lazarus, in that John xi. 21, tone of mind which caused her to exclaim, “ Lord, if thou hadst
been here, my brother had not died ?”
II. There is another line of distinction, still more discernible, generally symbolical.
between our Lord's miracles and those of the Apostles, and of all others. They were generally symbolical—the vehicles of instruction, as well as the signs of power. Like the voice from Mount Sinai, they were at once miracles and revelations, a Divine language, conveying a Divine message. And this circumstance, if rightly considered, not a little confirms the view which has been taken of the primary, immediate, and independent agency of Christ, as contrasted with the instrumental character of his Apostles; the former, not only performing acts above human nature, but moulding them at will to serve occasional purposes, as if the power were his own, part of his original nature; the latter humbly, fearfully, and
almost passively obeying the dictates of a secretly controlling power, 1 Cor. ix 16. and avowing that they “had nothing to glory of, for necessity was
laid on them.'
III. Among all the miraculous acts, in which our Lord and his
Apostles may be contrasted, the one wherein an equality between imparting them is most likely to be presumed, is the power of imparting the Spiritual gifts. gifts of the Holy Ghost. Of this more particular notice will be
taken by and by. At present it deserves attention, merely in the light of a miraculous power, as distinctly superior to all others, as the power of imparting life exceeds the privilege of partaking it. Yet it is obvious, that in their use of this, as of the other powers, the Apostles were restricted, whereas our Lord's conduct exhibits no signs of any limitation. As no one would suppose the Apostles to be the authors of life, because they were occasionally permitted to recall the dead to life; so, the office of imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit did not imply that these gifts proceeded originally from them, or that they were any but the instruments and agents of communication.
A similar character (as has been already pointed out) pervades