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his line of ancestry stretches itself the length of four thousand years; and proves bim to be the seed of the woman, whom the serpent deceived; the son of Abraham, whoin God called out of Ur of the Chaldees; the Lion of the tribe of Judah, where the sceptre of the lawgiver was fixed; and the offspring of David, in whose house God raised for us an horn of salvation. From Abraham, Matthew runs his line downward, and exhibits the end of it in Joseph, the husband of the virgin of whom he was born: and from Heli, the father of the virgin, Luke runs his line upward, and discovers the beginning of it in Adam, the husband of the woman of whose seed he was made. Amazing line, indeed! The ancestry of the Son of God, according to the flesh, is not one of the “foolish and endless genealogics “which minister questions rather than godly edifying. The sovereignty, wisdom, and love of God, break forth at its beginning, and running along the whole length, glorify theinselves in meeting with his mercy and truth atits end; while he who at the beginning appears in the mystcrious glory of the seed of the woman, manifests himself about the middle as the son of Abraham, and farther down as the root out of the stem of Jesse, till at the end he rises up in mysterious glory as at the beginning, “the Son of God, «made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them «who were under the law, that we might receive the a#doption of sons."
Thirdly, in the witness which God hath testified of his Son, the mystery of his incarnation is made known. Walk round the monument standing before you, look up and read these engravings of his signet: “Behold a virgin shall
conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immabpuel.” “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore "also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be "called the Son of God.” “And she brought forth her “first-born Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, "and laid him in a manger.” “The word was made fieshi, "and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory (as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace anil ostruth.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers "of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of “the same.” “Verily he took not on him the naiure of an"gels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." "For
uit behoved him to be made like unto his brethren in all "things” necessary to his end in taking their likeness. “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, «God was nianifest in the flesh.”—Great, indeed! Inconceivably great! Come, and let us ascribe greatness unto it. The love which gave rise to it is great. The wisdom which designed it is great. The power which executed it is great. The end obtained by it is great. The blessings which flow from it are great. O the heighth and depth, and length and breadth, of the mystery of godliness; which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men), as it is now revealed, and by the scriptures of the holy apostles and prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to ali nations for the obedience of faith. Blessed are they who, in read. ing and hearing, understand, believe, and acknowledge, the revelation of this mystery!
Fourthly, In the witness which God hath testified of his Son, the lustre of his actions is displayed The diary of creation, and the volumes of providence, transmit the fame of his wisdom, and power, and goodness, from gen. eration to generation; while the history of redemption records and celebrates the wonders of his love and the riches of his grace. But at present we shall only attend to some actions in the little book, which begins at his birth and ends at his death. Though the form of a servant veiled the form of God, and hid the glory of deity from the eye of the world, great things and unsearchable stand recorded in this collection, "yea, and wonders without number." His birth was celebrated in the air, in a concert of angels; and his baptism signalized in Jordan, with a voice from the excellent glory. The deceiver of mankind found him invincible in the wilderness; and, after the departure of that adversary, angels appeared and ministered to his indigent nature. By his compassion and goodness, tables were covered in deserts, bread created, and the hungry fed by hundreds and by thousands. Wind and sea took orders from him; and uproar, shutting its mouth at his presence, bowed and retired. Health and sickness heard his voire; and, at his command, death and the grave delivered their prey. The power of vegetation yielded to his word; the brokers in the temple fled at the shaking of his scourge; and devils left their possessions at the terror of
his rebuke. Principalities and powers felt the vengeance of his cross; and hills, and rocks, and graves, celebrated the triumph of his death. “Go and shew John the things "which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, "and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the "deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gos"pel preached unto them.” And to this collection of his wonders, we add now, “Having spoiled principalities and *powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over "them in his cross.”—What shall we say? “Many, O Lord Four God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done. "They cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee. swould declare and speak of them, they are more than “can be numbered.” “The heavens shall praise thy wonkders, O Lord, thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.”
Fifthly, In the witness which God hath testified of his Son, the glory of his oifices breaks forth in the highest splendour. The glory of the offices of the Son of God in our nature is unspeakably brighter than the glory of prophets, priests, and kings, who were figures of bimn in these offices. In every part where his likeness to them appears, his pre-eminence above them also appears. The glory, which the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold in the face of Moses, when he came down from the mount of God, is faint, compared with the glory of the transfiguration, when the face of the Son of God, in our nature, sshined as the sun, and bis raiment was white as the light, “and a voice out of the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, “in whom I am well pleased; hcar ye him.”-The pomp of the high-priest, in garments of glory and beauty, burning sacrifices, sprinkling blood, and making atonements, entering through the vail into the holy of holies, and offering incense before the mercy-seat, is not glory equal to that which intellectual and believing eyes behold in our great High-priest, putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself, cntering with his own blood into heaven itself, appearing in the presence of God, and in his own censer, and with his own incense, offering the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar before the throne. David, sitting in his throne, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, subduing the enemies of his kingdom, and triumphing over them in war, cannot be equalled with the King of kings, spoiling princi.
paliues and powers, triumphing over them in his cross, sitting on the right hand of the majesty on high, and by his word and spirit storming the strong-holds of ignorance, idolatry, and pride, subduing sinners to himself, and reigning in their hearts by his love.
II. THESE proofs and illustrations of the divinity of the Son of God in our nature, of the line of his ancestry according to the flesh, of the mystery of his incarnation, of the lustre of his actions, and of the glory of his offices, are means to strengthen our faith in his person), to raise our admiration of his love, to inflame our gratitude for the redemption through his blood, and to dispose us for our appearance at his table-to shew his death, in obedience to his commandment. In order to attain the same ends, an illustration of his agony is also necessary. No word in our language is able to express the vigour of this Greek term. Unable to afford a translation, our translators give the original an English termination, and leave the mystery of the sense unto the understanding and astonishment of believers. A conflict in body and mind between life and death, or what scripture calls“sorrows of death” and“pains "of hell,” are the expressions which come nearest the mcaning of this mysterious and terrible word; and the illustration that we are able to give of it is in the following particulars;
First, Wrath took hold of the suffering nature, which subsisted in the person of the Son of God, and bruised and crushed it unto death. The effects of the power of wrathi, wtich the prophets had described, he himself felt and expressed in the hour of his agony. “My heart is melted Slike wax in the midst of my bowels. My strength is drised up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my ójaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised sifor our iniquities--For the transgression of my people "was he stricken.” “Awake, O sword, against my shepwherd, and against the man who is my fellow, saith the “Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd." -The wounds, and bruises, and pangs, and sorrows, in these descriptive prophesies, were felt and expressed by himself in the bour of anguish. “He began to be sorrowful and very heavy." “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” "le
began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.” “O kimy father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me.”. Turn the eye of the understanding toward the mysterious person who uttered these words: Behold the Son of God, in our nature and stead, kneeling down upon the ground, and crying-crying with strong cries and tears, unto his righteous Father, while his righteous Father spared him not because of his crying; but for us, guilty and ungodly sinners, delivered him up to the power of his anger and the fierceness of his wrath.
Secondly, While sorrows of death compassed the Son of God in our nature, the fallen angel, who had the power of death, came and insulted his anguish. After instituting and celebrating the commemoration of his death, and when rising to go to the place of his agony, he said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”. The temptations of this furious and vindictive spirit we cannot know particularly; but we know that in all points, excepting sin, the sufferer was tempted like as we are tempted; and from his words, before he left the house, we justly infer that his agony was an hour of temptation. On this extraordinary occasion, the chain of the tempter was lengthened, and leave given to exert to the uttermost, against the Son of God, the power over sinners which the curse of the law had placed in his hand. To him who was perfectly holy, his insolences and blasphemies were odious, and
gave the deepest and most painful wounds to his suffering nature: but in the garden, as in the wilderness, he resisted that vile and formidable spirit; and on the cross, through pangs and sorrows of death, dissolved the power over death that was in his hand, as an executioner of the curse.
Thirdly, Circumstances of time, place, and witnesses, sharpened the pangs, and multiplied the sorrows of the agony. The time was about the middle of the night, and the darkness of the season thickened the gloom that hung over the suffering nature of the Son of God. The place was solitary, and no object appeared in it to divert the sorrow and anguish of his soul. The witnesses, though charged to watch, fell asleep, and depriverl bim of the comfort of human sympathy. “Behold, and see if there “be any sorrow equal to the sorrow wherewith the Lord "afflicted him in the day of his fierce anger."--The tem