« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the same animating principle calling worlds into existence, peopling them with angels and men, communicating intelligence, exercising unbounded empire; and making himself of no reputation, in the form of a servant, in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbling himself to a mean estate, to the suffering of reproach and contempt, becoming "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. To what meanness of condition ought not we his disciples, therefore, cheerfully to submit? "For our sakes he became poor," and shall we be ashamed of honest poverty? Did he go by the name of " the carpenter's son, "and dare a christian ostentatiously to display the heraldry of his ancestors, or to blush at what the world calls low birth? "He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor hid his face from him when he cried," and can one called by his name, turn a deaf ear to the cry of distress, or hide his face from a poor brother? We cannot like him say, "Let there be light;"" Lazarus come forth;" we cannot like him walk on water, or silence the wind; we cannot like him give eyes to the blind, or speech to the dumb. But we may with him be "meek and lowly in heart," merciful and compassionate, forbear, ing and forgiving: we can go about doing good, and ministering to the necessitous. We cannot attain to the height of his divine excellence and perfection, but we may with him descend to the lowliest offices of beneficence and condescension! we may learn of him to "overcome evil with good."
On the other hand, to what height of elevation may not the christian aspire? Let not the idea of temporal elevation seduce you. Think not of" the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them," which perish with the using. Christ's kingdom is not of this
world." Let not the blind ambition of the sons of Zebedee suggest a dream of right and left hand places by the side of an earthly throne. Be it your study and ambition to "have this mind in you which also was in
Christ Jesus." Let the avarice of the worldly mind accumulate bag upon bag, add house to house, field to field, but let a nobler avarice excite you, the disciples of the blessed Jesus, to "add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." These are the titles, the stars and the ribbons in the kingdom of heaven, and "if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Let the spirit of adventure and science discover unknown regions and nations on the globe, and new planets in the firmament of heaven; be it your concern, christian, your study, your employment, to contemplate, through the glass of promise, "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Suffer the man of the world to enjoy his triumph; suffer him to outstrip. his rival, to run down his enemy; be thine the more glorious triumph to promote a rival, to spare an adversary, as knowing that "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
Such, disciple of Jesus, be thy holy aspirations, such thy pride and ambition; and may such be thy blessed attainments even in time thought is lost in contemplating" the glory that is to follow." The be-loved disciple shall declare it, in the sublimity of his own conception and expression, or rather in the idea and diction with which the Holy Spirit supplied his pen: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Who shall declare his generation.-ISAIAH liii. 8.
HE history of countries generally commences with a geographical account of their situation and extent; of the climate and soil; of the names and the reason of imposing such names; of the era and the means of discovery; of the original inhabitants, and of other circumstances tending either to communicate useful information or to gratify curiosity. The biographer, in like manner, in delineating the life of his prince, statesmen, hero or philosopher, usually begins with tracing his pedigree and parentage, and enables the reader to form some acquaintance with his ancestors, in order to introduce the personage himself with greater advantage and effect. But both the general historian and the biographer quickly lose themselves in research. The origin of no nation or individual can be traced up to its source. The light becomes fainter and fainter as we proceed, the object is rendered more obscure and uncertain, till time at length spreads his sable mantle over it, and we behold it no more. Who then shall declare his generation, who "was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not any thing made that is made."
We are advancing, men and brethren, upon holy ground; ground sacred as Eden's blissful plains, as the region which surrounded the bush that burned with fire, as Sinai's awful summit. Borne aloft on the pinions of the celestial dove, we are aiming a bold, adventurous flight into the heaven of heavens, to expatiate
through the boundless regions of eternity, to contemplate objects which "angels desire to look into" to search into the "great mystery of godliness," to lose ourselves in seeking "to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.'
We are going to attempt a delineation of the life and history of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of men. My heart fails at the thought of the task which I have undertaken; my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth. Spirit of grace, establish my heart
...........“ O thou my voice inspire,
"Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire."
The question of the prophet which has now been read, and which suggested the idea that we mean to pursue through this lecture, is interwoven with a variety of pointed and striking predictions which, whether taken separately or in their combination, can apply only to one person; and who that person is, no doubt can possibly be entertained when we consider, that this is the very passage of Scripture to which Philip the evangelist was providentially directed, as a text for "preaching Jesus," to the Ethiopian eunuch. I shall not employ any part of your time in detailing the various opinions which have been entertained respecting the meaning of the passage in general, or the precise import of the term "generation" in particular. The question appears simply to be a bold defiance given to all created wisdom to investigate, to unfold the generation, the origin, the essence of that wonderful person concerning whom such singular circumstances and events are predicted; it amounts to a strong and positive affirmation that it is impossible to declare Him as he is, to trace his existence through the successive periods of duration up to its commencement, as you may do that of a mere man from the moment of his birth, or through a series of ancestors. What, in this view, is the obvious doctrine of the text? That the generation of Him who the spirit of prophecy, and the cor
responding history represent as an innocent, patient, vicarious sufferer, extends beyond the sphere of created nature, eludes pursuit, spreads the glory of eternity around it, and conceals it from mortal eyes. It is worthy of remark, that the genealogy of our blessed Lord's humanity is more clear, and distinct, and extended, than that of any other person. Two several evangelists have declared it, pursuing it through two different, but parallel channels, up to Abraham, and from him up to the common father of the human race. In this respect, therefore, "the Spirit himself helpeth our infirmity ;" and he who by the mouth of Isaiah, seems to forbid and defy all inquiry, by the pen of Matthew and Luke, makes a clear and full discovery, and enables us to trace the pedigree of Jesus Christ, like that of any other man. It is the peculiar privilege
of the sacred volume to unfold the real history of human nature, of the globe, of the universe, to follow nature up to the hour of her birth, to declare "the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created; in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens ;" to exhibit the first man Adam in the plas tic hands of the Creator, springing out of the dust of the ground, and, inspired with the breath of life, becoming "a living soul." The same inspired volume represents to our attention one person, and one event, as of peculiar importance; as pervading, influencing, and affecting the whole course of nature and Providence; as contemporary with every generation of men; as looked unto, and longed for by successive ages. In order that the truth of God might be fully justified, and have its complete effect, the relation in which this illustrious person stood to those who had received the promises of his coming, is distinctly ascertained and minutely described; so that at every period of the world we can say, lo He is here, and lo He is there. But the inspired volume likewise represents him as before all and above all. If therefore this book be a Revelation VOL. IV. D