Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

work only, which would declare the Son, would manifest the Father.

But, according to the divine theory, for Chrift to be declared the Son of God, he muft lay down his life; for to manifeft, in duty, the glory of fuch infinite authority, the ftoop of obedience muft extend to the lowest point of humiliation, and embrace every poffible circumftance of trial.

And this is the record of God in the holy fcriptures, concerning his Son Jefus Chrift, that he was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the refurrection from the dead. Rom. i. 4. By his laying down his life, his being the Son of God was fully fhewn, in refpect of duty; and by his refurrection from the dead, his fonfhip was fully declared in refpect of pow er. We are affured, that the full manifeftation of the fonthip of Chrift, is in his being the firft begotten of the dead. Rev. i. 5. Or the first born from the dead. Col. i. 18. For' in the view given of the full proof of his being the Son of God, in thefe words, this fact of his being the first begotten, or first born from the dead, is introduced. And there are three that bear witnefs in earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood; and these three agree in one. This is fpoken of the manifestation of the divine principle, or record in heaven; the meaning of which is, that thro' the eternal Spirit, or according to the will or commandment of God, called in the pasfage juft quoted from Romans, the Spirit of halthefs, the Lord Jefus Chrift laid down his

[ocr errors]

life that he might take it again. And this record, borne by three witneffes, is a fulf testimony.

The everlafting and infinitely free divine confent, to the everlafting and infinitely bles fed divine will, conftituted the eternal fonfhip and paternity both; and in this junction of paternal and filial love, exifts the eternal Spirit of Truth. The manifeftation, therefore, of this everlafting love, is the manifestation of God, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghoft: and, confequently, must be the object of the covenant work of Chrift, and the glory which he fought in coming into the world. But we are affured, 1 John in, 16. that his laying down his life for us, is the action whereby we perceive the love of God.

Jefus faid, John x. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. But the Father loved Chrift as his Son and only begotten. It is evident, therefore, that in the everlafting and infinitely free confent of the divine covenant fubject, to lay down his life, that he might take it again, is found the eternal and infinitely dear character which was the delight of the Father, and was embraced in his bolom before the world began; and which is fon-glorified, and made moft bleffed for ever.

Our Lord added in the following verfe, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of my fef: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.-This is

the most express declaration, that the commandment of the Father, and, therefore, Christ's covenant work, was to lay down his life, that he might take it again; and that, herein, the Son is declared, the Father is manifefted, and God is glorified in the world. So evidently did this work manifeft the fonfhip of Jefus Chrift, that the centurion which flood over against him, watching his execution upon the crofs, a Roman ftranger, a mere man of nature, when he faw that he fo cried out, and gave up the ghoft, faid, Truly this man was the Son of God,

Again, For this purpofe was the Son of God manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil.-The deep laid plan of the ferpent was, to become an antichrift, and to make an antichrift of the whole creation. The accurfed defign of the devil was nothing less than, by introducing himself into a world which vifibly bare the form of the Creator, and was conftructed upon the plan of his dominion, to affume the form and glory of Chrift, and fo to reign upon his throne.This, by his fubtilty, he actually effected;-he feduced man, and with man, being the head, he fubverted the whole creation, and therein affumed to himself the glory of Chrift as the Beginning.

In order, therefore, to destroy him that had the power of death, it was neceffary that Chrift fhould change his form, lay down his life, and take it again; and thus, by means of death, destroy the devil, who had poffeffed himself of the world; which, after being fe

duced from its foundation, and living Head, was but a vile carcafe, or an immenfe fabric poffeffed by a fell conqueror.

Had man, and the creatures, continued to exift upon the natural principle, and in their primitive form, fatan muft have reigned in Chrift's eftate, by the power of all the ele ments, for ever: the mighty powers of the creation had then been in his hands, an engine of eternal difhonor to God, and tyranny over his creatures. O the wifdom of God! O the riches of the divine purpofe! O the love of Chrift! In one defign, effected in one work, the death of Chrift; behold, in one view, the glory of God, the overthrow of fatan, and the falvation of the world! Hence, fometimes, this is the flyle of the teftimony of Chrift Jefus, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gav eft me to do. Sometimes, that for this purpose the Son of God was manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil. And very frequently this, that he came into the world and died, that the world through him might be faved. And we have feen, and do teftify, that the Fathor fent the Son to be the Saviour of the World.

For to this end Chrift both died, and rofe, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. Kom. xiv. 9. The meaning of which words feems plainly to be this, that the end of thrift's death and refurrection was, that he might be Lord of a new, redeemed, refurrection world. Thus, it is written, and thus it behoved Chift to fuffer, and to rife, and

to enter into his glory. It appears, therefore, both from the theory and the fcriptures, that the good will of God, fo cheerfully engaged in by Chrift, was, that he fhould take on him the feed of Abraham, the heir of the world; and, in the body prepared for him, he should lay down his life, diffolve all the ties of nature, and lay in afhes all his glory as the Beginning, and Head of the firft creation, or natural world; that he might take his life again, as the Son of God, the firft begotten of the dead, and Head of a new creation, or a redeemed, restored, refurrection world.

And thus, in the death and refurrection of Christ, we may contemplate not only the deftroying and rebuilding of the temple of his particular body, but also that of the whole creation; for by this work of the diffolution of the head, is commenced, and infured, that of the diffolution of the whole body; as alfo, by his refurrection, is opened to view, and is already begun in difpenfation, the radiant and immortal scene of the world of glory.

Wherefore, we look to fee the wonderful exhibition of Chrift's changing his form, or rather of his uniting his divine with the angelic form, and appearing in the world as the archangel; and then, for the fuffering of death, taking a body; and, finally, expiring by the inftrument prepared in the wifdom of God.This will not all be exhibited at once, but by feveral fteps and stages, as the cloud of glory removed from the fanctuary and city, Ezek. x, &c. which is a pattern of thefe things.

It appears, therefore, that the elect world

« AnteriorContinua »