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sion, he says, Gather together in on all things in Christ: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. By him to reconcil'e all things to himself. Thus the fact expressed is as plain as words can make it.
To the third question, we find an answer in one of he passages quoted, as follows: "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."'
The last question must be answered in the affirmative; for the spirit of Christ in all believers, moves them to pray for universal reconciliation to God through his mediation, which prayer is consistent with the manifest object of the mediatorial office, as expressed in the following scriptures: "For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.' 'And we know that he was manifested to take away our sins.' 'Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.'
PARABLES XVI, XVII.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field: the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.'-Matt xiii, 44.
CHRIST here represents,
1. Human nature, by a treasure.
2. This mortal state of flesh and blood, by a field, in which the treasure was hidden.
3. Himself, by the one who found the treasure, and for joy hid it.
4. His becoming poor, that we through his povety might be made rich, and his vesting himself, through his mediatorial process, with all power in heaven and in earth; and his obtaining power over all flesh, is represented by a man's selling all that he had, and buying the field which contained the treasure.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls; who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.'-Verses 45, 46.
The ideas communicated in this parable are almost similar to those in the preceding.
1. Human nature is here represented by a pearl of great price.
2. The Saviour represents himself by a merchant man seeking goodly pearls.
3. The success of his mission in seeking and saving that which was lost, is shown in that the merchant man found a pearl of great price, and made it his own by purchase; for which purpose, he sold all that he had, as described in the former parable. But let it be remembered, for the excitement of eternal gratitude, that this purchase was with great price.*
The two parables foregoing, are so similar, that an illustration of one answers for both. It is acknowledged that divines, respectable for their learning, and highly
The reader will recollect the author's remarks, in his preface, respecting the parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls; and that of the treasure hid in a field. See pp. 6 and 7.
deserving for their assiduity in study, have understood and taught that the pearl of great price is Christ Jesus. And agreeably to this generally received opinion, it is customary to make use of the parable to awaken sinners to the importance of seeking Christ and of getting an interest in him before it is too late. However, this opinion, notwithstanding it is supported by much authority from commentators, is subject to the following objections from the scriptures.
1. Mankind in a state of sin are represented by sheep gone astray; by the sick who need a physician; by captives to be redeemed; by prisoners in a pit, who are to be visited. Now if Christ be the pearl of great price, and the sinner the merchant man, it is putting the burden and labor on the lost sheep to find the shepherd; it supposes that it is the duty of the sick to visit the physician; of captives also to redeem those on whom they depend for redemption; and it also supposes that those prisoners in the pit must get out themselves, and go and find somebody to assist them out of their difficulty.
2. The Saviour says, 'The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.' Again, 'Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.' Again, 'The whole need not the physician, but they that are sick.' It is also written, They shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.'
3. As to the purchase, what has the sinner to sell which will enable him to purchase Christ? and if this could be done, how could it be said, that God so loved
the world that he gave his only legotten Son &c,? On the other hand, is it not said, that Christ bought his church with his own blood? Are we not told, that we are not our own, but that we are bought with a price? and that we are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ? Though it would be uncharitable to accuse commentators of insincerity in explaining the scriptures contrary to their manifest meaning, yet we may venture to set the common opinion of the parable of the pearl of great price, to the credit of antichrist; as it is by such turns he opposes Christ as the Saviour of sinners.
The objector to the opinion that human nature is the pearl of great price, and Christ the merchant man, will say that mankind, in a state of sin, cannot justly be represented by a treasure, or pearl of great price. This objection would have all the weight which the objector would attach to it, if human nature were totally depraved, as is generally supposed. But this cannot be granted, for reasons given in the illustration of the notes on the parable of the leaven, together with those that follow.
1. When God made man, he pronounced him very good. Now if man was very good, could he be made good for nothing as easily as is generally represented? If the wisdom of God pronounced man very good, is it not reasonable to conclude that he was so viewed, in the wisdom of God, in relation to the whole of his existence.
2. The general tenor of the gospel represents the Saviour as giving himself for us, giving himself a ransom for all, redeeming us with his own blood, &c. Now, is not this CHRIST the same wisdom of God
which pronounced man very good, in the beginning? St. Paul calls Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.' And is not this the wisdom of God which speaks in Proverbs viii, saying, 'Then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth: and my delights were with the sons of men.'
If any change had taken place in the sons of men, after creation, before Christ, who is the wisdom of God came in the flesh, which rendered them of no value in the eye of this wisdom, then how is it possible that Christ should still set his affections and love upon them?
As it is impossible for divine wisdom to set too high value on any subject, it must be conceded, that if God loved us witha GREAT LOVE, EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN SIN, that there is in us a value equal to being thus loved. If it be objected that this argument, though as clear as light, and as simple as truth, exalts the creature, wherein he ought to be abased; let it be replied, that this argument sets up no value or worth in the creature which is the result of any moral agency, or physical power at his disposal; but it shows a value or worth which divine goodness gave the creature in creation; of which, however ignorant we may be of it, divine wisdom can never lose sight.
4. The supposition that there is not a value in man as great as this argument contends for, but that he is a totally depraved creature, casts an unfavorable reflection on the Creator, turn the argument which way we will. To say that God created a being of no value in his own sight, is more than any person can believe. And to say that he created a being of so little worth, or placed that worth on such a principle as that it