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Christ. The Gospel, every man knows, is appropriately entitled
. the Gospel of Christ.
St. Mark prefaces his account of the Gospel with these words ; The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
St. Paul informs us, that he received the Gospel immediately by revelation from Christ; and accordingly he every where styles it the Gospel of Christ. The greatness of the authority, which it derived from this source, he teaches us in the strongest manner, when he says, Though we, or an angel from heaven, or any one whatever, preach another Gospel, let him be accursed. Ga. latians i. 8, 9. This Gospel, he also says, is Christ, the power,
, and wisdom, of God unto salvation.
St. Peter teaches the same truth, in a manner equally forcible, when he says, Of which Salvation the Prophets have enquired, searching what, and what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify. Here the Spirit which inspired the Prophets, is styled the Spirit of Christ; and this Spirit, the same Apostle says, is the Holy Ghost. For Prophecy, saith he, came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of GOD spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament, therefore, was revealed to the Prophets by the spirit of Christ.
Concerning the New, Christ himself teaches us the same doctrine, in the same decisive manner. Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come ; He will guide you into all the truth;-for he shall not speak of himself ; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of minė, and shall shew it unto you. He shall teach you all things, and shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unte you.
All things, therefore, which Christ had said to the Apostles, The Spirit of Truth brought to their remembrance. He taught them all things, and guided them into all the Truth. Yet he spoke not of himself, but that which he heard, which he received from Christ, and that only, he declared unto them. The Gospel, therefore, is originally, and only, derived from Christ. Yet it is repeatedly styled by St. Paul, the Gospel of God.
This Character of the Revealer of the will of God, St. John
declares repeatedly in the introduction of his Gospel. After having declared, that the Word was in the beginning, or eternal; was God; and was co-eternal with God; and that all things were made by him; he goes on to say, In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. He then informs us, that John the Baptist came to bear witness of the Light ; that he was not that Light; but was sent to bear witness of that Light. Then he adds, That was the true Light which lighteth every man, that cometh into the world. To all this he adds further the testimony of John the Baptist; the very Witness which he bore concerning Christ as the Light. No one, said this harbinger of the Redeemer, who was sent for the very purpose of declaring his true character, No one hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son of God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared him. To declare the character, and designs, of God is plainly impossible, unless for him, who knows these things intuitively; or for him, to whom God is pleased to make them known. But no other person, beside the Son, and the Spirit, knows the things of God intuitively. This we know certainly, without inspiration ; but the Scriptures have determined the point if it were otherwise uncertain. No one, saith our Saviour, knoweth the Father, but the Son; and he, to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The things of God, saith St. Paul, knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God: and the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God. From all these passages it is, I apprehend, certain, that Christ is the sole author of Revelation; and that the Spirit has not, as the Spirit of Inspiration, spoken of himself; but has received from Christ his mind, or pleasure, and declared it to the men, whom he inspired. Accordingly, St. Paul says, speaking of his own Inspiration, and that of the other Apostles, We have the mind of Christ. It is, therefore, true to this day, that no one knowcth the Father, but the Son, and those, to whom the Son hath revealed him. This knowledge, thus revealed, was not revealed to Christ, but was Possessed by him, because he dwells in the bosom of the Father, and has dwelt there from Eternity; being daily his delight, and rejoicing alway before him.
Should it be objected, that mankind linow something of God by their Reason, independently of Revelation, and therefore possess a knowledge of God, which is not derived from Christ: I answer, that with some qualifications I admit the premises, but deny the consequence. The very reason of Man was formed by Christ, as was man himself; as were, also, all those materials, from which Reason derives whatever knowledge, of this nature, it possesses. It has, I trust, been proved beyond reasonable de.
I bate, that Christ created, preserves, and governs all things; and, therefore, is the Author of those works of Creation and Providence, whence Reason obtains all its knowledge of this subject. Of course, in this sease also, Christ is the light, that lighteth every man, that cometh into the world. Thus all the knowledge, which exists of God, is derived from Christ; and, since he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and dwells in the bosom of the Father; this knowledge was his originally, intuitively, and eternally. I need not say, that these things cannot be true of any mind, but the Omniscicnt.
Secondly, Christ is the Author of Spiritual light to mankind.
The communication of Spiritual light is spoken of in the Scriptures as a work peculiar to God. 2 Cor. iv. 6, For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts to give us the light of the linowledge of the glory of God in the foce, or person, of Jesus Chrisí. John vi. 45, And they shall all he taught of Gop: and thus in many other places. But this office is also ascribed to Christ. Simeon says, Luke ii. 30, For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people : A lighi, lo lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. in him, says St. John was life, and the life was the light of men. I, said our Saviour, John viii. 12,
, am the light of the IVorld; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Isaiah xlix. 6, quoted Acts xiii. 47, I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be
it is manifest, that spiritual or divine light is the light spoken of; and that it resides in Christ, as its Source; and is by him communicated to mankind. All this, also, is completely expressed by the Prophet Malachi in a word; when he calls Christ the Sun of Righteousness; the Orb, in which righteousness is originally inherent; in which it dwells; and from which it emanates to mankind. In the same manner is it said by David, the Lord God is a Sun.
Adly. The things, spoken of Christ as the Saviour of the World, are consistent, only on the supposition, that he is the true God.
Psalm lx. 16, I JEHOVAH am thy Saviour.
Hosea xiii. 4, I am Jehovah thy God; thou shalt know no God but me; for there is no Saviour beside me.
Isaiah xliii. 11, I, even I am Jehovah; and beside me there is no Saviour: and thus in various other places in the Old Testament.
The same thing is often declared in the New Testament. 1 Tim. i. 1, The commandment of God our Saviour, and Titus ii. 10, Adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour.
Yet in the same absolute sense Christ is declared to be the Saviour of Mankind. Who is this, saith the Prophet Isaiah, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ; this, that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ? I, saith Christ, that speak in righteousness; mighty to save. John iv. 42, This is the Christ, the Saviour of the world. Acts iv. 12, St. Peter speaking of Christ, saith, neither is there salvation in, or, by means of, any other ; for there is no other name under headen given among men, whereby we must be saved. And thus in very many other places. The importance of the work of saving mankind, and the glory derived from it to the divine character, are strongly exhibited by God in Isaiah Ixv. 17, 18, For behold I create new heavens, and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad, and rejoice for ever, in that which I create : for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. In this passage it is evident, that the New Creation is, in the view of God, so much more glorious than the original one, that, compared with it, the original creation shall not be remembered. But the new creation is no other than creating Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; that is, renovating the souls of mankind, and thus making them holy, lovely, a rejoicing, or foundation of joy, in the sight of God. This work, then, is, in the sight of God, a far more glorious work, than the formation of the heavens and the earth. Such, also, it is in the
eye of reason. One mind is of more importance, than ber of worlds, inanimate, and unconscious. The renovation of one mind to righteousness, and its reinstatement in the divine fa. vour, is the production of eternal, and by us incomprehensible, worth, and enjoyment, in that mind. This work, repeated in a multitude of minds which no man can number, is the work, which is styled the New Creation. How immensely more glorious a work than the production of ever so many masses of lifeless matter.
When we consider the nature of this work, and the things involved in it, we cannot hesitate to admit the peculiar importance attached to it in the Scriptures. In this work are involved
The creation of a new heart in man;
A perpetual presence with the souls of all, who are created anew;
A continual communication of strength, patience, fortitude, peace, consolation, and hope;
The preservation of the soul from the fatal influence of temptations, lust, and all other spiritual enemies;
The final justification of the soul at the Judgment, and its establishment in the possession of immortal life:
Together with, what will be the subject of the next head of discourse, the accomplishment of such a Propitiation, as may be the
, proper source of all these wonderful consequences.
He, who admits these things to be included in the work of sav. ing Man, must admit also that there can be no Saviour beside JeHOVAH.
Should it be said, that all these things, except the last, are the work of the Holy Spirit ; and that therefore they are here erroneously attributed to Christ; I answer, That they are indeed the work of the Holy Spirit; but, notwithstanding this, they are truly attributed to Christ; not only as He laid the foundation for them all; but as the Spirit acts not of himself, and only executes the pleasure of Christ under his commission.
This work, then, of saving Man is in the Scriptures attributed to Christ, in a manner so peculiar, that from it he derives his own