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as an object of infinite complacency; there, in a fellowship of glory with Deity; there, in an identity of character, and unity of essence, a mutual intuition comprising knowledge which no created mind can be made to comprehend: that he, to whose human voice they were then listening, had there seen the cycles of eternity revolve, the ages of time expire, the fathers of their nation and the lights of their church, many kings, and prophets, and righteous men, fill up
measure of their days; and that thence he had actually come forth and descended, to save the world.
Prophecy, indeed, had accustomed them to expect in Christ a duality of natures, and a consequent mysteriousness of character and person which would entitle him to be called Wonderful. But what imagination was prepared, even by this exciting prediction, for the great reality. It is true, a herald was sent before to call the attention of the world, and to place it in a state of preparation for his coming; but, “should he condescend to speak of himself, it might have been said, By what mental revolution, what new combination of thought, shall we prepare to understand him? Perhaps, however, he may maintain a reserve on this subject; a regard for our limited capacity, and the peculiar object of his mission, may induce him to hold the mysteries of his nature in abeyance. And he did so. He frequently made it apparent that his object was not to expound the complexity of his nature, but to pour into the heart of the world the entire advantage which that complexity was capable of producing; and that, as he had stooped to the low conditions of humanity, he sought not tenaciously to assert the dignity of his superior claims, but considered his humiliation as consisting partly in dwelling on the degradation to which he had stooped. But though he frequently waived the subject in question, yet as often
as necessity urged him to advert to it, he must be confessed to have uttered 'a new thing in the earth.' in the full and familiar possession of his sayings: but had we heard him when first he declared, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven ;' •Before Abraham was, I am ;' should we not have felt that we were listening to a being to whom all space is a point, and all time but a moment; that our thoughts could not keep pace with the rapid and boundless transitions his words required; that he was approaching a subject which the limited terms, and analogical language of human speech have no signs to represent, no powers to convey; a subject of which our minds, accustomed as they are to the mere parts of things, to fractional thoughts, and fragments of truth, could receive only, at most, an angular point, a very obscure glimpse and confused impression ?
Had we heard him affirm, in the face of his evident hu. manity, that he was not of this world; that we knew not whence he came or whither he went; that the Father alone, as a being of infinite intuition, knew him to perfection; should we not have felt that we were listening to blasphemy, or else to the only being incapable of blasphemy, because he alone can be the object of it; that a principle of interpretation, hitherto unknown to the world must be found and applied to his self descriptions, a principle which may well be sacred to that purpose alone, since the language of no other being will need its application ? Could we have heard him forgiving sins; asserting his right to do so, 'even upon earth;' summoning the world to yield up its heart to him; to make its homage to the Father a pattern of its homage to him; could we have heard this without feeling that God must be present in the person of the mysterious speaker, that the throne of Deity must
be, in a sense, removed from heaven to earth? Could we have heard him emphatically call himself the Son of man, and solemnly announce that there is a sense in which the Father is greater than he, without feeling that it was an announcement which a mere creature could never have thought it necessary to make, and wondering at the greatness which could excuse and justify such statements ?
Had we been the individuals to whose retirement under the fig-tree he was privy; whose history he disclosed at the well of Samaria; to whose unuttered thoughts he often adverted and replied, as others reply to our words, and to whom he pledged his unceasing presence, wherever we might be scattered, or whenever we might meet; should we not have felt the natural impossibility of leaving the presence of such a being, and have yielded to the impressive thought, the unavoidable inference, that he who stood before us in mysterious combination with a nature like our own, was at the same moment present, in his superior nature, in regions immeasurably remote from earth—the sovereign and uncircumscribed energy of the universe ? He defended his alleged breach of the sabbatic law, by affirming that in his providential capacity, like the eternal Father, he knew no sabbath; that as the soundness of the man he had restored was the result of his healing power, so the repose of the universe was the result of his unintermitting activity conjointly with the Father. With the same unaffected simplicity and ease, he both acknowledged inferiority to God, and claimed equality with him; and promised to every christian, in the Father's name, We will come unto him and make our abode with him.' Now could we have heard these new and diverse statements from his lips, without feeling that the being who advanced them was a new form of existence; that in his person, time and eternity, infinity and limitation, laws the most opposite, met
and were reconciled; that we beheld in him the grand anomaly of infinite majesty clothed with meekness; supreme dominion rendering obedience; absolute sovereignty, exhibiting entire resignation ; God, manifest in the flesh ?
Prophecy had created the expectation of an illustrious Deliverer, for whom a class of descriptive names had been hallowed, and for ages embalmed, and set apart, as sacred to him alone. The Messiah, or Christ; the Son of man ; the Son of God; were apellations as incommunicable, if not as awful, as the solemn Jah, or Jehovah, of the Supreme Being; for they described a person and an office of an order so entirely unique, as to make all participation or resemblance impossible, by engrossing to itself every thing peculiar to it. Jesus came, appropriated these honors to himself as his proper right, and wore them with such an air of accordant ease as to make them his own, with such a port of unlabored majesty as to translate them into an obvious and sober description of himself. If his right to assume them was challenged, his defence was prompt and complete; he pleaded the sublimity of his doctrine ; 'ap. pealed to the superiority of his life ; referred to the admitted testimony of the Baptist; pointed attention to the voice from heaven; invited a comparison of his history with the prophecies concerning the Mesiah, declaring that his life would be found to be a faithful comment on the sacred text; and called for his miracles—a splendid array of evidence, which forced even from demons the unwilling recognition of his claims, and left unbelief without any cloke for its sin.
II. Thus warranted by the constitution of his person and standing on a mountainous acumulation of evidence which enabled him to speak as from the skies, he proposed himself to our affection and faith as the unveiled char*
acter of God. This may be regarded as his grand, original and all-comprehending claim.
1. Were it revelant to our subject, we might shew, first, that the actions of Jesus evinced the existence of God. Had man never previously heard, never entertained the conception of a Supreme Being, the miracles of Christ would have inevitably suggested and embodied the grand idea. But he appeared among a people with whom this was already a primary truth. Besides, the scripture has nothing to say to the man who denies it; only this, that it is 'the fool who saith in his heart, there is no God;' and, that the devils believe and tremble.' The existence of the Deity is a truth fundamental of every other; it is the throne of religion: and it would ill comport with the composed majesty and stately grandeur of religion to be constantly proving or protesting that it has a throne. He who denies the divine existence, renounces by that very act his own humanity; falls out of the ranks of rational beings, and courts community and fel lowship with brutes. Accordingly, religion while it con. descends to follow him to the outermost limits of rationality, and thus maintains its character for compassion; yet remembering the state and honors due to its throne, it abandons him there, and proceeding in its onward march through an empire of intelligent beings, receives their homage, and perfects their intelligence, by reuniting it with the divine mind.
2. As the representative of Deity in this lower world, the Savior by his incarnation, embodied the divine spirtual
• Ye have neither heard his voice at any time,' said Christ, ‘nor seen his shape;' shape, outline, dimensions, he has none; as an infinite spirit he can have none. How then can we think of him ? for unless we can obtain some sensible manifestation, or definite conception of him, have nothing around which our thoughts can collect, or on