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which our affections can settle and rest; he will elude and escape our laboring apprehensions. It is in vain to allege, that the sublimest material representation can bear no proportion to his glory, no relation to his nature; and, consequently, that it could not fail to impart to the mind unworthy conceptions of his greatness. Without some sensible representation of the divine being, the understanding can make no approach to him, the affections have nothing to embrace : faith itself like the dove of the deluge, has nothing on which it can alight; it finds itself voyaging in an objectless universe, an infinite vacuity; and piety must suffer and pine as in an atmosphere too subtle and unsubstantial for its present earthly constitution.

This feeling of want, this ardent craving after a definite object which the mind can lay hold of and apprehend, has been the most frequent occasion of idolatry and atheism. The doctrine of an infinite spirit was the only pure

abstraction in the human mind: all other things were objects; had their appropiate images, and the power of imprinting themselves upon the mind, by sensible impressions: while this, standing in the mind solitary and aloof, subject to the antagonist influence and constant encroachment of material objects, was unable alone to maintain its ground, and in perpetual danger of being displaced and lost from the mind. And hence instead of making this doctrine a place of rest, men have made it a starting point to one of two extremes : they have either proceeded to refine on the nature of Deity till they have reached transcendental atheism, an infinite nothing; or else, advancing in the opposite direction, they have brought him within the sphere of the senses, and embodied him in the work of their own hands. Every eroneous veiw of God which the world has entertained, was either scepticism, arrived at one or other of its numerous stages, in its way to atheism; or else, it was idolatry resting awhile, at one or other of its stages, on its way to the opposite issue. From the moment that the doctrine of an infinite essence has, at any time, been deposited in the human mind, it has begun to evaporate : and while the sceptic, on the one hand, rejoiced in the vacuum which ensued; and the idolater, on the other, found or feigned a residuum which he took and moulded into a god; they both concurred, at least in this one sentiment—that the theory of an infinite spirit yields no repose to the intellect, nor object for the affeetions.

Passing by the peculiar provisions of the patriarchal church, we cannot hesitate to regard the Jewish economy, in part, as a temporary but elaborate construction for aiding the mind in its conceptions of a purely spiritual being. All the angelic visits, and supernatural appearances, with which that church was favored, answered this end. It enjoyed a local manifestation of the Deity: the cloud of glory that dwelt within the veil, resided there as temporary substitute till he should appear in whom wouid dwell all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and, probably, most of those devotional expressions, in the Old Testament, which raise our thoughts to heaven, only carried the thoughts of the Israelites within the veil. The whole of their worship

a presentiment and promise of the approaching manifestation of God in Christ; and not merely a promise of it, but an actual provision to aid them in lifting their thoughts to God, and conceiving of the divine personality, till that more glorious manifestation should take place.

Behold, in Christ, the image of the invisible God! Having left the bosom of the Father, and embodied the attri. butes of God in an incarnate form, he came forth, and stood before the world, and proclaimed himself the permanent, adequate, apprehensible representation of the invis. ible Deity. I am in the Father,' said he, and the Father


in me.' 'From henceforth ye know the Father, and have seen him.'

• He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also.' 'I and my father are one. It is true, that he is no longer cognizant to our senses; but having assumed an incarnate form, is evermore visible to the eye

of faith; he can never ascend beyond the flight of the sanctified imagination. And if imagination be an attribute of the mind, and Christ be entitled to the homage of all our powers, then to depicture his person and pourtray his glory, is not merely legitimate, but the most suitable and exalted object on which it is possible for the imagination to be employed. When he ascended up, and a cloud received him out of their sight,' were his disciples never more to think of God as manifest in the flesh ? They are directed to look at the things which are not seen, to place them before their mental eye in the most vivid imagery; and of all the imaginable and illustrious objects in the temple above, he surely stands central and supreme. In order to inflame our affections, and carry our imaginations with him, he affords us glimpses of his offices and relations in heaven, and prays that we may behold his glory; thus making that glory, henceforth, the appropriate and engrossing object of evangelical faith.

Nor, in thus yielding to the dictates of piety, and the claims of Christ, can we be charged with worshipping his human nature. Though that nature is exalted above the whole creation; though it is crowned with glory and honor; though the fulness of the Godhead is in it; though it forms even a part of the person of God, yetthe object we adore, is he to whom that nature is hypostatically united, and who stooped to that union expressly that he might become a more palpable and definite object of our love. He invites us to draw near and contemplate this great sight; and, on approaching, we behold the invisible God invested in the robes of humanity, and emitting a glory so softened and subdued that our eyes can rest on it without dismay; in all our endeavors to raise our thoughts to God, the idea of Jesus comes to our aid, like the mystic ladder of the patriarch's dream, and they ascend and descend upon the Son of man. In all our acts of sincere devotion, we behold him by faith, standing betwixt us and the eternal throne, waiting to meet our flagging and half-way efforts, to assist us up the laborious ascent, to raise and present our spiritual offering3: or, if our devotion ascends still higher to him that sits upon the throne, whom do we there behold but the image of the still invisible God, the Lamb in the midst of the throne. He is the great ordinance by which Godand mancommune together; the appointed place of meeting between God and human thoughts; for as all the lines of the divine manifestation converge and meet in him, so all our devotional thoughts and affections centre in him also. And there is, we think, ground to believe that he will sustain this relation for ever; that whatever may the modification of the present economy, when, throwing off the accidents and relations of time, it shall retain only the elements and receive the impress of eternity, yet he, as the light of heaven and the temple thereof, will remain the sole manifestation of Deity, to which every eye will be directed and every heart be drawn; that no angel or saint will ever know aught of the invisible God, but as it is brought forth and unveiled in the adorable person of Christ. Of the future visibility of the divine essence, indeed, we would speak with unaffected diffidence: but the prayer of Christ, that his people may be with him where he is to behold his glory, while it discloses the chief ingredient of celestial blessedness, makes known also the conspicuous object of heavenly contemplation. By adopting our nature into a personal subsistance with his own divinity, he has given a centre, if we may say so, to the uncircumscribed


essence of the Deity, and has prepared a spectacle for the universe resembling, but ineffably transcending, the angel standing in the midst of the sun.

3. But chiefly did he rest his claims to the regards of the world, on the ground that he was the adequate representative of the divine character. The condition of the world had rendered the advent of such a being, and the institution of such an office indispensably necessary. The knowledge of the divine character is the great conservative principle of holiness, and the bulwark of human happiness: and it was the persuasion of this fact, which led the enemy of man to make that knowledge the object of his first assault. He knew that, dispossessed of this we should be divested of all our strength, and the ready dupes of every artifice he might choose to practise. And the awful results of his enterprise have proved the truth of his calculations, and must surely have gratified to the full his boundless appetite for human destruction. Planting himself between God and man, he sought to intercept every beam from heaven, and to throw his awful shadow across the earth ; the gloom of his presence fell, like a pall over human hope, involving us in darkness that might be felt. It is true, there were many unobliterated traces of God to be found in creation, but these related chiefly to his natural greatness: his moral perfections could only be deduced from his own supernatural disclosures; and these as they existed among the Jews, were intentionally imperfect. Truths, the most vital, wore the form of enigmas; the church was local and limited ; the moral law was oppressed and borne down by the ceremonial; the sensible was appealed to more than the intellectual, sight more than faith; sin was only cerimonially atoned for; the eternal future was but dimly seen; and the divine perfections


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