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continue to be ascribed to him “ Power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Now who can believe that God can loan to a mere creature all his attributes, and give assurance that he shall enjoy them, and the honours they attract to him, forever? What absurdity can be more glaring ? Hence what a rotten and miserable scheme it is which thus degrades the Redeemer and robs the gospel system of all its glory.
That still as mediator he acted in a delegated capacity, we know and are not disposed to deny. That in this character he was inferior to the Father, or acted under him, rione will dispute. But that still he is invested with all the rights of Jehovah, and that every attribute of the true God is his without derivation, or loan, or bequest, is to me as manifest as that any other doctrine of the Bible is true.
The scheme of reasoning which vests the Redeemer with borrowed attributes, would throw us afloat on points the most obvious. How can we know that the being which we call man is any other than a brute beast vested for a few days with the loan of intelligence? He may to-morrow rot and perish like the ox.
We do not power
of reason, more as if it were an inherent property of our nature, than did the Lord Jesus Christ the high and holy attributes which come into view in his history. It would seem to me far easier to doubt whether men had any other than a borrowed intelligence, than to doubt the deity of Christ. In infancy man seems like a mere animal, and often he reaches a similar state in old age. How can we know, then, that there awaits us any other existence beyond the grave than a mere beastly existence, if any. True intelligence was attached to us for a time, and we hoped to think and reason forever,
but this may all be fallacy on the principle that we oppose. Men have been styled angels in disguise, but we have, it seems, arrived at the conclusion that they are brutes in disguise, and may soon lay aside that intelligence which assimilates us to the angels.
1. The subject may inspire God's people with confidence. The Saviour, we trust, is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. He is doubtless able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him. How can we distrust such a Saviour ? or be ashamed of such a Saviour? or live in the neglect of such a Saviour ? What a glory does his Godhead give to the scheme of redemption. Those whose Saviour is a man or angel may well yield to gloom and despondency; but he whose Saviour built and will judge the world, is the mighty God, has the keys of hell and of death, may cast off every fear, may rejoice and be happy
2. The subject may show us how great is the crime of rejecting the Saviour. If God himself would come down to save us, our salvation must be an important object, and our ruin an incalculable loss. And how daring the impudence of disregarding a message brought to us from heaven by the Son of God ! How tremendous must be the ruin of gospel sinners !
3. The subject may help us to try our religion. If in Jesus Christ we see the whole of the divine character, we may by discovering whether we love him, know whether we love the Father.
2 Corinthians iv. 1, 2. Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
The ministry of the reconciliation is an office peculiar as to its responsibility, its trials, its honours, and its enjoyments. We are placed in the office through the instrumentality of men, but have our commission from heaven. We negotiate a reconciliation between God, and a rebel world. Men are saved by our ministry, if we do our duty, if we are unfaithful they are lost. If we give them not the timely alarm, we must answer for their blood. We must meet our hearers in the last day, at the judgment seat, and must know, when no mistake can be corrected, what has been the bearing of our ministry upon their everlasting destiny.
Hence we must do our duty, at the risk of interest, reputation, and life. Under every dispensation, the messengers of God have but one plain track, they must hazard the danger of being faithful. Jeremiah might not withhold his message, when he must write it in a dungeon, when he must anathematize the monarch who imprisoned him, and when his message would impeach his loyalty, and his patriotism, and endanger his life. Paul must do his duty in the face of stripes, the dungeon,
and the cross. The hope that we can fully please the holy God, who sends us, and the disloyal to whom we are sent, is a fruitless hope; and none but the traitor will ask, whose pleasure he shall seek. If we had no interest of our own to risk, the honest man would aim to do his Master honour. But personal perdition hangs over us, if we compromise the honours of our Lord. Men should be pleased with us when we do our duty, but men are not what they should be, else they had needed no gospel. The same depravity that prompts them to hate the government of Jehovah, renders them hostile to any conditions of peace, that will consist with his honour. Hence the minister of Christ, who cultivates a bending conscience, and is seen carefully providing for himself, at the expense of his Master, is of all men the most miserable, and the most contemptible.
But upon a ministry thus exposed, God has poured the highest honours. Not the gospel simply, but the gospel in the lips of men, he has pledged himself to use as the grand instrument of redeeming the world. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Not the very angels, who minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation, have a commission more dignified. We are workers together with God, in laying the foundation and rearing the superstructure of a spiritual temple, whose topstones are to be laid with shouting, Grace, grace, unto it!
And with the responsibility and the trials of the office, God has mingled not only honours, but enjoyments. The work is pleasant. To study divine truth and proclaim the divine honour; to be conversant with sacraments and Sabbaths, with prayer and praise, is living, if the heart be right, hard by the Oracle of God. And when the work is done, the reward is greato, They that turn many to righteousness are to shine in the kingdom of their father, and as the stars forever and
The apostle in the context had been commending his office: had showed, by various arguments, that it was more honourable than a ministry under the law. The law he denominates the letter, the gospel the spirit. That was the ministration of condemnation and death; this the ministration of the Spirit, and the ministration of righteousness. · The legal ministration was temporary, but that of the gospel remains a lasting and permanent establishment. Hence Moses, conscious that he was the minister of a dispensation that would soon be eclipsed by one more glorious, veiled his face. But the heralds of the gospel may use great plainness of speech, as they proclaim a system in which there is no thing dark or mysterious. The true light has shined; the veil is taken away, and we now behold the glory of God, not enveloped in clouds and darkness, but with open face as in a glass, shining in the face of Jesus Christ, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
And while we gaze upon this brightness, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. And all is accomplished by the Spirit of the Lord, else the world had abode still in its native hideous darkness, Thus does the apostle, when he contemplates the dis pensation of which he is a minister, rise to a tone of triumph, where language and figure are exhausted. Therefore, says he, seeing we have this ministry, we fait not. The office is so dignified, that no trials shall shake our confidence, no onset subdue our courage. We will peither use dishonesty, craft, or deceit, but commend ourselves to every man's conscience, by manifesting the truth. Thus interesting is the attitude in which the