Abbildungen der Seite

things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Glory, and mystery, and unsearchable riches, and the manifold wisdom of God reign throughout the wondrous plan. Glory to God is the chief end-glory through the unsearchable riches, and wisdom, and mystery of it all.

In the person and mediatorial offices of the incarnate Redeemer, in the application of his redemptive work, and in the nature of the New Life imparted thereby to the soul of man, are combined the unsearchable riches of the mystery of redeeming power and love. But these not only stand in the closest and exactest relation to each other, but also follow each other in the order of time and nature as indicated above, and so follow that the last is not sinıply a sequence, but a consequence, an outgrowth, and hence responsive to the productive forces. The immediate object of the incarnation of the Son of God—the taking of the human into union with the divinewas to impart life to the dead. Now this life, resulting from the union of the soul to Christ by faith, must in its order, partake of the nature of that of the Lord of life and glory, who is its author. The condition of its existence and continuance, is union to the son of God by faith in him. He is the head; the church is his body. One life animates the whole. All believers are one in him in virtue of the common life all derive from him; and he and they are one. This life, then, does not bear to its great author, God our Saviour, the simple and single relation of creature to Creator, as the life of plants and animals, or the rational and spiritual life of Adam when first created, or that of holy angels. It is a new creation, indeed, as contrasted with the old man; but still it is a life derived from Christ, even as the life of sin is derived from Adam. We are begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;

being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” Hence the mystery of the life of the renewed soul, is the adorable mystery of the life of Christ; for it is neither more nor less than the life of Christ in the soul of man. (Gal. ii: 20.) In him are two distinct natures and one person forever; and this one living person, the Son of God incarnate, the God-man, is the primeval source and upholder of life in the once fallen but renewed sons of men. " For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” He is the second Adam, the Lord from heaven; and as is he that begetteth, so are they that are begotten of him. Their life is of the same order. Herein is found the unity of the mystery of redemption, which begins in the incarnation of the second person of the Godhead and terminates in the glorification of the soul in a perpetual life-union with its mediatorial Head and King, and all to the glory of the divine power, and wisdom, and grace. The mystery of the incarnation passes over in the divinehuman life of the redeemed.

The Son of God took into union with himself a true body and a reasonable soul-the man Jesus of Nazareth. But this man never existed as a distinct personality, separate from his union with the Son of God. He never had a life of his own independently of that union, for he never existed but in that ineffable relation, and never will exist otherwise. Our Mediator is neither the Son of God simply, nor the son of man simply; but he is the God-man. So his life is the life not of the Son of God, nor of the son of man, but of the God-man.* We live in virtue of our incorporation with Christ, becoming thereby members of his body. The spiritual life that informs

* When the convicted sinner, enlightened and drawn by the Spirit, turns his eyes to the agonizing sufferer on the cross, he does not coldly inquire, How can the Godhead die? He sees one hanging on a tree, made a curse for him, all human in his sympathies, all divine in his power to save. He does not speculate as to the part the two natures play in the work of atonement. It is Christ that dies—that individual person; the innocent for the guilty-his substitute: that is enough for him. Thus we speak of the life of Christ. There is no more difficulty in predicating two natures and one life, than two natures and one person. The one life answers to the one person. Look at him as he travels about Galilee, mingling with the people in ordinary intercourse, teaching and working miracles. His is a life perfectly unique, characteristic of him alone. It is distinct from every other order of life. It combines the innocency, gentleness, meekness, affection, dignity, and every other quality of a perfect human nature, with a divine holiness, wisdom, authority, power, goodness, and truth. The beloved disciple, as a familiar friend, leans his head upon the Saviour's bosom, while sacred reverence and awe possess and elevate his soul. "Familiarity operates a kind of apotheosis and the man becomes divinity in simply being known.” It is this unique life of Christ, thus manifested to the world which, for want of a beter name, we call divine-human.

and impenetrates the rational soul of the redeemed sinner, is the life of the God-man. In this he henceforth lives and moves and has his being. His is no longer simply a rational nature, working according to the primal law of its being, in the way of holiness; but he is filled with the fullness of Christ who is "head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” “ And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace;" i. e. grace in us answering to grace in him.

In all this, no doubt, there is much transcending our capacity to grasp and explain-much in addition to the thick darkness which veils all life from the gaze of mortals. Known unto God alone are his works. We can know but in part. A great fact is revealed—the incarnation, for instance, or the new life; the rationale of it may be altogether inexplicable to us. The mysteriousness of it, however, so far from constituting a just ground for rejecting it, is a reason for accepting it, provided it be revealed as a fact in Holy Scripture, or is deducible therefrom by good and necessary inference. Our God is a God that doeth wonders; and where shall we look for wonders like those of redeeming grace? that work above all others whereby God is pleased to glorify himself. Let us not, then, turn away from the consideration of this subject, because there may be much in it we can not understand. Perhaps we may discover a great fact revealed, touching the nature of the divine life in the soul of man, that will prove very precious truth in itself, as well as confirmatory and explanatory of other doctrines of divine revelation.

The idea commonly entertained by intelligent Christian people is, that nothing more is involved in the transformation of the soul in redemption than its restoration, when the work of grace and power is completed, to its original sinlessness. This is all, except that it is unchangeably confirmed in holiness; so that henceforth upheld of God, and so upheld that it shall never more fall, it works freely, normally, spontaneously, in the direction of holiness, as it did originally in Adam, and as does the nature of angels who never fell. But is this idea correct? Is this the end of the Divine plan as it terminates on human nature? Is this “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope

of glory?” Is the new life only the old life of man in his originally perfect state? We think not. Yet we would rather assume the attitude of earnest inquiry than of dogmatic assertion. The Scriptures appear to us to point to something higher, something far more transcendant, something so stupendous in its kind, that like the incarnation of the Son of God, of which it is the product, no analogy to it shall be found in the illimitable domain of creative power. A new order of being is introduced into the universe, sustaining relations to the Godhead through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, which exalts it immeasurably above the highest of the heavenly hierarchies.

" They never sunk so low,

They are not raised so high;
They never knew such depths of woe,

Such hights of majesty.
The Saviour did not join

Their nature to his own;
For them he shed no blood divine,

Nor breathed a single groan.”

The body of the redeemed sinner is not simply restored to the pristine vigor, beauty, and incorruptibility of that part of his complex nature. A loftier destiny awaits it. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” The body of the raised and glorified saint is not the natural body restored to its primeval perfection. It passes into a higher sphere of existence. It is raised a spiritual body. “For our conversation (commonwealth ?) is in heaven; from whence also, as Saviour, we wait for the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall transform the body of our humiliation [so that it be] conformed to the body of his glory.” Phil. iii : 20, 21. What the body of his glory is we are taught by the vision of Peter, and James, and John, on the Mount of transfiguration. They were “eye-witnesses of his majesty,” his “honor and glory” — a glory surpassed only by “the excellent glory” from which the voice issued. If the reader will compare, in the original, the passage from Philippians quoted above, the account of the transfiguration in Luke, and Peter's reference to that remarkable event in the first chapter of his second epistle, he will hardly fail to conclude that in that august transformation of the Saviour's bodily appearance, we have the type of our own in the great day of his second coming. We are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” When that day comes, the redeemed body of the saved sinner likewise will “ shine as the sun.” It will assume a glory conformed to that of the highest type of glorified materialism, even the glorified body of the exalted Mediator. Before the spiritual body, all other glories of the material universe will “pale their ineffectual fires." All intelligent beings will wonder and adore, as they gaze upon this crowning exhibition of the glory of God in the glorified body of the redeemed. It will be the sublimest visible work of Almighty power. It will be instinct with a vital energy, with an activity and endurance vastly transcending every other manifestation of physical life. Spiritualized matter, materialized spirit—so ethereal will it be that it shall seem to combine in itself the two substances which comprehend the universe of being.

Now, if the body is the subject of a change so wonderful and glorious, it is altogether congruous that the soul should undergo an analogous change; that it should make an advance in the scale of being all but infinite. Nothing less will adapt it to that ethereal materialism which the plastic hand- not of nature, but of grace and power divine-has molded out of priceless dust, and garnished with imperial splendor for its future and everlasting dwelling-place. Nothing less can be the result of a vital union of the soul to the incarnate Son of God, who is the Lord of life and glory. For, let it be observed, it is a vital union. This was not the original relation of the soul of man to God, in Paradise. It could not be. This vital union presupposes the fall, the incarnation, and the drawing of the soul to Christ by the Father, through the Spirit.

The intimate relation constituted by the vital union between the soul and the Godhead, through Christ Jesus, as has already been remarked, exalts it immeasurably above the highest of angelic natures. The paternity of God in their case is grounded in the act of creation; in the case of the redeemed, in the act of begetting. The angels were created by an act of almighty power, energizing itself, so to speak, altogether extrinsic to the great Creator; redeemed sinners are born of the Spirit, and,

« ZurückWeiter »