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mysteries of science and religion, which are too deep for human discovery; and were he at the same time, to exhibit before our eyes, during a long course of years, a brilliant example of angelic benevolence, what an atmosphere of light and love would it throw around him. How eagerly should we listen to his instructions—with what absorbing interest should we study his character; and with what emotions of wonder and gratitude should we follow him, as he went about doing good!' Such a heavenly sojourner, might in due time withdraw from the world, to resume his golden harp before the throne; and were he to leave behind him a single volume for our perusal, illustrative of his character, and revealing more fully the high purpose of his mission, with what intense interest would all his disciples sit down to the study of that volume; how many commentaries would be written upon it; and how much more and deeper wisdom might it be expected to embody, than any book of man's composing. It would not be strange, if new views of truth, and of the exalted intellect and benevolence of the writer should be elicited a hundred years after his departure. But still, it would be the work of a finite mind-of one of the lowest, perhaps, on the scale of angelic gradation. The time might come, and come soon, compared with the duration of this world, when there would be nothing more for man to learn, from such a volume.
Suppose, again, that Gabriel, or if there be one higher than he, on the mighty scale-suppose that the first archangel were to be sent down to us, to take our nature into mysterious union with his own; to become a man as well as an angel; suppose he were to initiate us still more deeply into the mysteries of science and the knowledge of God; to set us a perfect example of holy obedience; to sympathize with us in all our afflictions; and even to suf
fer for our crimes; what a multitude of disciples and admirers would gather round him and hang upon his lips, and tender him their most grateful acknowledgements. And were he, in taking leave of us, that he might go up and stand in the presence of God,' to put into our hands a roll for us all to copy, containing a history of his own life and sufferings, and rich in the sublimest revelations which it would be in the power of an archangel to make, how eagerly should we break the seal, and how uneasy would every one be till he had obtained his copy. How should we pore over such a document day and night; and how many heavenly things,' would in all probability be left for other critics and commentators to open up to view, after successive generations of admirers had passed away. In so remarkable a case as this, we should not think it overweaning presumption in any well-instructed disciple to take the roll and search within the great seal for others, which might possibly have been overlooked by all his predecessors. It might require thousands of years, of deep study, to bring out all the hidden wisdom of this single angelic roll. And yet, it could not be inexhaustible; for it would be the wisdom, not of an infinite, but of a finite mind. Though time itself should be too short to open all the seals, there will surely be scope enough in eternity. The period may arrive in the everlasting ages of his future being, when man, child of the dust as he is, will excel the highest seraph in his present knowledge of God, and the plan of his government, and the glories of his empire, as much as that seraph now excels the humblest saint on earth.
But we have dwelt too long, perhaps, upon these suppositions. There are facts connected with the history of this world, which must strike the mind at once, as infinitely surpassing all that it would have ever entered into the
heart of man to suppose, or conceive.' Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of strange and mysterious import was heard in heaven; and the more mysterious, because it issued from the throne itself. "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me. Lo I am come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God : yea thy law is within
And who is it, that thus announces his purpose to visit a guilty world, and become incarnate ? We first ask the Prophet Isaiah, and he answers, · Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given : and the government shall be upon his shoulders: his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. We next enquire of John, the beloved disciple, and he replies, • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.—All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the Life was the Light of men.' “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Then we enquire of 'the man Christ Jesus' himself, who art thou?'--and this is his remarkable an
'Before Abraham was I am. “I and my Father
'For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.' We next interrogate the Apostle Paul-Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bazrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?'
And he breaks out in adoring transport, Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. • Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' • In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. For by him were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.'
Finally; we turn to the beloved disciple once more, and ask him what he saw and heard in the visions of Patmos, and he answers, 'I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living ones and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea and all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon
the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever. And the four living ones said, Amen. And the four and
twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever.'
And was the earth ever honored and blest with this divine and glorious presence? If what we read in the scriptures, of the incarnation, the miracles, the preaching, the death, the resurrection of the Son of God be true, it is the mystery of all mysteries. I do not expect ever to comprehend it. The more I reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. What infinite opposites meet in the person of Jesus Christ. The mighty God,' and yet a helpless child! The Creator of all worlds, and yet without a place to lay his head!' God, manifest in the flesh!' A man, and yet infinitely higher than the angels! Equal with the Father, in dignity and glory and blessedness; and yet at the same moment •a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief!' A conqueror of the powers of darkness, in the very hour that they prevailed against him! How can I believe it? Was the divine nature in the
person of Christ, transformed into the human nature of the son of Mary? And was the human nature of the son of Mary changed into the divine nature ? No-but the two were mysteriously united, so as to become one person. • The man Christ Jesus,' was not the Lord from heaven;' but in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Deity did not suffer and sink under the agonies of Calvary, and yet in the person of Jesus, God there purchased the church with his own blood. A great mystery, but no absurdity. Above reason, but not contrary to it. There was the bloody cross.
There were the thorns, the nails, and the spear. There the plan of redemption was more fully unfolded, than ever before, to the admiring gaze of angels. There it was, that the meek and holy sufferer · bore our sins and carried our sorrows;'