« PrécédentContinuer »
, at Jerusalem was a figure of the human nature, or the flesh in
which God was manifested, is evident from the words of the Redeemer: John ii. 19, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Thirdly, God was in fact, as well as in figure manifested in the flesh. Colossians ii. 9, “ For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the God-head bodily.” John xvii. 23, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." John x. 30, “ I and my Father are one." Again, the Redeemer replied to Philip, “ Have I been so long with thee, and thou hast not known me ?”
Fourthly, In what flesh was God manifested ? In the human nature, or the second Adam. 1 Corinthians xv. 45, "6 And so it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul ; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Isaiah speaks of the wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, as the child born, the son given, and he affirms, that God hath wrought all our works in us, and the prophet Hosea iv. 2, gives us this remarkable information ; “ After two days he will revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” Again, Isaiah vii. 14, “ The LORD him. self shall give you a sign : Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” And, Matthew pronounces this scripture fulfilled, and adds, that the name Inmanuel, when interpreted, is God with us.
Fifthly, To whom was God thus manifested in the flesh? First, To angels, they brought tidings of his birth. Luke ii. “And the angels said unto them, fear not, for, behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, and let all the angels of God worship him." The angels were the first preachers of the Redeemer's resurrection. Luke xxiv. 6, “ He is not here, he is risen." Secondly, He was preached unto the Gentiles, and believed on, in the world, by every one taught of God. 1 John v. 20, " And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” And he hath been received into 'glory. This was witnessed by the men of Galilee when they were assured, that in like manner as he ascended, so he should descend. And lastly, In the close of time, the grand catastrophe shall manifest God in the flesh to every human be
ing. Jesus is upon the throne. Psalm xlv. 6, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” This God, of whom the Psalmist thus speaks, was God manifest in the flesh. Jesus is the judge, and the dead, small and great, shall stand before God. The whole human family shall be collected, and, finally, Revelations v. 13, “ 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, shall unite to say, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him, that sitteth upon the throne, unto God manifest in the flesh, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”
Titus iii. 5, 6.
E are the saved of the LORD. Secondly, Who are the saved of the LORD? 1 Timothy iv. JC, the Spirit answereth this question :-"for, therefore, we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe." Again, 2 Timothy, i. 9, 10, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.” Again, Galatians iii. 13, 14, “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”.
But who were they, who were redeemed from the curse of the law? Undoubtedly those who were under the curse. Galatians 1V. 4, 5, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to
redeem them that were made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” But, from what beside the curse of the law, are those who are saved, exempted? They are exempted from death. Romans vi. 23, “The wages of sin is death ;" from which death Jesus Christ saved those individuals, who constituted the aggregate of his body, when, by suffering for them, he died for their sins, according to the scriptures. But, it will be asked, for whom did the Son of God suffer death? And who are they, who by the sufferings of Jesus Christ, are saved from the death which is the wages of sin? The spirit of God answers this question, Hebrews x. 10, “ By the which will, we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." 1 Timothy, ii. 6, “ Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be tese tified in due time.” 2 Corinthians, v. 14, 15, “For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he dicd for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” If there were any for whom Christ did not die and rise again, they, it seems, may live unto themselves. But to manifest beyond all contradiction, that Christ Jesus did really, and truly save all men from this death, by suffering it in their place, and to prove that this all includes as many as were, consequent upon transgression, subjected to death, we have only to consult the Apostle Paul, who thus decidedly expresses himself, Hebrews ii. 9, “ But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.” And if it be possible to render this evangelical truth more clear, let us enquire at the mouth of the beloved disciple John, who, in his first general Epistle, chapter ii. verse 2, decidedly says, “And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” As inany as died in Adam, are saved from the death which was the wages of sin, in consequence of the second Adam dying for them; and the testimony which declared, the soul that sinned should die, is, in no sort, opposed to the restoration of the human family, of the whole human family; for mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have embraced each other. God is, in deed, and in truth, a just God and a Saviour. Isaiah is full of this truth : Tell ye and bring Vol. III. 37
them near; yca, let them take counsel together: who hath dcclared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD ? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour ; there is none beside me. Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth : for I am God and there is none else. I have sworn by myself; the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear.”
But how is this salvation effected ? First, Not by works of righteousness performed by us. What are righteous works? No doubt, works of righteousness, but not to be performed by unrighteous characters, any more than a corrupt tree can bring forth good fruit. Now,the Holy Ghost assures us,that it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one; that we all do fade as a leaf, and that our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
As there are none righteous, no, not one, it is plain, that our righteousness can have nothing to do with this salvation. And, saith our text, not by works of righteousness which we have done. How then is our salvation accomplished ? Right happy are we, that our comment is as infallible as our text. Ephesians ii. 4, 5, 8, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by grace ye are saved. For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God.” And thai this faith, through which we are saved, is not the act of the sinner's mind, is abundantly evinced by the following considerations. Galatians ii. 16, “ Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for, by the works of the law, shall no flesh living be justified. The Apostle affirms, that our salvation is not of works; and he adds a pertinent reason, lest any man shoula boast. And the testimony in our text is full on this head: The Spirit teacheth us, that we are saved, First, by the washing of regeneration ; and secondly, by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which was shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. In first generation, we are all as an unclean thing. Psalm li. 5, “Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
The first act, therefore, in the work of salvation, was to wash or cleanse us by regeneration, that is, the generation, generated over again. This was effected when the second Adam was exhibited, clothed in garments of flesh; as the second Adam, he contained in himself the fulness of the lost nature. In him, as the second Adam, the lost nature was, in the sight of God, saved by the washing of regeneration. In this regeneration, our nature is cleansed; for that nature, procreated by the Holy Ghost, was conceived without sin. Thus we read--The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee : therefore, also, that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called, the Son of God. The head of every man, says a sacred writer, is Christ. Would not that be a monstrous birth, where the head should be born at one time, and the meinbers of the body belonging to that head, at different periods? Had it not been the design of the just God and the Saviour, to commence our salvation in the conception, so that we may be REGENERATED and born over again, we can see no reason, why the second Adam did not descend as the Lord from heaven, in the fulness of the stature of a perfect man; but, having laid this plan, he did not abhor the virgin's womb, but was born of a woman, that so the fulness of the nature lost in the first Adam, in consequence of being by ordinary generation defiled, may be saved in the second Adam, in consequence of being in the second generation cleansed, washed, sanctified, and presented in him, an offering in a clean vessel, without spot, without wrinkle, or any such thing. This regeneration of our nature by the Holy Spirit, as related by the angel of the LORD to Mary, is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Thus, it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is not mending or repairing, but renewing our nature by the power of the Highest. It is not putting a new piece in an old garment, but it is making all things ane w in Christ Jesus. The prophet Jeremiah strikingly illustrates this subject—"Arise, and go down to the Potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the Potter's house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel, that he made of clay, was marred in the hands of the Porter: so lie made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the Potter to make it,