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TION OF CHILD INVOLVES. -" If children,'| the expression. It conveys a most imthen heirs ; heirs of God." These words portant idea. Suppose it possible for this are sometimes explained as meaning no to be an invariable rule; that not property thing more than that Christians are “ heirs only, but all the characteristics of a father, of the promises of God,” or “ partakers of went along with his goods to bis eldest the inheritance which God bestows." But son. How truly and completely would the such an interpretation is as unwarrantable son be then his father's heir! Now this is as it is feeble. For whilst the remarkable the sense in which, as believers in Christ, expression, heirs of God, is thus treated as we are heirs of God. The characteristics, an extravagant metaphor, the peculiar mean. the attributes, the nature of God, are just ing of the word heir is lost sight of alto what we do inherit. His love and holiness, gether. An heir inherits more than pro his truth and justice, are reproduced by his mises, and does not merely come into | Spirit in those who are his children in possession of a portion that may be given | Jesus Christ. They are made partakers him. In a certain sense he lays claim to of God's nature, and thus may truly be the whole, and is sure to receive it in due described as heirs of God. time. The younger son receives“ the But this does not exhaust the meaning portion of goods that falleth to him;" to of the word “ heirs." In the possession the heir the father says, “ All that I have of a divine nature the Christian man beis thine." Now the apostle has already comes equal to angels that have never called us children, in which capacity we fallen, but nothing more. And, therefore, should in any case receive a portion, and if this were all that the term heir implied, be partakers of the promises. If, then, he angels and men would be equally heirs of afterwards calls us heirs, he must mean God. But angels are never called the heirs that we are more than children ; and there of God, and we question whether they ever is apparently no reason to suppose that he could be. In the strict sense of the word, has used the word heir in any other than there can only be one heir, or one co-ordithe strictest sense of the term.
nate set of heirs. If, then, angels and men Our task then is simply to inquire in are equally “ heirs of God,” it must be bewhat respect believers in Christ are so cause they stand in precisely the same relaclosely related to God, that the apostle tion to God. But they do not stand in the should single them out as being alone, of same relation to God at all, and, therefore, all created beings, the heirs of God. We if the word heir be used with anything like cannot hope to exhaust such an inquiry. its ordinary meaning, they cannot be equally And all that we shall attempt is to suggest heirs of God. The question arises, then, a line of thought, which the reader, if so Is there any sense in which believers in disposed, may pursue much further at his Christ are " the heirs of God,” in contrast leisure.
with all other created beings, and in a sense First, then, we say : Christians may pro peculiar to themselves ? bably be called heirs of God, partly because We attach the greater importance to this they inherit God's own nature.
question, because there are passages in the The image of God, in which man was New Testament which plainly intimate that created, but which he lost when he fell, is the followers of Christ are the heirs of the restored in the believer in Christ Jesus. universe of God. Peter expressly says, “ We are partakers of “ All things are yours," says Paul in his the divine nature ;” and in another place, epistle to the Corinthians, “ things pre6 We are partakers of his holiness.” Thus sent, or things to come, all are yours." God, by his Spirit, imparts to us his own | And Christ, in the message which he sent attributes, makes us possessors of his own through John to the churches of Asia, says image, heirs of his own nature.
distinctly, “ He that overcometh shall inThe word “heir ” does not directly sug. herit all things." We do not pretend to gest this idea, since we know little or no be able to fathom the meaning of these thing of such inheritance as this. Pro words. Nor need we attempt to do so. It perty, rank, office, and such things as these, is enough for our purpose if they teach, as are all that a man can transmit to his heirs. we think they do, that, in some sense, We do indeed sometimes speak of a child which eternity alone can fully reveal, the as inheriting his father's disposition. This
ung nis father's disposition. This one created being, in whom all the designs would, no doubt, be called a figure of l of God centre, to whom all the works of speech. But it is something more. Mark | God point, and who can therefore claim
the whole universe as his inheritance, is the forth to minister for them who shall be heirs redeemed Christian man. If this be true, of salvation ?" The angel, then, ministers So wide a field is opened up for research to man, and not man to the angel. “Know and speculation, that even the Christian, ye not,” says Paul to the same effect, himself can never hope that, in this world, « that we shall judge angels ?” For a little he will be able to survey the whole. There while man may be lower than the angels; are two things, however, with which we are but he that overcometh-the Christian acquainted, that serve to establish the fact man who has fought and conquered, not that man is the heir of the universe, and the angel who has had no conflicts—shall will help us to form some idea of the man inherit all things. There is then a centre, ner in which everything may centre in the in which every radius meets from all parts Christian man.
1 of the universe of God, and this centre is We know, for example, in what respect found not in seraphim and cherubim (unman is the heir of the earth. It is not less, indeed, the latter are really symbols of merely that he is lord of all that exists, but the Church in glory) ; not in angels, printhat he is also lord of all that ever has cipalities, or powers ; not in an unfallen existed. Long ages before man was formed, race at all; but in man, who fell, but was the earth's changes pointed to the coming redeemed, and through his redemption was man. Stratum after stratum did God lay | constituted again the inheritor of all things, with wondrous care. Huge forests grew “ the heir of God." and turned to coal. Deposit was formed. If any should pause here, and think such upon deposit, as dry land became ocean and a view of man's position one likely to make ocean again dry land. Race after race of him vain-glorious and proud, we simply creatures wonderfully made came into being | beg him to reserve his decision till we have and passed away. But as yet there was shown himnone that could lay claim to all, none who IV. THE BASIS UPON WHICH THIS PROScould be called in any sense the heir of the PECT RESTS.—“ Joint-heirs with Christ.” whole. Deep mines of iron and of gold lay | The relation in which Christ stands to the there, with none to work them. Vast | human race is not a temporary one. He quarries of stone were there, with none to took upon him our nature, and will never hew them. The earth teemed with pro- break the tie which he once assumed. ductive powers, and there was none to call | But the connection will be maintained, not them forth.
by his returning to that state of humilia“ There wanted yet the master-work, the end tion, to which he once came down, but by Of all yet done.”
his raising all his followers up to the At length came man. The mysterious work same state of exaltation to which he has of ages was explained. The being to ascended already. We are now, and shall whom all pointed-in whom all centred be eternally, one with him. He became had now appeared, confessedly the heir of one with us when he was made a partaker all. Is there anywhere such a centre, such of flesh and blood, and we become one an heir to the whole universe of God? Is with him when we are made partakers of there any race to whom all points, for whom his Spirit; “ for he that is joined to the all has been prepared ? Undoubtedly we Lord is one spirit.” Moreover, not only think there is, and that a full reply to these does the fact that we are one with Christ questions may be found in the words, “ All stand prominent in every part of the New things are yours;" “ He that overcometh Testament, but Christ himself has disshall inherit all things.”
tinctly assured us that the destinies of his Analogy might lead us to the same con people are inseparably linked with his clusion. The heir of the earth was created own. “The glory which thou gavest me, last, as it was only fitting that he should I have given them; that they may be be. But man is the last of all created | one, even as we are one, I in them, and beings, not of the earth alone, but of the thou in me.” “To him that overcometh heavens also. In him we see the climax of / will I grant to sit with me in my throne, the whole creation. And we may feel sure | even as I also overcame and am set down of this, that God's most wondrous work | with my Father in his throne." would be his last. This supposition is con All this undoubtedly points to but one firmed by the fact that men do not exist result. Christ must be the centre of the for angels, but angels for Christian men. universe. All history, all beings, all worlds, “ Are they not all ministering spirits sent point to him. He is “the Alpha and
the Omega, the beginning and the end, the · and in Christ, that we can ever become first and the last." From him all came partakers of the honour and blessedness of forth, and in him all meet again. He is the heirs of God. On the other hand, it alike the heir of all and Lord of all. “God should serve to weaken our eager desires for hath highly exalted him, and given him a the enjoyments and honours of the earth, that name that is above every naine; that at we can not only hold before our minds a prosthe name of Jesus every knee should bow, pect unequalled here, but can expect the of things in heaven, and things in earth, time when even angels will cease to be envied and things under the earth; and that as standing nearer to the throne of God. every tongue should confess that Jesus Again, it should strengthen and nerve us Christ is Lord.” He hath “sat down on to bear the burden and humiliation of life the right hand of the Majesty on high, without complaint or weariness. The depth being made so much superior to the angels, of the valley is but the measure of the as he hath by inheritance obtained a more mountain's height. The loftiness of Christ's excellent name than they.” But Christ is throne may be seen in his humiliation as inseparable from his people. The head much as in his ascension to glory, and he and members are indissolubly one. His who hopes to share the throne can hardly destiny and theirs are eternally linked to. I complain of the path that leads to it. The gether. His throne is their throne. His i way to the Saviour's glory is still the same glory is their glory. They, like him, shall as when the Saviour trod it. The valley inberit all things. “He took not on him has not been bridged over. The Cross still the nature of angels." He has not linked comes before the Crown. Enough that we their future history with his own. The have the assurance _“If we suffer with angelic race may have reached the climax | him we shall also be glorified together.” of its glory; but man will never reach the ! This prospect should also keep vividly lofty height to which he is destined to before our minds our entire dependence rise, till every believer in Christ shall share | upon Christ, and our inseparable union the glory of his Lord. Most clearly is this with him. We owe all to him, and for intimated in the second chapter of the ever shall we receive all through him. epistle to the Hebrews. “Unto the angels," Bright visions of coming glory are called says the writer, “ hath he not put in subjec up by the thought of our eternal home, tion the world to come. . . . . Thou and our loftiest anticipations are heightened madest man for a little while lower than the still more by the belief that, as Christ angels, thou crownedst him with glory and passed by the angelic race to rescue man, honour, and didst set him over the work ! we also shall pass them by to follow and of thy hands. Thou hast put all things in to dwell with him. But in all these prossubjection under his feet. . . . . But | pects there is nothing so elating to a Chrisnow we see not yet all things put undertian heart as the assurance that we are not him, but we see Jesus who (also) for a little ! making the ascent alone, that it is with while was made lower than the angels, Christ we are joint-heirs, that nothing can crowned with glory and honour.” But the separate us, but we shall be eternally one exaltation of Christ infallibly involves the with “Him that bought us with his preexaltation of his people. If he has risen cious blood.” above the angelic ranks, his followers can- In conclusion, suífer us to press home not remain below. Nothing can separate the question, Are you an heir of God ? the Christian from his Lord. No other | Have you the prospect which every berace can come between the believer and the liever in Christ possesses ? It is not every Son of God who has made him one with man who enjoys this “blessed hope." himself; and none can stand nearer to Apart froin Christ no man can rise to the throne of God than those who are glory and blessedness at all. But in Christ joint-heirs with Christ, who not only be the highest glory of the universe is offered nold his glory, but even share his throne! to those that believe. If then you have
not this liope, why have you not ? No There is something dazzling in the pros- | irrevocable fiat shuts you out of the propect thus opened before us. Yet, if it is mises. No stern decree has turned either not visionary, we cannot keep it too much you or any other living man hopelessly before our minds. It cannot eiate us un- | away from the family home, or cut you duly, or puff us up with pride, so long as irremediably off from the family inheritwe remember that it is only through Christ, ance. By nature, indeed, none are children
of God. By faith in Christ all may be- 1 God. A problem the word of God has by come so. To you as much as to any other no means left in doubt :-“To as many as do the words apply, “Come out from received Christ, to them gave he power to among them, and I will receive you, and become the sons of God, even to them that will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be believe in his name.” Hast thou received my sons and daughters, saith the Lord him ? Dost thou believe in the Son of Almighty." The one problem we have to God? Thus only canst thou become a solve is, how to become the children of Child, an HEIR OF GOD.
THE WORD MADE FLESH, AND FULL OF GRACE.
BY THE REV. EDWARD WHITE. " And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me : for he was before me. And of his fuiness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."-John i. 11–18.
The whole gospel of John is a commentary upon this wonderful preface; and of the five verses cited above, the last four are an explanation of the first, an enlargement on that fourteenth verse, which contains the loftiest revelation ever made by God to mankind. The testimony of John the Baptist is introduced to confirm the statement that “ the word was made flesh.” The Baptist asserted the pre-existence of the Christ, who, as man, came into the world later than himself. The sixteenth, and seventeenth, and eighteenth verses are introduced as a commentary upon the statement that the apostles bebeld the glory of the Incarnate Word, full of grace and truth. They had received of that fulness of grace and truth which brought salvation to the world. The law had wrought only condemnation, and had but a “shadow of good things to come.” Jesus Christ brought pardon to the guilty conscience, and reality to the mind of man. God, who was invisible in his essence, and who had concealed his glory under the veils of previous dispensations, had now sent his Son fully to reveal him. And the revelation consisted in that “fulness of grace and truth,” which was the substance of the gospel. “Of his fulness have all men (Christians) received, and grace (literally) instead of grace;” that is, one grace after another, 80 that all believers in succession receive of his ample merey, and each one receives grace after grace in an endless stream. This is the interpretation of Tholuck, and it is doubtless the best. Let us meditate on this testimony of the beloved apostle, who was in the bosom of the Son, as the Son was " in the bosom of the Father.”
John fixes his gaze on the full-orbed countenance of the incarnate Majesty, the incarnate Love, the incarnate Wisdom. He says, it was no star that we beheld, but a human face “ like the Sun shining in his strength.” The human countenance was but a thin veil, which could not hide the everlasting Divinity within. His body was a “temple,” in which dweit the Deity among men.
Living with and listening to Jesus Christ, this was the first and last impres. sion which was left upon his associates :--that there was an unfathomably deep spring within him, out of which burst the Ocean. There was boundless intel ligence, inexhaustible compassion and benignity. This fulness must have struck them all the more in contrast with the empty persons around him—the multi. tudes who had no thought, no distinct character, no sincerity, and no desire for thought, sincerity, or goodness; in contrast with the hollow persons whose souls had rotted into a vacuum, a corrupt hollow, in which spirits of darkness dwelt.
It must have struck them in contrast with the limited, narrow minds of the better educated men, whose mental action consisted in the steady revolution of three or four ideas, like the lamps of a lighthouse in a fog; the men who repeated the same things to themselves for ever, incapable of advancement, undesirous of progression. It must have struck them in contrast with the whole world of formal religionists, whose principle it was never to grow wiser; who investigated nothing seriously for themselves, who thought out no hints of truth to a conclusion or discovery, whose thinking had all been done for them by antiquity, whose pole-star was self-interest, whose speech was the faint echo of the voices of the dead sounding against the dead-wall of a rigid traditionalism. Surrounded by such as these, Jesus Christ must indeed have seemed to his disciples a WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR; a mind, full of heaven's treasures of truth, dropped down into the midst of a world of the foolish; he must have seemed like a great fountain, suddenly rising up in the midst of the sandy desert, and pouring out a sea of crystal waters, to refresh and fertilize the boundless waste.
Just think what it must have sounded like, to hear the contents of the gospels of Luke and John, when spoken for the first time in the midst of a generation teaching for 'doctrines the commandments of men; in an age and country when the religious instruction consisted either of sermons to show that man had no soul—that there were no angels nor spirits—and that there was no future life except in the dreams of enthusiasts; or else, of sermons to show that goodness consisted in washing your hands before supper, in straining out gnats before drinking water or wine, and in not walking above a mile and a half on the Sabbath-day. In the midst of such dreary and ruinous trash, what must it have sounded like to hear the parable of the lost sheep, of the lost silver, of the lost son-the “words of Him who spake as never man spake.” Clearly Jesus Christ left on his followers' minds the impression, at the conclusion of his ministry, that there was an infinity of what was great and glorious within him ; that a world full of books would be requisite to describe all that they had already seen and heard ; and that the stream of his Spirit was ample enough, in its depth and breadth, to roll onwards and fill eternity with its glories.
John says, and repeats it, We beheld this glory of the only-begotten Son of God! We were made to feel, apart from all express statements, and in addition to them, that more than a human mind was within him, that the Divinity was here; and now we can tell you how this was : The Logos was made flesh, by whom all things were made, and the finite nature was but the shrine of the Infinite.
An image of this fulness has been left to us in the mirror of the evangelical history. The four evangelists unite to hold up a vast reflecting mirror, in which Te behold the “ Lamb of God” moving about among mankind. Rather let us say that their souls were spiritually prepared to be this mirror; for it was the interior preparation by the Holy Spirit, much more than any outward mechanical assistance, which enabled them to reflect a true image of the glories of Immanuel. Where are there four short books in the world with so much thought in them as these? They are “ full of grace and truth.” They will bear the microscope of ardent and prolonged investigation. The studies of sixty successive generations have left them unexhausted. Their ideas are crowded together like the rich sea-weeds and agates on the sea shore; like the stars in the galaxies of heaven. They are like the firmament;-the more power you apply to your instrument, the broader your reflecting disk of thought, the more do you discern of hidden glory, nebula upon nebula, distance after distance, hazy with a mist of stars, till you are lost in infinity. And those minds are the fullest of positive truth who converse most with the writings of prophets and apostles. A man who reads only books on philosophy or theology may end in universal doubt