Imatges de pÓgina
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ed it all, upon what imaginable basis can they found the slightest hope of escape? The condition of that man is hopeless enough against whom the Divine holiness and justice are opposed; but when mercy itself lifts up her voice in condemnation, his whole sky is covered with darkness more intense than that of Egypt. Whither will he fly?. If he ascend into heaven, God is there. If he go down to the depths of hell, God is there to pour upon him the vials of wrath. If he call upon the rocks to fall on him and hide him in the darkest cavern of the earth, even there will the fierce glare of Jehovah's eye Aash terror to his guilty soul. Wherever he goes an omnipresent and avenging God is by his side. Everything by which he is surrounded stands ready to cut him down. In whatever direction he looks, all is blackness, tempest, and wrath. How can he escape?

And precisely such, impenitent man and woman, is the hopelessness of your condition. Such is your impending doom. However upright you may be in the eyes of the world, «if you are only regardless and indifferent to the claims of so great salvation, it is enough to seal your everlasting ruin. It is not necessary that you should be a giant in wickedness—that you should lie, cheat, swear, steal, murder, or be an avowed infidel, in order to be damned. Simple “neglect” will do it. It is not so much your monster sins, as neglect of so great salvation, that is peopling the world of

perdition. Neglect—not giving heed to the things which we have heard, is what bars the heavens against you. This is the sin, however small it may appear, which has furnished hell with victims, and which will sink some who hear me to the same dark realm unless you speedily repent.

Esteem it not then a feigned anxiety, or a hypocritical zeal in me, when I urge upon you by all these awful considerations to commence the work of your repentance at once. There are other points upon which I would much more fondly dwell, but the hopelessness of your condition out of Christ calls for this train of remarks. Then neglect no longer so great salvation. You have already neglected long enough. The extremity of your case demands immediate action. Take heed, I most earnestly beseech you, take heed to the things which you have heard ; “ for if the words spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?”

LECTURE V.

CHRIST'S HUMILIATION NO GROUND OF CONTEMPT BUT ENCOUR

AGEMENT.

Heb. ii. 5—18. For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to

come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst. him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor ; that he by the grace of God should laste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the cap. tain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifielh and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brelhren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold l' and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himselt likewise look part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature gels ; but he look on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it beho ved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

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AFTER the moving appeal made from the proposition of Christ's superiority to the angels contained in the preceding verses, the apostle still seems to apprehend some objection in view of the fact, that Christ made bis appearance in human nature, and was subject to all the reverses, privations, and sufferings of humanity from which angels were exempted. Unwilling then that the conclusion of his foregoing argument should be the least modified or broken in its force, by any misapprehension of the incarnation of the Savior, he proceeds to show in the text, that his humiliation and suffering, instead of being a ground for his rejection and contempt on the part of those to whom he was preached, on the contrary furnished motive and encouragement to embrace him and to rely on him.

In the first place, he shows from an inspired description of the original dignity of humanity, that Christ considered merely as a man, was but little if any inferior to the angels. “But one in a

certain place (Ps. viji. 4–6.) testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.”

From this we see, that in point of rank, man was created but little inferior to the angels. “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels." He stands next in the scale to celestial orders, inferior to them only as respects his connections with the gross materiality of earth, and inferior to them only for a time. For the Savior has declared that the children of the resurrection shall be equal unto the angels.” (Luke xx. 36.)

Nor was he created only with a noble nature, but was crowned with "glory and honor.” This may refer to his high mental and moral endowments, being made “ wiser than the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven,”—or to the sweetness, beauty, and glory of his primeval habitation, or to those holy communications of light and hope which were kindled by the finger of God in his heart,—or what is more likely, to all of these particulars comprehended under a single view.

Man was also invested with the supreme dominion over the things of this world. “Thou hast set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” And though we do not now behold him in the full exercise of such an authority—though“ we see not yet all things put under him," and animals and elements still resist his control ; it is only because this dominion was broken and abridged by his fall and defection, and not because it was not originally conferred upon him. In Genesis it is written : “ And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.This is a grant which the angels never had. “For unto the angels bath he not put in subjection the world that was to come, of which I am now speaking.” (Stuart's translation.) It is something however to which the Savior's humanity fully entitled him, and that consequently he was very little, if any. thing inferior to the angels even under that partial view which ex

cludes any direct reference to his Divinity. And looking upon the language of the Psalmist by way of prophetic allusion, as applying more eminently to “the Son of man” who was to spring from him, and understanding “ the world that was to come” of which Paul speaks to refer to the Gospel kingdom, the conclusion is the same. God has never committed the jurisdiction of the church into angels' hands, nor delegated to councils, bishops, cardinals, or popes, the dominion of the christian dispensation. But inasmuch as he has put all things in subjection to the Son of man, he left nothing that is not put under him. Hence this same Jesus who was born at Bethlehem and crucified on Calvary, God hath made both Lord and Christ. He has conferred upon him a dignity and authority, which presents him under a more imposing attitude than had he been an angel.

In the next place, the apostle shows, that in augmentation of the dignity thus belonging to the Savior, he possessed an additional honor as the reward accruing to him from his mediatorial work. “ But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, on account of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, after that by the grace of God he had tasted death for every man." And the crown of glory and honor which has been placed upon the Redeemer's brow as the reward of his humiliation and suffering for the salvation of the guilty, is great, rich, and eternal. No human capacity can measure its excellence, or human tongue express the fulness of its glory. Whilst on earth we but see through a glass darkly, and know but in part; yet the Savior's official honor as contemplated by us now, is infinite and ineffable. The heralds of his glory comprehend all orders of existence, and throng all portions of the universe. The Father has honored him. He honored him with the endowments of his Spirit at his baptism. He honored him with cheering messages of commendation from the clouds of heaven. He honored him with the transporting vision of his own unveiled Divinity on the mount. He honored him with his presence in the gloomy silence of the grave, and raised him up

in triumph over death and hell. He honored him with an exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high, “ far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”— The angels have honored him. They honored him with songs and

joyous shoutings at his birth. They honored him with their attendance—their sympathies--and their kind offices in his temptation and his agony. They honored him by tearing open the rocky doors of his sepulchre, and heralding to his friends the glorious tidings of his resurrection. They honored him with the presence of all their glittering trains at his ascension, and lent their heavenly attendance in his exultant flight to the seat prepared for him in the skies. They honored him with their reverence and obedience in ministering to his saints. And according to the visions of John, they still praise and honor him in view of the mighty work which he accomplished, “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.” Men, too, impelled by a sense of gratitude for the inappreciable běnefits of his mediation experienced by their souls, have come from all directions under heaven to lay their sublimest honors at his feet. Around his infant head in the manger of Bethlehem the eastern Magi bowed in reverence for his name.

On his first presentation in the Temple, the devout Simeon and Anna were there to receive him with blessing and honor. When he approached the Baptist of Jordan to be officially inducted into priestly orders, John shrunk back in reverend awe of his greatness. Though his pilgrimage through earth was lowly and despised by the haughtiness of worldly dignity, his path was nevertheless set with pure and humble-hearted worshipers who enveloped him in the incense of their devotions and their grateful praise. The whole faithful church since the great pentecostal revival at Jerusalem, has been crying with united heart and continuous voice-“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.” Nor is there any period in the future, however distant, when exulting ascriptions of blessing and honor shall cease to ascend to the praise of his mighty name.

Such then being the glory and honor resulting to Christ by virtue of his mediatorship, the conclusion is obvious, that though he be a mere man, he nevertheless far excels in dignity the bighest order of angelic excellence. So far then from the circumstance of his humanity and suffering tending to degrade him, they are the very causes of his exaltation, and impose upon the Jews and upon us obedience to his teachings by considerations of honor and glory far

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