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not expect it to be so difficult as some imagine, to conceive the idea of a Second Son of God in the human kind, but first in existence-bearing or restoring his divine Presence to every inferior mediate; "as a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the found. ation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (Pet. I. i. 20), says St. Peter to the effect of what has just been observed. And whatever number of persons might through the said ordinance be assimilated or taken into the divine communion, we may imagine so many per. sons distinct in themselves, and God present in each; without either multiplying divine persons beyond the Three above named, or supposing any.:
But who would be so imprudent as to deny on the one hand that extension of the divine communion which we look up to as our greatest blessing, and which, it may be added, is decidedly authorised by the fairest construction of the sacred text; or on the other hand so vain as to con. clude, that creatures can lose a jot of their inferiority as such by a communion with the Highest Dignity in the universe ? If God be presented to us by any medium, and we consequently partakers of God thereby, is the medium or interval obliterated at the same time? . Is Jesus Christ therefore less the Only begotten Son of God, because others were predestined to be like him, “ that he might be the first-born among many brethren ?” (Rom. viii. 29.) Is the Holy Ghost less the immediate Spirit of God, because
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God?” (Ib. 14.) We should look to Jesus Christ, the Son of both God and man, each nature still remaining in one; and that will teach us to avoid both the indiscriminate plurality, and the imprudent self-exclusion, which is here objected to. We should look to the Holy Spirit, the life of God in all his servants whether above or below, in Heaven or in earth; and feel by its diyine influence the depth and consistency of the doctrine here vindicated. We should look through the Son and Holy Ghost to the Father of lights and spirits, to the Fountain of light and life with which they are identified and from which they proceed: we should look to its issues in every direction through the whole host of Elohim; and enjoy especially in the communion of the Godhead the fellowship of the blessed saints, our brethren by Christ as well as by Adam, who are either sped or speeding from this degraded to an happier state; whose fellowship is truly “ with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (John I. i. 3).
Our natural friends and relations, judging naturally, may be surprised and scandalized at the thought of our putting them off in the manner now mentioned; and much more at the more unnatural part, as they, judging naturally, must account it, of putting off ourselves. And yet this part is not more surprising than common, being truly neither; nor more than their ignorance of their profession, and consequent inattention to their most solemn engagements. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. iii. 27) ostensibly, or in profession.
Or seeing no unfavourable alteration in our outward manner towards them, no diminution of kindness, no want of attention in common respects; but rather an increasing sympathy in whatever concerns them at present, with a greater anxiety for their future happiness-and having perhaps but a slight perception themselves of that union of souls which is the essence of human friendship, and a similitude of the divine communion, or of divinity in mul. tiplicity, the relation of which we are considering our natural friends may not be aware of the necessary suspen: sion, or superseding by chance, of that essential friendship by such divine communion: when the mind, ascending in its relations while those of the body continue, instead of sharing sentiments with any human mind-or, as St. Paul expresses it,“ conferring with flesh and blood” (Gal. i. 16), will meet and mingle with the mind of Christ (Cor. L. ii 16), as Christ's with God. “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth" (John v. 20), said he: and again to his disciples on their becoming mediates, HENCEFORTH I call you not Servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth : but I have called you Friends ; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (Ib. xv. 15). And some may think there is even a degree of hypocrisy in this mental reservation; although it be as unavoidable as that which men generally observe towards the inferior animals, and superior beings towards them. “For (says St. Paul) what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (Cor. I. ii. 11, 12).
In putting on Christ, it is to be presumed, that men do not think of putting on his human principles only, whe-. ther of matter, spirit or intellect, although these will be included of course; but the Divine Word chiefly, or the truth of God which was incarnate or united with those principles in him. And if mediates of the kingdom can- : not be modest without hypocrisy, how can mediates of other matters, as of human learning and prudence, for example? If they cannot also be outwardly kind and civil to others-it may be, to neighbours and expectants, during their inward estrangement without hypocrisy or inconsistency, how can God himself be “kind to the unthankful and the evil” (Luke vi. 35): which is the cause that they are so holden with pride” (Ps. lxxiii. 6) at the same time that "he casts them away from his Presence, and keeps his Holy Spirit from them”? (Ib. li. 11.) It certainly cannot be necessary to put off our charity with our sins, in order to be consistent; it cannot be necessary to persecute our old friends on account of this new connexion. If we have truly put on Christ, the assimilating Spirit will rather shew. itself in a propensity towards
others and in a. zeal for their conversion, than in any thing unkind, morose or repulsive, leaving injuries out of the question.
It is by means of this assimilating Spirit tearing men from themselves to put on Christ, that men become mediates, and subjects likewise of the Kingdom of God in Christ. This is what it is to obtain a new name; as it is said in the Revelations, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, (the favourable ballot) and in the stone a new name written which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. ii. 17). So used Christians to receive a white robe generally, with a new name individually, the effect of which is best known to the receiver in baptism *, a type and medium of this promotion from earth to Heaven. Then do we become real subjects of the Kingdom of God in Christ; as the virtuous are subjects of virtue, or the wise of wisdom, that is by participation or inclusion; not by chance communion, nor by a momentary self addiction, and no farther thought of the matter, as some have imagined without any communion whatever; but by a steady adherence to his example and doctrine : which is living in, or by Christ. Or we may say, it is living Christ in fact; that is continuing, preferring, exhibiting his blessed life in the world; when his life will be ours, and our works his; and that, not by imputation merely, but by actual performance; as the prophet says, addressing him in the name of his terrestrial subjects and mediates, “Lord thou wilt ordain peace for us : for thou also hast wrought all our works in us."
The works that a man puts out of hand are generally wrought, as we say, in his head; and, if good, by a good principle or purpose : now Christ is our good principle and our wisdom for every purpose connected with his divine mission; as another regenerator, but not so universal,
. More of this in the Sermon upon the accident-No. 3.
told his subjects, or rather his Master's, “For this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations” (Deut. iv. 6). And it would be hard to say, what purpose is not connected with that divine mission in some shape or other. There is not an imagination of the heart, nor a word of the mouth, nor a stroke of the hand; consequently, no joint performance of the same; no work or production of his subjects in short, that is not more or less of Christ according to the will of the Father and its application or subservience to Christian purposes: for "all things are of God” (Cor. II. v. 18). Even the sentence that proclaims this verity with its context, however unworthy upon the whole of the institution to which it relates, must be ascribed in chief to its chief authority in
our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named” (Eph. iii. 14, 15), so far as it may be agreeable to the incarnate Word. This is no more than the Psalmist also declares to God “Thy Word hath quickened me” (Ps. cxix. 50): nor more than is attested either, as well by the productions of the Psalmist as of others. For the life that we perceive in the Psalms, and in the próphets is but a part, no more is the genuine Gospel of Christ, and all truly relating to it, any thing but a part of the light or effulgence of the Incarnate Word. When he said himself, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John vi. 63),—he meant, They are for spirit and for life unto you; to be to you what the ORIGINAL is to me: and that I was the Fountain; of which these words were direct issues, becoming again new fountains of living waters in others by the gift of the Holy Ghost upon his glorification with the Father (Ib.vi. 38, 39). So true is that saying, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Ib. i. 4): which is paralleled by another in the first person according to the same authority, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness; but shall have the light of life" (Ib. viii. 12).