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so in the course of our expositions, I have one remark further to make upon the symbol itself, of Christ standing in the midst of the sevengolden candlesticks.
By the raiment of the High Priest, with which the Son of Man is here invested, as well as the candlesticks, it is proved that the vision is not of things within the veil of the heavens, but of things without the veil; that is, of things in this visible world; and therefore, most surely, the churches and the ministers of the churches, should look to these three chapters of holy writ, as containing the form, order, and stability of their constitutions until Christ shall come again. In the next vision, on the other hand, Christ as the Lamb slain; is represented within the veil of the beavens; and forasmuch as that vision headeth up the rest of the Apocalypse, until the time that the New Jerusalen descendeth out of heaven, we may see, as I think, in this distinction that he is nearer to his churches, being in the midst of them, than he is to the nations of the earth, whom he affecteth in various ways from within the veil by opening the seals of that seven-sealed book ;-in other words, that he is nearer to us, as the Head of his church, than he is to the world, as the Head of providence. He hath us, as it were, in, beside him, within the holy place; but them he removeth himself from, by retiring into the most holy place. And when he doth come forth in the vision of trumpets to do his judgments upon them, he takes his stand at the altar, outside of the temple altogether; and from thence he scatters fire amongst the nations, “the Gentiles, who trod the altar, and the holy city under foot.” (Rev. xi.) Here, then, is the beautiful arrangement: Himself in the most holy place of the heavens within the veil ; we who are his true churches, in the holy place of the golden candlestick ; the Gentile, or apostate church, without, treading down the holy city, for forty-and-two months; after which they begin to be destroyed, and the earth to be delivered from its destroyers. To go further into this at present would be to anticipate what belongs to a future Lecture.
So much have we to say upon the symbol of the seven golden candlesticks, from which we now pass to the subjeet of the vision, “the Son of Man;" for the revelation of whom all these visions are given, and whose dignity as the Head
of the church is set forth in the vision before us. He, the Person, and the only person in the scene presented to the seer, is described with a minuteness which bespeaks a purpose, even the purpose of conveying by every contrivance of attire, and of aspect; of word, and of act; the full information of his character, as Bishop of the churches.
“ And I saw in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the Son of Man.” This expression carries us directly to the visions of Daniel, the first which he received ; and being considered in an historical point of view, the most important perhaps in the whole canon of Scripture. It is the vision contained in the seventh chapter of that prophet, which may be entitled The Vision of the Son of Man, and of his kingdom, with all his saints; in which vision, the oppression of the saints, and of the earth, their future kingdom, is set forth by the similitude of four beasts which iu succession spoil the world, whose wicked times being ceased and deterinined, it is said, (ver. 13), “ I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Man, came with the clouds of heaven." “And there was given bim dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him.” And it is added, “ The kingdom and doininion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”—This same title, the Sou of Man, is given to Messiah in two other parts of the Old Testament (Psalms viii. and lxxx), and in both cases with reference to his dominion and the dominion of his saints. But the allusion is evidently to this viith of Daniel, from the expression like the Son of Man. He took to himself the title of Son of Man during the days of his flesh, and in some places rests much doctrine upon that name; as, for example, in the vth chapter of Joho's Gospel, where, after speaking of himself as the Word of God, and the Father's great representative, to whom the Father hath given to do every thing for him, he addeth these words (ver. 26): “ For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath be given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judyment also, because he is the Son of Man.” And accord
ingly when he cometh to gather his elect from their graves, and to judge the quick, it is always in this character, the Son of Man. (Matt. xxiv. 30; xxv. 31.) And here also in our text, when exhibiting him as Head of the church, it is in the same character as Son of Man. Why this continual thrusting forward of his humanity? I would ask. The answer is, that it is the dominion of the man which it is the purpose of God to exhibit. It is the ultimate fact, and as it were the one constituting principle of creation, that man was to govern it, and shew forth to it that image of God in which he was created. Government of the creatures is not an accident of manhood, which passed from him at the Fall, to be for ever lost; but it is the essence of his being, the object of his creation, which Adam lost, only that the second Adam, the true Head of mankind might regain it, and, in regaining it, shew forth the depths of the grace and love of God. This is the reason why, as Son of Man, he effecteth every work of the redemption of the creatures. His body of manhood, presented boly on the cross, redeemed us from the guilt of sin. By that offered body, we are nourished, fed upon his flesh and blood; by God in manhood, death's potentate was destroyed. He took flesh to do it (Heb. ii.) By .
) God in manhood, we shall be raised from the grave. By God in manhood, the church is governed now: by God in manhood, the church shall be brought into her dominion hereafter. Reason this matter out as you may or can, the matter is a matter of fact, written in the word of God, and needeth no confirmation from our reasoning, nor from our reasoning can derive any detriment. And when I say that the object of man's creation was, to reveal God to the creatures in a likeness, and in that representative likeness to govern them all; which object for a while deferred by our fall, yet not hindered thereby, but rather prospered, Christ doth substantiate in his own person, and is substantiating in the church, and shall finally substantiate in the kingdom ;—when I have said this, I have said all that I can say upon the subject; yea, and all that can be said; for what more is there in putting forth creation, than to communicate God's own being to the knowledge thereof, and to govern it
according to God's own blessed and most harmonious law. By the fact, therefore, that Christ taketh to himself, as Head of the church, the title of the Son of Man, we learn, that the church is the preparation of the kingdom, and that he who is to possess the earth is the same who now feedeth his flock like a shepherd. And we are taught moreover, that God acteth towards his church not otherwise than through the manhood of Christ; that between us and Godhead, the Man Christ Jesus, doth in all things mediate and intercede ; that the Father hath committed all things to the Son of Man, hath vested his glory in the Son of Man, and in him, and by him, who is our brother, is instructing, leading, and guiding us; that the Holy Ghost cometh not to us in the plenitude of Godhead, whose fellowship Godhead only can sustain, but cometh to us all humanized, so to speak, properto man's conditions, accommodated to man's frailties, and fitted to re-establish manhood's likeness unto Godhead in every feature;-in one word, cometh to us, through the veil of the manhood of Christ, as life floweth to the unborn child ihrough the veins of its mother. This mystery of the Holy Ghost's subjection unto the man is little understood, and little cared for, in these times, which are too busy with printing and circulating Bibles, to think of interpreting them. But they are the glory of the Spirit of God, and the glory of the Christ, and the glory of the Father, and explain the ineffable grace which together they have shewn unto manhood. Oh, what a grace of Godhead to his creatures thus to apprehend its fallen, mortal, corruptible substance; and by personal union therewith, to exalt it to be the mouth, the hand, the every instrument of Godhead, for doing every work of goodness and blessedness unto creation. What a work of the Son, thus to condescend! what a work of the Father, thus to do by the condescending Son! what a work of the Spirit, to become the servant of the servant! and what an honour of the Father, by the Son, and by the Spirit, thus for ever to serve his glory! Oh, my soul, be filled with this glorious mystery of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, working out their own glory in creation and redemption! Let thy delight be to know God, and to speak of him, and to
serve him. This, this, is thy salvation, to know thy God. This, this, is thy blessedness, to see thy God in Jesus Christ ; and seeing him, to see thine own great architype. This, this, is thy sanctification, to look into that face of perfect beauty and purity, and by beholding to be transferred into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of God. Oh, if again, as I fear, this doctrine of the Trinity should be consigned to a tacit oblivion, and thrown, as it were, into a corner of the church's ruin, then, I ask of my God the highest honour of contending against such an obscuration, such an oblivion. And if, again, it should be resisted in the church, I ask no higher degree than to contend for it with the patience with which the Saints and Fathers of the third and fourth centuries did contend.
Before passing from this title, “ like the Son of Man," I have another observation upon the import of the word like. Why, in Daniel, and in the passage before us, should he be called " like the Son of Man." For the same reason that, in Phil. ii., he is said to be in the “ likeness of man;" and, in Rom. viii., in the “ likeness of sinful flesh ;” and, in Heb. ii., “ in all respects made like to the brethren ; to wit, because his proper being is Godhead, his proper person Son of God; which being, which person he laid not, neither can lay, aside, though he did assume into the fellowship thereof, the being of a fallible and fallen creature, to the end he might raise that creature into the state of infallibility. Therefore is it said, that he was “ like unto the Son of Map;" and made in the likeness of men, to the end we might be taught that there was a higher being in him than that perfect manhood in which he appeared, acted, and shall forever subsist. He was the Word made flesh, the God made manifest in flesh: he was the Son of God revealed as the Son of Man. But this form which he assumed in the fulness of the times was not an appearance or a similitude, but the reality and substance of manbood. We have seen that, so far from being an accident, it was the very end of creation, that God should be made manifest to creation, and forever revealed to creation in a creature form: and the form selected was that afterwards assumed, -to wit, the form of man.