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of the universal episcopate, the Pope of Rome, took upon himself to use the civil sword, and brought it to pass, by his enchantments, and sorceries, and witchcrafts, that when he had pronounced any one an heretic, the kings of the earth, should draw the sword against him. But we Protestant churches hold other doctrine, rightly believing the sword of the church to lie in the word that proceedeth out of her mouth. We cut off by the sentence of excommunication; and we neither ask, nor expect, that the state should thereupon inflict any punishment. But if the state, ordering itself according to Divine laws, should say, No one shall fulfil the office of a magistrate, or be capable of any preferment under the crown, whom the church hath cut off from the body of Christ, then what is that to us, who are bound to be in subjection unto the state, and not to subject it? That state, which doth so determine, doth so in reverence of Christ, the Head of kings, and that state which doth otherwise determine, doth it apon ber responsibility to Christ the King. We meddle not otherwise than as preachers of God's verity, to instruct all ranks, and make intercession for all men. Contemplate, then, O my brethren, Him who holdeth the angels of the churches in his right hand, and walketh among the churches, “who is the first and the last, who was dead and is alive again;" him contemplate, as the Judge in his church, as well as the Saviour of his church. Him contemplate as continually exercising discipline, as well as preaching salvation; as cutting off apostates, as well as introducing new believers into his church.
“ And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” Both in the Old and in the New Testament, Messiah is represented as the light and glory of his people: "A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel.” This he was in a moral and spiritual sense, when he appeared as the Prophet of God in the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, wherefore these words of the prophet Isaiah, ix. 2, are applied to him by the Holy Ghost. “ The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. They that dwell in the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” And by the prophet Malachi he is denominated the Sun of Righteousness, without whom, as he himself declareth, the world walketh in darkness.
Nevertheless, his countenance was dull during the days of his flesh, as the countenance of another man, so ás by no external marks to be distinguished. But when he would shew unto his disciples, Peter and James and John, the Son of Man coming in his kingdom, and was transfigured before them (Matt. xvii. 3), “ His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light;" and when he appeared to St. Paul (Acts xxvi. 13), “ it was with a light above the brightness of the sun.” And again, when he appears to our seer, “ his countenance is as the sun shineth in his strength." And when he comes to take possession of his purchased dominion (Rev. x. 1), “ His face was as it were the sun," which all answereth to the description of his coming (Psal. xviii. 12); “ at the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed :" and in one word, this majestic presence with which he shall appear, is what is meant in Scripture by his coming in his glory; and in that better condition of the world which is described (Rev. xxi. 22); it is said, “the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their honour and glory into it.” Now in my opinion, Christ did not take that glorious appearance on mount Tabor and elsewhere, for the purpose of amazing and astounding the beholders, but for the very purpose of shewing them in what aspect and appearance he was to come again; and I have high warrant for so opining. The Apostle Peter, in his Second Epistle, willing to assure the church that the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ which he preached, was not a fable cunningly devised, but a real and literal truth of eye-sight, doth thus write (i. 16): We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty ; for he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased ; and this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” Now I ask, what is the Apostle reason ing about in this passage? About the power and coming of
the Lord Jesus Christ is he reasoning? And how reasoneth he? He asserteth that it is not a fiction, but a reality. And why a reality? Because they had been eye-witnesses of it. The whole force of his argument resteth upon this very thing, that what they saw in the mount was the reality of that personal presence in which Christ is to come again. I hold it therefore for certain, that Christ will be not only morally but physically, not only figuratively but literally, the light of the New Jerusalem. If any one be shocked with the sensuousness (if I may use that word, to avoid the figurative application of sensuality) of this notion, he will be pleased to reflect a little, and to take one or two things into consideration. First, Christ did so appear on the mount of transfiguration, and whenever after his resurrection he did appear: secondly, God is always said to dwell in light that is inaccessible, and full of glory: thirdly, the great type of the New Jerusalem, which is the most holy place of the tabernacle, was lighted with no material light of the sun, nor of the holy lamp, but with the light which proceeded from between the cherubim; a light without a cause, but the First Cause; the light of God's own glorious presence; and I ask, what signifies this, that there should be a portion of space from which all light was excluded, save the light of God's own presence? It doth signify that there is to be a portion of space in the world to come, which shall not otherwise be enlightened? And what place is that? Where God maketh his tabernacle. And what place is that? The New Jerusalem, which cometh down from heaven, over which, as it descendeth, this word is pronounced (Rev. xxi. 3), “ Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” But God seen is Christ, in whom alone he is visible. Therefore, I say again, that as truly as the holy place of the tabernacle was enlightened with God's presence between the cherubim, so truly shall the New Jerusalem that cometh down from heaven be enlightened by his dwelling in the midst of his saints, who shall every one of them be arrayed in his glory; and, in token hereof, when he shewed himself to John, his countenance radiates forth light like the sun shining in his strength. How sublimely is this
expressed in the anticipative prayer of Habakkuk (iii. 3): “ God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand, and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood and measured the earth : he beheld, and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting."
I have quoted the whole of this sublime passage, because of its wonderful parallelism with the vision before us, in many other points besides the brightness of his countenance. For example, the horns proceeding out of his hand, where is the hiding of his power, I conceive to be parallel with the seven stars in his right hand, unto whom he hath committed the dominion of his church, and through whose faithful testimony the earth is smitten, as heretofore Jerusalem was destroyed by the word of Ezekiel, (xliii. 3). And the coals of fire which went forth at his feet are parallel with his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace. And the destruction of pestilence and earthquake that went before him is parallel with that sword of power proceeding out of his mouth, whose effect is to judge the earth like that flying roll, which the Prophet Zechariah saw. (v. 1--5.)
Such, then, is the complete portraiture of the likeness of the Son of Man; the great, the only universal Bishop of his church, whose majestic lineaments and mighty powers when I survey, I am lost in adoration of that goodness and grace, and power and might, which lie reponed by the Father in his person. I see him no longer as the man of sorrows, who through weakness was crucified and laid in the grave; but I do see him as the Lord and Christ, whom God hath seated in his own throne, that the knees of creation might bow before his feet, and the tongues of creation might confess before his all-knowing and all-gracious mind. What see I, in this majestic vision, in this prolific symbol in this Divine hieroglyphic? I see the Godhead of the Son unhumbled, unalloyed by his manhood ; yea, but I see the Godhead of the Son, and the manhood too, being of the Christ, set up highest ; and the
Godhead of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost, in their personalities, doing all their diligence to bring creation under his feet, and to bow every lofty neck to his obedience, unto the end that his dignity might be asserted against power, and it might be known what humiliation he voluntarily underwent heretofore, and what hum he for ever undergoes, by consenting to be in subjection to the Father, when he shall sit on David's throne, and from the throne of David rule the created worlds. I say humiliation this, in comparison with that glory which he now hath with the Father, seated in his throne, and which he had before the world was; exaltation however, when compared with his past humiliation ; exaltation when compared with every thing out of God, for of the things out of God he reigneth King-Priest. There is a time coming, when Godhead shall be all in all. (1 Cor. xv. 28.) That time is not yet, for at present the God-manhood of Christ is all in all, being the end of the Father's rule and government : “ Sit on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” But the time is coming, when, from that throne, Jesus Christ shall descend into that station of subjection to occupy which the person of the Son contracted himself to creature bounds, in which, for ever acting, he shall teach and empower a redeemed and blessed universe to worship Godhead, invisible and incomprehensible, standing in the person of the Father; in which Godhead, his own Godhead, and the Holy Ghost's Godhead, and the Father's Godhead, are alike worshipped. But it is improper language to speak of the Father's Godhead, of the Son's Godhead, or the Godhead of the Holy Ghost ; for Godhead is not divided, though in separate subsistences. Oh glorious mystery of the Trinity, basis of all truth, preservative of all worship, ground of all redemption, stability of all blessedness ! 'Let me live to defend, let ine die to confirm, let me live for ever to enjoy, the knowledge of Godhead in the Father worshipped apart, of Godhead in the Son living and sustaining me and a redeemed world, apart from the worshipped Father ; of Godhead in the Holy Ghost, quickening with all holy and blessed life me and the redeemed world, yet in due subordination, and far distance from the Head, Christ; as distinct from Him as the personality of the Holy Ghost is