« AnteriorContinuar »
teaching the reader to exercise more lively faith in the mighty power of God while he recites the eet petition of our collect, if his soul should be more deeply humbled under a conviction of his own helplessness, more comforted by the promises of God, and be better furnished for the remainder of his arduous conflict-the end both of the author and transcriber will be fully answered. Then glory will redound to God, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen! Amen!
THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY.
O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us the sons of God and heirs of everlasting life, grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure ; that when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom, 'where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, He liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
N this last Sunday after the Epiphany we
again advert to the Epiphany itself, or the manifestation of God in the flesh for the salvation of a ruined world. Our collect for this day seems to be a link of connection between the incarnation and the sad yet joyful events of that blessed season which we are approaching ; in which we shall commemorate the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that succeeded. We shall soon be called to contemplate the Captain of our salvation engaged in single combat, and as it were, hand to hand, with the god of this world, during forty tremendous days and nights. We shall soon behold Him sustaining the wrath of God, and sweating great drops of blood beneath its pressure. We shall “ look
We shall “ look upon Him “ whom we have pierced,” and mourn over our expiring Lord, while hanging on the ignominious cross. We shall“ see the place” of sepulture “ where the Lord lay” in the lowest state
of humiliation. There, however, we shall join also in His triumphs, while He rises a conqueror over death and hell, and by faith shall follow Him in His ascent from mount Olivet to His throne in glory
In the interim we are invited to review the ends for which “God was manifest in the flesh, and to unite in prayer for a participation of
The preface, or introductory part of our collect, recites the ends proposed in the incarnation of the Son of God. He “ was manifested that “ He might destroy the works of the devil, and 66 make us the sons of God and heirs of ever
lasting life.” Important objects ! worthy of God to propose, and worthy of that gracious interposition which was necessary for their accomplishment.
Our collect is addressed to Jehovah, the first person in the Godhead, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain of salvation, the supreme agent in the covenant of redemption. For though in the Divine Essence neither of the Three Persons is as before or after “ another, none is greater or less than another;" yet in the economy of grace a pre-eminence is assigned by the Scriptures to God the Father, and the Son and Spirit are represented as acting in a subordinate capacity. This, however, is the result of voluntary arrangement in the counsels of the Triune Jehovah. And, therefore, we are not from hence to infer that there is any “ difference or inequality” among the “ “ sential and co-eternal" Three; but, that which
we believe of the glory of the Father, the
same we are to believe of the Son and the “ Holy Ghost.”
- The Son of God was manifested,” or, as St. Paul expresses it, “ God was manifest in the “ flesh.” He whom our collect calls the Son of God, is, according to the Apostle, very God. This is the doctrine of the Old and New Testament. In the former, the “child” who is “ born,” and the Son" who is “ given to us," is “the mighty God, and the everlasting Father.” His name is « Immanuel-God with us." In the latter we are informed, that “the Word was made flesh.” And, lest any doubt should arise respecting the person intended by this mysterious name, we are assured that the « Word was
God, by whom all things were made, and “ without whom was not any thing made that
was made.” This adorable Person had for many ages revealed Himself to His people in the glory that abode on the mercy-seat of the tabernacle and temple; but in the fullness of time He assumed our nature, whereby God and man became one Christ. In Him Jehovah was manifested; for Christ is “the image of the in
visible God, the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.”
The first object proposed by the incarnation of Jehovah, which is specified in our collect, is “ the destruction of the works of the devil.”— The words of our collect are cited from 1 John jii. 8. “ For this purpose the Son of God was “manifested that He might destroy the works “ of the devil.” Some information respecting the design of Christ's appearance in the world the devils themselves seem to have obtained, as as we may infer from the language which they used in their addresses to Him. One of them said, when expecting a dispossession from bis usurped habitation by the power of Christ,
“ Let us alone! what have we to do with thee, - Thou Jesus of Nazareth ? Art thou come to
destroy us? I know thee who thou art-the Holy One of God.” Marki. 24. Those also who were ejected from the Gergasene demoniac, cried, saying, “ What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? Art thou come to torment “ us before the time ?” Matt. viii. 29. To this overthrow of the devil's kingdom our Lord refers when He says, “I beheld Satan, like
lightning, falling from heaven.” In order that we may understand the object of the Messiah's mission, it is necessary to observe, that the works of God were marred through sin which the devil had introduced into them. When the universe came out of the hand of its Divine Artificer, it was pronounced by the lips of unerring wisdom to be “ very good.” It was calculated to answer the end of its creation as an instrument of giving glory to God. And the glory of His own name and attributes is, and must be, the supreme object of all God's operations. - Jehovah hath made all things for “ Himself.” The worth, excellency, and perfection of the creature arises therefore from its adaptation to this purpose. In connection with this supreme and ultimate object of creation, the beneficent Former of all things proposed to Himself another important aim, the happiness of an innumerable multitude of animate and rational beings, who should owe their existence and its comforts to His kindness. With a relation to this gracious purpose also the world was
very good” when God rested from his work. Man was furnished with the means of felicity, and every thing by which he was surrounded was suited to contribute thereto,