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childhood; and are things which were said, and done, to him, by others; and not words, and actions, of his own. But they will be viewed as precious articles in the account of Jesus Christ, by every one who wants to understand his character, and to whom his name appears to be Wonderful.
His miracles show him to be wonderful. When John sent from the prison two of his disciples to inquire, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another; Jesus gave no answer, either affirmatively, or negatively; but directed them to make out their report, from what they had seen, and heard, and to say the blind receive their sight; and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed; and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up; and the poor have the gospel preached to them. This reference to his miracles was the most satisfactory answer, for it showed the fulfilment of prophecies, and presented an astonishing scene of contemplation. Other miracles might be added to this enumeration, and from all, and from each particular miracle, we may see the wonderful character of the Author.
The character of Christ appears to be wonderful from his doctrine, and the manner in which he delivered it. All inspired men, whether prophets, or apostles, must teach the truth, and be infallible, so far as they are inspired. Of course, nothing essentially different can be discovered in what Christ taught himself, from what others have taught, who have spoken as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. But still, we learn from the testimony of enemies, that never man spake like this man. His parables are founded on common occurrences, and are not only lessons, but pictures, and so clearly, and forcibly, do they convey the truth, that he must be dull of apprehension, who cannot, in the main, understand them, without having them expounded. We find him too, not unfrequently, meeting the questions which were proposed to him, not by giving a direct answer, but by revealing the thoughts which the inquirers attempted to conceal; or by bringing into view a subject of greater importance than the one to which the question related. Every one must have been struck with this peculiarity who has with any attention read the gospel history.
The life of Christ was as wonderful as any thing concerning him. The lives of the best of men, abound with imperfection, so that it may be said, without a single exception, Man in his best estate is altogether vanity. Moses was an uncommonly meek and faithful man; but for his sins he was forbidden to enter the promised land. Elijah was very jealous for the Lord God of hosts; but fearing the wrath of Jezebel, he fled to the cave, and sunk into despondency. David was a man after God's own heart; but his iniquities astonish us. Solomon was the wisest of men,
and had extraordinary manifestations of the divine favor; but he was guilty of egregious misconduct, for he went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians; and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites; and built high places for the worship of those lying vanities. The time would fail us to tell of Gideon, and of Barak; of Samson, and of Jephthae; of Samuel, and of the prophets, and apostles at large. Not a single thing however, in the life of Christ, from the first day to the last, can be found which we could say
is blot upon
his character. The thief upon the cross declared, This man hath done nothing amiss; and even Judas was compelled to testify, that he had betrayed the innocent blood.
Christ was wonderful in his death. When his murderers were nailing him to the cross, he prayed for them, saying, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. As if insensible to his own sufferings, he was employed in imploring a pardon for their sins. At the time of the crucifixion the scene was awfully majestic. From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour, caused by a supernatural eclipse. The vail of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
The resurrection of Christ was wonderful. Every precaution that could be thought of, was taken to secure the body in the sepulchre where it was deposited. A great stone was rolled at the door, and sealed; and a watch was placed. But all was in vain. When the time came for him to rise, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead
The ascension of Christ was wonderful. Of this St. Luke makes brief mention in his gospel; and again brings it into view in his history of the Acts of the apostles. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up
his hands and blessed them; And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly towards heaven, as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
The second characteristic name which is given to Jesus Christ is Counsellor. In the first chapter of the bible we find this passage.
And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness. This is plainly the language of consultation. But with whom can we suppose that God took counsel? It could not be with any of his creatures, for if man was to be made in the image of God, or after his likeness, he could not be made in the image of any creature, or after his likeness, for there is an infinite dissimilarity between the Creator and the creature; and such a supposition would be embarrassed still farther with this difficulty, it would imply, that a creature, acting in concert with his Creator, might create, and of course, might be possessed of creative powers inherent in himself. driven then by necessity to look beyond the circle of created intelligences, to find some one to whom God could make such an address, and he who is called counsellor in the text, is the only one that can be found.
In the history of Israel's march through the wilderness we are informed how Moses was directed, as to his own conduct, and that of the people to whom he was appointed leader. The cloudy pillar by day, the pillar of fire by night, was the guide, and as that moved, or rested, so the people
proceeded, or pitched their tents; not following their own judgment, or inclination, but led on by an invisible hand; and whenever any consultation was necessary Christ was the Counsellor.
Kings have their counsellors; but one far above them says, By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. Pious kings will seek for pious counsellors; and especially will they consult him who is the counsellor by way of distinction, that they may be directed in the way of their duty. As to wicked kings, Christ acts as counsellor to them, for though they will not go to him for counsel, their measures shall tend to accomplish the counsels of his wisdom.
Christ is farther the Counsellor, because all his people, whatever may be their stations, and conditions in life, will be sensible, that they need that counsel which he only can give them; and they will consult him with respect to every transaction. The sacred scriptures are a volume of instruction to which nothing can be added; and what we have to do is as particularly pointed out there, as if we were named in connexion with our business. We are therefore, referred to this source of instruction, and if we consider that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, we shall view him as addressing us whenever we attend to his word. They who read for instruction, pray that they may understand what they read, for all who lean to their own understanding are fools; and the scorner seeketh wisdom and findeth it not.
There is another important sense in which Christ may be viewed as a Counsellor. A Counsellor is one who undertakes and pleads the cause of another. St. John has said, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and in the eighth chapter of his Revelation, with the same object in view, he has said, And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it, with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. In the epistle to the Hebrews we find these words, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
The third name given in this prophecy to the child who is the object of our present attention is, The Mighty God. This to many is a hard saying, and they are disposed to inquire, Who can hear it? But it should be remembered that it is a saying embodied with the bible, and that we have no more authority for rejecting this short passage of the bible, than we have for rejecting the bible at large. It should also be remembered that multitudes who once considered this as a hard sayîng, now cordially receive it, and are sensible, that it was a hard heart which dictated their former judgment. It may be the misconception of some, that we call the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, God; because we give the name of God to Jesus Christ. Nothing could be a greater absurdity, or a more impious error, than this. St. Paul has set this matter before us in a clear light by saying, God was manifest in the flesh.
It may perhaps be said we read in the first chapter of St. John's gospel, The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and if the Word is God, what is this but making God and flesh one and the same thing? The answer to this is, that in the same chapter, and in close connexion with these words, we are told, No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotton Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. But the flesh of Jesus might be seen as the flesh of any other man. Of course the expression the Word was made flesh, must mean the Word was united with flesh; God was manifest in the Aesh. If we have any objection against calling this child the mighty God except this, that his humanity could not be his Godhead, Let us ask ourselves what idea we have of God, but what we derive from his names, his attributes, and his works? Now if the names and attributes of God are given to Jesus Christ, and if his works are all the same, if we do not call him God, what shall we call him? God has declared that he will not give his glory to another; and to me it appears utterly impossible that he should; for I think it the greatest of all inconsistencies to suppose two infinite beings to have an existence.
With St. Paul we acknowledge, that the mystery of godliness is great; but upon what principle, or by what rule of