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For this every believer and each branch of Christ's universal Church is to pray continually. Nothing short of this will adequately meet and satisfy their large desires. And, as the Holy of Holies of old was filled with the visible divine glory which penetrated and pervaded every part, so are we to pray that the spiritual Temple of the New Testament, consisting of Jew and Gentile, may be filled with all the spiritual fulness of the communicable holiness and happiness of God inhabiting it, and manifesting himself in it.

This, then, is the sublime object of the entire prayer—the inhabitation of God ; if any one attains this, the dissatisfaction of his sinful state terminates and all felicity pours in ; if the Church, all the ends of redemption are accomplished, the mediatorial kingdom is closed, and God is from henceforth all in all.

But how can man, a sinner, come up to this fountain of purity and joy; what is to bring down the incomprehensible God to his apprehension; what to remove the mighty mountain of his sins which obstructs his approach to God?

2. The intermediate topics of our apostle's petitions will reply to these questions" that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge"-Christ abiding in the heart, and a view of his love in its vast di. mensions, arising from deeply rooted affection to him, are then, the mighty means of a sinner's coming up to the spring-head of happiness and holiness in God himself.“ God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” Christ must be received into our hearts by faith, that he may inhabit and dwell there, not in a visible temple, as of old, nor on a typical propi.

tíatory and mercy seat, but by invisible grace in the affections of the true penitent. He must be enthroned there as the Lord of salvation, of life, of pardon, of peace, of joy. Sin and Satan who have usurped the heart, must be driven from their seat, and Christ be welcomed as a conqueror, and must make there, not a transient resting-place only, but his permanent residence and abode. For “ Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool ; where is the house that ye build unto me, and where is the place of my rest ? For all those things hath my hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a con. trite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” To which passage our Lord probably alluding, expounds and applies the sentiment to himself, “If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode in him.”

This is, then, the first step towards a return to God as the fulness of joy, faith receiving Christ into the heart, as a Savior from guilt, sin and death. Till this is done nothing is done, and all speculations concerning the plenitude of God are vain. And there.. fore the apostle, instead of saying that Christ dwells in the universal Church as his temple, as perhaps we might have expected, speaks of his residing in the heart of the believer; because it is only by the multiplication of such individual inhabitations, that the whole body of the Church is “filled with the fulness of God.”

But, in the next place, some holy and affecting views of the dimensions, so to speak, of the love of Christ in redemption, are necessary to this end s. “That ye may be able to comprehend"-reach after;. take a view of, embrace, lay hold of (for such is the force of the term rendered comprehend,” in opposi, .



tion to that minute and adequate knowledge, which is afterwards stated to be unattainable)" the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of Christ.” His language is here most sublime; he la. bors to convey his meaning. He speaks as we should in describing infinite space, the boundaries of which we cannot perceive, and the extent of which we cannot define; he attempts to measure what is immeasurable; he endeavors to trace out what is unsearchable.

The allusion probably still is to the temple of solomon, the particular dimensions of which were so expressly and minutely laid down in the Old Testament, and whose · magnificent proportions threw into insignificancy the second temple. He accord. ingly transfers the fourfold idea of dimension to that spiritual temple, in which Jews and Gentiles are now builded together in the New Testament Church.

We are not to attempt, therefore, a particular ex, plication of each term in this admeasurement, and consider separately the breadth first, and then the length, and next the depth, and lastly the height of the love of Christ, which would be frittering away the force and beauty of the image; but we are to view it as expressing generally the vast extent of this wonderful redemption, and of the love from which it springs.

For redemption is inconceivable; "it passeth knowledge” (though it may be comprehended in its general proportions and magnitude) as to the person and original deity of the Son of God; as to his infinite condescension in taking upon him our nature; as to the mysteries of his incarnation, sufferings, agony, death; as to his glorious resurrection, his session at the right hand of the Father, his mediatorial Kingdom, the mission of his Spirit, the promulgation and success of his gospel-all these topics have a “ breadth


and length and depth and height” which surpass the stretch of our keenest view.

Nor doth the admission of “all saints,” of Gentiles as well as Jews, and the ultimate conversion of mankind, less deserve our admiration; for this is “the mystery which from the beginning of the world was hidden in God, who created all things,” both in the natural and spiritual world, “by Jesus Christ.”

But especially the love of Christ, from which all this flows, has a boundless and inconceivable extent. Christ loved us and gave himself for us. His birth was love, his death was love, his Spirit is love, his kingdom of Jew and Gentile is love. The New Testament temple, like the banner of the spouse in the Canticles, is love-love incomprehensible, love undeserved, love which could brave and endure all the humiliations and agonies which were necessary to secure its ends.

Well may the apostle, in the fervent language of the text, pray that the Ephesians might be able to trace out and comprehend with all saints, “ the breadth and length and depth and height”-not of the new and comprehensive spiritual Temple, as would have been natural for him perhaps to have said, after using these terms of admeasurement, but of THE LOVE OF CHRIST, which extended -wide as the race of fallen men, which stretched it. self through the earth, which embraced in its vast circuit believers of every country and tribe, and which sunk for ever all the distinctions which di. vided nation from nation and man from man.

But on such a subject it is by affection rather than by knowledge that we proceed aright. In all matters of sublime devotion the understanding is comparatively little employed. It is holy love, contemplation, gratitude which are the best aids of our progress. It is not by knowledge, properly so called, that we comprehend the love of Christ, but by love. And therefore St. Paul introduces this branch of his petitions by the expression, “That ye being rooted and grounded in love.” For, after we have first received the blessed Savior into our hearts, and he has taken up his mansion there, love begins to kindle a delight in contemplating and holding communion with him as the Lord of our affections, in an adherence to him with the warmest emotions of our renewed nature, a study to please him in all things, a diligence to shun what he prohibits and disapproves, a joy in being conformed to his blessed image and bearing his cross. It is only by degrees, however, that the penitent becomes “rooted and grounded," well fixed and settled, in this love; and can comprehend a little of that love of Christ which embraces in one body the whole assemblage of the faithful, and travel over the heights and mountains of his immeasurable grace. He once indeed could see no beauty in the scheme of redemption, nor in the fulness of God to which it re-conducts man. At an earlier stage of his Christian course also he still understood but little. But now having become more “rooted and grounded in love," and having overcome the contrary passions, he can follow out better the prodigious design, he can disa cern somewhat more of the love of Christ, he can conceive some clearer idea, however inadequate still, of the “ length and breadth and depth and height," of the invisible and universal spiritual temple ; and thus he begins himself to be filled with the plenitude of blessings which indwelling Deity confers.

3. But one further branch of the apostle's petitions remains to be noticed. For how is this faith to be engendered, these holy affections to be enkindled, this comprehension of the inconceivable love of Christ to be attained.

Something is previously required, the grace of the Holy Spirit. This, then, the apostle is careful to


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