Imágenes de páginas

cipal parts of our Saviour's life, were so far from being more easy to him than to us, that, in fact, they were much more difficult. We know from the experience of our own nature, that humiliation and contempt, indignities and bodily pain, are less tolerable in proportion to the refinement and dignity of the sufferer; and hence it is reasonable to conclude, that they would be still more grievous to a spirit of finer feelings, and more exalted dignity. Now, in proportion to the degree of suffering, must be the virtue of the voluntary sufferer. As a person of rank and education would feel much greater anguish of mind, and even of body, from an ignominious punish. ment, than one of a coarser frame of mind, or firmer texture of nerves, so would a superior Being suffer much more than either; and, therefore, these virtues of patience, fortitude and resignation, were of more difficult exercise on the part of our Lord, than any of us, who are invited to follow his example.

If we except his miracles, his prophecies, and other preternatural parts of his conduct, which we are not expected to copy into our lives, we shall find nothing in the daily conversation of our Lord, which it is unreasonable to expect us to imitate. It may, indeed, be impracticable for us to exhibit that uniform consistency, and beautiful symmetry, which appear in the character of Jesus; but there is, perhaps, no single virtue in its comyou, do

position, which we may not be expected to exemplify. : We may even insist, that, in some instances, the virtues exercised by our Lord were more reasonably to be looked for in man, especially those, which relate to our conduct to one another. What can be more conclusive than such reasoning as this: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another?” “As I have loved


also love one another?” It is surely much more natural, that we should feel af. fection, sympathy and compassion for our fellowcreatures, than that a spiritual being of a superior order should take such an interest in our wants, sufferings, or feelings. As to piety and devotion, they are equally due to the Father of all, from all his children: and what is there in the humility and meekness, temperance and fortitude of Jesus, that is not a suitable object for our imitation? Are not our relative duties, as members of families and society, subjects of government, and lovers of our country, much more congenial to our nature and condition, than to his, whose country was not of this world ? In all this I am not contending, that any

hu. man creature can equal our gracious Master in the sublimity and beauty of his spotless character; nor even in the display of any one grace: nor is this necessary to my purpose, for this is not the object of proposing a pattern. It is not required,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

that a child shall equal his parent, or a pupil vie
with his master: much less is it expected, that a
disciple shall rival our Lord. He is not proposed
to us as an object of emulation, still less of com-
petition; but as a character of transcendent ex-
cellence, calculated to conciliate our esteem, ex-
cite our admiration, and kindle our ambition.
As we are to be followers of God, like dutiful
children of a wise and affectionate parent, so are
we to be followers of Christ, as humble and teach-
able disciples. Our Lord draws all men after
him by the amiable and practicable example which
he exhibits. He allures them all to follow him
by the suavity and mildness of his character and
deportment, but keeps them at an awful distance
by the majesty of his superior nature. There is
nothing in his ordinary conversation, which an
amiable and virtuous man might not, at first sight,
hope to copy into his own life; nor does he per-
ceive how much he is excelled, and how hard a
task he has undertaken, till he makes the attempt.
If, however, his aim be not victory, but improve-
ment, he will find sufficient gratification in trac-
ing the steps of his heavenly Master, even at the
humblest distance.

In his state of humiliation, though our Saviour
was exempt from sin, yet he was liable to temp-
tation, and consequently a suitable model for our
imitation. This sympathy with human feelings,
and this experience of the power of temptation,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

were also calculated to render him a persuasive intercessor, and a merciful Judge. Thus all is consistent in the result, though inconceivable in the detail. “It became the captain of our salvation to be made perfect by sufferings," in order to complete his own character and merits, and qualify him for that high reward and glorious exaltation which awaited him; and also to prepare him for being a sympathetic intercessor, and a merciful Judge. Let us then both “ follow his steps,” and trust to his sympathy and clemency as a Mediator, an Intercessor, and the final dispenser of the Divine Justice, both to the living and the dead.

Now to him, who sent from his bosom his wellbeloved Son, to take on himself the fashion of a man, and to dwell among us, full of grace and truth, that he might bring many sons to God, and who hath now highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every other name, be glory, through Christ the Lord.-- Amen.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

P. 197.-(1) In the beginning, cannot refer to eternity; for eternity has no beginning. If this were spoken of the Su. préme God, it would be a profane expression. It would imply that there may have been a time, when he was not. It means, at or before the creation. Thus Moses: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Many have

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]


subscribed to the eternity of the Son, both in the early ages, and later; meaning only, that he was produced in eternity, that is, before our time. This was the opinion of most of the fathers before the Council of Nice. Many Arians have scrupled to call Christ a creature, thinking that all creatures were made by him, and that he, of course, differed from them in some re. spect; or imagining some other mode of coming into being beside création out of nothing.–For Authorities, see Ben Mordecai, p. 159 and 187.

Neither can this phrase signify, from the beginning of the Gospel. That Jesus existed “in the beginning of the Gospel, at the commencement of his ministry," is a truism; and that "the world was enlightened by him," instead of "was or was made by him," is an unwarrantable perversion of the text. See Improved Version.

The word, translated World, in this place is roollos not aww or alwWs; and, therefore, the text is not exposed to the same criticism with other corresponding passages. That, which is rendered made,

EZEVETO, also signifies to be, or exist: but this makes no difference: the same sense remains, thus: “All things were (or existed) by him; and without him was not any thing, that was;" nothing existed, that ever existed. Again, “the world was, (or existed) by him;" that is, by his agency under God; for such is the force of the preposition. The same use of the word occurs in Acts xix. 26: “ gods, which are made with hands, YIVOJLEVDI;" and in Hebrews, xi. 3; “The things that are seen, were not made (yeyovevas) of things that do appear:” where Newcome observes, that (awas) worlds, is explained by the “ things which are seen,” to signify the visible, mate. rial world, called into being by the word or command of God: and in James iii. 9: “Men made after the similitude of God," Yeyovoras. It is thus translated here, even in the Improved Version; which rejects this interpretation in the first chapter of John; as a sense, which the word eyeve70, will not admit.” The text assuredly refers to the account of the creation by Moses.

« AnteriorContinuar »