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will we seek.” Nor shall any seek in vain ! " For if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more shall our heavenly Father GIVE THE HOLY SPIRÍT TO THEM

!

"'*

THAT ASK HIM

* Luke xi. 13.

351

SERMON XXI.

THE SYMPATHY OF CHRIST.

HEBREWS iv. 15.

“ FOR WE HAVE NOT AN HIGH PRIEST WHICH CANNOT BE TOUCHED

WITH THE FEELING OF OUR INFIRMITIES; BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN.”

THERE is no subject which ought to be approached with deeper reverence than that which relates to the mysterious person and mediatorial work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Here we can know nothing but what God has been pleased to reveal to us; the light of nature and of reason cannot assist us, and all wisdom but that which is from above will prove folly and darkness. Well may we exclaim, as we endeavour to contemplate the nature of Christ, “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh !”* We should pray for a humble mind and a teachable spirit, for holy boldness in tracing out the truth as far as it is clearly made known to us, and for the meekness of true wisdom to relinquish our search the moment that we find the door of revelation closed against us. Our anxious desire should be that our investigations may never assume the character of intrusive curiosity, nor our declarations of divine truth ever be enfeebled by a sinful timidity. That grace may be given us to avoid alike every exaggeration, and every

1 Tim. iii. 16.

'diminution on these great topics, that we may propound neither more nor less than what God has revealed; and that in our anxiety to escape

from one error we may not fall into its opposite ! With these chastised and reverential feelings let us draw near and contemplate TIIE TEMPTATIONS OF OUR SINLESS LORD, and may THE CONSOLATION WHICH THEY ARE CALCULATED TO AFFORD be applied to each tried and tempted follower of a suffering Master by the Holy Ghost the Comforter !

It will help our research into this mysterious subject, first to reflect upon the revealed nature of Christ as PERFECT God and PERFECT MAN. The apostle speaks of him in the previous verse as " Jesus the Son of God.” And that he was not only THE SON OF God, but GoD THE Son, is manifest from many passages of the holy Scriptures. St. John testifies of Him that, “In the beginning was THE WORD, and the Word was

with God, and the WORD WAS GOD!"* And that Jesus is THE WORD is clear from the fourteenth verse, where the evangelist adds concerning him, “and the Word. was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,) full of

grace and truth." It follows of necessity, that if the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh, God was made flesh. Of himself Jesus testifies, "I and my Father are one.” | “He that hat! seen me, hath seen the Father."

6 Before Abraham was, I am!”; He claimed omnipresence, for while he was on earth, he declared, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is IN HEAVEN."|| The Jews rightly understood him “to make himself equal with God,” when he taught them “that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father.” To these testimonies from one evangelist, many might be added from other parts of Scripture, in proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, “ the man who was God's fellow." **

The brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person :”tt and that “in him dwelt all the

* 1 John i. 1.
s viii. 58.
** Zech. xii. 7.

+ x. 30.
|| iii. 13.

++ Heb. i. 3.

xiv. 9. Nr. 23.

VOL. II.

Α Α

fulness of the GODHEAD BODILY," or in a human body.* This is the fundamental truth of the christian religion—THAT Jesus Christ was God! That he never ceased, nor could ever cease to be God, nor ever laid aside the perfect Godhead for a moment. And here we might at once conclude that he was not only sinless, but IMPECCABLE; as incapable of sin as that God himself who “cannot lie!” But it

may be observed, with equal truth, that Jesus Christ was man; as really MAN as he was God. Undoubtedly; but how did he become man? Let us reflect upon the nature and mode of his incarnation. By his miraculous conception in the womb of a pure virgin, he was essentially distinguished from the rest of mankind. He was not “conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity;" the corrupt descent from Adam was in part interrupted, and the entail of iniquity cut off. The wonderful history of the annunciation and conception, as recorded in the opening of the Gospels by St. Matthew and St. Luke, claims our most solemn and deliberate consideration. “The angel Gabriel is sent from God to a virgin whose name was Mary;" and after having pronounced a benediction upon her, “ he said to her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

* Colos. ii. 9.

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