« AnteriorContinuar »
waiting and pressing to be received and apprehended. Which is one of the most powerful preservatives against the cominission of sin, and one of the most encouraging stimulations to faith, hope, and love, and blessed beyond all calculation !
To behold his hands and his feet, therefore, is to be both theoretically and practically convinced of his character as the risen and exalted Saviour of men, and to us in particular. It still farther implies a belief, “ that he hath all power í both in heaven and earth,” and that he is Omnipresent, in all the gradations of his own order, from first to last, and consequentially, that in him, as was before observed, “ Man is God and God is Man."
To handle him and see that it is he himself, spiritually, represents our spiritual appropriation of his divine goodness, and the conjunction of our immortal souls with his glorified humanity, in the heavenly and everlasting bonds of love. For by touching, in the word of God, is evidently signified communication, translation, and reception. For these expli
cations apply to the affections of goodness in the heart, will, and life ; as our beholding the Lord appertains more specifically, to our intellectual, reasonable faculty of perceiving the divine truths of, his holy word, in their own native splendour, or spiritual and heavenly light.
When it is moreover said, for a Spirit hath not Flesh and Bones, as ye see me hæve; we are spiritually and scripturally given to understand, that no man, spirit, nor angel, can save uș, but the Lord Jesus, Christ alone, who is all that in himself, and towards us, whịch I have attempted to describe. For, it is written, “ Noah, Danjel, and Job: could only deliver their own souls, by their righteousness ;" which is also to be understood, in a qualified sense, the same as with all “ the prophets, apostles, martyrs, and witnesses of Jesus.” And if this be true, (which even the Socinians allow,) how can a merely human instrumental Saviour, an ambassador, with a divine commission, a superangelic spirit, a demigod, or an imaginary God, of whose form nothing can be conceived, nor predicated? Surely
we might as well invoke the wind to save us, as such a God as this. And “ cursed is every one that maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” For a mere human Saviour is nothing but an arm of flesh, and we cannot set our hearts at once upon the creature and the Creator.
If Christ were not God, he would not be able to save us; and if he were not man, he could not so sympathetically feel our infirmities.
There must, therefore, my Brethren, be substantiality and form, as well as infinite love and power. And if ever we, ourselves, become truly human and immortal forms of love and truth divine, in the Lord's church and kingdom, here and hereafter, we must behold his hands and feet, by faith, spiritually handle him and see, that it is he himself that should come, and never look for another. We must see and be satisfied, that he is God, as to his ability, and man, as to his brotherly sympathy; and not an inferior Being, of our perverted, fictitious, God dishonoring and Soul destroying imagination. We must see each individually, for himself, that our Lord is in substantial, glorified, human form, the risen exalted Saviour, “ the first Begotten from the Dead, the Prince of the Kings” of the Earth,' the mighty angel standing in the sun,' and yet a very near and present help to our poor, wretched, miserable, hungry, thirsty, and naked souls, in time of trouble.” For “ beware, says the great Apostle, who foresaw, how some men would stand affected concerning Christ, beware, says he, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of this world, and not after Christ. For (or because) in him dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily.”
For in order to realize the attainment of the two things before mentioned, and included in the meaning of the text, it is indispensably necessary, that we draw near to bim, thus : viz. by coming, in some degree, into a spiritual similarity of state, or disposition. Or, to use the express language of Scripture, that “ the same mind may be in us which was also in Christ Jesus,” or that “the life also of Jesus, may be made manifest” in our life, that we may“ follow his steps,” “ walk as he walked,” “ do the works that he did,” and come up to “ the measure of a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;" that is, as far as finite can resemble infinite, or as far as the divine qualities can shine in' man, which our incarnate God was an illustrious proof, might be accomplished. And ; : ,
This consisteth in receiving a new selfhood, both voluntary and intellectual, which is éffeeted by understanding and doing his commandments from pure and unfeigned principles of faith and charity.
Without this, the communication between Christ and the Soul, is intercepted by a dark, thick cloud, which hides the brilliancy of his countenance, and prevents our reception of his divine mercy and grace. Moreover,
A natural man, [or a living inhabitant of this world,] we all very well know, cannot behold a spiritual man, [or an inhabitant of the other world,] because they