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it is evident;' for of him was it said by his dying | and spitting, so that 'his visage would be more father: The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, marred than any man, and his form more than nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh the sons of men.' They were to pierce his hands come; and to him shall the gathering of the and feet, and yet a bone of him was not to be nations be.' About the same period a voice was broken. They were to part his garments among heard from the land of Uz, saying, 'I know that them, and yet for his chief vesture they were to my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at cast lots. Even the sorrowful plaint he was to the latter day upon the earth.' utter from the cross had been expressed by the Psalmist by anticipation: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' In fulfilling the law and the prophets, he who is the grand theme of the Old Testament, the antitype of the types, the substance of the shadows, the sum of God's ancient revelation, not only put honour upon it through life, but in the very act of dying. He held his life until the scriptures should be accomplished. And knowing that his receiving a draught of vinegar was the last thing connected with his death, recorded in the book of Psalms, he looked down upon his murderers, and raising his expiring voice into a loud cry,' he begged that that might be given him as the last conclusive proof that he was indeed the Messiah of whom Moses, and David, and Isaiah had spoken: Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.'

We next come to the grand era of Moses, who was himself an eminent type of the Christ, as Deliverer, Prophet, Governor, and Judge of his people. And in the law of Moses' many things are written of him. As his salvation had been shadowed forth by the redemption from Egypt, by the passover and the sprinkling with blood, so the whole ritual that was established was one grand prefigurative image of Him that was to He was set forth in every bleeding sacrifice as an offering for sin; in the manna from heaven as the bread of life; in the smitten rock as the source of refreshment; in the brazen serpent as the crucified, exalted Saviour; in the tabernacle and temple as the residence of the present Deity-God with man upon the earth; and in the Urim and Thummim of the sacred oracle as the brightness of glory, the perfection of beauty, the light and life of men.



When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,' Gal. iv. 4, 5.

The frequency with which Christ is spoken of in the Prophets and Psalms' may be gathered from the fact that in no less than thirty-three different places, the Evangelist Matthew alone, after adverting to some particular incident in the life of his divine Master, adds: "These things were done that the scripture might be fulfilled.' The period at which he should appear, the family whence he should descend, the place where he should be born-the beauties of his character, the value of his doctrine, the might and mercy of his works-all was foretold. But still more minute were the predictions to which he himself here referred, as having been fulfilled in his last sufferings and death. The description of the traitor had been given in the Psalms, as his own familiar friend who ate of his bread, yet lifted up his heel against him.' The exact price for which he sold his Lord (the price of the vilest slave), and its employment in the purchase of the potter's field had been specified by the prophet Zechariah as the price of him whom the children of Israel did value.' When brought to prison and to judgment, 'false witnesses were to rise up against him, and such as breathed out Hence the gospel is called the dispensation cruelty. All that should then see him would of the fullness of times. The mystery hid for 'laugh him to scorn.' He was to give his back ages was not disclosed till the moment appointed to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked and approved of God; and that moment was off the hair, and hide not his face from shame the fullness of time'-because it was neither too

GOD is not a God of confusion, but of order; he does every thing not only in the best possible way, but at the best possible time. He might have sent his Son into the world as soon as man fell, or he might have delayed his mission until the end of the world; but in making known to us the riches of his grace he has abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence;' and, therefore, not until the period fixed in the eternal counsels of the 'only wise God,' was the Lamb manifested, who had been foreordained before the foundation of the world.

soon nor too late. All the reasons for this arrangement can be known only to God, yet there are some of them which appear sufficiently obvious to every candid and humble inquirer.

It was not too soon; for it was necessary that men should be taught by long and universal experience, how little could be effected by human wisdom or human power, in securing the grand objects of religion and virtue. The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;' and the Gentile nations were suffered so long to walk in their own ways, that they might have at last a thorough proof and an entire consciousness of their spiritual malady, and thus be the better prepared to welcome the Great Physician. After so lengthened and so extensive a trial, it had become evident beyond all controversy, that mankind were utterly impotent to deliver themselves from their darkness and misery; and this conviction would pre-dispose them to embrace more readily the light and life of the gospel. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.' Another reason for the seeming delay may be found in the necessity which existed for preparing the untutored minds of Jews as well as Gentiles, for the revelation of abstract truth, by a previous economy of type and symbol, which presented outward things to the outward senses as patterns of the things spiritual and heavenly that were to be exhibited to the eye of faith. Moreover, the peace and consolation which the gospel was to impart would be more eagerly sought, and more highly valued, in consequence of the dispensation of terror and bondage which preceded it; and thus the law, both ceremonial and moral, was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.'

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But while the period here designated the 'fullness of time' was not too soon, so neither was it too late, as (speaking after the manner of men) it might have been, had the coming of the Son of God been delayed any longer. For by this time, as at the period of the deluge, 'all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. The heathen world had been for ages sunk in the grossest ignorance of all that it most concerned them to know and to practice in order to happiness. And the night of thick darkness which so long overspread the other nations had now extended its deadly shadow to the favoured land of the Most High. Religion had degenerated into a lifeless form; morality was an empty name; judgment, mercy, and the love of God had nearly disappeared beneath the withering influence of Pharisaic hypocrisy and Sadducean infidelity and licentiousness.

There had nevertheless arisen not in Judea only, but throughout all the East an earnest, longing expectation of some merciful Deliverer. And at length the day dawned, the Sun of Righteousness appeared, the Great Prophet was manifested, mighty in word and deed, who was to be at once a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son.'

And as there was manifold wisdom displayed in the ara selected for his mission, so there was love and grace unutterable in the mission itself. It was not the highest of created beings that was sent, but God's own Son, his only Son, his wellbeloved Son, who had been in his bosom from eternity, and in whom his soul delighted. Him he sent forth' from riches and glory to poverty and shame, from the songs of angels to the scorn of sinners, from heaven's highest happiness to earth's lowest misery. He became 'man born of woman,' and his days, therefore, though few, were full of trouble. He was made under the law'subject to its ritual ordinances which he scrupulously observed, bound by its moral precepts which he righteously fulfilled,-yet, as the substitute of transgressors, exposed also to its penalty which he meekly endured. He thus became the Redeemer by being himself the Ransom. By his perfect righteousness imputed, and his powerful grace imparted, he redeems at once from the yoke of the law ceremonial, and the curse of the law moral, from the dominion of sin and the tyranny of Satan. His ransomed people thus pass from darkness to light, from death to life, from the condemnation of rebels to the adoption of sons.' God is their Father, Christ their elder brother, angels their ministers, and heaven their home.

'Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!' Amazing condescension! that the Son of God should become the Son of Man, in order that sons of men might become sons of God. Let the life and character correspond, in some measure, to the high rank, the exalted privileges, the glorious hopes. Now are we the sons of God; and we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him.' 'Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.'

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clared to be God blessed for ever;' and to make it manifest that this name was applied to him,

Whose are the fathers, and of whom, as con-not in the way of accommodation merely, nor to cerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever,' Rom. ix. 5. DIVINE grace does not extinguish natural affection. Faith worketh by love; but this love is discriminating, and has a respect to all the different relations by which we are connected both as men and as Christians. Paul desired the salvation of all men, but he felt a peculiar and most pressing concern for the spiritual welfare of his Jewish countrymen. On their account he had 'great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart.' He went so far as to say, 'I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.'

The Jews had many strong claims to his sympathy. Some of them were united to him by the ties of blood; many of them had been endeared to him in the bonds of friendship. They were all his fellow-countrymen, members of one commonwealth, the descendants of one great progenitor. Now they were a degraded people; but the apostle looked back to their former distinction, and viewed them as a nation that had been set apart and singularly honoured of God. Speaking of them, he says: 'Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever."

It was the peculiar honour of the Jews that of them, 'as concerning the flesh, Christ came.' His descent can be traced from Abraham downwards in one unbroken line of succession. Agreeably to ancient prophecy, he sprung from the tribe of Judah, and the family of David. When he came to the Jews, he came to his own, but they received him not.' That which should have recommended him to their acceptance, was made by them a ground of objection against him. Even the brethren of Jesus, we are told, did not believe in him. Natural relationship is often unconnected with spiritual affinity. Many who stand highest in privilege are lowest in character, and shall be last in condition. The Jews gloried in being the descendants of Abraham, but despised the honour of being the progenitors of Christ.

The descent of the Saviour does not affect his essential dignity. He, who in his human nature could claim no higher than Jewish origin, is de

express an inferior and delegated authority, but to affirm his proper and supreme divinity, he is pronounced to be over all, God blessed for ever.' We are expressly commanded to honour the Son, even as we honour the Father. He bears the titles, possesses the attributes, performs the works, and claims the worship which belong exclusively to God. He himself asserted his Godhead; he accepted the homage which is peculiar to Deity; he allowed himself to be addressed by names which are descriptive of true and proper divinity. The work which the Father had given him to do required that he should be God, and proves that he is God. To bear the iniquities of his people in his own body on the tree, and by the one offering of himself to make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in an everlasting righteousness; to act the part of Mediator between God and man, so as to sustain the honour of the former, and secure the interests of the latter; this is a work which Deity alone could execute. Jesus is a divine Saviour, and therefore mighty to save.' His obedience unto death has all the worth and efficacy which Deity could give it, and is worthy of all the confidence we can repose, of all the gratitude we can feel, and all the honour we can render.

As God he is the portion of his people. They have renounced every other ground of dependence; they have seen the vanity of earthly things; they have learned the guilt and folly of self-righteousness; they have abandoned all those refuges of lies' which the pride of an unbelieving heart naturally prefers; they have fled to Christ as their only hope; they build on him as the sure foundation; they accept of him as their all-sufficient portion. He is precious to them as the pearl of great price: they feel his service to be perfect freedom, and can say, 'Whom have I in heaven but thee? there is none upon earth whom I desire besides thee: thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.'

They honour him by their submission as well as their confidence, for he is at once their Sovereign and their Saviour. They confess his supreme dominion, and with the apostle declare him to be 'over all, God blessed for ever. As God he is over all' in virtue of his essential and underived prerogative. But he sways the sceptre of authority as the reward of his voluntary and meritorious abasement. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, wherefore God also hath highly


exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.' He is 'over all' in

The kingdom of nature. The earth is his, and the fullness thereof, and he giveth to every man severally as he wills. All creatures, from the mightiest to the meanest, live, and move, and have their being' in him. He rules over them as his subjects, and makes use of them as his instruments to fulfil his purposes, to protect his people, and show forth his praise. He is 'over all' in

The operations of providence. Events occur exactly in the time, and manner, and order of his appointment. He sits at the helm of affairs, and guides the stupendous vessel in her course, permitting every storm that blows, producing every calm that succeeds, working all things according to the counsel of his will. Whatsoever pleaseth him that he doeth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.' He is over all' inThe dispensation of grace; for he is Head over all things to the church, which is his body. Ministers possess a degree of authority, but it is derived from him, and must be exercised in subordination to him. Ordinances exert a beneficial influence, but they owe all their efficacy to his blessing. His will is our law in all matters both of faith and practice. This is a prerogative which he will not give to another, and which he will not share with another. But he has a twofold empire in the church: one external and visible, another spiritual and invisible; the former extending to all who profess the faith of Christ, the latter confined to those who possess it.

His people are they who have been made willing that he should reign over them. They bear his image, and bow to his sceptre, and live in dependence upon him, and hold themselves at his disposal, and offer up the daily homage of their united ascriptions, saying, 'Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.' 'Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. O visit me with thy salvation: that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.'

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'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,' John i. 14.

WORDS are the signs of our ideas, and the means of intercourse and communication between man and man. The bible is the word' of God, because it conveys to us the expression of his mind or will. But when the evangelist declares that the Word was made flesh,' it is evident that he speaks of a person, and it is equally obvious that he speaks of the person of Christ. In him from eternity were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and in the fullness of time he appeared on earth, in the character of a teacher sent from God to unfold the mysteries of his kingdom, to display the glories of his character, and reveal his purpose of mercy for the instruction and salvation of a benighted and perishing world.

But to fit him for his work it was necessary that the Word should be made flesh. The term flesh,' expresses the reality of our Lord's human nature, and embodies the great fact of his incarnation. He emptied himself of the glory which he had with the Father, and took upon him, not the nature of angels, but the nature of man, for he came to save not angels but men. His obedience could not have answered the end for which it was designed, had it not been the obedience of a man. He, therefore, became literally 'bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,' having a true body and a reasonable soul, endued with the same faculties, performing the same functions, and subject to the same infirmities which are common to men. But his flesh had no mixture of depravity in it. He was in reality made flesh, but he was made only in the likeness of sinful flesh.' Because he had no sin of his own, he could offer himself a sacrifice for the sins of his people. It was a pure and perfect sacrifice that he presented; and the righteousness which he wrought out, in his life and by his death, was strictly and properly the righteousness of a man, and such as might be imputed to man for the ground of his justification and acceptance with God. 'Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.'

In his incarnation Christ emptied himself, but by thus emptying himself he acquired a fullness which he could not otherwise have possessed; a

essence of eternal truth, and the substance of revealed truth. He must, therefore, have a perfect comprehension of truth, as well as be supremely qualified to make it known to others.

All the spiritual wants of his people have been provided for in the fullness of Christ. They are by nature ignorant, having the understanding

them captive at his will. But Christ is full of truth to open the eyes of their understanding, to turn them from darkness to light, and to train them up unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.' By nature also, and by wicked works, they are enemies to God, exposed to his wrath, destitute of his image, averse to his service, incapable of honouring or enjoying him. But Christ is full of grace to pardon their sins, and restore them to favour, to purify their hearts, and fit them for duty. There is in him a fullness of all that they should desire, or can stand in need of either in time or for eternity. And his fullness is like himself-infinite and inexhaustible. As it is sufficient for all so it is accessible to all.

mediatorial fullness, a fullness of all spiritual excellencies and blessings; not the fullness of a vessel which is diminished by communication, but the fullness of a fountain which is ever flowing, yet ever full. He is 'full of grace and truth.' These words are descriptive of the character of Christ, and attribute to him thePerfection of all moral excellency. Grace ex-darkened by the god of this world, who leads presses, in particular, the benevolence or compassion of Christ. The apostle has employed it in this sense in writing to the church at Corinth, 'Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he who was rich for your sakes became poor, that ye by his poverty might be rich.' It was grace that brought him down from heaven to earth; grace appeared in all that he said, and did, and suffered; grace was infused into his lips, and breathed in all his discourses; his miracles were all acts of grace; his submission to the death of the cross exhibits a manifestation of sovereign, disinterested, unparalleled grace. He not only had grace, but was full of it; he possessed not one gracious property merely, but had grace in all its varieties, combining the estimable in character with the amiable, things pure and excellent with things lovely and of good report. But he was also 'full of truth.' This marks the sincerity and uprightness of his character. The Jews called him a deceiver, yet none of them could convince him of sin. He taught the way of God truly, and proved himself to be the faithful and true Witness. In him grace and truth were blended together in beautiful consistency, and absolute perfection. But the terms grace and truth,' apply to the redeeming work of Christ, and ascribe to him a—


Plenitude of all spiritual blessings. Grace expresses generally the privileges of God's favour and family, including pardon and acceptance, a new heart and a right spirit, deliverance from the bondage of corruption, the victory which overcometh the world, a title to heaven, and a meetness for it. In particular grace very frequently denotes the influences of the Holy Spirit. These and all other spiritual blessings are contained in the fullness of Christ. They are his by the appointment of the Father, for it pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell; they are his by the purchase of his own blood, in terms of the everlasting covenant whose conditions he fulfilled. To him especially has been committed a dispensation of the Spirit, and what he said to Paul he says to every disciple: My grace is sufficient for thee.' Truth, on the other hand, is expressive of knowledge or doctrine, and in this view of it Jesus could affirm, I am the truth.' He is the

Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.' But as it was with him, so is it in some measure with his people. Grace and truth are combined in them as they were in him. He first opens the blind eyes by the light of his truth, and then subdues the stubborn and stony heart by the power of his grace. Truth is the instrument to prepare the way for grace, and grace is the agent to apply and give effect to the truth. Neither of them can be dispensed with, and in the experience of every true Christian both are combined. There may be truth in the understanding without grace in the heart, but grace cannot exist without the accompaniment of at least some portion of the truth. Hence the necessity of prayer in order to the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. The light of truth may be diffused by mere human efforts, but the truth can be made effectual only by the operation of grace promised and put forth in answer to prayer. Truth is mighty and shall prevail, but the might of truth comes into operation through the omnipotence of grace.

It is our privilege, as it was that of his personal followers, to behold in the flesh and fullness of Christ the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. We behold the antitype of that glory which overshadowed the mercy-seat, and which shone forth permanently, then first in the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple. We seo not a material glory which dazzles the external

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