Imágenes de páginas

not himself, but our lord Jesus Christ, and that he himself was only the servant of Jesus for the propagation of his gospel. At the same time, he declares that that same God, (the God of Chrift, of Paul, and of all mankind,) who had commanded light to shine out of darkness in the natural world, had enlightened him with the knowledge of the glory of God which was on " the face of Jesus Christ or in the * person of Jesus Christ, as the same expression is rendered in another part of this epistle *.


Paul most scrupulously states the christian revelation to have derived its authority and pretensions from God, in contradistinction to Christ and his apostles, the instruments employed in its promulgation to the world. He stiles Christ • the image of God,' that is, in his purity and excellence of character; in like manner Moses says, ' in the image of God,

made he man.' We might indeed consider this description of Christ as referring to the gospel itself, as the image, or mirror, of the mind and will of God. Agreeably to this representation we also may understand the same apostle, when he says in our context, that God thined in their



* See chap. ii. 10. and Pyle on 2 Cor. iv6.

hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the *glory of God, on the face of Jesus Christ,’-to mean, that that more perfect acquaintance with the will of God which was possessed by him, was communicated for the sole purpose of difplaying the better knowledge of God, by means of the dispensation of Jesus Christ. For, what visual light is to the bodily eye, the same is the light of the christian revelation to the understanding mind of man.

Our apostle, as though he apprehended he might be misunderstood, and, from a mistake of his meaning, be supposed to arrogate to himself more extraordinary powers than were given him; or, left future preachers of the gospel who might have no extraordinary powers at all committed to them, should make any claim to such pretensions, most seasonably observes, with great truth and justness of remark, that this treasure of heavenly knowledge was comınitted to earthen vessels; in other words, that it was intrusted to men, and was intended to be left to make its way in the world without any further supernatural illumination from the father of lights.

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

It is apparent that the design of this observation was to lead the immediate followers, and


[ocr errors][merged small]

and future disciples of Christ to consider the gospel as the work of God, and the whole scheme of christianity to be, what we are perfuaded it really is, a revelation of his mind and will. It was also a no less feasonable and proper protest against the pretended powers and assumed privileges of the priesthood which had been greatly abused, and were, therefore, likely to be continued so long as the weakness and credulity of mankind should leave them their hopes and fears to work upon.

[ocr errors]

Paul having thus stated and insisted that the gospel of Christ was from God, and that he had employed human agents to preach and propagate it to the world, proceeds, with all the simplicity of an apostle of this benevolent religion, but with all the dignity of a learned and eloquent scholar, to prove his declaration respecting himself, by a general relation of the difficulties which attended his ministry. His own words will better explain his meaning than any paraphrase we can give of them. “We " are pressed,' writes he, but not straitened ; • perplexed, but not wholly at a loss ; driven ' away, but not utterly forsaken; thrown down, but not killed; bearing about every-where the deadly marks of the lord Jesus on our

<body, ·body, that the life also of Jesus may be dif" played in the same body. For we, who are ' alive, are constantly delivered over unto death, " that the life of Jesus also may be displayed in • this mortal body: so that death sheweth him• self in us, but life in you. Now, having that <spirit of faith spoken of in scripture, I believed, and therefore Spake, we also believe, " and therefore speak: knowing that he, who

raised the lord Jesus to life, will also raise us through Jesus, and present us with you. Now all these sufferings are for your fakes, that the favor of the gospel, abounding in many, may make thanksgivings abound also unto the glory of God. Therefore we faint not; for though our outward man decay, our inward man is renewed day by day. For

this light amiction, which is but for a moment, • at length produceth for us, in a measure ex

ceedingly abundant, an eternal weight of glory. • For we consider 'nót the things, that are seen,

but the things, that are not seen : for the

things, that are seen, are only for a time; but - the things, that are not seen, are eternal *."

The apofile rested the evidence of the truth of the gospel of Christ upon its being derived from God, and declared that christianity bore, in its very face or appearance, the image or representation of his . will. He then advances in his testimony respecting himself and his own ministry, declaring that he preached not him. self, but the gospel of Jesus Christ our lord; and that in his ministerial character he was the servant of his hearers for Jesus's sake, or for the sake of the gospel.

from * 2 Cor. iv. 8-18. Mr. Wakefield's translation.

To preach Christ is a very important duty, and belongs not to ministers of religion alone, but to every believer in the truth of the christian revelation. Ministers of the gospel, when they preach Christ, should especially respect the authority by which his gospel was promulgated, the evidences by which it is supported, the doctrines and precepts which it teaches, and the sanction of a future state which it reveals. It is their duty to be faithful to their trust; neither to add to, nor take from the law by which they profess to regulate their faith and practice, and, as far as they are able, with integrity, simplicity, and godly sincerity, to declare the whole council of God. But all the members of christian societies are as much obliged by the very nature of their christian profession to regard these things as their mi.

B 2


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »