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mysteries, to carry the Gospel to the heathen, to watch over and instruct the faithful. And these "gifts" of the ascended Saviour have (in spite of man's shortcomings) availed to the "edification of the body of Christ." Through them "the Lord God has had His dwelling" on earth. Millions of souls have by their means been united into one holy temple. Baptized into the blessed Triune Name, they have owned one Lord, been sanctified by one Spirit, and adored one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.
God's covenant has not been broken. His "word has not returned to Him void."
Too often, indeed, Christ's Levites have not retained their fidelity; so that to them the old reproof1 might be addressed: "Ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi." Too often have God's Nazarites, instead of being
purer than snow," had "their visage darkened m" with famine of the word of God, and the oppression of the great enemy.
God's grace no more precludes the working of man's free-will now than it did under the Old Covenant. Within forty days of the giving of the Law on Sinai, the Israelites, with Aaron at their head, had fallen back into Apis-worship. Within forty years after the consecration of the temple, Solomon was seen bowing down to Milcom and Ashtoreth.
Yet God's "gift" to Israel was not in vain.
So it is now. Jesus, our Mediatorial King, is seated in heaven dispensing gifts unto men,-"gifts" that are taken from among men. Though these may "corrupt themselves"," yet His purposes shall never be frustrated. "The gates of hell," its council chamber and its legions, m Lam. iv. 7, 8. n Deut. xxxi. 5.
1 Mal. ii. 8.
cannot prevail against" Christ's Church. "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved." Age after age souls are still being prepared for a more glorious "inhabitation of God;" when all the sanctified shall be gathered into the perfected Church, which shall be "the fulness of Him who filleth all in all."
My brethren, the meditation we have been engaged in has been a very solemn one. I trust it may not have been unprofitable. It will not be so, if it lead us to think with deeper reality of Christ's manifold working in His Church,
His "gifts" are still with us. Let our faith gratefully acknowledge their presence, and diligently profit by them. Let them serve to bind us in union to Him from whom all our spiritual life comes. He is the "Apostle and High-Priest of our profession;" Hethe Prophet of His Church, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ;" He-the Light "to lighten the heathen;" He- the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls. He is "the Head, from whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love."
To Him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one adorable God, be ascribed all honour and glory through all ages. Amen.
SERM ON IX.
The Victor, on His Throne, mystically United to His People.
ST. JOHN xvii. 10.
"And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I am glorified
HE subjects of this series of sermons have hitherto
had in view our Lord in His own Person alone, though Himself as the centre of infinite energies of life. They regard Him in His own pure individuality as acting on or for others in the manifold spheres of the spiritual life. The subject which has been committed to me involves the contemplation of Him in His intimate connection with His elect; His individuality merged in the oneness of His mystical Body,-what Holy Scripture describes under a term scarcely possible for us to comprehend in its full meaning, "the Fulness of Him that filleth all in alla." It is Himself no longer as one, but losing Himself in another unity, the perfected communion of His elect people.
Our Lord in His Incarnation acts as the medium between the invisible God and the creatures. It was necessary, according to the design of eternal Love towards the creation, and for the perfecting of the bliss and holiness of the creatures, to constitute a link to bind,
to unite them with God. Our Lord supplies this link in His own Person. The complete purpose of the Incarnation is fulfilled in the final ingathering and reunion -to use the Scriptural term, the "reconciliation”—of all the elect creatures, and our Lord is the principle of reunion, the Reconciler of all orders of intelligent beings throughout the entire range of created life, which circulates to and fro around Him, as it emanates from Him, and pervades and unites all the separate individuals who are to be taken up into this entireness of a blessed Unity in the consummation of bliss through the accomplishment of the predestination of God.
Our Lord in the text expresses the fact of His being thus the One medium of union between the Father and the elect. This is the primary meaning of the words, “And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." He is, through the operation of the Eternal Spirit, both the cause and bond of this union. The extent to which it reaches forth on every side, is revealed by St. Paul, as e.g. in the Colossians, where Christ is represented to be the cause of the first creation, as it was projected forth from God, creating life to be dependent on God through Him. He describes our Lord as the Image, the visible manifested form or expression of the invisible God: "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist "."
Afterwards the Apostle reveals the subsequent truth that Christ is likewise the Restorer of the Creation after the Fall, the cause of the reunion of what had been separated from God by sin: "For it pleased the Father that
b Col. i. 16, 17.
in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." The whole vast circumference of created being revives in the union of love which, centring in Christ, diffuses itself so as to take up and absorb into itself all true angelic as well as all true human life.
But human life has its special distinctive glory in the midst of that all-glorious mystical Body of which Christ is the Head and Heart: "He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." There is a oneness between Christ and His own elect among men, through their common nature, which is peculiar to man. Where do we read anything with regard to angels in their relation to our Lord, like to what St. Paul speaks of as the end of the ministry on earth of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, pastors, and teachers? It was ordained, as he declares, “ for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christe." St. Paul describes the result to be that the whole body of the redeemed from among men form but one man, that there is but one individual, as it were, compacted together, composed of the multitudinous individual souls of men, our Lord having His part with us in the complete Humanity—for he speaks of Him as the Head, and the rest, His own elect people, as the members of this one complete Body. And this idea runs throughout Holy Scripture; for separate individual men are compared to the eye and the hand, and the d Heb. ii. 16. Eph. iv. 12, 13.
e Col. i. 19, 20.