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who, in truth, wisdom, and righteousness, shall fix the final state of man.
The first and the last letters of an alphabet necessarily include all the rest, and the Alpha and the Omega denote the perfection of the whole. This idea leads us to contemplate Jesus, in whom all possible perfection dwells ; or, as Paul expresseth it, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And as he is the Mediator, in whom all perfection of wisdom, power, truth, grace, righteousness, and eternal love dwell, we adore him as the perfection of beauty, the fountain of blessedness, and the brightness of glory!
From the alphabet we take letters, make words, form sentences, chapters, and volumes, for the preservation of our ideas, and the communication of them for the interesting purpose of diffusing knowledge to mankind. As Jesus, who is Alpha and Omega, is the image of the invisible God, it is from him alone we can, as fallen beings, collect ideas of JEHOVAH as gracious and merciful to us. A God in Christ is the current theme of the Scriptures. This Jesus is the fountain of wisdom. We could as easily compose a volume without an alphabet, as obtain spiritual knowledge without Jesus. It is from hence God fulfils his gracious promise, and turns to the people e pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
Thus let us read our text with advantage ; learn Jesus Alpha, in his divinity, as the ALMIGHTY, and in his official character as the great MEDIATOR. Let us often reflect on the depth of his humiliation as our Omega, with the perfection of his truth and his grace, and adore him for what he is in HIMSELF, . 3. According to promise, we shall spend a few minutes
more to learn what this text will teach us of the relation Jesus bears to us. This is an interesting part of the subject; for a Christ, however glorious in himself, unless enjoyed, can afford no satisfaction to a sinner's heart. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of your salvation, the spiritual life of your souls, the author of your conversion, sanctification, establishment, perseverance; all comes from Jesus. He is, therefore, styled the author and the finisher of our faith. The redemption of Christ was necessary to save you from hell; and salvation, by the Spirit of Christ, is equally necessary to qualify you for heaven; for, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, let his pretentions be what they may. Contemplate Jesus as your Alpha and Omega. Your first spiritual motion of soul, the first dawn of heavenly light, and your first taste of sacred love, all equally proceed from him. As the Omega, the end, the finisher, he knows how to ripen your soul for glory, how to put the last finishing stroke to your faith, your sufferings, and your experience.
Jesus is Alpha, the first, the beginning, the foundation. stone of strength to his visible Church; and he shall be found the Omega, the corner-stone, and the top-stone of beauty and perfection to the whole. Churches and Ministers should thus honour Jesus as their Alpha and Ome. ga. All institutions, privileges, gifts, laws, grace, prosperity to individuals and to the Church collectively, which are ennobling to the soul, and worthy of God, proceed from him. And equally happy is that FAMILY whose end and aim, duties and mercies, are enjoyed from the same celestial source! To make Jesus the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all domestic engagements; to consider him, from first to last, in all dis
appointments and sufferings, wil never fail to yield a thousand sacred sweets. Christ is all, and in all. Bless him all ye people, and magnify him all ye who are on your way to glory. Trust him all ye who are the children of sorrow; he will not forsake the work of his hande Praise him all ye Ministers of his that publish salvation in his name. As from Jesus, your Alpha and Omega, you learn the language of grace in this valley of tears, soon shall you be transmitted to the mansions above, where, in the highest perfection, you shall praise him as the first and the last, as God over all blessed for ever
-Thou, my all!
1 PETER iii. 4.
Lord, while thy glorious works I view,
FROM the contents of this chapter we find Peter was under a necessity to dissuade some female professors of religion from extravagance in dress; but, at the same time, descends from the decorations of the body to the more important concerns of the soul. Perhaps all that may be denominated “ PERSONAL RELIGION” will be found comprised in this remarkable sentence, the hidden man of the heart. As our meditations upon it struct our minds in the true religion of the heart, let us inquire, Why this bears the appellation of man? Why it is called the man of the heart? and how far this is said to be concealed, or the hidden man of the heart? In the conclusion of this discourse may we each be found in possession of this true religion of the soul, and be influenced to live to the honour of our God.
1. Why personal religion bears the appellation of man. Others, perhaps, in discussing this subject, would rather have introduced the term grace, in preference to
personal religion." Be it so, provided we can understand the subject, and find ourselves in possession of the thing. This is not the only text where religion in the
soul is called man. Paul calls it, the inner man—the new man, in contradistinction to the old man, which is corrupt. In order to render this subject as clear as possible, I shall claim your attention to a few select observations.
Man is confessedly the creature of God. The new and hidden man of the heart is not so much the new creation of God, as he is the LORD CREATOR, as he is the LORD REDEEMER, and the God of all grace. To each divine person in the unity of the Godhead this new creaation is attributed. The Father hath begotten us again -created in Christ Jesus—born again of the Spirit. As it is with the production of man as a creature, so it is with the hidden man of the heart. A NATURE is communicated in regeneration, which is an instantaneous operation of God, and then that new man in embryo is delivered into visible, active life, by being born of the Spirit. If you ask me, What is that nature which is communicated, and which produces this new creature? I reply, It is the nature of Jesus Christ. Paul teaches us this truth, He revealed his Son in me.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. And I am disposed further to say, as the Holy Spirit formed the nature of Jesus in the Virgin Mary, that he might be the Head and the Father of the family of grace; so, the same Spirit conveys the nature of Jesus to sinners, to form them new creatures, and make them spiritual members of his body. To add no more, it is, I presume, for this very reason the promise was made for Messiah, saying, He shall see his seed. We therefore believe that this is the origin of the new man, the hidden man of the heart, created in righteousness and true holiness, after the image of the Lord. This it is that makes the true Christian; for, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.