Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

pir leshare,

mumth unto
the came purport
for temporal honoure

hav

plishment. Notwithstanding the regal authority, a coversy which came by the house of David, it intimates, that the r Agistrate, he peremp. come lowly and obscure, and that the city" who made me a judge shall be born, shall be accounted little am memorable period, when he and yet, notwithstanding this apparent cross of Calvary, and resistof David, thus cut down to the very only justifiable but incumbent, which is destined to increase and am is not of this world; if my verse. But instead of dwelling uld my servants fight that I should we shall, for its better unders now is my kingdom not from hence.” particulars which it involver p licit declaration, as well as from the 1. The place of the

N

f by the prophets, as one meek and among the thousands of a acquainted with grief," we are fully II. The nature of this

chat no temporal authority was in the conIII. The digni

when he called him Ruler in Israel. On have been of old edom of the Messiah, as a spiritual king

Even in the red to by the prophets, but explained by our particulars who

Senaste emnice greatly, o daughter of Zion," said the materially A . Rejo

shout, o daughter of Jerusalem ; behold, thy Prophet ?

"thee; he is just, and having salvation." To upon the

" is the declaration of our Lord, to those who looked royal r

ours and dignities, in consequence of their connexion wast

The kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (i.e. to gi

homp and magnificence), “neither shall they say, Lo,

There ; for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." th

therefore, the authority of the Messiah extends over the og Rultond the heart. Nor can any human governor exercise over

Chority which belongs exclusively to Him. He will rule in standings, constraining us to search the Scriptures, and to bethere reflected in the mirror of his word; he will rule in our

excluding from the heart all evil passions and inordinate and replenishing it with the love of God, and the love of man; rule in our actions, at once requiring and enabling us to render bedience to his royal law, and to walk in all holiness and rightess of life; he will be our Master, our Teacher, our Guide,

ing us to follow him in the paths of holiness and peace; to take nus his yoke, which is easy, and his burden, which is light. There appears, however, if we interpret the passage literally, to be limitation of the Messiah's authority, he is to be Ruler in Israel ; ind, certainly, all the promises belong, in a primary sense, to the chosen people of God, “to whom," said St. Paul, “pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the promises," and respecting whom it was declared, by a greater than St. Paul, “ Salvation is of the Jews." Taking the passage, however, in its spiritual sense, we may suppose Israel to signify here the faithful people of God, of whatever denomination or description ; for as they are not all Israel who are of Israel, neither is he a Jew who is one outwardly; so he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and all true servants of Christ are comprehended under the general designation of the ISRAEL OF God.

Besides, the free admission of the Gentiles into all the privileges of the Gool covenant, is asserted in various passages of Scripture, in

with him: The kin with outward pomo here, or lo, there. As a Ruler, there conscience and the us that authority our understanding

hold him therero affections, exclus desires, and rem he will role in due obedience eousness of)

inclining us to

[ocr errors]

terms that preclude all question. In the writings of the prophet Isaiah, who was contemporary with Micah, we find the Almighty thus defining and extending the commission of his anointed servant : “ It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light unto the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." And in that exquisitely beautiful portion of holy writ (Isaiah, ch. liv.), the prosperity and even the preeminence of the Gentile church are described in the most vivid colours : “ Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear ; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child : for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations : spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and cause the desolate cities to be inhabited." But it needs not to multiply quotations in proof of that which cannot be doubted or denied ; suffice it to observe, that the Saviour of mankind, though himself a Jew, and directing the Gospel to be first proclaimed in the cities of Judah, is not less “ the light to lighten the Gentiles," than “the glory of his people Israel;" and that there shall be eventually no limit to his empire, either on the right hand or on the left, for the “ God of the whole earth shall he be called.” • It only remains to consider,

III. The dignity of the Messiah's person : “ His goings forth have been of old, even from everlasting."

It is scarcely possible to imagine language more plainly and unequivocally indicative of the essential and eternal divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ than this. Had the prophet confined himself to the former part of this clause, “ his goings forth have been from of old," room might have been left, so far as this passage is concerned, for the errors of those who assert our Lord's preeminence over all created beings, but represent him as still inferior to the Father. It might have been maintained, with some degree of plausibility, that there was some remote period in the succession of time, at which he had no existence. But such a supposition is altogether precluded by the subsequent words of the prophet, “ from everlasting," or, as it is in the Hebrew --from the days of eternity; and hence we fully understand that corresponding declaration of the prophet Isaiah, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” And the testimony to our Lord's eternal existence is equally clear and convincing in the New Testament, where it is said by St. John, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God; in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” And again, by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Colossians, “He is before all things, and by Him all things subsist.” With such direct proof as to the eternity of our Lord, it is unnecessary to go into the collateral evidence; and it will be more for our edification, after having taken a brief view of the Messiah's dignity, to deduce from the passage those practical inferences, which it is so eminently calculated to impart, and which, at the present season, have a peculiar propriety and force.

Eternity necessarily involves the other attributes of Deity-onnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience; for that which has a beginning, must necessarily derive its origin from some power superior to itself; and that which has existed by its own inherent and independent power, from all eternity, can have no superior. Christ, as the Son of God, is equal with God; as the Son of man, which character he took upon himself, he is inferior to the Father ; but then his humiliation was, in all respects, a voluntary act, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Consequently, his eternal and essential dignity remains undiminished and unimpaired. “ Being in the form of God, he thinks it not robbery to be equal with God”-equal in duration, equal in power, equal in knowledge, equal in wisdom, equal, in a word, in the possession of all those attributes which are necessary to constitute perfection.

But we must not encroach too far on subjects which are too vast for our finite comprehension. That it is so, we are convinced, for we are assured of it in that word which we know to be the word of truth, and we feel within our own bosoms an irresistible evidence to its reality. We fcel that so great is our weakness, so many are our iniquities, so frequent our deviations, that if the Saviour were less than God, he could not be the Saviour whom we need. But as to the precise manner of the union of the divine and human nature in the person of our Lord, as to that mystery of godliness, which represents the Son of God to be the same with the everlasting Father- as to these, and subjects like these, we must be contented to forego a full insight into them; and, satisfied with possessing light sufficient to guide us on our way through the wilderness of this world, we must not draw too near that light, which no man can approach unto, nor attempt to be wise above that which is written, lest we make shipwreck of our faith. It would be strange indeed, if they who cannot comprehend the nature of others, or even their own, should be able fully to understand the mysterious union of the Godhead, in the three persons of the everblessed Trinity. Suffice it us to know, that all has been provided by the wisdom of Omnipotence, for the accomplishment of our salvation; and that, since he who knew no sin has been made sin for us, we also, if we repent and believe, shall be made the righteousness of God in him.

Let me in conclusion remind you, my Christian brethren, that to be convinced of the bare authenticity of this, or of any other prophecy, or of all the prophecies put together, will be comparatively of little avail, unless conviction produce a practical effect on our lives and conduct. Knowledge-empty, superficial, theoretical knowledge-puffeth up; it is charity, which combines the love of God and of man, charity alone which edifieth. And if you need incentives, as which of us does not, to awaken sentiments of gratitude to God, and feelings of benevolence to man, think of Him, your great Benefactor, the onlybegotten Son of God, who for your sakes condescended, as at this time, to lay aside the dignity of the Godhead ; who, though he reigoed with the Father before the foundation of the world, deigned to take upon him the form of a servant, and, though his goings forth were of old, even from everlasting, became for our sakes obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Surely he has a claim upon all the affections of our heart, a right to all the obedience of our lives. When we consider his transcendant goodness in dying for us, how little should we consider it to live to him, especially when his commandments are not grievous ; and obedience to them is the surest way at once to increase the comfort of life, and to smooth the pillow of death!

T. D.

MISCELLANEOUS.

The Rubrick of the Church or ENGLAND, examined and considered;

and its use and OBSERVANce most earnestly recommended to all ils Members, according to the intent and meaning of it. By Thomas Collis, D. D. of Magd. Coll. Oxon. London, 1737.

(Continued from p. 692.) The Absolution or Remission of Sins, to be pronounced by the Pricst,

alone, standing, the People still kneeling. By Priest is meant one, whose mere charge and function is about holy things; as the word signifies holy, from the Greek and Latin too.

Till some time after the Restoration, this Rubrick ran thus:- The Absolution or Remission of Sins, to be pronounced by the MINISTER, alone, standing, the People still kneeling.

The Minister is required to pronounce the Absolution, standing, because it is an act of his authority in declaring the will of that God whose ambassador he is.

The people are required to continue kneeling, in token of that humility and reverence with which they ought to receive the joyful news of a pardon from God.

Though a Deacon very seldom presumes to read this Absolution, yet since there are, and have been so many different opinions about it, it may be expected that some notice here should be taken of it.

The author of the Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer, says, in his notes upon it,-“ That this Absolution is to be read only bý a Priest:"-" That it is no part of the Deacon's office to read this or any part of the Common Prayer, unless the Litany in public.”

If so, the reading this was not more particularly forbid him, than any of the rest, unless the Litany in public.

All Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer. V. Concerning the service of the Church.

And Deacons are, by the Act of Uniformity, Sec. 22, to read the Common Prayers and Service in and by the said Book, appointed to be read ; i. e. They are authorized to read any part of it, but where there is an express order to the contrary.

" Note, that the word alone here is of very comprehensive signification : that it denotes, that no one must pronounce this but a Priest : that it implies that the Priest alone must stand, and the people kneel."

That it denotes, that no one must pronounce this but a Priest, is even just as plain, as that it implies, that the Priest alone must stand, and the people kneel. For if it had implied thus much, there would surely have been very little occasion for these words to have been added, The People still kneeling.

As to the rest that he urges, to confirm this assertion, we choose to refer the reader to his notes upon the same, in the Evening Service, it being time to see what some others have said upon it.

The author of a Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, acknowledges, p. 124,—“That the word alone was designed to serve as a directory to the people, not to repeat the words after the Minister, as they had been directed to do, in the preceding Confession, but that in the review that followed immediately after the Restoration, Priest was inserted in the room of Minister, and that with a full and direct design to exclude Deacons from being meant by it:—that it is undeniably plain by this Rubrick, that Deacons are expressly forbid to pronounce this form, since the word Priest in this place (if interpreted according to the intent of those that inserted it) is expressly limited to one in Priest's orders, and does not comprehend any Minister that officiates, whether Priest or Deacon, as Dr. Bennet asserts."

The words Minister and Priest are indifferently used, and made to signify the same thing, unless the latter has something along with it to make it otherwise, as in the Communion Service :-- Then shall this general confession be made by one of the Ministers, i. e. Priest or Deacon ; then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present) stand up, and turning himself to the People, pronounce this Absolution.

The Presbyterian Divines did at their conference, indeed, insist upon it, that the word Minister might be used throughout the whole Book ; but it does not appear from thence, that what they required had any particular view to this.

The reason why that could not be complied with was, because the above-mentioned Absolution, with that in the order for the Visitation of the Sick, and the prayer of Consecration, were to be used by none, under the order of a Priest.

He too, is so far from being of Dr. Bennet's opinion, that this form of Absolution is only declaratory, " That with submission to the learned Doctor, he begs leave to observe," p. 120, “ that this form is expressly called by the Rubrick, the Absolution or Remission of Sins; it is not called a Declaration of Absolution, as one would think it should bave been, if it had been designed for no more ; but it is positively and emphatically called the Absolution, to denote that it is really an Absolution of Sins to those that are entitled to it by repentance and faith."

Again; the term, to express the Priest's delivery or declaring it, is a very solemn one. It is to be pronounced (saith the Rubrick) by the Priest alone : a word, which signifies much more, than merely to make known, or declare a thing. For the Latin pronuncio, from whence it

« AnteriorContinuar »