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THEOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT.

GOD MANIFEST IN CHRIST. Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all God, blessed for

ever. (Rom. ix. 5.) It will be my endeavour to shew that God can only be known as embodied in the

person

and work of Christ the God-man : but, before shewing the absolute necessity of the Lord's Divinity, I must speak of the state of man. My tongue shall speak of thy Word,” says the Psalmist," for all thy commandments are perfect righteousness.” And this is the commandment on which hangs all the Law and the Prophets, that we love him, the Lord our God, with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind : and this commandment is perfect righteousness, inasmuch as it is an infinitely right and most reasonable thing that we should thus love God; both because his hands have made and fashioned us, and because of the infinite fulness of uncreated excellence that is in him, and renders him the worthy object of adoration and love. The exercise of this love to God implies, or leads to, childlike confidence, unhesitating reliance, an acknowledging of Him in all we receive, and in all we do, and a delighting to live, not to our ease and comfort but to his honour and glory; caring not for our own things, but for his. Its exercise is therefore the life of the soul; for it is the life of the soul thus to acknowledge God. And were God thus acknowledged and loved by the children of men, it would necessarily lead to the fulfilment of that other great command, which bids every man love his neighbour as himself; and among the children of men there would be “ neither Jew nor Greek,” there would be “neither bond nor free,” there would be “neither male nor female,” but all would be one common family, knit together in the bond of love; and we would not look on our own things, but every one also on the things of others, and we would not seek our own profit, but every profit of many; and we would anxiously see to it that our mutual intercourse were a mutual blessing; and count this our reasonable service, our privilege of love. I speak not the language of imagination, but of truth and soberness. But sin has destroyed all this: for sin has blinded the human understanding, so that man does not see the glory of the Divine character, and has therefore no love to God : and sin, by introducing every evil disposition into the human heart, has filled man with aversion to all that is holy, and like to God; so that he cannot bear to be told of the claims which God's love has upon him, nor of the duty, which thence results, of his walking before God in all VOL. VII.-NO, II.

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holy obedience, and doing all things unto God's glory. The pride of his heart revolts from that childlike dependence on God, which is his life ; his unthankfulness recoils from that continual acknowledging of Him, which is his privilege and duty. Nor does the effect of sin cease even here. It has rendered man's perceptions so utterly obtuse with regard to the things of God, that he has not a conception that this service of love and obedience is required of him. You cannot bring him to see that he is called to be thus continually loving and acknowledging God;

! and he does not apprehend what you mean when you tell him that the honour and glory of this God must be to him an object of hearty interest and desire; that in whatever promotes it he is called to take an interest as real as he does in the acquisition of any earthly good; and that over whatever tarnishes or obscures it he is called to grieve as really as he would do over the blighting of his own good name, or any other disaster which might happen to him. From that life of God, which consists in thus acknowledging and walking with him, he is so utterly alienated through the ignorance that is in him, that he knows not what it means. And thus has sin completed its work of desolation ; for it has brought man into that state of total apathy which the Scripture expresses with the fearful emphasis of truth when it pronounces him dead in sins. I tell a man, for example, of something which has happened greatly to God's honour, and he cares nothing about it; it gives him nojoy. Or I tell him of something that is to the dishonour of the cause of God, and it gives him no concern, no sorrow. Or I tell him of something which he may now do to the advancement of the cause of God, and it proves to the man no motive. This is to me a proof that he is far sunk in depraved forgetfulness of God. But I find that he cannot be brought to see that there is any sin in all this; or that he is called to have his heart and affections in any other state than that which they are in: and this convinces me that his case is still worse,-that he is even dead in sin, and has lost the very principle of life.

• But you surely do not mean to say that every man is thus ignorant of God, and averse to God, and dead in sin ? Oh surely every man, till visited by the Holy Ghost. But on this subject we have higher testimony than human opinion : of man's ignorance of God by nature thus speaks the Faithful and True Witness, and, oh! let us reverently hear His testimony: No man knoweth the Son, save the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matt. xi. 27 ; Luke x. 22.) And again : “ No man can come to me”-i. e. apprehend my character as the Son of God—"except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him.” (John vi. 44.) " It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God: every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me”-i. e. apprehendeth my character, and understandeth the purpose of my mission. “For what man,” says the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. xi. 11, 12, &c.), “knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so, the things of God knoweth no man, save the Spirit of God. Now we have received the Spirit which is of God," that we might know these things; and we speak them in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth. But the natural man (i. e. he who. has not received this Spirit) receiveth them not, “ for they are foolishness to him ; neither can he know them ; because they are spiritually discerned.” Now these things of God, which the Apostle here declares that the man untaught of God did not and could not understand, were just what he mentions in the second verse of the chapter, “ Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” This Christ crucified,' he declares, in the first chapter, to be a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks; and that the Wisdom of God manifested in Him, none of the princes (i. e. chief wise men of this world) knew. So that we have the testimony both of the Son of God and of the Holy Ghost to this, that no man by nature apprehends the character of Christ. And, oh, let us beware how we set them aside, saying, we have always apprehended Christ's character. How do we know that we have apprehended it aright? Have we been taught of God to apprehend it? If not, whatever our conception of it be, we may rest assured it is a false one; for thus again speaks the Lord himself: “ Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father.” (John vi. 65.)—But is it not possible to apprehend the character of God, though we do not apprehend the character of Christ ? No, it is not possible, for God is seen in the face of Christ: “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by me:" i. e. I am the true manifestation of the Father's character; no man understandeth it, but he that seeth me. But, besides this, there is express testimony on the subject : “ Neither knoweth any man

". the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” We are apt to think it a very easy thing to apprehend God's character ; but whatever be our ideas about it-this is most true-if we have not apprehended it in consequence of Christ's teaching, we have never apprehended it at all. It therefore appears that I do not overstate in the least the dismal effect of sin upon the human understanding, when I say that it has blinded it, so that man does not see the glory of the Divine character. On this subject, were other evidence wanting than the Lord's word, we have that of plain fact: Christ was the manifestation of the Father; and while he dwelt in the world, those who were taught of God to receive him as the Son of God,

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“ beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” But did men in general thus apprehend him? So far from this, that the Apostle John declares that “the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not;" and those very declarations of the Lord which we have just quoted were made in reply to the cavils of the Jews, when, in answer to his expositions of the Divine character, they complained that they did not understand him, and could not conceive what he meant.

And, if I do not overstate man's ignorance of God, neither do I overstate when I say “ man has, therefore, no love to God.” For how can we love a God we do not know? We may love, indeed, or think we love, a being whom we call God; but the God revealed in Christ, the true God, we cannot love, because we do not know Him: and knowledge of the excellence of God is the very reason of our loving him. Love to a supposed God certainly does exist; but it is perfectly consistent with enmity to God's real character : and that enmity to his real character possesses every human heart, till visited by the Holy Ghost, is evident, because God declares it (Rom. viii. 7); “ The carnal mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be: so, then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Now this " so then” shews us, that in the Apostle's mind, those who possessed the carnal mind were those who were in the flesh. Those in the flesh, then, are, according to Divine testimony, enemies to God. “ But ye are not in the flesh,” he adds, “but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” A man, then, according to the testimony of the Holy Ghost speaking in this passage, must either have the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, or he must be an enemy. to God. There are only two classes; it is impossible to find a third. And if the only people whom God exempts from the charge of enmity to him are they who have his Spirit dwelling in them, does not this just come to the statement I have already made, that every man is an enemy to God's real character, till visited by the Holy Ghost ? And thus, then, I do not in the least overstate the dismal effects of sin upon the human heart when I say

that " it has filled man with aversion to all that is holy and like to God; 80 that he cannot bear to be told of the claims which God's love has upon him, nor of the duty, which thence results, of his walking before God in all holy obedience, and doing all things unto God's glory.” For this carnal mind, let us remark, which every man has till visited by the Holy Ghost, “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be ;” and it is for this their disobedience that they who are in the flesh cannot please God. But is any man convinced that this character of ignorance and sin

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belongs to him, or humbled and abased because of it, or desirous of its removal, but by the Holy Ghost? The thing, evidently, cannot be; the supposition, indeed, implies a contradiction. If there were any conviction of the ignorance, the ignorance would not be complete; if there were any desire for the removal of it, the aversion would not be complete. Thorough ignorance of God, and thorough aversion to him, evidently implies death in sin. But, besides this, God in so many words affirms that every man is dead in sin, till visited by His own mighty power : “ You hath he quickened,” says the Apostle Paul to his believing children (Eph. ii. 1), “ who were dead in trespasses and sins."

“ . And while in this state of death, he says, we were

even as the rest ;' i. e. as the rest of mankind are now. And who put this difference between us and the rest of the dead, between us and those who are now dead? God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” even when we were thus dead in sins, hath quickened us, and raised us up, and made us live. The difference between us (the living) and the dead, is just that He hath visited us. We

e were dead until he visited us: they are now dead, for he hath not visited them. But, not to enlarge, the whole of this passage proves most fully the truth of the statement I have made, that every man is dead in sins till visited by the Holy Ghost.

And how, then, does man stand affected towards his fellows? There is much natural affection, much kindly feeling, much love, left in the world ; but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, of that fervent spirit of deep, disinterested affection, which God desires to see circulating among his creatures, and binding them together as one family, experienced, or that can be experienced, by any man, till his depravity is healed by the Holy Ghost. Of this affection He has given us a very lovely and attractive specimen in the first churches of the saints. But that it was not of human origin we know, because the Apostle Paul, writing to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. iv. 9), says of it, “Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another;" and to the Corinthians he says (2 Cor. viii. 16), “ Thanks be unto God, who put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you."

He felt it, and recognised it, in both cases, as the doing of God. And I cannot conceive any one, who has drunk deep into the spirit of Paul's Epistles, who must not have discovered in them a spirit of love and exceeding godlike affection, which he will seek' for in vain among all the love and affection which are natural to man. And thus I do not overstate the matter when I say, that, considered either with reference to God or his fellows, sin has destroyed man; for it has brought upon him the curse of a depravity which nothing but the power of God can heal.

But to say that God is willing to heal it, is to say that he

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