صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

attention, as its resemblance has never existed. All the kingdoms of the earth are derived from a very different origin. Some have taken their rise from parental or patriarchal authority; some from the occasional appointment of a chief to preside over counsels, or lead on to war; some from the suffrage of the people; some by what is termed the right of conquest, or by treacherous usurpation. No one sovereign has resigned his love of ease and happiness, has passed through scenes of poverty, humiliation, and disgrace, and has voluntarily submitted to a painful and ignominious death, from the hands of his own subjects, in order to purchase a right to reign over them, that he might render them. happy! They have impoverished and disgraced others, and have shed the blood of thousands and tens of thousands, to obtain a throne, but no one hath voluntarily shed his own blood. Yet this is the mode by which the Son of God has purchased a right to his heavenly kingdom.

This unprecedented fact, is thus stated by the Apostle Peter in his sermon at Jerusalem. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree; him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."*

*Acts v. 30,

St. Paul has practically enlarged upon this doctrine in his Epistle to the Philippians, in the following manner: Look not every man to his own things," that is, in the contracted spirit of self-love," but every man also on the things of others," with the generous attempt to promote their happiness. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father."*

To this wonderful plan of the universal father, which was acceptably executed by his wellbeloved Son, does the Evangelist John refer, in that glowing language which characterizes the book of the Revelations. "And I beheld, and

*Phil. ii. 5. 11.

heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing and honour, and glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb, for ever and ever."*

IX. Another exalted office to which the Son of God is entitled, in consequence of his transcendant merits, is that of an universal Judge. He is appointed to judge the world, and to render to every man according to his works.

We are assured, from the highest authority, that "the Father judgeth no man, but he hath committed all judgment to his Son." "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."+ "We must appear before the judg

* See Note I. ↑ John v. 22.

Rom. x. 10.

[ocr errors]

ment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."*

[ocr errors]

In ancient times the character of a Judge was united with that of a Sovereign. To declare the sentence of acquittal, condemnation, or pardon, was the exclusive prerogative of majesty; and in modern days, the sentence pronounced by the delegated interpreter of the law, must receive the sanction of the Sovereign, before it can be executed. This solemn office devolves also upon the Son of God, who is the representative of his Father. This power, as well as the office of a sovereign, he will exercise in his father's name. It is he who will say, at the solemn period, "Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you," &c. or "depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."†

This delegated power, so honourable to the Saviour of mankind, is also in compassion to human nature. It is said, that "God hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the son of man;" that "it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons into glory, to

[blocks in formation]

make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings:" and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains the reason of this appointment. He rejoices that we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points. tempted as we are, yet without sin." Is it not consoling, that the world will be judged by one who has lived among us, has been exposed to similar temptations, the force of which, though he was triumphant over them, he must have known? This son of man knew what is in man. When he was upon earth" he judged no man," because he must, then, have condemned every man that he judged. But he was compassionate to all, excusing human weakness; ascribing the cruelty with which he was treated, to the ignorance of his enemies, and weeping over the sins and miseries he was not authorized to prevent. He rejected not social intercourse with the exclamation of a proud Pharisee, "Stand off from me, for I am holier than thou!" He sought that intercourse, which enabled him to promote the social virtues. His familiar converse with publicans and sinners, with which he had been reproached, rendered him perfectly acquainted with the human heart, in all its seductions and self deceptions; and that

« السابقةمتابعة »