Gambar halaman

and verbal instruction, should be promulgated. But, as one of the Fathers of the Church has written,* when righteousness had grown a stranger upon earth, then God sent that Teacher, his Son, who should found a new, a living temple, of which he was the foundation ; and should be himself a living law, not only informing men, but showing them, in his own life, what they should be ; and overturning the notion that what he enjoined was impossible, by the undeniable performance of it by himself in their own nature.

He is an effectual Teacher, for he has power not only himself to work the works of God, but to communicate that to others whereby they also may work them. And whereas the light of Moses' law was the death of men; for it showed them their condemnation and their misery, and thus it resembled a conflagration at midnight, which gives light to the wretch frightened out of his slumbers, but light only to discover that he is just about to be consumed: our divine Prophet lays down the law, and performs it; gives the letter and the spi

the rule, and the will and power to adhere to it. His instruction is quickening and saving: he is the true light, for it is light which is the life of men.

A perfect teacher of righteousness could neither be mere man, nor in the form of God. A mere man could not, as is evident from two plain reasons. He could not exemplify his own precepts--he could not prove that obedience was possible. And if he pretended it was, his disciples had a right to demand, If it be possible, show


* Lactantii Instit. 1. iv. 24.

mere man

tis the proof of it in thine own person. Subdue in thyself those passions which thou enjoinest us to conquer ; if not, what presumption to set us on an enterprise which thou thyself canst neither perform, nor prove to be practicable. No moral teacher either can or ought to have authority, who does not exemplify his own teaching. Another reason which renders it impossible could be such a teacher as we need is this, that he could not give the Spirit; for the Spirit is God; and how could a man, a creature, communicate God the Creator! And yet, without the Spirit of God, no man can be taught of God.

And now, let us suppose that Christ the Prophet of the Church, had delivered his teaching to us in the form of God, that he taught us without being incarnate : Might not the human heart have raised these plausible objections? “Thou commandest me to keep thy law, but thou art God, and I am dust and ashes. Thou dost promise me the aid of thy Spirit ; but I have not seen or heard of any one in whom, by that aid, this end was accomplished. Thou commandest me to look through death, and see the prospect of endless life; but I have not seen any member of my father's condemned family pass through that dark passage into the light of eternal day. Thou, indeed, offerest the divine promise for my assurance, and the divine character for


imitation; but this gives me no encouragement where I need it most. For God, whose name be blessed forever, is Lord, and cannot be subject as I am: He is Almighty, and is therefore superior to the fears by which I am oppressed. He sits upon the throne of

his holiness, and cannot be tempted of evil: How therefore can he afford an example to me in my manifold temptations? Can I learn patience from him that can neither suffer nor be injured; or resolution to meet and struggle with the last enemy, from the immortal God? True, I perceive in him the glorious attributes of a Lord, a Master, a Lawgiver, a Judge ; but I am a subject, a servant, a creature clothed and struggling with flesh, with the temptations of the devil, with the apprehensions of suffering, and the fears of death; and, in these circumstances, the character of God, though infinitely perfect, is not an example which applies to my case.”

To prevent this murmur, and the reasons on which it might have rested, God became man, and, as man spoke to men from the same level on which they stood. We saw him in humiliation, in subjection, in sorrow, in pain ; in the miseries of life, in the struggles of temptation, in the fears and agonies of death, “ever in the battle, but ever aloft;" and then finally victorious, when he seemed for ever vanquished, for, by yielding to death he conquered him and his ruler, in the irresistible might of weakness quelling all the powers of hell.

This is our Redeemer, this our Saviour. This is he announced from of old, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. This is the hope of the first transgressors ; this, the King whom the Church always acknowledged ; this is our God, we have waited for him

the consolation of Israel, the Prince of all the kings of the earth. This is he whom all types prefigured ; all sacrifices from him derived their meaning and effi

cacy; all the prophets spake of him; all the priests foreshadowed him; all the kings represented him. The tabernacle and the temple were the emblems of his human nature ; and the divine glory resting therein, was the symbol of his Godhead dwelling in flesh; and whatever was done in the tabernacle was the fore. shadow of what he should do in his sublime and glolious ministry, whereby he hath reconciled all things in heaven and earth.

How wonderful, how glorious his person ; uniting the majesty of the eternal God with the meanness of mortal man ; qualified to do whatever was necessary to be done, to suffer whatever needed to be endured for the honour of God and the salvation of man ! How mysterious his condescention, how sublime his humility—the pure streams of his mercy overflowing the world, while the flames of his zeal consumed himself.

This is he in whose blood we have remission of our sins; by whose Spirit we have knowledge, and love, and hope, and consolation, and power; under whose kingdom we have protection, and peace, and joy, and the victory over the world. This is the conqueror of death, who says, Because I live, ye shall live also; and who, having led us through the black domains of that tremendous king, will place us where his rule and his name shall be unknown.

And now to God the Father who hath loved us : and to the Son of God who gave himself for us : and to the Holy Ghost the Comforter, be honour and glory everlasting. Amen.







EZRA IX, 13, 14, And after all that is come upon us, for our evil deeds,

and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this : should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations ? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping ?"

This passage contains three obvious points, to which we would at this time, with the Divine assistance and blessing, direct your attention. The first of

* A Discourse from Habak, ü. 1-3.


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »