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and the notion of a local heaven, above the clouds, is altogether fanciful.

John v. 13. “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man, who is in heaven." This language is evidently figurative; but if Christ could be in heaven at the same time that he was on earth, conversing with Nic codemus, it is plain that his being said to have come down from heaven, cannot necessarily imply that he had ever been any where but on the earth. In fact, ihę phrases being in heaven, being with God, or in the bosom of God, &c. express a state of very intimate communication with God, such as qualified Christ to speak of heavenly things, as he expresses himself to Nicodemus, and to make his Father known to us. John i. 8. “No man haih seen God at any time : the onlybegotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

The omnipresence, and consequently the proper divinity of Christ, could not be meant by bis being said to be in heaven at the same time that he was visible on earth, because he is, on this occasion, called the son of man, which is always allowed to denote his humanity, and which certainly could not be present in two places at the same tiine.

John vi. 51. “I am the living bread, which camé down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Verily. verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the

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son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” By these and other expressions of a similar nature, our Lord staggered not only those who followed him for the sake of the loaves with which he had fed them, but even many of his oiher disciples; and perceiving this, he says unto them, ver. 61. “Doth this offend you, what and if ye shall see the son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” In this our Lord seeins to be reproving the stupidity of his disciples, in not understanding that by himself, and his flesh and blood, he meant his doctrine, which came down from heaven. For if it was his body that was to be of such benefit to mankind, what would they say if they should see it taken from them, ascending into heaven, from whence he had spoken of its descending to be the life of the world? They must then be satisfied that his flesh could profit them nothing, and therefore must conclude that his doctrine must have been the spirit, and the life, of which he spake. Or we may, perhaps, understand our Saviour, in this place, as referring to his ascension, which was an ocular proof of his having had that intimate communication with God, and having been sent of God, concerning which he had been speaking. Besides, if this passage be interpreted literally, it will imply that the body of Christ came from heaven ; which is, not pretended. Col. i. 15, “Who is the image of the invisible God,

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the first-born of every creature. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or

DENNE dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist: and he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning,

Cordir the first-born from the dead ; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell.”

Sirate In this passage we have a view given us of the great dignity and dominion to which Christ is exalted by his Father, and of the great and happy change that was made in this world by his gospel ; {for by creation it be we are to understand the new creation, or renovation, ale; in which sense the same word is used by the apostle when he says, “We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. ii. 10. So great sencer a change is produced in the world, in the tempers and conduct of men, by the gospel, that both the terms. dred, creation and regeneration are made use of to express tene it. “Verily verily I say unto thee, Except a man behen born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John sin, jii. 3. ; so that by regeneration, or new creation, we are ikim, to understand a new modelling or new constituting. such We shall see less harshness in this figure, when we consider, that what is called the Mosaic creation was probably similar to this; since, for any thing we know, it was only the re-making or re-constituting of the world out of a foriner chaos,

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There are several passages in which the words which we generally render to create, or creation, signify only a renewal or restoration. Eph. ii. 10. “ To make in himself, of twain, one new man, so making peace.” 2 Cor. v. 17. “If any man he in Christ, he is a new creature.” In i Per. ii. 13. the same word is rendered ordinance. " Be ye subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake.” The places in which the influence of the gospel is termed a new creation, are illustrated by the following prophecy of Isaiah, in which it is described in the same language, Isaiah Ixv. 17, &c. - Behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad, and rejoice for ever in that which I create ; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.”

The word all must necessarily respect the subject concerning which the affirmation is made, and be limited by it. Thus, when all the world is said to be taxed, Luke ii. 1. it is plain that nothing but the Roman empire could be understood. In like manner, when all things are said to be created by Christ, or for him, and also when all things are said to be subject to him, or put under his feet, nothing can be meant but such things as can properly come under his government as the Messiah, and be subservient to him in the conduct of it, including probably the visible powers and kingdoms of this world, and the invisible administration of angels; and therefore the apostle, with great propriety, concludes and sums up the whole of Christ's au

thority, thority, by saying that he is the head of the body the church.

Before often signifies before in point of rank and pre-eminence, and not in point of time; so that when Christ is said to be before all things, the meaning is, that he is the chief, or most excellent of all. And when it is said that in him all things consist, we are to understand that in him all things are completed and compacied; since the Christian dispensation is the last and most perfect of all, completing one great and regular scheme of revelation, continually advancing from the more imperfect to the more perfect. I would further observe, that the things here said to be created by Christ are not material things, as the heuven, and the earth, but things in heaven and earth, as thrones, principalities, &c. and therefore are naturally interpreted, of that power and dignity to which he is advanced, and which is dea noted by God's giving him all power in heaven and on earth, after his resurrection.

We shall have a clearer understanding of this passage in the episile to the Colossians, if we compare it with á parallel passage in the epistle of the same apostle to the Ephesians, i. 17. “ That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom, that ye may know the exceeding greatness of his power,--which he wrought in Christ Jesus when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this

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