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about him is dark waters and thick clouds of the skies ?” If so, you know nothing of him yet as you ought to know ; nothing which can fix your hearts on him in the deep, ardent breathings of a living devotion ; nothing which can engage and draw forth the higher sensibilities of a believing spirit. And surely it is not thus that you would approach his sacred presence, in his own sanctuary of heaven, or in the more solemn ordinances of our faith, or in the ordinary exercises of his worship. So coming, you must inevitably return empty. It is essentially requisite that you should have a distinct apprehension of his mercy, mercy to you, flowing through the bleeding body of his dear Son, before you can flee to him to cover you, praying and panting for his pardon and his love. It is the Cross only that can fix the heart of the fearful, because self-condemned sinner; and therefore it is the Cross only that can introduce you to the joys of salvation, and awaken within you those devout sentiments that break forth in songs of exulting praise.
CHRIST'S SUPREME AND UNIVERSAL
REV. JAMES MACFARLANE, A.M.,
MINISTER OF DUDDINGSTON.
EPHESIANS i. 22. to be the Head over all things, to the
“ And gave Him
The believer, though not a man of science, in the ordinary acceptation of the word, is so in its noblest sense. He knows what other men know not, and the knowledge which he has acquired under the infallible teaching of God, is of such a kind as is well fitted not only to sanctify, but to fill and to tranquillize the soul. Such a passage, indeed, as we have now read, is, when rightly apprehended, fitted to shed a flood of radiance over all creation. No doubt, the universe is open to others, as well as the saint, but then it is only the framework of things about which they care. Their philosophy looks for nothing above it, and cares for nothing beyond it. Give them a telescope in their hands, that they may wonder over a few worlds, and lose themselves in the stars, or let them penetrate for a little way into the bowels of the earth, and they are satisfied. Or if we take them abroad on the moral world, they are not more elevated—they are not more spiritual in their apprehensions. The most shrewd among the children of this world — the man most versant with the changes and chances of this mortal scene--does not in his knowledge gain acquaintance with whatever is true and permanent. Every circumstance of common life, opposes the disposition of the soul to spring upward—the littleness of every day's work as well as its urgency—the contaminations of life and its shortness also—the carnality and the folly that infect every step of man, as well as the woes that cross his path, are all so many causes of depression or limitation, that confine him to a spot in creation, and hedge in all his goings. With the believer, it is otherwise. Separated by the grace of God, from a world lying in wickedness, and emancipated from the dominion of sense, he holds converse with things that are unseen. The boundaries of his knowledge are enlarged. The light of another region is let in upon this. The world and the things thereof-life and immortality--heaven and earth, henceforward assume a different aspect. The key of Providence is put into his hand, and as he reads the declaration, that Christ crucified, but now exalted, is Head over all things to the Church; every thing assumes order and significancy—and this earth, though a foreign land, becomes the secure dwelling-place of a covenant God.
Praying, then, that God may be pleased to open our minds to the right apprehension of this great central truth, the doctrine of Christ's supreme dominion, we would observe, in the first place, that it is given him of the Father. Such is the affirmation of the text, and the bearing of the whole context. It plainly intimates and implies, that the dominion spoken of is not essential and intrinsic, but secondary and derived. Such a power of a primary kind there is doubtless attached to Christ. As a partaker of the divine essence, and equal to Jehovah in all the powers of the Godhead, he sat upon a throne that is high and lifted up—the Author of all existence—the Being who formed the world and built the skies. The angels, those blessed spirits who surround the throne, all worshipped him, and though he had never suffered and never died, he would still have been the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in possession of that glory which he had with the Father before the world was. But it is not with what is primary and essential we have here to do. It is the distinguishing feature of the Gospel, that God in his high sovereignty hath thought fit to reconcile the world unto himself, by the manifestation on earth of his own Son, and that as Christ came into the world, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God, so did it please the Father that in him should all power dwell. Hence, we find that his elevation to his right hand in heaven is in the scheme of the Mediatorship universally connected with his previous life, and that not merely in the way of sequence but of reward. It is said in one place, “ Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” In another place it is said, “ that for the sufferings of death, he is now crowned with glory and honour.” This is the view which Scripture gives, so that it is quite true that as in resuming his place in the heavenly kingdom, he was only occupying a place vacant by his presence on earth, it is to be remembered also, that this is to be connected in the administration of heaven with his universal obedience and immaculate death. To meet the demands of the law he came into the world, and having magnified the law and made it honourable, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, and Calvary gave way to a throne and a crown. The pathway of suffering was the pathway of glory, and the cries of his infatuated brethren, “ Away with him, Away with him, Crucify him,” became the heralds of other sounds in the New Jerusalem and temple abore. It was all the work of his heavenly Father. As the greatest of all gifts, Christ was sent into the world, and he who was God's unspeakable gift, must not pass without his reward. God that gave him to die, gives him to reign. Isaiah says, “ He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities : Therefore will I divide him a portion