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not, as the prophets of the Old Testament, by external and visible applications, through the instrumentality of which his Father then raised them, but evidently by his own power, and at his own will.
But our Lord is not here principally intending to speak of his eternal generation, of his pre-existence, and of his glory with the Father. Those doctrines are in other places distinctly revealed, and they alone are consistent with the statements here made. But Jesus is immediately describing the authority and work of the Son of man, as appearing among men in the form of a servant, to finish the work which the Father gave him to do; as acting therefore in a subordinate capacity, though in unison with the Father; as sent to ratify and promulgate the new covenant, of which he was the visible Mediator, with the same authority, which belonged to those dispensations of the Old Testament, which were conducted more expressly in the name of the Father. Even then, indeed, the Father was employing the agency of the Son, though it was not, as yet, so openly announced. But now, as our Lord stated, and as was evinced both by his past miracles, and by the "greater works" of which he spoke, "the Father, who himself judgeth no man, had committed all judicial authority to the Son." And as he now "spoke by his Son," therefore was the Son to be obeyed
with equal readiness, and to be received with equal honour. For the very end and design of this revelation was, "that all men might honour the Son, even as they honour the Father;" a statement, which, although it applies to Jesus appearing in the likeness of man, yet would not consistently be applicable to any other, than to one who is also the Son of God, in a sense in which no other son of man is so. In fact, Jesus. announced all that we have yet noticed, before he spoke of himself under any other character than the Son of the Father; although he afterwards states, that "authority is given to him to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." In fact, it was in consequence of his becoming incarnate, and therefore visible to us, and a partaker of our nature, that he proclaimed and procured to us the blessings of salvation. And therefore Jesus, speaking in his own person, adds the words; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." This is a declaration which Jesus had already made to Nicodemus; and which apprizes those, who admit the authority of Jesus, of the nature of the salvation which he offers, and of the means by which it is to be obtained.
Our Lord proceeds, in the same solemn manner,
to make a further annunciation. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." The concluding words of this passage immediately introduce a reference to the general resurrection. In the former part of it he refers, either to those who were raised from the dead in the subsequent part of his ministry; or to those saints "which arose, and appeared to many, after his resurrection;" or, as is more closely connected with the last verse, and more fully illustrated by the prophecies of the Old Testament, to the raising of the world from a state of spiritual death to spiritual life; or, it may be, to all these, for in all these is it fully verified.
But I am aware that there is another and an awakening interpretation of these words, which considers them as parallel to several difficult and mysterious passages in the prophetic writings, in other discourses of our Lord, in the Epistles, and in the book of Revelation. I allude, of course, to the literal interpretation of the expression, "the presence of the Lord Jesus' ;" and to that event,
* Matt. xxiv. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 23. 1 Thess, ii. 19. 2 Thess. i. 9.
or course of events, which St. John predicts, by stating, that the righteous "shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years, though the rest of the dead shall not live again until the thousand years are finished." " This," adds he, " is the first resurrection"." If any such interpretation, whether literal or figurative, be correct; if there is any consistency in the language of prophecy, by which we can as yet attain to its true interpretation; the event predicted is probably near, even at the doors, to us who live in these latter days. Time only can determine this. But, assuredly, whatever be our views of this matter, "blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death has no power"." For we cannot doubt, whether any one, who does not now" rise and walk in newness of life," can have any part or lot in such blessings. None but those," who do God's commandments," can have any "right to the tree of life;" none else can look forward, with hope or complacency, to that awful and final transaction, of which our Lord next speaks, in words, respecting the interpretation of which we can entertain no doubt.
"Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth;
a Rev. xx. 4-6.
b Ibid. xx. 6.
c Ibid, xxii. 14.
they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." These are, indeed, decisive words, and they speak of a decisive day; and we know that "God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man, whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." That event, which gives us so certain and so awakening an assurance, we are, this day more especially, commemorating. On this day we are placed, as it were, on another Pisgah, from whence we can both look back on scenes that are past, and on scenes yet to come, both of which alike display the wonderful works of God, both in mercy and in judgment, such as may attract the attention of the dullest eye, and arouse the feelings of the most sluggish heart. On this day we celebrate that event, which declared the acceptance of the ransom paid for our redemption, which shewed the triumph of the Saviour over sin and death, the curse and the grave; which has laid the sure foundation for our fondest hopes, and has made us rejoice in the clear promise and earnest of our future inheritance of " the purchased possession." "Thanks, therefore, be unto God for his unspeakable gift;" for "he giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." The sabbath is ever a joyful,