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and combinations of bodies; and that, by means of light and heat, he imparts life to various forms of matter. Analogous to the place which he occupies in the constitution of the material world, and the mechanical power which he exercises over its various parts, is the place which Christ occupies in the constitution of mercy under which God has placed men ever since the fall, and the spiritual power which he exercises among them. He is the Source from whence they derive the knowledge of those truths which are essential to their present comfort and eternal happiness; the Agent who makes the exhibition of this knowledge effectual by his grace to a renovation of the whole soul, in its intellectual and active powers; the Author and Supporter of a walk and conversation corresponding with the nature of this renovation. Each of these particulars will be distinctly but briefly illustrated in order.
1. Christ is the Light of the world, inasmuch as he is the Source from whence mankind derive the knowledge of those truths which are essential to their present comfort and eternal happiness.
For these truths we are indebted entirely to revelation, since the fall has so impaired the intellectual faculties of man, as to disable him from discovering them by his utmost exertions. In that eventful day when our first parents disobeyed God, they became darkened in their understandings, and mistook evil for good and good for evil. In this miserable condition they would have remained, without the least hope of deliverance,
had not the Seed of the woman been revealed to them. He covenanted with the Father from eternity to die for sinful men, and the Father promised him, on condition of his dying, to bless them.
Of this transaction the first promise gave notice to man; and in subsequent revelations its nature was more fully unfolded, until 6 the fulness of the time was come, « when God sent forth his Son, made of a
woman, made under the law, to redeem " them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons"." He
“ to deliver a world from ruin, to “ abolish sin and death, to purify and im“ mortalize human nature; and thus, in the
a Gal. iv. 4, 5.
“ most exalted sense of the words, to be the “ Saviour of all men, and the blessing of all “ nations"."
As the testimony of Jesus is the great burden of prophecy, and He who indited prophecy is the Spirit of Christ', it follows, that to Christ we are indebted for our knowledge of all those truths which constitute our chief good. He, by revealing to mankind his great work of redemption, has originated in their breasts the hope of acceptance here, and eternal life hereafter. To such a hope, discriminating the state of fallen man from that of fallen angels, we must ascribe the existence of religious worship throughout our world. A principal part of this worship among
all nations, before the birth of Christ, was the practice of sacrifices, which, being appointed by God', were designed to typify the great sacrifice of the Redeemer for sin. It was therefore necessary, on the part of those who offer
a Hurd's True Idea of Prophecy. b Rev. xix. 10. 1 Pet. i. 11.
c Shuckford's Connect. vol. i. book 2. Magee on the Atonement, Disc. 2. note, 41, &c. Delany's Reveiat. exam. with candour, vol. i. Disc. 8. VOL. I.
ed them acceptably, to believe and acknowledge the doctrines of the depravity of human nature, the divinity of the Lord Jesus, justification by faith in his righteousness, the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Ghost, personal holiness, and a future state of retribution.
These doctrines, flowing from, and inseparably connected with, the sacrifice of Christ for sin, not only constitute the substance of revelation, but are also the foundation of all useful and excellent knowledge. They are admirably calculated to produce the evolution of human faculties, and to direct their energies to the acquisition of sound learning and true philosophy. Hence, wherever “ the word of Christ” is circulated and understood, there we find a general acquaintance with all the duties belonging to our social, domestic, literary, religious, and political relations in life. So true it is, that Jesus Christ the Redeemer, by revealing the knowledge of salvation through his blood, has also imparted to our fallen race the knowledge of those truths which are essential to our improvement and enjoyment of present scenes for our happiness, in whatever state God may please to place us.
2. Christ is the Light of the world, inasmuch as he is the Agent who makes the exhibition of this knowledge effectual to a complete renovation of the whole soul, in its intellectual and active powers.
He shines in the hearts of men, give the light of the knowledge of the glo
ry of God in the face of Jesus Christo." This he does by his Spirit, who enlightens the eyes of their understanding, so that they perceive the excellency and necessity of the truths which he has revealed. The effect of such a perception, is the choice of these truths by the affections. Thus the whole soul is renovated in all its powers, both intellectual and active. Those truths which before were unknown, are now understood; which before were considered of no importance, are now loved and cherished.
The change which the Spirit of Christ produces in sinful men, through the illumination of their understandings, is as great as that which the heat of the sun produces in the bulk, state, and combinations of bodies. “ Old things literally are passed away ;
be“ hold all things are become new"." The
a 2 Cor. iv. 6.
6 2 Cor. v. 17.