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joy because the Lord reigneth; and God looking down on every thing which he hath made, and beholding it very good. “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads....and they shall reign for ever and ever. These sayings are faithful and true : and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.' Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. xxii. 3).
JESUS OUR ENSAMPLE, THAT WE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS,
BY THE REV. E. IRVING.
The work of Jesus in the flesh is two-fold,—that which preceded his baptism, and that which followed after it. The former starteth from circumcision; by which becoming a debtor to keep the whole law, he kept it to the letter, every jot and tittle of it, abating not one; so that when he came to his baptism he could say, "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all rightes ousness.” This part of his work was pure obedience, proper and rigid obedience, of every law, moral, political, and ceremonial, which was imposed upon the inhabitant and inheritor of the land of Canaan. Ceremonial uncleanness he had none; his flesh was without an inbred, inherent disease; without an unholy issue of any kind ; because he walked in all the statutes and ordinances of the Lord blameless, and so received the promise of freedom from all sorts of disease. He was as obnoxious to disease as any other man, and through his flesh felt all pains and all noisomeness of corruption which flesh is cursed with in all other men, as the Spirit expresseth of him in all the Psalms which speak of his passion ; yet out of the open mouth of all pains and diseases took he our flesh, and bore it pure, holy, and spotless, without one particle of uncleanness or defilement which the eagle-eyed law could challenge. And for his soul, it perfectly discharged itself of all incumbent duties, both toward God and toward man; keeping the spirit of the commandment as diligently as his flesh did keep the letter of it; and so was he righteous," the end of the law for righteousness. obedient to his parents, he was faithful to his God; he loved his God with all his heart, his neighbour as himself. His mind also imbibed the wisdom of the commandment, and he delighted in it after the inward man. The law stood embodied in
all its holiness, goodness, and justice in Jesus Christ. He was the man of the law; at once the proof that man could keep the law, and the example of that perfect and upright man which the law can make; the model of the earthly man; such a man as there never was before him, and such as are not now, for the church hath nothing to do with this state of flesh; but such as there shall be multitudes in that day when Israel shall be circumçised in flesh and heart, when God shall sprinkle upon them clean water, and they shall be clean. Christ's life under the law is the prototype of the Jew as he shall be under the new covenant, when God shall give unto him a clean heart, and put a right spirit within him. Thus was Christ in the Aesh, with which we have nothing to do; the head of the body of Moses, the King of the Jews, the Word made flesh. This one we must know no more, if we have known him heretofore. We are called to know him according to the Spirit, the second form of his work in flesh; concerning which we are now to discourse, as the basis of the great work which is now proceeding in the church ; the landmark without which all will run upon the rocks of infidelity, or be sunk in the quicksands of superstition and error.
It was a very great work done for mortal flesh, to make it stand up and keep the law of God, and so approve itself a good and sufficient creature of God, even under its condition of mortality. Thereby not only was God's creation of it in its originals state proved to be sufficient, but also his support of it under its fallen state; and the sin against his holy laws was proved to be not a condition of man's nature; but, contrariwise, that righteousness is its condition, and sin the voluntary departure therefrom. If Noah's building of the ark by faith condemned the old world, then Christ's keeping of the law and doing of the will of God in flesh did condemn all men in God's sight, and did justify his creature flesh both against sin and against death. Moses was proved by Jesus to be not a hard master, but the equitable lawgiver of God; and the law itself to be no arbitrary impost, but the true and veritable form of righteous flesh under the condition of death. Flesh hath done its duty in Jesus; God hath had his own will in his own creature; and he may, if so it please him, proceed to shew his favour further in it and by it: which till now he could not do, because up to this time it was a debtor to him, a continual offender; to justify it, were to cast down his own judgment-seat; to reward it, were to plant iniquity in his throne. But, now that he hath gotten duty. out of it, now that it hath acquitted itself to his satisfaction against sin and Satan and death, he may proceed, without loss to his rectitude, to bid it come up into a higher room.
Jesus had made flesh to stand up and express the righteous law of
God in all the relations of a creature, towards God, towards men, and towards the inferior creatures given into man's hand for care and government; he hath next to make it
the image of God's love and pity and compassion over his sinful creatures ; and this being done, he shall be honoured to make it express the image of his power and glory and blessed government for ever. First, he judgeth it guilty of all transgression, by proving it capable of all righteousness, and so doth glorify God against the sinner in condemning him to death ; yea, and make out the true nature of sin under the fall, as well as above it, to be a voluntary departure from God, and transgression against him through our own unbelief. For here is a mortal man, altogether such a one as ourselves, who through faith standeth
up in the face of the law, and saith, “ Find fault with me if thou canst;" in the face of Satan, and saith, “ Accuse me if thou canst."
This is the first thing, to magnify the law and make it ho. nourable ; but the second is more excellent than this, to make flesh a vessel for containing and expressing the whole grace, compassion, and sorrow of God over his creatures, falling away from him; the yearnings of his love after them, and all the repentings of his soul towards them. Justice is a good thing, but mercy is a better thing, for mercy rejoiceth over justice ; law is good, but grace is better; and to express this grace which is in his heart towards his graceless children, whom should God choose, but that Man who had stood in his uprightness for every jot and tittle of his law? The baptism of Jesus brought him into the fellowship of God's sorrows and sufferings over his poor distracted children, and his most rebellious house. Tears then became his meat by night and by day; they mingled in his cup, and made his bed to swim : all the billows of God passed over him, and deep called to deep at the noise of his water-spouts. From his baptism he hath the Father to witness of, who then pronounced his name of Father over him, and announced him as his well-beloved Son. Heretofore he had the name of Jehovah given him to keep sacred and holy, by proving the immutable faithfulness of his purpose in the creation of man; but now he hath the name of Father to glorify, by exhibiting through a human heart the very form of God's fatherhood unto rebellious children, how long-suffering, how forgiving, how sorrowful, how kind. Jesus' heart now became God's harp for wailing lamentation, as heretofore it had been His inflexible sceptre of righteousness. And herein is revealed the mystery, not only of making man upright, but permitting him to fall into the sorrows of death and the pains of hell. For how, otherwise than by a suffering creature, shall a suffering God be revealed ? Jesus therefore was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, because God is a
VOL. VI.-NO, I.
Father of sorrows and grief over his children ; who have all strayed, like that prodigal; and, like him, do wound their Father's heart. For if God had not abiding grief over every son of Adam, like that grief of Jacob over Joseph, how would he command the angels to strike their harps, and all heaven to make melody and gladness, over every sinner that repenteth ? It is most true, and most meet to be remembered, that God is filled with tender compassion and most poignant grief over every one of his children who hath gone astray from him; otherwise how would he not have spared his only-begotten Son, but given him up to the death for us all ? Hath God no bowels ? hath he no compassion ? hath he no tears, and sorrows, and fatherly bowings down of heart, O ye worshippers of an abstract conception, of a tearless Moloch ? Aye, aye; it was even so, that the world had come to worship a god without a heart, such as Christendom worshippeth even now; a god of powers and purposes, of punishments and rewards, a thunderer, an even-handed judge, a taskmaster; but a God of loves, fit to be the God and Father of men, to flood the channels of man's heart and of social life with love, they no more worshipped: and God sent his Son to set men right, and shew them that the mystery of the depth of Godhead lay all wrapped up in the love of a father to a son.
This now was the second great act which Jesus was called to do in flesh; even to shew therein how low God could condescend, how vile he could make himself-even a worm, and no man-in order to embrace his dear child, who hath become the companion of the worm.
What is Jesus' sufferings, but God's love tracking the downward steps of his suffering child, in order to raise his child again unto glory? But what a mystery, that fallen flesh should hereof be capable! Oh! it reconcileth me to all the misery which my soul is capable of enduring through this fallen estate, to know that through the same God findeth utterance and expression for all the love that is in his heart to sinners, and all the pain which he endureth on their account; how tenderly he attempereth adversity to their advantage, sickness and pain to their healing. Ah me! what a depth of thought the Lord is bringing his church into, in acquainting her with the nature of Christ's sufferings; not to appease an angry God, but to tell out the anguish and agony of God's love disappointed, his goodness rejected, his entreaties despised, his gifts scorned, his whole soul turned back upon itself by his ungrateful children! God hath in him towards man the same love as that day he made him, as that day he gave his Son to die for him, as that day he gave Jesus, exalted into glory with the fulness of Godhead, as a free gift unto the church. God made Adam to be the son of God: and what it is to be the son of God, let the bonds which bind the Father unto Jesus, and Jesus back again to the Father,
bear witness. All this Jesus made flesh a fit organ for expressing : grace and truth came by him : the Father was seen, heard, and felt in him. It was the Father's reproach he bare, and the Father's reproach did break his heart. It was the Father's agony which he expressed in the garden, and the Father's love which he poured out upon
It was the Father in him which melted his heart like wax, which loosened his joints, and poured out his bowels like water. It is not given to me, for I am not acquainted with sorrow, being proud and vain, unbelieving and ungodly, to express the depth of this subject; but well I discern it, and much do I desire to enter into it more perfectly.
When thus Jesus had expressed all the Father's grace and compassion, all his love and self-sacrifice, towards his guilty children; and shewn forth the new capacities which flesh through the fall had attained unto, of sustaining the burden of God's grief and trouble; he was made meet for entering into his glory. The Son of Man had glorified the name of the Father, and now the Father will glorify the Son of Man with that glory which he had with the Father before the world was. The eternal Son of God had made no account of that glory and blessedness, but freely poured it out, and became flesh, in order to glorify the name of the Father before the Creation; and now the Father will take him, flesh as he is, and set him head over all creation, not only visible, but also invisible. Because he did empty himself, and humble himself to the death, therefore God gave him a name above every name which is named, both in this world and in that which is to come. Flesh having sustained the Father's burden, is deemed worthy to sustain the Father's glory. Having proved himself both a merciful and a faithful high priest, he is set over the house of God for ever. He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and blessing, because he is the Lamb that was slain. He is filled with the fulness of Godhead, because it pleased the Father that in a body all fulness should dwell. Thus exalted above all principalities and powers and dominions, God giveth him to the church for her Head, and that she might enjoy the same fulness, might now enjoy it in the flesh, and put it forth for the ends of God's glory. The body is to grow up into him, which is the Head, in all things; and not to stop in her growth until she hath reached the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. It is now that the manifold wisdom of God is to be shewn by the church unto the angels and principalities and powers in heavenly places. It is now that the power of God, put forth in raising Jesus up on high above all things, is put forth in us who believe. It is in the EARTHEN vessel that we have this treasure, that the excellency of the power may be seen to be of God, and not of us.
Now here it is that we have come short in the doctrine of the