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Christ spake as never man spake, his audience uttered no agonizing shrieks, “ What shall we do to be saved ?” And when the unbelieving multitude vociferated, " Away with him, crucify him," there was no counter-cry from an opposing mass who had received life at his lips. No; the grand display of the Spirit's influence during the abode of Christ on earth, was on himself; as if it was necessary first to shew what the Spirit does in the person of Him from whom the

grace descends to us; that the anointing should flow from the Head to the members; and you should first see in Christ what we ought to be, ere you become “the living epistles of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.”

3. But when Christ departed to heaven, then the Spirit descended on the whole church. For there was a sufficient reason why the Spirit of grace

should not descend before,-justice was not yet reconciled with grace ; mercy and truth had not yet met together; nor righteousness and peace kissed each other. It was not fit that the choicest blessing which heaven can shed on man should be granted while the guilt of their sins remained untaken away by an atoning sacrifice. It was on the entrance of sin that the holy Dove flew from paradise, and the Spirit forsook his temple in the human breast, and therefore he would not re-enter but in consequence of an expiatory sacrifice that should make reconciliation for iniquity. To furnish this, Christ died. “ For he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

Now, it was by that death which Christ suffered on the cross that he went away from earth. For though he returned and remained here forty days, this was to give infallible proof that he was alive again after his passion. But from the time that he committed his soul to his Father's hands, on the cross, he was considered as belonging to another world, and was no more seen among the

ordinary inhabitants of this. He went away, therefore, that the Comforter might come: “ Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you. For except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." What occurred at Pentecost, explained what was seen on the

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forthwith came thereout blood and water.' The fountain being open for sin and uncleanness, according to the prediction of Zachariah, the promise conveyed by that prophet was fulfilled: “I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication."

It was fit that Christ should go away to heaven, and from thence should bestow this best of blessings on earth. For the Spirit was to be given in royal style, since it is the highest royalty of heaven to reign in the heart. There is nothing that God himself possesses more gloriously divine, than that influence by which minds are enlightened, natures are changed, dead souls are quickened, alienated hearts are won, holiness is restored to sinful man, peace given to guilty consciences, gladness inspired in gloomy bosoms, and those who had been brands for the burning, are made heirs of heaven, and “ meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.”

As our kings date their highest royal acts, and issue their proclamations of

our royal palace at St. James's,” it behoved the King of


to ascend up on high,” in order to give from his heavenly throne, in the central palace of the universe, those “gifts to the rebellious by which the Lord God might dwell among them.” If this Spirit had been enjoyed before Christ was glorified, it was only by anticipation, because He who was our surety, who had pledged himself to do all that was necessary, was faithful and true, and worthy to be trusted, for he was “the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world, though manifested in these last times, for you, who, by him do believe in God that raised him up and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” There was however, an obvious propriety in being sparing of this influence till the atonement was actually made, that we might learn how much we are indebted to the cross. By small drops, therefore, the dew fell on men, till Christ had put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and then the abundant showers came down, producing the exclamation of wonder--the eager inquiry, “What meaneth this ?” To which Peter thus replied, “ Jesus being at the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, has shed forth this which ye now see and hear.”

While Christ was, as our king, to ascend the throne, and give this most royal grace from heaven, it should be remembered, that he was to be a “priest on his throne,” and to exercise a priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, who was at once king of righteousness and priest of the Most High God. Thus was to be fulfilled, the typical promise implied in the event recorded by Moses. The Lord said unto Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod, according to the house of their fathers; of all their princes according to the house of their fathers, twelve rods: write thou every man's name upon his rod. And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi: for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their fathers. And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I I will meet with you. And it shall come to pass, that the man's rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel; and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that, on the morrow, Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod. And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not." Ever after that, the memorial of the fruitfulness of a true priesthood rested on the ark, in the most holy place. But these things were a shadow of better blessings to come, of which the body or substance is Christ. Fragrant were the blossoms, and rich with life were the fruits of Christ's priestly rod. Not paradise itself, even with its tree of life, contained any thing more sweet to the taste, or more invigorating to the soul, than what the priesthood of Jesus bore to the church, after he went into the holy of holies, to sit as the shechina on the mercy-seat between the cherubim, where “the ark of the testimony was seen in heaven.”

From this royal throne in the skies, Christ, our priest and king, has shed forth that influence which has shewn the fulfilment of the promise, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all truth, and convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come.” For the Father said to Him who entered into the holy place, with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for us, "Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. There he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet."

What mean ye, then, infatuated men, who professing, and, I would fain hope and gladly believe, wishing to honour Christ and his Spirit, approach so alarmingly near to the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, as to say that this mighty Spirit will not accomplish the object for which he was promised—the conquest of the world ; so that it was not expedient that Christ should go away, in order that the Spirit might come, but that Christ, should reverse his sentence, and come to do that which the Spirit has not done and never will do ?

But I am here reminded of the second doctrine taught in these words.

II. The preference due to the Spirit's influence “it is expedient that I go away, that the Comforter may come.”

Who can tell his errors ? How numerous and various, and often, alas ! how serious! We not only sin against our mercies by undervaluing them all, but also by unduly estimating one in comparison with another, exalting the inferior over the superior, putting the last first, and the first last. How few hold the balance equal among them all! and yet how desirable to possess that discernment among things that differ ; and that spirit of wisdom that gives to the numerous and various favours of God, their real and their relative rank ! But time, that great teacher and reformer, often comes to correct the errors which nothing else will detect. Experience is said to keep a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. We live in times that should teach us, by the sad experience of the church, the relative value of Christ's bodily presence, and the Spirit's influence; for some are now doting on the return of the Saviour from the skies, as if it were the only thing which could effect that important object for which Christ went away and sent his Spirit.

But when we are told that it is expedient for us to part with one thing, in order to enjoy another, both are exhibited as blessings, and even that which is to be resigned, though in one respect depressed, is in another exalted, as being so precious that it required some valuable consideration to make compensation for our loss. I think it needful, therefore, before I proceed to my chief object, to remind you,

1. That the value of Christ's bodily presence is implied when it is said to be expedient for you that he should go away. listened to persons conversing behind a veil, and heard one of them say to the other “I do assure you that it is for your advantage that I should go away ;" you could not avoid the impression that the speaker was a valued friend, whose company was felt to be a treasure, from which it was hard to part; so that all the force of reason, and all the tenderness of persuasion, were required, to

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reconcile those who had enjoyed the advantages of his society to the thought of losing it.

I protest, therefore, against your inferring from anything that I am about to say, that Christ's bodily presence on earth is to be regarded as of no value. Far from it. While he was on earth, he was its jewel, its treasure, its ornament, its safety, its joy, its glory,“ the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof." Where was there a spot in the universe so enriched and exalted as that on which he stood ? All the wise and virtuous exclaimed, with rapture, “ The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." To see that wondrous Person in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily—to dwell upon the glories of his person—to behold the God shine gracious through the man—to discern the numerous proofs that he was at once our brother and our Lord—to mark the mixture of majesty and grace that attended every movement—to discover the sanctity and benevolence of his tempers—to consult the sacred oracle enshrined in his bosom—to catch the gracious words which dropped from his lips—to receive blessings immediately from his own hands, was a privilege so exalted, that Christ himself said to those who enjoyed it, “ Blessed are your eyes that they see, for many prophets and kings desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them.”

But this privilege fell to the lot of few. There is not a man upon earth now, whose

eyes have seen the Lord of glory. We cannot, with Simeon, exult and say, “Now let me shut my eyes to all things else, for thou lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; since mine eyes have seen thy salvation, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." having not seen, you love; and in him, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” The hope of seeing Christ after death, makes even that bitter thing sweet; for to " depart and be with Christ is far better. To raise our souls to this glorious hope, Christ scattered fragrant incense as he went through the veil, saying, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.” If no man can see Christ and live, all that love him would say, “ Then let me die."

Can we wonder, then, that the disciples who saw him on earth were reluctant to part with this grateful sight? No: it was quite natural that when Christ said, “ I go my way to Him that sent me," they should give him occasion to add, “ Because I have said these

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