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Now what is the general result of this Apostolic representation of the person of Christ ? That, although a man in nature, his perfect virtue made him the image of the invisible God; and that, when raised after death to the right hand of God, he was placed at the head of the spiritual creation, filling a rank inferior only to God, dispensing all spiritual gifts to his Church, which derives its power and vitality from him-reigning till all his enemies shall be subdued, when his delegated authority must be surrendered to God. . (2.) What has Christ done for men? Died for their sins—redeemed them from the wrath to come-called them to the kingdom of God-our only foundation—the first fruits of them that sleepdied for all, that man might live a new life in him-end of the law for justification to every one that believeth-lived and died, that he might be Lord of the living and the dead—through him we have redemption-descended and rose again, that he might fill all things with his spirit, and give gifts to men-led captivity captive-gave himself an offering and a sacrifice—though in the form of God, took upon him the form of a servant, emptied himself, and submitted to the death of the cross—though rich, yet for the sake of men became poor—therefore, exalted above every name, the whole creation acknowledging him Lord—came into the world to save sinners—abolished death-brought life and immortality to light-redeemed men from iniquity-purified to himself a peculiar people—saved men through the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the holy spirit. *—The substance of what Christ has done for men is this: he has delivered men from the bondage of law, sin, and death, and put them in possession of spiritual freedom, a renewed moral nature, and eternal life.
(3.) How has Christ done this? By his death and resurrection he has broken the power of law-believers crucified with Christ have a new life through him-being made a curse for us, he has bought us off from the curse of the law—God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to men their trespasses—God made the sinless Christ sin, that men might become the righteousness of God in him—Christ became poor, that men through his poverty might be made rich-set forth as a mercy-seat or propitiation, through faith in his blood-deliver
. 1 Thess. i. 9, 10; v. 9, 10; ii. 12. Gal. i. 4.-Toll 8bytos éaut DV Tepl Tv &papTi@v ñuñv. iv. 1-4. 1 Cor. i. 30; iii. 11; vi. 11 ; xv. 3.-åréduvev ÚTèp Tậv åpaprI@v ημών κατά τας γραφάς και ότι ετάφη. και ότι εγήγερται τη ημέρα τη τρίτη κατά τας ypapás. xv. 2 Cor. ii. 11, 16 ; iii. 6, 9, 14, 16 ; v. 15. 'Rom. x. 4 ; xiv. Coloss. i. 14.-év q éxou ev thy Stolút pwoiv, Thy peow Tô v duaptiâv. Ephes. ii. 2, 5, 6, 10; iv. 8–12 ; v. 2.-apoopopàv kal ovolav TQ 0EQ. Philipp. ii. 6-10; iii. 10, 11. 1 Tim. · i. 15. 2 Tim. i. 9, 10; iv. 1. Titus ii. 14; iii. 5.
pough hin the condowers in saved, brought init na
ed up for man's transgressions, and raised for their justification -procured for men the reconciliation or atonement received through him from God—as Adam's transgression placed his posterity in the condition of sinners, so Christ's perfect obedience puts all his followers in the condition of the righteousmen redeemed, reconciled, saved, by the death or blood of Christ_his death and resurrection brought man a new spiritual life—condemned sin in the flesh-his spirit maketh aliveabolished ordinances by nailing them to his cross-triumphed by his cross over principalities and powers-gathered together all things in earth and heaven under one head.*
The result of Paul's doctrine respecting the mode of Christ's agency may be thus stated : Christ's voluntary humiliation, sinless obedience, submission to the cross, and resurrection from the dead,-broke the power of evil, and enabled him to found a spiritual kingdom independent of, and superior to, the temporary institutions and evanescent distinctions of this world, into which, through repentance, faith, and newness of life, Jew and Gentile would be equally admitted.
IV. The ministry of Christ, perpetuated by his Apostles, was chiefly prospective, intended to prepare men for the Future Life. Their teachings imply, that a crisis was approaching, in which he would save those who put their trust in him, and leave the unbelieving to their fate.— Three questions here present themselves :—Where, when, and how—will be this Future Life ?
(1.) Where? Christ will descend from heaven to raise the quick and the dead-the then living and the risen dead shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and to be for ever with him—the living shall not anticipate the dead -Christ shall transform the bodies of men into a likeness to his glorified body. Rom. viii. 18—23, compared with 2 Peter iii. 13, and Rev. xi. 15, seems to imply that all this will take place in a renewed and glorified world.7
(2.) When? The time is nowhere exactly defined. The day will come, as a thief in the night, but still the language implies, shortly-for the Apostle says, it is better for men, in expectation
• Gal. ii. 15—21; iii. 13 ; v. 6 ; vi. 14. 1 Cor. xv. 56, 57. 2 Cor. i. 22; v. 16, 17, 19, 20, katallayhte TQ Dec (N.B. The movement must proceed from ourselves) 21; viii. 9. Rom. iii. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 ; [Being justified freely (Swpedv) by God's grace through the redemption in Christ, ον προέθετο ο θεός ιλαστήριον διά πίστεως év aŭtvû aiuatı. What other meaning can attach to these words--whether inaothplov be taken literally, or as Heb. ix. 5, in the sense of “mercy-seat”- than that the trust or confidence of the believer (Tiotews) should be founded on the propitiatory efficacy of Christ's blood ?] iv. 24, 25; v. 9, 10, 11, 12—16, 17-21; vi. vii. viii. Coloss. i. 22, 23 ; ii. 12, 15. Ephes. i. 7, 10; ii.
+ 1 Thess. iv. 15. 2 Thess. i. 5--10. 1 Cor. xv. 50. 2 Cor. v. 1-9. Rom. viii. 18-23. Coloss. i. 12, 13. Ephes ji. 5, 6. év Tois étoupavious. Philipp. iii. 20. - Mã TO Toniteuma èv ovpavois-Êg 00, etc. iv. 3.
be a spiriesh and be change ith Christ seen, nothings which
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of it, not to marry and encumber themselves with the cares of this life. Before its approach, the man of sin must first be revealed, and a great falling off from the truth take place.*
(3.) How, under what circumstances, will this great and awful event occur ? God will destroy all his enemies, and take vengeance in flaming fire on the unbelieving and disobedientthe spirit is the seal and pledge of men's preparation for this event-Christians must therefore cherish the fruits of the Spirit
-no immoral person shall enter the kingdom of God—there will be a spiritual renewal of all things, when Christ enters on his reign-flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven-believers will be changed, clothed with incorruption and immortality, and will reign with Christ, judging the world and angels (1 Cor. vi. 2, 3,)-eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, in that future agethere Christ will reign, till he has subdued all his enemies, when he will surrender the kingdom to God, who will become all in all.t
Let us now briefly review and collect together the several results of our inquiry into Paul's doctrine, respecting God, Man, Christ, and the Future Life.-We have seen that he teaches, concerning God and man—that God is omnipotent and man responsible; and that God and man, through the latter's disobedience, were at variance. Between them Christ interposes as a pacificator, yet not as a third party independent of either, but as connected by the closest ties with both-an elder brother of the human family, the firstborn of the sons of God,—the being, whose perfect virtue and universal obedience prove an union of the divine and the human nature to be practicable,-through whom therefore the moral harmony of creation is restored. In connection with this view of Christ's mediation, the genuine doctrine of Hebrew monotheism still maintains its complete ascendancy. The whole mission and agency of Christ is represented as having its ultimate source in the pure and gratuitous love of the Father towards the human race. “He spared not his own son, that with him he might freely give us all things." “ He hath justified us gratuitously.” “Our salvation is not of debt but of grace.” “It is the free gift of God.”
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When Christ departed from this world, and the gross and carnal expectations of his earliest followers were dissipated by the circumstances of his death and resurrection,-a new power gradually took possession of their minds, and they began to conceive of Christ and his kingdom, under a more spiritual point of view. This was exclusively the view which occupied the mind of Paul,—the individual who, above all others, effectually introduced and permanently fixed this higher conception of Christianity. Paul had never known Christ after the flesh. His intercourse with him had been solely of a spiritual nature; all his references to Christ, and reasonings about him, relate to his risen, exalted and glorified state. This consideration will serve to throw some light on the Apostle's views and reasonings. He perceived, that a new leaven was beginning to work in human society, which tended to absorb into one mass the originally distinct elements of Heathenism and Judaism, and to form out of them a purer, a more religious, and a more brotherly union among men. Of this great change he regarded Christ-the Christ who had conferred with him in visions, and whom he believed to be continually employed for the well-being and happiness of man amongst the agencies of the spiritual world—as the source, the principle, and the instrument.
What then was the condition under which the Apostle saw the unconverted portion of mankind everywhere suffering? Slavery. to oppressive law and vicious custom-fear springing from the consciousness of guilt—the power of evil habitmisery and death ;-and all this wretchedness, the consequence of prolonged disobedience,-since, according to Jewish notions, natural and moral evil were regarded as inevitable concomitants of each other, and as springing from a common root. With these facts, daily presenting themselves to his view, were associated in the Apostle's mind the strong popular persuasions of that day, which modified his conception of them ;-first, the belief in an evil spirit continually opposing the divine plans; and secondly, the belief in the efficacy of propitiations and atonements with God. These two persuasions had struck a deep root in the Jewish mind of that age: and in a modified form, they were also essential elements in the prevalent belief of the heathen world.
Let us then consider the actual position in which Paul now stood ; the work before him—the subjects on which it was to take effect-and the convictions of his own mind, which furnished the sole instruments for executing it. Without such a miracle, as would have unmade at a stroke the
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whole mental constitution of that age, and reversed the accumulated impressions of centuries--it was not possible for a mind like Paul's, earnest, ardent, and practical—not that of a speculative philosopher, but of one, who habitually lived and wrought amidst the warmest popular sympathies and the most stirring popular interests-to free itself wholly from the influence of notions, which formed a part of the intellectual patrimony of the time, and which it had imbibed, and made one, with its earliest religious convictions-saving in the one single point, where it had received immediate impulse and direction from heaven. Deprived all at once of such notions—however in themselves irreconcilable with the future conclusions of a more advanced philosophy—the known laws of human nature would lead us to expect, that the mind of the Apostle must have lost no small portion of its vital earnestness and strength : its point of living contact with actual humanity would have failed ;—the cold, clear, powerless light of the intellect might have been there, but the creative energy—the vital heat-of the moral nature, would have been wholly wanting.
What chiefly demands our gratitude in the contemplation of this momentous crisis of human history—what lifts our thoughts above the world to that Supreme Intelligence, who conducts all its movements, and uses men as his unconscious instruments —what compels us, in the most enlarged sense, to regard Christianity as his work—is the way in which that Intelligence em. ployed the popular notions, which belonged to a particular grade of mental cultivation, as a medium for introducing into the human mind more perfect and enduring conceptions, which have worked powerfully and silently in its hidden depths, and are at length beginning to triumph over and expel the less pure elements, with which they were originally associated.
The power of simple-hearted truthful goodness, to vanquish sin and death, to rise superior to slavery and fear, and to secure the favour and blessing of God—this is the great truth, which was at the bottom of the Apostle's soul, which the image of Christ had deposited there; but which he brought out and applied-perhaps himself with only an imperfect knowledge of the whole extent of its application in the form, and under the limitations, and with the immediate reference to existing opinions, which the circumstances of society and his own sincere convictions spontaneously suggested to him. Fear, slavery, sin, and death-these were the workings of the evil one, which crushed and degraded humanity; the redemption of men from this moral thraldom was the object of Christ's ministry, and the means of peace and union with God.