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that was made. Behold the execution of the eternal plan. The design is copied to an iota. It is the incommunicable prerogative of Deity to create. He who creates cannot be hiinself a creature. By the WORD were all things made, the WORD therefore could not have been made. What God did by the Word of his power he did by himselt ; and " through faith we understand that the worlds were tramed by the Word of God." Mark the universality of this creative energy ; All things were made by Him. The apostle makes a lplendid enu. meration of those all things, in his epistle to the Colossians, ch. 1. v. 16. “ For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers ; all things were created by him and for him." Wherever therefore there iscreated existence, there is omnipotent, omnipresent, creating and lustaining virtue, and there can be but One Omnipotent, Omnipresent. Angels" are said to " excel in strength,” but that strength is imparted, and it is exerted or reItrained by a will not their own ; they do His command. ments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” Man is capable of doing great things, but his power is limited to the modi. fication of m terials provided to bis hand. Chriftians are indeed said to be " labourers together with God," and " workers together with him ;" it is the highest glory of human nature : but this labouring and working is not in aid to feebleness, it gues not to the production of what had no previous being; it fimply implies the adoption of the same views with God, and the imitation of his works of goodness and mercy. The united powers of angels and men are unequal to the formation of a single atom, tor, to the afcription of the creation of univerfal nature to the Word, John lubjoins his exclusive title to the character of Creator : it is a glory which he will not give to a. ny other;
“ without him was not any thing made that was made.” He spake, and it was done ; he commanded and it food faft.” “God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” And who but God could thus speak, thus produce ?
In Him was life. In the vegetable world life is a state of expansion, a progress of fructification, a power of reproduction, but all issuing in the decay and dissolution of the parent germ. A grain of wheat in order to vitality must itself consume. “That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die." It has not therefore life in itself. It was the divine mandate which first generated, and which still supports the wondertul process. '“ God said, Let the earth bring forth grals, the herb yielding feed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, whose seed was
in itself, upon the earth, after his kind : and it was so : and God saw that it was good.” From the fame tountain of life proceeded animal nature : "All theep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field : the towl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatloever pafleth through the paths of the feas." A higher species of lite iffues froin the self same source. “The Lord God formed man of the duft of the ground, and breached into his noftrils the breath of life ; and man became a living foul.” In all these gradations we behold a vital principle, but that principle derived, standing in need of continual iupplies, and hastening to extinction. Here we are presented with lite underived, needing no external support, inexiinguishable. “In Him" fupereminently “ was life ;" a life of which man is in a peculiar fenle partaker : and the life was the light of men.
" The light of the body is the eye ;” and a precious gift ic is. * Truly the light is fweet, and a pleafant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." But the faculty of vision, as well as some others, is bestowed in a higher degree of acuteness on certain of the animal creation, than upon man. He howcver possesses a light denied to the beasts that perish. “There is a fpirit in man; and the infpiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." " The fpirit of man is tlie candle of the Lord," by which he is distinguished from, and exalted far above the beasts of the earth and the fowls of heaven. And this " light of men" is the gift of Him who " has life in himself." "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? He that formed the eye, shall he not lee? He that teacheih nian knowl. edge, shall not he know?"
And the light shineth in darkness. Material light necessarily difpels darkness; when the sun rises the shadows flee away. But mental darkness reGfts the cleareft light. The great fowrce of intellectual day has shined through every age and upon every land ; but every age and every land have exhibited men grovelling in the dark, wilfully shutting their eyes, and then denying the existence of light. The history of mankind is a melancholy demonftration of this, and this is the condernnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil, for every one that doth evil hateth the light, neiiher cometh to the light, left his deeds should be reproved.” It is a corrupted heart that dillubs and misleads the intellect. “If, therefore," O man, " the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is tiat darkn-ss !” On whom does this censure fall ? On the ruder man tions, and the groffer periods of ignorance and b.rbarisin?
Yes, and likewise on periods of illumination and refinement, on nations who, in the pride of their heart, appropriated all wisdom to themselves, and stigmatized the rest of mankind with the name of Barbarian : it falls on the boasted ages of Alexander and of Augukus, on learned Athens and imperial Rome. Ot them it is that the apoftle Paul thus writes : “ When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Profefling themselves to be wife, they became fools : and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasis, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.". This accounts for that earnestness of exhortation employed by the same apostle in his epistle to the Ephesians : “ This I say, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the unders ftanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart : who, being paft feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." Thus though the light of the world shone, and still Shineth, the darkness comprehended it not. On whom does the censure fail ? On pagans of ages past, and on pagans now
walking in darkness, and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death ;" on unbelieving Jews and the blinded pofterity of Ishmael ? Alas ! " darkness still covers earth” of lands de. nominated Christian, "and gross darkness the people" who bear that venerable name. What grievous ignorance have we to deplore! what impudent infidelity, what abounding iniquity, what horrid profanation of the name, of the day, of the book of God!" Sun of righteousness, arise" on thele finful lands " with healing in thy wings," " deliver us from the power of darkness," that we may be " light in the Lord.”
The evangelist having displayed the glory of the WORD, as the source of all being, whether material, animal or intelligent, adverts to the mission of John Baptist, his immediate forerunner, " the voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a high-way for our God ;” the finger pointing to "the Lamb of God which taketh away the fin of the world." Paying all due honour to that“ burning and shining light" which came in the spirit and power of Elias, he reprelents him as merely the harbinger' of
the LIGHT, the true Light, which lighteth every man that com. eth into the world. John Baptist came for a uitness, and he faithfully delivered his testimony : " He that cometh after me is preferred before me ; for he was before me-whose shoes? latchet I am not worthy to unloole ; He must increase, but I mult decrease," as the morning star "hides his dininished head” when the great orb of day appears.
Through faith we underftand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God," but " the world by wisdom knew not God.” He was in the world through the whole extent of its du. ration, as the all-upholding Word, the all-regulating power, but the men of the world, even “ the wise and pr dent” dilcerned him not, acknowledged him not, adored him not. * The fulness of time" at length came. The Scriptures were fulfilled ; the day which" Abraham rejoiced to fce" began to dawn; the “ Star out of jacob” arose. Surely man will fall down and worship him. They furely, at least, " to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promis. es, whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Chrilt came," they surely will flock to "the brightness of his tiling.” This is a reasonable expectation, but it was not real. ized. The melancholy tact is, He came unt, his own, and his own received him not, and the prediction is verified by the event ; When we shall see him, there is no beauty ihat we Thould defire him : He is defpiled and rejected of men"they “ hid their faces from him ; he was despised, and they esteemed him not."
This carries us forward, with our evangelist, to the great, . the eventful day when the WORD was made flesh and duelt among us. The Scripture term, flesh, it is well known mearts man, human nature, the human race. Thus in describing the univerfality of human degeneracy it is faid, “ All flith had corrupted their ways." Thus, in confidence of divine protection, the Plalmilt exultingly exclaims, "I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” And the Prophet, viewing the redemption of mankind as co-extensive with mortality, while he declares that “ all fish is grass,” triumphs in the thought that “all flesh should ice the salvation of God.” To these, intumerablé inftances might be adduced to prove that the Evangelist, when he says" the Word was made flesh” means to convey this idea, that the WORD, all-creating, all-virilying, all-illuminating, affumed humanity," was in the world," tabernacled among men, emitted a fensible glory, "as of the only begotten D
of the Father, full of grace and truth." " Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham"-" as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himselt likewise took part of the fame”_" in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" “ for which caule he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
And thus, Men and Brethren we perceive one and the same animating principle calling worlds into existence, peopling them with angels and men, communicating intelligence, exercilieg unbounded empire-and making himselt of no reputation, in the form of a lervanı, in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbling himself to a mean eftate, to the suffering of reproach and contempt, becoming
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' To what meannels of condition ought not we his disciples, therefore, cheerfully to submit ? " For our sakes he became poor," and fhall we be ashamed of honest poverty ? Did he go by the I. me of " the carpenter's son," and dare a Ciriftian oftenta. tiously to display the heraldry of his ancestors, or to blush at what the world calls low birth ? “ He hath not despised, nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor hid his face from him when he cried," and can one called by his name turn a deat ear to the cry of distress, or hide his face from a poor brother ? We cannot like bim say " Let there be light” rus come forth ;" we cannot like him walk on water or filence the wind; we cannot like him give eyes to the blind, or speech to the dumb. But we may with him be“ meek and lowly in heart," merciful and compassionate, forbearing and forgiving: we can go abou' doing good, and ministering to the necessitous. We cannot attain to the height of his divine excellence and perfection, but we may with him descend to the lowlieft offices of beneficence and condescenfion! we may leurn of him to
overcome evil with good."
On the other hand, to what height of elevation may not the Christian aspire ? Let not the idea of temporal elevation seduce you. Think not of the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them," which perish with the using. Christ's " kingdom is not of this world." Let not the blind ambition of the sons of Zebedee suggeft a dream of right and left hand places by the fide of an earthly throne. Be it your study and ambition to “ have this mind in you which also was in Christ Jesus.". Let the avarice of the worldly mind accumulate bag upon bag, add house to houle, field to field, but let a nobler avarice excite you, the disciples of the blessed Jesus, to " add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temper,