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Christ in the glory of the Spirit of God, as we now share with him in the consolation ; then in the power, now in the weakness; then in the honour, now in the dishonour. The Apostle accordingly goes over the twofold mystery of the regeneration and the resurrection, the lesser and the greater mysteries of the Christian faith; the lesser respecting the redemption and forgiveness now possessed in the assurance of the Holy Ghost (v.7); the greater abounding in the knowledge and anticipation of the future preferment which we shall hold in the dispensation of the ages to come, when all things shall be gathered together and headed up into the Christ, exhibiting the reality of that purpose from all eternity conceived in the mind of the Father, and set up in the person of the Son by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Of this completeness of the Divine idea the Apostle being happily delivered, and how much he esteemed the utterance then given to him, he himself declareth (iii
. 3); he doth at the 17th verse resume the name " the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and calleth him “the Father of the glory," and maketh prayer to him to introduce the church into the full apprehension and enjoyment of the infinite store of grace and mercy, and glory, treasured up for them in their heavenly Head. The same name and character giveth he to God, in the Epistle to the Colossians (i. 3), introducing therewith a discourse concerning the fulness and glory contained in Christ, which hath no paral. lel in Holy Scripture except that in the Ephesians referred to above: and it containeth in like manner the precious things of God hidden in him from before the birth of time, and manifested by his incarnation of the Holy Ghost, and his resurrection in the full strength and power of the same Holy Ghost; all which are derived to us, through the faith of that God and Father of his, who first in him did shew that full fountain of blessedness and glory which is in him for every man who will call upon him by that thrice blessed name “ The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And finally, not to multiply quotations, the Apostle Peter, in his First Epistle, openeth with the same doxology, to “ the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," as the Father of mercies, and the author of regeneration unto the blessed hope of the imperishable inheritance, the new Jerusalem in the heavens, the inherit
ance of the saints, which is about to be manifested for their habitation and possession in the last times against the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ ; and this he giveth to them as their strong consolation under their manifold trials, and by the assured hope thereof he calleth them to gird up the loins of their minds, and to be sober, and to hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto them at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now, I ask all men if these passages do not cast a steady light upon the use of the expression “my God,"
connection with the poor, despised, and weak church of Philadelphia, to whom he promiseth these super-celestial blessings of the New Jerusalem, and the temple, and the name of his God ;- now indeed above in the heavens, but to descend from thence into the earth; “ to come down out of heaven from my God." They shew that Christ received them from his God, in reward of his faith. fulness, and truth, and piety, and obedience to him during the days of his flesh, in the midst of enormous sufferings and hideous oppressions of the devil, the world, and the flesh. “ He was heard in that he feared” (on account of his piety), and received that glorious redemption from 'the
grave, and exaltation to the headship,--to have and to hold the honour of God's name, and write it on whom he pleaseth, in their hearts and in their foreheads,- to have and to hold the key of David, which openeth the gates of the new Jerusalem, in order to admit therein whom he pleaseth to admit. And whom pleaseth he to admit to those celestial seats and titles? As many as will name the name of God as “the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ," and serve him as Jesus Christ did serve him: they, and none but they, shall enter by the gates into the city. He holdeth it as his own; but his own is God's own, for he is God: he administers it as Christ ; but Christ will do nothing against . God, for Christ is God. And therefore he doth signify that only to the sons and servants of his God will he grant these unspeakable blessings, which are reserved in the heavens for them who are kept through faith unto salvation. These things are given to the Philadelphians because they walk nearest and closest after the Lord's pattern; but they are equally free to all, who will make themselves meet for them, by the same holy and heavenly
course which Christ followed, shewing us an example that we should follow his steps. Oh my soul, awake, arise, and climb those happy heights of glory! Though the way to them be through that dark and deadly valley, gird thyself and descend to the very depths of thy Lord's sufferings, filled with the glorious hope set before thee of rising to the very summit of his exaltation. My soul, descend from thy proud and vain-glory of the life that now is.
It is naught, and worse than naught, most odious to a holy God, and ever abhorred by the holy Jesus; by thee then in like manner abhorred, crucified, and kept in continual death. O my soul, enter into the holiness of thy God, and hate the life of Adamhood; because in Adam it rose against God, and love the life of Christhood, because in Christ it pleased God. Then will God be pleased in thee, as in Christ he was well pleased. Amen, yea, and amen.
“ And I will write upon him my new name.” There is such a collection of glories gathered together around the head of this Philadelphian church, that I fear lest I should lose myself in the admiration of their much splendour, and forget the soberness of mind which beseemeth the interpreter of God's holy word. Poetry is the fit vehicle for these sublime ideas, and by such I had thought and do still meditate to set them forth ; but latterly my life hath been overladen with trials and labours which break up the musings of the soul, and hinder them from forming themselves into fit language and harmonious numbers. My station at present is as a fighting man, in the heat of battle, who hath time for nothing but the handling of his weapon, and the keeping of his post with stern fortitude until help come to his side. When that day arriveth, I shall sit under my vine and make melody unto the name of the Lord my God, in the midst of the congregation of his saints.
Of Christ's “new name " I think we have the account in the Epistle to the Philippians, ii. 9_-11; where, after recounting his wonderful and most gracious condescension from the form of God into the likeness of man, and the ig. nominy of the cross, it is said, “ Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And will Christ write upon us this very name? I believe that as we have borne the image of the earthly so shall we also bear the image of the heavenly. And will they bow the knee and confess unto us? Surely not; because we have the name of God written upon us, we are not therefore God: no more are we Christ, because we have the name of Christ written upon us; but like as by the former we become filled with all the fulness of God, so by the latter do we become filled with all the fulness of the Lord Jesus Christ. To what end? To the end of testifying to God the Father, and to Christ the Son and servant of the Father. As a slave, marked with the name of his master, hath in him of the sacredness of that master, and may not be meddled with without bringing down the wrath of his master, so, being thus inscribed with the names of God and of Christ, we are covered with their sacredness, and clothed upon with their authority; but do not on that account become either God or Christ, who cannot give their glory to another. Christ doth make common cause with us through eternity: he enrols us among his brethren, and we are conformed to his image; but we look up to him as the fountain head of our life, and beauty, and glory ; even as now we look up to Adam, the fountain-head of this our present sinful being : and by our vhole life directed Christ-ward, we direct the whole tide of life in that kingdom and priesthood which we administer to the same fountain-head of existence. By having these two names written upon us,
we direct the ascending tide of dependence and thanksgiving towards two objects; the one, God the Father of all, who is invisible ; the other, Christ the Head of all, who is visible, yet secreteth within himself the hiddenness of God. And requiring for these two, co-equal and co-essential honour and glory, we rule the world as it should be ruled, and teach it as it should be taught, to know, and observe, and obey the eternal God who in Christ is manifested, and in him subsisteth for all creature ends of knowledge, observance, and worship. So that creation is the witness of God, the fulness of Godhead embodied in Christ; from whom it drinketh evermore the life-blood of its being and blessedness. And in the enjoyment of sound membership, indissoluble union with him, it is the conscious witness of the Holy Spirit, who doth thus cause an embodied God, a being embodied within the straitness of human nature, to be felt consciously present to the utmost bounds of the habitable world. And so is made out the great problem of creation, to make it the witness of God, of a one spiritual being in three persons subsisting, and through his action therein blessing outward things with his own inward blessedness. Much very much have I laboured to instruct this genera. tion in the mystery of the Trinity: I have sought to lift her
eye above the lip of that frozen sea into which she became sealed up at the Nicene Council, that she might know the open sea in which the goodly vessel sailed freely and fully before that act froze all up in the chains of controversy ; to the end she might struggle hard to find her way back to the former and better age of Ephesian love and Smyrnian patience. And I have in part succeeded: I behold the fruit of the better doctrine bursting forth upon every hand in a holier conversation, and in the reviving gifts of the Holy Ghost. At the same time I have not been inobservant, as the Spirit bore me through that exceeding broad way of doctrine, to observe the ancient avenues of heresy leading down to hell upon either side; the Gnostic, the Manichean, the Cerinthian, and the. Arian; and ever as I passed them I have sought to rivet the doors more closely which the ancient church, in her faithfulness and charity, placed upon them to warn unwary travellers. Yet have I received small thanks, because I sought not the reward of man ; seeing in heaven I have a more enduring substance, for I also seek a city whose builder and whose maker is God.
There is mention made, in the xixth chapter of the Apocalypse, of a name which Christ had “ written that no man knew but he himself” (ver. 12). And in the following verse it is said, “ And his name is called the Word of God." Are these the same, “the name that had been written unknown to any one but himself,” and the name called
upon him, “the Word of God?" I think not. The former I take to be the Godhead incomprehensiblity and incommunicableness; the latter, the Godhead revealed