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two-fold; by the diversified dealings of God with a “ peculiar people," to prefigure his intentions towards a redeemed church, thus augmenting our knowledge of the divine character; and to hold up in the foreground those distinguished worthies, who lived to reflect each a ray of the Redeemer's glory, and excite expectation of his coming. Who that realizes the glorious promises of God, and the waiting and longing expectation of his people, groaning to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, can carry
himself back to the wortheis of scriptural history, continually ascending and reaching forward in their prophetic semblances and pre-intimations, without saying to himself, Behold the shadows of approaching divinity, the kindling dawn of the Sun of Righteousness ? As our position ascends, and we leave the historical writings, we hear David pouring out the warm and lively gratitude of a redeemed soul, in those psalms which will ever be the most natural and expressive model for all the ransomed of the Lord, while at the same time they are replete with definite predictions of His rank and offices. In the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, we are taught the utmost of this world's wisdom and vanity, that we may be conducted to Him who is full of grace and truth; the eternal wisdom “who was with God from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” In the nuptial song of Solomon, we have the new relation in which God was about to stand to his espoused church, when he was no longer to be called Baali, my Lord; but Ishi, my salvation; when converts numerous as the drops of the morning dew, were to be clad in wedding garments, and to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. In Isaiah we have the glories of the redeemed church, converting even the gloom of the Jewish captivity into interminable splendor: and in the latter part, (for there is an evident division,) we have such a precise and definite description of Christ's birth, and character, and offices, and sufferings, and death, that we never have wondered that all neologists since the time of Doederlein, have done their utmost to disprove its genuineness. In Jeremiah, though there is more of adversity than prosperity, still the Sun of Righteousness is visible throughout the intervals of the storm. In Ezekiel we behold the transitory and shadowy priesthood of the Jews, enlarged into a more glorious and spiritual worship; and in Daniel we see the termination of all kingly power in the never-ending empire of the Redeemer; while each of the minor prophets presents some varied and separate view of the Redeemer's character. Malachi closes the old testament with a definite assurance, that the Sun of Righteousness was near. In opening the evangelists there is no change of subject, no break. As the night passes into the dawn, and morning's first breaking steals into the twilight, and twilight into day, so grad
ually do the first faint promises of redemption pass into clear pre-intimations, and then again into near and kindling prospects, till all are lost in bright and cloudless day. It is finished. The Lord hath come to his temple, and all the people exclaim, “Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is Jehovah, we have waited for him, we will rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” The simple office of the evangelist is to record facts. Those facts unite to say, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The book of the Acts records the experimental argument in favor of this perfected system; showing us the mighty and miraculous agency of the name of Christ, in bidding the dead in trespasses and sins awake to a new life, and leading the early believers to spend their lives and shed their blood, in confirmation of his scheme of redemption. In Romans we are told, how, without the deeds of the law, Christ is made unto us justification, sanctification, and redemption. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a compact argument against “neglecting this great salvation," purchased, perfected, and brought in, by Him who is above every name which is named, both in heaven and on earth. In Galatians, we have a masterly contrast drawn between a system of legality, and salvation "by grace through faith.” In Ephesians we have another argument against apostasy, founded upon the character of Christ, as the Being in whom " dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Without defining the specific theme which gives unity to each of the Epistles, who can doubt for a moment that their sole and united spirit is " the testimony of Jesus?” The powers of language are unequal to express the mighty emotions of the apostles,when absorbed in contemplating the length, breadth, height, and depth of redeeming love. Then comes the last of the prophets, giving the final developement
of this scheme of redemption, finishing and uniting all that went 3 before, revealing to us the splendors of the millennial day, when the
Redeemer shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; and then transporting us from earth to heaven, where a multitude whom no man can number, ransomed by the great atoning sacrifice, cast their
crowns before the Lamb, and say, “ Not unto us, but unto so thy name, be all the glory; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us
unto God by thy blood.”
Such is the unity of the scriptures. Unitarians may dispute, te whether this chapter and that verse reveals the atonement of Christ,
but who can resist the blaze of evidence which the entire volume they presents on this point? There is no other subject in the bible.
appears every where. The various parts, prepared at differdepenent times, and by different hands, fitly framed together, grew into
one temple. Its chief corner stone is Christ. Its top stone is the
grace of Christ. Its walls are salvation by the blood of Christ.
Its gates are praise to Christ. Men may fritter away a few prooftexts, but they cannot demolish
"the great eternal scheme,
Involving all." It is all adamant. It is compacted together like the everlasting hills. Its concentrated light will shine forevermore, when suns and planets have been swept away. An atoning Redeemer, and salvation through his blood, is the alpha and omega, the begin. ning and ending, the first and the last, in the word of revelation. All the various events, prophecies, promises and precepts, in every part of the bible, look forward or backward, according to their position, to the “ Lamb that was slain,” as to a central point, and run together, like streams, into a common fountain of light and glory. Let the captious objector, if he will, bend earthward, and grope, in “disastrous twilight," and bewilder himself in his groveling and petty cavilings about words ; but let us list up our eyes to the everlasting hills, where an atoning Redeemer dwelleth, the light and glory of heaven.
Collateral evidence, not unfrequently, is more convincing than direct. There is a large class of texts in the bible, which, if Lord Shaftsbury's principle were true, that ridicule is the test of truth, would show the inconsistencies of the Unitarian system more conspicuously than direct evidence. Whatever the right system may be, all must admit, that the sacred writers represent it to be an august, wonderful, mysterious, and unsearchable system. We are told, that "it was hid in God before the world was.” It is the “revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began.” It was a hidden mystery, hid from ages and from generations ;" it was not “made known unto the sons of men, in the early generations of the world, as it was revealed by the Spirit to prophets and apostles.” The prophets are represented as "searching diligently, what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them, did signify.” Even they, with the indistinct and distant glimpses which they caught of this great system, were lost in amazement. For when God spake to them concerning it, with rapturous and ineffable joy they invoked inanimate nature to rejoice in a way of salvation, so infinitely transcending man's utmost expectations. “Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it. Shout, ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth into singing, O forest,
and every tree therein, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.” The apostles seem incapable of expressing their mighty emotions of wonder at the mysteries of redemption. In one verse Paul thrice denominates the gospel the great mystery, once hidden, now revealed. Now, he speaks of the * riches of the glory of this mystery." Again, he exhorts his brethren to hold fast the “mystery of their faith ;" and before he
closes his exhortation, twice does he break out in impassioned parenthesis concerning this “great mystery of the gospel. After studying with all the aids of inspiration the “unsearchable riches of Christ," without being able to fathom them, the apostles sit down together upon the brink, and exclaim, “Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God.” Moreover, “angels desired to look into” these things. They are a mystery to the principalities and powers of heaven. The cherubim bowing over the ark of the covenant, are but an emblem of the wonder and curiosity with which the different orders of the spiritual economy, pry into the mysteries of the gospel.
Bring together passages like these from every part of the bible, and apply them to Unitarianism, as it is explained by its own supporters. Do they not seem unnatural, extravagant, and even ironical? But are they not significant and becoming, when applied to the evangelical system? Let us examine. We will apply this class of texts to both systems. Let us begin with the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. All will admit, that this doctrine, if true, is a great “mystery.” And do we not find this character attached from the first to the person of Jesus Christ ? The prophets had occasional glimpses of this wonderful paradox. A child was to be born, and yet his name was “Wonderful, the mighty God, the everlasting Father.” Truly this is an awful mystery.
“God was manifest in the flesh, seen of angels, believed on in the world, received up into glory”-here the veil is drawn. Well may angels desire to look into these things. How natural for the apostles to cry out, "Oh the depths,” the depths !"
Compare this view of the Redeemer's character, with the system which denies his divinity, and maintains that he was a mere man. The advocates of this system zealously discard all that is mysterious and inexplicable. With what propriety, then, if Christ was nothing but a man, could the apostle speak of him as the great " mystery of godliness ?” What becomes of the “ riches of the glory of this mystery ?" Why should apostles despair of fathoming it? Why should angels bend from their abodes in glory, and
to look into these things, if indeed there was nothing mysterious and upsearchable in the nature of Christ-if he was on a level with weak and tempted man? What room for wonder, when all is plain and nothing is strange? This position, all must acknowledge
, deprives the passages in question of all meaning : but they are big with meaning, and consistent and proper, on the assumption that the contrary opinion is true.
If the Redeemer is divine, his condescension and humiliation are indeed most wonderful. Who can think of the being “who was equal with God," enthroned amid the splendors of heaven, listening to the hallelujahs of seraphs, divesting himself of his glory,
and not merely assuming the likeness of man, but as a man bumbling himself, making himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ; who can contemplate condescension like this,' without exclaiming, “ length, breadth, height, depth,"—it “passeth knowledge!" Well may men, and angels, and the whole universe gaze with ineffable wonder upon a spectacle like this.
Turn now to those who reduce this condescension to nothing, by denying the divinity of Christ. The whole of it, in their view, amounts to this, that " Christ, though he acted as the representative and ambassador of God, did not once think of robbing God, by claiming equality with him !” In other words, Christ, as a man, was never guilty of the horrible impiety and ambition of claiming equality with the infinite God. His condescension consists in a bare exemption from the most inconceivable iniquity! Apply now to these opposite opinions concerning the Redeemer's character, the numerous texts which we have quoted relative to the “ great mystery” of his appearance and conduct on earth. There is meaning in them, when you consider Christ as equal with God, and humbling himself to save us; but they become insipid and absurd, when taken in connection with the strange interpretation we have just quoted. “Christ did not once harbor the thought of claiming equality with God!". Is this the great mystery of godliness?" We can see the “ riches of the glory of the mystery” in a Savior coming down to a level with our fallen nature to save us, but we see no depths of riches, or wisdom, or goodness, in the fact, that a man was not guilty of the horrible impiety of claiming equality with his Maker! What is there in all this, that angels should desire to look into,—that prophets, age after age, should foretell as the most wonderful spectacle ever to be exhibited upon this world, or that inanimate nature, the mountains and forests, should be invoked to break forth into singing and joy at such an event? But how plain, how becoming, how significant, are such passages, on the assumption that Christ was divine ! How insipid, absurd, and ludicrous, on the ground that he was a mere man.
Let us apply these texts to the grand and fundamental principles of the two systems. Salvation by grace, through the atonement of God's own Son, and not by deeds of law,-how wonderful, how mysterious ! That God should devise a scheme by which his holiness should be glorified, his justice unshaken, and his government unimpaired, and yet pardon and eternal life be offered to the chief of sinners! How far above all the thoughts of men and angels. The angels who kept not their first estate fell without redemption, and all who remained steadfast felt that God was urged by immutable justice to inflict the stroke. And when man sinned, they must have expected to witness the same just, inevitable punishment,