תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

length portrait of the glories of Immanuel complete history of His life and death-a grand display of His mighty achievements—a faithful testimony of His perfect work-an interesting description of His official character and responsibility—a clear definition of His mystic body (the Church), and a royal proclamation of His exaltation in eternal triumph. Thus to read the Old Testament is to get the spirit of prophecy. This, therefore, shall be my object, leaving the cold speculators to calculate numbers, fix dates, and to give carnal interpretations, and so make to themselves a feast of dry bones, while I sit down to a feast of marrow and fatness, spread before me in the spirit of prophecy, as an earnest and antepast of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Further, to hearken to this great Prophet, is to surrender body, soul, and spirit to His authority unreservedly, so as to be guided by His teaching, decided in His principles, and employed in His service, making it the very business of life to glorify His name.

The apostle describes this as bringing into captivity (subjection) every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. x. 5); and I would that Christians felt more of the importance of this surrender; then we should witness among those who profess to love this Prophet, and to hearken to Him, a little more self-denial with regard to fleshly gratifications, and a little more zealous activity in promoting Zion's interests, a little less love of filthy lucre, and a little more liberality for the support and extension of the truth of God. Where is the Christian who lives and acts in character? Where is the Christian in whom spiritual life has the ascendancy over fleshly inclinations ? Alas! alas! that the love of this present world should steal the time, the energies, and the hearts of those who profess to hearken to our glorious Prophet, and yet habitually disregard that sacred injunction of His, " Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Go, ye worldly professors, and tell this great Prophet that you are hearkening to him, if you dare! And if you dare not, cannot, then read the 19th verse of this chapter : “ It shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken to my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." Solemn warning! So, then, it is not a matter of choice, but of Divine injunction; free-will is not consulted, but Divine prerogative is exercised. Oh, my hearers! if God requires it of you, how will you meet Him? You may reject my message at your option, unless the Holy Ghost fastens it upon your heart; but to reject Christ, refusing to hearken to Him, will be inevitable ruin, and this is the sentence He will pronounce against you: “Those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me” (Luke xix. 27). One word, before I close, to you who hearken to this great Prophet, who know and obey His voice, who receive His doctrines, enjoy the privileges of His Word, and surrender heart and life to His service. This prophecy of His remains yet to be fulfilled to you, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also" (John xiv. 3). Will not this suffice? Then see to it, that heart and life, time and talent, are devoted to His glory, and wait in joyous anticipation until He welcomes you home in those gracious words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” May He send down His Spirit to apply these truths, that He may be glorified.

[graphic][subsumed][graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

A Discourse, Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, Oct. 1, 1848,

BY THE REV. JOSEPH IRONS.

For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Colossians ü. 9. And who shall comprehend what that fulness is? Who shall fully understand its heights, its depths, its length, its breadth, its inexhaustible stores, its vast abundance; the incalculable supplies which have been obtained thence for millions of souls; and the sacred treasures remaining undiminished to the present hour, for every poor needy sinner to come and receive from? We have been contemplating in the three weeks last past, Christ's official character as King, as Priest, and as Prophet. Let us this morning attempt to view His glorious Person, who undertook these official characters, laid Himself under responsibility to carry them all out, and maintain them, and who is the fulness of the Godhead, the fulness of grace, the fulness of truth, the fulness of life—for He is life-and “He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.”

Oh, the vast importance of having right apprehensions of Jesus' Person. I have more than once said, and will repeat it this morning, that I conceive most of the errors which exist in the day in which we live, take their rise from ignorance, and incorrect notions of the glorious Person of Christ. If all believed in the language of my text, there would be no such thing as Arianism, there would be so such thing as Socinianism, there would be no such thing as Arminianism in the world; for, according to the Arians, He has only a little piece of the Godhead; according to the Socinians, He has none of it, for they declare Him to be only man; and Arminianism is a flat contradiction of His claim to

Published in Weekly Numbers, ld., and Monthly Parts, price 5d.

X

Godhead. To be God, and not to exercise sovereignty ; to be God. and not to be able to save His own; to be God, and yet to leave Himself at the caprice of the worms of the earth, is to be no God at all. So that, in point of fact, all these systems are the quintessence of Atheism. My text stands opposed to them all, and says that in Him, the precious Christ of God, " dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” And mark, I pray you, before we enter immediately npon the subject, it is not said that it may dwell in Him when certain designe of God's providence may be accomplished, but it " dwelleth,” always dwelleth. It dwelt in Him when Abraham obtained salvation; it dwelt in Him when the Old Testament saints were supplied from thence; it dwelt in Him under the New Testament dispensation, and was believed in by the apostles and ministers of the gospel, when the Church was in her primitive state. It “dwelleth” in Him now. Angels are supported from it; devils cannot diminish it, though they utterly hate it; man must be empty and perishing without it; all the Church shall be eternally supplied from it.

“In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." To enter at once upon this momentous subject, which I do in weakness, and fear, and in much trembling, for infinity is too great for a finite being. The glory of the Godhead is too dazzling and overwhelming for a worm of the earth even to look at; and how the lisping, stammering tongue of a creature is to set forth the grandeur contained in the language of my text, is a question that has overwhelmed me with awe, a id demands your earnest prayer that I may not be suffered to darken it with words without knowledge, but may succeed in the highest desire of my soul, to exalt and glorify the precious Christ of God.

We have, in the language of my text, three things for our meditation, the glory of Jesus' Person ; His official qualifications therein; and the dignity of His cause displayed thereby. The glory of His Person, “The fulness of the Godhead.” The official qualification, all His Divine perfections employed in the great business of salvation and redemption. The dignity of His cause is such, that it is the cause of God, and is infinitely superior to everything that originates with man, or can be claimed by man. Oh, that the Holy Ghost may help me to speak the word faithfully and give you the hearing ear, and the understanding and believing heart, to receive the truth which shall be advanced concerning Him.

1.–First of all, let us attempt, at least, to say a few words about the glory of His Person. Oh, if the angelic hosts were commissioned to this task, would they not shrink from it? Oh, if the glorified spirits might be commissioned from heaven to earth, to tell of what they know, would they not gladly undertake the task, except that created power would be insufficient to perform it? The infinite, self-existent attributes centering in the Person of Christ; “all the fulness of the Godhead." The honours, the perfections, the names, the titles, the dignities, the glories, the attributes of the Father, are His, essentially, immediately, eternally, self-existently His own, as asserted by Himself. “I and my Father are one "- --one essence, one power, one in all perfections and attributes. And mark how He confirmed and proved His claim, even while passing through His humiliation. As the Father is omnipotent, so is the Son; for what but omnipotence could cast out legions of devils, could open the eyes of the blind, and raise the dead, gather the wind in His fist, and hush the noise of storms and tempests upon the sea, and control all nature with one word ? Oh, blessed displays of omnipotence. Is God the Father omniscient? So is God the Son; for it is written again and again, “Jesus knew the thoughts of their hearts.” Moreover, it is the prerogative, as the apostle has it in his Epistle to the Hebrews, of this eternal, incarnate Word to be "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” He knew what was in man, and needed not that any man should tell Him. Omniscience was His, seeing all that went on in all worlds at all times. As to His omnipresence, we have His own words, “ The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." " That all men should honour the Son, even as, they honour the Father.” And I may cite another passage where He says, "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven," asserting, therefore, that He was in heaven and on the earth at the same moment. The glorious, omnipresent Jehovah, was this precious Christ of God. And so of all the other attributes and perfections of Deity—sovereignty, love, immutability, eternity, all appert ning to Him as His self-existing, essential, inherent right. Moreover, this has been owned by all worlds and all beings, and, therefore, I can only set down the class of persons whom I named in my exordium, who reject His essential Deity, either as idiots, or the most determined rebels against the majesty of heaven; for we find the angels worshipping Him, and adoring Him, and ministering to Him, even in His temptation. And the Father, " when He bringeth in the first-begotten into the world," says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him." Here is at once an announcement from the throne, that He is truly and properly God, or He would not have been entitled to the worship or homage of the heavenly hosts. And if we look at the conduct of the demons, the fallen angels, we find them constrained to cry out, we “know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” He suffered not many of them to speak, because they knew Him, and by feeling His omnipotent power, vanquishing the Prince of Darkness in His forty days' temptation, and afterwards casting out his legions, they were obliged to own that He was truly and properly God. Moreover, if we view the conduct of the Jews, even in their blasphemous rejection of Him, they owned it, though they did not intend to do so, for when He pronounced the forgiveness of sins, they said, “Who can forgive sins but God only?". If He had not been truly and properly God, He could not have held that prerogative, and, therefore, they who deny that prerogative must be blasphemers : moreover, all His Church must own it: nor is there a regenerated soul upon the face of the earth, but which will readily join in the language of the poet,

“So guilty and helpless am I,

I dare not confide in His blood,
Nor on His protection rely,

Unless I were sure He is God." I dare not trust my soul with Him, without being certain of this, because it is of more value than the whole world,

Thus, essentially considered, in the glory of His Person, our precious Christ hath dwelling in Him “ all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Nor is there a prerogative exercised by God the Father, but which is entrusted to the Son; nor is there a mark of honour brought to the Father by all the angels and glorified spirits above, which is not also brought to Him; and here I must deal with some real severity wlien J say, nor is there a real Christian upon the earth, but who owns and adores the eternal, self-existent Deity of my Lord and my Christ.

But, further, while viewing the glories of His Person under the expression in my text, “ In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” we must not lose sight of the new covenant stores which are treasured up in Him. Another sweet Scripture, in accordance with this, reads in the following manner, “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” That “ fulness" is described in my text as the “fulness of the Godhead.” “ The fulness of the Godhead" includes all that grand provision made in the new covenant by Jehovah Himself, for the entire, eternal salvation of the whole Church. Now I know the abomination of Arminianism (and I never can forgive it as long as I live) would set forth, or would insinuate that there is not a fulness, of covenant love, of merit, of righteousness, of grace, of strength, of comfort, of pardon, of salvation, in which there is not a scantiness, or want, or something defective, or which is not uncertain, or contingent; and so there might as well be none at all. Now, on the contrary, we insist and maintain that He is full grace and truth; that He is full of that grace which is essential for the pardon of the sins of His redeemed family-full of that grace which is essential for their acceptance, for their regeneration, for their justification, for their preservation, and for their glorification. All are in Christ, all treasured

up in His Person ; nor can there be under the canopy of heaven, a single instance of pardon received, of grace communicated, or life Divine possessed, of preservation and perseverance in Christ realized, but by union with Christ; and if it is not out of His fulness we receive, we cannot receive at all, “for it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fulness dwell."

Now let me pause for a moment to refer this to the wants and desires of my hearers. What is it you need? If there is fulness of life, of righteousness, of grace, of salvation, complete in Christ, what is it you need? Will you tell me you need pardon for your sins in order to get into heaven?' It is in Christ: it is He who forgives: “We have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," and we cannot get it anywhere else. If you give all your property and all your homage to the Popish priest, he cannot forgive one sin; he may deceive you by telling lies, but there is none can forgive sins but God. Our precious Christ is the only Person, the glorious fulness of the Godhead, whose prerogative it is not only to blot out your transgressions, but to give you an assurance of it to satisfy you,“ I, even I, am He who blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Have you ever heard His voice speaking to you with power, and can you unite in the echo we have cited from the apostle, and sing, "We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins ?" Can you say with Hezekiah, “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back?"

Then with regard to the justification of all the election of grace; it is in the fulness of Christ Jesus. This, by the modern systems of contingency and uncertainty, is left a matter quite dependent on the creature, as to whether he will believe, or whether he will do his part towards it. Oh, my hearers, all these contingencies are mockeries of the very name of Christianity ; I tell you the justification of the whole

« הקודםהמשך »