INCUMBENT OF TRINITY CHURCH, DICKER COMMON, SUSSEX.
The writer begs to state that he does not publish this sermon himself, nor was it ever his intention to do so; but, being published, he trusts that it may be made a means of glorifying that Saviour whose glory it was designed to illustrate.
IN speaking of the Gospel, and the redemption which is set forth therein, and the reconciliation which is effected thereby--in fact, of the whole revelation contained in the Scriptures of truth, we often use expressions to the effect, that Christ is the sum and substance of that Gospel, the beginning and end of that revelation, the Author and Finisher of that redemption. Nothing can be more perfectly and strictly true than such expressions as these; and yet perhaps we too often use them, through the mere force of habit, without any very clear perception of the foundation of their truthfulness, or the reason why they hold good. It is indeed well, even habitually, to exalt Christ; but to those who are interested in His great redemption, to those who have learnt to know His preciousness, to those who long for His glory above all other objects of pursuit, the unmeaning use of such expressions will appear a very poor and low, and insufficient [3/4] way of glorifying Him, altogether unworthy of one who is called by His name, and has taken upon him the profession of His most holy faith. Far rather would they glorify Him with their understandings also, by entering into the deep and hidden meaning of those titles thus in common parlance applied to the Redeemer. They would embrace, so far as human intellect can embrace, the wondrous subject, and would find their joy, their happiness, in rising ever to higher and more advanced degrees of knowledge,--even the knowledge of Christ, the best, the truest knowledge,--the only knowledge, which is excepted in the Apostle's sweeping sentence, "Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." "That I may know Him," was the summit of St. Paul's highest aim; it was that for which he counted all else but loss,--"the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Those who attain to this knowledge, and those only, can use with an intelligent perception of their meaning, the expressions before referred to, which are descriptive of that position which the Great Redeemer occupies in the Gospel of God's grace, and in the revelation of that Gospel to mankind. The prayerful study of God's Word, in which Jesus is revealed, is the available means for the acquisition of this knowledge, and the one preliminary axiom to be continually borne in mind is, that the Word of God is the testimony of Jesus, that is, that we are to see Him, and to read Him, and to learn Him in every part of it. Nothing can be more evident than this throughout the entire Epistle from which the words of the text are drawn. Whether the doctrines of truth, or [4/5] the practical results which flow from them, are the theme on which St. Paul is dwelling, still Jesus is made the beginning and the end of all, according to the comprehensive doctrinal and practical exhibition of Christianity given in chapter ii. 6.--"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."
It appears to me, my brethren, that the grand clue to the scriptural knowledge of Christ, is a clear and distinct perception of that remarkable system of representation, which pervades the whole Gospel, whether we view it as shadowed forth under the Law, or as more manifestly revealed under the second dispensation. From first to last, we find every important event in the history of mankind, so far at least as man's relation to God is concerned, transacted by means of a system of representation; some one acting as the representative, either of all others, or of a certain class, as the case may be. And a clear view of this system of representation will make plain, as far as they can be made plain, many of the mysteries of Scripture. Thus for instance, the fall of man in Adam, with its fearful consequences, is presented to our view as an event affecting all mankind, transacted in the person of their common representative. In the same manner must be understood the blessing of Abraham, coming upon all that believe: "In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." The argument of St. Paul in Rom. iv. seems to proceed upon the idea of Abraham's representative character; indeed he distinctly states that he was justified previously to his circumcision, and was subsequently circumcised, for this very purpose, that he [5/6] might be a suitable representative of both Jewish and Gentile believers; that so God's dealings with him in the way of promise might be available for all. On the same representative system too, the whole typical dispensation of the Old Testament rests. This character indeed is essential to the very idea of a type. Thus the nation of Israel was selected to be the representative, not however in the same way as those to whom allusion has just been made, but the typical representative of God's peculiar people, the called and justified and sanctified: that so God's dealings with them might represent His dealings with His spiritual people from the beginning to the end of time. I adduce this typical representation merely as a kind of collateral instance, to show how the idea which I am describing, pervades the whole of Scripture. But the system itself has to do with realities, not with types and shadows; and it may be described as being in effect no other than this, that all communications between God and man, all the actings of the one with reference to the other, are carried on through a medium of representation; which must be clearly understood, if we would enter into the glorious mystery of Christ.
Now I apprehend that this is the idea which is brought before us in the text. It seems designed to give a definition of the Mediator, and occurs at the commencement of a passage, which sets forth a delineation of Christ in full and beautiful proportions; a description most magnificent, most comprehensive, in the study of which the mind is filled with vast and grand conceptions, and the soul drawn upwards into a happy consciousness of its [6/7] own union with this great and glorious Head. This wonderful description is contained in six verses of this 1st chapter, beginning with the verse of our text: and it displays Christ in His universal relations; being apparently designed to show how the possibility obtains of His acting in mediatorial capacity, and therefore of His people having redemption in Him. For it is observable that it follows immediately upon the declaration of that great Gospel-truth,--"In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." It was the foundation of Gospel-doctrine that there was no way of redemption but in Him; and therefore, to give a just idea of the manner of this Gospel-mystery, the Apostle added the inspired description of the Mediator, which commences with the text: "Who is the Image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation: because in Him were created all things that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all have been created by means of Him, and into Him: and He is before all, and in Him all consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church; who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He may be in all Himself preeminent: because in Him it pleased all the Fulness to dwell; and by means of Him to reconcile all things into Him; having made peace through the blood of His cross, by means of Him, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven."
Such is the description of which I have been speaking; there is in it a vast and boundless store of glorious subjects [7/8] for the Christian's contemplation. It would be a theme well worthy our most devout attention to compare the notices here given of the creation and the reconciliation, how the same language is applied to both, the same instrumentality and the same end attributed to both, how both are said to be by means of Christ, and into Christ. This does not appear indeed, with reference to the last, according to the common interpretation of the passage, but after a careful consideration of every place of Scripture where reconciliation is described, I am constrained to adopt the conclusion, that the words eiV auton rendered in our version "unto Himself," here do not refer to the remote object of the reconciliation, (which would stand in the dative case,) as in Eph. ii., but are used exactly in the same manner as they are with reference to the creation, to denote that Christ is, in some ineffable way, the end of this latter as of the former. It is not however my intention, pleasing as it might be, to bring before you more than is exhibited in the first verse of this description. But as we shall find in this little verse the grand idea developed, which unveils in a degree the mystery of the whole, I trust that it will be a means of enlightening the eyes of our spiritual understandings to see the wonders of redemption, and enlarging our conceptions of that high and holy Being, who took upon Himself the glorious work. Oh may we be taught herein to perceive more clearly how our redemption is in Him, and to comprehend more fully, with all saints, "the length and breadth and depth and height."
The words then, into which we are about to enter, are [8/9] these: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature." On the face of them we perceive that they are intended to describe the Redeemer in His relation to God, and in His relation to the creature, i. e., to all created things; or, in other words, to every thing that is not God. Here then, on the very first view of this brief description of Christ, is a vast and grand conception presented to our notice; Christ bearing a certain inherent and inseparable relation to God, and a certain inherent and inseparable relation to all that is not God. Does not this, at the very outset, enlarge our ideas, and prepare us for receiving something far more expressive than the narrow notions we are wont to entertain? Oh that whilst we enter into the consideration of these two relations, we may be enabled by the Spirit of God so to receive Christ Jesus the Lord, as that we may henceforth walk in Him.
Let us then first behold Christ in His relation to God. This is described in the words, "Who is the Image of the Invisible God." The word image, here employed as well as elsewhere, most clearly means the visible representation; so that the passage must be understood as setting forth Christ as the visible representation of that God who is invisible. Whether we regard the expression, "the invisible God," as applying generally to the Godhead, without distinction of person, the triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,--or specifically, to the unseen Father,--is not, I apprehend, material, as it will not alter the direct meaning of the passage. The same attribute of invisibility is brought before us in other passages [9/10] of Scripture; as when St. John says, in the beginning of his Gospel, "No man hath seen God at any time;" and adds, in language confirmatory of the words of our text, "the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." So also St. Paul has this doxology in his 1st Epistle to Timothy, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." And again, at the conclusion of the same Epistle, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." And once more the expression is used in the epistle to the Hebrews, with reference to the faith of Moses, where he is said to have "endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."
Unquestionably, much is contained in this expression, "the invisible God." As man is a compound being, and we can speak distinctly of his body, his mind, and his soul, so may we speak distinctly of the eye of his body, the eye of his mind, and the eye of his soul, or in other words, of his bodily, mental, and spiritual vision. Now God, as God, is imperceptible to all these several organs.
The eye of the body can only see that which is material--that which possesses form and colour. But God is a Spirit, a pure and immaterial essence; and, consequently, the eye of the body is unable to see God.
Again, the eye of the mind has but a very limited vision; man's understanding can go but a very little way even in penetrating the things of nature, which are God's works; and its view is still more limited in searching out [10/11] the relation which nature has to grace, or the universal typical outline of God and of His dealings impressed upon His outward works. In fine, God is unsearchable; and therefore the eye of the mind is unable to see God.
So also the eye of the soul is naturally blind to all that is holy, just and good; cannot bear the light, and loves the darkness rather. Accustomed to the dark dens of evil, it can see with unstrained vision to find its way into any the most untried shore of the kingdom of darkness; but when turned upward to the light, it sees nothing. Thus the eye of the soul is unable to see God.
God being thus in every way the invisible God, we are told in the text that the peculiar relation which Christ bears to Him is that of His image:--the visible representation of the invisible God. Oh how does He throw into the shade and put to confusion all those visible representations which blind men have fashioned to themselves, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts and creeping things. It is in this sense that the apostle speaks of Jesus in the epistle to the Hebrews, as the "Brightness of His glory, and the express image, or character, of His person;" and again, in the 2nd epistle to the Corinthians, he speaks of the minds of them that believe not--being "blinded, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
In the first place, we know that Jesus upon earth was no other than God in human flesh: as St. Paul says, afterwards, in the same epistle, "In Him dwelt all the [11/12] fulness of the Godhead bodily." And it may be that he alluded to this, when He said of Himself, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Nor was it only during His sojourn upon earth that He thus rendered the invisible God visible to the bodily eye. Do we read that the Old-Testament saints saw God, and lived;--it was in Christ, His visible representation. So it was when Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. So it was when He said of Moses, "With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall He behold." And so it shall be when every eye shall see Him at the last day, and they also which pierced Him. Christ is the visible representation of God to the bodily eye.
Again, though the ways and works of God are unsearchable, so that the words of scripture are true in their fullest meaning, "Who can by searching find out God?" yet are these wondrous ways made clear to His people in and by Christ. Is not this the sense of the evangelist when he says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him"? And I conceive that this same idea is denoted in His own words, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world." For what is the name of God which is thus manifested, except it be His character and attributes? and what the manifestation, but the rendering of that character and those attributes, in a certain degree, intelligible to the mind of man? And this is effected in [12/13] Christ. The most conflicting attributes meet and harmonize in Jesus and His Gospel. "Mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other," in the revealed Saviour. Yes, Jesus is the visible representation of God to the mental eye.
And is it not so spiritually also? Assuredly it is Jesus, in-dwelling in the soul, has a transforming power and efficacy; changes it into His own blessed image; not only pours the light of life upon the spiritual eye, but strengthens that eye to sustain its radiance. St. Paul says expressly that "we all, beholding with open face the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory." We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus. In Jesus is the spiritual knowledge of God, for Jesus is the life, and He Himself says, "This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." He is then the visible representation of God to the spiritual eye.
It is this, my brethren, in which we are more especially interested,--the spiritual view of God. And there is a beautiful consistency in the various parts of scripture which describe this spiritual view. Everywhere we trace the intimate connection which obtains between the qualifying grace of purity, and this enlarged spiritual vision for which it prepares the way. In one passage Jesus pronounces this well-known beatitude, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." In another, St. John declares of the saints in glory, "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is; and every man that hath this hope in [13/14] Him, purifieth Himself even as he is pure;" i.e. by way of preparation. To the same effect are those passages which describe the view of God as rendering His people keenly sensitive and alive to their own natural impurity; as when Isaiah cried, after the heavenly vision, "Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts;" and where Job exclaimed, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Blessed for ever be the name of God, that He has been pleased to manifest Himself in the image of the invisible. For the connexion between sight and purity is inherent and indissoluble. No sooner does a pencil of that glorious light impinge upon the retina of spiritual vision, but it paints an answering image there; and the inward eye, beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, reflects His brightness, changed into the same image from glory to glory; so that whilst He says of Himself, "I am the light of the world," He can use the same description of His people, and say to them, "And ye are the light of the world."
Thus, my brethren, the text has shown us that Christ is He in whom the invisible God becomes visible. And I know of no way in which the grand and magnificent idea could be more tangibly, brought out,--of Christ as eternally constituted the representative of God in all dealings that have reference to the creature. It seems intended to show us that all communications whatsoever [14/15] with everything that is not God, are carried on in Christ as the eternal representative of God. For the invisibility of God, bodily, mentally, and spiritually, is the great obstacle (at least so far as our faculties are at present capable of understanding the obstacle) to all such communications. And therefore a being in whom God becomes visible, bodily, mentally, and spiritually, is one in whom such communications can be carried on, and the Godhead act upon that which is not God. But surely such a being could not be, except the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him. He must be God, in order fully to represent God. Such, it appears to me, is the meaning of the wonderful expression we have been now considering, "The image of the invisible God."
We are now at liberty to proceed to the second part of our text, in which Christ is set forth to us in His relation to the creature, i. e. to all created things; or in other words, to all that is not God. This relation is described in the words, "The first-born of every creature," or "of all creation." It cannot be denied that this is a very remarkable expression, and one which does not at first sight convey to our minds a very definite idea. But I trust that by the teaching of God's Holy Spirit, comparing scripture with scripture, we may be enabled so far to enter into its meaning, as that we may understand more of Christ, and see more of His mediatorial glory.
It is true there is an idea which the words at first suggest, which is by no means destitute of meaning, nay, which is often expressed in other parts of scripture;--[15/16] I mean the idea that Christ is here set before us, as "Begotten before the worlds;" or in other words, that it is designed to show us His pre-existence and consequent pre-eminence. It is, perhaps, possible that the words, apart from their connexion, might bear this meaning; as it is unquestionably a fact, and a scriptural fact, that Christ was indeed the first and only-begotten Son of God, existing in all eternity, before the foundation of the world. But if these words were really intended to express priority of time, there is still much difficulty in the form of the expression, because it would seem to imply that Christ in His created nature, was the first-born of all creation; in which sense the title would rather apply to light, as the first of all created things; "offspring of heaven first-born."
But I think there is a yet stronger objection to this interpretation of the words, viz, that it does not appear to fall in with the scope of the whole passage, and the main object of the description of Christ here given. We have already noticed that the description was introduced immediately after the statement, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins;" and that it is probably intended to set forth more clearly the possibility of restoration in Christ, and the way in which that restoration is to be effected. A declaration of Christ's eternal generation seems irrelevant in such an argument, and hence it would seem that the words ought to bear some other interpretation.
This other interpretation is, I think, supplied by comparing scripture with scripture, and by paying a due regard to the scriptural use and meaning of the term [16/17] "First-born." It must be admitted, that there are many words used in scripture in what may be called a technical sense, so as to convey a meaning which, apart from scriptural connection, they never would have conveyed. Thus, for instance, in the immediate context the word fulness is a technical word; "it pleased all the fulness," all the plhrwma, "to dwell in Him." But the technicalities to which I am alluding, have more especially arisen from the typical character of the Old Testament revelation; which is such, that after some person or thing has once been chosen as a type to shadow forth some spiritual reality, the name of that person or thing is afterwards constantly employed, by metonymy, to denote the character it assumed, or the object for which it was employed; and then, by a second metonymy, is applied to the spiritual antitype which it was chosen to shadow forth. To explain my meaning by an example: a lamb does not, to our minds, naturally convey any idea but that of its connection with grazing and farming pursuits. Under the typical dispensation, however, the lamb was chosen as the morning and evening sacrifice, to be the typical atonement. Hence "the lamb" means "the sacrifice for sin." Now Jesus is the true sacrifice for sin. Therefore Jesus is called the Lamb of God. Without a knowledge of the Old Testament typical history, this sentence would be entirely destitute of meaning. We have another instance in the use of the word temple. Typically among the Jews, the temple was that in which God dwelt upon earth. When Jesus came, His body was that in which God dwelt actually upon earth; and therefore He applied the former [17/18] name to the latter, when He said, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Now if we can find that the word "first-born" has a technical use, similar to these, I think the passage of our text will be more capable of an intelligible interpretation.
We at once remember that the word first-born, is one of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament history; indeed it cannot escape us, that there is a specific history belonging to the first-born among the people of Israel. The only point then, which it is needful to impress upon our minds is, that Israel was a typical people, and their whole history a typical history; and with this preparation we are ready to examine the proper and peculiar history of the first-born among that people.
You remember the last and most fearful plague which the Lord sent in His just wrath upon the land of Egypt. It was the universal death of their first-born, "From the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts." At that time, God commanded the children of Israel to strike the blood of the Paschal Lamb upon the lintel and the two side-posts of their doors, that when the Lord should pass through to smite the Egyptians, He might see the blood upon the lintel and on the two side-posts, and so pass over the door, and not suffer the destroyer to come in and smite them. Immediately after this we read, as its consequence and result, that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "Sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of [18/19] man and of beast, it is mine." This sanctifying unto the Lord was for the purpose of public ministration, as is clearly shown afterwards in Numbers iii., when the Lord was pleased to nominate the tribe of Levi, as a substitute for the first-born;--"Thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord) instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites, instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel."
Now what is the antitype which corresponds to all this typical history? It is rendered perfectly clear by the expression of the apostle, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." The first-born of Egypt, slain by the destroying angel, are the type of those impenitent sinners who have no interest in His death and merits;--the first-born of Israel, passed over in that sweeping destruction, are the type of all those who, through the blood of the Atonement, have all their sins remitted, and are saved eternally:--the sanctifying of these reserved first-born for the work of the ministry unto the Lord, is the type of the consecration of God's ransomed people to His service, by the regenerating, sanctifying influences of His Holy Spirit.
Such, I think, is clearly the antitypical history to which those events refer. But then the question comes upon us, Why were the first-born selected to be the subjects of this typical transaction? Did not the whole nation of Egypt typify impenitent sinners? and did not the whole nation of Israel typify God's chosen people? and was not the whole nation of Israel styled a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation? Why, then, was the typical transaction [19/20] enacted by the first-born only, and not by the whole nations of Egypt and of Israel? I answer, that in either case the first-born were chosen as a part of the nation, in order to be the representative of the whole nation. The first-born of Egypt acted for the nation of Egypt as its representative, and were slain in that capacity; the firstborn of Israel acted for the nation of Israel as its representative, and were passed over in that capacity, and were sanctified in that capacity.
And here, I believe, we arrive at the true meaning of the term "first-born," in its scriptural acceptation. It denotes "the representative." Just as the word "lamb" is a technical word in the typical language, which, when translated, means "the sacrifice for sin;" so the word "first-born" is a technical word in the same language, which, when translated, means "the representative." And explained in this manner, how beautiful does the connection appear, between the two parts of our text. The passage reads now, when divested of its technical dress, "Who is the representative of God to all creation, and the representative of all creation to God."
And just as there was a peculiar beauty in the expression "Image," to denote the first: so there is also a peculiar beauty in the expression "First-born," to denote the second; because from the beginning it had been only through the first-born, as Patriarchal Priest, that man had been able to approach his Maker.
Bearing in mind, then, that Christ is here called the first-born of all creation, to denote that all creation are represented by Him in all transactions between God and [20/21] them;--we may notice some few other particulars, as attaching in scripture to the title first-born, and all meeting in Christ the great first-born.
In a family, the first-born was accounted the heir. The inheritance belonged to him by right. And this right and title are frequently ascribed to Christ in the word of God; as for example, where it is said of Him in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "whom He hath appointed heir of all things." In that passage, too, we may notice that the idea of creation is immediately annexed,--"by whom also He made the worlds;" just as we find it added in the context, "for in Him were all things created." And, my brethren, there are high and holy thoughts which this property of the first-born is calculated to awaken in the mind of the believer; it must remind him that he is himself an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ; and that the same great and glorious inheritance is reserved in heaven for him also.
Again, an honourable distinction attached to the firstborn of a family, quite irrespective of the character or qualities of the individual, and this simply because in the name and title of first-born, he typified the coming Saviour. Of this we have an evident illustration, in the honourable epithets applied to Reuben by the dying patriarch Jacob: "Reuben, thou art my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power;" epithets which could not belong to Reuben, as Reuben, but only as the first-born of Israel, and in that character the type of Him of whom God said by Ethan the Ezrahite, "I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth."
 Again, there was a peculiar holiness attaching to the first-born, as consecrated to God. This was visible throughout the Jewish ritual: not only did God specially sanctify the first-born of their own families for His service; not only did He claim the firstlings of their cattle as His own; but He bid them likewise bring the first-fruits of their harvest--the wave-sheaf of their barley, and the wave-loaves of their wheat, as His acceptable offering in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks.
And once more, inasmuch as we have seen that God made choice of the firstlings of their cattle for the service of His sanctuary, we may perhaps regard the first-born as setting forth in type, Jesus as the offering, the one offering in the end of the world, to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
All these then, as properties of the first-born, attached to the Lord Jesus in that character, so that the use of this title gives a more comprehensive view of Him than the mere word, 'representative.' Still I apprehend that these are only adjuncts, and that the great design of describing Him under this name, was to depict Him as the representative of all creation. And when taken in this sense in connection with the former clause, it does indeed disclose to us a vast and magnificent idea--an idea which knows no bound, no limit;--an idea which contains in itself the full resolution of every difficulty involved in the mediatorial work and office,--and which was therefore eminently suited to the apostle's purpose in the context; which was to show the manner in which we obtain redemption in Him. According to this grand idea [22/23] we behold in the person of Christ, universal existence represented:--the fulness of God and the fulness of creation, all in Him. Hence when created beings in their own persons fell away from God, it was possible that a reconciliation should be effected between that part of creation which fell, and that part which still stood firm, in the person of Christ, the common representative of both; and further, that both together should be reconciled to God, in one body, in the person of Christ, still the common representative both of them and of the Godhead.
Let us not forget, however, that on our parts is needed a conscious, willing surrender of ourselves to be thus represented; an entire submission to God's appointed way of restoration and salvation. Let the view which we have just taken of the person and the work of our adorable Redeemer, enhance the preciousness of His beloved name in our admiring hearts, that so we may, with holy Paul, count all things else but loss "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord." Here is a door of hope open to those who have not as yet realized the redemption He hath wrought. Here is a blessed assurance to the redeemed, that they are complete in Him. To be in Christ, my brethren, is the grand object of desire which should stimulate the seeking soul: to be in Christ is the one satisfying portion which can fill the heart of the believing child of God with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let it be then our aim, our high and holy privilege, to stand in Jesus. So represented, our cause must prosper, must be brought forth to victory. For [23/24] there is no condemnation, no, nor ever can be, to those that are in Christ Jesus. Glorious Image! wonderful First-born! if God be in Him to us, and we be in Him to God, what shall hinder our everlasting union, our complete and final reconciliation? Let earth and heaven swell the praise of our Incarnate Mediator; let the name of Jesus echo through infinity in vibrations never-ending; let thrones and principalities and powers, created in and by, and into Him, take up the wondrous strain; till nothing can be heard, nothing admired, nothing esteemed, save Jesus; Jesus only; Jesus, the Image of the Invisible God; Jesus, the First-born of all creation.
L. Seeley, Printer.