Obrazy na stronie

shall now be magnified towards us. If only our souls be willing to receive Christ, we are authorized to say, "This is the day." Nay, more; the very thing which was imputed to him as a fault, he will do again, as often as he is invited; "he will come and be guest with a man that is a sinner."]

2. How happy are they to whose conversion the ordinances are made effectual

[That very day and hour that the soul is converted unto God" salvation" comes to it: and who can ever justly appreciate the import of that word? To speak of salvation in its full extent, would lead us too far. View it only in its present effects.

How happy was Zaccheus rendered in his own soul! From that moment his heart was filled with joys to which he had been before an utter stranger. Now he felt that "peace of God which passeth all understanding," that "joy that is unspeakable and glorified"---Many would have envied him as a rich sinner: but his state was far more enviable when he was a saint, and stripped of half his wealth, or even if he had lost the whole that he possessed.

What a source of happiness also did he now become to all around him! To "his house," as well as to himself, did "salvation come:" for who would receive it in his own soul, and not endeavour to communicate it to all connected with him? To them also who transacted business with him did the benefit extend. He would no longer oppress them, as he had formerly done, but act agreeably to the dictates of strict justice. He would sooner lose all his gains, and be reduced to poverty, than enrich himself by extortion. And what a comfort arose to the poor! These had derived but little good hitherto from his opulence: but henceforth they were sure to find him the kindest friend. At one single gift, the half of his property was consecrated to their relief; and doubtless they would, together with pecuniary aid, receive from him also the benefit of his advice.

Behold, then, what happiness resulted from this one instance of conversion! Doubtless, the angels in heaven rejoiced at it: and well may every such change be a ground of praise and thanksgiving to all who behold it. Let proud Pharisees murmur," if they will: but let us bless God for every such communication of his grace, and pray that such converts may be multiplied throughout the world.]




Luke xix. 10. The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

ONE would imagine that all should be pleased with the conversion of notorious sinners: but it too often excites indignation rather than pleasure in the breasts of proud Pharisees. Zaccheus was a tax-gatherer, and most probably, like the rest in that line, was addicted to rapacity and extortion, though, perhaps, not in so great a degree as some others. He having a curiosity to see Jesus, and not being able, on account of the smallness of his stature, ran before, and climbed up into a tree near which Jesus was about to pass. Our blessed Lord in an instant converted his soul; and, calling him down from the tree, went home to dine with him. This, it seems, gave great offence to the Pharisees, who could not endure to see such a distinguishing favour conferred on so worthless a character. But our Lord vindicated his own conduct, by alleging that, however sinful Zaccheus might be, he was a descendant of Abraham; and that the very intent of his own advent in the flesh, was to seek and to save that which was lost.

To elucidate these comfortable words, we shall shew,

I. Who this Son of man is

This, to those who beheld him in the flesh, was no easy matter to determine: but to us it is clear as the light. Let us consult,

1. What Jesus has said of himself

[He tells us that "the Son does whatsoever the Father does:"" quickens whom he will, even as the Father does ;" "has all judgment committed to him;" is to be "honoured

a When he spoke of his approaching crucifixion, and yet of drawing all men to himself, his hearers could not conceive how such opposite things could be affirmed of the same person, the one indicating him to be a man, the other to be a God. Hence they ask him, "Who is this Son of man?" John xii. 32-34.

even as the Father is; yea, that the Father is not honoured unless he also be honoured:" that he will" raise the dead by his voice:" that he "hath life in himself even as the Father has;" and "has authority to execute judgment also, BECAUSE HE IS THE SON OF MAN." Here he calls himself "the Son," "the Son of God," "the Son of man," evidently shewing, that these different names were of the same import, and that, notwithstanding he was a man, he possessed, and exercised, a divine power.

He speaks of the Son of man as existing in heaven before his incarnation, before the world was made, and even while, in his human nature, he was on earth.

He declared that the Son of man had a power to dispense with the Sabbath, and even to forgive sins; and when accused of being guilty of blasphemy for arrogating such power to himself, he reasserted his claim to that divine prerogative, and wrought a miracle in confirmation of it. Finally, he foretold that "the Son of man would come again in his own glory, with his holy angels":" and he bade his Disciples "watch and pray, that they might be worthy to stand before the Son of mani."

Put these words into the mouth of Peter, or Paul, or any creature, however exalted, and they will appear arrogant, and blasphemous, in the extreme.]

2. What his Disciples have said of him-

[The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, "When God bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, Let all the angels of God worship him :" and again, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:" and again, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little (or, for a little time) lower than the angelsk." What can all this mean, but that he was infinitely superior to angels in his pre-existent state, but was made lower than them for a little while, for the great purposes of our redemption?

But St. Peter speaks in terms that cannot well be misunderstood. Our Lord put this question to his Disciples; "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? And they said, Some say thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, some Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am ? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord immediately

b John v. 19-27. e John iii. 13.

h Matt. xxv. 31.

c John vi. 62.
f Mark ii. 28.
i Luke xxi. 36.

k Heb. i. 6, 8. and ii. 6, 7.

d John xvii. 5.

g Luke v. 20-24.

replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven!." Now, if Peter meant only to say that he was a good man, or a prophet, what was there in that which he might not see and know without any particular revelation of it to his soul?


St. Stephen is yet more strong and decisive: for when he "full of the Holy Ghost," he said, "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God:" upon which his hearers, filled with indignation, stoned him, calling upon God, and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spiritm." Now is it not utterly unaccountable, that a man full of the Holy Ghost, when favoured with a vision of God, and of Jesus standing at the right hand of God, should, in the very hour of death, address himself to Jesus, and not unto the Father, and that too almost in the very words that Jesus himself had used when addressing his heavenly Father, if Jesus were not higher than any created being? If he did not see that the Son of man was also the Son of God, yea, "God over all, equal with the Father, he was deservedly stoned to death, as the vilest blasphemer that ever lived upon the earth.

Who can see the Disciples of our Lord paying him such honour, and doubt what ideas they annexed to that lowly title, "the Son of man?"]

3. What his enemies said of him

[There can be no doubt but that they understood the terms "Son of man," and, "Son of God," to be equivalent, and that, when used in their highest sense, they denoted equality with God himself. When our Lord stood before the supreme council of the Jews, he said to them, "Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God." Upon which they all exclaimed, Art thou then the Son of God? to which he answered, "Ye say truly, that I am"."

On another occasion we are told, that the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also," that God was his Father, making himself equal with God"."

But the strongest testimony of all is, that his enemies actually put him to death for calling himself the Son of man. When the witnesses that appeared against him agreed not in their testimony, the high-priest asked him, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." In these words he evidently

1 Matt. xvi. 13-17.

n Luke xxii. 69, 70.

m Acts vii. 56, 59.

• John v. 18.



referred to that glorious prophecy of Daniel, where the Son of man is represented as receiving from the Father an universal and everlasting dominion P. Instantly the high-priest rent his clothes, and said, "What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of death." Now, if the name "Son of man" did not import that he was God also, why did not our Lord rectify their mistake, and inform them that he did not intend to arrogate divine honour to himself, or to insinuate that he was any more than a common prophet? By this he would have invalidated in an instant the charge of blasphemy, and have obliged them either to release him, or to find some other pretext for putting him to death. But our Lord knew that they were right in their interpretation of his words; and therefore he submitted in silence to the sentence that was dictated by their blind infuriated zeal.]

It will be found an easier task to shew,

II. For what purpose he came into the world

In our Lord's assertion respecting this, we cannot fail to notice,

1. The humiliating description which he gives of the human race

[Every living man is characterized by this description, "That which was lost." All are " by nature children of wrath":" and by practice they have aggravated their guilt and condemnation a thousand-fold. To understand the full import of this word, "LOST," let us reflect on the state of those that are already in hell, their guilt, their condemnation by the law, their banishment from the Divine presence, their inconceivable and irremediable misery, then we shall see our own state, with this only difference; that we are yet on mercy's ground, and may have our sentence reversed, and our misery prevented; whereas they are gone beyond redemption: they are criminals already executed; and we are under the same sentence, uncertain whether we shall not the very next hour be called forth for execution, but with a pardon offered us on certain terms. O that we could realize this awful thought!

P Dan. vii. 13, 14.

9 Mark xiv. 61-64.

Thus it fully appears that "the Son of man " is none other than "God manifest in the flesh." And though there are many passages that more directly prove this point, yet are these peculiarly strong, inasmuch as they prove the divinity of Christ from things which are spoken of him under that title, which most of all denotes his humanity.

s Eph. ii. 3.

« PoprzedniaDalej »