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The divinity of his nature was firm as the eternal throne, while the sensibilities he bore, swayed by all the innocent infirmities of humanity, were as lovely and flexible as a rose-bough waving in the breeze. It was only so far as he was intrinsically divire that he was competent to redeem; it was by resisting in his own person the evils we incur that he could best open a way of deliverance and teach us how to overcome. He thus “ fought to protect, and conquered but to bless ;” each battle being directed against our common adversary, whose temptations, under the guise of wealth and dominion, are hardest to resist. Thankful, indeed, should we be that we have a High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet sinless. It is from his own experience that Christ speaks, when he directs us to resist the devil and he will flee from us. Every hero, destined to struggle against the powers of darkness with energy and success, will first be most sorely tried in view of emoluments and power, proffered by the great enemy of good. The church too much neglects its most gifted sons. But when human friendship is dumb, and earthly resources are all sealed, how sweet, in the sadness of young hopes oppressed, to hear Jesus whisper, “Be of good cheer; I have conquered the world!”
How did Christ resist the temptations of power? He made himself his own fountain of honor, and guarded that fountain with strength derived from on high. He was the root of Jesse, the offspring of mightiest kings, the herald and pledge of the greatest renown; but so far from boasting of royalty, he ever scorned to assume the airs of superiority. It seemed to be his purpose to demonstrate before all the world that it is only in personal merit that genuine distinction lies, – that one can no more invest himself with ancestral fame, than he can clothe himself in the beams of yesterday's sun, which departed with the sun itself. “ He who works God-like, works for his brethren and his age; purifies his own blood beyond all the factitious quackery of heralds, and the lies of fashion; he makes it a
foundation of honor to himself and his children, if they follow in his steps ;- of shame to them, if they depart from them. He, and he alone, is the noble. He alone carries God's patent in his hand, the star of unflecked honor in his heart; and all besides, though they number ancestors by thousands, are but wretched impostors, and presumers on a lie.
“That old boast
Jesus Christ, in the discipline of his early manhood, the type of all redemption, from the most sombre depths of obscurity rose before men and angels, developing the attractiveness of infinite worth, nurtured amid trials of every sort, like a seaflower, whose roots interlace and penetrate the profoundest caverns, but whose stem mounts through unfathomed billows to the surface, and unfolds its petals to wanderers in storm and calm. His royalty began in the nakedness and gloom of the manger, was educated through a career of incessant toil, fatigues, and watchings, in which the rising Champion gathered a few palms and acclamations from the masses, between whom and himself there was cordial love, until bigoted power interposed. But these were soon followed by the maledictions which kingcraft and priestcraft had inspired, the anguish of the garden and the tortures of the pretorium. Finally, bowed beneath the cross he bore, his brow being wreathed with a diadem of thorns, and his lips redolent of blessings on his murderers, he goes forth to expire on the mount which overlooked Tophet, that type of hell, whose powers he came to conquer and destroy.
In the above description, we have limited our views mainly to the discipline which our Lord experienced anterior to his public life, in which, we think, his most manly energies were educed, and a divine example of consecrated genius was displayed.
CHRIST AS A PREACHER.
IN HIS PUBLIC LIFE, THE BENEFICENT CHAMPION OF UNIVERSAL
In his advent, Christ identified himself with the lowly condition in which the masses of mankind are born. In his youth, he was occupied in toil such as the great majority of men pur
In his maturity, he was trained by sufferings such as mankind in general are doomed to endure. These are points elsewhere discussed. It is our present purpose to consider the character of our Lord as a preacher.
Having passed through the preparatory discipline requisite to the Messianic office, and having spoken to his disciples in private, he enters upon his public career. Popular attention is excited; persons of every age, sex, and condition are addressed; and this extraordinary Teacher draws around him crowds of men who never leaned on the bosom of a loving master, were never instructed in the language of sympathy and friendship, but who, despite the power of depraved passion and prejudice, now listen with attention the most profound, and with delight openly declared. The most significant and valuable encomium on record, respecting preaching, is the testimony of Mark, that the common people, the miscellaneous multitudes, heard Jesus gladly. We interpret this fact by supposing that he addressed a common nature, aroused common emotions, and imparted common blessings. Christ addressed a common nature, since he shared our human condition in all its wants, and respected it ; he aroused common emotions, because his own sympathies were excited, and his esteem for our ruined race was legitimately exemplified; and he imparted common blessings through labors for the redemption of the
common people which were most intense, and by the exercise of love towards them in every respect the most impartial. Let us examine these points consecutively.
Our primary remark is, that the multitudes who attended the ministry of Christ heard him with delight because he addressed a nature common to them all. He was qualified to do this effectively for two especial reasons.
First, he shared our human condition in all its wants. We believe that the true humanity of the Son of God is as fundamental an article of Christian doctrine and consolation as his true divinity. To say that Christ was not real man, we regard as heterodox as that he was not real God. Scripture describes him as being at one time “in the form of God," and at another as being in the form of man.' The expression is exactly the same when applied to the preëxistent state of our Lord, and when describing his incarnate condition. The propriety of this is seen in the necessity of the case.
He is a mediator between God and man; and “a mediator is not a mediator of one," but must partake of the nature of both. The most comforting and upholding truth in the Bible, consists in the fact that the Redeemer is, in the strictest and most endearing sense, our kinsman. We may often have occasion to resist erroneous doctrines touching the humanity of Christ, but we should neither underrate, nor overlook, this grand truth of salvation that the Son of God became as truly, and as literally, human, as the beings he came to redeem are human. We cannot, and we need not, allow that there was in him that fountain of evil which there is in ourselves. 6 We contend that the absence of the fountain, and not the mere prevention of the outbreak of its waters, is indispensable to the constitution of such purity as belonged to the holy child Jesus. But that he was like myself in all points, my sinfulness only excepted; that his flesh, like mine, could be lacerated by stripes, wasted by hunger, and torn by nails; that his soul, like mine, could be assaulted by temptation, harassed by Satan, and disquieted under the hidings of the countenance of the Father ;
that he could suffer every thing which I can suffer, except the remorse of a guilty conscience; that he could weep every tear which I can weep, except the tear of repentance; that he could fear with every fear, hope with every hope, and joy with every joy, which I may entertain as a man, and not be ashamed
I of as a Christian ; there is our creed on the humanity of the Mediator. If you could once prove that Christ is not perfect man, - bearing always in mind that sinfulness is not essential to this perfectness, – there would be nothing worth battling for
, in the truth that Christ was perfect God.; the only Redeemer who can redeem, like the Goel under the law, my lost heritage, being necessarily my kinsman ; and none being my kinsman who is not of the same nature, born of a woman, of the substance of that woman, my brother in all but rebellion, myself in all but unholiness."
Various reasons have been suggested why Christ styled himself the - Son of man: probably the best was his conscious relation to the human race - a relation which stirred the very depths of his heart. He called himself the “ Son of
” because he had appeared as a man; because he belonged to mankind; because he had done such great things even for human nature, (Matt. ix. 8;) because he was to glorify that nature; because he was himself the realized ideal of humanity. Says Schleiermacher of the title “Son of man,'
96 Christ would not have adopted it had he not been conscious of a complete participation in human nature. Its application would have been pointless, however, had he not used it in a sense inapplicable to other men ; and it was pregnant with reference to the distinctive differences between him and them." As has been suggested, the fundamental idea of the title is, perhaps, allied to that involved in the Jewish designation of Messiah as the “ second Adam ; ” but it is clear that Christ was not
n led by this fact alone to adopt it. “Much rather do we suppose that the name, although used by the prophets, received its loftier and more profound signification from Christ's own