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beautiful and enrapturing things have they said and, sung of a coming aera of universal peace, when discord and warfare should be at an end, and when concord and amity should encircle the hearts of all people of all nations. There is certainly something unspeakably delightful, even in the imagination of a universal religion, and of the uni. versal spread of knowledge, peace, and happiness. Apart from the religion of Christ, this must be deemed mere speculation and fancy.
“Proud views of human kind,
False views, like that horizon's fair deceit,
· In connexion, however, with the religion of Christ, all this will prove glorious and delightful certainty. On its authority, and by its instrumentality, we expect that to be realized in fact, which might else seem wild as the fictions of romance. In the mediatorial scheme, provision is made for the establishment of a universal kingdom,-a kingdom, however, which is spiritual, and not of this world ;-for:we are assured, that Christ must reign till he has made his enemies his footstool, and that unto him shall be given a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages may serve him. The religion of Christ being the only instrument that can subdue the hearts of men to his obedience, must of necessity be universal, if his kingdom come to be universal. As the native result, we look forward to the universal spread of light and love. Separation and hos. tility shall be done away; wars shall be made to cease to the ends of the earth; there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy; the human family shall present the lovely spectacle of brethren dwelling together in unity; from the vie tal and visible unity of ihe church, it shall be seen, that there is one body and one spirit, one Lord and one faith, and that Christians are one, even as Christ and the Father are one: men shall be brought back to their original union with God and with each other, as his subjects and children ;and it shall be made evident from the living fact, that the pona of love is a bond of allegiance to bind them to their God, and a bond of brotherhood to bind them to each other.
Eminent teachers, both among the Jews and the Hea. then, were accustomed to establish some particular usage, or favourite doctrine, as a badge of distinction for their respective followers. Christ ordained, that love should be the distinguishing badge of his disciples. “By this,” said hè, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” While he gave tlie law of mutual love to his disciples, he proposed his own love to them as the model and the obligation of their love to each other. “This is my commandment,” said he," that ye love one another, as I have loved you." This commandment was new-a new modification of the original law of love which was stamped on the heart of unfallen man, and which was re. published in the law which was revealed by Moses. “A new commandment,” said he, “I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The commandment, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," was an old commandment; the object of it was our neighbour, that is, every man, and the model and measure of it was the love with which a man regards himself; but while this old commandment of love is retained and established by the law of Christ, a new commandment of love is superadded; the brethren of Christ's family are its peculiar objects, and Christ's love to them is the high example after which their love to each other is to be exercised, and by which it is to be enforced. Brotherly love was, accordingly, a marked feature in the character of the early Christians. It is expressly recorded, respecting the infant church in Jerusalem, that “the mul. titude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” The very Heathen were compelled to notice and ad. mire this divine peculiarity, and say, Behold how these Christians love one another. Has the religion of Christ, since that period, changed its nature, or has the Spirit withdrawn his presence ? Love is as much a fruit of the Spirit now as ever : it is by the Holy Ghost that the love of God is shed abroad upon our hearts; and the love of the brethren is an effect of being born unto God, and a conclusive mark, by which we may know whether we have passed from death unto life. In proportion as Christians obey the law, imitate the example, and are influenced by the mind and Spirit of Christ, they will love each other with a pure heart fervently. The religion of Christ is not selfish or solitary. It is no local, partial, or temporary system. - It is intended for all; it is fitted for all; its constant aim and effort is to benefit all; and as soon as it is
received into the heart, it becomes the moving principle of active and diffusive good. Under its influence, men feel that they were not made for themselves, and that they ought not to live to themselves; but that they are to do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Love seeketh not its own; and that love which is kindled by the believing contemplation of His love who, when we were enemies, died for us, and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice, will con. strain us to love him, and give ourselves to him, and offer continually our being, with all its energies, as a living sacrifice on his altar, and hold ourselves in readiness to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Without some common head and centre of union, men cannot be associated or kept together. Look at domestic life. Are not the members of a family united in virtue of the same connexion which each has with the common parent? Look at the structure and organization of civil society. Are not all the orders of the state, all the provinces of the empire,--all the citizens of the commonwealth, bound together in a national capacity by the allegiance which all alike owe the one Sovereign, who is the head of authority and power, presiding over all, watching their interests, maintaining their rights, and seeking, perpetually, the universal good ? What lively images have we of this principle, even in the world of na, ture. Let a man look to the various members and senses of his own body, and see how, in virtue of being actuated and directed by the living and intelligent principle re. siding in the head, they all act in concert, each discharging its separate functions, and yet subserving the necessities and comforts of the whole. Look at the branches of some spreading tree. How is it that they put forth their ver. dure together, and appear simultaneously covered with a luxuriance of leaves, and blossoms, and fruit in their proper season? Is it not in consequence of the vegetable life which they derive from their growth out of the common stem, which sustaius and nourishes the whole ? What is it that wheels the planets in their orbits, and maintains them undeviating in their respective courses ? It is the ato traction of their common centre; and it is from the sun high in the heavens, that light, and warmth, and renovating and gladdening energy stream down upon this our lower world. Accordingly a common head and centre of union, a living
and unfailing source of vital energy and saving influence, is exhibited by our holy religion to the church. The Lord Jesus, in his mediatorial capacity, is that head and centre of union, that living and life-giving source of vital energy and saving influence. United to him as branches in the vine, as members with the head, as subjects with their sovereign, as children with their parent, they are united to each other. He is head over all things, unto the Church, which is his body; and members of his body, believers are members one of another. -Eph. i. 22.-iv. 25. Thus, between Christ and Christians, and between Christians and Christians, there exists a union inconceivably close and endearing-a union which is spiritual and indestructible--a union which we may be assured, with the apostle, that neither angels, principalities, nor powers, nor life nor death, nor things present nor things to come, shall be able to dissolve. Be. lievers, as redeemed and regenerated, come in this way to be reunited with God, from whom sin had separated them ; and this reunion the all-wise God saw that it became him to establish only through the intervention of a mediator. Christ unites in himself the nature of God and the nature of man : in his divine nature he is one with the Father; in his human nature he is one, with his people : thus the great moral union between God and his alienated children is re-established; confidence, friendship, and intercourse are restored; peace is proclaimed from heaven to earth, and good will to men, while glory is given to God in the highest; and the affections of believers are drawn upwards and fixed upon him as a compassionate and forgiving Father, by the exhibition which has been made of his amazing love, in providing for the reconciliation of his re. bellious children to himself, through the propitiation of his Son, not imputing their trespasses nor punishing their iniquities, but freely forgiving all for the sake of the reconciliation made by him who bore their sins in his own body on the cross. Through the mediation of Christ, therefore, peace and union are re-established between hea. ven and earth. Angels who stood off from man, the moment he became an offender, ready to be the executioners of divine judgment, return, and become friends, and guardians, and ministering spirits to them who shall be heirs of salvation. The mediation of Christ is the antitype of the ladder which Jacob saw in vision, the foot of which was set on the earth, and the top of which reached heaven, while the angels
ascended and descended, and Jehovah stood above proclaiming himself the God of his people. Thus it has pleased the Father, in order to meet the case of man's apostacy, to establish a remedial dispensation, by which, in the fulness of time, he might gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth; and, having made peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Gen. xxviii. 12. Eph. i. 10. Col. i. 20. The marriage-relation, we know, is the most intimate and endearing that subsists among human creatures; and the marriage relation is consecrated by the Scriptures as a sacred symbol to set forth the union and the love which subsist between Christ and his church. By the marriage-relation husband and wife become one; in like manner Christ takes his church into mysterious union and intimacy with himself. The hus. band loves his wife even as himself; so the Lord loveth the church, and nourisheth and cherisheth it. The interests of husband and wife are the same; so the church's interests are Christ's, and Christ's interests are hers; and the smallest good office done to the least of his people, he regards as done to himself, and whosoever toucheth them toucheth him. The husband is the head of the wife; so Christ is the head of the Church, and the head of Christ is God. Believers are in Christ, as Christ is in the Father; they are Christ's, and Christ is God's: and as he is one with the Father, so are they all one in Christ Jesus.Eph. v. 23–32. 1 Cor. iii. 23. Gal. iii. 28. Thus our minds are assisted in some degree to contemplate how the union comes to be re-established between God and souls .by the mediation and headship of Jesus Christ. Let us deeply ponder that more than human language in which our Lord himself sets forth this amazing truth, this divine mystery, in his intercessory prayer for them who should believe on him. John xvii. 21. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.”
Of the union between Christ and the church, and be.