Imagini ale paginilor

of the Father, He hath declared Him.' Taking this declaration as a fact-of which we have given proof-what do we see? We behold a real person, whose personality we can test by every rule and quality of individual existence, and of whose divinity we can as surely certify ourselves as of His humanity. All His outward acts we can as easily prove as any other facts within human observation, and the emotions from which those acts spring we can as readily discern as the motives of any merely human action. What means of knowledge equal to this, for fulness and certainty, can we have? All is on the human level, and only requires a normal human understanding to apprehend. We have already seen that all the fragmentary and imperfect preparatory revelations were in human form, or by human voice under conditions which guaranteed a Divine presence. And we can conceive of no communication which could or ought to satisfy man of its reality, but of this character. But how could they have come without the Incarnation? All previous action could not have been the shadow of a shade; it must have had the Incarnation as its source. And how could a race dependent upon it for the knowledge

which lies at the foundation of all its culture and happiness, have been brought into existence without this necessary provision for its welfare as a preliminary?

If this conclusion be just, then it is plain that man was made to be a friend of God, on whom He might bestow not only a knowledge of Himself, but also all the treasures of His own wisdom, righteousness, purity, truth, and love. Much more than a bare revelation is included in the true idea of humanity quickening power which changes into the same image the man who beholds the reflection of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.




THE facts we have already recorded, and the conclusions they have established, lead us to expect that when the Incarnation of the Son of God is consummated, it will carry abundant evidence of its reality; and as it is really a union of heaven and earth, the Divine and the human, so its proofs will come from both. The facts correspond with this expectation.

We have seen the operation of the Mediator upon men from the time He assumed mediatorial rule. But as this was simply prophetic, and suited to the period in which all nations were permitted to walk in their own way, that by their failure to find in themselves the power of conservation and improvement they might learn the necessity of Divine help, so that they should desire and seek it; so we may expect that when the fulness of time came for God to

send forth His Son made of a woman, there would be found a correspondence between the Divine action and human condition in a general desire and hope of the Deliverer. We accordingly find such an expectation universal.

Among the devout Jews who received and cherished the Old Testament prophecies, the persuasion was general, that as the period was nearly at an end fixed by the prophecy of Daniel, so the time was at hand for the birth of the promised Messiah, while a few, at least, were directly assured that they should not die till they had seen the Lord's Anointed. This, according to the laws of the spiritual life, is the assurance of a general hope, and a guarantee of its propagation among this class of the Jewish people, to whom the Messiah was the son of David and the king of Israel. Hence we account for the slaughter of the children by the Idumean Herod, who saw in the birth of the long expected Davidic king the end of his own dynasty. This also was a common hope and expectation of the unspiritual and worldly Jews, who, sensible of their degradation, and spurning a foreign yoke, by their carnal interpretations of the prophecies were ready to use any means to set themselves free.


Hence those rebellious proceedings mentioned by Gamaliel in his address to the council. both classes there was an expectation of the Messiah, who was first promised as the bruiser of the head of the serpent, then as a blessing to the world in the seed of Abraham, and finally in all the prophecies as the son of David, who on his throne should establish a dominion which would last for ever, and unto whom should be the gathering of the people.

[ocr errors]

Among the children of the prophets' it was not remarkable that this expectation should prevail; but how are we to account for the visit of the Persian Magi? They came guided by the star-a symbol to them of Divinityto the place where the young child was,' that they might worship Him who was born King of the Jews. We are unable to explain the operation of the sign by which they were led in their long journey; but we can see plainly that beyond and behind the star there was a knowledge of the approaching birth of such a Divine ruler, or the star could not have notified the time.

This may be an unexpected, but it is by no means an unaccountable event. We have seen that the original traditions were largely pre

« ÎnapoiContinuă »