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restraint and to remorse. Thank God! I know to whom I am indebted for this happiness, and I can contemplate my advantages with humility'
This quotation not only shows the present efficacy of the incarnation to the full measure before declared, but it is also in full accord with the description of the spiritual life and of the nature of faith contained in the former chapter.
Having established the reality of the Incarnation by that kind of evidence which we judge most congruous to it, we may proceed to consider its value. And as this wonderful fact has no parallel, we can neither by comparison, nor by any independent à priori reasoning, learn its true and full import and design. This plainly must be a matter of revelation only. We must therefore look to the incarnate God for an explanation of the stupendous interests and consequences involved in this most perfect Divine revelation.
Following this course, we learn from His own lips, from the messengers He sent to prepare His way, and from His apostles left
, by Him to preach His Gospel to all nations, that the primary purpose which was immanent
all through His life, and which, when 'finished,' accomplished the immediate design of the Incarnation, was 'that He might lay down His life for His sheep;' 'that He who knew no
; sin might become a sin-offering for us;' 'that He might put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,' and thus reconcile the world unto God. But while this was the primary, the seed purpose, without which nothing else could have been, yet it was by no means the whole, nor the ultimate purpose.
That was declared by our Lord Himself, when He said, 'I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever : and the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.' Thus He became man, that as man, on Him, and not on Adam, the penalty of the first offence might fall; and that, having by His death removed it, He as the Divine man —the second Adam—might give life to the world.
Therefore, standing in the Divine purpose and plan at the head of the race as Redeemer, His redemption has gone forth on all, and He has become the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world : "the life is the light of men,' which, as a free gift
from the Redeemer, has come upon all men, leading to justification and eternal life.
Here is the germ, transmitted to every man from the second Adam, waiting for the quickening of the Holy Spirit, and for the soil which a manifested Divine operation supplies. This is 'the power of God, by which He saveth us, and calleth us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel' (2 Tim. i. 9, 10). This also is the power by which the Redeemer, being lifted
draws all men unto Him. We can see how this atoning death reveals the love and justice of the great King, establishes by infinite sanctions His law, presents an overpowering motive for trust in the Divine fatherliness and for submission to His rule, and that thus it becomes the centre and source of all moral conservation and energy; just as we can trace the passage of light through the ether which fills all space, and as we can follow the force of gravitation through the same ether,
binding every atom and every mass of the universe into one complex whole, and thus becoming the basis of universal stability, as light and heat are the support of the life and beauty of the world. But we can no more explain why such an order of life as the human, with all its responsibilities and dangers, with such a mode of recovery and, conservation, should have been chosen rather than another, than we can tell why so dense a medium as the luminiferous ether—which, according to Sir J. Herschel's calculation, is compact enough to exert a pressure of seventeen billions of pounds to the square inch in every point of space—should have been chosen through which to propel impalpable light, with its diverse wave-length unbroken, at the rate of 186,000 miles per second; or how, through the same ether, every atom of the universe is drawn or propelled to every other, with a force varying inversely with the square of the distance. But, as we are unable to escape from the influence of these forces, however strongly we may deny their existence; and as we can never have a sufficient intellectual reason for denying them, because the evidence of their existence is overwhelming, nor sufficient moral reason, because their influence is altogether to the benefit of the world, and of man in particular; so also we are unable to get beyond the influence and obligation of this great, central, gravitating, and quickening fact of humanity, the evidence of whose power is seen in every page of history and in all human life, and all whose influence is beneficial in the highest measure to the supreme side of our nature.
Here we wish to call attention to the equality of proof presented in the science of religion with all other sciences. In them all, we soon attain to the ultimate facts, beyond which we cannot proceed. It is true that in the various branches of physical science, one generation after another proceeds farther before it arrives at the ultimate facts; but however far we proceed, they are still but bare facts; and all our science has to do, or can do, is to use the new facts to illustrate the old, and to combine them all in one complete system. But, however far we go, we have nothing but facts. The reasons of their existence we cannot find in themselves. All that we have in our science beyond the bare facts we have added, and this addition is liable to error, and has often occasioned error; so that the progress of physical