Page images
PDF
EPUB

his being Prophet, Priest, and King. Let us then con. sider Christ as a Prophet.

Those who, under the influence of the Divine Spirit, foretell events to come, are acknowledged as prophets ; but this does not prevent them from discharging other and very important duties. They are instructers, and that public instructers. Instructers in religion were call. ed prophets, we find from the first epistle to the Corinthians, which desires that they would follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (xiv. 1.) And he that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. (ver. 3.) And, still continuing the subject of the superiority of the prophesying over the gift of tongues, Paul says, I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all : yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. (ver. 18, 19.) Christ, as a prophet, whether he foretells events, or gives moral or prudential instruction, is superior to all who went before him. In foretelling the sacrifice of himself, his resurrection from the dead, the perils and sufferings of his followers, the destruction of Jerusalem, and his second advent in glory, who is like him? Moses, compared with him, is but a servant in the house of God, while he is represented as the Son. (Heb. iii. 5, 6.) And he is great. er than Solomon in all the glory of his wisdom. (Mat. xii. 42.) Christ, as a prophet, not only foretold the most as. tonishing events, which we know to have been fulfilled in part, and, therefore, reasonably look for the fulfilment of the remainder ; but, as an instructer in morals and theology, who is like unto him ? In morals, he has obtained the praise, even of the deistical philosopher ; and in theology, it is his spirit, speaking in his sent servants, that gives value to their teaching.

As a teacher of morals, he stripped the pure law of God of the false glosses by which the Jewish rabbis had obscured and made it void. His teaching required purity in the inward parts, that to look with unlawful desire, was to commit the offence in the heart. (Mat. v. 28.) He proved to the Pharisees, that by their tradi. tion they had made the commandment of God of none effect. (Mat. xv. 6.) Our Lord's first public appearance gave promise of his future greatness; for when he was but twelve years of age, he, being with his parents at Jerusalem, was separated from them; and when they found him, it was in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them ques. tions : and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (Luke ii. 46, 47.) And after he had entered on his public ministry, being at Capernaum, on the Sabbath day, he entered into the synagogue and taught : and they were astonished at his doctrine ; for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark i. 22.) And on another occasion we find him in the temple teaching ; and the Jews marvelled, saying, how knoweth this man letters, having never learned ! (John vii. 14, 15.)

eople at length began to acknowledge the evi. dences that Jesus was the Christ; and many of them said, “ when Christ cometh will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done ?" The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning

him : and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. They went on their unholy errand; but no doubt they were convinced by the divine wisdom of Jesus, for they returned to those who sent them ; and, being asked, “Why have ye not brought him ?” they a'nswered, Never man spake like this man. (John vii. 31, 32. 45, 46.)

Of the theology which Jesus, as the prophet of God, taught, we shall at present notice but one principle ; and to the untaught, certainly, a very strange one; that is, that he was himself the bread of life, that came down from heaven ; that he would give this bread (his flesh) for the life of the world; and when the Jews won. dered how this could be, he said, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in ye. Nor was it the unbeliever, or hesitating follower, to whom this was a difficulty ; but many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, this is a hard saying, who can hear it? Nor does the condescension of our Lord, in showing them that what he had said was to be spiritu. ally understood, remove the difficulty, for we are in. formed that from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John vi. 32—66.) And, indeed, we do not see any way in which the difficulty can now be removed, but by faith in the efficacy of that atonement which Christ did make, when, Calvary, he gave his flesh for the life of the world.

We have said that the prophets of God were anointed with the Spirit of God, and we will close this part of our subject by an inquiry how far this rule will apply to the Saviour of men. The prophet Isaiah says: the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath

on

[graphic]

anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Our Lord, being in Nazareth, on the Sabbath day, went into the synagogue and stood up to read. The book of Isaiah was handed to him he read; the passage we have quoted, and immediately applied to himself, say. ing, “ this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bear witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. (Luke iv. 16–22.) Thus do we find him claiming for himself the character of Christ, Anointed, or Messiah. The same prophet, Isaiah, again speaking of him, says: “the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him ; the spirit of wis. dom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might; the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.” (Is. xi. 2.) These are the glories of the Spirit which rested on him ; but one thing remains on this subject to inquire into; and that is, in what degree had he the anointing Spirit of God? John the Baptist, drawing a contrast between himself and Christ, says of him : "he that cometh from heaven, is above all : he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John iii. 31–34.) What is without measure, must be infinite, and what Spirit is infinite but the Holy Ghost! Had Jesus the Holy Spirit without measure ? He had !' Then all the prophets of God, who ever appeared on earth, were but as streams from the infinite fountain ; Jesus is himself

9*

the boundless ocean. This may to some appear strange ; but it accords well with the fact, that in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily. (Col. ii. 9.)

We defer what remains till our next meeting.

« PreviousContinue »