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great valley of the Amazon, that immense basin is made the richest spot on the globe by the direct action of that ocean.
But while this cause, which clothes the isles of the east in spicy groves, must ever be acting on this region of boundless fertility, there are other agents, equally uniform in their action, which are reducing some small sections of South America to deserts of sand. Among these sterile portions may be reckoned the burning plains of Peru, on the very borders of the great Pacific. As the current of humid air from this ocean blows on a line nearly parallel to this shore, too little of its fertilizing humidity is deposited here to protect the soil against a verticle sun. These barren plains will cover a larger territory, for after a desert has commenced, its continual enlargement will take place by the action of the most stable laws of nature. As the air over such a heated and strongly relecting surface becomes extremely rarefied, that which rushes in from the surrounding atmosphere passing the same process, must ascend to the higher regions. These portions of air which are successively wafted into the rarefied column are 8) far from depositing any of their humidity, that they drain the surrounding atmosphere of its moisture, ascend with it to a great height, and pass off to deposit it on some high land or neighboring
Thus by this draining process the air beyond the limits of a desert becomes too dry to support vegetation; trees and plants expire, and the circle of desolation becomes perpetually broader. So far as the margin of the great African desert has been explored, abundant evidence has been obtained of its ancient fertility and dense population, and consequently of the comparatively recent enlargement of its arid empire. In Asia, whole provinces are changed to deserts within periods well known to history. Indeed, mighty cities are now being buried there by the shifting sands, which were once the home of the great and the seats of empire.
Thus will progress the transformation of soil into sand in South America, until in the course of ages several provinces will be con. verted into a vast sand bank. But as there are here several barriers to this desolating progress of nature, it can never advance so far on this continent as it is destined to do in the eastern world.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
CHRIST'S HUMAN NATURE EXALTED.
BY REV. N. LEVINGS.
For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living,” Rom. xiv, 9.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are fundamental doc. trines of Christian theolngy. They are so intimately and inseparably connected with the entire system of Christianity, from beginning to end of divine revelation, that to promulgate that system without them, or by incorrect views of them, would be alike dangerous to the system
and to the hopes of our perishing race.
The former-the death of Christ-constitutes that sacrificial offering to divine justice whereby God can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; the latter-his resurrection from the dead-affixed the broad seal of truth to the entire system, with all its momentous and sublime doctrines, its pure precepts and its precious promises. These great events not only laid the foundation of the hopes of a fallen world, but they are also intimately connected with the whole meditorial office of the Son of God. The necessity that he should die and rise from the dead was not at first discovered even by the disciples themselves. Hence they were led to view the death of their divine Master as the most calamitous event which could have befallen the infant church. It threw the deepest distress and gloom over their minds. Their hopes all died when he expired upon the cross, and in his grave they buried all expectation of realizing in him the character and offices of the true Messiah promised to the world. This is the very sentiment expressed
the two disciples while on their way to Emmans, “ But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” We trusted, and we thought that we had reason to trust. We had seen his holy life, we had heard his holy doctrines, and witnessed the number and variety of his powerful miracles; but when he suffered bimself to be apprehended, tried, condemned, and crucified, we gave up all hope, and this is the cause of our sadness. And so important did St. Peter view the resurrection of Christ to the interests of the church of God, that he uses the following strong language, when representing the powerful change effected by that glorious event: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundanı mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” &c. This grand event gave birth and being to hope. It raised the church from her despondency, and threw over her weeping face the smiles of the brightest morning that ever dawned upon this lower world. Mary's heart danced for joy, while her voice broke the silence of grief with this cheering announce. ment, “ The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!” The two disciples exclaim, “ Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and opened to us the Scriptures ?". The last cloud of doubt which hung lowering on the soul of poor
Thomas passed away, and he was enabled most emphatically to exclaim, “My Lord and my God.” Here hope revived, their eyes were opened, and they saw, that so far from his death being a disastrous event to the Christian cause, it was a vital part of that very system—a part without which the whole would be a mere shadow without the substance. They clearly saw that “ Christ ought to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory," in order to finish the work of the great atonement.
The death and resurrection of Christ might furnish us with a theme sufficient for, and worthy of, many discourses, but our object, at the present time, is, to inquire more particularly who this wonderful per. son is who experienced such sudden and powerful transitions from life to death, and from death to lise again ; and what connection his death and resurrection had with the administration of his meditorial office, throughout his vast dominions. That he was a man, possessing all the properties and sympathies of man's nature, all will admit; but how far he was exalted as a man is a question upon which some difference of opinion may exist.
It must be admitted that correct sentiments, in relation to this point of Christian theology, are of great importance, that we may have enlightened and definite views both of the nature and extent of his moral government. From the text we learn that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were accomplished for the express purpose of extend. ing his dominions over both worlds; and that by these solemn events he acquired rights and powers as our Mediator which he did not pos. sess before. According to the language of the text he could not have exercised the prerogatives of Lord of the dead and living, except in consideration of his death and resurrection from the dead.
This subject, therefore, resolves itself into one general question, viz.,
WHAT DID Curist ACQUIRE BY HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION }
Before we proceed directly to answer this important question, it is, perhaps, necessary to premise, that as Christ possessed in himself “ two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood;" and as in consequence of this hypostatical union he is
very God and very man,” it can only be affirmed of his human nature that he acquired any thing. As God, having been in the beginning with God, and being of “one substance with the Father;" and all things having been created by him and for him, and upholding all things by the word of his power, it is evident that, as God, he could acquire nothing. His dominion already extends from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. The cattle upon a thousand hills are his, the world and the fulness thereof, and eternity is full of his presence.
All the attributes of the Father the eternal Son pos. sesses in all their infinite perfection and glory. He therefore, as God, neither grows older by the revolutions of time, nor acquires aught of wisdom or goodness by the exercise of these attributes. He is, in his divine nature, “ Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." And here permit me so far to digress from my main design, as to affirm it as my most solemn belief, after much deliberation, that it would be as easy for him to cease to exist as in his divine nature to suffer. The one sentiment, in our view, is not niore repugnant to the perfection of the divine attributes than the other. For if God can suffer to some extent he may to any extent, and, therefore, he might, on that principle, die; than-which no sentiment could be more shock. ing. And as the preaching of such a sentiment that he could suffer -could have no other effect than to shock and stagger the faith of God's children even in his very existence, it should, in our view, be wholly avoided; and the more so as the word of God gives support to no such doctrine. But to return.
Though as God he could acquire nothing which he did not possess before, yet as man he certainly could. As man he came into the world destitute of every thing but a perfect body and mind in an infant state. His body grew in stature, and his mind increased in wisdom, and in favor with God and man. His nature was holy, and that boliness he never lost, but by a life of sinless obedience to the precepts of the divine law, he merited the favor and approbation of God and man, This he did to absolute perfection, so that his enemies could " find no fault in him.” His friends also pronounced him to be “ without sin," to be “ holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” He also declared of himself, that he did always those things which pleased the Father.” And the Father declared, from the excellent glory, that this was his " beloved Son in whom he was well pleased.” But as he was not only “made of a woman,” but also was “made under the law, that is, was made subject to its moral precepts, as well as to its ceremonies, that law required of him that perfect obedience which would fulfil all righteousness, both moral and ceremonial. This was required of him in the first place, for his own justification and eternal happiness as a man; and, secondly, to prepare himself to offer a spotless and meritorious sacrifice for the sins of the world. His life, then, was not an atonement, but a justification of himself before God, and also a justification of the claims of God upon man in his original state; for he thereby magnified the law and made it honorable ; thus showing to a rebellious world that the law required nothing more of man than, in his primeval state, he was capable of performing as the condition of life. It also, as before stated, prepared him for that last solemn and painful act by which an atonement was made to injured justice, and violated law was sustained, and the way opened for the free exercise of mercy toward a fallen and guilty world.
But he was not only born in poverty, but he also lived and died in the same. While the beasts and birds had home and shelter, the Son of man had not where to lay his head. In early life he was a mechanic, (Mark vi, 3,) and during his public life he lived upon the charity of a few faithful friends. Such was the poverty of the Son of man, while a pilgrim on earth, and yet it is declared in the text, that by his death and resurrection he became Lord both of the dead and living.
Keeping this view of the subject in mind, let us proceed to answer more directly the important question which which we set out.
First, then, by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he ac. quired the right of universal property.
The humiliation and death of the Son of God were voluntary on his own part. He gave himself for us, and died the just for the un. just. The law had no demand against his life, as he had perfectly fulfilled all its precepts; and, therefore, what he suffered to make an atonement was over and above what the law required of him on his own account. But seeing our state and pitying our condition, he. threw himself in the gap, he offered himself as our substitute, and bore our sins in his own body on the tree.
The greatest wonder of all is, that it was even possible for a perfectly holy and upright being to die. Why did not every attribute of Deity fly to the rescue of one so holy and just as was the Lamb of God? The only answer we have to this question is, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life; and, he loved us and gave himself for us. By this love he was moved to humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the
Now, in consideration of this voluntary humiliation of Christ, and in virtue of his glorious resurrection from the dead, his human nature
was so exalted and identified with his divine nature as to be “appointed heir of all things.” Hence the Father addresses him thus: “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
How often have we heard the pious Christian pray, that the Father would give the heathen to his Son for his inheritance. This prayer of the Son of God, however, has been offered and answered long since, and the universal grant has been made of the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. This grant includes the entire race of man, both the living and the dead; for he is Lord of both. His dominion, therefore, stretches over both worlds, and in. cludes, besides the whole family of man, all the resources of nature, of providence, and of grace. And as the living and the dead are bis, he has visited every part of his vast dominions. He tabernacled with the living, partook of their nature, identified his interests with theirs, entered into all their sympathies, wept with those that wept, and felt and manifested that he was one with us. He visited the dominions of the dead. He grappled with that last enemy of man, and foiled him in the contest. All the powers of death settled upon him, but at the appointed hour he shook them as “dew drops from a lion's mane," and rose triumphant over death, hell, and the grave.
“The rising God forsakes the tomb,
(In vain the tomb forbids his rise ;) Cherubic legions guard him home,
And shout him, “Welcome to the skies !'” He is now rich in the extent of his dominions, rich in the value of his possessions, and rich in the glory which he has with the Father; for the “ Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” Here is the evidence that the prayer of the Son of God is already answered, which includes the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. Thus is the human nature of our blessed Lord exalted to be, in union with the divine nature, possessor of heaven and earth!
Secondly; by the death and resurrection of Christ, he acquired the right of universal government.
Aside from the consideration of his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ, as a man, was as destitute of authority to govern, as he was of an inherent right to the property of the universe. Such was his humiliation that during the greater part of his life he was even subject to parental authority, and though he were a son, yet learned he obedience.” And of himself he said, “ The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do;" “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent
But in consideration of his humiliation unto death, and his victory over it, it pleased the Father to say of hirn,
have set my King upon my boly bill of Zion.” And again, “ The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion : rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." The prophet Isaiah corroborates the same sentiment, where he says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. Of the increase of