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John v. 33.
John what things you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”
This was satisfactory evidence to John, that he was in truth the Christ, and the same on whom he saw the Spirit descend ; and the miracles assured him, the same Spirit or Word of God remained with him. And this evidence, our Saviour referred to in his conversation with the unbelieving jews, as a sufficient testimony to satisfy them, if they had not been blinded by a depraved spirit.
“ Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth : but I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say, that ye might be saved." He then refers, not only to those miracles which convinced John of his being the Word of God—the Christ and Saviour of the world—but also the regenerator by the Holy Spirit, to finish the work of the creation of mankind. He said, “but I have greater witness than that of John ; for the works which I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me." That is, not only the miracles performed were a witness from the Father; but the difference of the nature of his disciplesdiscerned by their actions—compared with their previous actions, was a standing testimony of his being the promised Christ, by whom they obtained a better nature. And well indeed did he then say
John v. 36.
“ I receive not honour from men.” For how could he receive honour from a base world, the depraved spirit of which, is “cursed above all cattle ?” And when only his unspotted purity, and inestimable worth could, and did of itself, confer honour and dignity upon the inhabitants of it!
The descent of the Word of God, to take our nature upon himself, was first to fulfil the law : for he said—“Think not that I am come to destroy Matt. v. 17. the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but fulfil.” And also fulfilling the prophetic words spoken in the person of David, and quoted by St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews.
“Wherefore, when he (the Word of God) cometh Heb. 1. 5. into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifice for sins, by the law, thou hast had no pleasure: then said I, Lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God.”
But to have a body prepared for the descent of the Word of God, and to be literally the Son of God, in purity, as Adam was created—to fulfil the original promise to the woman—that her seed should bruise the head of the serpent, or subtle beast that had beguiled her—that by a subsequent promise, he should be of the house of David, of the tribe of Judah, and the descendant of Abraham; because he obeyed the voice of the Lord in offering his only son Isaac a sacrifice ; and that all nations, through
Luke i. 31.
Gen. xxii, 16. his seed, should be blessed.
“For by myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, because, thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
To fulfil, therefore, literally all these various promises, recorded in different ages of the world, and combining so many circumstances—the angel of the Lord appeared unto the Virgin Mary, the descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and of the house of David, and said, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus, which signifies Saviour. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David : and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered, and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be
born of thee, shall be called, the Son of God.” Luke iii. 38. And like unto Adam, “ which was the Son of God.”
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the
Luke i. 38.
Lord; be it unto me according to thy word, and the angel departed from her.”
“And she brought forth her first born son, and Luke ii. 6 his name was called Jesus. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night: and, lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to you and to all people: for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom ; and the grace of God was upon him.” Thus was fulfilled the prophetic words of Isaiah. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Isaiah xi. 2. him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.”
And this explains the important revelation in the Book of Wisdom, that the Holy Spirit is the breath of the Lord Almighty, proceeding from the glory of his Godhead, and pervading all things, and which is consistent with the inferences of natural knowledge.”
“For” the Spirit of “wisdom is more moving than any motion, it passeth and goeth through all wisd. vii. 24. things by reason of its pureness ;-for it is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty; therefore,
can no defiled thing fall into it ;-for it is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness ;—and being but One, it can do all things; and remaining in itself, it maketh all things new; and in all ages entering into holy souls, it maketh them friends of God, and prophets.”
St. Paul's words accord with it, as being the Holy Spirit given to regenerate the souls of mankind, through the merits of Jesus Christ. “That
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Epb. i. 17. glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom, and
revelation in the knowledge of him.”
Having now before us the descent and incarnation of the Word of God, in Jesus the promised Christ—he appeared to his disciples after his crucifixion, when“ he breathed on them,” as typical of the breath flowing from the Godhead of his glory,
to regenerate and support the souls of the christian John 13. 22. world, “and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy
Hence the record of St. John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God: and the Word was” the spirit.“ of God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
Hence his words to the unbelieving Jews :John vii. 56. “Before Abraham was, I am :" and speaking by St.
John, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, The Almighty.” By
Jobn i. 1.
Rev. i. 8.