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IV. The Redeemer is held forth as the Object

of devout affections, such as reverence, love, and confidence for the acquisition of the greatest good.

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After the apostle has delivered in the most impressive manner, the solemn fact, that "we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ,” he adds, evidently keeping up his reference to Christ, "Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." "Be subject to each other in the fear of Christ." The duty of domestic obedience is enjoined to be "in singleness of the heart, as unto Christ:" which, in the parallel place of another Epistle written at the same time, is expressed thus; "in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord; and whatsoever thing ye do, do your work with sincere readiness, as to the Lord and not to men: knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompence of your lot, for ye serve the Lord Christ; but he who acteth wrongfully shall receive according to his wrongful conduct: and there is no favouring of persons." "Yea, my brother, let me have this gratification, in the Lord; allay my anxieties, in Christ;" that is, I apprehend, for the sake of Christ, and as an act of obedience to him. The leading sentiment of the preceding texts seems to be consentaneous with this: "Let us purify ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The reverential respect to God, which here and throughout the scriptures is made the

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motive of religious obedience, is, in the other passages, required as due to Christ; and it is enforced by the accessary motives, affirmed or intimated, that Christ is privy to the sincerity or hypocrisy of the heart; that he must be the designed Object, to whom our course of religious obedience is to be directed; that his judgment is strictly impartial, which is expressed in a phrase emphatically applied in scripture to the Supreme Ruler, the being superior to all "respect of persons;" and that the awful decisions of the future state will depend upon his judg

ment.*

Love, under some appropriate modification, is our duty to every rational being, and peculiarly to such as are morally excellent. But love to the best of mere creatures is incomparably less due than to the Supreme Possessor and Fountain of excellence. HIM we are to "love with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength." But we find that the love which is in scripture required to be exercised to Christ, is described in a way that implies an intensity beyond what reason or analogy would suggest as suitable towards one who, however excellent and exalted, is only our fellow-man. We are to love Christ above our dearest objects of consanguinity, or

* 2 Cor. v. 10, 11. Eph. v. 21; the reading Christ, is supported by the amplest authorities. Col. iii. 21; Lord, upon the fullest authority. Philem. 20; Christ equally supported. On these three texts, see Griesbach. 2 Cor. vii. 1.

`our own lives. "Faith and love" of which Christ is the object, are the means of enabling us to "hold fast the form of sound words," the unadulterated doctrine of Christianity. True Christians are described as loving him (èv å¤lapoía) with immortal constancy; and the most awful denunciation is made against those who love him not, a denunciation the infliction of which is referred to HIS power at his second coming. "Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ incorruptibly. If any one love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be devoted to destruction: the Lord is coming!"* I do not adduce these passages as absolute proofs of the Saviour's Divine Nature; but as instances of sentiment and expression which well comport with the admission of that doctrine, which seem to require and presuppose it, and which, on the opposite hypothesis, are scarcely if at all capable of a rational interpretation.

Jesus Christ is also represented as the proper object of hope, trust, and confidence, for such blessings as are in the competency of Divine powers and perfections alone to bestow. "The Lord Jesus Christ, our hope. The endurance of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Upon him the nations shall hope. That we, who before hoped in Christ, should be to the praise of his [i. e. God's] glory; in whom ye also

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* Matt. x. 37. 2 Tim. i. 13; & in the sense of eis, see Schleusn. sign. 2. Eph. vi. 24, see p. 595, of this Volume. 1 Cor. xvi. 22.

[hoped], when ye had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having put confidence, ye have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. If for this life only we had our hope in Christ, we should be the most pitiable of all men. I know in whom I have put my confidence; and I am persuaded that he is able to keep the deposit which has been entrusted to me, unto that day."* The blessings, for the obtaining and secure preservation of which this confidence is reposed in Christ, are, the unspeakable and eternal salvation itself, as a benefit needed by all the nations and individuals of mankind; and the successful propagation of Christian truth, as the instrument of obtaining that greatest good.

V. The will and counsels of Christ are represented as the same with those of the Supreme Mind, unsearchable to men, and known only by his own revealing of them.

"Who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he might instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." It is also to be observed, that “the mind of the Lord," which this text assumes as identical with "the mind of Christ," is an expression borrowed from one of the most explicit descriptions of the INFINITE knowledge of the Deity that is to be fonnd in any part of the Bible.‡

* 1 Tim. i. 1. 1 Thess. i. 3. Rom. xv. 12. Eph. i. 12, 13. 1 Cor. xv. 19. 2 Tim. i. 12: comp. v. 14, and 1 ep. vi. 20. † 1 Cor. ii. 16. Isaiah xl. 13.

VI." Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and to day, and for ever.

"'*

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This seems to be laid down as an axiom, from which the subsequent exhortation is drawn to constancy in the faith. But it by no means follows that the name of Christ is here put to denote nothing but his doctrine.+ Undoubtedly the doctrine of Christ is unchangeable; but so likewise is all abstract and moral truth. The argument is, at least, equally forcible, if understood thus: With our Divine Saviour there is no changeableness: his perfections are always the same, infinite in their glory: therefore, let your submission to his authority and your adherence to his truth, be firm and unwavering.' There is nothing, then, in the argument, to bar our understanding the passage as referring primarily to the PERSON of Christ: and in the phraseology, there is a reason, which is, I think, of weight sufficient to be decisive. This is the adoption of the same phrase which, at the commencement of the Epistle, had been employed, as none will controvert, to express the ABSOLUTE UNCHANGEABLENESS of God: "Thou art THE SAME,' lite

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rally, HE; and so in this place, "Jesus Christ

* Heb. xiii. 8.

+ Calm Ing. p. 163. It is not with perfect fairness that Calvin is quoted by the Inquirer, as if he supported this notion. For though the reformer considers the immediate subject of the passage to be the knowledge of Christ, he explicitly declares that this knowledge is founded in the Saviour's grace and authority, and that the words imply Christ to have reigned, in the exercise of his grace and authority from the beginning of the world.

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