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spirit he had drank, and by whom he professed to be guided. Well, every man that is guided by the spirit of the Devil, is of the Devil, and he is his father.
But the scriptures speak of fathers and children in another sense.
What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread will give him a stone?
« Or if he ask a fish will give him a serpent?
“ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ?”
Here, Father and Son is the begetter, and the begotten. In this sense the Devil is said to be the father of his progeny. He was a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies. As the begetter he was the father of lies, and as the begotten lies were his children. But as a teacher he was the father of the people whom he taught, and as taught by him, they were his children.
But of the children in the text, God himself is the Father. The scripture informs us, that God himself is the Father of the spirits of all flesh. God as a spirit produced spirit. When man was formed of the dust, God breathed into that dust so formed, the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Hence, saith God, behold all souls are mine. But these children were given to Jesus, for, saith the Redeemer, all that the Father hath, he hath give unto me. These children were known, and acknowledged by God before all worlds. All thy members were written in my book while yet they were in secret; and the Apostle asserts, they had grace given them in Christ Jesus, before the world began.
But, these children were in the beginning put forth in the earthy man, Adam ; which earthy man was made subject to vanity, susceptible of error; and by the machinations of the adversary, was hardly clothed in humanity, ere he was beguiled of his innocence, banished from Paradise, and precipitated into the depths of contaminating and wide spreading evil.
Thirdly, Flesh and blood. This habitation of the soul, this flesh and blood which the children inhabit, is spoiled of its original purity, and hath received in its stead original depravity; of this defiled flesh and blood, the children partake. The mysterious union subsisting between the first pair in Paradise, and that human being which shall last be called into existence, communicates to every individual all those propensities, which are calculcated to destroy
that rectitude which individuals derive from their Creator. Bodies are produced by bodies; but the soul is the breath of God; and the soul of an Indian is as much the offspring of God, as the soul of the celebrated Newton. The soul of that untaught being who inhabits an Island in the South sea, is as much the child of God as the souls of Paul or Peter.
The people of the Jews, were not the only people given to Jesus; God gave
him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. All these children collectively considered in the first Adam bore one character, viz. the Son of God. Thus the evangelist Luke, when tracing the genealogy of our Saviour, follows it up to Adam. Which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God. And these wandering children, thus losing their title to everlasting life by the rebellion in Eden, in default of their first parent, are as his descendants in his character made partakers of that flesh and blood, which thus defiled cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, although this kingdom of heaven was prepared for them, from the foundation of the world.
Fourthly, He took part of the same! Who took part of the same? God the Father, the Divine-Nature ! He also himself, likewise took part of the same! As God, he was the Father; as man, he was the Son. Thus the evangelical prophet Isiaiah ix. 6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given : and the government shall be upon his shoulders : and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Thus as God and man united, he was the producer, and produced; and as all things dwell in him, he was and is in himself all of God and all of man. And it is by virtue of this man elevating union, that because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same.
It is easy to perceive that the human soul, or spirit, is here intended; that these are the children pointed out, not only because we are told he passed by the nature of angels, but because it is only the human soul or spirit, that are made partakers of flesh and blood. But what are we to understand by God our Saviour's taking part of the same?
If we were to attend properly to this particular, it would serve as a key to the whole book of God. Could we fix a single eye on this grand fundamental truth, the whole body would be full of light.
That human nature, with which the Divine Nature condescended to be clothed, was not distinct from the rest as one body is from another. No, assuredly no; the clothing the Redeemer in this body, was the giving him a part of that flesh in which the children, all the children were clothed. Hence the character bestowed upon, and received by Emmanuel. The head of every man is Christ. 1 Corinthians, xi. 3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ. Now my head is as much a part, of one part of my body as the other: and it is in as perfect union with my feet as with my hands ; it is as much the life of one member as of another. This God-bonouring whole, was completely figured under the Mosaic law, when the first born was presented before the Lord, and the first sheaf, &c. &c.
The first born was a part of the same substance, with the other children born of the same parents. The first sheaf was a part of the same harvest, and so of the rest.
But Jesus is the first born of every creature, the beginning of the works of God. The human nature of Emmanuel is part of every child's flesh; and every human soul inhabiting a tenement of flesh has as much right to lift his adoring eye to Jesus Christ, as a part of himself, as any member of my body might, if it had sense in itself, claim my head as a part of itself. Jesus is not flesh and bone, distinct from our flesh and bone, but he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. For both he who sanctifieth, and they who are sanc. tified are all of one. And this is at all times the comprehensive character of the Redeemer, insoinuch that when he was born without sin, we were in that eventful moment created anew in Christ Jesus; when he was crucified, we were crucified with Christ Jesus; when he died we were buried by baptism into his death; and when he arose, raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so that we also should walk in newness of life. For being planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
And we ascended with Christ being heirs of God, and joint heir's with Christ. Such were the sentiments of the Apostles, especially of the Apostle to the Gentiles. And our Saviour, thus graciously expresseth himself-I in them, and thou in me, that we may be made perfect in one! It was the powerful attraction of the Divinity dwel. ling in Christ Jesus, which drew the individuals of our nature to itself; such was the testimony of the Redeemer, when he was about to suffer.
“ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto me." And it was in this stupendous catastrophe, that the vision of Ezekiel was fully accomplished, chapter xxxvii. of that prophecy.
" And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.
“ Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, () ye dry bones, hear ye the word of the Lord.
6 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter into
shall live : « And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live ; and ye shall know that I am the Lord :
“So I prophesied as I was commanded : and as I prophesied there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
“And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above : but there was no breath in them.
" Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, thus saith the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they
“ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
“ Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel : behold, they say our bones are dried, and our hope is lost : We are cut off for our parts.
“ Therefore, prophesy and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God, behold, O my people, I will open your graves, cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
“ And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.
“ And shall put my spirit into you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land : then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
The vision of the prophet Jeremiah, corresponds precisely with this vision in the valley of dry bones. Chapter xviii, “ The vessel
marred in the hands of the potter, is made again of the same clay, the same flesh, a nobler vessel, in the immaculate person of Christ Jesus. But wherefore did Emmanuel take part of this same flesh and blood, of which the children were made partakers ?
Fifthly, That through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the Devil. Such is the reason rendered why our God took upon him our nature that in this nature he might destroy the destroyer. Here the Gospel of God our Saviour becomes beyond expression luminous. These are indeed glad tidings of good things to all people. The accuser of the brethren, the adversary of the children, is the Devil, and he goeth about like a roaring lion seeking to devour, and we were, we are, no more able to deliver ourselves from the paw of this roaring lion, than a
lamb of the fold would be able to defend itself from the ravenous - wolf. God who is Love, Love in the abstract, knew this, and therefore assumed our nature and character, that in that nature he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the Devil.
But how hath the Devil the power of death?
He hath the power of death as the author of sin. « Wben lust was conceived it brought forth sin, and when sin was finished it brought forth death. The wages of sin is death. The soul that sinneth shall die.” Thus as the Devil is the author of sin, he had the power of death, for there could be no death, were there no sin. Now if he who had the power of death were destroyed, then death would also be destroyed, and if both were destroyed; then life, life eternal must be the blessed consequence to the children, of whose nature he took part. And indeed this result is manifest, for the same spirit which declareth he hath abolished death, assures us he “ brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.”
But, perhaps it may be observed, your text does not assert the destruction of the adversary of souls; it simply informs us he took part of the same, that he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the Devil, but it no where affirms that he did destroy him.
Well, if it be confessed that Jesus took part of our flesh, that he might destroy him who had the power of death, he either did, or he did not destroy him. If he did not destroy him who had the power of death, if he never will destroy him, than he did not, nor never will accomplish what he had in view when he assumed the nature of man. But what reason can be assigned wherefore the Lord of glory did
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