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"Nestle! nestle! never roam,
W. P. BALFERN.
NEWS OF THE CHURCHES. A NEw chapel has been opened the Rev. J. H. Sobey, of Burton at Highgate, London, under the near Bridgwater, to Helston, Corn. auspices of the London Baptist wall; the Rev. D. Wilshere, of Association.-A chapel has been Prickwillow, Cambs, to Fakenham, opened at Masham, Yorkshire, Norfolk; the Rev. G. Samuel, of greatly improved and enlarged. - the Metropolitan Tabernacle ColA new chapel has been opened at lege, to Penge, London; the Rev. Dolton, North Devon, for the minis- W. Millington, late of Measham, to try of the Rev. A. R. Morgan.- Netherton, near Dudley ; the Rev. The chapel at Southport, Lanca- D. Macgregor, formerly of Manshire, under the care of the Rev. L. chester, but more recently of AmeNuttall, has been re-opened, after rica, to Rhyl, N. Wales; the Rev. very considerable improvements.-W. T. Price, of the North Wales Thé foundation stone of a new College, to Taibach, GlamorganWelsh chapel has been laid at shire; the Rev. M. Cumming, of Middlesborough for the ministry of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Colthe Rov. R. Evans.—New school- lege, to New Barnet; the Rev. A. rooms, lecture-hall, etc., have been E. Spicer, of the same college, to opened in connection with_the Hayle, Cornwall; the Rev. T. Foschapel in Bartholomew-street, Exe- ton, of Marlowes chapel, Hemel ter, under the care of the Rev. E. S. Hempstead, to Shipley, near BradNeale.
ford ; the Rev. R. Speed, of Mill
street, Bedford, to Milnsbridge, The Rev. N. Rogers has been Huddersfield; the Rev. J. W. publicly recognised as the pastor of Williams, of Mountain Ash, Aberthe church at Upper Statton; the dare, to St. Mary's Gate, Derby; Rev. W. P. Lawrence, late of Gilling- the Rev. E. Davies, of South Hackham, of the church at West End, ney, to Monmouth. The Rev. S. Westbury, Wilts; the Rev. R. E. Backhouse has resigned his pastorWilliams, late of Staylittle, Mont- ate at Every-street, Manchester. gomeryshire, of the church at Raven The Rev. S. Nash has resigned the Hill, near Swansea ; the Rev. J.H. pastorate of the chuch at Sarratt, Atkinson, late of Hitchin, of the near Rickmansworth, Herts. The church in Friar-lane, Leicester; the Rev. J. Bigwood, on account of a Rev. C. T. Johnson, of the church recurrence of his old complaint, has at Long Eaton; the Rev. J. W. resigned his pastorate at Granard Comfort, of the church at South chapel, Roehampton. The Rev. Ossett, Yorkshire.
R. Chenery has resigned his pastor
ate at Moss Side, near Manchester. The following reports of MINISTERIAL CHANGES have reached us We regret to announce the death since our last issue :—The Rev. W. of the Rev. J. R. Williams, of G. Hailstone, of Brixham, Devon, Rhondda Valley, at the age of fortyto Heneage-street, Birmingham; four,
THE WORD MADE FLESH.
NOTES ON ST. JOHN'S PROLOGUE TO HIS GOSPEL.
BY THE REV. JAMES CULROSS, M.A., D.D.
No. V.John i. 14.
" He was in the world "_" He came unto his own”-stress has been laid in the previous verses on these expressions. What do they mean? What was the manner of His coming and His presence ? What was the nature of that manifestation which the world" did not recognise, but which was attended with such blessed results to as many as received Him? The Evangelist answers our questions by telling us, “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Hitherto the verb " " has been made use of in speaking about the Word; now for the first time we meet the verb " became" - The Word was made, or became, flesh.” This statement brings into view one of the deepest mysteries with which the human mind can dealthe mystery which we sum up as the Incarnation.” We get no help from analogy towards understanding it; the case is altogether unique and without parallel. While, however, we cannot clear the mystery, there are some things which we may set down as certain.
It is certain, to begin, that, in becoming “flesh," the eternal Word did not cease to be what He was before-as " the water that was made wine " ceased to be water. He continued still to be the Word, the same who was in the beginning with God and who was God; by whom all things were made, and who throughout history was the life and light of men. The mode of His being was changed, but in personal essence He remained the same. This is so obvious that it is unnecessary to enter into any discussion of it.
Next, it is certain, according to the Evangelist's statement, that the Word assumed another real existence, and “became” what He was not before. Paul's use of the term “flesh" is too well known to require notice here. John's use of the term is different; he employs it to denote human nature in its entireness, with all its sensibilities, capacities, and powers-not the body alone, but all that constitutes us human beings. To say that the Word was made flesh is the same · thing as to say that He became a true member of the human family. He had a body--material, visible, tangible; so that men heard Him, saw Him with their eyes, looked upon Him, and their hands handled Him (1 John i. 1). But He did not take a body only, and become the Word embodied, His higher nature occupying the place of a huma“
VOL. XX N.S. V.
soul in a material frame : He could say, "Now is my soul troubled; or again, the Evangelist could write concerning Him, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” He became as really and as fully man as any member of the race. The sinlessness of His manhood is not asserted here—it comes unmistakably into view elsewhere--but the special thought to grasp is the reality and wholeness of that manhood. Hence He grew in knowledge and wisdom, He was tempted, He sorrowed, He wept, He rejoiced, He wondered, He prayed, as truly as we do—in all things made like unto His brethren.
We have no parallel to the case ; neither have we even an analogy that can help us to a better understanding of it. A prince in disguise, going about among his subjects and blessing them, is no illustration. There was no disguise. It is true that men knew Him not when He came; but the cause of their non-recognition lay in themselves in their own moral and spiritual condition—and not that He wore a mask. I set aside, therefore, as unwarranted, every view of the incarnation which regards it as a disguise. Indeed, to represent it so is not merely unwarranted, but suggests what is untrue. In point of fact, the incarnation is not a Divine hiding, but a Divine disclosure. The Divine could not be revealed perfectly, so far as our needs are concerned, in the geometry, the mechanism, the chemistry, the life, the order and glorious beauty of the world—nor in providence and history—nor in the symbols of the law of Moses—nor in spoken or written words: the highest revelation can be made-to-us-only through the medium of our own nature. The Word made flesh is a revelation—the highest revelation that at present we are capable of receiving of the Divine; the glory of God shines forth to us from the face of Jesus Christ.
How shall we conceive of the union of the two natures in Him? Is humanity deified ? Is Deity humanised ? Is there a blending of the human and the Divine ? Do the two natures run one into the other ? or are they simply present together in Jesus, harmoniously co-operatingsometimes the one coming into view and sometimes the other ? Such things are nowhere said or implied by the Evangelist. What we do learn is that, at a definite time in history, the eternal Word, continuing to be the Word and to possess all the attributes of the Word, assumed our true and full humanity; Godhead in its perfect essence and manhood in all its elements were joined in indivisible and everlasting union. The thought is wonderful and glorious beyond all conception ; we can only contemplate without comprehending.
Why the Word was made flesh is not here declared; nothing is said about the holy love of which the incarnation is an expression, nor about the purpose He had in view, namely, to accomplish the work of redemption and restore sinful men to God; the one thing stated is the amazing fact itself.
Having assumed our nature, He "dwelt," tabernacled, sojourned among us, “us” his friends and companions. Just as we are strangers and sojourners on earth, so He became a sojourner likewise. He
tabernacled, He took up His abode a pilgrim among pilgrims, as in a manner He tabernacled in the midst of His people Israel in the 'wilderness. It is conceivable that He might have come into the world to dwell with men throughout successive generations--as the people said, “ We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever or He might have assumed our humanity and simply made His appearance in it
, removing almost as soon as He had come. But for a period of about three and thirty years He remained as a sojourneron earth, a man among men, God with us. Here is an answer to Solomon's wondering exclamation : “But will God indeed dwell on the earth?” Here is fulfilment, higher than bad yet been known, of the ancient word, "I will set my tabernacle among you, and my soul shall not abhor you, and anticipation of what shall yet be when " the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."
The line that follows is usually regarded as a parenthesis, out of the fulness of the Apostle's heart, “ And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” If parenthesis it be, it is in its right place and is no interruption of the narrative, but rather carries it forward. It is John's testimony, agreeing with that of his fellowapostles, to the majesty that was shown forth in Jesus. We, Hig fellow-pilgrims, beheld His majesty. The vision of that majesty began to dawn upon them in the beginning of their intercourse with Him, though, for a time, it was dim and obscure, owing to their dulness of spiritual perception; and as they entered more fully into fellowship with Him it became more clear and glorious. The majesty was not that of a mere man, standing however high above his fellow-men, but “as of the only begotten of the Father;" it was Divine and not merely human, though manifested humanly; it was what might have been expected in One who stands for ever in a relation to the Father which none shares with Him—that of the only begotten. We are not to limit their vision of this majesty to specific occasions, such as the transfiguration or the great miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead; it was in process throughout the whole period of their intercourse with Him, and was completed when the veil was rent and they could say before Him, "My Lord and my God." His glory rose upon them like the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day—the glory of wisdom, power, pity, mercy, patience, righteousness, truth, stainless purity and holy love, untainted by any element of selfishness. All this, says the Evangelist, we bebeld” in the Word made flesh, unobscured by outward abasement and circumstances of lowliness.
Grammatically, the next clause, “ full of grace and truth,” is linked on to the words, “ He dwelt among us,” and tells what the apostles found Him to be throughout their whole intercourse with Him; in thought, however, as I cannot help believing, it finds its right place just where John has written it.
They found in Jesus a strange and unexampled “fulness." It was fulness in presence of the world's immeasurable need. It was fulness that stood in contrast with the emptiness of men. The scribe and the Pharisee, the philosopher and the guide into the paths of pleasure, the bringer forth of things new and the bringer forth of things old, whatever their pretensions, alike failed to satisfy the cravings of human hearts, so manifold and deep. Even the sacred ordinances of the old covenant, out of which it was designed that with joy men should draw water as from the wells of salvation, had been turned very largely into mero outward ceremonies, and the sacred services had been turned largely into mere bodily exercise-reminding one of the process of dropping buckets into empty wells and drawing nothing up. The Word is made flesh and sojourns among men; and they find in Him the very fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Two things are named as belonging to His fulness : He was full of “grace" and full of “truth,”
“Grace" is loving favour; it embraces all that was in His heart, and all that He did throughout His sojourn on earth, for the restoring of sinful men to God and making them children in His family. It was not merely that He spoke such gracious words and did such gracious works, so that even the publicans and sinners, the outcasts of the nation, drew near and gathered around Him; we must take into account His whole redeeming and saving ministry onwards to His return to the Father. Conjoined with grace, in His fulness there was also “ truth.: It is not enough to say that there was no falsehood in Him; in the largest scope of the word, there was truth. In man's graciousness there is oftentimes hollowness and pretence; and even when it is sincere enough it cannot be depended on; if you lean your weight upon it in the day of your weakness, it proves as the staff of a broken reed that goes into your hand and pierces it. Jesus is true in word and deed and character, and can be depended upon to the uttermost. Under the Old Testament the sacrifices and so forth were only. symbolical; the law had only a shadow of good things to come; in Jesus we have the reality. Here, therefore, is. the Evangelist's testimony to the perfect completeness of Jesus as Saviour. Those who knew Him on earth proved Him to be full of grace and truth; and what He was, that He is—" Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to-day and for ever."
HALCYON COTTAGE. ALICE WILLOUGHBY was a bright went home to heaven, and Grandma little country girl, who somehow Willoughby took the bereft little reminded one of apple-blossoms, one into her warm, motherly arms and blue violets, and sunbeams, and heart, and sensibly, as well as and dewdrops, and all sweet, fra- tenderly, brought her up from babygrant, summery things.
hood to girlhood. But old age came When she was a wee, promising creeping on apace, and each year bud of a baby her fair young mother Mrs. Willoughby felt that she was