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thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
Indeed the Divinity of Christ is not a doctrine which rests on a few detached verses of Scripture. It runs through the whole of the sacred volume. It is the chief corner-stone on which the entire scheme of salvation rests. We believe nothing belonging to Christianity as we ought to believe, unless we are persuaded that its Author is Divine—that he was, "God manifest in the flesh;" and is, "over all, God blessed for ever."
The text clearly teaches,
2. The immutability of his perfections.—This is beautifully confirmed, if we consider the text in connection with the two preceding verses: "And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands." Here is another proof of his Divinity, for the Maker of all things is God. Such are the amazing greatness and vast variety of the works of creation, that their Author must be God. Such are the evident marks of contrivance and design, the most interesting displays of consummate wisdom and skill, which we find in ourselves, and perceive in all around us, that he who produced creatures of such various and extensive capacities must possess intelligence and goodness infinite. In him must centre the power and perfections of Deity.—But these heavens and this earth are not permanent: they were not intended to continue always: "They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed." It is not said, that the heavens and the earth shall be annihilated, or
reduced to nothing: this may not be the ease; but folded up, and changed: they shall exist no longer in their present state, and for present purposes. "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner." Such is the picture of universal nature! But Thou —Thou who madest all these things, and at whose pleasure they revert to their original chaos or undergo some entire alteration—" Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
It must be so. He that is infinitely perfect cannot change himself; for change is a mark of imperfection. He that is infinitely exalted above all other beings cannot be changed by the power or influence of any. He is the same. Every perfection of which he was once possessed he possesses still, and will continue to possess to everlasting ages. What his power was when he stretched out the heavens, it is still. What his wisdom was when he founded the earth, it is still. What his bounty and goodness were when he created man, and replenished the world with innumerable comforts, they are still. We go farther: what his love and pity were when he first approved the design of saving sinners, when he undertook the arduous task, and when he actually expired on the cross, they are still; unabated in the smallest degree. All his perfections are immutable as eternity; unchangeable as "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."—The text instructs us also in,
3. The perpetuity of his offices.—When we speak of the offices of Christ, we have respect always to his character as Mediator, and his great undertaking as the Saviour of sinners. The Divinity of his nature, and the immutability of his perfections, demonstrate that he is God; but, for our sakes, "God was manifest in the flesh." He took on him our nature, and became man. In accomplishing this grand object, the redemption and salvation of sinful men, he assumed certain offices: these he still sustains, and will continue to sustain, till the great design is completely finished.—He assumed the office of a Prophet. In this character he went about teaching "the words of eternal life." And he teaches now by his written word, by the ministry of his Gospel, and by his Spirit given to men.—He bore the office of a Priest. In this view he offered himself a sacrifice of atonement to God the Father, for the sins of all that believe. And he wears his priesthood still. Jesus, the Son of God, who is passed into the heavens, is our "great High Priest:" as such, he is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities; he knows the trial of severe temptation; he bears us on his heart; he pleads for us above: " He ever liveth to make intercession."—He sustained the office of a King. In his regal capacity, all power in heaven and in earth is given to him. He is constituted Supreme Ruler. He presides the Head of the church, and Head over all things to the church. He now reigns, and he must reign, till the tranquillity of all his friends be effectually secured, and till all his enemies be subdued under his feet. Thus is confirmed the important sentiment of the text; and such is the exalted view it gives us of the Lord Jesus Christ—" Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
Is the nature of Christ Divine? Are his perfections immutable; and his offices perpetual? Is he uniformly the same, and shall his years not fail? Then,
1. All is well respecting the government of the world.—Its government is assuredly wise, perfectly and invariably right; for it is committed to him who ever lives, and who lives for ever the same! Unexpected events are taking place around us. The occurrences of recent years have astonished the world. All Europe has been agitated in an uncommon degree; but, "The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever." Thrones have tottered to their foundation, and sunk in the dust . Kingdoms have been conquered, and divided among strangers. Fearful alarm has spread, and awful devastation has been made, through the unaccountable influence of a fellow-worm, the scourge of the nations in the hand of the Almighty. Yet nothing is left at random. Jesus reigns; and "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end."
What revolutions yet await the world, we know not; nor must we be anxious. "Secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but the things which are revealed belong unto us." We have our fears: we have also a cheering hope; but this hope centres in the dominion and care of the Lord Jesus Christ! While creatures change, He is "the same;" while infirmities impair the talents of some, and death removes others from stations of high national influence, His "years shall not fail." We shall therefore do well continually to be referring the care of the world, and especially the concerns of our country, to Him; imploring his help; supplicating his wisdom to guide, his power to protect, his grace to humble, and his mercy to exalt a guilty land.
2. We may rest assured of the safety of the Church.—Whatever becomes of the kingdoms of the earth, the church is safe. For the church the world stands; and all events are doubtless under the direction and controul of Him who is "King of nations," and " King of saints." Providential occurrences are all subservient to the accomplishment of his own plan, and to the fulfilment of his own word: they must ultimately regard his glory, in the security of his cause.
The church is safe, for it is built upon a "rock;" and this rock is "Christ, the Son of the living God." The Founder of the church is himself the Foundation on which it rests, and " the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." How is it possible they should prevail? He that built the church, himself supports it: how can it sink? When he changes, then his church shall change: when he dies, then his cause will perish. But, while he lives, and lives "the same," all is well! By him, ministers are raised up as the advocates of his truth, and the pastors of his ]>eople, feeding them "with knowledge and understanding." If a Moses be removed, a Joshua is found to succeed him. If an Elijah be suddenly taken to heaven, an Elisha is at hand to catch his falling mantle, and to possess his spirit. If a Judas turn apostate, a Matthias is chosen to fill up his place, and to plead the cause which the son of perdition has basely betrayed.
There have been times of harassing persecution;