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planation of that title which the Apostle fubjoins, or rather indeed to the reasons he afsigns for giving him that designation. No fooner has he called him the first-born of every creature, than he immediately adds, For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him, and for him. And that no room might be left for the remotest suspicion that he himself might have been created, eternity, in the most absolute sense of that word, is directly ascribed to him in the 17th verse: And he is before all things, and by him all things confift. For surely he who existed bea fore all things, muft himself be without beginning, or from everlasting. Hence it appears, that this designation, the first-born of every creature, is of the same import with that other form of expression which the Apostle useth, Heb. i. 2. where, having styled him the Son of God, he adds, whom he hath

appointed heir of all things.” And both serve to denote that universal dominion which our Lord hath by inheritance, as the


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only-begotten of the Father, of the same essence with himself, “ the brightness of his s glory, and the express image of his per“ fon:" An image fo express, that when Philip said to our Lord, “ Shew us the Father, “' and it fufficeth us," he

gave no answer but this, “ Have I been so long with you, and

yet hast thou not known me, Philip? “ He that hath feen me, hath seen the. Fa" ther: Believeft thou not that I am in the

Father, and the Father in me?” Which is farther explained by what he said on another occasion, “ I and the Father are 66 one.”

It would be highly improper, when we have such agreeable work before us *, to enter into the thorny field of controversy : nevertheless, as so much of our comfort depends upon the persuasion we have, that he who came to save us is truly God, I cannot close this head, without requesting you to compare what is written in the first verse of the Bible, “ in the beginning God cre« äted the heaven and the earth,” with the introduction to John's gospel, “ In the be

ginning * Preached on a Communion-Sabbath,

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ginning was the Word, and the Word

was with God, and the Word was God. “ All things were made by him; and with

out him was not any thing made that was “ made." And if to these you add that obvious conclusion of enlightened reason, Heb. ili.

4. “ Every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God," you

will discover at once the true dignity of him in whom we are commanded to trust, and fee with what strict propriety of language he is styled “ the Son of the living God,” “ the great God and our Saviour,” and,

God over all, blessed for ever.”

Having thus briefly illustrated his effential dignity, or what he is in himself,-let us now consider,

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Secondly, What he is to us. learn from the 18th verse, where the Apostle calls him the head of the body, the church.Which leads us to view him as " the feed “ of the woman;" “ the Word made flesh ;" the Son of God, by whom all things, were created, uniting himself to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ; that as our


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kinsman and brother, he might redeem the forfeited inheritance; and by fuffering in our room, the just for the unjust, might bring us to God. It is plain, that the station here assigned to Chrift belongs to him in the character of Emanuel," which is,

being interpreted, God with us,” or, “ God “ manifested in the flesh.” Accordingly, he is styled, in immediate connection with his headship, the first-born from the dead; which necessarily supposes his previous incarnation and sufferings. And the church, 'which is here called his body, is expressly faid by Paul, in the charge which he gave to the elders of Ephesus, to have been “ purchased by him with his own blood.” Here, my brethren, he is represented to us in such an endearing relation, as cannot fail, if we understand it aright, to fill our hearts at once with the highest admiration, the warmest gratitude, and most triumphant joy. Christ is said to be “ the “ head of all principality and power," at the joth verse of the following chapter ; but it is not added, these are bis body. In like manner, we are told, Eph. i, at the close, that God, who raised him from the dead, hath “ fet him at his own right hand in the hea

venly places, far above all principality, " and power, and might, and dominion, " and every name that is named, not only « in this world, but also in that which 6 is to come ;

and hath


all things “ under his feet, and given him to be “ head over all things to the church." That is, he hath placed him at the head of all things, and given him supreme dominion over them ; so that the highest angels are only ministers, or servants, in his kingdom, whom he sends forth-to minister to the heirs of salvation. But his relation to his church, though it includes dominion, yet it carries in it a more close and intimate connection. He is not only head over his church, in respect of supreme authority, as a king is the political head over his subjects; but he is the head of his church, in respect of vital influence : for fo the Apostle himself explains it in the following chapter,

He is that head “ from which “ all the body by joints and bands having “ nourishment ministered, and knit to


verse 19.


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