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THE infinite distance between body and mind, figuratively represents the infinitely more infinite distance between mere intellect, and pure love ; for that love is supernatural
The pomp of external shew has no attraction to men engaged deeply in intellectual research. The greatness of intellectual men is imperceptible to the rich, to kings and conquerors who are but carnally great. The grandeur that wisdom, which comes from God, is invisible both to merely sensual, and merely intellectual men. Here then are three different orders of distinction.
Great minds have their peculiar empire, their renown, their dignity, their conquests. They need not the sensual splendours of this world, between which, and the things that they seek, there is little similarity. It is the mind, and not the eye which appreciates their excellence ; but then this satisfies them.
The saints also have their empire, their renown, their greatness, and their victories, and need not either sensual or intellectual splendour, to make them great. Such things are not of their order, and neither increase or diminish the greatness which they seek. God and his angels discern them, whilst, to the bodily eye, or the philosophic mind, they are alike invisible; but to them, God is every thing.
Archimedes is venerated independently of the distinction of his birth. He won no battles ; but he has given some wonderful inventions to the world. How great, how illustrious, is he to the scientific mind!
Jesus Christ, without wealth, without the adventitious distinctness of scientific discovery, comes in his orderthat of holiness. He publishes no inventions, he wears no crown; but he was humble, patient, holy in the sight of God, terrible to wicked spirits, and free from sin. But in what mighty splendour, and with what prodigious magnificence has he come forth before the eyes of the heart—the optics of true wisdom.
Although Archimedes was of princely birth, it would have been idle to have brought this forward in his book of geometry.
It had been useless also for our Lord Jesus Christ to come on earth as a monarch, in order to add dignity to the reign of holiness. * But how becoming is the peculiar lustre of his own order.
It is folly indeed to be offended at the low condition of Jesus Christ, as if that meanness were of the same order with the glory that he came to manifest. Contemplate that grandeur in his life, in his passion, in his obscurity, in his death, in the choice of his disciples, in their forsaking him, in his unseen resurrection, and all the other circumstances of his case ; you will find him so truly great, that there is little cause to complain of meanness. It has no existence.
But there are men who can only admire the distinctions of external pomp, to the exclusion of all mental excellence. And there are others who reverence only intellectual greatness : as if in the true wisdom there were not a far loftier worth.
* That is, holiness exhibited alone and independent of all adventitious distinctions.
All organized bodies, the heavens, the earth, the stars, taken together, are not equal in value to the meanest mind; for mind knows these things; it knows itself: bnt matter knows nothing. And all bodies, and all minds united, are not worth one emotion of love.
It is of an order of excellence infinitely higher.
We cannot elicit from universal matter a single thought. It is impossible. Thought is of a higher order of creation. Again, all bodies, and all spirits combined, could not give birth to a single emotion of real love. This also is impossible. Love is of another and still higher order of being. It is supernatural,
2. Jesus Christ lived in such obscurity, (we use the word in the worldly sense) that historians who record none but important events, scarcely discerned him.
3. What man ever had more renown than Jesus Christ? The whole Jewish people foretold his coming. The Gentiles when he came adored him. Both Jews and Gentiles look to him as their centre. And yet what man ever enjoyed so little of such a fame. Out of thirty-three years, he passed thirty unseen; and the remaining three, he was accounted an impostor. The priests and rulers of his nation rejected him. His friends and relations despised him: and at length, betrayed by one of his disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by all, he died an ignominious death.
In how much then, of this splendour, did he participate? No man was ever so illustrious; no man was ever so degraded : but all this lus was for our sakes, that we might know him ; none for his own.
4. Jesus Christ speaks of the most sublime subjects with such simplicity, that he seems not to have thought on them; and yet with such accuracy, that what he thought is distinctly brought out. This union of artlessness with perspicuity, is perfectly beautiful.
Who taught the evangelists the qualities of a truly heroic mind, that they should paint it to such perfection in Jesus Christ? Why have they told of his weakness during his agony ? Could they not describe a resolute death? Undoubtedly. St Luke himself paints St Stephen's death with more of fortitude than that of Christ. They have shewn him to be capable of fear, before the hour of death was come; but afterwards perfectly calm. When they tell of his being in affliction, that sorrow proceeded from himself; but when men afflicted him, he was unmoved.
The church has at times had to prove to those who denied it, that Jesus Christ was man, as well as that he was God; and appearances were as much against the one truth as against the other.
Jesus Christ is a God to whom we can approach without pride; and before whom we abase ourselves without despair
5. The conversion of the heathen was reserved for the grace of the Messiah. Either the Jews did not try it, or they were unsuccessful. All that Solomon and the prophets said on this subject, was vain. Their wise men, also, as Plato and Socrates, could not lead them to worship the one true God.
The gospel speaks only of the virginity of Mary, up to the period of the Saviour's birth. Every thing has reference to Jesus Christ.
The two Testaments contemplate Jesus Christ; the one as its expectation; the other as its exemplar: both as their centre.
The prophets predict, but were not predicted. The saints were predicted, but do not predict. Jesus Christ predicts, and is predicted.
Jesus Christ for all men ; Moses for one people.
The Jews are blessed in Abraham ; I will bless them that bless thee. Gen. xii. 3. But all nations are blessed in his seed. Gen. xviii. 18. He is a light to lighten the Gentiles. Luke ii. 32.
He has not done so to any nation, (Psalm cxlvii. 20.) said David, when speaking of the law. But in speaking of Jesus Christ, we may say, He hath done so to all nations.
Jesus Christ is an universal blessing. The church limits her sacramental services to the apparently faithful. Christ gave
himself a ransom for all. Let us then open our arms to our Redeemer, who, haying been promised for 4000 years, is come at length to suffer and to die for us, at the period, and under all the circumstances predicted. And while, through his grace, we await a peaceful death, in the hope of being united to him for ever, let us receive with joy either the prosperities which it pleases him to give, or the trials that he sends for our profit, and which, from his own example, we learn to endure.