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cumstances in which you are placed, shame can dwell in heavenly bosoms, to separate yourself from that which is if a redeemed spirit could shed a tear, the fairest and best object on which I am very sure, that shame will fill the mind can ever rest. Be not, my your minds, and that tears will be brethren, so ungrateful, be not so un- shed by you when you stand face to wise. I ask you not what your con- face with your injured Saviour. sciences say of such a wilful neglect- My brethren, Christ Jesus is so I ask you not how many painful re- good, he is so able to bless the soul, sults will take place in your Christian there is so much to know of him, and experience-I ask you not what your every half hour we give to medita. Christian friends around you think of tion on his life is so very fruitful in it-I ask you not what the world may blessing, brings such plentiful enjoysay of it. Perhaps conscience may ments with it, that I would regret be dull—perhaps you may not notice deeply that any real servants of the the disastrous consequences on your Lord should debar themselves from spiritual life-perhaps your Christian so many mercies. Study, study Christ friends may look most mercifully on -penetrate more deeply every day your neglect—perhaps the world may into the mystery of redeeming love plead your worldly assiduities and count that day lost, my friends, in success ; but I may ask you, my which you do not learn something Christian brethren, what does our more of Christ-never let prayer sablessed Saviour think of it? He knows tisfy you, unless you come into his what you
do-he knows every thought sacred presence, and feel that he is that enters your mind, and registers with you. It will strengthen life, and every resolution you form; he has without it your Christian course will an entire right to you, and you will be melancholy ; no intelligence can see him before long. With what secure you from darkness-no detercountenances will you meet your Sa- mination can secure you from waverviour when death shall bring you into ing-no strength of character can hinhis presence, if you have deliberately so der you from falling. Be watchful in arranged your habits, being real be- your Christian course, your only safety lievers in Christ, that you have lived and lies in living near to Christ-walk with died with very, very little knowledge of him every day-strengthen your faith the Son of God? While around you, in him perpetually, and with faith perhaps, are more happy because your love will grow, with love your more faithful disciples who were daily obedience will improve, and you will advancing in grace and knowledge— honour him while you live and enjoy who secured all the valuable ends of him more than others, and then you living as well as you—who outran you will meet him in
he in the race, only because they paid in his infinite mercy grant to many of attention to this important duty. If us for his own name's sake.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. W. CUNNINGHAM,
AT TRINITY CHURCH, CHELSEA, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CHELSEA LYING-IN CHARITY,
APRIL 10, 1831.
Hebrews, ii. 16.-" He took not on him the nature of angels ; but he took on him the
seed of Abraham.”
OF ANGELS AND OF MAN TO SHOW HOW
GREAT HAVE BEEN THE LOVE AND CON
Different views of this text have of the nature of angels and of man, been taken by different interpreters. how great are the love and condeIn the original, the sentence is, "he scension of the Saviour of sinners to a took not on him angels, but the seed guilty world. And after this, to conof Abraham.” Our translators have sider the bearing of this fact on the supplied the words, “the nature of ;" particular case to which our attention thus conveying to us a clear and de- is to be called to-day. finite sense of the words, and a sense In the First place, then, our object agreeing, as I need not say, with every is BY A COMPARISON OF THE NATURE part of the Scriptures. When angels and men stood equally in need of a saviour, Christ took on him, not the DESCENSION OF CHRIST TO SINNERS. I nature of fallen angels, but of fallen may begin by observing, that, in the
He clothed himself, not with First place, the angels are spirits. They the qualities and properties of those are not encumbered with weak and high intelligences, who either still sur- weary bodies—they pass from one spot round the throne or are reserved in of the Universe to the other without any chains for the judgment of the Great effort—they are incapable of hunger Day; but he clothed himself in all the and disease-they are indifferent to all infirmities of our nature-made him- the variations of climate, and all the self of no reputation—took on him the successions of changing seasons—they form of a servant-was made in the appear to be endowed with immortal likeness of man—and being found in youth, strength, and beauty. And yet, fashion as a man, became obedient unto brethren, had the Son of God taken death, even the death of the cross. upon him their nature, how great had
Brethren, the facts of Christianity been hiscondescension-heis the maker supply what I may call its strongest of those very spirits—" By Him were arguments and motives; and I am created all things both in heaven and about to apply the astonishing fact, earth, and without Him was not any thus proclaimed in the text, and which, thing made that is made.” These I may say, is the source of the be- spirits wait upon Him and do His liever's peace and joy, as an argument pleasure. “ Thousand thousands," and motive for the fulfilment of the says Daniel, “minister unto Him, particular duty to which I am to call and ten thousand times ten thousand your attention to-day. May a merciful do His pleasure.” That innumerable God bless the contemplation of this company fly at His bidding. He says subject to our souls !
•Go, and he goeth; and to My main object in the discourse another come, and he cometh”—all, in will be, to show you, by a comparison fact, that is spiritual in their nature is
derived from Him. But, brethren, the teries of the ages to come. An angel Lord Jesus took not on him their proclaimed the birth of the Son of nature, but the nature of man-he did God. An angel smote king Herod in not assume the qualities of an ever- the midst of his blasphemy and power, active, untired, and intelligent spirit, and he was eaten up of worms because but the form and fashion of a man- he gave not God the glory. An angel he sat wearied at the well of Samaria touched the chains of Peter, and at -he hungered and thirsted—he felt once they fell from him, and his prison the want of a place in which to lay doors burst open. To four angels in his head-he suffered and agonised in the vision of John was given to hurt the garden—and on the cross drops of the earth and sea; and angels shall blood rolled down his forehead, and gather the elect from the four corners streams of blood gushed from his side of the world. Angels shall execute -he was familiar, in fact, with suffer- the last vengeance of God upon man ing in most of the severest forms in and upon devils. “I saw,” says the which it is known to man. Oh, the beloved disciple, "an angel standing love of this suffering Redeemer! How in the sun, and he cried with a loud should every heart melt at the con- voice, saying to all the birds of prey templation of it! How should every that fly in the midst of heaven, come misery and pang of our own body and gather yourselves together into remind us of that suffering frame which the supper of the great God.” And he dragged along through this vale of yet, brethren, glorious as is the natears—through a tedious course of more ture of these spirits, Christ took not on than thirty years, simply because he him the nature of angels, but the naloved you, and chose to give himself ture of man—not that nature which
lifts them immeasurably above all the I may observe, Secondly, that the combined powers of all the great and angels are glorious spirits. They are wise and powerful of this world, but not spirits, simply in the abstract, but he took upon him, what is termed, in the highest meaning of the term- this vile and corruptible and compathey have authority-principalities, ratively powerless and weak, and, as powers, thrones and dominions—they you feel it, this dying form of man. excel in every mental qualification, He took on him the nature of one of they excel in utterance, “having the those one hundred and sixty-five thoutongues of men and angels”--they ex- sand, who perished by the glance of cel in strength. Consider some of the an angel in the army of Sennacherib. glorious actions achieved by angels in How can words, my Christian bretheir commerce with the children of thren, sufficiently describe the mercy men. An angel hastened Lot out of and condescension of such a sacrifice Sodom, and then executed the dread- for guilty and ungrateful man? How ful vengeance of God on the devoted can the heart sufficiently adore and city. An angel preceded and guided love Him who has thus stooped to the the marches of the armies of Israel. wants and necessities of fallen creaAn angel saved the three young men tures? Had he chosen to have placed from the furnace of fire, and Daniel in himself in the rank of angels, he might the den of lions. An angel smote the have appropriately swept the earth host of Sennacherib, and there died with an hurricane, or created a harvest one hundred and sixty-five thousand and destroyed it in a breath, but he men in the camp of the Assyrians. An chose to want, to suffer, to bleed, to angel explained to Daniel all the mys- die, to go down into the grave as one of ourselves-not to be one of those his own received him not." Oh, breglorious spirits, but to be such a poor, thren, what a world for the Son of weak and infirm creature as you and I God to behold ! feel ourselves to be.
Suppose him to enter it now, he I may go on to observe, Thirdly, finds in one creature indifference, in. that the angels are celestial or heavenly sensibility, infidelity, conflict and viospirits. Heaven was their first and lence, injury, controversy and bitterproper abode and dwelling placem ness and disappointed pride. He finds, there it is they surround the bright even in his own church, the breaking and heavenly throne of God—there down of the best principles, the want they see his face and share his glory of simplicity, the want of integrity, --there, in delighted adoration, they the absence of that simple and intense cease not to cry, “Holy, holy, holy love, that has carried some as martyrs is the Lord God of Hosts, the whole to the stake, but which is scarcely earth is full of his glory”-there it strong enough, in our own age, to inis they feed on the bread of life, and duce us, even for a moment, to subdrink deeply, and for ever, of the ject our will to the will of our heavenly fountain of life. Had it pleased the Father. He came to look into such son of God, therefore, to take upon families as, perhaps, yours or mine, him their nature, he would at least or into other families where there was have continued to dwell in the imme- no approach to God in prayer, no diate presence of his Father-in one of study of the word, no dedication of the rooms of the palace of the Great the heart to God, or to see some King—he would have heard unceasing where their prayers were neglected, songs of gratitude and love to him that and the Bible hypocritically studied ; sitteth on the throne his eye would and, moreover, however loud the prohave been wounded by po scenes of fession, the practice was loose, and vice, or sorrow, or worldliness, or im- the temple was abandoned. While piety-he would have seen no act of the true servant of God, as he walks rebellion, have heard no whisper of the path of his earthly pilgrimage, disaffection to the Great Sovereign of finds much to shake his moral peace, the Universe in that bright world-he and to wound the best feelings of his would have been called to ascociate mind, it is impossible for him to pass only with heavenly intelligences, with through our streets, our towns, our beings inferior in holiness only to him villages, and not to find much there who is their Creator. But, brethren, revolting to every good feeling of his when he took upon him our nature he own heart; and yet how dull must we descended at once into scenes of sorrow conceive his moral sensibility to be in and of sin—he walked amidst the sad comparison with that of the crucified ruins of the original Creation of God, Saviour? How has our familiarity he came to see vice in all its power with sin in our own case, and that of and surrounded with all its awful con- others, deluded our taste for the beau. sequences—to hear the name of God ties of holiness! But, brethren, in the blasphemed—to see his temple defiled pure and perfect mind of the Saviour, -his day dishonoured—to witness the we may believe, that sin presented it. infidelity of the Sadducees, the hypo- self in all its unmixed, undisguised, crisy of the Pharisees, and to endure and polluted vileness; and yet, rememthe almost universal contempt and ber, he chose to dwell among us, to violence of those for whom he shed take our nature, to surround himself his blood. “He came to his own and with all that eould wound a mind that
hated iniquity with a perfect hatred, , their feelings with ours, compare them when " he took on him not the nature with your own ; even now, when they of angels, but the seed of Abraham." contemplate his sufferings, not for
This inquiry, my Christian brethren, themselves or their own order, but for might be extended almost indefinitely you, for poor fallen man, we know -extended, indeed, till we get to that they make the concave of heaven topics from which I am persuaded men ring with their shouts of wonder and had better abstain. Strive not to fa- of praise. Oh, brethren, is this the thom the deep things of God, strive state of your own minds ? Is it thus rather to enter in at the narrow gate- you feel for the Saviour of sinners ? “ for straight is the gate, and narrow you that have been the objects of this is the way that leadeth unto life, and salvation-you whose nature he took few there be that enter therein." I and for whom he shed his blood-for would rather stop my enquiry on this whom he thus mixed himself in scenes point, and go on, SECONDLY, TO DRAW of pollution, and encountered the calaA FEW PLAIN INFERENCES, FROM THE mities and the scenes of vice-for SUBJECT, WHICH APPEAR TO ME OF
whose sake he surrounded himself IMPORTANCE, AND
with every thing that was hostile to MUCH POWER, ON
To his own nature, encountered and bore
all the trials and temptations of the In the First place, world-do you, in whose cause he then, if the Son of God thus took on bore all this, let me ask, do you love him, not the nature of angels, but the him? Does your song rise to him? nature of man, how immeasurable is the Have you the anthem of gratitude on debt of gratitude and love which we your lips ? Do you give the only subowe to him. Brethren, allow me to stantial proof that you love him by make two suppositions that may serve, walking consistently in the path of as I think, to put this subject in a your duty, and thus adorning the docstrong point of view.
trine of God your Saviour? Is your In the first place, suppose that in- religion a religion of love love to him stead of the Son of God taking our who first loved you? It was the obnature upon him, he had taken upon servation of a great divine, when asked him the nature of angels, and that in. what was meant by Christianity—it is telligence of the fact had been con- this, said he, “we love him who first veyed to the pure and heavenly spirits loved us.” Is that your Christianitywhich surround the throne of God. is that your language ? Suppose them to be told that he had But again, brethren, suppose the fact, stooped from the throne of ages to that he had taken upon him the nature assume the nature of those wretched of angels, to have been conveyed to spirits who are now sunk in the dark- the miserable spirits that are now conness of perdition for ever. Let me fined in everlasting chains for the ask, brethren, what would have been vengeance of the Great Day, who now, the transport of the spirits around the in chambers of unutterable darkness throne of God? How do you think and despair, linger out the course of they would have received that intel- an agonizing existence-suppose some ligence? How would their shining messenger from heaven to have conranks have crowded round to pro. veyed the same glad tidings which claim his glory, the glory of the angels conveyed to the shepherds, only begotten of the Father full of "Unto you is born a Saviour who grace and truth? Brethren, compare is Christ the Lord”-suppose them to