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sure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand 5.
It need scarcely be remarked, that our Saviour, as a teacher, derived the most important advantages from this fulness which dwelt in him, even all the fulness of the godhead bodily.'
I. He enjoyed in an indefinite degree unlimited grace from above, and unlimited communications of the Holy Spirit.
The grace that is in others is, in a certain sense at least, restricted, and varies according to the measure of the gift of Christ;' but his is infinite and immeasureable, for the Father giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him", though it seems to have been conveyed to him in his human nature by distinct and progressive illuminations. His mental faculties appear to have been ripened into maturity after the manner of men, and his reasonable
John, iii. 31, 34, 35.
Eph. iv. 7. John, iii. 34.
soul to have been as susceptible of gradual developement, as his human flesh of daily advancement from infancy to manhood. Jesus increased in wisdom, as well as in stature, and in favour with God and man?. Others have the privilege, and a glorious privilege it is, to go to the fountain-head, and draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation. But Christ has life uncommunicated, inherent in himself; “ As the Father hath life in himself, even so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. He proceeded forth, and came from God, in a way which no creature ever could.
The Baptist, though himself a burning and à shining light, acknowledged at his first interview with our Lord, that He had the residue of the Spirit, and that it was needful for all preachers of righteousness to desire a portion of that spirit from his inexhaustible stores, before they could be accepted themselves, or useful to others. I have need to be baptized of thee,
7 Luke, ii. 52.
8 John, v. 26.
and comest thou to me? Nor did John conceal
the same truth from his disciples, although the confession might have the effect of decreasing their number, or diminishing the measure of respect paid to himself.
He embraced every opportunity of drawing off their attention from his own character, and of magnifying him that taketh away the sin of the world. It was sufficient for him to be the friend of the bridegroom.
of the bride " I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire'. However bright his own beams might appear to a generation sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, they were but derived and reflected from that original and essential light, which was henceforth to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of Israel. Like a star which had fulfilled its purpose in the night season, he was content to wane and set, when the sun of righteousness had arisen with healing in his wings. I must decrease, said this mighty preacher of repentance, and he must increase.
9 Matt. jjj. 14.
1 Matt. jji, 11.
And who shall say that the personal estimation in which John's followers held their master, was lessened by this noble testimony which he bore to him, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? It is the peculiar property of the fulness of Christ, that no one can suffer by the contrast of his own insufficiency with the height and depth of that abundant grace which is in Christ Jesus. There can be no comparison between the darkness of the most enlightened created being, and that ineffable light which beams around the brows of our Saviour, and casts into the shade all the borrowed glories of fallen and finite beings. The herald who prepares the way, and makes the paths straight before the approach of some mighty conqueror, may challenge admiration and notice for a time, in the absence of a more important personage; but he sinks into insignificance and neglect when the object of universal attention, the desire of all nations, comes for
ward to take his proper place, and to claim his own proper rank in the appointed solemnities.
II. The enjoyment of unlimited power was another feature peculiar to the ministry of Christ.
Of whom else do we read, that he returned in the power of the Spirit", after sustaining a temptation of unexampled length and difficulty? Or to whom else do we see such supreme and absolute authority committed, as silenced even his most determined enemiesThey were all amazed at the mighty power of God 3. Our Lord claims this privilege for himself in the last words he addressed to his disciples previously to his ascension, when the reserve with which he had before declared his attributes, became no longer necessary. All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth.'
This is his first assumption of universal principality, though in particular cases he
2 Luke, iv. 14.
3 Luke, ix. 43.
4 Matt. xxviii. 18.