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had partially vindicated his right to it before, and that right had been sometimes unwillingly admitted and acknowledged. The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins. I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it. With power he commanded the unclean spirits, and they came out. Even the wind and the sea obey him. He gave, too, the most indisputable proof of the full possession of uncontrouled authority, by delegating a portion of it to others. I give you power to tread on serpents, and over all the power of the enemy; nothing shall hurt you. When he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of diseases.
This suggests another particular, in which the difference between the originating power of Christ, and the vicarious agency of his followers, is strikingly contrasted. Moses wrought miracles; some of the prophets were gifted with a similar privilege ; and the disciples, as we have seen, were, even during the lifetime of their master, enabled to perform many wonderful works in his name. But there is something peculiar and sublime in the manner in which our Saviour exercised functions which in one sense he may thus be said to have enjoyed only in common with others.
Matt. viii. 27. Matt. x. 1. Luke, iv. 36.
5 Matt. ix. 6. Luke, X. 19.
The superior efficacy of his sovereign word is distinguished far above the most successful ministrations of subordinate agents. When the afflicted father brought his son to the disciples, possessed with an evil spirit which deprived him of speech and hearing, he besought thern to cast him out, and they could not. But when recourse was had to the omnipotence of Jesus, and he had rebuked the devil with that voice which even rebellious spirits dared not disobey, the child was cured from that very hour o. Thus the performance of things impossible even to the most faithful and zealous of his ministers, belongs exclusively to the Lord of all power and might; and we must learn to seek the highest
6 Matt. xvi. 14-18.
blessings at their source, to address our prayers to the throne of grace through Christ alone, and to rest our dependance singly on the help of his almighty arm. The apostles, gifted as they were with the distinction of extraordinary endowments, never failed to make an open acknowledgment of him under whom they acted, and by the power of whose name they were enabled to become the useful instruments of his mercy. They earnestly disdained all pretensions to any honour, but that of bearing the commission of their master, for whose sole glory all the wonders that they wrought were intended. “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this, or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk?
His name (that of the Holy One and the Just), through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him, hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all ?.' And in exact conformity with this acknowledgement of the superior source from which Peter derived all his ability to cure, he said to the cripple, when about to work the miracle in his behalf, which excited so much amazement in the Jews, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,' rise up and walk. How great is the difference between this language of the Apostle and that of our Lord on similar occasions. Go in peace, and be whole of thy plague,-Damsel, I say unto thee, arise,- I will, be thou clean,-Peace, be still
7 Acts, jj. 6, 16.
were the words of sovereignty with which he addressed the objects on whom the fulness of his almighty power was exercised.
Nor, as has been remarked for the purpose of showing that Christ was one with, and equal to the Father, “ did he ever, except in the case of Lazarus for the sake of the spectators, make any appeal to his Father, or give the least intimation of any power exerted, except what was inherent in himself.' The apostles, on the con
8 Mark, v. 34, 41. Matt. viii. 3. Mark, iv. 39.
trary, perpetually remind the converts of their own weakness and unworthiness; and that even the benefits which individuals had derived from the personal ministry of their teachers were to be attributed to the grace of God which was given them through Christ Jesus, seeing that in every thing they were enriched by him in all
ance and in all knowledge,
III. Another distinguishing property of our Lord's ministry, is the power he bestows on those who receive with meekness his engrafted word, of advancing progressively to higher degrees of divine knowledge, of which there is no other limitation than man's capacity for its reception.
The sphere of instruction which can be proposed in the school of any other master, is more or less contracted in proportion to the nature of the object of study. For instance, the attendants on the schools of the prophets would
9 1 Cor. i. 4, 5.