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we come at last, in the unity of the Faith, and in the knowledge of the Son of God, to the perfect man,-to the measure of the stature of the fulness of CHRIST."
GOD DISPLAYED IN THE PERSON OF HIS SON.
JOHN, CHAP. XIV. VER. 9.
“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you,
and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”
PERHAPS the bulk of this congregation were present on the morning of the last sabbath, when this subject was discussed, and may recollect the explanation which was then given of this interesting dialogue between our Saviour and his apostles, Thomas and Philip. I subsequently referred to that magnificent book of creation, that open and capacious volume of nature and providence, which affords the first and most striking proof of the existence of a Supreme Governor; and which in all ages, and among all people, has displayed to the wise and well disposed, the character and perfections of that unseen and universal FATHER, by whose wisdom and power all things were originally produced, and by whose bounty and mercy they are continually sustained. I am now to speak of that peculiar and convincing manifestation of Himself, which the Lord of heaven and earth has vouchsafed to make, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, in condescension to human infirmity, and for the salvation of the human soul. But first it may not be amiss to repeat the general conclusion resulting from our Saviour's accurate reasoning in the context, as recorded in this memorable chapter of the Evangelist.
The Supreme, self-existent Spirit, the First Cause of all, can never be an object of perception to the organs of man, nor, indeed, accurately delineated to the understanding. He can only be made known at all by his operations in the world, or by immediate communications to his creatures, -of which the most striking and important is that sublime dispensation conveyed through the medium of that sacred Character, called in scripture HIS ONLY Son; by whom the attributes of the Deity having been evidently exerted, all that we can comprehend of the Divine nature is sufficiently and fully displayed.
The formation of this earth, its multiplied productions, the generation of animals, the regular order of nature, the construction of the human body, and the faculties of the human mind, so manifestly point to some intelligent Agent, superior to any being, with whom we are conversant, that no one who thinks to any purpose, however ignorant of revelation, can doubt the existence of an unknown Power or Principle, by which all these things were primarily called into life.
But who, or what, is this first Principle ?What is His nature, or mode of being !—“Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” How is He to be shown,-how is He to be exhibited to mortal apprehension, who has no shapeno hue—no visible or tangible substance !When I send forth my thoughts upon this dark and deep investigation, can they bring back any sensible images to the mind ?--All the ideas I can collect are rather negative than positive. Being immaterial, there can be in Him no mechanism of corporeal organs: not acted upon by external things, nor subject to any internal commotion, we cannot ascribe to Him any combination of human passions : not occasionally shifting from place to place, and not confined to any fixed local habitation, He cannot be said to dwell any where,—to have any peculiar abode,or to be present in one region more than in another: uncompounded, yet pervading, filling, and actuating all compounds : without extension, yet every where diffused : constantly superintending and directing the most trivial, and the most important concerns :-at the same moment ordaining the fall of an insignificant sparrow,—and deciding the fate of provinces and empires; providing “in the fir trees a dwelling for the stork,”—and a burning throne for the seraph in heaven; supplying the wants, and numbering the hairs on the head of a solitary individual,—while sustaining worlds on worlds, and systems on systems; directing the course of “ the little springs which run among the hills," — and commanding suns to shine, and planets to roll, beyond the utmost stretch of thought !—In short, every attempt to pursue the Deity through the wonders of his providence, and discover the “God who hideth himself, the God of Israel, the Saviour,"— leaves me where it found me :-I drop the fruitless research ; and the narrowness