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image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."*
But there is another answer. The Church, as Christ's body, must set Him forth. She is called to be His letter of recommendation before a world that knows Him not.t In her relations to those who are the seed of Abraham, and yet not all children, "for in Isaac shall the seed be called,”1-in her relation as the Lord's servant in ministry here, -in her relation to Adam's seed, or all mankind,-in her relation to the heavenly family,—is there nothing she has to learn? Those who know the most, feel how much instruction they yet need in each and all these relations. Very blessed is it to see how Christ once filled them, for “ as He is, so are we in this world.”|| Who has had his eyes in any measure opened to the state of the professing Church, of that body which calls itself, and in one sense is, the seed of Abraham, and the Lord's kingdom, but has felt the need of special teaching how he should walk towards it. This teaching will be found in that Gospel which shews Christ in connexion with the kingdom and with Abraham's seed. Again, in a day like the present, when so many new schemes are being forged of philanthrophy to renovate and save a groaning world, is it nothing to have before us the details of that service, by which as God's Servant our Lord perfectly pleased and glorified Him that sent Him. But every question on this head may be fully answered, as we contemplate the Gospel dedicated to reveal the service of the Lord's Servant. Again, we are Adam's sons: we are in the world as well as in the Church : we have a link which binds us to all mankind. Is it nothing to know how far that relationship should hold us : how we should sit and walk with publicans and amongst lost sinners. I look in St. Luke, and I see a Man, in every stage of life, meeting all men, and yet in all well-pleasing God. And so of the Son of God, the begotten of the Father. We too, as His begotten have a place in His bosom, called to rise above the earth; as such to be misunderstood and rejected here, and yet while judged, by a heavenly life to be continually judging things around us. Do I want to know the rule here, how, as Son of God, Passovers, Sabbaths, and feasts of Tabernacles, may be all fulfilled in me. I look in St. John, and I receive the answer. !
* 2 Cor. iii. 18.
+ 2 Cor. iii, 3.
* Rom. ix. 7.
|| 1 John iv. 17. So Gregory the Great, having first applied the living creatures to Christ,—“Possunt hæc quatuor animalia ipsum caput, cujus sunt membra, signare,”—adds, “Possunt etiam sancti per hæc animalia designari,” &c.—In Expos. B. Job. lib. 31.
more grace, to walk something more like that most blessed Pattern. In such a walk the world will see nothing: it saw no glory in the Lord. What was there in His relation to the Kingdom, or in His Service, or in His walk as a Man, or as the Son of God, worth noticing ? The world saw no beauty. It will see none in us, and yet another Eye shall see the earnest of glory and of everlasting joys.
There is, however, a misuse, as well as a use, of this truth. Intellect may be exercised without conscience. Truth may be used to exalt self,—what is there the flesh will not spoil, and so bring on its possessor a worse judgment. Nothing really profits but what sanctifies and humbles. If, like Judas, we use the Word, or our knowledge of Him of whom it testifies, to minister to self, better would it be had we never known Him. If on the contrary in the midst of weakness, we use His glorious likeness to humble us for the little measure in which we are as yet conformed to it, and by that Pattern judge in us all which is unlike Him, our knowledge of Him, and His glory, shall not be wholly vain. May these pages through His grace serve this end in us. Amen.
ST. MATTHEW, OR
THE SON OF ABRAHAM.
“ The first living creature was like unto a Lion.- Rev. iv. 7.
“ The Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book."-Rev. v. 5.
I HAVE said that each of the Gospels serves a special end, and that the view which is given by St. Matthew of our Lord represents Him in connexion with a certain kingdom : that He is not here the servant of our need, or the Son of Adam, or of God, so much as the seed of Abraham and heir of an elect kingdom. The peculiarities of this Gospel will prove this. These peculiarities I would now note as illustrating the special path of the Lord as Son of Abraham. I may then shew how these peculiarities give us the special teaching which we need, as to our position as members of a kingdom, and as Abraham's seed. For “ as He is, so we are in this world.” " He that saith He abideth in Him, ought Himself so to walk even as He walked."*
*"Matthæus circa regis personam intentionem gerit.”— Aug. de Consensu Evany. Lib. i. c. 3. Again, “Ille (Matthæus) qui regiam personam Christi narrandam susceperat.”—Id. ibid. “Sccundum Matthæum enim et Magi narrantur venisse ab Oriente ad regem quærendum et adorandum, et ipse rex Herodes regem formidat infantem, &c."--Id. cap. 6.
First then as to what is distinctive. Here the difficulty is selection, for it would far exceed my limits were I to notice every minute point in which St. Matthew differs from the other Gospels. And yet the minute and less marked peculiarities, to the instructed eye are as striking, and as full of import, as those which are greater and more obvious. To my mind these minor points attest a Divine purpose through the book far more wonderfully than the broad distinctions which no one can overlook. And though an exercise of soul is surely needed to discern them aright, even as there must be an opened ear to hear that voice which in creation “ without speech or language” is ever speaking to us ;t yet to the humble, light shall not be wanting to shew the wisdom of that revelation, which, without a formal declaration of its purpose, can and does reveal that purpose to such as wait on God.
I turn to the Gospel. Its opening verse is at once characteristic. This is “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David,
*1 John ü. 6. and iv. 17. + Psalm xix. 1-3.