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and of the neighboring nations, who actually do homage to this politically insignificant race; the consequence of which is not only a Messiah, but a pure and perfect religion, a new era in history, a new power in the heart of society, a new life in the soul of man. Great was Rome, on account of her colossal power, complete organization, martial energy, and legal force. Great also was Greece, greater even than Rome, from the breadth and grandeur of her philosophic thought, and, above all, from the exquisite beauty of her poetry and art. The power of law, and the grace of form, are represented by these, the most highly cultivated of all the ancient nations; but all this, as even the merest tyro knows, has been drawn into the Christian civilization. Blending with the faith of God, and the hope of a glorious immortality, and especially the spirit of universal charity, the purest product of faith, all that is really valuable in ancient civilization has been perpetuated through Christ, and not only so, but sublimed to higher use. Law now is recognized as having its seat in the bosom of God, and beauty shines upon us, radiant and immortal, from the face of Jesus. Both are discovered to us as eternal powers.
The character and position, then, of the Hebrew race, are to be estimated with especial reference to Christ, and the amazing influence thence exerted in the history of mankind. It is obvious, even to the most superficial view, that the leading forces of modern society are derived from this peculiar nation. “Scattered and peeled” as they have generally been, and as they still, to some extent, are; often dispersed and trampled upon by the nations, and, indeed, with many obvious defects of character, which their own writers freely acknowledge, they have done a work for the world, the stupendous consequences of which can be estimated only at the close of time. The old forms of religion in the East are dead or dying. All their civilizations are undermined, and tottering to their fall. Not one of the pagan nations is making the slightest progress. To such progress, idolatry and polygamy, the power of caste and the taint of superstition, oppose effectual barriers. All are stationary, or absolutely dying out. The religion of the crescent, with some elements of power, but more of weakness, has long since reached its culmination. Its rapid decline is obvious to the world. All Mohammedan communities are suffering from sterility and weakness. A vigorous blow from without would dash them to pieces. Judaism, shorn of its early strength, and standing simply as the nominis umbra, the shadow of a reality, which has passed into Christianity, is ready to vanish away. Christianity and the Christian form of civilization, yet imperfectly evolved, alone are strong and progressive. Every where they penetrate with their new views, new aspirations, and activities. Under their influence, industry and the arts, science and social life prosper. Especially is this the case in those nations and communities which have formed the clearest and loftiest conceptions of Christianity, as a living, practical power. God is in them, because Christ is in them. And where God is, there charity, freedom, and activity abound.
Now to whom, under God, do we owe all this, but to that old Hebrew stock, or, at least, that portion of it who are “the true Israelites, to
" whom pertaineth the adoption, the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever?” (Rom. ix. 4.) And even if, by their rejection of Christ, the modern Jews, as a nation, are “cast away,” have they not become, on this very account, as St. Paul shows, “the riches of the world ? "*
If, then, among the nations at large, we find a general preparation for Christ; if in this respect Jesus, as “ God manifest in the flesh,” is proved to be the centre of a new spiritual sphere,
* In the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Romans.
and “the Desire of all nations,” we shail find among the Hebrews a special preparation, nay, more actual “preludings," as one of the English divines has called them, of his advent and incarnation.* In the sphere of matter, shadows follow realities; in that of religion, they go before them.
Hence the various theophanies, or divine manifestations in human form, granted to the patriarchs, the prophets, and the Jewish people generally, recognized in the New Testament as appearances of the divine Word, or the Messiah. The Jews had the same idea of God, which has · approved itself to the profoundest speculative intellects, Plato, Philo, Anselm, Bacon, Leibnitz, Newton, Kant, Schelling, and Cousin, - namely,
, , that the infinite, invisible Jehovah, who is above all things, and yet comprehends all things, can never adequately reveal himself to the finite intellect. All passing into the finite, on his part, must be by limitation. At least, it must so appear to our faculties.
To us, then, God cannot be known in himself, that is, in his infinite, absolute perfection.
He must appear other self, the same, and yet not the same, that is, in some divine Logos, Son, or Messiah, who, as a definite personality, may reveal Him to us in an august, but limited and shaded form.
* Bishop Bull.
Hence the more eminent Hebrew writers, and among these the apostles John and Paul, ascribe the creation of the world to Christ," by whom are all things,” and “ for whom are all things," and “in whom all things consist.” When God creates, he goes forth, so to speak, into space and time; but this limitation being impossible for an infinite Essence, he must go forth as a Word or Image of himself. Only thus can God be regarded as a conceivable personality. So that the Hebrew notion upon the subject is founded in the very nature of things, and commends itself to every thoughtful mind. It is only thus that God can discover himself to men, only thus that he can enter into personal relations with his creatures. "In the beginning," then, "was
“ the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That is, the Word is the manifested Deity, whether embodied in the outward universe, or incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ. This is that Voice, or Word of God, that appeared to our first parents in the garden of Eden ; that discovered himself to Enoch, walking with him as a friend ; that revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as their Elohim, being familiarly known as “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," appearing to them as a divine or angelic man, often conversing with them, or performing on