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Yet that does not exhaust the meaning of this term; nor is it at all on that account that Paul speaks of him as “ the second Adam," but because, as their representative and federal head, Jesus stood to his people in the same covenant relationship as our first parent did to all his posterity.
Nor have they sounded the depths, seen to the bottom of this expression, who say that, since our Lord was endowed with power to do the works of God, to work many mighty miracles, he might therefore be called the image of God. For many others, both before and after him, were in that sense equally images of God. How godlike was Moses, when he raised his arm to heaven, and thunders rent the answering skies; when, giving origin perhaps to the heathen legend of Neptune and his trident, he waved his rod upon the deep, and, billow rolling back from billow, the sea was parted by his power! What a godlike action Joshua's on that battlefield, when he met, and where he conquered five kings in fight! God fought for him with hailstones, and he fought for God with swords; and no more than devils of hell could stand before us, did prayer always summon heaven to our aid, could mortal men stand before such onslaught
.“ Kings of armies did flee apace ;" that day five crowns were lost. But, apparently a most inopportune event, ere Joshua has reaped the fruits of his victory, the sun, emerging from the dark hail-cloud, has sunk low in the sky. His burning wheels touch the crest of Gibeon, while the pale moon, marshalling on the night to protect the flying enemy, is showing her face over the valley of Ajalon.
Joshua sees, that, as has happened to other conquerors, darkness will rob him of the prize ; nor leave anything more substantial in his hand than a wreath of laurel, the honours of the day. Inspired for the occasion, he lifts his bloody sword to the heavens, he commands their luminaries to stop; and when, like high-mettled coursers which, knowing their masters' hand, instantly obey the rein, the sun and moon stand still, hang motionless in the portentous sky, how grandly does he stand there, a visible image of God? Yet, where is Joshua, or Moses, or Elijah, or Paul, or Peter, or any of all the servants by whom Jehovah wrought such wonders in the days of old, called an “image of the invisible God ?" Where are these men set forth as mysteries? Where are they represented as “God manifest in the flesh ?" Of which of them did God himself say, Let all the angels of God worship him? A blind superstition may worship them; but yonder, where Moses bends the knee by the side of Mary Magdalene, and Joshua bows low as Rahab, and Paul sings of the mercy that saved in himself the chief of sinners, they worship Jesus, as in his double nature both God and man; a visible manifestation of the Invisible; "the only begotten of the Father ; distinguished from all other images, whether impressed on holy angels or on sainted men, as “the express image of his person.”
Herein lies the amazing breadth, and length, and depth, and height, of the love of God; for you he gave that image to be broken-shattered by the hand of death. Blessed be his name, He died, the just for the unjust, that we might be saved.
III. Let me direct your attention to some illustrations
of this truth.
“Shew us the Father," said Philip to our Lord. Had he said, Cleave me that mountain, divide this sea, stop the sun, lay thy finger on the hands of time, he had asked nothing impossible; nothing more difficult for Jesus than saying to a cripple, Walk, or to the dead, Come forth. Yet impossible as was that for which Philip asked, since "no man hath seen God at any time, nor can see him," and strangely bold as was his request, it was followed by a happy issue. What clear testimony does our Lord's reply bear both to his own divinity and to his father's loving, pitiful, tender nature ! “He that hath seen me, Philip,” seen me weeping with the living and weeping for the dead, seen me receiving little children into my arms to bless them, seen me inviting the weary to rest, pitying all human suffering, patient under the greatest wrongs, encouraging the penitent, and ready to forgive the vilest sinners, “he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” In me, my character and works, you have a living, visible, perfect 'image of the invisible God."
In selecting some of the divine attributes to illustrate this, I remark
1. In our Lord Jesus Christ we see the power of God.
An Arab, a wild son of the desert, one more accustomed to fight than to reason, tò plunder a caravan than to argue a cause, was asked by a traveller how
he knew that there was a God. He fixed his dark eyes with a stare of savage wonder on the man who seemed to doubt the being of God; and then, as he was wont, when he encountered a foe, to answer spear with spear, he met that question with another, How do I know whether it was a man or a camel that passed my tent last night? Well spoken, child of the desert ! for not more plainly do the footprints on the sand reveal to thy eye whether it was man or camel that passed thy tent in the darkness of the night, than God's works reveal his being and power. They testify of him. His power has left its footprint impressed upon them all.
Now, whose footprint is that on the ground there before the tomb of Lazarus ? Was it God or man that passed that way, leaving strange evidence of his presence in an empty grave? There, the revolution of time has brought round again the days of Eden; for, unless it be easier to give life to the dust of the grave than to the dust of the ground, the spectators of that stupendous miracle, who stand transfixed with astonishment, gazing on the dead alive, have seen the arm of God made bare; and, from the very lips that cried, Lazarus, come forth, have they heard the voice which said of old, Let us make man in our image. Nay, a day of older date than Eden's has returned. To make something out of nothing is a work more visibly stamped with divinity than to make one thing out of another-a living man out of lifeless dust; and ere our Lord left the world, he was to leave behind him, in an act, not of forming but of creating power, the most visible footprint and
impress of the great Creator. The scene of it may be less picturesque, less striking to common eyes, than when Jesus rose in the boat to rebuke the storm; than when, leaving Galilee's shore to cross the lake, the waters sustained him, and he walked, like a shadowy spirit, upon the heaving billows; than when he stayed a funeral procession at the gate of Nain, and, going up to the bier, laid his hand on the corpse of the widow's son, and, changing death to life, left him folding her in his fond embraces; yet our Lord never appeared more the express image of his Father, than on yonder green grassy mountain side.
The calmness of the scene, the meanness of the company, if you will have it so, the poverty of the fare, amid these accessories, that are but dull foils to the sparkling gem, Jesus stands forth in the glory of a Creator. At his will, the bread multiplies ; it grows in the hands of disciples; five thousand men are filled to repletion with what had not otherwise satisfied five; and, thing unheard of before, the fragments of narrow circumstances and a scanty table far exceed the original provision. The materials of the feast filled one basket, but the fragments fill twelve. Who does not see the day of creation restored in that banquet? In the author of this, the greatest of all his miracles, who does not see “the express image" of him who made things that are out of things that were not, said of matter's first-born and purest element, Let there be light: and there was light?
2. In Christ we see the image of a holy God. Many years ago a horrible crime was committed in a