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told, the high-priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? And now, in seeking to crown Christ with the honors which they there foully denied him how may I borrow the last words from that murderer's mouth, saying, after Paul, in these passages from Corinthians and from Ephesians, has so clearly attributed the work of creation to Jesus, What further need have we of witnesses? But call in the apostle John. Ask him what he has to say on this great subject, what evidence he has to give, what testimony he can bear 2 How full, distinct, and clear his answer! Speaking by inspiration, and with his finger pointed at Christ, he says, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” And thus he writes concerning the very same person of whom, in the same chapter, he says, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Did these holy men anticipate, did they foresee a day when, walking in the light of their own fire, and, in the sparks which they had kindled, presumptuous men would rise up in the church to deny the divinity of our Lord ; and, with that precious doctrine, to deny, in course of time, all the doctrines to which it is the key-stone? It would seem so. Their anxious care to make plain statements still more plain, looks like it. To make assurance doubly sure, to place our faith on a foundation secure against all assaults, I pray you to observe how the evangelist is not content with simply saying that all things were made by Christ but adds, as if to double-lock the door against the approaching heresy, “without him was not anything made that was made.” Wonderful news to tell in a sinner's ear ! the stupendous fabric of creation, yon starry vault, this
magnificent world, were the work of the hands by which, in love of you, he hung, a mangled form, on the cross of Calvary 1 No two harps out of heaven or in it ever sounded in more perfect harmony than the words of John and the language of Paul in my text. My text is the statement of John expanded—the bud blown out into a flower—the indestructible precious gold beaten out over a broader surface. And see how the same anxiety appears here also that there shall be no mistake What care is taken of your faith ! Paul would prevent the shadow of a doubt crossing your mind about our Lord having a right to the divine honors of Creator 1 “By him,” he says, “all things were created. Did an angel, standing at his side when he penned these words, stoop down, and whisper in his ear that in coming days men would rise to throw doubt over the truth, and, explaining it away, attempt to rob Jesus of his honor” I know not ; but to make the truth still more plain, he adds, “that are in heaven and in earth.” Not content with that, he uses yet more comprehensive terms, and to embrace all the regions of God's universe above the earth, and beyond the starry bounds of heaven, he adds, “visible and invisible.” Nor leaves his noble task till he has swept the highest and the lowest things, men and worms, angels and insects, all into Christ's hand—adding, “whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.” Thanks be to God that a doctrine so precious is written in language so plain. As soon may the puny arm of a mortal man pluck the sun from the heavens, as pluck our Lord's divinity out of this text. Wall might dying Stephen, gazing through the opened hea
vens, behold Jesus at the right hand of God. Where else should he see him—the man of sorrows whom Paul here, to our joy, and comfort, and triumph, exalts to the throne of an adoring universe? In the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. Take, believers, the full comfort of a doctrine which is so fraught with honor to God and salvation to man. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, rejoice. Are you afraid 2 Are you in trouble about anything whatever? Are you racked with cares? Do earthly or spiritual fears disturb your peace, and cast a cold dark shadow on your soul? Does your faith faint, stagger? Rise from your knees; go forth this night; leave the cross, that affecting monument of his love, to contemplate the glorious monuments of his power; stand beneath heaven's resplendent arch ; and when, led on by the pale evening star, Orion, and Arcturus, and the sweet Pleiades, and all the heavenly host in harmonious order, as to the music of higher spheres, come marching on across the field of darkness, list to the noble utterance of the old Hebrew prophet. In what lofty strains he speaks of your Lord and Saviour ! What courage his words inspire, as, raising his arm to the starry skies, he exclaims, “Behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary 2 He giveth power to the faint. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
WHEN Ulysses returned with fond anticipations to his home in Ithaca, his family did not recognize him. Even the wife of his bosom denied her husband—so changed was he by an absence of twenty years, and the hardships of a long-protracted war. It was thus true of the vexed and astonished Greek as of a nobler King, that he came unto his own, and his own received him not. In this painful position of affairs he called for a bow which he had left at home, when, embarking for the seige of Troy, he bade farewell to the orangegroves and vine-clad hills of Ithaca. With characteristic sagacity, he saw how a bow, so stout and tough that none but himself could draw it, might be made to bear witness on his behalf. He seized it. To their surprise and joy, like a green wand lopped from a willow tree, it yields to his arms; it bends till the bowstring touches his ear. His wife, now sure that he is her long lost and long lamented husband, throws herself into his fond embraces, and his household confess him the true Ulysses.
If I may compare small things with great, our Lord gave such proofs of his divinity when he too stood a stranger in his own house, despised and rejected of
men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He bent the stubborn laws of nature to his will. He proved himself Creator by his mastery over creation. The winds that sweep the deep, and the free wild sea they sweep alike controlled, leprosy and shaking palsy healed, the rolling eye of madness calmed, the shrouded corpse and the buried dead restored to life by a word, calmly spoken after the manner and with the power of a master—these things leave one to wonder that the spectators did not fall down to worship ; and, recognizing God in the guise of man, say, the voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. If nothing could be more sublime than that scene on the Lake of Galilee, when, tranquil in aspect, Jesus stood on the bow of the reeling boat, and while the storm played around, and the spray flew in white sheets over his naked head, calmly eyed the war of elements, and raising his hand, said, “Peace, be still !” could anything be more conclusive than the evidence which these waves and winds afforded, that the Master himself was come home 2 No clearer shone the stars that night, mirrored in the placid waters. There, the winds lulled and the wild waves at rest, deep silence spake. By that sudden hush, nature proclaimed him God, Lord, Creator of all. Declared to be so by inspired tongues, and by such strange witnesses as winds and waves, devils, disease, death, and the grave— heaven concurs in their testimony; by the voices of its Saints and angels, of its worship, hymns, harps, and hallelujahs, proclaiming him Creator and Lord of all.