Our readers will perhaps remember that we pointed out in a previous paper four spiritual blessings which the Apostle prayed for on behalf of the saints at Ephesus, that they might be bestowed upon them as special fruits of the gift of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. These four choice blessings are 1, an enlightening of the eyes of our understanding; 2, a knowledge of the hope of our calling; 3, a knowledge of the glory of Christ's inheritance in the saints; and 4, a knowledge of "the exceeding greatness of the power of God to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead," etc.
As we have already examined the first three of these blessings, the fourth and last will now engage our attention; and sincerely do we wish that we could open it in any way proportionate to its surpassing grace, glory, and blessedness. But this we may well despair to do, for apart from our own personal inability, there is, perhaps, scarcely a passage in the whole compass of Paul's epistles more pregnant with vital and glorious truth, more elevated in language, and more sublime for strength and beauty of expression.
4. In opening the meaning and force of this last blessing, two leading points will, with their various branches, mainly demand our attention—1, First, what is intended by the Apostle when he prays that "we might know what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God to us who believe." 2, The measure and standard of that power as evidenced and afforded in and by the resurrection, exaltation, and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ.
i. The first point, then, which we have to consider in unfolding this signal blessing is a spiritual and experimental knowledge of the exceeding greatness of the power of God to those that believe.
The power here spoken of is evidently the power of God as put forth by him in his divine work on the soul; and this we may divide for clearness' sake into three distinct branches—
1. The power put forth in first communicating the work of grace in the heart.
2. The power put forth in subsequently maintaining the work of grace in the heart.
3. The power put forth in finally completing and consummating the work of grace in the heart.
Power may be evidenced as well as measured in two ways—
1. By the difficulties which it meets with and overcomes.
2. By the results and effects which it produces.
Take both these evidences and measures of power as manifested in the work of grace.
1. Contemplate first the difficulties which grace has, so to speak, to encounter in the quickening of a dead soul into spiritual life. View the depths of the fall. See the death of the soul in trespasses and sins; its thorough alienation from the life of God, through the darkness, blindness, and ignorance of the understanding, the perverseness of the will, the hardness of the conscience, and the depravity of the affections. View its obduracy, stubbornness, and obstinacy; its pride, unbelief, infidelity, and self-righteousness; its passionate love to, habitual practice of, and long inurement in sin. Consider its strong prejudices against everything godly and holy; the desperate, implacable enmity of the carnal mind against God himself; its firm and deep-rooted love to the world in all its varied shapes and forms; and remember also how all its hopes, happiness, and prospects are bound up in the things of time and sense. O what a complicated mass of difficulties do all these foes form in their firm combination, like a compact, well-armed, thoroughly trained army, against any power which would dislodge them from their position. Add to this all the power, malice, and arts of Satan, as the strong armed man, keeping the palace night and day, and yielding to none but the stronger than he. Consider, too, the sacrifices which must often be made by one who is to live godly in Christ Jesus; the tenderest ties, perhaps, to be broken; the lucrative or advantageous prospects which have to be abandoned; old friends to be renounced; family connections to be given up; position in life to be lost; and often the shame and contempt to be entailed on one's family and oneself. All, indeed, are not so hedged about with these peculiar difficulties which we have just named; but few are wholly free from them, and he who thus describes them had much personal experience of them in his first setting his face Zionward.
Viewing, then, a soul dead in sin with all these difficulties and obstacles in their complicated array, must we not pronounce that to be a mighty act of power which, in spite of all these apparently invincible hindrances, lifts it up and out of them all into a new and spiritual life as distinct from everything natural as Christ from Belial? So fully and thoroughly is this the fruit and effect of omnipotent power, and of omnipotent power alone, that it is spoken of in the word as a divine begetting; (James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3;) a new and heavenly birth; (John 3:3-5;) a new creation; (2 Cor. 5:17;) a resurrection; (John 5:25; Eph. 2:1;) all which terms imply a putting forth of a divine power as distinct from and independent of any creature cooperation. Now say, then, whether the work of God on the soul, in its first putting forth, is or is not a work of sovereign and omnipotent power. It is called by the Apostle "the exceeding greatness of his power;" not merely '"power," but "the greatness of his power," and not only "greatness," but "the exceeding greatness." The word "exceeding," in the original, means literally, "throwing beyond," the idea being of men throwing a weight in rivalry, as in athletic games, and the strength of the victor manifested in throwing it beyond all the rest. Such is the work of grace in the soul, outdoing and surpassing every other work of God, except that which will soon come under consideration.
But power, we said, is measured also by its fruits and effects. When we look at a great Egyptian pyramid pointing to the sky, or at one of the huge stones still standing upright at Stonehenge, or at the tubes of the Menai tubular bridge, a hundred feet above the water's edge, we see at once what a wonderful feat it was of human strength and skill to set up and fix such ponderous masses in their present position. So, in grace, we must view not only the difficulties which had to be encountered, but the difficulties as triumphed over and the results accomplished; for unless something visible has been achieved, a survey of the difficulties only convinces us of the weakness of the power unsuccessfully brought to bear upon and overcome them. Thus the power put forth by God, in the quickening of our souls into divine life, we may view under these two heads—1, The difficulties which it had to encounter in our own particular case; and, 2, How grace overcame and triumphed over them in our own personal experience; for this is what the Apostle prayed that we might know, real religion being such a personal matter.
But how can we know either of those things, except by first taking a solemn review of what we were as fallen, helpless sinners—and how we were circumstanced in providence also before we were quickened into divine life—and next realize what we were made to see, know, believe, and feel under the first quickenings and teachings of the blessed Spirit—and how we were moved and led to act according to the power which worked in us? We shall thus more clearly see what a mighty power was put forth in turning us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, and how it was the outstretched arm of Omnipotence alone which could deliver us from the power of darkness and translate us into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
2. Similarly we have to know, as a fruit of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the mighty power of God in MAINTAINING divine life in our soul when it had been communicated. We have to see and feel what mountains of difficulty, what seas of temptation, what winds and storms of error, what assaults and snares of Satan, and the latter more dangerous than the former; what floods of vileness and ungodliness without and within; what strong lusts and passions; what secret slips and falls, backslidings and departures from the living God; what long seasons of darkness, barrenness, and death; what opposition of the flesh to the strait and narrow way; what crafty hypocrites, pretended friends, but real foes, false professors and erroneous characters, all striving to throw down or entangle our steps, we had to grapple with; what helplessness, inability, and miserable impotency in ourselves to all that is good; what headlong proneness to all that is evil—all these things we have to pass in solemn review.
We have also to ponder over what we have been and what we still are since we professed to fear God, and how, when left to ourselves, we have done nothing but sin against and provoke him to his face from first to last, and yet still have divine life maintained within. And thus as we hold in our hands, and read over article by article, this long dark catalogue, still to have a sweet persuasion that the life of God is in our soul, and that because Jesus lives we shall live also—this to realize, believe, and feel, and bless God for his surpassing, superabounding grace, is to know the exceeding greatness of the power of God to us who believe, in maintaining divine life after it had been first communicated. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!" Romans 5:20
3. And then to look forward in the well-grounded hope that he who has begun will still carry on and COMPLETE the good work wrought in us by his grace, in spite of all without and within that may still await us; will perfect that which concerns us, and will not despise the work of his own hands; that he will still regard the prayer of the destitute and not despise their prayer; that he will work in us all the good pleasure of his will and the work of faith with power, and will never leave nor forsake us for his own name's sake, but will keep us by his own power unto salvation; this blessed hope for the future, with all that is included in it, which we have not now space to dwell upon, forms another part of what is to be known in sweet and personal experience as the mighty power of God to us who believe.
ii. But the point to which we wish to direct special attention is what we have termed the STANDARD and MEASURE of this power. It is thus laid down by the Apostle—"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." (Eph. 1:19-21.) Though beautifully enlarged and amplified to the end of the chapter by the wondrous pen of this man of God, we may arrange under two heads the truths thus advanced and dwelt upon by him. These two are, 1, the Resurrection; 2, the Exaltation of Christ. This resurrection and this exaltation are made the standard and measure of the power of God put forth in communicating, maintaining, and completing the life of God in the soul. The Holy Spirit by the pen of the Apostle would lead us rightly to understand and realize the surpassing greatness of the work of grace in the heart; and therefore, brings before us a measure whereby to examine it. This measure is no less than the mighty power which God put forth when he raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to his own right hand. This last was the very greatest work which God ever wrought—and the next greatest is the work of God in the soul. Both these works are connected together, and we shall, therefore, when we have opened the nature and display of the power of God in the resurrection of Christ, attempt to show how they bear upon each other.
We would first call attention to the peculiar language of the Apostle in speaking of the power put forth in the RESURRECTION of Christ—"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." (Eph. 1:19, 20.) Observe the expression, "According to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ." It is in the margin, "the might of his power." This is more literal, and nearer the original, than the version in the text; but even this does not give the full meaning and peculiar force of the Greek, which we may translate, "according to the active energy of the victorious might of his strength, which he effectually wrought in Christ." There is first his "strength," as a general expression of the power of God; then the victorious might of his strength, as able to overcome all difficulty and opposition; and then the active energy of it as actually and effectually put forth, in accomplishing the work.*
* Bishop Pearson's remarks, in his celebrated work upon the Creed, upon these words are so much to the purpose that we cannot forbear quoting them. Having cited the words of the original, he makes upon them the following comment. "Which words our translation comes far short of, and I doubt our language can scarce reach it. For first here are two words to express the power of God, and the validity and force of it, but not sufficient; wherefore there is an addition to each of them of two words, more to express the eminent greatness of this power and force, but not sufficient yet; and therefore, there is another addition to each addition, to set forth the eminence and activity of that greatness; and all yet, as it were but flat and dull until it be quickened with an active verb. All which he set on work, all which he actuated in Christ, when he raised him from the dead."
Now it is very evident that unless the work of raising Christ from the dead had been one of surpassing and extraordinary power, the Holy Spirit would not have used such amazing and almost unparalleled strength of language to set it forth. This question, therefore, at once suggests itself—"Why was the resurrection of Christ such a special act of omnipotent power? Was the raising of his dead body to life, though undoubtedly a miracle of omnipotence, yet one of such amazing magnitude that the utmost strength of human language fails to set it adequately forth? Are there not several instances of resurrection from the dead, both in the Old and Now Testaments? Did not God, in answer to the prayers of both Elijah and Elisha, raise the dead to life? (1 Kings 17:21, 22; 2 Kings 4:34, 35.) Did not the Lord himself raise up Lazarus and the widow's son at Nain? Why, then, is the resurrection of Christ here spoken of as an act of such wondrous and surpassing power?"
This question we shall endeavor to answer, to the best of our ability, as it involves truths of the deepest nature and of the greatest importance.
Bear, then, in mind that the resurrection of Christ is the very corner-stone and solid foundation of the faith of God's elect, and that on it rest all our hopes for eternity. Our faith, if genuine and saving, believes in Christ as the Son of God; but it was by his resurrection from the dead that he was "declared (literally, "determinately marked out") to be the Son of God with power." (Rom. 1:4.) The Apostle, therefore, argues with the greatest cogency, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and our faith vain; you are yet in your sins; then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." (1 Cor. 15:14-18.) The chief force, then, of Christ's resurrection lies in this—that by raising him from the dead God gave his attesting seal, in the most open and visible manner, that Jesus was what he had declared himself to be—the Son of God, and that he had finished the work which the Father had given him to do. It is this attesting seal of God to his Sonship which makes the resurrection of Christ the very foundation of our most holy faith.
But this does not answer the question before us—why the resurrection of Christ was an act of such peculiar might and power. We have then to show how his resurrection was not only a proof of his divine Sonship and of the truth of his mission—but how it differed from what we may perhaps call those minor examples of resurrection to which we have referred, and which, though all displays of omnipotent power, yet were not characterized by the peculiar features which were stamped upon the resurrection of Christ. These characteristic features we will now therefore examine.
Consider, then, the peculiar circumstances which attended the death and burial of the Lord Jesus. No such circumstances attended the death and burial of Lazarus, which was but a simple, ordinary resurrection as his was a simple, ordinary death. But the Lord Jesus died as a necessary part of his oblation and sacrifice—Two things are needful to constitute sacrifice; 1, blood-shedding, and 2, death. If blood be not shed, it is no sacrifice; for "the life of the flesh is in the blood; and it is the blood which makes atonement for the soul," (Lev. 17:11,) "and without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Heb. 9:22.) Our blessed Lord therefore shed his precious blood on the cross in his wounded, bleeding hands, and feet, and side. But the death of the victim was necessary to complete the sacrifice, as we find all through the sacrifices of the Levitical law; and thus our Lord "died for our sins," (1 Cor. 15:3,) "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Rom, 5:8,) was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," (Phil. 2:8,) "in due time died for the ungodly," (Rom. 5:6,) all which testimonies of Holy Writ prove that the death of Christ was a necessary and integral part of that oblation which he offered to God when "he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" (Heb. 9:26;) and gave himself for us as "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor." (Eph. 5:2.) As, then, his death was no common or ordinary death, so his resurrection was no common or ordinary resurrection; but corresponded with and bore an exact proportion to his death. It is only, then, as we connect Christ's death with Christ's resurrection, and bring together how and for what he died, and how and for what he rose again, that we can take any measure of the power put forth in his resurrection from the dead. But to help our thoughts a little further upon this point, consider the following circumstances attending Christ's death and resurrection in their mutual correspondence with each other.
1. Consider first what Peter calls "the pains of death," which God "loosed" when he raised him from the dead. (Acts 2:24.) The word translated "pains" means properly the pangs of a woman in travail, and thus seems to refer to the travail of Christ's soul on the cross, (Isa. 53:11,) when "the sorrows of death compassed him, and the sorrows of hell (or as it might be rendered "the cords of the grave,") compassed him about." (Psalm 18:4, 5.) These death-pangs, like those of a woman in travail, came on him gradually. Four or five days before his death, he said, "Now is my soul troubled." (John 12:27.) But specially in the night on which he was betrayed on his first entrance into the gloomy garden, he was "heavy and sorely amazed," and said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death." (Matt. 26:37, 38.) These pangs as of one in travail kept increasing until "being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44.)
But it was chiefly on the cross that these pangs of death rose to their full height; for that was the scene of both conflict and of conquest. Then it was that "the pains of death," of all that death involves both of body and soul, both of the first and the second death, seized most fully on the blessed Redeemer, when the wrath of God and the curse of the law, and the hidings of his Father's face, all fell upon him in one terrible storm, and were "unto death," for he must have died under them had not his Godhead sustained his suffering manhood. But when the work vas finished which was given him to do, and full satisfaction made to every demand that could be made upon the Surety, God loosed the pains of death. Justice being satisfied, the law fulfilled, complete propitiation for sin made, and every perfection and attribute of God fully harmonized and glorified, his Father lifted up upon him the light of his countenance, and then he had but to die to complete the sacrifice. But until God had loosed the pains of death as accepting his propitiation for sin, he could not die.
Some writers, and even ministers, have spoken very unadvisedly of the sins which Christ bore by imputation sinking him into his grave as if he died under their load, and that when rose he left them behind in the tomb. No! Sin was fully put away before Jesus bowed his sacred head and gave up the spirit, or he never could have said, "It is finished." Had he died under the load of imputed sin, he would have died under the curse and wrath of God; and could not have said to the dying thief, "Today you shall be with me in paradise;" or to his heavenly Father, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
But the Hebrew word, Psalm. 18:4, (to which Peter refers,) rendered "sorrows (or pains) of death," means also, as translated in the Septuagint, the "cords of death." There were no pains of death in the grave of Christ, for they were all over and gone; but there were "cords," and these cords had to be loosed by the power of God, for, dying as the Lord did, the cords which held him down in death were of strength corresponding with and proportionate to the nature and circumstances of his death. The resurrection of Christ can only be properly measured by his death; and therefore as his death was such as none but himself could or did die, so his resurrection was such as none but he could be raised up by. The same circumstances which set the death of Christ at an infinite distance from all other deaths, set the resurrection of Christ at an infinite distance from all other resurrections. If, then, we have low, faint, and feeble views of the sufferings and death of Christ, as a manifestation of his grace, we shall have equally low, faint, and feeble views of the power of his resurrection as a manifestation of his glory.
And though we are sorry to say so, may we not well inquire if this be not one reason why the resurrection of Christ, which is the grand foundation of all our faith and hope, which formed the main subject of every sermon recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, which Paul sets forth here with a strength and force of language without a parallel, is scarcely ever touched upon in the ministry of the present day? We do not wish to dwell upon this point, but cannot forbear adding that such was neither the preaching nor experience of Paul when he could say that he counted all things but rubbish, not only that he might win Christ, and be found in him, but also that he might "know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death." (Phil. 3:10.)
2. Consider also the reproach, shame, and ignominy under which the Lord Jesus died. We read that he "endured the cross, despising the shame." (Heb. 12:2.) But though in himself the glorious Son of God, and losing not one ray of his eternal and essential glory in his humiliation, though veiled by it from the eyes of men, yet he sank into the grave under the heaviest load of reproach and shame which ever was laid upon the head of man. He therefore said to his heavenly Father, "You have known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor;" (Psalm 49:19;) for this was a part of the sufferings of the cross.
For we must measure his shame by his glory. It is no shame to a beggar to be clothed in rags. But if a prince, the heir of a mighty throne, were clothed in rags and covered with vermin, as was the case with the unhappy dauphin, the eldest son of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, when confined in the Temple at Paris during the Reign of Terror, it would be, if not really, as not procured by himself but, as inflicted upon him by cruel foes, to outward eyes, the lowest depth of shame. To the two malefactors it was not the shame, but the suffering and death on the cross under which they writhed in torment. But to the glorious Son of this Father in truth and love, the cross was the scene of such shame as none but he could know, and of such sufferings as none but he could feel. Abandoned by nearly all his disciples, mocked and scorned by his implacable foes, and for a time forsaken by his God; bearing our sins in his own body on the tree and made a curse for us; drinking the cup of God's wrath against sin to the lowest dregs, that not one drop of that terrible wrath might fall upon us—was any sorrow like unto his sorrow? And that he who was the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his Person should die a death of all others most reproachful, as inflicted on none but slaves and malefactors—was any shame like his shame? Blessed Lord, you hid not your face from shame and spitting, (Isa. 50:6,) that shame and everlasting contempt might not be our justly-deserved portion. And now you are clothed with glory and honor as the due reward of all your shame when here below.
3. But consider also the circumstances under which the Lord Jesus died in being made a curse for us. We have already shown that he had put away sin by his blood shedding before he died, and that it was in order to complete the sacrifice that he laid down his life (for no man took it from him, he laid it down of himself) as a voluntary offering. (John 10:17, 18.) But though the dear Redeemer had effectually put away sin before he gave up the spirit, and died under the approving smile of his Father and his God, yet, as dying on the cross, he died by a death to which God himself had attached a curse, as the Apostle speaks—"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us—for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree." (Gal. 3:13.) He, therefore, to the eye of man, sank into the grave under a curse; and in this much consisted the triumph of his cruel foes, that by getting him crucified they had brought him, body and soul, under the curse pronounced in the law against all who died that death. And as God did not deliver him, and he himself did not come down from the cross, as they half expected or feared he might, they were hardened in the persuasion that they had done right in crucifying him, and that God himself had settled the question on their side. Here, then, was another strong cord which held him in death, and which the power of God alone could loose.
4. We are to consider, also, that by his sufferings, blood shedding, and death our gracious Lord not only made a complete atonement for sin—fulfilled every demand of the law—washed his people from all their iniquities in the fountain of his precious blood—and wrought out and brought in a perfect and everlasting righteousness for their justification—and "through death destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Heb. 2:14.) It was by the death of the cross that the gracious Lord "spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Col. 2:15.) It is a point little considered, though one of much importance, that the Lord Jesus had, as if personally, to grapple with and overcome the prince of the power of the air, to hurl Satan from his usurped throne, to destroy his works, and overthrow his kingdom; and this not by an act of omnipotent power, but by an act of the lowest weakness, for "he was crucified through weakness." (2 Cor. 13:4.)
According to our simple views, we might think that all that was needed to overthrow Satan was an act of omnipotent power. But this was not God's way. The king over all the children of pride, in the depths of infinite wisdom, was to be dethroned by an act of the deepest humility, of the most meek and submissive obedience, of the intensest suffering of God's own beloved Son, as standing in the place of those over whom Satan and death had triumphed through sin. We read that "the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy (literally, "loosen" or "untie") the works of the devil." Thus he came, not only to untie and undo all that Satan had fastened and done by traversing, as it were, the whole ground, from the first entrance of sin and death, and, by a course of holy and meritorious obedience, repair the wreck and ruin produced by the primary author of all disobedience, but, as the final stroke, to destroy and put down the disobedient and rebellious prince of darkness himself.
To open further these various points would occupy too much of our space, but they must be all taken into consideration when we look at the work accomplished on the cross by the sufferings, blood shedding, and death of the Lord of life and glory, and thus bring together the circumstances of his death and the power of his resurrection.
Now, these thoughts may help us to see what power was needed to raise up Christ from the dead. People often misunderstand the meaning of power as put forth by God, and conclude, because he is almighty in power, he can therefore do one thing as easily as another. But they do not see that infinite power in God is but one of his glorious perfections. He is infinite also in holiness, in justice, in wisdom, in knowledge, etc. The question, therefore, is not what God can do, but what God will do; and thus his power, not his absolute power, but his power moving in harmony with all his other glorious perfections, is to be taken into consideration. There is, therefore, what we may call God's moral power, that is, his power as working with, and co-ordinate to all his other perfections, as well as his almighty power. Now, to raise Christ from the dead was the act of God's moral power as well as his omnipotent power.
This we showed in the case of Lazarus. To raise Lazarus merely demanded almighty power. There were no circumstances attending the death of Lazarus which drew upon the depths of infinite justice, infinite holiness, infinite wisdom, as well as infinite grace, mercy, and love. The death of Lazarus was as widely different from the death of Christ as Lazarus himself, a fallen sinner, was different from the Son of the Father in truth and love; and thus the resurrection of Christ was as different from the resurrection of Lazarus as the only-begotten Son of God differs from a worm of earth.
5. But consider also that in raising Christ from the dead, God raised at the same time, and by the same act, every member of his mystical body. In grace as in nature, when the Head rose the body rose. We read, therefore, that God "quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up together." (Eph. 2:6.). We are also said to be "risen with Christ," (Col. 3:1.) Thus, to raise Christ from the dead, was not merely to raise him as an individual, but as the Head of the Church, and to quicken at the same moment and by the same act all the countless millions who will see him as he is in the great day, and partake of his glory. What an act of power, not merely infinite power; but of power in harmony and co-ordinate with infinite mercy, wisdom, love, and grace was this to raise up at once Head and members! What a resurrection was here; how sure a pledge and first-fruits of the resurrection of the saints at the last day, as well as its meritorious cause and blessed precursor!
View the dead bodies of all the elect of God; behold the sleeping dust of apostles, prophets, martyrs, saints, and the whole assembly of the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, reposing in the silent tomb. Change the scene; stand by faith, as Ezekiel stood in vision, in the valley of dry bones, and see them all standing up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Behold this mighty host, and view them all raised up in glory and immortality on the resurrection morn; and then consider that this countless multitude was virtually and mystically raised from the dead at Christ's resurrection. Now, can you see why all the strength of language failed the Apostle to set forth the power which God put forth when he raised Christ from the dead?
6. Consider, also, that "Christ's resurrection was the sure pledge and meritorious cause of the Church's regeneration. The whole body of the elect was "quickened together with Christ," as well as raised up together with him; that is, mystically quickened, as they were mystically raised, quickened in a mystical regeneration of soul, as well as raised up in a mystical regeneration of body. How wonderful is this, that every soul quickened into divine life in time is so because mystically quickened as a member of Christ when he was raised from the dead. Now view the whole body of the elect as dead in sin. Then view them quickened, one by one, in all their countless multitude, during the whole stretch of time. Consider the power put forth in the regeneration of each individual. Then take a view of the quickening of the dead body of Christ, as prior to the resurrection, and the whole body of the elect mystically quickened together with him. Do you see no act of infinite power, and power in harmony with love and grace here? Where are the eyes of your faith, if you see not this? Where your admiring love, if you do not adore this act of love to the Church, as in union with her covenant Head? Was not that a mighty act of power and love which, at one moment, and by one and the same act, mystically quickened millions of souls which shall live forever in the presence of God?
7. And lastly consider the resurrection of Christ in connection with his exaltation. View him as man in his grave, view him as man at the right hand of the Father, on his mediatorial throne of grace and glory, and measure, if you can, by faith, the distance between the dead body of Jesus in the tomb and what that same body now is in the full blaze of his present glory.
But this blessed subject must occupy a future paper. We were in hopes, and made a kind of half promise that we would finish the chapter with the year. But the greatness and importance of the subject have prevented us accomplishing both our wishes and our intention. We would not justify unnecessary prolixity, but when we undertake a subject it is usually with these two conditions attached to it—1. That we understand, or, at least, think that we understand it; 2. That we do it full justice. Now we cannot, in a few short, hasty papers, written, as some speak of doing, in a railway carriage, and usually at railway pace, do justice to such a chapter as Ephesians 1. Such deep subjects need much thought and examination, much comparison with the Scriptures and the analogy of faith, and therefore very careful writing and proportionate space. We must, therefore, either hurry over the grand and vital truths which remain to be considered, or defer their consideration to the opening year. And if we judge aright, our spiritual readers will say, "Go on with your exposition, even if it compel you to break in upon a fresh volume and another year. Do not hurry over the exaltation of our gracious Lord. God has exalted him in our hearts, and we love to hear him exalted by tongue and pen. The Lord help you to exalt him more and more; and you cannot begin a new year better than by setting him on high whom we so dearly love." To this we say, "Well, be it so. Amen."