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be the Angel of Jehovah : and, that he is sent from the very presence of God or (as St. John
expresses it) from the bosom of the Father, not sent as a mere human prophetic messenger is sent, we are most expressly taught by himself. No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.' God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world : àgain, I leave the world, and go to the Father. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
In a similar manner, as St. John teaches that no man hath seen God at any time save as he is declared by the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father; so Christ himself assures his disciple Philip, that whosoever hath seen him hath seen the Father, or that the Father is visible only in the person of the Son. Hence St. Paul maintains, that Christ is the express image and glory of God, that he is the image of the invisible God, that he is God manifest in the flesh. All these phrases relate to the mode, in which the Father, from the very earliest times, has been pleased to
John iii. 13. * John xvii. 3.
Heb. i. 3. 1 Tim. iii. 16.
John iii. 17 3 John xvi. 28. s Johr. xvii. 5.
John xiv. 8, 9. 1 Cor. xi. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Coloss. i. 15.
reveal himself to lost mankind. The agent, employed by him, is denominated his Word or his Voice or his Angel or his Son : and this agent, from first to last, has ever rendered himself visible and palpable by an assumption of the human form. Though sent by the Father, he is yet very Jehovah; and he stands specially displayed, as the God and corner-stone of all the three dispensations. Most justly therefore and most accurately is this frequently seen and constantly adored Angel of Jehovah styled by the apostle the image of the invisible God and God manifest in the flesh. There is but one being under three several dispensations, to whom such titles are applicable : 'and that being is the anthropomorphic Angel of Jehovah under Patriarchism and the Law, and the permanently incarnate Word of God under the Gospel.
(6.) On many occasions in old times, the Angel of Jehovah manifested himself in awful and resplendent majesty; though sometimes he veiled his glory in such a manner, that his servants might for a season converse with him, unconscious of the person whom they heheld, and deeming him to be only a fellow-mortal. Yet we always find him, ere he departed from them, giving some remarkable and decisive indication of his true character, that so they might honour him according to his essential dignity.
Exactly the same plan was adopted by Christ, when permanently incarnate. He commonly appeared as a mere mortal, visible and tangible; vested in a body, which differed in no respect from
our bodies, which was capable of taking aliment, and which was susceptible both of pain and of hunger. Yet, both before and after his passion, he exhibited himself to bis disciples in all that effulgent majesty; which characterized the Angel of Jehovah; in order that they might be left in no doubt, as to his proper nature. Such was his appearance in the day of his transfiguration and in the day of his ascension : such was his appearance from heaven successively to St. Stephen and St. Paul : such also, in a measure at least, seems to have been his appearance to the two disciples, when he suddenly quitted them, after they had long unconsciously conversed with him on the road to Emmaus. These manifestations are the very couniterpart of his ancient manifestations under Patriarchism and under the Law. The human form indeed remained: but it was clothed in an awful and almost insufferable splendor. On such occasions, he was eminently the express image and glory of the invisible God, merciful and gracious indeed, but irresistibly repressing every approach to unseemly familiarity. Even the beloved apostle, to whom in the days of his humiliation he had permitted the unreserved intercourse of human friendship, when in Patmos he beheld him, though still in form as a man, arrayed in all the characteristics of divine majesty, fell prostrate at his feet, as one dead with terror. Both his appearance on this occasion, and the action of St. John, bear a close
resemblance to the appearance of the Angel-God to Balaam and to the prostrate attitude of the fear, struck prophet.
(7.) We are taught to expect, that our Lord's return in the day of his second advent will be the inverted copy of his ascension, the same human form being alike visible on both occasions. Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have
into heaven.' There is reason however to believe, that the great day of judgment is by no means limited to a single point of time, but that it includes the judgment of Christ's enemies upon earth as well as at the literal dissolution of the present mundane system. Hence it ought to be viewed, as commencing with the excision of the Antichristian faction, as extending through the whole predicted period of the millennium when happiness is judicially awarded to the righteous even in this world, and as terminating with the final separation of the good and the bad at the commencement of a future state of existence. We have in Holy Scripture several very awful descriptions of Christ's appearance at the beginning of this great day of judgment; and in all of them he is still represented as manifesting himself in a human form. In the book of
Acts i. 11. . See this point discussed at large in Mede's Works. book iv. epist. 15. p.762, 763. or the passage cited in my
Treatise on the restor, of Judah and Israel. vol. i. p. 40–44.
Isaiah, we view him coming in dyed garments from Bozrahı : in the oracles of Daniel, we see one like the Son of man, appearing with the clouds of heaven, or standing up under the name of the great prince Michael for the deliverance of his people : in the Apocalypse of St. John, we behold heaven opened, and the anthropomorphic Word of God borne rapidly on a white horse to deliver his friends and to take vengeance on his irreclaimable enemies. Each description tallies with its fellow, as to the human form, in which the Angel of Jehovah will then, as at other times, display the effulgence of his majesty
Various opinions have been entertained concerning the millennian reign of Christ and his saints
In the letter of prophecy no doubt, a visible and personal manifestation of the Word, during the period of a thousand years, is unambiguously intimated : but, how such predictions are to be understood in the spirit, time alone, the great interpreter of the sacred oracles, can positively determine. Without presuming to decide upon so dark a question, I may at least be allowed to remark, that the supposition of an actual appearance. of the Angel of Jehovah throughout the whole millennium presents nothing adverse to the general analogy of Scripture. There is no greater difficulty in conceiving a manifestation for the
space thousand years than a manifestation for the space of thirty years : and, if the oracular presence of God were visibly displayed between the Cherubim