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thus in Scripture the " name of God” is ever used to denote the glorious perfections of the divine character. “ The name of the Lord is a strong tower ; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe,” by which is meant that the entire confidence of the soul upon the revealed character of God, his eternal wisdom, power, and love, is its only safety.
Now these perfections have been made known in the most distinguished manner, in and by the man Christ Jesus, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me.” And how did he do this? He was the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express Image of his person ; his glory was that of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, “He that hath seen me," says he, “ hath seen the Father."
Our Divine Master not only manifested the name of God to the men whom God had given him, by telling them of that which they never otherwise could know; he not only spake words of heavenly wisdom, unfolding before the astonished mind of his followers the glorious character of him who dwells amid the praises of eternity, lifting the veil which had hitherto been drawn over the holy of holies, and displaying the infinite harmony and eternal excellence of the Divine mind; dispersing the “clouds and darkness" which had as it were lingered around “the ancient of days," and manifesting him as one in whom “mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” He not only thus “plainly shewed them of the Father," by words of excelling wisdom ; he also in his own person, in his whole character, in his every communication with the people among whom he dwelt, in his life, in his sufferings and death-manifested the glorious character of God, which when he came into the world be did not lay aside, but which in the "great mystery of god
liness," be united to the manhood which he assumed. Upon him, in his daily walk and conversation, were impressed the bright perfections of God. In him there was the perfect manifestation of the holiness, the purity, the truth, the wisdom, the power, and the love of God. Whoever looked upon him, and were not offended by the outward garb of suffering and reproach, were not stumbled by his having no outward “ form or comeliness,” could not fail to recognize “God manifest in the flesh."
And oh what a blessed thing it is to have such a manifestation of God in this sinful and ruined world! To have so bright a beam from the courts above irradiating the dark places of the earth! “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” When we " look unto Jesus," we see in a man, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, the glory of God. We can trace in the Son of man, the lineaments of the perfect character of God. We can, as it were, transfer to our souls a lively picture of that character, and leave the deep impression of it upon our memories. And how delightfully does this assist the child of God in all his intercourse with his heavenly Father--it appears to efface the infinite distance between God and himself, while the perfections of God are not in the least lowered by it. It brings him boldly into the presence of God, and makes God very nigh unto him ; it gives him earnestness in pleading, brightness of hope, stedfastness of faith. It gives a reality to all his experience, which no abstract contemplation of the character of God could ever produce. And, especially, it presents before him the most perfect model for his imitation. Here is something tangible for him to strain after in the
exercise of himself unto godliness—he is not simply told of perfection, he is permitted to look upon it ;-the perfection of every grace and virtue, and these too developed under the most adverse circumstances, and thus with “open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, he is changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
And while the name of God is manifested in " the face of Jesus Christ,” there is no other means by which it can be known or seen by man—some think they are able to find out the Almighty unto perfection, even by the glimmering light of their own reason, without any reference to the full brilliancy of the Sun of Righteousness; but their “ feet stumble on the dark mountains." And from the proud and unhumbled gaze of the carnal mind, Jehovah hideth himself. When a man enters upon an investigation into the character and attributes of God, depending solely on his intellectual powers, and brings only the force of philosophical enquiry to bear on this glorious subject, he can but hear of God, as it were, with the hearing of the ear, but his eye cannot see him. If in the beauteous colours of the flower of the field, as in the flowing and ebbing tide of the mighty deep, if in the structure of the minutest living creature, as well as of the “ Leviathan," who taketh his pastime in the waters,if in the fall of an apple from a tree, as in the courses of the stars of heaven, he hears a voice, “ the hand that made us is divine ; ”-yet what is this in comparison of the manifestation of God in Christ,-it is less than the lispings of infancy in comparison of mature intellect; it is darkness which may be felt, instead of a light and glory, clear, boundless, and eternal.
I do not mean that by the revelation of the Son of God,
the character of God is so manifested, as to be fully comprehended by man. It is not possible for the finite mind, even when taught by the Spirit of God, and enlightened by the communications of the Son of God, to compass the mind of God, to measure its “ height, and depth, and length, and breadth," to scan the far retiring depths of its past eternity, or follow it in the unravelled windings of the future. The character of God is incomprehensible even to those glorious beings, who excel in strength and wisdom, and whose flight is the boldest, the steadiest, and the highest in the regions of created mind. And if they fail, how must the poor inhabitant of a house of clay droop the wing of investigation, and faint with weariness in his “searching to find out God.” In the mind of God, the “plummet of archangel's intellect hath never yet found soundings.” And still must the cry of the church on earth be responded to, by the countless myriads of the hosts in heaven, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.”
Such full knowledge then is too great for man, he cannot attain unto it; but with regard to man's salvation, with regard to all that concerns our fall and restoration, the glorious method by which God can exercise his longsuffering and mercy, in building the ruin which sin has made, and yet keep the integrity of his law inviolate ;with regard to all his thoughts respecting man's transgression, his dealings with him under it, and his designs towards him in the world to come ;-with regard to all these, involving as they do, the most glorious perfections of Jehovah, we have them manifested towards us in the face of Jesus Christ. Here is no obscurity. Here is no darkness at all. The outline is complete. The symmetry
is perfect. And we can " comprehend it with all saints." When the believer takes up the spirit and request of one of old, " I beseech thee, shew me thy glory," the voice of inspiration gives no uncertain answer, “ This is my beloved Son, hear him."
“I have manifested thy name," says the Saviour. To whom? To “the men which thou garest me out of the world ; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word.” It is the Father alone who can draw sinful men to the Saviour of sinners; and it is the Saviour of sinners alone, who can manifest to them the character of the Father. How beautiful is the harmony apparent here in the acts and operations of the Father and the Son, in the eternal counsel of love for man's redemption. The Father arrests and places the sinner in the hands of the Son, gives him over unto the Son, and the Son uses his power to shew to him who is thus given, the glory of the Father.
The disciples of our Lord had only received their knowledge of his character and mission, by little and little, before his death and resurrection. Still they had made some precious attainments, and we have already seen the manifestation of their “growth in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” “Now," said they, “are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee; by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.” And therefore Jesus thus proceeds in his prayer, “ Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and known surely, that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." Here the strain of thanksgiving seems to mingle with the