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he is as one of them, having exalted them to his throne. They with him are lords and kings, and are to reign with him upon earth.
But these kings and lords have themselves a King and Lord, and the Son himself, as glorified man, “ is arranged in order under Him that put all things under him,” in his capacity of Son of man. He sits with them in the kingdom of his Father “equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the FATHER, as touching his manhood.” So that whenever he acts as “ the Son of man,” or in his character as Messiah, he acts in the character of a subject, acknowledging in God," the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords:" meaning, not of earthly kings and lords alone, but also of the children of the resurrection, whom he also “ makes to inherit a glorious throne,” and to be the heirs, lords, or possessors of the world.
The second remark that I would make upon this passage is, that though Timothy is personally addressed, whom Paul could not but know would not continue till the appearing of Jesus Christ: yet, in the usual style held by Scripture, when addressing the church generally on this subject, he is considered as waiting that coming : not only in that he must be raised to stand in his lot at the last day: but he is addressed as officially continuing and attending his charge until the second advent. And this style is uniform in Scripture, both as addressed to churches and to ministers.
The reason is plain: as the church is addressed as a body that never dies, so the ministerial character is addressed as that which never dies, but continues till the chief Shepherd appear. To apply, in illustration, the strictly analogous language of our laws; the one is a . corporation aggregate, the other is a corporation sole; both are deathless. Whatever becomes of the individuals or individual, the corporation dies not, till dissolved by a superior authority. What is said, therefore, in these Scriptures to churches and to ministers, is said to all churches and to all ministers.
SECTION V. The Manifestation of the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 18., &c. The next passage we have to quote, which is found in the eighth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, respecting “the manifestation of the Sons of God,” will appear with great interest in this connexion. The apostle had been comforting those who suffered here with Christ, by assuring them “ that they should be glorified also together with him;" he proceeds in the eighteenth verse :
“ For I reckon” — or, “ I conceive, indeed, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
We have here the apostle's calculation of what deduction ought to be made from his former estimate of a Christian's happiness, on account of those present sufferings, which he had just acknowledged to be his frequent portion. And the apostle made his calculation at a time when the sufferings of Christians were abundant, and himself had also very largely partaken of them : yet, he says, he reckons that the afflictions of the believer in this present world, as well what he endures for Christ in the way of persecution, as those troubles with which it pleases God to visit him, in
order to the subjugation of the flesh, and his transformation into the image of Christ, “ are not worthy to be compared” — are, comparatively speaking, so small that they do not deserve to be taken into the account, when we are anticipating in hope the promised scenes of future bliss. No language, indeed, can more forcibly convey this notion, than that used by the apostle to the Corinthians on the same subject : “ For our light affliction, that is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”.
19. “ For the earnest expectation of the creature” — or, rather, “ of the creation, waiteth for" —or, “is directed to THE MANIFESTATION OF The Sons of God."
The apostle sees universal nature, fixed, as it were, in anxious suspense, and looking in expectation of some great event, which is none other than the MANIFESTATION OF The Sons of God; the full exhibition and public acknowledgment of the heirs of promise, “ in the glory that is to be brought to us at the coming of Christ,” – when“ they that are the desire of all nations,” “ shall come ;” and their dominion be established in righteousness under the whole heavens. '
Now the “creation," it appears, as well as the believer, is much interested in this event; and every thing bespeaks its greatness, and its importance, and the superior blessedness of those whom God shall so delight to honour. By creation, St. Paul means the whole fabric of nature, as formed by the great Creator in subserviency to man, all of which has been much affected by his apostasy from God, and awaits a glorious restoration, when the work of the Redeemer shall be finished.
20. “ For the creature was made subject to vanity, not
willingly, but by reason of Him that subjected the same in hope. - Or, perhaps, “For the creation, (not willingly, but through Him who subjected it) was subjected in hope. Because the creature shall itself be delivered" - or,
seeing the creation itself will be emancipated from the bondage” –or, “slavery of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
• The fabric of nature, so much of it at least as is connected with man, and was formed for his habitation and service, is now subjected to vanity. It does not now answer the end and design for which it was created ; not agreeably, at least, to the excellency of the plan devised in the mind of the Creator. In numberless instances, its noblest productions and greatest blessings are lost, or perverted to evil instead of good.' The whole scene around him has been affected by the fall of man.
His aberration from his proper orbit has disordered the course of nature ; and all inferior beings have, in a manner, been dragged after him into the same abyss of corruption. “Not willingly.” The apostle personifies creation, and represents it as neither by its own will becoming subject to vanity, nor willingly enduring the bondage. When the Almighty considered the works of his hands, he pronounced every thing that he had made to be " very good.” It is from no failure or imperfections of the creature, that what we now see has taken place ; the subjugation of the creation to vanity, and the bondage of corruption. It was not its own act; but came to pass through its connexion with man. He has subjected it, or the great Creator on his account. 1
The sentence of God was, “Cursed is the ground
for thy sake; thorns also, and thistles, shall it bring forth to thee.” This is not to be regarded as a particular instance, but as a general intimation of the subjugation of the powers of nature to vanity. By “thorns and thistles,” we may understand noxious weeds in general ; in the production of which, the same powers of nature are employed, as in the most valuable productions ; yet they are useless, and do but mock the cultivator's toil. In the animal world, also, we see many instances of the same subjection of the creature to vanity. Here, how often does nature bring forth for nought! Birds, beasts, and fishes, let loose upon each other, full of evil dispositions, exhibit, as it were, in the oppressor and the oppressed, an exact counterpart to the wretchedness of man.
Consider, in this view, the disorder in the elements, experienced, more or less, in every climate. What ruin and devastation! What a continual frustration of
purposes, and revocations of apparently destined blessings! How short, in a general point of view, of what the of nature could, and in some instances do, accomplish!
A promise, indeed, has been interposed in mercy; “ that summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, shall not fail ;" and man may therefore toil in hope of the reward of his labours. But the very circumstance of a promise having been given, implies, that such bad been the disorder introduced — such the perversion which the powers of nature and of all second causes had suffered; that but for His staying hand, who, in a similar manner, to prevent the entire destruction of the human race, put a check upon their evil pron pensities, the regular revolutions of the seasons, upon