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lieth in wickedness. There is none that doeth good ; no, not one." As all mankind have transgressed the law, they deserve the threatened curse, which is eternal death. Hence arises the important enquiry-What must be done that sinners may be saved ? To this enquiry it must be replied, that the salvation of no sinner is possible, unless the design of God in threatening eternal death to every transgressor, be fully answered. God never delights in misery. He says, “ I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” God is “ merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth.” But neither truth, nor goodness, nor mercy, nor grace, requires God to countenance sin. The truth and goodness of God require him to manifest his hatred of sin and his regard to the law. If God cannot forgive sinners, and yet show that he hates sin as much as the threatening of the law implies, every sinner must for ever suffer the weight of his holy wrath. But if God can fully manifest his regard to the law, which threatens eternal death to every sinner, and yet the sinner be saved; then the mercy of God will rejoice against judgment. Then God will delight to forgive iniquity, transgression and sin. For then no evil, but great good, will arise from pardoning sinners. But if God should forgive sinners, without manifesting his hatred of sin as fully and clearly as though every sinner should suffer the threatened curse ; his character would be ruined, his government would be destroyed and all happiness be banished from the universe. That sinners might be saved it was therefore necessary, that God should show his regard to the law and his hatred of sin, to as great a degree, as if the whole human race should have suffered the pains of eternal death. It is,
II. To be shewn that what was necessary, that sinners might be saved, has been done.
This hạs been done through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Him “ hath God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the for. bearance of God: to declare at this time his righteousness; that he might be just and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus." The justice of God demanded the endless punishment of all mankind ; or such a sacri. fice as should atone for their sins. God hath set forth his Son to be a propitiation for the sin of the world. The prophet Isaiah says of Christ, “ He was wounded for our transgressions: he was bruised for our iniquities.” The apostle says, “ For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. God sent forth his Son, made under the law, thạt he might redeem those who were under the law. God hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we miglit be made the righteousness of God in him. God sent forth his Son, in the likeness of sinful desh, and for sin condemned sin in
the flesh, that the righteousness of God might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Christ is called “the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the whole world.” He is called, " The propitia- . iion for the sins of the whole world”. From what is said of Christ in the holy scriptures, it is evident that he hath suffered for the same purpose, for which sinners were condemned to suffer. But God condemned sinners to suffer from his regard to the law, and from his hatred of siv. Since his regard to the law, and his hatred of sin, have been fully and clearly manifested in the sufferings of Christ, God
"can be just and the justifier of him who be. lieveth in Jesus. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
But do the sufferings of Christ, on the cross, manifest God's hatred of sin to as great a degree, as though the whole human race should have suffered the punishment which is threatened in the law ? It is believed that they do. Should an carthly king punish a number of his subjects, who had rebelled against him, it might seem as if he were influenced by person. al resentment. But should he subject himself to severe and shameful sufferings, or inflict such sufferings on one, whom he loved as him. self, that he might show his regard to the gove ernment, and his abhorrence of rebellion against it; then all his sụbjects would at once see that their king was influenced by a pure and impar
tial love of truth and justice. If God had punished all mankind according to the threatening of the law; it might have been pretended by his false and rebellious creatures, that he was influenced by a revengeful spirit, and by a selfish regard to his own government. But when the well beloved Son of God, who is one with the Father, stands to suffer in the stead of sinners; then if God do not slacken his indignation, every rational creature must know that he punishes sinners, not because he is selfish and revengeful, but because he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and be. cause he is determined, from the wisest and best motives, to support the authority and glory of the law, though at the greatest expense.
Now when the Lord Jesus Christ stood to suffer in the stead of sinners, God did not in the least suffer his wrath to cool; but he vented the flame of his hot displeasure against sin upon his well beloved Son. God said s Awake, O sword, against my shepherd ; against the man that is my fellow. Smite the shepherd,” The well beloved Son of God was not spared, until the sword of divine jus tice was satiated with his blood. God was pleased to bruise him and put him to grief.
God exhausted the vehemence of his anger against sin upon the Son of his love, that his enemies might be saved from the pains of eternal death. "God commendeth his love towards us, in tl:at, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him also, freely give us all things ?” It is now,
III. To be shown that what was necessary, that sinners might be saved, has been done, in the best manner. This will be evident, if we consider,
1. That God will forgive the greatest sinner, who repents, however many and however great his sins. No sinner needs to perish, be. cause his sins are too great for God to pardon. To the most wicked, on their repentance, God will say, “ I, even I, am he, that blotteth out thy trangressions and will not remember thy sins.”
Wash ye, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well. Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” Again, it is said, “ Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.”. Christ says, “ Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." These words of Christ are not idle and unmeaning sounds. For some of the greatest sinners have been saved by him, who has mercy on whom he will have mercy; and com. passion on whom he will have compassioih