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misery, and restore them to forfeited life? In the view of all wisdom, but the divine, their case must appear desperate; be sure, when it is considered, that a superiour order of beings, having rebelled against their Sovereign, are cast down to heli, and reserved, in everlasting chains, under darkness, to the judgment of the great day.

When we behold the glorious Majesty of heaven, whose justice spared not offending angels, now moved with compassion to fallen men-providing for their recovery-appointing his Son to be their Redeemer-sending him into the world clothed in their flesh-laying on him their iniquities-subjecting him to death as a sacrifice for them, and raising him from the dead to be their advocate; we cannot but adopt the language of the inspired Psalmist -This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Every step in this divine work increases our admiration. It is wonderful that we should be re ́deemed, when apostate spirits were left unregarded; that a divine person should be constituted the Redeemer that he should assume humanity and dwell on earth-that, instead of appearing in worldly dignity and power, he should make himself of no reputation that he should submit to all the pains and dishonours of a most infamous and cruel death -that he should suffer death from the hands, as well as for the sins, of men-that he should make his grave with the wicked in his death-that he should ascend to heaven with the body in which he suffered, and with this body should appear in the presence of God, as a continual advocate for us!

This is a scheme which angels behold with wonder, and which men should contemplate with greatful astonishment.

You will ask, perhaps, Why did God choose such a method for the redemption of men? But tell

me first, why he chose to redeem them at all. You will say, He redeemed them because he is merciful. I will add, He redeemed them in this method, because he is wise. If we cannot discern the particular reasons of this dispensation, then let us acknowledge, that the counsels of infinite wisdom are too deep to be fathomed by the line of human understanding. The Apostle says, Christ crucified is to the Greeks foolishness; but to them who are called, he is the wisdom of God; because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The humble saint, convinced of his fallen state, feels his need of mercy; and the mercy offered, he gratefully receives. He waits not to explore all the reasons of the gospel plan of grace, before he consents to take the benefit of it. He thinks it enough for him, that mercy is offered to unworthy men. He esteems it a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He adores that wisdom which has devised so marvellous a plan of salvation,a plan which human wisdom could not have devised, nor can fully comprehend, even now when it is revealed.

Some will ask, How can we place our dependence on a scheme of redemption, which is to us incomprehensible? But, let me ask, How can you depend on any thing else, which is beyond your comprehension ?-Can you tell, how your clothes warm you, or how your food sustains you? Can you tell, how the grain, which you sow in your field, springs up and bears fruit ?-Will you neglect your husbandry, or abstain from the use of food and raiment, until you can unfold these natural mysteries? If not, then go, and, with humble gratitude, submit to the terms of the gospelgo accept of, and rejoice in, that great salvation which is offered you through the Redeemer, whose name, as well as work, is called Wonderful.

If we were to believe nothing but what we perfectly comprehend, our creed would be very short. If we were to do nothing, until we had discovered all the connexions between causes and effects, our circle of action would be extremely contracted. God governs us as rational creatures. In common life, we act rationally, when we rely on the providence of God, in that course of conduct, which experience shews to be successful. In the religious life, we act rationally, when we receive divine revelation on competent evidence, and trust in God for glory and immortality, in that course of humble obedience, which his sacred word prescribes.

However unsearchable the reasons of the great scheme of our redemption may be, the way in which we are to obtain the benefit of it, is plain and obvious. Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, are the conditions of salvation proposed in the gospel; and these we find no difficulty to understand. The only difficulty is, the evil heart of unbelief, which departs from Godthe hard and impenitent heart, which treasures up wrath against the day of wrath.

The plan of redemption, though great and marvellous, is not so dark and mysterious, but that we discern in it much of the wisdom of him, who formed it. The sufferings of a Saviour for the sins of men, display, in the strongest light, the holiness and justice, the mercy and goodness of God. Nor can we conceive, how the danger of sin, and the encouragement to repentance and virtue, could, in any other way, be so strongly exhibited to sinners. If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, How shall he not with him also freely give us all things? But if we sin wilfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, which, through this Saviour, offers pardon to re

penting sinners, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.

II. Great and marvellous are those works of the King of saints, by which he has communicated the knowledge of this plan of salvation.

It was the manifest purpose of God, to bring his subjects to glory in a way of obedience. Man, in his first creation, was placed under a law; obedience to this law was the condition of happiness; by transgression he incurred the penalty of death. It is neither agreeable to the character of God, nor to the nature of intelligent creatures, that they should enjoy happiness in a way of sin; for sin is contrary to the design of God's moral government; and, in its direct tendency, productive of misery.

When man had offended, it was necessary to his repentance, that hope should be set before him; for without the hope of pardon, there can be no sufficient motive to repentance. This hope cannot arise from the law; for law, as such, makes no provision for pardon. It cannot be the result of reason; for reason, uninstructed, cannot conclude that God will forgive. At most, it can but say, as the Ninevites, Who can tell if God will be merciful? And perhaps, without some divine intimation, it would not proceed so far as this. The hope of the Ninevites, feeble as it was, probably might be rather the effect of revelation, than of mere reason; for they had intercourse with the Jews, and visits from the prophets of God. A direct, positive hope of pardon, must come in a way of revelation; for if the offender deserves punishment, justice may inflict it; and whether mercy will interpose to remit the punishment, and on what terms it may be remitted, if at all, none but God himself can determine. God has therefore, in all ages, favoured mankind, at least a part of them, with revelation. And though, in some periods, it has been obscure, it has so far dis

covered the mercy of God to pardon repenting sinners, as to encourage their humble application to him.

The promise made to the parents of our race, immediately after their lapse, gave a general assurance, that their lives should be spared for a season -that they should have posterity-and that, in some future period, one of their posterity, and this, in a peculiar sense, the seed of the woman, should in a way of suffering, conquer that enemy who had brought sin and death into the world. This promise was, from time to time, renewed in terms more clear and explicit; particularly to Enoch, Lamech and Noah, before, and to the patriarchs, after, the flood. As the term of human life was contracted, revelations became more frequent, because the conveyance of religious knowledge by tradition, grew more uncertain. Repeated communications from heaven were made to Abraham, and the most express assurance given him, that in his family a Saviour would arise, who should bless all the nations. of the earth. In this family, the knowledge of the true God, and of a Saviour to come, was preserved, partly by instruction, and partly by immediate revelations, until the time of Moses, when a general system of laws and institutions was given from heaven, and committed to writing, for the benefit of the Jewish nation, and others, who would come and join themselves to them. Of these institutions a considerable number were designed to prefigure the Saviour, and point out the way of salvation through him.

In addition to this revelation, God continued among the Jews a succession of prophets, who being divinely instructed, often inculcated on them their duty, reproved them for their sins, warned them of judgments, and called them to repentance. And some of them in very plain and explicit terms, VOL. L


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