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ways, know our guilt, and learn our weakness. The weary, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor and the sick, are called to the Saviour, that they may receive relief, comforts and supplies. They who fancy themselves to be full, and in want of nothing, will despise the call: To men of an opposite character it will come as tidings of great joy.
2. Our subject opens to us most glorious and astonishing prospects.
What a marvellous work God has wrought for the redemption of men! The end was certainly worthy of the means. The redemption then contains in it something far beyond all our conceptions. How vast must be that happiness, which was purchased by the death of the Son of God! It must be more than eye hath seen, or ear hath heard, or human heart conceived.
Our worldly prospects are low, confined and precarious. This life is short; the good which the world affords is but small, and only suited to the body. To obtain this, our endeavours are of uncertain success; and the little which we obtain is of uncertain continuance. Soon we must relinquish all, and lie down in the dust. Had rational beings nothing more to expect than what this world can give, deplorable would be their condition.
But the gospel opens to us brighter prospects. It assures us, that there is a future life; that the life to come is eternal, and the happiness of it complete. It does not yet appear what we shall be. But to raise our hopes and expectations, let us remember, that we are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus the Son of God. More than this cannot be said. Contemplate the greatness of the price, and you will have some idea of the value of the purchase. View yourselves as rational beings, designed for immortality-as soon to mingle with angels,
in the presence of God and the Redeemer-as there continually to grow in knowledge, improve in virtue, rise in dignity, and advance in glory and happiness, through endless ages-as, by and by, to become equal to angels, and, in the remoter periods of your existence, to be raised above the present perfection of angels-view yourselves in this light, and, Will you not be transported with the prospect before you ?-Will you not feel yourselves already on the wing, and elevated far above this earth? Will you not, from this exalted height, look down with indifference on all the little and lessening glories of the world; and, like the eagle, with strong and steady pinion, bear through this terrestrial atmosphere, full on the sun; rising, and rising, until you reach that glorious rest, which awaits you in yonder world?
3. What a firm and immoveable foundation has the Christian for his faith and hope!
When we consider ourselves as guilty, and the Almighty God as perfectly just and holy, we tremble in his presence. If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, Who can stand? If thou shouldst contend with us, we cannot answer thee. When our iniquities take hold on us, How shall we look up?-But we will turn our eyes to the work of redemption. Here we see, that God is gracious. and merciful, as well as holy and righteous. Here we see pardon and life purchased by the blood of his Son, for fallen and guilty men. There is forgiveness with him. We will wait for the Lord, and in his word we will hope, for with him is mercy and plenteous redemption. He will redeem us from all our iniquities. He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, How shall he not with him also freely give us all things? He who has sent his only begotten Son, that we might live VOL. I.
through him, will give eternal life to as many as believe in him. His mercy is unto all, and upon all who believe in Jesus, and there is no difference. We cannot imagine, that the all wise and unchangeable God, who, for the salvation of sinners, has performed a work, marvellous in the eyes of all holy beings, will drop his great design, throw aside all that he has done, and leave repenting, hoping sinners, to perish. We cannot imagine, that the God, who has displayed such astonishing mercy in laying the ground work of our happiness, will frustrate the humble expectations of those, who build on this foundation. Thus reasons the Apostle :"Godcommended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath by him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Impressed with a sense of guilt, we may confidently repair to that God, who gave his Son to expiate our sins by his death, and who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that through him our faith and hope might be in God. There is laid in Sion a corner stone, elect and precious. He who believeth, will not be confounded.
4. Our subject reminds us of the great evil of sin, and teaches us the utter inconsistency of a vicious temper with the happiness of rational beings.
What a work God has done for the recovery and salvation of apostate men! Having revolted from him, they could not be restored to the hope and prospect of happiness, without such a divine work, as fills heaven with wonder. The Son of God came down from heaven, took part of our flesh and blood, and offered himself on the cross a sacrifice to God for human guilt. Could any thing give so striking
a demonstration of the contrariety of sin to the will of God, and to the design of his moral government ?-We can think of nothing-Had it not been opposite to the nature of God, inconsistent with the happiness of man, and destructive of the beauty and order of the rational world, Can we suppose, any thing like this would have been done?
If you think lightly of sin, look to Jesus suffer. ing on the cross to expiate your guilt, and be convinced of your mistake.
If sin is of such a detestable nature, and ruinous tendency, then entertain not the hope of salvation without repentance.
The gospel tells us, God would not that any should perish. At the same time, it tells us, He would that all should come to repentance. Without repentance, there can be no salvation. Christ bare our sins in his own body on the on the cross, that we, being dead to sin,should live to righteousness. He shed his blood, that he might redeem us from our vain conversation. He gave himself for us, that he might purify us to himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He came to call sinners to repentance, and thus to save them who are lost. The gospel displays the purity, as well as the mercy of God; and, while it brings us the hope of pardon, it shews the necessity of a renovation of our nature. Christ died to deliver us from the wrath to come; but he delivers us from wrath only in a way of holiness. Notwithstanding all that has been done, still cometh the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.
5. We are taught our obligation to universal be
The gospel is a plan of benevolence. Here we see the independent Creator exercising his compassion to fallen creatures. Here we see the Saviour coming down from heaven, to accomplish, by his labours and sufferings, the wonderful design which
divine wisdom and goodness had formed. Here we see angels rejoicing and giving glory to God, that there is peace on earth, and good will to men. Here we see the richest blessings held forth to the most unworthy creatures. Here we see heaven expanding its gates to receive us, and an eternal weight of glory there prepared for us. The whole scheme of the gospel is goodness and love; and it is perfectly adapted to teach us our obligation, and inspire us with a disposition, to do good, as we have opportunity.
Whoever really falls in with the gospel, partakes of that spirit of benevolence, which it exemplifies and inculcates. The man of an envious, malicious, haughty, unforgiving temper, whatever regard he may profess, is, in heart, an enemy to the gospel of Christ. To receive the gospel, is to receive the genius and spirit of it, which is love and good will. That regeneration, which is our preparative for the happiness revealed, is a transformation of our souls into the temper required in the gospel; and of this temper, an eminent and distinguishing part is love. "Be ready," says the Apostle, "to every good work; speak evil of no man; be gentle, shewing all meekness to all men. For we were sometimes foolish, disobedient, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another; but after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, he, according to his mercy, saved us by the washing of regeneration, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.—Thus we are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." The change, which the gospel produces, where it takes effect, is a change from a temper of envy, malice and hatred, to a temper of gentleness, and meekness, and good will toward all men. This change is effected by the kindness and love of God our Saviour; not by works of righteousness which we had done, but