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that died; yea, rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God; who also maketh intercession for us.
On a review of this subject, we learn, first, what constitutes the distinctive character, and the essential glory of the gospel.
All the false systems of religion which have existed in the world, whether they have been professedly opposed to the Bible, or professedly drawn from it-have entirely mistaken the exigencies of human nature, and of course, have utterly failed in their attempts to provide for them. They have laid " the flattering unction" to human pride, by denying the existence of any deep moral disorder in the heart, and the necessity of any supernatural remedy. And when reason and conscience have, for å season, prevailed, and given the lie to this view of man's character and condition, and waked up the gloomy apprehensions of nature in the sinner's bosom ; Oh, how has he listened in vain for some voice which should speak to him in accents of forgiveness ! But no such deceitful dealing is chargeable upon the Gospel. In distinction from every other system of religion, it reveals to man the naked exigencies of his condition, and speaks plainly to him of the terrors of the wrath of God. And having dealt thus honestly, it proceeds to disclose to him the mediation of Jesus Christ ; in virtue of which, it bids him rise up from the bed of spiritual death, and walk abroad in all the peace, and joy, and dignity of an heir of heaven. Here, then, I repeat it, is the distinctive feature of Christianity; and every system of religion in which this feature is not found—whatever else it may be is not Gospel. It may assume the name, and claim the honour ; but with that which constitutes its life and power, it has no communion.
And as the mediation of Christ constitutes the leading characteristic of the Gospel, so also it imparts to it its chief glory. Admit that Jesus Christ died as an atoning sacrifice, and rose as the first fruits of them that slept, and that he now lives in heaven as a prevailing Intercessor ; in other words, admit the scriptural view of his mediation, and I see enough in the gospel to justify all the interest which it has excited, whether on earth or in heaven. I wonder not that the sinner, burdened with pollution, and harrowed with guilt, betakes himself to it as his last and only refuge. I am not surprised that he upon whom this world's
misfortunes thicken, should press the gospel to his bosom, and find a stream of living consolation pouring in upon his desolate heart. at no loss to account for the fact, that the gospel exerts such a sustaining influence in the valley of death ; that the falling of the earthly tabernacle is so often attended by a shout of victory over the king of terrors. And when I open the volume of inspiration, I am not surprised to find how much the gospel awakens the interest, and engages the scrutiny of angels; or in what strains of admiration and ecstacy, its praises are celebrated by all the inhabitants of heaven. But if you blot out this bright feature of Christianity, or if, while you call Christ, Mediator, you virtually disown him in that character, by denying the atoning efficacy of his death, I know not what there is left in the gospel, to meet the necessities of the wretched on earth, or to justify the acclamations of the redeemed in heaven. If I really believed that Jesus Christ was only a teacher, I should feel that it were but mockery to the miseries of a fellow mortal, if I were to direct him to the gospel for consolation ; and though he were to sit down and weep his life away in an agony of despair, I should still be obliged, in justice to my own convictions, to tell him that here is no refuge for the guilty,
2. We learn from this subject, the dignity of the Christian character.
This is the grand distinction in comparison with which every other fades into insignificance. You may be rich in this world's goods ; but wealth is perishable, and in one hour of unsuccessful enterprise, your property may all be given to the winds. You may be loaded with this world's honours; but human applause is capricious and uncertain ; and what will become of the laurels of earthly greatness, when your head is laid in the dust ? But the dignity of the Christian depends on none of these frivolous and artificial distinctions. It depends on nothing short of his union to the Son of God; an union which is formed by the influence of the Holy Spirit, and which secures to him an interest in the incorruptible glories of Christ's mediation. He belongs to that redeemed family, which is to act so distinguished a part on the theatre of heaven; and the ages of eternity will only contribute to brighten his crown, and to enhance for ever the glory of his exaltation.
But how different, how very different is the opinion, which is formed of the Christian, by the children of the world. By some, he is regards ed as a miserable enthusiast; by others, as buried in austerity and gloom. His noble birth, his distinguished friends, his high destination, are all overlooked or forgotten. But, take heed, ye who pride yourselves upon the distinctions of life, lest the day should come, when he will appear in triumph, and you in dishonour. In that cottage, where poverty and distress reside, and which you might think yourself dishonoured to enter, there lives a candidate for all the honours of the New Jerusalem. There is the joy of contentment even now; and in the hour of death, there will be the triumph of faith ; and after that, there will be an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. You may despise him, and shrink from his society, but angels will rejoice in it. Jesus the Mediator will own him as one of his ransomed people, and place upon his head a crown of life. But to what honour can you look forward, who build all your hopes upon the world? To the honour of a name which will perish, as soon as your body is hidden in the tomb : to the honour of a decorated coffin, a splendid funeral, a towering monument-it may be, a lying epitaph which will tell the passing stranger of virtues which were never yours. And is this all ? Teach us, Great God, the meanness of worldly glory, and help us to aspire to the exalted dignity of the Christian !
3. The subject teaches the Christian a lesson of humility.
Who art thou, disciple of Christ, that thou shouldst be an heir to such a glorious inheritance? What hast thou done to entitle thee to the high privileges of a child of God? Thou art a creature of yesterday-a worm of the dust ; and till lately thou wert a child of wrath, and rebel against Jehovah. And such thou wouldst always have been, had it not been for the power of redeeming grace. Yes, Christian, He who brought you up out of the horrible pit and miry clay, and set your feet upon a rock, and established your goings, and hath put a new song in your mouth, and hath sustained and shielded you ever since by the arm of his power,-He is your covenant God and Redeemer. Wherefore, when you praise Him, forget not to abase yourself. When you have the brightest view of the riches of divine grace in your redemption; when faith mounts up nearest to the Redeemer's throne, and dwells with most intense delight upon his glories, and anticipates, with firmest assurance, a residence in his kingdom—then does it become you to bend with deepest humility in token of your unworthiness; and if you ever mingle your voice with the voices of the redeemed, you will not more certainly ascribe blessing, and honour, and thanksgiving to the Lamb that was slain, than you will add, Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name, O Lord, be all the glory.
Finally: The subject impressively teaches us the guilt of unbelief,
It is unbelief which rejects the gospel ; and the guilt of it is proportioned to the excellence and glory of the gospel. But the gospel is supremely excellent and glorious : it is the brightest revelation of the character and purposes of God, which, so far as we know, has ever been made to the universe. Unbelief, therefore, must involve aggravated guilt, and lead to a fearful condemnation. But you say, perhaps, that you are not an unbeliever, as you neither deny the divinity of revelation, or have aught to say against its doctrines. Fellow mortal, be not deceived. Believe me, there is a practical unbelief, which as really pours contempt upon the mediation of Christ, as the most boldly avowed infidelity. If it has more of the external appearance of religion, it is more at war with consistency; for while it acknowledges the truth and importance of the gospel, it acts as though this gospel were neither true nor important. And I will tell you the marks of this unbelief, that you may know how to detect its operations ; for it is insidious and deceitful ; and has no doubt conducted multitudes to perdition, who had never doubted that they were on the way to glory. If, then, you do not love the commandments of God, and cordially approve of his character ; if you shrink from that self-denial which the gospel requires, and give yourself up to the control of sinful passions ; or if you are satisfied with a decent exterior, and feel no concern for the inner man of the heart; or if you are sunk down into a state of stupidity, and worldly-mindedness, and forgetfulness of God, and neglect of prayer-then you have the most alarming symptoms of an evil heart of unbelief. Let no one think that the omniscient eye will not penetrate the thin disguise of merely a correct creed, or a credible profession. That eye will search to the very bottom of the heart; and will dart lightning into every soul that puts on the exterior of a Christian, and yet does not cordially embrace the Saviour. Beware, then, of the spirit of unbelief. However little it may be regarded by the world, or however deep it may lie buried in the heart, it contains the elements of a tremendous curse; for He whose decisions are irreversible, hath declared, He that believeth not shall be damned.
THE EVIDENCE AND DUTY OF BEING ON THE LORD'S SIDE.'
Exodus, XXXII. 26. Then Moses slood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the
Lord's side ?
When this solemn question was asked, the camp of Israel was in a very awful situation. Moses had been in the Mount, conversing with God, and receiving the Law from His lips forty days and forty nights. And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the Mount they gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wol not what is become of him. O what an amazing scene was here! That the very people who, a few weeks before, had witnessed the wonderful displays of Divine power on their behalf, in Egypt and at the Red Sea ; and afterwards the still more terrifick wonders of Mount Sinai, when the thunderings, and lightrings, and voices and earthquake made the whole camp to tremble, and even Moses, familiar as he was with God, exceedingly to fear and quake ;--that this very people should so soon have forgotten all their signal deliverances, and all their solemn vows, and begged to be placed under the guidance of a dumb idol,-presents an exaraple of infatuation and depravity as enormous as it was degrading. But so it was. The request was made. And, still more astonishing to. No. 7.