[ocr errors]


rious Icheme, and hence they learn the manifold wisdom of God.

Aš the plan, so the purchase of salvation is from God. It was he, who sent à Saviour into the world, fealed his heavenly miffion, appointed him to be a sacrifice, raised him from the dead, and gave him glory. Chrift says, "He came from God; and came to do the will of God who fent

It was this miffion, which gave efficacy to Christ's facrifice, and which is the ground of our faith in his atonement. vs We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, who was ordained before the foundation of the world, and was man. ifested in these laft times for us, who by him do believe in God, who raised hitn from the dead and gave hiin glory, that our faith and hope might be in God.

The terms of our acceptance are from God. Had it been declared in general, that salvation is attainable, yet none could thence ascertain the condition of it-whether repentance be sufficient, or some harder condition be required. Hence heathens, who had no direct information on the subject, have anxiously enquired, wherewith they thould come before the Lord; whether they fhould bring flocks of sacrifice, floods of oil, or the blood of their offspring. But God has bewed us what is good. He has required that we repent of fins which are past, and that we walk humbly and righteously with him in future.

The means of salvation are from God. It is not owing to the will of man, but to the grace of God,

that å revelation is vouchfafed to the world. It is not owing to our previous choice, but to his fovereign pleasure, that we are placed under the advantages of this revelation.

[ocr errors]

grace and

and mercy

The Spirit, who is an agent iņ qur salvation, by Tepewing us to repentance, and by preserving us to eternal life, is wholly a divine gift. “By grace we are saved through faith į not of ourselves ; it is the gift of God : for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works."

We proceed to observe,
III. The plan of redemption, which God has
laid, will ultimately redound to his glory." The
Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorifięd bimself in

In this scheme God has made a glorious display of his


“ He hath predestinated yş to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” That God is good, we learn from his works of providence but that he is gracious and merciful to pardon of. fenders, we learn only from his word, and especially from the gospel dispensation. Here we see the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness to us by Jesus Christ. Here we see him contrir. ing the redemption of fallen men, and for this purpose adopting a method, which fills heaven with astonishment. Here we fee him fending down from the realms of glory his own divine fon, to affume our nature-to dwell among mortals—to work wonders before their eyes to proclaim the offers, and state the terms of pardon and life--to walk before them in the path of truth and righteousness, and return back to heaven by the way of the grave, there to act as an advocate for humble fouls, and there to prepare manlions for their reception, that they may dwell with him forever.

Good God; what condescension is here? Why

didft thou take so singular a method for the salva. tion of so unworthy a creature ? Why this preference of apoftate man to the fallen angels ? It is so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy fight.

What confidence, my fellow sinners, we may place in God's mercy. What assurance we have of his pardon on our humble submission to his Son. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that he might die for us, and that we might live through him. “Kiss ye the Son, left he be angry, and ye perish from the way.”

In this great work God has glorified his holiness, truth and justice. He delights not in the death of the wicked: but he will not violate his truth, tarnish his holiness, nor bend the rectitude of his government for their salvation. When he shews mercy, he will act like himself. He will not pardon finners without a public testimony of the perfection of his law, the equity of his government, and the purity of his nature, left his subjects, presuming on his lenity, be tempted to rebel." He will display his own glorious character, that pardoned offenders may fear to offend again, and that all intelligent beings may behold, adore and revere him. When his beloved Son put himself in our place to bear our iniquities and expiate our guilt, it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief. Thus all may fee, how offensive fin is to God; and how incompatible with the happiness of the creature. If God spared not his own son, when he made his soul an offering for our sins, surely he will not spare those contemptuous finners, who, rejecting this wonderful lacrifice, are doomed to suffer for their own sins. “ If such things were done in a green tree, what · will be done in the dry?

In this dispensation God has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence. No wisdom, but the divine, could devise a way, in which fin should be condemned, and the finner pardoned-in which God's justice and holiness should be displayed, and his grace and mercy exercised toward the guilty. Here we see righteousness and grace united, and acting in concert. “ Mercy and truth are met together ; justice and peace' have kifed each other. Truth springs from the earth, and rightcousness looks down from heaven. The Lord gives grace and glory. His falvation is nigh to them that fear him, and glory dwells on the earth. He speaks peace to his people ; but let them not turn again to folly."

God glorifies himself in true believers. His grace is displayed in arresting their once guilty progrefs ; in awakening their attention to their salvation; in renewing them to repentance; in forgiving their fins ; in fanctifying them to his service, and in preserving them amidst a thousand dangers unto eternal life. In them the sovereignty of his grace, the riches of his mercy, the power of his Spirit, the truth of his word, the faithful. ness of his promises, and the divine excellency of religion are clearly manifested. They glorify him by works of holiness, by faith in his promises, by a profeffion of his name, by constancy in his fervice, and by zeal to promote his cause, and to spread the influence of his religion. He will be glorified in them, and they in him, when they fall appear before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. Then the wonders of his grace, and the mysteries of his providence toward them will be unfolded. Then it will be seen, how all things have been working for their good, and the things which feemed to be against them, were inVol. V.

H h

tended for their salvation. Then it will be knowni, how immutable has been God's covenant with them, and how rich is his munificence in rewarding their poor service with an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

God will finally be glorified in them, who reject the gospel. These, when Christ shall be revealed from heaven, will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Then the guilt of the innpenitent, and the equity of the judgment will be manifested, every vain excufe will be filenced, and every mouth will be stopped. Then it will appear, to the conviction of all, that God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, bountiful in the rewards which he bestows, and just in the punishments which he executes.

We may observe, once more, fourthly, IV. That the prophet, contemplating the glorious work of redemption, calls for a general cho. rus of praise from the creation of God. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord hath done it ; shout ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree there in, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob.”

What if we understand this apostrophe to earth and skies, as an intimation, that they owe all their beauty and glory, all their benignity and usefulnefs to the work of redemption ?

When man finned, he fell under a curse, and the earth was curfed for his fake. It is the redemption, which has in any degree removed the curse. Had not the Redeemer interposed, the earth would have been defolate and barren, and the heavens would have withheld their friendly influence ; either the human fucceffion would have ceased from the earth, or have been continu.

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »