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which abideth in him. He is between God and us, to convey to us the Spirit, at his sole disposal : that as from Adam a sinful and corrupted nature is derived unto us; so Christ should be the second head, for communicating a contrary and divine principle of grace and holiness. Here a way is opened both for communion between God and man, and for purging our hearts, that they may be fit habitations for God's presence. And the one and the other of these is owing to the merit of his atonement; which at once vindicating God's honour, removed the bar to reconciliation on God's part; and purchasing the gift of the Spirit for man, might make him both able and willing to come in and accept of the reconciliation, by putting on a creature-like and obedient spirit. And,
Thirdly, By the same sacrifice, he hath satisfied all the demands of divine justice. The justice of God will be allowed to proceed upon principles of unerring propriety and rectitude; whereby, as he will not suffer sin against his majesty and government to be unpunished, but will correct it in a way suitable to his own dignity, to the nature of the crime, and to the ends of his dominion; so, when this hath been done, he will be satisfied, will become gracious, and remit his indignation. Now, when we consider the person who gave himself a sacrifice to the divine vengeance, we shall find, that in his death sin hath been so fully punished, that all the ends of punishment are answered. Wherefore, even God's justice will hinder his demanding any more; whilst also it either could not, or would not be satisfied with less. The prophet Zechariah, speaking of this sacrifice, had said: 6 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” The application, which our Lord makes of the latter clause in this passage, convinces us that the former is spoken of himself and his sacrifice. Against whom then did the sword of the Lord of Hosts awake in vengeance? Against à man, “ forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, himself likewise took part of the same, yet without sin.” A man, that is God's fellow, in the beginning with God, and God one with the Father. Against this God-man, the shepherd, God drew out the sword; he 5 laid down his life for the sheep;" he 6 was made a sin-offering for us." And in the sacrifice of such a one, what vengeance did sin deserve, which it did not suffer? What did justice demand, which was not paid ? What correction of iniquity was needful to make God's government respectable, and to deter from violating it, and not amply executed ? “ Search the Scriptures;” there you see abundantly, that the sacrifice of this “ Lamb taketh away the sin of the world;" that God accepteth it as a propitiation, an offering to him 5 of a sweetsmelling savour;" in consequence hereof, that 6 Christ hath the keys of death and hell;" and that " all power in heaven and earth is given to him." True then it is that “ sin shall not be unpunished;" that the wages of it is death; that “ the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against it."
All this is the certain, the unchangeable decree of the Almighty; nor shall one tittle of it fail. But behold the garden and the cross; consider well the agony, and the execution; remember whose cries you hear, and who it is that expires; and then say, if sin hath not been punished, if death hath not been endured, if the cup of wrath hath not been drank even to the very dregs, if all is not finished. For he was not only a man, whose sufferings were full of bitterness, and pain, and reproach; though this were pitiable: not barely one he was, who was in. nocent of the crimes for which he suffered; though this might justly double our compassion : but he was a man, pure in heart and life, as Adam in the moment of creation; he was also one personally united to the Eternal Word. Thus innocent, thus dignified, “ he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted ; was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; his soul was made an offering for sin.” It was his union with the divine Word, which enabled him to endure all the load of wrath which sin had provoked: it was this, which made that endurance a sufficient satisfaction. Thus united, God could neither demand, nor we deserve more of vengeance, than he could pay. Thus united, he was capable of suffering; and this suffering was to the full satisfaction of divine justice: “ Wherefore also he is able to save sinners to the uttermost.”
Say now, upon these views, what power hath not Christ to save ? He hath salvation to bestow : for · in his death all the consequences of sin are done away. This vindicates God's glory, opens a way to communion with God, and sanctification of our hearts through the Spirit, and averts the fearful curse of God's wrath. He is able to succour us. And he is willing to impart to us all the benefits of this valuable purchase.
But stop, thou sinful man, and consider the value of thy soul. He who “ beholdeth the things which are not, as if they were;” who comprehendeth eternity, and takes it up at a thought; who hath fixed the depth of hell and the height of heaven, and mcasures in his mind the misery of the one and the happiness of the other; who, knowing the exact worth of this world and the next, hath sent his only begotten Son to rescue thee from destruction, and to refit thy ruinous soul for glory: what dost thou read of the value of thy soul in this his dealing ? Were a prophet or an angel sent to thee on an express message from God with a miracle in his hand; did a well-known friend come to thee from the dead; it would bear no equal conviction with it, could awaken no such solemn impression, as the condescension of the Eternal Word to take upon him thy nature, and therein to make atonement, is suited to do. “ Hast thou understood these things?” Hast thou learnt the importance of thy soul, whilst thou hast been considering " the holy One of God” manifested to render glory to God, to raise thy defiled nature to holiness, and to redeem thee from the curse? Hast thou been searching after the various steps of this adorable mystery with a trembling concern? and hast thou felt a glad and satisfying joy
and consolation springing up within thee, and growing more quick and lively, as the mystery hath been unfolding, and conviction of the Redeemer's power to save and succour thee, hath grown stronger and clearer upon thy heart? It is well : such as these are the anxious distresses of the self-condemned soul; such the awful importunity with which it waits upon the rising of “ the Sun of righteousness.” As this light advances, the soul enlarges its prospect, pierces upward to God, and forward to eternity, and downward to hell; extends its view abroad upon the miserable state of man, intimately considers itself, and is mightily engaged in the cause of its eternal interests. For the sacrifice of Christ is so instructive every way; it so warns us of the horrid guilt and danger of sin, of the excellence of eternal glory, and of the terrors of God's wrath, and withal of our own weakness and insufficiency; that whoever attends to it with personal application, shall assuredly find the value of his soul, and insensibly fall into that awakened frame of concern which the apostle so strongly expresses, when he bids us 5 work out our salvation with fear and trembling."
Say now, have you thus weighed the sacrifice of Christ? Hath it taught you either to tremble under the vast importance of your salvation, or to rejoice in the assured ability of the Redeemer to save you ? Hear then yet farther. . ..
Secondly, He is willing to make you partaker of all these fruits of his sacrifice.. A full hand avails nothing to the relief of the necessitous, unless the