« PreviousContinue »
possessor be also of a bountiful disposition. But the heart of our Redeemer is enlarged as his hand is plenteous. He is as willing to save, as he is able. Nor shall I need to set about any long illustration of that, which wants observation more than evidence. That Christ is willing you should reap the fruits of his sacrifice, requires little proof, but much persuasion upon the mind. And here, let all his condescensions and his love confirm you, how ready, how pleased he would be to save you, to give you the peace he hath purchased, the grace he hath to bestow, and the glory he is in possession of. Should a man forego his ease and quiet, go through toil and labour, endure all difficulties, and run the risk of his life to promote your welfare, you would be left without all doubt of his readiness to serve you. And did the Son of God freely leave the bosom of his Father, and clothe himself with your flesh; did he submit to the cradle and the manger, to poverty and persecution, to a life of labour, and a death of shame? Did he deserve nothing of all which he underwent, when malicious enemies accused and condemned him with falsehood and rage, and then insulted him with a cruel triumph ; when his false friends betrayed, and his frail ones forsook or denied him; when the wrath of God fell upon him, and the big grief burst out at every pore in drops of blood ; when he was mangled with whips, and rent with thorns, and deformed with buffetings, and even then exposed in mock grandeur; when such an object of pity, he was loaded with the cross, and led through the streets before a gazing taunting multitude ? But what need I say more, or why speak of that last scene, which surpasses all! All this was a free endurance: he merited not the least pang, or the least stripe ; he was the “ well-beloved of the Father, in whom God was well pleased.” Or, yet again, did he quit his love towards you and this earth together? Is he not gone up to the presence of God, to appear for you, and solicit your interests ? And is not your soul the daily object of his providential tenderness, care, and bounty ? Surely he is willing to give you any thing, all that salvation you need. Would God we were as ready to receive it, as he is to give it!
But let his invitations and assurances put beyond all suspicion his willingness to save you : you cannot doubt what you have from his own mouth. “ The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.”. Not only to save, but to seek us, that we may be saved. . " Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ;” and that with the most winning inducements; “ for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come unto me, and drink.” Thus himself spake. And how is this his gracious disposition intimated in the words of Isaiah concerning him, “ He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied !” Words which express such a delicacy and exquisiteness of affection, as to make us feel that all the pain our Redeemer endured, was forgotten and lost in the satisfaction and delight he found in doing us service.
Away, then, with all thy fears! Thou art indeed found guilty : sin hath also defiled thy soul, justice demands vengeance, and thy own accursed wickedness hath made thee fit for the place of wrath, nor hast thou the least power in thyself to avert the dreadful ruin : but the mercy of God hath contrived a way to vindicate the glory of the divine government, to recover thee from sin, and to ward off the curse from thee; and this by the incarnation and death of the Eternal Word. Raise up thy head, and live: 66 There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Only be sure that thou be found in him, and sin shall not be thy destruction. Only look unto him, with an affectionate loyal heart, with a heart big with detestation of iniquity, which feels somewhat of those wounds which thy sins have given him.
This would lead me to the fourth and concluding point, namely, what that faith is, which gains us an interest in the blessings of this sacrifice, and makes us sharers of Christ's salvation.
But I will choose to conclude, for the present, with a practical review of what has already been stated. Consider thyself then, whoever thou art, as a man, created to serve the purposes of thy Maker's glory; and yet as an insolent worm, who hast dared to join thy fellows in rebellion against the majesty of God. Thou hast cast off submission; thou hast lost all loyalty of heart towards thy heavenly king; thou hast affected independence, and arrogantly set up to be thy own master. See to it; thou hast been doing thy own will, and taking the way of thy own pleasure: the gifts of God thou hast turned to thy own use, and vainly boasted thyself of what was but lent thee. The all-present God hath noted thee in the wanton career of thy pride and self-sufficiency; hath seen himself forgotten of thee; hath heard thy stubborn murmurings against his dispensations; hath beheld thee bowing down to the idols of life, pleasure, and interest, and praise. Ah, how art thou fallen from God and happiness! what wrong hast thou done to thy God and thy soul! The honourable name of God thou hast caused to cease from the earth; well-pleasing innocence hath left thy soul; thou art become the habitation of those enemies of God, the devil, the world, and lust. Hell, the place of sin and vengeance, hath opened its mouth, and waits till thou hast filled up the measure of thy iniquity, to receive thee. Go, gird up now thy loins, like a man; put on thy might, thou man of strength; go settle God again upon his throne; give him back the honour thou hast rebel- liously despoiled him of, that his dominion suffer nothing through fault of thee: Rise up and drive before thee the traitors which dwell in thy soul, that not one of them may be left; yea, take to thee also the image of God, that he may have pleasure in thy beauty: Seest thou not the avenging sword of God held up to strike thee? Lose no time; give his justice satisfaction. Up, bestir thyself; these things are not the work of a day. Why dost thou loiter? Art thou not able? Is the task too great for thee? What? is that proud head of thine, thou hast carried so high against heaven, brought down so strange
ly, that thou darest not attempt thy recovery; that the very thought confounds thee? Methinks, I see thee in this matter reduced to the condition of an infant newly born; thou liest utterly helpless, and without strength; unless some gracious hand succour thee, thou canst but weep and complain, and perish. The irreparable dishonour thou hast done the majesty of God, the stubborn dominion which sin hath gained over thee, the expectation of deserved and declared wrath, all fall upon thee together, crush thee to the dust, and draw forth the solemn cry from thy heart, “ Undone man that I am ; what shall I do to be saved ?”
Here now, and lift up thy head; yet there is hope. God so loves thee still, that he hath given his only Son that thou mayest not perish. All may be well. The mighty Redeemer stands between God and thee: jealous of his Father's glory, full of zeal to bring in rebels to allegiance, he hath submitted to death, and all the merit of it he offers to thee. How extensive, how tender his love! O my brother, whether shall we most rejoice or fear, in the sight of this condescension? The wisdom, the justice, the love, manifested in “ the Word made flesh," together with the interest we have in the wonderful dispensation; how should it possess our hearts ! at once cover us with confusion, fill us with joy, and inflame us with gratitude! Let us think together of that God with whom we have to do. Let us think of that goodness, as well as power, which made us out of nothing; of that patience, which · waits upon a world in rebellion, while no might is