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you shall be removed. The Mediator himself shall become inaccessible, the wrath of the Lamb will terrify you. A slighted gospel, a neglected salvation, will be attended with a much sorer punishment than a breach of Moses' law; and it had been better for you that there had been no Mediator provided; that you bad been left to perish under the violation of the first covenant; better that you had never heard of Christ, or the covenant of grace, if after such clear discoveries, and pressing invitations, you live and die without an interest in them.
[April 6, 1755.]
PSALM LXVIII. 18.
THOU HAST RECEIVED GIFTS FOR MEN, YEA, FOR THE REBELLIOUS ALSO, THAT THE LORD GOD MIGHT DWELL AMONG THEM.
O! the height and depth, the length and breadth of the love of God! Angels cannot fathom it; much less will the scanty line of human understanding reaeh it. It were presumption to attempt it. Only admit us, blessed Lord, to look at it; to admire and adore that, which we readily give up as incomprehensible. This is a subject which we know not where to begin ; and once begun, know not where to end. Shall we begin at the commencement of thy love to us? When was that? Long before we ourselves existed : long before the foundation of the world. Yes, Lord, thou didst indeed ve us first : when there was no eye to pity; even when we were worse than nothing. Was there ever an eye enamoured of deformity? Yet, when sin had so wretchedly defiled us, that from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there was no soundness in us, then didst thou kindly throw thy mantle over us.
When we lay in our blood, expecting nothing but death, thou saidst unto us, Live ; and didst pour wine and oil into our wounds: then didst thou clothe us with white raiment, and deck us with ornaments, and graciously espouse us to thyself, and receive us into thy own bosom : so ardent was thy love to us, that it was not in the power of our extreme unworthiness to abate it; yea, so as that the deplorableness of our condition did but heighten and inflame it.
Thou lovedst us. To have spared our lives had been an unexpected, undeserved mercy: for who finds his enemy, and lets him go well away? But herein hast thou commended thy love to us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Thou didst pity us when we hated thee; and even when our hand was lifted up against thee, were thy arms opened to receive and embrace us. Surely, never was love like unto thy love ; passing not knowledge only, but wonder also. Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? or the Son of man, that thou shouldst thus visit him ? And didst thou then visit us thy own self? Why didst thou not order some angels, myriads of whom are continually ministering to thy pleasure, and hearkening to the voice of thy word? Why was not one of those glorious spirits sent down, to execute the kind commission ? O! how are we lost in just amazement, when we see what thy love has drawn from thee towards the sons of men ! What love was that, which could fetch thee down from the glory of the highest heavens, from the bosom of thy eternal Father, to this lower world, the region of sorrow and death? which clothed thee with this flesh of ours, and brought thee (who thoughtest it no robbery to be equal with God) to an estate, lower than thy own creatures.
That the sun should become a particle of sand ; that the whole host of angels should be transformed to worms; or that the whole frame of nature should fall back into its first confusion, there would be nothing in all this wonderful, in comparison of that infinitely more astonishing event, that God should become man. Great, indeed, is the mystery of godlinessGod manifested in the Aesh, seen of angels. Whether to see him, that was their God, so humbled below themselves, or to see humanity thus advanced above themselves —which was the greatest surprise to them, they only know. His whole life, from the manger to the cross, proved him to be, indeed, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. But 0! what may we not expect from that love, which was stronger than death.
We trusted thou hadst been the person that should redeem Israel, when we saw thy miracles and thy mighty works; but, when we saw thee crucified and slain, and the powers of darkness triumphing over thee, our hopes were as the giving up of the ghost. And we are overjoyed to hear that thou hast ascended on high, that thou hast led captivity captive, that thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
Thou hast received gifts. When Christ came down to earth, in order to die for us, and by his death to subdue our enemies, he emptied himself. Now he is invested with all authority and power to bestow blessings, grace, and glory, on the sons of men,
It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. All power in heaven and earth is given into his hand; and he no sooner received the power, than he distributed the blessings. “Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear,” Acts ii. 33. He has shed abroad miracles and graces in abundance, among the inhabitants of the lower world. The triumphs of majesty must håve some mercy in them, and ensigns of victory must be interwoven with signal displays of bounty and grace.
When he led captivity captive, he received gifts for men. The great Captain of our salvation, our all-conquering Redeemer, was not so elevated with the pomp his triumphs, as to forget the captives that he