Page images
PDF
EPUB

bring us to God." Do you ask, Why God spared not his own son ? The answer is, That he might spare us: he delivered him up to temporal sufferings, that we might be delivered from everlasting punisbment: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in bim, might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Do you ask again, Who may lay claim to the benefit of this gift? I readily answer, Every child of Adam without exception, who feels his need of a Saviour, and is willing to accept him as he is offered in the gospel. The death, as well as the birth of Christ, " is good tidings of great joy unto all people;' to Gentiles as well as to Jews; to men of all kindreds, nations, and languages; to sinners of all sorts, the vilest not excepted; “ He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.Every labouring and heavyladen sinner is invited to come unto him; and “him that cometh he will in no wise cast out.” In this sense, Christ is the “ Saviour of all men;" though I apprehend, that as the apostle, in this passage, is writing purposely for the comfort of real Christians, this assertion, that Christ was delivered up for us all, is chiefly intended to signify, that all true believers have an equal interest in this gift of God; the weakest as well as the strongest; the dejected as well as the joyful; the convert of yesterday as well as the oldest servant in his family: for the inference he draws from it is expressly limited to those who have received Christ: How shall he not WITH HIM Also freely give us all things ?- This leads me to the

Second branch of my subject; which is to show, That the gift which God hath already bestowed upon sinners of mankind, affords every sincere believer the most ab

solute certainty, that nothing shall be withheld from him that is necessary to make him happy.

The apostle, to give weight and emphasis to his conclusion, puts it into the form of a question, How shall he not give? It is impossible that he should not give; darkness and light may sooner become one, than that God should deny to believers in Christ aught that is conducive to their real felicity. He speaks, you see, in the language of assurance and triumph : and well he might; for if God spared not his own Son, but deliver. ed him up for us all, what can be supposed to stop the current of his bounty ? Is there any benefit too valuable for God to bestow ?—That cannot be : the gift he hath already conferred is infinitely more precious than all that remains to be given. Other things may be estimated, but the riches of Christ are unsearchable :' “ In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Shall the unworthiness of the creature restrain his munificence? This objection is fully obviated by the free and gratuitous manner in which God hath bestowed his

unspeakable gift;" for it is evident, that we must have been far more unworthy of a Saviour than we possibly can be of any subsequent favour: and seeing God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, unmerited, nay, unsolicited, what bounds can be set to the Christian's hope ? especially when we consider, that Christ was delivered up to sufferings and death, for this very end, that he might remove those obstructions that lay in the road of mercy, and render the exercise of it consistent with the honour of the divine government.-The sacrifice of IMMANUEL afforded such a demonstration of the unchangeable lioliness and justice of God, that without staining the glory of these perfections, he may now dispense to penitent believers all those bless

VOL. I.

X

1

ings their circumstances can require ; for what the apostle says of the pardon of sin, (Rom. iii. 25, 26.) may lawfully be extended to every other benefit: “God hath set forth his Son to be a propitiation, through faith in bis blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins; that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.” Nay, my brethren, it is not only consistent with the justice of God, to do good to those who believe in Jesus; but, I speak it with reverence, it would be inconsistent with his justice to withhold good from them; for Christ hath actually purchased every blessing they need. He was delivered up" by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God;" not casually, or unadvisedly, but in consequence of a previous agreement or covenant; in which he freely consented, on his part, “to make his soul an offering for sin;" and the Father promised, that “ he should see his seed;" that he should “prolong his days ;" that “the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand;" and that he should see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.” Of which solemn transaction we have an authentic copy recorded by the prophet Isaiah, chap. liii.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

10, 11.

What shall we then say to these things ?-Hath God already bestowed the greatest of all gifts, the unspeakable gift of his own dear Son?-Did he bestow it freely, when there was nothing in the creature to merit or invite bis love, but, on the contrary, every thing to provoke his holy indignation? Was this gift designed to pave the way for other blessings? Nay, further, were all other blessings actually purchased by the infinite sacrifice of this divine Saviour? How firm then is the foundation of the Christian's hope? With what humble, yet triumphant confidence, may the believer adopt the words of my

text, and put the question, against all doubts, all fears, all temptations that may assail bim, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?

But we have not yet examined the grant itself. Shall I say the contents of it are large? The expression is too feeble; my brethren, they are boundless, they are infi. nite: these two words, all things, comprehend both beaven and earth in their bosom; and thus they are explained by this same apostle, (1 Cor. iii. 21.) “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” And is the world too a part of the Christian's portion? Yes, my friends. But then it is the world con. quered by faith, and “ crucified to us by the cross” of our Redeemer. “ The lust of the eye, the last of the flesh, and the pride of life," are no parts of that world whereof the apostle there speaks, except it be in this sense, that they are subdued and mortified. Christ did pot submit to hunger and thirst that we might riot in luxury; he did not become poor that we might possess great estates; he did not stoop to ignominy and to death, that we might be dignified with worldly honours. These are not included among the all things in my text. The truth is, they hardly deserve the name of things; they are mere ciphers, the creatures of opinion and fancy, which have no significancy, no price, but what mistake and delusion have wantonly set upon them. Our inheritance then is not diminished when all these are left out; nor hath the Christian any inducement to vitiate his charter, by interlining it with those carnal additions which a vain imagination is too apt to suggest. With Christ he hath all things which are subservient to the purposes for which Christ was delivered : pardon to remove his guilt; grace to aid him in the performance of duty ; comfort to sapport him under the pressure of affliction; every needful supply during his journey through this world, and immortal life and happiness in the next. Hath not the Christian then “ a goodly heritage," who hath God and the creature, grace and glory, time and eternity ; who is safe among enemies as well as among friends; who lives in communion with God on earth, and shall dwell with him in heaven for evermore ? Say, O Christians, hath such a man reason to complain of his portion ?

But let it be observed, that all these things are given with Christ: his person and his benefits can never be divided. This is the order which God bath established; --He first gives us his own Son: and when that unspeakable gift is thankfully received, then, togetber with his Son, he freely gives us all other things. But without bim, we have no right to any thing we possess; the food we eat, the raiment we put on, are not ours; we are usurpers, we are robbers; and as such, shall be se. verely reckoned with at last.-This shall be the condemnation of unbelievers at the great day, that they fraudulently seized upon their Master's goods, and re. jected the Saviour, through whom alone they could have obtained a righteous title to them : and their condemnation shall be the heavier upon this account, that the Saviour was in their offer, and with him a full right to every benefit they enjoyed. Think of this, ye who forget God, and have hitherto turned a deaf ear to the calls of his

grace.--And, Let those who have complied with the gospel-invita. tion, and thankfully accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, take comfort from what has been spoken upon this sub.

« PreviousContinue »