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Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” Gal. iv. 4. · Then was seen that great gift foretold by Moses and the prophets, fhadowed forth by the law, and looked for with earnest expectation by the people of God. A time it was when he thus came, wherein the world lay in deep spiritual darkness; the knowledge of the true God was almost totally abolished among the Gentiles; they knew not God, and the true religion was dreadfully corrupted among the Jews. The few that remained were wearied with the burdensome ceremonies, that could not make the comers thereunto perfect, and therefore looked for the mercy promised unto the fathers.
4. God gave this gift in the last time, when the gospel was freely preached to all nations. Then it was, and ever since, that Chrift set up his standard in the world, to receive all, without distinction, that would fight under his banner. Thus God gave him in respect of the free offer : « He is the gift of God,” John, iv. 10.
5. He gives him, in particular, to every elect foul in the time of love, the day of espousals. This is that blefsed spot of the believer's time, wherein they match with the Son of God, believe his word, and give themselves up to his conduct. They thus receive the unspeakable gift of God; and this is a crowning mercy indeed! Whosoever thus by faith receives this precious fgift, shall receive him over again in the marriage-day, that is, when time is over and gone. Then it shall be said, « Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Let us,
II. INQUIRE for what this gift is so remarkable.
1. It is remarkable, for the hand from whence it came. It was the Father that gave Christ; even -he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, Rom. viii. 32. If a gift be valuable for the sake of the giver, then Christ is the most valuable gift, as given by the Father ; and therefore he that slights Chrilt, flights the Father also. The town-clerk of Ephesus supposed that none could but know, that the Ephesians would be zealous for the image of Diana, because it was supposed to have fallen down from Jupiter, Acts, xix. 35.; ten thousand times better reason have we most highly to esteem our Lord Jesus, because we have the most infallible assurance, that he came down from God, the Father of mercies, « My Father (faid Jesus), giveth you the true bread from heaven," John, vi. 32.
2. It is remarkable, for the persons to whom it is given. Who are they? They are' men, and not angels ; finners, and not saints : “ God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were finners, Christ died for us," Rom. v. 8. « Yea, in due time he died for the ungodly." Men that give gifts, usually give them to their friends, but God gave even his unspeakable gift to his enemies; men give to the rich, but God gave to the poor; he gave this gift to them that had mis-spent the gifts bestowed upon them at their creation. O let us fet a mark here, and say, “ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God !” 1 John, iii. 1.
3. It is remarkable, for the seasonableness of it. God not only gave his Son, but he gave him in proper season; as it was with Abraham, for whom Vol. I.
God God provided a ram to be offered in the stead of his only son Isaac, who was already bound on the altar ; fo, when the finner's neck was on the block, when divine justice had a sure hold of him, and was about to strike the fatal blow, then did God provide, and give Jesus to be a facrifice in our stead. O what a surprise, as well as a com, fort, was the promise of him to poor Adam ! and O how welcome to us should be this faithful fay. ing, and worthy of all acceptation, that God sent even his own Son, " to seek and to save that which was lost.”
4. It is remarkable, for the suitableness of it. Unsuitable gifts are not much esteemed. What though a man would give a purse full of gold to one starving for want of bread, or present plenty of food to a person just dying of an incurable ditcase ? Such unsuitable gifts could be of no ufe to these persons; but Chrift is every way suitable to the finner's cafe : “ Wherefore he is able to save to the utte : most all that come unto God through him ; because he ever liveth, to make intercession for us.” For such an High-priest became us, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from finners, and made higher than the heavens.” The balsam of his, blood exactly answers our wounds in breadth and length; it cleanses from all fin, and purges the conscience from dead works. It was contrived by infinite wisdom for this purpose, and every sinner whose eyes are opened at once fees his suitableness; for Christ is « the power of God, and the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 24.
5. This gift is remarkable, for the necessity of it : Acts, iv. 12. “ Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be faved,” What would the world have been with
out out Christ, but a dungeon of darkness, a pit of horror, a prison of misery and defpair ? Had we only heard God thundering on Sinai, and not God groaning on Calvary, then we had made the rocks rent, and the hills resound, with our desperate outcries. No man, no angel, was able to help ; nothing but the blood of God could expiate our guilt. .
6. It is remarkable, for the greatness of it. It is a gift without a parallel in heaven or in earth : “ God so loved the world, that he gave his onlybegotten Son, John, iii. 16., A greater gift than this Heaven could not give, and earth could not receive. The salvation is great, but the Saviour, the person who wrought out this lalvation, must be greater. Many-rich and blessed gifts God gives his people, but they are all little when compared with this great gift, for along with it he freely gives us all things. When God resolved to display and communicate his goodness, his wisdom, power, and bounty, he made a world out of nothing ; but when he resolved to manifest his love, and discover all his glory, he gives us to view it in the face and person of Jesus. The Sabbath was appointed for celebrating the praises of God for the work of creation ; but in addition to this, eternity is destined to celebrate the praises of the riches of his grace and glory in Christ Jesus.
7. This gift is remarkable, for the freedom of it. Christ is a gift every way free. There is a cluster of wonders in the freedom of it. These we shall · in part notice. This gift is given,
(1.) To the undeserving. We deserve no good at the hand of the Lord, much less the greatest good ; we cannot challenge a drop of water by merit, much less Christ and his grace; so that
God cannot wrong us, whatever he deny us. It is given,
(2.) To the ill-deserving ; to them who deferved death and damnation; who were justly lying under the curse of the first covenant, and whole demerit would have sunk them to hell. Yea, this gift is given,
(3.) To them that were not seeking it : “ I am fought (fays God) of them that afked not for me ; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that were not called by my name.” Christ can say of all his people, “ Ye have not chofen me, but I have chosen you.” The Father presses the gift of his Son upon poor finners, even when they are feeding on husks, and not seeking after him, saying, “ Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which fatisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness,” s sa. lv. 2. It is given, . (4.) To them that were not expecting it, or looking for any such gift at his hand. How was. Zaccheus surprised when Jesus said unto him, “ This day is falvation come to thine hcuse,” Luke, xix. 9.
(5.) Yea, it is still offered to them who have often refufcd it, who have been frequentiy bidden to the marriage-supper, and have as often refufed to come : “ Ye will not come to me, (says Jesus), that ye might have life;" but yet still does he say, " Why will ye die, O house of Israel ?”.
8. This gift is remarkable for the unchangeableness of it. All the spiritual gifts and callings of God are without repentance; but above all it is so with Jesus, his great and unspeakable gift. Where he once comes, he never afterwards goes