Page images

them all; Job xxii. 2, 3, 4. “Can a man be profitable “ unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto him- . “ self? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art “ righteous ? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy “ ways perfect ? Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? “ will he enter with thee into judgment?” And to the same purpose, Job xxxv. 5. 6, 7, 8. “ Look unto the “ heavens, and fee, and behold the clouds, which are

higher than thou. If thou finnest, what doft thou against “ him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what dost " thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou “ him? or what receivetli he of thine hand? Thy wicked“ness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness

may profit the son of man.” The essential glory and happiness of the Diety, and consequently of the Eternal Word, can receive no addition, nor suffer the smallest diminution, from the state of any, or of all his creatures. He was infinitely happy in himself from all eternity, before there was man or angel to serve him, and would have continued so though they had never been. How infinitely then are we indebted to this generous Saviour! with what gratitude ought we to celebrate his pure and disinterested love, who graciously interpofed in our behalf, and delivered us from the wrath of God, by bearing it in our room!

7. In the last place, the love of Christ was a most fruitful, active, and beneficent love. The effects of it are unspeakably great; the blessings which we reap from it are not only infinite in number, but inestimable in value. They are indeed almost as valuable as their price was costly. It was not to be supposed, that so great a person would be employed upon a trivial work, or an infinite price paid for an inconsiderable purchase. But how, my brethren, shall we form any adequate conception of the benefits that flow from our Redeemer's death? All that is necessary for us, all that is desirable to us, all that is truly precious in itself, is effectually made ours: Rom. viii. 32. “ 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 ?" 1. Cor. i. 30. “ But of him are ye in

viii. 33, 34.

“ Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and

righteousness, and fanctification, and redemption.'

(1.) We are through Christ delivered from condemna. tion : Rom. viii. I. “ There is therefore now no con“ demnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, wlo walk 6 not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Do you

know any thing of a sense of guilt? Does your Creator's power and greatness ever make you afraid ? Have you trembled at the approach of the king of terrors? or of that day of righteous judgment, when God shall render to every man according to his works ? Christ our Saviour hath delivered us “ from the wrath to come.” This is the first ground of the apostle's afcription in the text: Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Hear also the apostle's triumphant assurance, Rom.

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of “God's elect? It is God that justifieth : who is he that “ condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is “ risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who " also maketh intercession for us."

(2.) Through Christ the believer is assured, that he shall receive every thing that is necessary for him in his passage through the world. The Spirit is purchased and bestowed to lead him into all truth, and to fanctify him wholly. Christ did not satisfy himself with cancelling our guilt, but made effectual provision for the renovation of our nature. The Spirit is also given as a spirit of consolation. He is styled the Comforter, who shall abide with us fore

Without enlarging at this time on the comforts of the gospel, they are sufficiently commended in the following words of the apostle, Phil. iv. 7. “ And the

“ And the peace of “ God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your “ hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” To these add a sanctified providence. As many as are reconciled to God through Christ, may rest satisfied that all things shall work together for their good. The most opposite events, prosperity and adversity, health and sickness, honor and reproach, nay, every thing without exception, shall be fubservient to their interest: 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22, 23. “For all “ things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas,


a 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.”

(3.) Through Christ the believer is entitled to everlasting glory and happiness in the enjoyment of God to all eternity. This was among the last things he told his disciples before he left the world : John xiv. 2, 3. “ In my “ Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I “ would have told you : I go to prepare a place for you. “ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come “ again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, “ there ye may be also." You are this day to commemorate your Redeemer, who died once upon a cross, but who has now been many ages upon a throne: Rev. i. 18. “ I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am " alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell “ and death.” He is able to make his faithful disciples more than conquerors over all their spiritual enemies; or, as it is expressed in the passage where the text lies, he will make them kings and priests to God and his Father. In the passage immediately preceding the text, he is called the first begotten from the dead ; and elsewhere we are told, that the order of the resurrection is, “ Christ the first “ fruits, and afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming."

It shall both finish and illustrate his love when he shall raise them that seep in the dust; when he “ shall

change their vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like

unto his own glorious body, according to the working “ whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” At present, how imperfect are our discoveries? how weak and feeble our conceptions ? how cold and languid our affections! Now we “ see through a glass darkly, but " then face to face.” Ohow joyful to every believer the deliverance from a state of suffering, temptation and fin, and the possession of perfect holiness and unchangeabie happiness! And O how great the opposition of the future to the present state! No more struggling with the evils of life: No more perplexity or anxious care for food and raiment; no more disfress from fickness or pain; no prisons nor oppressors there; no liars nor slanderers there; no complaints of an evil heart there, but the most perfect security of state, and most unremitted vigor of affection. How shall the ranfomed of the Lord then sing their Redeemer's praise ! Rev. i. 5, 6. “ Unto him that loved us, " and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath “ made us kings and priests unto God and his father; to “ him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

II. I proceed now to make some practical improvement of what hath been said. And,

1. Let me intreat every person in this house to make the following obvious reflection : If so great are the obligations of believers to the love of Christ, how dreadful must be the condition of those who die in their sins! The one of these explains and illustrates the other. The believer can owe but little, if the deliverance is not great. I have been lately speaking of the happiness of the elect of God, in being freed from the miseries of the present state; but, oh! unhappy they who shall depart from this life unreconciled to God: “He that believeth on the Son hath

everlasting life ; but he that believeth not on the Son, “ fhall not fee life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” When the heirs of glory “ sit down with Abraham, Isaac, “ and Jacob, in the kingdom of their Father,” the unbelieving and impenitent shall be cast into he lake of fire, " where the smoke of their torment afcendeth up for ever and ever."

I desire to put you in mind of this, under the impression of this important truth, That nothing but the sovereign grace of God can make the warning effectual; and therefore befeeching him to accompany it with the powerful operation of his Holy Spirit. At the same time, I assure you, that if you reject the counsel of God against yourselves, your blood shall be upon your own heads. Do not pretend to say, “ If it depends upon elec“tion, and almighty grace is necessary, all our endeavors “ will be vain.” Secret things belong only to God. His purpose is not more unchangeable than his promise is faithful. Nay, though you may not be able to see it, nor I to explain it, they are perfectly consistent the one with the other. He will be just when be speaketh, and clear

[ocr errors]


when he judgeth; and therefore give heed to the exhortation, not in my words, but in the words of the Holy Ghost, Phil. ii. 12, 13. “ Work out your own salvation “ with tear and trembling. For it is God which worketh “ in you, both to will and to do of his good pleafure.”

Know, I beseech you, your own mercy. The necessity is urgent, and the time is uncertain. With what propriety may the words of the apostle be addressed to every perfon in every situation, and in every age ! 2 Cor. vi. 1, 2. “We then as workers together with him, beseech you " also, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain : “ for he faith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and “ in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold,

now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of 16 salvation.” Happy they who still hear the joyful found ! Happy the finner who is not yet gone to his own place ! Flee, flee to your strong hold, ye prisoners of hope. Consider the aggravated guilt and seven-fold condemnation of the despisers of the gospel. All that you have heard of the love of Christ serves to shew the danger of his enemies. Read the words immediately following the ascription of which the text is a part (ver. 7.): “ Be“ hold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see “ him, and they also which pierced him; and all kin“ dreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Read also this awful description, Rev. vi. 14, 15, 16, 17. “ And the “ heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together ; " and every mountain and island were moved out of their “ places : and the kings of the earth, and the great men, " and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the migh“ ty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man, hid " themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the moun" tains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, " and hide us from the face of him that fitteth on the “ throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great “ day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to “ stand ?” Mark this extraordinary expression, the wrath of the Lamb, that meekest and gentlest of all creatures; teaching us, that his former meekness, and patience, and fuffering, shall inflame and exasperate his future ven

« PreviousContinue »