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SERMON III.

HEAVEN AND EARTH RECONCILED BY THE

MEDIATION OF CHRIST.

COLOSSIANS I. 19, 20.

For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell :

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, 'I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

In these words we contemplate a plan of astonishing grace, grandeur, and extent; a plan formed in heaven, but embracing the whole earth, as well as all things which are in heaven. The prin. ciples too are laid down, which ensure its glorious completion, and which ascertain our duty and obligations in relation to this great and gracious design. These subjects cannot be unsuitable matter of discourse, when assembled for the very purpose of prosecuting that important object. You, my highly respected friends, brethren, and fathers, will, without my assistance, find in these topics much pleasing, and useful, and animating instruction and encouragement. You are as well disposed too, I trust, as you are able, to supply my defects, and to receive, with indulgent candour, such plain thoughts as I have to offer. May the great Master of assemblies be present to solemnize every mind, to accept of our worship and service, and to crown every Missionary exertion with his rich and effectual blessing !

We begin with calling your attention to the wonderful design, held forth in our text, of “God “ reconciling by Christ all things unto himself, « whether they be things in earth, or things in “ heaven.” The first thing to be observed, in illustration of the truths thus set before us, is, “ the bringing sinners to God, in and by Jesus “ Christ.”. For though things only be mention. ed, it appears on the very face of the subject, and from the whole context, that persons are primarily intended, who are to be redeemed unto God. Jesus is evidently set forth as the concentrating point of universal communion, and it is not less evident, that when sinners are effectually drawn to that point, they immediately meet with God as their God, Friend and Father. He and his

ses of

Son are one, and agree in one. They can neither be divided in nature, nor for a moment be separate in design. Indeed the gospel is a minise try of reconciliation, revealing God as in Christ, reconciling the guilty to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Accordingly what is represented in our text, as the reconciliation of things, is explained in the two following ver

persons : “ Even you,says the Apostle, " who were sometime alienated, and enemies in

your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he ~ reconciled in the body of his flesh, through “ death, to present you holy and unblameable, “ and unreprovable in his sight.” In the whole scheme of redemption, the Father and Son are ever conjoined in the closest and most intimate manner, so that we are no sooner united to the one, than we are with equal favour and effect connected with the other. The Son was sent, and came for our salvation. He came, that, by his appointed voluntary and accepted mediation, he might restore us to the forfeited favour, the lost image, and eternal fellowship of God, as his Father, and our Father, his God, and our God. What else, or less, can be meant by the Apostle's assertion, Eph. i. 6,7--that, “ To the praise of

the glory of the grace of God, he hath made is us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have

redemption through his blood, the forgiveness “ of our sins, according to the riches of his

grace;" compared with chap. ii. 13, 18, where he states this design and effect of the Christian scheme in these words, “ Now in Christ Jesus,

ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh

by the blood of Christ; for through him we “ have access by one Spirit unto the Father?!

The first thing then presented to us in our text as the declared intention, and certain effect of the gospel, in every individual, and in all who receive it truly, is their recovery of the Divine image and friendship by Jesus Christ; “ For “ though he knew no sin, he was made sin for “ us, that we might be made the righteousness u of God in him. Though he was the holy One, and the just, he suffered for us the unjust, that “ he might bring us unto God;" not only by his imputed righteousness, but by the communication of his sanctifying grace.

He not only gave himself for our sins, as an offering of a sweet smelling savour unto God, to expiate our guilt, but also in order to redeem us from all iniquity, to deliver us from this present evil world, and in

newness of life and character, to constitute us the peculiar people of God, zealous of good works. Hence we read, that such is the transforming de. sign and influence of the doctrine and spirit of Christ, that when we behold by a spiritual discernment, in the unveiled face of Christ, the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord; but

Secondly-Our text authorizes us to observe farther, that this wonderfully gracious design ought to strike us the more, as extending to all the variety of human character in this degenerate evil world. AU things are to be reconciled unto God. Not one, or a few, but multitudes; yea, all descriptions of men are predestinated to be partakers of this saving grace. Human nature, in respect of guilt and depravity, is one unvarying thing; but in appearances, operations, and effects, it is wonderfully diversified. Review its past history from the first apostacy, or look into its present existence and forms throughout the world, and you cannot fix on the person, the time, or the place, free from imperfection, unstained by sin, or which does not tend to increas

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