Page images
PDF
EPUB

acter are full of wonders, with ever fresh and increasing delight. They will spring forward, in the full employ and strongest exertion of all their powers, and make swift progress in the knowledge of their Saviour, and in holiness and happiness, without ever coming to an end. Whatever wonders and glories they may have seen, and however high their love and happiness may be at any supposed future period, the Redeemer may with truth say to them as he did to Nathaniel, “ Ye shall see greater things than these."

St. Paul entered upon this endless, progressive and happifying knowledge of Christ, when he commenced a christian, and was admitted into the school of his Lord and Master; which he expresses in the following words.

“What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord : That I may know him,&c.

IV. The view we have now had of the person and character of the Redeemer is suited to enlarge our ideas, and excite a sense of the infinite, wonderful condescension and love exercised and manifested in the work of redemption.

The love of the Father is expressed in giving his only begotten, dear Son, to descend to such a low state of humiliation, of poverty, disgrace, and sufferings ; even unto a most cruel death, to redeem man. And as this his own Son was equal to himself, and infinitely dear to him, the degree of love and goodness expressed in giving him up to redeem man, by suffering the curse under which he had fallen, must be infinite, and the greatest possible instance and exercise of disinterested benevolence, that can be conceived, or that ever did or can take place. And the more the greatness and dignity of the Son of God is known, and how dear he is to the Father, the greater will his sufferings appear to be, and the higher and more affecting will be the view and sense of the goodness of the Father, in giving up his Son to such sufferings. “ God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” Herein is love !

And the condescension and love of Christ in his humiliation and sufferings for the redemption of men, ap

he says,

steward, and has all things in his hands. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath delivered all things into his hand. All things that the Father hath, are mine."* As the people by applying to Joseph, with whom all the authority and supplies were lodged, did really apply to Pharaoh ; so they who apply to Christ and ask him, do really apply to the Father through him, and ask of the Father as really as if they expressly applied to him : For he and the Father are one, and what he does, the Father doth, and what the Father doth, the same doth the Son likewise. Therefore what our Saviour say's in one passage the Father will do; in another he says, he himself will do the same. In the text under consideration

“ Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Ai another time he said, “ Whatsoever ve shall ask in my name, that will I do. If

ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.And we ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, when we go to Christ, and ask him ; for in this way we approach to the Father, through him. We ask in the name of Christ, when we go immediately to Jesus Christ, and through him as a medium to the Father, as really and as much as if we apply expressly to the Father, and ask expressly in the name of Christ : For to ask in the name of Christ, is to rely on the atonement he has made, and on his merit and righteousness for the favour we ask. And this may be done when we apply immediately to Christ,

as really and as much as if we apply expressly to the Father in his name.

VII. This subject is suited to excite in our minds a conviction, and impress a sense of the amazing, infinite crime and folly of slighting and rejecting the Redeemer of men. The crime of this is great in proportion to the greatness, worthiness and excellence of this person, and his amazing condescension and goodness exercised and manifested in what he has done and suffered for man.

And the folly of it is great, in proportion to the greatness of the evil from which he offers to deliver us; and of the good and happiness which he has obtained for man and invites him to accept, both of which are infinite.

1

• John iï. 35. xvi, 19.

† John xiv. 13, 14.

How unspeakably great then must be this wickedness and folly! They are to us as incomprehensible in their magnitude, as are the person and works of the Redeem. er ; they are truly boundless and infinite ! They are attended with innumerable other aggravations, which far exceed our thought. How much more guilty are they who reject and cast contempt upon Christ, than they could have been, had there been no such person, no such Redeemer! And their endless punishment who persist in slighting him and neglecting this salvation, and die impenitent, will be inconceivably greater. They slight, they reject and despise God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and declare themselves to be irreconcileable enemies to him, while he is offering to be reconciled to them, to pardon their multiplied and infinitely aggravated offences, and bestow on them eternal life, in consequence of the Redeemer's undertaking in behalf of man, and obeying, and suffering unto death, for them. This serves to discover the universality, the exceeding greatness, and the malignity of the moral depravity of

Jews and Gentiles acted this out, in the horrid action, never to be forgotten, in condemning and cruci. fying the Son of God, the Redeemer, when he was in their reach and power. And every man and woman who have lived since, and had opportunity to know the person and character of the Redeemer, have been guilty of the same crime, in a greater or less degree ; as we have all slighted and abused him more or less ; and so have, in this way, in some measure at least, joined with them who put him to death.

man.

[blocks in formation]

THIS is a subject upon which professing christians are far from being agreed. They differ in opinion respecting it, according to their different views of the

50

VOL. I.

moral state and character of man; from what he is to be redeemed ; and of what is necessary to be done or suffered in order to his redemption. And this lays the foundation of their difference of opinion respecting the person and character of the Redeemer. For he must

be answerable to the state of man, and to that which · must be done or suffered in order to his being deliver

ed from sin and misery, and made completely happy forever consistent with the divine law, and the wisdom and honour of the moral Governor of man.

There are not a few in the christian world who enter. tain such ideas of God, his law and moral government ; of the character of man, and the nature and crime of sin, that they see no need of a Mediator and Redeemer, in order to the pardon and salvation of men: And there. fore consider Jesus Christ as an impostor, and all who believe in him as deluded ; and wholly discard divine revelation, and plunge into the darkness of Deism.

The Jews are so ignorant of the nature of the moral law, and their own state, that they think they stand in need of no Redeemer, but one who shall deliver them from the power and oppression of man, and bestow on them temporal, worldly dominion, prosperity and happiness. They therefore reject Jesus Christ, and hope for the deliverance they desire, by their expected Messiah.

There are many professing christians, who have much the same sentiments respecting God, law, sin, and the moral state of man, with Jews and deists; and consequently, though they profess to believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of men, they see no need of a Saviour that is more than a man, or a mere creature ; and therefore do not believe in his divinity.

Others have such views of God, This law and moral government, of the character and state of man in his apostasy, and of what is necessary to be done and suffered in order to their redemption, that they feel the need of a divine Redeemer ; whose person and character has been described in the foregoing chapter, and which they are prepared to see plainly exhibited in the Bible.

From this view, it appears that in order to understand the work of the Redeemer, the design of his undertaking, and what he does effect, we must have right views of the law of God which man has transgressed ; and of the state into which he is fallen by this rebellion.

The law of God points out the duty of man, and requires of him what is perfectly right, and no more, or less. It cannot therefore be altered in the least degree, so as to require more or less, without rendering it less perfect and good. It is therefore an eternal unalterable fule of righteousness, which cannot be abrogated or altered in the least iota, by an infinitely perfect, unchangeable legislator and governor, consistent with his character, his perfect rectitude and righteousness. This law necessarily implies, as essential to it, a sanction or penalty, consisting in evil, or a punishment, which is in exact proportion to the magnitude of the crime of transgressing it; or the desert of the transgressor, which is threatened to be executed on the offender. This penalty which is threatened must be no more, nor less, than the sinner deserves, or the demerit of the crime. The least deviation from this would render the law so far imperfect, and wrong: Every creature under this law is under infinite obligations to obey it without any deviation from it in the least possible instance, through the whole of his existence ; and every instance of rebellion tends to infinite evil, to break up the divine government, and bring ruin and misery on all the moral world : Therefore every transgression of this law, or neglect to obey it, deserves infinite evil as the proper punishment of it. Consequently this evil, this punishment, must be the threatened penalty of the law ; which has been shown in a former chapter.

Man by transgression has incurred the penalty of this law, and fallen under the curse of it ; “For it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all the things which are written in the book of the law to do them."* This curse cannot be taken off, and man released, until it has its effect, and all the evil implied in it be suffered,

;

. Gal. iï. 10.

« PreviousContinue »