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kissed each other*. While the blood of expiation flows, and fire from above consumes the sacrifice, a cloud of incense, rising up from the altar, announces, at the throne of God, an offering of a sweet-smelling savour. Now God can be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesust. Into this plan of grace and truth the angels desire to look. They see, with admiration, the prince of this world cast out; his prey torn from his hands; his kingdom of darkness rent to its foundation.—They see God's threatening fulfilled; his government exalted; transgression punished; and yet his name glorified in the salvation of the transgressor. Justice, appeased, puts up her sword; while MERCY lifts the wretch from the abyss of his pollutions and his crimes. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Yea, it BECAME him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings .
These are considerations which render the death of Christ infinitely interesting to a believer, on which he cannot meditate too often, nor too intensely. The very life of his soul lies in experiencing their power. The more his faith
* Ps. lxxxv. 10.
+ Rom. iii, 26.
# Heb. ii. 10,
is exercised upon them, the more will he imbibe of their virtue, and be conformed to his crucified head. In proportion, then, as it is his duty to be under the influence of those evangelical principles which a sanctified view of the death of Christ begets and cherishes, it is also his duty to be engaged in the frequent commemorations of his death. And hence I add, that,
As the death of the Lord Jesus is thus inseparably connected with the great doctrines of godliness: so, in the
5. Place, it hath a mighty efficacy in quickening the graces, and mortifying the corruptions, of believers.
Those who are best acquainted with themselves know that nothing but cominunion with Christ in his death can conquer their depravity. Their old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth they should not serve sin*. Let them declare, when it is that sin, in every shape, is most detestable in their eyes: when their desires for perfect deliverance from it are most ardent; when the emotions of lust expire within them. Is it not when they obtain a commanding view of their LORD JESUS, as bearing their sins in his own body on the treet? Yes, one believing
glimpse of Christ CRUCIFIED, does infinitely more in “ subduing their iniquities,” than all their resolutions, their watchfulness, their struggles, without it. Let them declare also, when the adversary gets the advantage over them: when the “ law in their members, warring against the law of their mind, brings them” most easily " into captivity to the law of sin and death;" is it not, when their views of his cross are beclouded, and “ faith in his blood” enfeebled ?
On the other hand; when is every holy grace most lively and flourishing? If “ the peace of God rule in their hearts,” and his love be “ shed abroad therein by the Holy Ghost”-if they be “clothed with humility”-if“ patience have her perfect work”—if hope tower, and faith triumph, and love to the brethren glow-if, trampling on this miserable world, they “set their affections on things above;” and “ press towards the mark for the prize of their high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" it is because they
“ crucified with Christ:" it is in bearing about in the body the Dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus is made manifest in their mortal flesh *. If such, then, is the connection between the cross of Christ, and the
* 2 Cor. iv, 10.
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life of faith; if such its influence on a believer's peace, and holiness, and comfort, and pre
an abundant entrance into the kingdom” of his Father; how important the duty of retaining the spiritual impressions of it! how strong the necessity of frequent, and very frequent recurrence to that ordinance which is destined to recal it afresh to our memories, and which, by sensible tokens, so evidently sets forth Christ crucified!
6. In the holy supper believers are often admitted to near intercourse with the God of the spirits of all flesh.
Communion is one of the most prominent features of the ordinance. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ* ? It is here seen that the fellowship of believers is with the Father and with his SonJesus Christt. And here the Lord not only attests its reality, but is often pleased to give them a sweet and powerful sense of it. Covered with celestial food, food such as angels never tasted, how often has the sacramental table been, to the children of promise, a scene of delight ineffable! The kind invitation, Eat, О friends; drink, yed
drink abundantly, O beloved*; hath thrilled their very souls. They can well remember how bountifully their God hath dealt with them, while they were endeavouring to honour him by shewing forth the death of his Son. They came hungry, and he hath set them down to a feast of fat things, and hath satisfied them with the goodness of his house, even of his holy placet. They came disconsolate, and he hath given them beauty for ashes; the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heariness I. They came with feeble and with fainting steps, and he hath strengthened them with might by his Spirit in the inner man. They came bowed down under the weight of the body of death; and groaning beneath the oppressions of unbelief, and he hath“ removed the burden from their shoulders.” The spirit of bondage hath fled before the spirit of adoption: Abba Futher! was their gracious aspiration. In the liberty of the gospel, they have cried out, O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant; thou hast loosed my bonds! In a word, he hath disappointed all their apprehensions: he hath dried up their tears; hath stilled the inward tumult; hath dissipated their darkness; hath poured his consolations into their hearts; hath
Cant. v. 1. + Is. xxv. 6. Ps. Ixv. 4. 1 Is. lxi. 3.
| Eph. iii. 16. § Ps. cxvi. 16.