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erful opposition to all that is morally good is another part of this wisdom. The doctrine of human depravity, however melancholy, is evident both from scripture and observation. All who read their bibles are taught, and all who consult their own inclinations must feel that “ the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; that the imaginations of the thoughts of the heart are only evil continually.” This part of the wisdom of God is also a mystery.The very mode by which transgression entered the world is unaccountable to us. We cannot conceive how Adam, who had perfect knowledge in his understanding and integrity in his heart,could yield to the tem tation ; how a rational being, who was acquainted with the perfections of God, and completely happy in his enjoyment, would believe the suggestions of a serpent in opposition to the direct, positive command of his Creator and Lord. That sin should be admitted into the moral world is altogether mysterious to us: Jehovah could as easily have established all the angels in their first estate, as a part of them; he could as easily have fortified Adam against the insinuations of Satan, as restore him after he had fallen. We know also that sin is dishonoring to God, offensive to his holiness, provoking to his justice, and exposes to misery those creatures which he formed holy and happy.-But although the manner by which transgression obtained admission be mysterious,
yet the fact itself is true, and should be freely spoken. To offer salvation through the Son of God without endeavoring to convince men of sin, would be like presenting medicine to one who imagined himself in perfect health, or reaching forth alms to the man who conceited himself to be rich and encreased with goods. The disease inust be shewn, before the healing balın need be offered, or will be accepted; men must be convinced that they are spiritually poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked, before they will come to the market of free grace, or embrace the unsearchable riches of Jesus the Mediator.
4. The manifestation of the Eternal Son in human nature, and his suffering as a propitiation for our sin, may be pronounced an important part of this wisdom. We believe and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. The union of our nature to the divine in the person of Immanuel ; his substitution in our room ; his suffering for our offences, and rising again for our justification, form a chief part of this counsel of God. The apostle preached first of all, and last of all, considered it as the alpha and omega of all his adıninistrations, that Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and rose again the third day. This doctrine is also mysterious. What is his name, or what is his Son's name, if thou canst tell ? Prophets and apostles, inspired men and unsinning angels, in contemplating the incarnation of the
Son of God, pronounce it the glory that excelleth ; that “ he who was Eternal should be made in time, the Infinite should become finite, the Immortal should become mortal, and yet continue Eternal, Immortal and Infinite, is an expression of wisdom and goodness, in which God will be adored and glorified through eternity.” The evangelic Isaiah, foretelling his appearance in the flesh, announces his name to be WONDERFUL, containing natures so utterly distinct and immensely different that language can neither express, nor imagination conceive it. An apostle, inspired with a more abundant measure of the illuminating spirit, exclaims, without controversy,great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the
flesh. But this part of the divine wisdom, however mysterious, must be openly proclaimed. The advent of the Messiah into our world, and our redemption through his cross, are so interwoven with every page of revelation that to overlook them would be virtually to shun declaring the whole counsel of God. All the divine decrees from eternity, the sacrifices which bled on ten thousand altars from the foundation of the world, all the prophecies of the old testament and promises of the new, pointed either immediately or remotely to the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follon. Immanuel, God man, the wisdom, the righteousness, the sanctification, the redemption, the advocate of his people,is verily the alpha and Orieda
rier stone on which the church is founded, but the top stone which binds together each part of this celestial building. Woe to that preacher who does not make “ this wisdom of God in a mystery,” Jesus in his atonement and intercession, the beginning and ending of every discourse : Woe to that hearer who does not rejoice in him as all his salvation and all his desire. Better for both of them they had never been born.
5. Our sanctification by the power of divine grace, and our progress to perfection amidst ten thousand discouragements, is another part of this wisdom. The Spirit Jehovah is uniformly set forth as the great agent renewing the election of grace, and preparing them for the service of God, and the enjoyment of glory. They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God. We are changed into the same image with Christ the first born, from glory to glory as by the Lord the Spirit. As he finished the natural world at the creation of all things, moved upon the waters, rendered them productive, causing them to abound with innumerable varieties of fish, he, as an almighty agent, finishes the spiritual creation, he breathes upon the soul which has lain in darkness and death, and raises it to spiritual and immortal life ; he infuses new light into the understanding, new love into the heart, new desires into the affections: in short, he renews the whole spirit, and soul, and body, and sanctifies them
as a living temple for himself. They are his workmanship, each member of the inner man is as really formed by his omnipotent operations as the members of the outerman, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. This part of the divine wisdom is also a mystery. We cannot comprehend the mode of our natural generation; we cannot conceive how the bones grow in the womb of her that is with child: much less can we comprehend the mode of our spiritual generation ; how the divine Spirit breathes gently, yet irresistibly upon the soul; constraining it to Jesus with the cords of love, yet commanding it with the energy and majesty of a God.
“ He who commands the light to shine out of darkness shines upon the heart, giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” There is no violence done to the subjects of his operations, no restraint either upon the understanding, or the heart, yet there is no possibility of resisting. He speaks, and the change is mightily effected ; the man acts as freely now in closing with Jesus for salvation, and running the way of his commandments, as formerly in going the high road of disobedience and destruction. That Saviour who was once without comeliness or form now appears altogether lovely; the generation of the upright, who were formerly the object of his scorn and derision, he now regards as the excellent of the earth ; that bible which in