« AnteriorContinuar »
“ herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he " loved us, and gave his Son to be a propitiation for « our fins.” “God hath commended his love towards
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
Much more then, being now justified by his “ blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. “ For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled
unto God by the death of his Son : much more be“ing reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Behold a fourth reason. As divine goodness acts in harmony with every other perfection of his nature, the sufferings of our Saviour were designed to display the glory of God, as the moral ruler of the universe. There is no governing without laws; laws are nothing without fanctions. If the penalty attached to the law of God, be founded in equity, and were it otherwise, how could He have annexed it does not the same principle which led him to propose it, constrain him to maintain it? Suppose a governor, when he establishes a new system of legislation, were to issue a proclamation that whoever transgressed it should be pardoned upon his repentance and reformation; would not this disarm the law of all its terrors, and rather encourage than repress the violation of it? Is the gospel such an enemy to the law ? “Do we by faith make void the law? “ Yea, we establish the law.” We do not however on this fubject, go all the lengths to which fome ad
We would not “ limit the Holy One of Isra“el :” or affirm that He could not have pardoned fin without an atonement. Let us remember the Supreme Majesty is accountable to none; let us not try to fix the bounds of absolute prerogative. Our Saviour in the garden does not indeed intimate that the cup could not pass from him ; but he resolves this impossibility into the will of God. It is sufficient for us to know that in this way God chose to glorify his perfections, and that to us no other way appears, in which we could have had an equal display of the divine attributes. Justice could have seized the transgressor ; or mercy could have spared him ; but in the case before us, both justice and mercy are blended in their exercise ; we see the one in requiring this meditation, the other in providing it. The law is secured, and the offender too. Sin is condemned, and the sinner pardoned; and God neither beholds the iniquity, or the misery of man. These we conceive to be a few of the reasons why “it became Him, for whom are all “things, and by whom are all things, in bringing ma
ny sons into glory, to make the Captain of their fal“ vation perfect through sufferings.”
We close the subject with two reflections.
First, Let not christians think it “ strange" if they should be called to suffer. Let them learn,“ how to “be abased,” as well as “how to abound :" let them determine to pass “ through evil report,” as well as "good report :” and be willing to deny themselves and take up their cross, and follow him. The gospel does not deceive us : it informs us only of one way, by which we can reach the crown ; in this we see all our brethren walking, and our elder Brother going before them ; but we are looking for a smoother passage ; we would be children, and not chastised; gold, and not tried; foldiers, and not “ endure hardness;” christians, and not like Christ. Are the members to have no
fympathy with the suffering Head ? Are you not chofen to “be conformed to his image?” Observe his likeness ; see his forrowful features; how“ his visage “is marred more than any man's, and his form than < the fons of men.” Can
resemble him, and not fuffer ? Is it not an honour to have fellowship with him in his sufferings? Would you wish for the friendship of that world, whose malice he continually bore? Would you only have ease, where he only had trouble? or nothing but honour, where he had nothing but disgrace? Would you reign with him, and not suffer with him ? Can the common foldier complain, when he fees the commander enduring the fame privations with himself? “ The disciple is not above his master, “nor the servant above his lord : it is enough for the
disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as “ his lord.” But, ah! what are your sufferings, compared with His ? Are you oppressed ? look before
you, and see him carrying a cross infinitely heavier ; carrying it for you ; carrying it without a groan-Oh! - consider Him that endured such contradiction of “ sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint your
minds." Secondly, If the sufferings of Christ were so va. riously useful and necessary, and of such high importance in the view of God, can ministers dwell too much upon them in their preaching? Can christians eftimate them too highly, or make too much of them in their meditations, and in the exercises of their faith and of their devotion ? And if an ordinance be established in the church as a memorial of his sufferings,
should they not thankfully embrace every opportunity of attending it?
Such, christians, is the institution of the Lord's Supper, of which you are going to partake ; approach, and in lively memorials behold “ Jesus Christ evident“ ly set forth, crucified among you.” “ For as oft " as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew “ forth the Lord's death till he shall come.” Draw near, and looking on Him who was pierced by you and for you, mourn and rejoice. Draw near, and exercise faith, aided even by the medium of sense ; and of the best Object, take the best view it is in your power to enjoy ; till “you shall see Him as he is,” and joining a nobler assembly, shall sing the song which you are loving and learning now," unto Him that lovced us, and washed us from our fins in his own blood, “ and hath made us kings and priets unto God and “his Father, be glory and dominion for ever and ev" er." Amen.
THE CONDEMNATION OF SELF-WILL.
JOB xxxiv. 33.
Should it be according to thy mind ?
“Oh! that I were made judge in the “ land; that every man which hath any suit, or cause, " might come unto me, and I would do him justice.” Such was the language of Absalom, when labouring to promote and to justify a meafure, the design of which was to exclude David from the throne, and to establifh a ufurper. It is the common eloquence of faction, which always knows how much easier it is to censure than to reform; which loves to talk of the facility of government, and to hide the difficulties; which is sure to fix on evils which are often unavoidable, and to disregard advantages, in the procuring of which human prudence has fome share ; and which is ever making comparisons between long established institutions, the fober value of which cannot strike with the freshness of novelty, and the charming scenes to be found in the paradise of speculation.
Who is not ready to condemn Abfalom ?—“Young man, while the king is employed in the cares and perplexities of empire, it is an easy thing for you to