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experience gives us reason to hope it has | heart, which is "naked and open," without been better since, or is now. The apostle either covering or concealment, “in the sight Paul has assured us, “That, in the last days" of him with whom we have to do," Hed. iv. (a character which, it is likely, coincides This is thought uncomfortable doctrine; and with our days) “perilous times shall come. not without reason, could we go no farther. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, For there is nothing in heaven or in earth, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, dis- in time or eternity, that affords the least obedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, with glimpse of comfort to fallen man, if either out natural affection, truce-breakers, false God is strict to mark what is amise, or if he, accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of trusting in himself, presumes to plead with those that are good, traitors, heady, high- his Maker. The divine law requires perminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers fect, unremitted, unsinning obedience; it of God; having a form of godliness, but deny- denounces a curse upon the least failure; ing the power thereof,” 2 Tim. iii.-Surely, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in I say, if these are marks of the last days, all things which are written in the book of they must be already commenced. How- the law to do them;" (Gal. i. 10:) every one, ever, we see, upon the whole, how vile and without exception of person or circumstance, hateful our hearts must appear in the sight that continueth not, from the beginning to the of a heart-searching God.
end of life, in all things, great and small, to III. One thing more we have to consider : do them, tou FOOMOZI KUTO, to finish them, to do That the Lord does not observe the heart of them completely, without any defect either man with the indifference of a mere specta- in matter or manner. Most uncomfortable tor, but as an impartial and inflexible judge; doctrine indeed, were there no remedy pro
that he may give every man according to vided. For the law of God is as eternal and nis ways, and according to the fruit of his unchangeable as his nature: it must not, it doings." This was the third particular to be cannot be attempered or brought down to our spoken to.
capacities; neither can the penalty be evaded; But, alas! what can be said to this? Is it for the God of truth has said, has sworn, that not sufficient to fill our souls with astonish-" the soul that sinneth shall die," Ezek. xvii. ment, and to cause all faces to gather black- 4. Here, then, we must receive a sentence ness, to hear, that the Lord has purposed to of death in ourselves," 2 Cor. i. 9. Here, render to every man according to his works; "every mouth must be stopped, and all the and that he sits judge, not only upon out- world become guilty before God,” Rom. i. ward actions, but examines the very thoughts 19. Here we must say, with the apostle, and intents of the heart? Dare any of us abide“ Therefore, by the deeds of the law, there the issue of such a trial? Which of us will shall be no flesh justified in his sight;" (Gal. presume to say, I am clean? To what pur- ii. 16 :) “ for by the law is the knowledge of pose can any of us plead, I have not commit- sin,” Rom. iii, 20. O that we could all sinted adultery, if God charges us with every cerely say so; that we were brought to this, inordinate desire, with every offence of the to feel and confess our lost, undone estate, eye! What will it avail, that we have never and our utter inability to save ourselves! then assaulted the life of our neighbour, if every with joy should I proceed to what I have bad angry word, every degree of ill-will or re- in my eye all along. For with what view venge, is considered as murder in God's sight? have I said so much upon so disagreeable a It will not suffice to say, I am no thief or ex- subject? why have I attempted to lay open tortioner, unless we can clear ourselves of some of the depths of the heart ? but that I the most distant wish of possessing what was might more fully illustrate the wonderful the property of another. If we are sure that grace and goodness of God, vouchsafed to us in we have not forsworn ourselves, but have per- the gospel; and at the same time show the formed to the Lord our oaths, it is only thus utter impossibility, not of being saved at all, far well, that we shall not be condemned for but of finding salvation in any other way than open and actual perjury: but if we have at in that which God has appointed. For, beany time mentioned, or even thought of the hold! God so loved the world (John Hil) name of God, without the highest habitual that he sent his Son to accomplish that for reverence, we have taken his name in vain; us, which the law could not do through the and he has declared he will not hold us guilt- weakness of our flesh, Rom. viii. Jesus less. That this is no gloss of my inventing, Christ performed perfect obedience to the but the very words of truth, the declaration law of God in our behalf; he died, and satisof him by whom we must be one day judged, fied the penalty due to our sins; he rose from the 5th chapter of Matthew will inform you. the grave as our representative; he is entered There a wanton glance is styled adultery; an into heaven as our forerunner." He has reangry expression censured as murder; and to ceived gifts for men, even for the rebellious," speak unadvisedly even of the hairs of our Psalms lxvii. He is “exalted" on high to head, is deemed a branch of profane swearing. bestow repentance and remission of sins And why? because all these spring from the (Acts v.) on all that seek to him. He has
ON THE SAVIOUR AND HIS SALVATION.
established his ordinances for this purpose : riches of his grace. He shall strengthen you he has commanded his people not to neglect to overcome all things; to endure to the end; the assembling of themselves together. He and then he shall give you a place in his kinghas charged his ministers at such seasons to dom; a seat near his throne; a crown of life; declare first the guilty, deplorable condition a crown of glory, incorruptible, undefiled, and of mankind, and then to proclaim the glad that fadeth not away. tidings of salvation, by faith which is in him. He has promised to be with them in this work to the end of the world. He has promised, that where his word is faithfully
SERMON II. preached, he will accompany it with a spirit and power that will bear down all opposition. He has promised, that while we are speaking to the ear, he will
, by his secret influence, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all apply it to the heart, and open it to receive acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into and embrace the truth spoken, as in the case the world to save sinners; of whom I am of Lydia. Who would venture to preach a chief.-1 Tim. i. 15. doctrine so unpalatable to the carnal mind, as Jesus Christ, and him crucified? Who would Though the apostle Paul has written largeundertake so ungrateful a task as to depreci- ly and happily upon every branch of christian ate that noble creature man, and arraign him doctrine and practice; and with respect to publicly of insensibility, ingratitude, pride, his writings, as well as his preaching, could and deceit; were it not that we have, first, a justly assert, that he had not shunned to decommand, and that, at our peril, to speak clare the whole counsel of God; yet there plain ; and, secondly, a promise that we shall are two points which seem to have been (if I not speak in vain ? Not that we can expect to may so speak) his favourite topics, which he be universally received: The time is come, most frequently repeats, most copiously inwhen many “will not endure sound doctrine;" sists on, and takes every occasion of intro(2 Tim. iv. 3;) but some there will be, whom ducing. The one is, to display the honours, God is pleased to save by the foolishness of powers, and faithfulness of the Lord Jesus preaching, so called. Some such I would Christ; the other, to make known the great hope are in this assembly. To such I say, things God had done for his own soul. How think not to satisfy the divine justice by any his heart was filled and fired with the first of poor performances of your own; think not to these, is evident from almost every chapter cleanse or expiate the evil of your hearts by of his Epistles. When he speaks of the mysany of your own inventions; but, “behold tery of godliness, “God manifested in the the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins flesh," and the exceeding grace and love deof the world,” John i. 29. He died, that you clared to a lost world through him, the utmost may live: he lives, that you may live for ever. powers of language fall short of his purpose. Put, therefore, your trust in the Lord; for With a noble freedom he soars beyond the with him is plenteous redemption. His suf- little bounds of criticism; and, finding the ferings and death are a complete final propi- most expressive words too weak and faint for tiation for sin. “ He is able to save to the his ideas, he forms and compounds new ones, uttermost;" and he is as willing as he is able. heaps one hyperbole upon another; yet, after It was this brought him down from heaven; his most laboured essays to do justice to his for this he emptied himself of all glory, and subject, he often breaks off in a manner that submitted to all indignity. His humiliation shows he was far from being satisfied with all expiates our pride; his perfect love atones he could say. This reflection is most obvious for our ingratitude; his exquisite tenderness to those who can read him in the original : pleads for our insensibility. Only believe; but no disadvantages of a translation can commit your cause to him by faith and pray- wholly confine that inimitable ardour with er. As a Priest, he shall make atonement which he seems to pour his whole soul into for your sins, and present your persons and his words, when he is speaking of his Lord your services acceptable before God. As a and Saviour. And he who can read the first Prophet, he shall instruct you in the true chapters of his epistles to the Ephesians, Cowisdom, which maketh wise to salvation; he lossians, and Hebrews, the second to the Phishall not only cause you to know his com- lippians, or many similar passages, with inmandments, but to love them too; he shall difference, must be, I say, not merely a perwrite them in your hearts. As a King, he son of small devotion, but of little taste and shall evermore mightily defend you against sensibility. all your enemies. He shall enable you to And how deeply his mind was impressed withstand temptations, to support difficulties, with the mercies he had received in his conto break through all opposition. He shall version and call, is equally conspicuous. He supply you with every thing you need, for takes every occasion to aggrandize the goodthis life or a better, out of the unsearchable ness of God to himself; to exaggerate and
deplore the guilt and misery of his foệmer | But he has been since taught, “to count all life, in which he once trusted; and to lament things but loss for the excellency of the knowthe small returns he was able to make for ledge of Christ;" and is content to style himsuch blessings; even when he could say, self the chief of sinners. without boasting, that he had “laboured more Having thus attempted to show the design abundantly” than the most diligent and zeal- and meaning of the words, I propose, someous of his fellow-servants.
what more at large, to unfold the proposition, A powerful abiding sense of these two and point out some of those important and points upon the apostle's mind, have given rise extensive truths it contains. I say some of to many sudden, lively, and beautiful digres- them; for it is not possible that either men sions in the course of his writings. The con- or angels can fully sound the depth of this one text to the passage I have read is of this kind. sentence, “ that Jesus Christ came into the Having incidentally spoken of the gospel in the world to save sinners.” I shall afterwards 11th verse, he is suddenly struck with the re-inter, and enforce the other part of the text, flection of his own misery while ignorant of that it is indeed a faithful saying, and worit, and the wonderful goodness of God, in af- thy of all acceptation.” And may He, who fording him the knowledge of salvation, and came into the world to procure salvation for honouring him, who was before a blasphemer, sinners, and is now exalted on high to bestow with a commission to publish the same glad it, accompany the whole with his promised tidings to others. This thonght suspends his blessing. argument, and fills his hea and mouth with The tenor of the proposition readily sug. praise. And having acknowledged, that “the gests three inquiries : Ist, Who this person grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant" is, here spoken of, Jesus Christ ? 2d, What towards himself, he subjoins the words of the is meant by the salvation he is said to have text, for an encouragement to others; assur- undertaken? 3d, By what means he effecting us, that his case was not so peculiar, but ed it ? that multitudes might be partakers with him Let us, first, speak of this gracious, this in the same hope of mercy.
wonderful person, Jesus Christ. We already The words easily resolve into two parts: bear his name as professed Christians; and we
1st, A short, but comprehensive proposi- speak of him as our Master, and our Lord; tion, including the purport of the whole gos- and so far we say well. But, as he has told pel, “That Jesus Christ came into the world us, many will call him Lord at the great day, to save sinners."
to whom he will profess, “I never knew you 22, A commendation of this doctrine in a whence you are, depart;" so it is to be feartwofold respect, “ as a faithful saying,” and ed there are many now, that outwardly acas “ worthy of all acceptation;" each of these knowledge him, who neither know whence illustrated by the instance of himself, when he is, nor who he is. Though we have Moses he adds, "of whom I am chief."
and the prophets, the apostles and evanI. The apostle well knew the different re- gelists, continually with us; though it is the ception the gospel would meet in the world; immediate aim and intent of all their writings that many poor, guilty souls, trembling under in every history, promise, prophecy, type, ce. a sense of sin and unworthiness, would very remony, and law, to set him before our eyes; hardly be persuaded, that such sinners as they and though there is hardly an image in the could be saved at all
. To these he recom- material creation but is adopted by the scrip mends it as “a faithful saying," founded up-tures to shadow forth his excellency; igno on the immutable counsel, promise, and oath rance of Jesus Christ, and what he has done of God, “that Jesus Christ came into the world for his people, is the great cause that religion to save sinners;" sinners in general ; "the appears so low and contemptible to some, and chief of sinners;" such as he represents him- is found so tedious and burdensome by others. self to have been. He knew likewise, that Let us, therefore, attend to the record God many others, from a mistaken opinion of their has given of his Son; for I propose in this own goodness, or a mistaken dependence on article to say little of my own, but to lay be something of their own choosing, would be fore you the express, powerful, indubitable liable to undervalue this faithful saying. For testimony of holy scripture. the sake of these he adds, “it is worthy of all And here we are taught, first, That Jesus acceptation.” None are so bad but the gos-Christ is God. The first words of St. John's pel affords them a ground of hope ; none are Gospel are full to this point: "In the beso good as to have any just ground of hope ginning" (that is, at the commencement of without it. There was a time when St. Paul time and things, when as yet nothing else could have made a fair profession of himself existed) “ was the Word, and the Word was likewise ; he could say, “ circumcised on the with God, and the Word was God." To pre eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe vent a possibility of mistake, and to confirm of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as the eternity of this divine Word in the strong. to the law a Pharisee, as to the righteousness est manner, it is immediately added, " The which is by the law, blameless," Phil. iii. same was in the beginning with God: all
things were made by him.” And lest this tured to deny our Lord's divinity; some have likewise should either be contested or misun- wildly and fancifully explained away his huderstood, it is guarded by an universal ne- manity; but may we, through grace, abide gative, “without him was not any thing made by the scriptural truth, and be directed in the that was made.” Farther, to prevent, if pos- midst of the path of judgment. sible, the surmise that, in these glorious From this mystical union of the divine and works, the eternal Word acted with a de human nature in one person, the scriptures puted power only, the apostle subjoins,“ In him speak of him, thirdly, under the character of was life," life essentially; and from him, as a Mediator, the “one mediator between God the fountain, life and light proceeded to his and man.” To this idea the names Jesus creatures: “ In him was life, and that life Christ, which are as ointment poured forth, was the light of men.” To this agrees the direct us in their original import. The fordeclaration of St. Paul, “ For by him were mer, which signifies the Saviour, pointing all things created that are in heaven, and that out the success and efficacy of his undertakare in earth, visible and invisible, whether ing; the latter, which is the same with Mesthrones, or dominions, or principalities, or siah or the Anointed, expressing both his dipowers; all things were created by him and vine appointment thereto, and the complete for him;" by his power and wisdom, and for supply of all grace and power, wherewith he his glory and pleasure. “ And he is before was filled for the discharge of it. Thus much all things, and by him all things consist." | for the person spoken of. Col. i. Elsewhere he speaks of him expressly, We proceed, in the next place, to consider as “over all God blessed for ever; who up- the design of his appearance in the world, holdeth all things by the word of his power; “ to save sinners." And as the idea of delithe same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” It verance presupposes a state of distress, it will were easy to enlarge this way; but I shall be necessary previously to inquire into the content myself with observing this general condition of those whom he came to save, proof of the divinity of Christ, that the scrip- which is indeed emphatically implied in the tures, which were given to make us wise to appellation given them, sinners. Man having salvation, do ascribe to him the names of God, broken that law under which he was created, particularly Jehovah ; the essential attributes and with which his happiness was closely of God, such as eternity, omnipresence, om- connected, fell under accumulated ruin. The nipotence; the peculiar works of God, as image of God, in which he was formed, was creation, providence, redemption, and forgive- defaced, and a far different image set up in ness of sin; and, finally, commands us to pay his heart, even of him who had seduced him him those divine honours, and to rely on him from his allegiance; darkness in the underwith that absolute dependence, which would standing, rebellion in the will, sensuality in be idolatry if referred anywhere below the the affections; the justice of God threatening Supreme Majesty of heaven and earth. a penalty he could neither satisfy nor sus
Again, we learn from scripture, that Christ tain; the commandments of God still chalis truly and properly Man. This is indeed lenging an obedience he had no longer any wonderful! therefore styled," the great mys- power to yield. The very gifts and bounties tery of godliness," 1 Tim. ii. But that he of God, with which he was encompassed, deof whom we have begun to speak is the very signed not only for his comfort, but his inperson who came into the world to save sin- struction, to lead him, as by so many steps, ners, we have abundant proof. The apostle to their gracious author, became eventually John, whose testimony we have already cited, the occasions of withdrawing him farther from says, a few verses lower, (John i. 14,) “ And his duty, and increasing as well as aggravatthe Word" (that glorious Word, which was ing his ingratitude. Thus stood man towards God with God) “was made flesh, and dwelt his Maker. With regard to his fellow-creaamong us, and we beheld his glory;" (that tures, self-love and inordinate desires having is, we his disciples, whose eyes were spirit- raised a variety of interfering interests in the ually enlightened, for the world in general breasts of all, peace withdrew from the earth. saw nothing of it;) “as the glory of the only. Every man's heart and hand was set against begotten of the Father, full of grace and his neighbour, and violence, rage, envy, and truth.” In other places it is said, “ Himself confusion overspread the world. Nor could took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses, he be easier in himself: hurried by restless (Matthew viii. 16,) and “ was in all points desires towards things either unsatisfying or tempted as we are, yet without sin,” Heb. iv. unattainable, haunted with cares, tortured 15. “ As the children are partakers of flesh with pains, tired with opposition, shocked and blood, he also liimself likewise took part with disappointment; conscience, like the of the same,” Heb. ii. 14. “In the fulness hand that appeared at Belshazzar's feast, of time, God sent forth his Son, made of a (Daniel v.) writing bitter things against him, woman,” Gal. iv. Many are the mistakes of when outward circumstances allowed a short mortals, and wide the extremes into which repose, and vanity, like a worm, destroying mistaken mortals run. Some have rashly ven- the root of every flower that promised the
fairest bloom of success. Behold a few out- up in an obscure and contemptible place, and lines of the picture of fallen man! iniserable reputed no higher than the son of a carpenin his life, more miserable in the continual ter. "He was despised and rejected of men; dread of losing such a life; miserable most of there was no form or comeliness in him," all, that neither his fancy can feign, nor his (Isa. liii.) to attract a general regard ; on the fear conceive, the consequences of the death contrary, "lie came to his own, and his own he dreads, which will introduce him to the received him not,” John i. Farther, as he immediate presence, to the tribunal, of an was made of a woman, he was "made under incensed, almighty, ever-living God! the law;" the one in order to the other; for
Such was the state from which Jesus Christ this was the way divine wisdom had apcame to save us. He came to restore us to pointed, and which divine justice required, the favour of God; to reconcile us to our to make salvation possible to sinners.
Eterselves and to each other; to give us peace nal truth had pronounced tribulation, wrath, and joy in life, hope and triumph in death, and anguish upon every soul of man that and after death, glory, honour, and immor- doth evil. All men, in every age and place, tality. For he came not merely to repair, and had corrupted their ways before God; yet to restore, but to exalt; not only " that we his mercy had designed, that where sin had might have life,” the life we had forfeited, abounded, grace should much more abound, but that we might have it more abundant- Rom. viii. Jesus Christ was the grand expe. ly;" (John x.) that our happiness might be dient, in whom mercy and truth met togetber, more exalted, our title more firm, and our (Psal. lxxxv.) and the inflexible righteous. possession more secure, than the state of ness of God was brought to correspond and Adam in paradise could boast, or than his harmonize with the peace of sinful man. posterity could have attained unto, if he had That justice might be satisfied, truth vindicontinued unsinning upon the tenor of the cated, and sinners saved, God so loved a lost first covenant.
world, that, when no inferior means could Now, could we suppose it possible that a avail, when none in heaven or earth were set of innocent beings, without any default willing, or worthy, or able, to interpose, “he of their own, had sunk into a state of misery, gave his only-begotten Son,” John ill. Jesus we must confess it would have been great Christ, the brightness of the Father's glory, grace and favour in the Lord Jesus to save and the express image of his person, "30 them. But let us not forget the stress laid loved the world,” that he assumed our nature, in the text upon the word sinners. He came undertook our cause, bore our sins, sustained to save, not the unfortunate, but the ungodly, our deserved punishment; and having done Roin. v.
How, then, should every heart and suffered all that the case required, he is glow with love to him, who hath thus loved now gone before, “ to prepare a place” (John us! If any of us can hear or speak of this iv.) for all that believe in him and obey him. subject with indifference or disgust, it is to Man lay under a double incapacity for happibe feared we are quite strangers to the na- ness; he could neither keep the law of God ture or the necessity of that salvation with in future, nor satisfy for his past breach and which God has graciously visited his people. contempt of it. To obviate the former, Jesus Let us no more usurp the sacred words of Christ performed a perfect unsinning obegenerosity, sensibility, or gratitude, if this dience in our stead. To remove the latter, astonishing instance of divine goodness leaves he became the propitiation for our sins; " us cold and unimpressed; especially if to yielded up his life, as a prey, into the bands this we join the consideration of the third of murderers, and poured forth his precious point I proposed to speak of, By what means blood, in drops of sweat in the garden, in Jesus Christ effected this salvation for sin- streams from his side upon the cross. For
this he endured the fiercest temptations of the In the passage before us, it is only said, devil, the scorn, rage, and malice of men, and that he came into the world on this account; drank the bitter cup of the wrath of God, which teaches us, this was the sole design when it pleased the Father to bruise him, of his advent; and that, coming on set pur- and make his soul an offering for sin. His pose for this, he would leave nothing undone love carried him through all; and when he that was necessary to accomplish it. He had finally overcome the sharpness of death, emptied himself of that divine glory and he opened the kingdom of heaven to all be honour he possessed with the Father from lievers. In few words, he lived and died for eternity." He bowed the heavens, and came us when upon earth; nor is he unmindful of down” to our earth; and that not with an us in heaven, but lives and intercedes on our external glory, as a celestial messenger, to behalf. He continually executes the offices constrain the attention and homage of man- of prophet, priest, and king, to his people; inkind, " but was made of a woman;" (Gal. iv.) structing them by his word and Spirit; pre not of high and noble extraction in the judg- senting their persons and prayers, acceptable ment of men, “ but in the form of a servant;" to God through his merits; defending ther born in a stable, laid in a manger, brought | by his power, from all their enemies, ghos