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price paid for their redemption is infinite. He suffered in the human nature, but that nature intimately and perfo. nally united to the divine; fo that Christ the Mediator, the gift of God for the redemption of finners, is often called his own and his eternal Son: Rom. viii. 32. “ He that “ fpared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, “how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Such was the union of the divine and human nature in Christ, that the blood which was the purchase of our redemption is expressly called the blood of God, Acts xx. 23. “To feed the church of God, which he hath purcha“ fed with his own blood.” This is the great mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh, in which all our thoughts are lost and swallowed up. .
2. Notwithstanding this, every individual of the human race is not in fact partaker of the blessings of his purchase ; but many die in their fins, and perish for ever. This will as little admit of any doubt. Multitudes have died, who never heard of the name of Christ, or falvation through him; many have lived and died blafpheming his person, and despising his undertaking; many have died in unbelief and impenitence, serving divers lufts and pas. fions; and if the scripture is true, he will at last render unto them according to their works. So that if we admit, that the works of God are known to him from the beginning of the world, it can never be true, that, in his eternal counsels, Christ died to save those, who after all that he hath done, shall be miserable for ever. “He is a rock, “ his work is perfect.” His design never could be frustrated; but, as the apostle Paul expresses it, Rom. xi. 7. 6 The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blind. “ ed.” But,
3. There is in the death of Christ a sufficient foundation laid for preaching the gospel indefinitely to all without exception. It is the command of God, that this should he done : Mark xvi. 15. “ And he said unto them, Go “ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every “ creature.” The effect of this is, that the misery of the unbelieving and impenitent shall lie entirely at their own door ; and they shall not only die in their fins, but shall suffer to eternity for this most heinous of all sins, despising the remedy, and refusing to hear the Son of God; Heb. x. 26, 27. “ For if we sin wilfully after that we have received “the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more fa“ crifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judg“ ment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the ad“ versaries." Let us neither refuse our assent to any part of the revealed will of God, nor foolishly imagine an opposition between one part of it and another. All the obscurity arises from, and may be resolved into the weakness of our understandings; but let God be true, and every man a liar. That there is a sense in which Christ died for all men, and even for those who perish, is plain from the very words of scripture ; 1 Tim. iv. 10. “ For therefore “ we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in “ the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially “ of those that believe.” i Cor. viii. 11. “And through “thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom “ Christ died ?”. Thus it appears that both in a national and personal view, Christ is « the propitiation for our “ fins; and not for ours only, but also for the fins of the “ whole world.”
III. I proceed now in the last place, to make some practical improvement of the subject for your instruction and direction. And,
I. From what hath been said, let us be induced to give praise to God for his mercy to loft finners revealed in the gospel. Let us particularly give him praise for Christ Jesus, his unspeakable gift : “ Herein is love, not that we loved “ God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be the pro“ pitiation for us."
While we remember, with abasement of foul, the holiness and justice of God, which required satisfaction for sin, let us also remember his infinite compassion, who was pleased himself to provide “ a lamb for the burnt-offering.” Let us at the same time give praise to the tender-hearted Saviour, who gave his life as an offering “ of a sweet“ smelling favor” to God. Redeeming grace shall be the theme of eternal gratitude and praise in heaven. After
all our trials and dangers are over, we shall then, with unspeakable delight, ascribe the honor of our victory to him, saying, Rev. v. 12. “Worthy is the Lamb that was “ lain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and “ strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Why fhould we not also attempt to give him praise in his church on earth ? for 'he, having finished his own work, and entered into his glory, hath given us an affured prof. pect, that we also shall overcome in his strength; that he will come again, and receive us to himself; that where 6he'is, there we may be also.”
2. You may fee from whiat hath been said, that such as are yet unrelated to this Saviour are in a state of fin, and liable to divine wrath. Hear and receive this truth, however'unwelcome to the secure, however distasteful to the car. nal 'mind. If it were not so, this propitiation which God hath set forth would have been altogether unnecessary. Let us beg of him who hath afcended up on high, to send down, according to his promise, his Spirit to convince the world of fin. How many affecting and striking proofs 'have we of this, both in our character and state ! and yet how difficult to make us sensible of it! What is to be seen in the world at present, or what do we read in the history of past agés, but one melancholy fcene of disorder, mifery, and bloodshed, succeeding another? Is not this the effect of human guilt? And do we not, by mutual injuries, at once demonstrate our own corruption, and execute the just judg. ment of God upon one another ? May not every person discover the latent source of these flagrant crimes, in the pollution of his own heart, his aversion to what is good, and his proneness and inclination to what is evil? And yet, alas ! how difficult a matter is it, to make the heart humble itself, and plead guilty before God; to make us sensible, that we are transgressors from the womb, and inexcusable in this transgression; that the threatening of the law is most just, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not “ in all things written in the book of the law to do them;" and that it is of the infinite mercy of God, that the execution is fufpended, or any hope given us of being able to avert it?
Yet this, my brethren, I wlll repeat it, and I beseech you to attend to it, is certainly the case by nature, with every person in this assembly. Every one who now hears me is in a state of condemnation, and liable to everlasting misery, excepting that happy number who have “ fled for “ refuge to lay hold of the hope fet before them.” All insensible persons, living in a careless fecure forgetfulness of God; all who indulge themselves habitually in the lusts of the flesh; drunkards, swearers, profane and lascivious jesters, liars, unjust perfons, lovers of the present world, are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and sirangers to the covenant of promise. Oh that it were possible for me to awaken you to a sense of your danger, while there is yet a possibility of escaping! Oh the importance to you of the unknown time from this day of your merciful visitation to the day of your death! What would those who are now reserved in chains to the judgment of the great day, give for the precious opportunity you are now despising! In a little time I know that you yourselves will repent; oh that it may not be when it is too late to reform ! But all words must sink under such a subject. No picture that I could draw of the defpairing horror of a finner on his deathbed, or the blafpheming rage of those who are tormented in hell-fire, could possibly give any of you a just apprehenfion of what it is to fall into the hands of the living God, unless it please himself to wound the conscience with the arrows of conviction, that he may afterwards pour in the healing balm of peace and consolation. And oh that it might stand with the will of God that none here present should escape !
3. Learn from what has been said, that there is no fa. crifice for sin, but the one offering of our Redeenier on the cross; no hope of mercy for any child of Adam, but through his blood. The typical facrifices under the Old Testament were but shadows, the substance is Christ. In vain will any go about to establish their own righteousness, and refuse to submit to the righteousness of God. Think not, my brethren, by attempts of reformation, by faulty defective duties, to be able to cancel any part of that guilt to which you are adding every day. How great is the folly and presumption of self-righteousness! What a profane contempt of the riches of divine grace! Hath God feen it necessary to set forth Christ as a propitiation through faith in his blood ? and will you say, that it is unnecessary, and spurn the offered mercy? How much ignorance is in selfrighteousness! What imperfect views must they have of the law of God, and how little knowledge of themselves, and their own hearts, who admire or trust in human virtue! Above all, what is the foundation and corner-stone of self-righteousness? It is pride, that fin of all others most odious and abominable in the fight of God. Is it not a matter of daily experience, that those persons who are evidently most loose and careless in their own practice, and who, one would think, should have least of that kind to rely upon, are most prone to a self-righteous plan, and most ready to despise the doctrine of justification through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Are you sometimes surprised at this, Christians ? The thing is easily explained. They know little either of the law of God or their own hearts. They seldom study the one, or reflect upon the other. If they did, they would soon be ashamed of such a pretence. Those who apply themselves with the greatest diligence to the study of holiness in heart and life, do al. ways most fenfibly feel, and most willingly confess, that all their righteousnesses are as filthy rags before God. ;
4. In Christ Jesus, and the blood of the everlasting covenant, there is abundant provision made for the pardon of all our fins, and peace with an offended God.“ Be" hold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fin of the “ world !” Behold the Lamb which God himself hath ordained, and set apart for this important work, and which he will certainly accept ! “ Deliver them,” faith he, “ from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." Behold the immaculate and spotless victim in the purity of his human, and the glory of his divine nature ! There is no sin fo atrocious but his blood is sufficient to wash away the guilt. Is there any finner in this assembly burdened with a sense of guilt, arrested by an accusing conscience, terrified by the thunders of the law, ready to cry out, * Who can stand before this holy Lord God! My fleth