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to truth, rather than truth itself. It must select some earthly analogy, and give an imperfect explanation of heavenly subjects, by a reference to the earthly subjects with which they best admit of being compared. Thus, in speaking of the proper nature and dignity of the Saviour, and his relation to God, the term "Son of God" is used; because the idea of a Son conveys the nearest resemblance of that mysterious union, that intimate connexion, which subsists between Christ and the Father. But yet the term is inadequate to convey to us perfect conceptions. The union is of an infinitely higher and closer nature than earthly words can describe, or human imagination can conceive. And a great part of the errors of man arises from this source, that he judges of God by earthly ideas, and tries his ways by the scanty conceptions of worldly reason. Vain and foolish proceeding! Every thing relating to God, every thing relating to the ways of God, mocks all the efforts of man's understanding. We cannot form a clear judgment of any one of his attributes, or fully comprehend any of his actions. His ways are in the great deep, and his judgments past finding out. Let us, then, when we approach our present subject; one which treats of the very highest and most solemn transaction between God and man: one, confessedly, which has no parallel by which it can be judged, and must therefore rest solely upon its own basis: let us divest our minds of all narrow, partial, grovelling ideas derived from the earth on which we tread, and the poor fallen creatures by whom we are surrounded, and elevate our thoughts to the majesty of God, the sublimity of his attributes, and the glory of his Son. Then we shall see that such was the awful holiness of God, that he thought it right to display that holiness in the most illustrious manner, by making his own Son suffer death as an expiation for sin. Such was his infinite mercy that he withheld not from us his only Son, but gave him up to be the propitiation for our sins. He treats him as the representative of the human race. The Son takes
upon him their nature: he bears in his own body their sins: he voluntarily suffers for their sakes: and God, in accepting what he suffered, accepts them also; pardons, for his sake, their transgression; receives them into his favour, as the redeemed of his Son; and blesses them with infinite and eternal blessings, on account of their relation to him. With him they are raised from death; through him they are translated to heaven. Sanctified by him, their prayers are heard and their imperfect repentance accepted. Through him all mercy, life, and pardon, in a word, all blessings, are dispensed to sinful
In addressing you, my beloved brethren, I must address you as sinners in the sight of God. In this point we all agree: we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. It becomes us, then, seriously to inquire in what mode it will please God to pardon our sins, and restore us to his favour. Here the question is not what steps we may think the most proper to be taken in order to make our peace with God, but what is the way which he has been pleased to appoint for that purpose. The declarations of his will, not our reason, must here be consulted. We know so little of the nature of God, his infinite purity, and the heinousness of transgression in his sight, that we are very inadequate judges of what may be requisite for the pardon of sin. Think not, then, that it is sufficient to repent, and endeavour to avoid sin for the future. Undoubtedly, repentanc is absolutely necessary; and a hearty desire and unceasing endeavour to avoid all sin in future are absolutely necessary also. But the question still is, whether God does not require something to make your very repentance acceptable; something to satisfy the justice and holiness of his nature; something on account of which he may deem it consistent with his attributes to receive you into favour. Now the whole scope of Revelation is intended to shew, from the very highest authority, that this is the case; that the merits and death of his only Son form the consideration on account of
which he will pardon and accept you; and that you must, by a lively faith, be interested in that death and in those merits before you can be a sharer in those high privileges. This my text clearly shews; the whole Levitical dispensation shews it; the whole of the prophetic writings shews it. It is the sum and substance of the New-Testament; every page exhibits it; every miracle attests it; every effusion of the Holy Spirit confirms it anew. Allow that Jesus Christ is the mighty Saviour on whom alone we must depend for salvation, and every thing in Revelation is in harmony: exclude him from that office, and the whole system of the Gospel becomes strange, disproportionate, and unintelligible. Too much is there attributed to Christ; too lofty names are given to him; too high expressions are used concerning him, if he is not the grand Mediator between God and man, and if salvation is not wholly to be obtained through faith in him.
Knowing, my brethren, that ere long you and I must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, and being most deeply convinced of the awfulness of that solemn trial, I cannot but be very anxious that in that day we may be found justified and accepted before God. And I fear lest, through the pride of reasoning, or the carelessness of our hearts, we should be found to have neglected the great salvation which God has so graciously provided for us. It is not a matter of indifference whether our religion is conformed to the model God has given us. It becomes a crime of no light degree to neglect the salvation of God's appointment, a salvation purchased at so dear a rate as the sacrifice of his beloved Son;to reject (as all who neglect this salvation virtually do) the only Son of God, given as the greatest benefit ever conferred on mankind. My brethren, I entreat you by the whole scope of Revelation, which tends to exalt Christ as the only Saviour; by all the great and glorious things which are related of him in Scripture; by the miraculous powers with which he was endowed; by the agony and pain of his most precious death; by his glorious resurrection and ascension; by the coming of
the Holy Ghost to testify of him;-I entreat you, by every thing which was held dear and sacred among the primitive Christians, who willingly sealed their attachment to him by their blood;-think not lightly of him who was wounded for our transgressions, who was bruised for our iniquities. In our estimation of Christ there can be no medium. Either he must be All in All in our esteem; our Propitiation, our Intercessor, our Redeemer, our Saviour, our Life, our King, our Lord; or he must be degraded to the level of a common man; and in this case, we vainly endeavour to free ourselves from one difficulty by encountering a multitude of others which would render the whole of Revelation nugatory, and its system irrational. If we ascend up to heaven and place ourselves before the dread tribunal of God, there Jesus Christ holds the same rank and high dignity which he claimed upon earth: there the angels adore him continually;there he sits at the right hand of God, in all the honour of the Divine Majesty;-there he rules Lord of the heaven above; the keys of death and hell are put into his hands; he openeth, and no man shutteth; he shutteth, and no man openeth. Now he offers to be our Almighty Saviour: O let none here be found at that great day to have rejected this salvation!
Would you then pay due respect to the Saviour, the foundation must be laid in a deep sense of your need of salvation, and in a clear view of your obligations to him. When the soul is properly sensible of its weakness, its unworthiness, its defilement, its inability to do any thing good, it will receive with joy the glad tidings that God has provided a Saviour, even his on
begotten Son. Then will he be the principal object in our esteem. No words will be strong enough to express our gratitude to Him and to the Father. We shall humbly place our trust and confidence on him: we shall commit our souls into his hands: we shall rest with holy hope on his promises: we shall feel an inexpressible love to his name: we shall consider ourselves as no longer our own but
his, bound to serve him with our bodies and souls which are his: we shall cheerfully make every sacrifice which he requires, and comply readily with every precept he gives us. His love will constrain us to a ready, impartial, and constant obedience. His mercy will elevate our highest hopes. His goodness will gild the whole scene of life. Christ will be all in all to us. Daily shall we make application to him for wisdom, grace, and strength; and daily shall we praise him for the communication of his grace, and the hopes of his glory: in a word, we shall possess a new life in Christ; old things will have passed away-our careless, superficial, cold form of religion-and all things will have become new; and all things will be "of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." "For he hath made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This day, this all-important day, on which we celebrate the grandest and most interesting transaction which ever took place in this theatre of the world, ought strongly to direct our thoughts to the nature and end of that great event. May the prophet's view of it be ours, while with mingled emotions of wonder, love, and joy, we contemplate the Son of God wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities! With the Apostle may we exclaim as we reflect on the length and breadth, the height and depth, of the love of Christ here manifested; "God forbid that 1 should glory save in the Cross of Christ, by whom I am crucified to the world and the world to ine!" And, with the whole chorus of angels and the spirits of the just made perfect in heaven, may we say with unutterable gratitude and affection, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, and hast made us kings and priests unto our God. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Amen.