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from this mass of incumbrances, and to realize the idea which the text gives us of a Christian, that he is one "bought with a price," not only a creature who belongs to his Creator by right of creation, but a sinner bought back from a state of bondage and of death, at the highest ransom which the infinite God could bestow.
The word of God reveals to us but little of what took place before the creation of our own world, for there is little that it can profit us to know. But one thing we know, that there was rebellion and apostacy in heaven, and that to those rebels and apostates no mercy was extended. "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto
judgment."* In process of time he created man to be the lord of this lower world, created him to be a holy and a happy being, and to find his highest glory and joy in honouring, loving, and serving his
2 Pet. ii. 4.
Creator. What can any being call his own, if that be not so which he has called out of nothing into existence? Literally speaking, none but God can do this. But a created being can call his fellow out of comparative nothingness into a sphere of dignity and importance, and even the human benefactor considers the object of his kindness in some sort his own. The minion of a man of power is called his creature, and as such, he expects from him implicit obedience and subservience to his wishes. He has made him what he is in the scale of society, and if he refuse to subserve his purposes, if he can no longer reckon the man's services as his own, upon he will fling him back to the nothingness from whence he took him; or if he cannot do that, will upbraid him with his ingratitude and faithlessness.
How much more right had the Sovereign Creator of all things to consider man as his own, and to expect from him the homage of affectionate and reverential ser
vice! All things in creation belonged to him, but man was his by right of a special claim; for he made him in his own image, and formed him for a representative of himself. In so doing, he at once conferred upon him the highest dignity of which a creature is capable, and imposed upon him the most solemn responsibility to which an accountable being can be liable. What an honour, to be permitted to wear the likeness of Deity! and what a trust, to have to reflect that likeness to an admiring universe! Such was man as he came out of the hands of his Maker. He was endowed with an understanding to know, with a will to choose, with affections to love; and while the proper exercise of these powers and feelings ensured the purest happiness to the creature, was it too much that the Creator counted them all his own; and that he should say to the creatures of his hands, "Ye are not your own, wherefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's?" The claim I have
you is not that of a master upon his slave, but that of a father upon his child. Your subjection to me frees you from bondage to all other masters, and "my yoke is easy and my burden light." It would seem almost impossible for any claim to be established, at the same time, more forcible and more endearing than this. Yet the Apostle makes mention of one: "Ye are bought with a price." The Apostle, indeed, does not expressly name the price. He felt that it was too well-known, and ought to be too well-remembered, that it should be needful for him to name it; and his silence is far more expressive than the strongest language. It betokens an unspeakable gift." We know, my brethren, and let it be our endeavour to remember, that that price was the precious blood of his own dear Son. I need not dwell upon the nature and circumstances of that change which made such a sacrifice needful. 66 By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin."
He yielded to the temptation of that prince of darkness, who had been the prime mover of rebellion in heaven; and the whole human race was brought into bondage to satan "through fear of death," " for his servants we are to whom we obey," and "the wages of sin is death." Then did man cease to become the property of God. He was afraid for God to look upon his outward form, much more did he shrink from opening his heart to him. A spirit of independence arose within him, but too forcibly exhibited by the mad attempt of the builders at Babel, and expressed by the rebellious Jews when they said, "our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?" He became altogether "alienated from the life of God" through ignorance and wicked works. But did God leave him in this outcast state? Did he allow him to sink down into that worse than nothingness, the abandonment of a fallen heart? No! He at once gave the promise of a deliverer. He delayed the fulfilment of that promise