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paration which is only for a season ; and do you think nothing of an eternal death,-of pangs that will never end, of an eternal separation from the very source of happiness ? Ah! surely, my brethren, if by the most strenuous exertions; if by the greatest fatigues; if by a life of pain you could obtain salvation, it were cheaply bought. But behold it is offered on the easiest terms. You are required only to look to Jesus, that you may be saved.-Which brings me to mention, in the
Fourth place, The facility of the duty here enjoined. How different, how blessed and happy is our situation in this respect, compared with the people of God under the Old Testament dispensation ! We are not, like them, subjected to the many external washings and purifications, which were only emblematic of that inward purity which the divine law prescribed : we are not required to offer up many costly oblations and sacrifices, which could not of themselves take away sin, but which derived all their efficacy from faith in the all-perfect sacrifice of
the Messiah to come : we are not, like the Jews of old, required to undertake long, laborious, and expensive journeys to Jerusalem several times a-year, to keep the different feasts and festivals which could only be observed there :-in short, we are not required to perform the various wearisome and burdensome
ites of the ceremonial law, which in our Saviour's days proved to the Jews “ a
“ “ yoke which they and their fathers were “ not able to bear."
Under the gospel nothing is required of us, but a strong and lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, --that Great Sacrifice which hath been opened up for the sins of the world, and which is expressed in the text in these words: “ Look unto me.” This faith, be it remembered, as it is the living principle of all holy obedience, implies in it a renunciation of all sin ; for it is seated in the heart, and causes its possessor to delight in a persevering discharge of all the duties connected with the Christian life. The good works which it animates the believer to perform are not only the most satisfying evidence of his being a disciple of Jesus,
but constitute the very essence of saving faith. Indeed, where there are no good works, there can be no true faith. These good works can never give us a title to heaven, but they evidence our submission to God's commands, and are necessary to train us up to a meetness for partaking in its happiness. Now, this
, operative faith is all that is required of us in order to obtain salvation.
I would not be understood by this to mean, that salvation itself is a cheap and easy purchase. It is a purchase which the united efforts of men and angels could never have effected.
But, blessed be God, the price is already paid by Jesus Christ, the surety and substitute of sinners, and the demands of infinite justice are fully satisfied. Christ hath suffered, the 66 just for the unjust, “ that he might bring us unto God.”— 66 The Lord laid on him the iniquities 66 of us all."-" He bore our sins in his
. 66 “ own body on the tree.” And hath Christ done and suffered so much to purchase salvation for us, and shall we not comply with the only condition on which it can be ours ? Shall we not be
at the trouble of looking unto him for this inestimable blessing ? Hath he done so much for us, and shall we refuse to do so small a matter for ourselves ? What would they give who are now shut up in that place where the “ worm dieth “ not, and the fire is not quenched,” to obtain a release from it even for a day? and shall we not look to Jesus to be released from it for ever? And, Oh ! how do the saints in heaven rejoice, that ever the Saviour said to them, “ Behold me, “ behold me;" that ever they were induced to look to him, who hath bestowed on them such an exceeding and eternal weight of glory! What will we not undergo,—what will we not attempt, for the perishing treasures of this world ? and shall we not be equally earnest in our endeavours to obtain grace to enable us to look to him who promises to enrich us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places ?-As a farther encouragement to comply with the invitation contained in the text, let us consider
Lastly, The boundless extent of the invitation.
Here, as on the former particular, time will permit us only to make a very few general observations.
Moses was directed to tell the Israelites, when he set up the brazen serpent, that “ every one who was bitten, when “ he looked upon it, should live.” No exceptions were made. All were invited to share the blessing. And all who sought a cure in the appointed way obtained it. No stage, no state of the disorder, made any difference. “ It came to
. pass, that if a serpent had bitten any
man, when he beheld the serpent of 6 < brass he lived.” And thus it is with the invitation in the text. It is addressed to persons of all descriptions,—of all characters and conditions; to the high, and to the low; to the rich, and to the poor ; to the learned, and to the ignorant; to the young, and to the old; not
; only to the outwardly decent and virtuous, but to the very chief of sinners. None are excluded, but those who wilfully exclude themselves.
Unlike the Mosaic dispensation, which was confined to the land of Judea, and