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and this life is in his Son*. As soon as ever the first intimations of grace and mercy were given to sinful creatures, their eyes were directed to him, as The great Seed of the Woman, who was to bruise the serpent's head. In succeeding ages he is spoken of as God's Servant, in whom he delighted; as his elect, in whom his soul was well pleased; and that particularly, while he considered him as the person, who should be given for a covenant to the people, and for a light to the gentiles. And, to shew how great a stress was to be laid on him, he is sometimes represented as made, by the immediate interposition of God, The Head-stone of the corner, though he had been rejected by those whose office and profession it was to build up the church§. Nay, he is elsewhere described as the Foundationstone which God himself had laid in Sion, elect, and precious, a sure and tried Stone, so that He that believeth on him shall not be confounded. When he was coming into the world, the name of Jesus was given him, on purpose to shew, that he was to Save his people from their sins**. At his entrance on his public ministry, he was declared, by A voice from heaven, to be God's beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased++: And through the whole course of it, he was sealed by the Spirit in an extraordinary manner, as the person who was to feed hungry souls with the Meat which endureth to everlasting life‡‡.
Now surely, if we were capable of going no farther than this, we might rest here with great satisfaction. The wisdom of God cannot err. He is the sovereign Judge of the fitness of ends, and of means; and where his judgment is declared, we may acquiesce in it without farther debate. Since he appears to have fixed Christ as a nail in a sure place§§, we need not fear to hang upon him even the vast weight of our eternal interest. And we might cheerfully have done it, even though God had concealed from us many of those glories of his person, which he has in some measure discovered in scripture. Nevertheless, so far as they are revealed, it is our happiness to know, and our wisdom attentively to consider them; which reminds me of adding,
2. That, so far as we are capable of judging, "the Lord Jesus Christ appears, in his person and character, perfectly fit to accomplish the work to which he is thus divinely appointed," and to save his people even to the uttermost.
1 John v. 11. Isa. xxviii. 16. ‡‡ John vi. 27.
+ Gen. iii. 15. ¶ 1 Pet. ii. 6.
§ Isa. xxii. 23, 24.
Isa. xlii. 1, 6. ** Mat. i. 21.
Psal. cxviii. 22. ++ Mat. iii. 17.
For the illustration of this great argument, it will be proper for us humbly to view him, in his glorious appearance, under the title of the great Emmanuel, God with us in our nature; and to regard him as God manifested in human flesht. For the mysterious union of the divine and human natures in the person of our blessed Redeemer, is that which renders him the secure confidence of our souls, An anchor both sure and stedfast‡.
Even in the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is that which appears admirably suited to the blessed design of our redemption. The apostle tells us, that Forasmuch as the children, whom he undertook to conduct unto glory, are Partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same§. He was indeed Bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; and thus became capable of yielding that obedience to his Father's law, and making that atonement to his justice, which had otherwise been impossible. It was Necessary, that he should have somewhat to offer; he therefore assumed a mortal body, that he might offer it as A sacrifice to God of a sweet smelling savour¶.
And that it might be so, it was absolutely requisite, that he should be an immaculate Lamb. He was therefore such a victim, and Such an high-priest as became us, being perfectly holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners**. Nor was he only free from every degree of stain and pollution, but by his own voluntary consent was made under a law, to which he was by no necessity of nature subject; that he might Bring in a complete and everlasting righteousness††, By the knowledge of which, having borne their sins, he might justify many‡‡.
Again, as he was perfectly fit for this great office with respect to the holiness and purity of his character; so he was completely furnished for it by the most plentiful effusions of The holy Spirit, which was given to him without measure§§, and poured out upon him as the Oil of gladness, with which he was anointed above any of those, who by divine grace were appointed to be the humble partners of his glories. It not only descended on him, and resided in him; but from him it streameth forth, as water from a fountain. He was appointed to Baptise his people with the Holy Ghost and with fire¶¶¶, with a spirit of wisdom, of zeal, and of holiness, as well as with that miraculous energy which wrought in so powerful a manner in the first of his servants, whom he sent forth to publish his gospel in the
*Mat. i. 23. Heb. viii. 3.
+ 1 Tim. iii. 16.
+ Heb. vi. 19.
§ Heb. ii. 14. ++ Dan. ix. 24.
But is this all that we can say of our Redeemer's fitness to answer the glorious character under which he appeared, and to effect the important work he undertook? That he was an excellent and holy man, and furnished with an uncommon degree, both of the miraculous gifts, and the sanctifying graces of the Spirit? No, christians, we are very thankful, that We have not so learned Christ*. We have been taught to adore him, as Over all, God blessed for evert; as The brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person ‡; as Jehovah our righteousness §; Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God||; and took upon himself no higher character than what he had a right to claim, when he spake of himself, in his appearances to the saints under the Old Testament, as the living and true God, as a person properly divine. Here, my brethren, here is the most glorious evidence of his being able to save to the uttermost. We should dread the curse pronounced on the Man that maketh flesh his arm¶, should we repose all the trust and confidence of our souls on created power and goodness, and wisdom and fidelity, appearing in a human, or we may add, even in an angelic form. But how cheerfully may we trust the merit of his atonement, and the efficacy of his grace, when we consider him as that glorious and wonderful person, In whom dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily**. Permit me on this occasion to resume some of the heads of my former discourse, and briefly to shew how they are illustrated by this important thought.
Well may our Souls magnify the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour++; for surely In his name, we may courageously set up our banners‡‡, against the various legions of surrounding enemies. Let conscience marshal our sins in order before us, as a mighty army, in the most dreadful array; let it charge us home with the exceeding sinfulness of each; and with that dreadful eloquence, which is peculiar to itself, aggravate each as a kind of infinite evil: There cannot be a malignity of any of them, or in all, greater than the efficacy of that sacred blood, which was poured forth to expiate them. Had it been merely the blood of a whole hecatomb of bulls or of goats, of innocent men, or even of the holy angels, should they for such a purpose have become incarnate, we might still perhaps have been ready to object. Where is the proportion between the offence on one hand, and the satisfaction on the other? But we see it
+ Rom. ix. 5.
Eph. iv. 20.
** Col. ii. 9.
|| Phil. ii. 6.
Heb. i. 3.
Psal. xx. 5.
here, when we consider that the Church of God is redeemed with his own blood*. In that blood, we behold the honours of the divine law most gloriously displayed, and the rights of his government so strenuously asserted, that we can easily believe, that neither will be injured, by pardoning the most aggravated offences, with a view to such an atonement.
Let Satan appear in every form of artifice, or of rage, possessed, as he is, of such formidable remainders of angelic knowledge, or angelic strength. We know, that By Christ were all things created, whether visible or invisible, not excepting thrones and dominions, principalities and powerst. So that all the knowledge, and all the force, which this prince of hell could ever boast, even in his primæval state, when a shining cherub in the regions of glory, was only a feeble reflection of the glories of his great original. His hand formed this crooked serpent‡; and how easily can his hand crush him, and enable even the weakest of his servants, to trample him under their feet §?
Storms of passion are sometimes rising, and the floods of corrupt nature are often beating fiercely on the soul; but he that stills the foaming, and the roaring of the sea, can command this tempest into a calm. He that created us at first, Can create us anew, can deliver us from every evil work, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom¶.
Though difficulties, and dangers, and death itself lie in the way to our complete salvation, a divine power can arm us against all. While the Spirit of the Lord is with us, though destitute of all other might, vast mountains shall spread themselves into a plain before us**. Destruction itself shall hear his voice, and nature shall a second time rise out of its chaos, to wear a brighter face of order and of beauty. For God brings down to the grave, and raises again+t. And since Christ is the Son of God by a generation which none can fully declare ‡‡, by a union which none can fully comprehend; we may easily believe, that those who Sleep in the dust shall come forth at his call §§, and that nothing shall be wanting to the everlasting security, and complete happiness of those whom he will condescend to own as his people.
You will not blame me, that I have insisted thus copiously on the argument taken from the divinity of our Redeemer's person, to prove the extent of his power to save; considering the
*Acts xx. 28. || Psal. lxv. 7.
+ Col. i. 16.
2 Tim. iv. 18.
Job xxvi. 13. ** Zech. iv. 7.
§ Rom. xvi. 20. ++ 1 Sam. ii, 6,
stress he himself lays upon it in those memorable words, I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand: My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one*; his omnipotence is therefore mine; and in that my sheep are secure.
"The Lord Jesus Christ has done all that we can imagine necessary, in order to effect and secure our salvation;" and therefore we may conclude that he is able to save to the
You have heard something of the glories of the Redeemer's person; and I trust you are not entirely strangers to the riches of his grace. I hope I may say with the apostle, You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made richt. You know that He emptied himself of that original glory, which he wore in the heavenly world, and took upon him the form of a servant, being found in fashion as a man. You know that he submitted to the inconveniences and sorrows of a mortal life, and at last, to the agonies of an accursed death to atone the injured justice of God, to purchase forfeited happiness for his people, to procure for them the sanctifying influences of the spirit, and to furnish out those endearing considerations, whereby their hearts are constrained to holy obedience, more effectually than by all the terrors of the Lord; constrained, perhaps, I may say, more powerfully, as well as more sweetly, than by any arguments drawn merely from a view to their own interest, and the prospects of a future reward: For Love is strong as death§, and in some remarkable instances has proved much stronger. I might add, that having finished his glorious embassy on earth, and closed the scene of his labours and sufferings, he at length returned into heaven, There to appear in the presence of God for us; to present before him the blood which he shed on the cross, and in virtue of it to make continual intercession for us; using all his interest in the court of heaven, in favour of his unworthy servants on earth. But this would lead me into another branch of my subject, which I must reserve to a future discourse. And I content myself, for the present, with observing, that though we could not by the light of unassisted reason have known all these things to be necessary, yet now they are discovered to us,
John x. 28-30.
§ Cant. viii. 6.
† 2 Cor. viii. 9.
Phil. ii. 7, 8.