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worth and most inestimable value. Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is: "Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" Psa. 73: 25. Oh what a fair One! what an only One! what an excellent, lovely One is Christ! Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the garden of Eden, into one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one; oh what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it should be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thou sand earths. Now, for God to bestow the mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as his Son was, yet not to account him too good to bestow upon us, what manner of love is this!
4. Once more let it be considered on whom the Lord bestowed his Son: upon angels? No; but upon men. Upon men, his friends? No; but upon his enemies. This is love; and on this consideration the apostle lays a mighty weight. "God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." Rom. 5: 8-10. Who would part with a son for the sake of his dearest friends? but God gave him to, and delivered him for enemies: Oh love unspeakable!
5. Let us consider how freely this gift came from him. It was not wrested out of his hand by our importunity; for we as little desired as deserved it. It was surprising, self moved, eternal love, that delivered him to us. Not that we loved him, but he first loved us." 1 John, 4: 19. Thus, as when you weigh a thing, you cast in weight after weight, till the scales break; so doth God, one consideration upon another; to overcome our hearts, and make us admiringly to cry, "What manner of love"
is this! Thus I have showed you what God's giving of Christ is, and what matchless love is manifested in that incomparable gift.
INFERENCE 1. Learn hence the exceeding preciousness of souls, and at what a high rate God values them, that he gave his Son, his only Son out of his bosom, as a ransom for them. Surely this speaks their preciousness: all the world could not redeem them; gold and silver could not be their ransom; so speaks the apostle, "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." 1 Pet. 1:18. Such an esteem God had for them, that rather than they should perish, Jesus Christ shall be made a man, yea, a curse for them. Oh, then, learn to put a due value upon your own souls: do not sell that cheap for which God hath paid so dear: remember what a treasure you carry about you; the glory that you see in this world is not equivalent in worth to it." "What shall man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt. 16: 26.
2. If God has given his own Son for the world, then it follows, that those for whom God gave his own Son, may warrantably expect any other temporal mercies from him. This is the apostle's inference, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with him, freely give us all things?" Rom. 8: 32. And so, 1 Cor. 3: 21-23, "All things are yours, for ye are Christ's:" that is, they hold all other things in Christ, who is the capital and most comprehensive mercy.
No other mercy you need or desire, is or can be so dear to God as Jesus Christ is. As for the world, and the comforts of it, it is the dust of his feet; he values it not, as you see by his providential disposals of it, hav ing given it to the worst of men. "All the Turkish empire," saith Luther, "as great and glorious as it is, is but a crumb which the Master of the family throws
to the dogs." Think upon any other outward enjoyment that is valuable in your eyes, and there is not so much comparison between it and Christ, in the esteem of God, as between your dear children and the lumber of your houses, in your esteem. If then God has parted so freely with that which was infinitely dearer to him than these, how shall he deny these when they may promote his glory and your good?
As Jesus Christ was nearer the heart of God than all these, so Christ is, in himself, much greater and more excellent than all of them. Ten thousand worlds, and the glory of them all, is but the dust of the balance if weighed with Christ. These things are but poor creatures, but he is " over all, God blessed for ever." Rom. 9:5. They are common gifts, but he is the gift of God. John, 4:10. They are ordinary mercies, but he is The Mercy, Luke, 1: 72, as one pearl or precious stone is greater in value than ten thousand pebbles. Now, if God has so freely given the greater, how can you suppose he should deny the lesser mercies? Will a man give to another a large inheritance, and grudge him a trifle? How can it be?
There is no other mercy you need, but you are entitled to it by the gift of Christ; it is, as to right, conveyed to you with Christ. So, in the fore-cited 1 Cor. 3:21-23, the world is yours, yea, all is yours, for ye are Christ's. So 2 Cor. 1: 20, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen." With him he hath given you all things richly to enjoy. 1 Tim. 6: 17.
If God has given you this nearer, greater, and allcomprehending mercy, when you were enemies to him, and alienated from him, it is not imaginable he should deny you any inferior mercy, when you are come into a state of reconciliation and amity with him. So the apostle reasons, For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much
more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Rom. 5: 8-10.
3. If the greatest love hath been manifested in giving Christ to the world, then it follows, that the greatest evil and wickedness is manifested in despising, slighting, and rejecting Christ. It is sad to abuse the love of God manifested in the least gift of providence; but, to slight the richest displays of it, even that peerless gift, wherein God commends his love in the most astonishing manner, this is sin beyond description. Blush, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! yea, be ye horribly afraid! No guilt like this. But, are there any such in the world? Dare any slight this gift of God? Indeed, if men's words might be taken, there are few or none that dare do so; but if their lives and practices may be believed, this, this is the sin of the far greater part of the christianized world. Witness the lamentable stupidity and supineness; witness the contempt of the Gospel; witness the hatred and persecution of his image, laws, and people. What is the language of all this, but a vile esteem of Jesus Christ?
And now let me a little expostulate with those ungrateful souls that trample under foot the Son of God; that value not this love that gave him up to die. What is that mercy which you so contemn and undervalue ? is it so vile and cheap a thing as your conduct speaks it to be? is it indeed worth no more than this in your eyes! Surely you will not be long of that opinion! Will you be of that mind, think you, when death and judgment shall have thoroughly awakened you? Oh, no: then a thousand worlds for Christ! Or, think ye, that any besides you in the world are of your mind? You are deceived if you think so; lieve he is precious," 1 Pet. 2: 7, through all the world. And in the other world they are of a quite contrary mind. Could you but hear what is said of him in hea
To them that be
ven, in what a dialect the saved of the Lord extol their Saviour; or could you but imagine the self-revenges, the self-torments, which the damned suffer for their folly, and what a value they would set upon one tender of Christ, if it might but again be hoped for; you would see that such as you are the only despisers of Christ. Besides, methinks it is astonishing that you should despise a mercy in which your own souls are so dearly, so deeply, so everlastingly concerned, as they are in this gift of God. If it were but the soul of another, nay, less, if but the body of another, and yet less than that, if but another's beast, whose life you could preserve, you are obliged to do it; but when it is thyself, yea, the best part of thyself, thine own invaluable soul, that thou ruinest and destroyest thereby, oh, what a monster art thou to cast it away thus! What! will you slight your own souls? care you not whether they be saved, or whether they be damned? is it indeed an indifferent thing with you which way they fall at death? have you imagined a tolerable hell? is it easy to perish? are you not only turned God's enemies, but your own too? Oh, see what, monsters sin can turn men into! Oh the stupifying, besotting, intoxicating power of sin!
But perhaps you think that all these are but uncertain sounds with which we alarm you; it may be thine own heart will preach such doctrine as this to thee: "Who can assure me of the reality of these things? why should I trouble myself with an invisible world, or be so much concerned for what my eyes never saw, nor did I ever receive the report from any that have seen them?" Well, though we cannot now show you these things, yet shortly they shall be shown you, and your own eyes shall behold them. You are convinced and satisfied that many other things are real which you never saw; but be assured, that "if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and dis