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tened to the bloody tree, and expired under a curse.* Was the sin for which he suffered infinitely evil? the Person who satisfied is infinitely excellent. Did an infinite Object suffer in his honour, by our offences? the injury is repaired by an infinite Subject making an atonement for them. Our sin is infinite, in respect of the Object; our sacrifice is infinite, in regard to the Subject. Jehovahconsidered our Surety as the Man his Fellow, when he smote him; we should consider him under the same exalted character, when we believe on him, and plead him before God.+Here is firm footing, here is solid rock.' In the divine dignity of the Redeemer's person, and the consummate perfection of his work, there is an everlasting basis laid for faith, the assurance of faith, the full assurance of faith-a basis, firm as the pillars of nature, immovable as the eternal throne.
Whereas, if, with the Socinians, we suppose that Jesus had no existence before his conception in the womb of the virgin, and so look upon him as a mere man; or if, with the Arians, we imagine him to be a kind of super-angelic spirit, united to a human body; yea, though we should compliment him, as some of them have done, with ascribing all divine perfections to him, except eternity and self-existence, which is absurdly impious; yet we rob him of proper Deity, we make him a dependent Being, we reduce him to the rank of creatures, and deprive ourselves of that foundation of confidence in him, which his true character affords. For we can never persuade ourselves, that the sufferings of a mere creature, for so short a time, could be accepted by the most high and holy God, as a righteous compensation to his law and justice, for the sins of innumerable millions of hell-deserving transgressors. Hence it is, that they who deny the eternal Godhead of Christ, in general deny that he made satisfaction for sin to divine justice. Thus far they are consistent, and (what they affect to be called)
* Zech. xiii. 6. Philip. i. 6. 8. Gal. iii. 13.
+ Charnock's Works, vol. 2. p. 899–902.
rational. But they would do well to consider, whether they are able to satisfy justice themselves, or how they can expect admission into the kingdom of glory, by a sin-avenging God, without any satisfaction made for their crimes. For certain it is, that He who governs this universe, is inflexibly just, as well as divinely merciful. The just God and the Saviour is his revealed character. As such, we must know him, and trust in him, if we would escape the wrath to come.
Here let the reader admire and adore the love of the eternal Father, and the condescension of the divine Son. The love of the eternal Father. For the glorious person described is the Son of God, and the Father's gift to sinful men; in comparison with whom, all creatures and all worlds bestowed upon us for an inheritance would be trifling and next to nothing. For all created things are equally easy to divine power, being only the effects of the simple will of God. The formation of an angel or insect, of a thousand systems, or a thousand grains, is the same thing to omnipotence. For which reason, there could be no real comparative greatness in any such gifts. If, therefore, the eternal God would manifest his love to an uncommon degree, if he would declare his perfections, and gratify his mercy, in blessing his offending creatures, so as to have an appearance of doing violence to himself; it must be by giving his only begotten Son, who is one in nature, and equal in glory with him-by giving him to be their Substitute, their propitiation, and Saviour. In this view, how great the propriety, how striking the beauty of that saying!He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?' Here divine love appears to the utmost advantage; here it shines in all its glory. For its rich donation is infinitely excellent, and the blessedness resulting from it is consummate and eternal. Such is the view which the gospel gives of divine redeeming love. But if we reject the Deity of Christ,
we obscure its glory, we weaken its force, nay, we destroy its very being.
The condescension of the divine Son. That He 'who was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God;' that He whom angels obey, that He whom seraphs adore, and before whom they veil their faces, as conscious of their own comparative meanness, or as dazzled with the blaze of his infinite gloriesthat He should become man, take upon him the form of a servant, perform obedience, and submit to death, even the most infamous death of the cross, is amazing! But that he should die for sinners, for his enemies, and pour out his blood for such as were in actual rebellion against him, is unspeakably more amazing! These are demonstrative proofs that the Lord Redeemer is as much superior to his creatures in the riches of his grace, as he is in the depths of his wisdom, or the acts of his power. Let all the heavens adore him! and let all the children of men be filled with wonder, and burn with gratitude! For this glorious Redeemer is accessible by, and was designed for them, and on them his power and grace are magnified.
Let the sinner, then, he who is conscious of nothing but misery and wretchedness about him, flee to the all-sufficient Mediator; trust in him as mighty to save; and divine veracity has engaged that he shall not be disappointed in his expectations. As a divine Person, he must be able to act agreeably to every character he bears; perfectly qualified to execute every office he has undertaken; nor can he be in the least deficient in any of those relations in which he stands to his people. Let us repose, therefore, the most unreserved confidence in his atonement and intercession, as our Priest; look to him alone for instruction, as our Prophet; be subject to him, and expect protection from him, as our King. Let us, as in duty bound, manifest the most fervent love to him as our Redeemer ; yield him the most cordial obedience as our Lord; address him with the highest honours, and pay him the
sublimest worship as our God. And let such as deny his proper Deity, be careful lest they perish in their gainsaying, and too late to acknowledge that He is over all, God blessed for ever.'*
Once more: Let my reader contemplate with wonder and joy the infinite honour which is conferred on the human nature in the Person of the great Mediator. For it is in everlasting union with the Son of God; is now seated on a throne of light; is the most glorious of all creatures. and the eternal ornament of the whole creation. Yes, believer, He on whom you rely, in whose hands you have intrusted your soul, still wears your nature, while he pleads your cause. That very body which hung on the cross, and was laid in the grave-that very soul which suffered the keenest anguish, and was 'exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,' are now, and ever will be, in close connexion with the Godhead. Mysterious, ineffable union! big with wonder, and replete with comfort! How encouraging it is to consider, that as Jesus is still clothed with humanity, that very humanity in which he suffered afflictions and trials of every kind and every degree, he cannot forget his tempted, despised, afflicted people, in his militant state. In himself he sees their image, in his hands he beholds their names. He feels for them, he suffers with them; he never will, he never can, overlook their persons, or be unmindful of their best interests.
Concerning the WORK of CHRIST, through which Grace reigns.
HAVING taken a view of the admirable constitution of the person of Christ, and of his qualifications for the work of a Mediator, arising from his personal excellencies, considered as IMMANUEL; we must + Heb. ii. 18. and iv, 15.
* Psal. ii, 2. Rom. ix. 5.
now advert to that perfect work through which grace reigns, and in virtue of which she dispenses her favours.
Grace reigns, says the oracle of heaven, through righteousness. Righteousness, in this place, I understand as including the whole of that obedience which the Redeemer, under the character of a surety, performed to the preceptive part of the law; together with all those bitter sufferings which he underwent, in conformity to its penal sanction. Through this obedience, grace reigns in a way strictly conformable to the rights of divine justice. By this most perfect work of Christ, the tenderest mercy is shown to miserable sinners, and meets with the truth of Jehovah's righteous threatenings against sin. Here the righteousness of God, as the giver of the law, appears in taking vengeance on sin, as a transgression of it, in such a manner as is productive of substantial and lasting peace to the sinner.* Happy expedient! Wonderful grace! But let us a little more particularly consider the nature and excellencies of this evangelical righteousness.
As to its nature: It is a complete conformity to the divine law. Whatever the law demanded as duty, that the adorable Jesus performed in its fullest extent. His nature being perfectly holy, the principle of his actions was absolutely pure-the end for which he did them entirely right—while the matter of them, and rule of their performance, were without any deficiency. Whatever the law considered as broken, threatened by way of punishment against the offender, to that he submitted, and that he willingly bore in all its severity. For he was made sin; he was made a curse. He suffered-amazing love!-unparalleled condescension!-He suffered the greatest shame, the most excruciating pain, which the malice of men, or the subtlety of devils, could invent or inflict; and, what was infinitely more, the wrath of God. And though the duration of his sufferings was com