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the means of deliverance from the miseries which oppress us. But we cannot know Jesus Christ, without at the same time knowing God, our own miseries, and the remedy for them; because Jesus Christ is not only God, but he is God the healer of our miseries.
COVENANT OF GRACE.
If any thing ought to be accounted worthy of the most attentive consideration, it is indeed the covenant of grace. Here a way is shown unto a better paradise than the earthly, and to a more certain and a more stable happiness than that from which Adam fell. Here new hopes shine upon ruined mortals, which by so much ought the more to be acceptable, by how much it came more unexpected. Here conditions are offered, to which eternal life is annexed; conditions not again by us to be performed, which would cause the mind to despond ; but by Him who departed not this life before he had truly said, “ It is finished.”
The word gospel signifies good tidings; and the message which the gospel contains is indeed fraught with the most cheering intelligence. It does not merely communicate news from a distant country, and concerning a people with whom we are little connected. It contains tidings of great joy, which respect ourselves. It does not rehearse the civil and political state of the dif
ferent nations of the earth, or inform us of new and better modes of conducting trade and government. It does not tell us of mountains unopened, where mines of treasure are to be found; or of regions unexplored, from which new luxuries may be imported. Its contents are infinitely more joyful and excellent. It describes to us the policy and the government of Emanuel's realm; and unfolds the treasures and delights which are the heritage of its subjects. It discovers to us at once the cause and the remedy of all our evils. It reveals whence and how we may obtain peace of mind on earth, and immortal felicity in heaven. If our share of worldly goods he little, it informs us how to make that little a treasure to ourselves; if much, how to render our superabundance a blessing to others. It unfolds the grand secret, how to be happy in every situation, to rejoice in afflictions, to smile beneath the gray hairs of age and to descend, with firm step and undaunted heart, to the chambers of death.
The Gospel is an object of importance to mankind. Unto men perishing in sin and misery, ths grace of God, or the doctrine of God our Saviour, is most interesting. Salvation to them is the one thing most needful; and the grace of God which brings the report of it to their ears, displays the glory of it before their eyes, and sets the blessings of it within reach of their hands, must be to them unspeakable and universally interesting. You who have believed the report, and beheld the glory, and received the blessings, are happy beyond expression; and bound, by every consideration, to esteem, and improve, and commend the glorious gospel, by which your riches, and honours, and titles are ascertained, and in believing which your possession and inheritance are sealed and secured. The glory of God, and compassion to the perishing, will produce in your exercise a generous concern for dark places of the earth, which are without the gospel of the grace of God, and fervent prayers and endeavours that the dispensations of it may be extended, and sinners of all nations enlightened, enriched, and saved.
Neither the worth nor the efficacy the Gospel is derived from man. In respect of worth, it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, nor the topaz of Ethiopia ; onyxes and sapphires need not be mentioned. The price of the grace of God is above pearls and rubies. Its worth is inestimable, and the inherent quality of the doctrine itself. The efficacy is not of man, any more than the worth. It is not by might, nor by power, the wisdom of words, nor the excel. lence of speech ; but by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and working mightily with the word, that the fortresses of error are shaken, the walls of Jericho thrown down, and the standard of the gospel, with this motto, The Grace of God, lifted up in kingdoms and in hearts. Who was Paul, and who was Apollos, but ministers, by whom God wrought, and men believed ? The first planted by his learning, and the last watered with his eloquence, but God gave the increase.
The lustre of the new dispensation of the grace of God is brighter than the old. Under the old dispensation, there were light and glory. Light shined, but it shined in darkness. Glory appeared, but it appeared in a cloud, and through
a veil. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness passed through a thick and gross atmosphere of ceremony, and were obscured by clouds of incense and pillars of smoke. In the new dispensation, this glorious Luminary appears in his meridian, and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines in his face with sevenfold lustre. The light of the moon is as the light of
and the light of the sun is sevenfold, as the light of seven days. Arise, shine, O Christendom; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Darkness covers other parts, and gross darkness other people; but the Lord is risen upon us, and his glory is seen upon
If the gospel of the grace of God be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. May God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine in our hearts, and give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.
The most celebrated systems of philosophers could not have benefited the world like the religion of Christ. With more appearance of ingenuity than the superstitions of the vulgar, they fall equally short of the object at which they aim. The lamp of reason which burns in the human breast, though trimmed with ever so much care, gives only a feeble and wavering light; and the greatest geniuses, who have sat down to read the divine nature with no better assistance, have risen from the task with little improvement, unable to read distinctly the very first letters of Jehovah's name, or to discover the service with which he will be pleased, and the satisfaction he will accept for past transgressions. Can the light of the stars, especially when the sky is obscured, serve man for the purposes of life? And how shall reason, obscured, as it confessedly is, by ignorance, and prejudice, and vice, light the sinner to God and happiness? The deductions of reason can at best produce in the breast only a tremulous hope, founded on probability. They must often, like those wandering lights which appear to the benighted traveller in marshy places, mislead while they seem to direct. Christianity alone can conduct to true felicity. Its whole horizon is illuminated by the great “Light of the world”—by “the Sun of Righteousness," whose beams irradiate, whose presence enlivens, whose influence gives life, vigour, activity, joy, to those on whom he shines. A single ray from Christ, the great Fountain of spiritual light, is of more use to lead a sinner to God, than all the torches lighted up by the reason or fancy of all the sages of ancient and modern times.
I must recommend to all, the incessant study of ONE BOOK, which infinitely more than all others, tends at once to enlarge the understanding, to sublimate the sentiments, to purify the soul, and thus prepare it for the everlasting presence and communion of its God. The Bible may be undervalued by the prosperous and the gay ; but to the afllicted, it is the balm of every woe. It