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He knew the malice of his enemies, the perfidy of his betrayer, and the unfaithfulness of his friends. He saw the accursed tree, the torturing scourge, the piercing nails, the hour and the power of darkness,
Behold him in that unutterable conflict, which wrung from him those complaining accents, “ My soul is exceeding sorrowfnl, even unto death.” Behold him at his Father's footstool, offering up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him. Behold him going forth to meet his enemies ; receiving the treacherous kiss; stretching forth his hands to the shackles ; forsaken of all his friends; buffeted; scourged, and spit upon; at last nailed to a cross, and insulted, even in his expiring moments, with a derision of his woe. have beheld this complicated scene of anguish, say
if there was ever sorrow like unto this sorrow; and yet far beyond all this must have been those mysterious feelings of the Son of God, when he cried out “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Such was the treatment which the Son of God met with on earth, and which he was prepared to meet with for our sakes; and can we doubt, after this, of the love of God in sending him into the world ? - Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friend; but herein God commended his love towards us, in
It is here oppo
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Consider, in the
3d place, The gracious design on which he came into the world. It was, “that we might live through him.” Life, you know, is the most important of blessings, and the foundation of all other enjoyments. To purchase life, we reckon no expence or loss too great. “ Skin for skin, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” But life, in Scripture language, is generally used to signify happiness in general, and in this sense it is to be understood in the text. sed to all that misery which we had brought upon ourselves by our apostasy from God. By nature we are dead in law, lying under a sentence of condemnation, the execution of which is only suspended by the brittle thread of life.
We are also spiritually dead, alienated from the fountain of life and happiness, dead in trespasses and sins. To complete our miserable situation, we are liable to the second death, that awful death which subjects both soul and body to everlasting punishment in the world to come. Now, the death of Christ delivers us from all these evils. all who believe on his name are freed from condemnation, and obtain a right to live: “ For Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Through him we also are made spiritually alive. “You hath he quickened,” saith St Paul to the Ephesians, " who were dead
in trespasses and sins.-The old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” To crown all, through him we have the gift of eternal life, being begotten again unto the lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
And is there now aught.wanting to demonstrate the unbounded love and goodness of God? How warmly does Hezekiah speak! with what gratitude does he express himself on a few years being added to his natural life !—“ The living, the living, they shall praise thee, as I do this day. The fathers to the children shall declare thy truth. Upon a stringed instrument will I praise thee, and upon the harp with a solemn sound.” What then ought to be our feelings of gratitude! what ought to be our language of praise, to whom God hath granted length of days for evermore!
I have thus endeavoured to show you, that the redemption of mankind is an act of the freest grace; and that it is a full demonstration of the unbounded love and goodness of God.
FROM what hath been said, the first and most obvious inference is, our obligation to love that God who hath thus loved us. And is he not worthy of this affection in himself ? Has the perfection of beauty and goodness no charms to move us, while with so much ardour we run af
ter the faint traces of these qualties in creation ? Especially what are our hearts made of, if they can resist the impression of a benefit so inestimable as I have been describing, conferred with a bounty that even prevented our requests. We value ourselves, we esteem others, for their grateful and affectionate feelings. We can hardly entertain any regard for a character in which we see no marks of sensibility. Shall this defect, then, excite our disapprobation in all cases, excepting in that where it is most glaring and dious ? Shall we exert our affections with ardour on many inferior objects, and reserve none for bim whose power made us, and whose goodness has made us happy? You excuse yourselves, perhaps, by saying, that your affections are engaged to your friends and benefactors, because they are objects of perception, and you have seen and conversed with them ; whereas God is un. seen and spiritual, so that your feelings with regard to him cannot be so lively. Is nothing then an object of your affections but what you have seen with your bodily eyes ? Is it only the outward form of your friend that you love ? Is it only the hand that confers the benefit, or the feet that move to serve you? Is it not rather the soul, the heart of your friend, that engages your love? even that kindness which never fails, that sincerity which you can always trust, that faithfulness on which you can at all times depend, that sym
pathy which makes your griefs and joys his own ? Do you cease to love your friend after his body is laid in the dust ? Sure I am, none who ever knew a friend will say so.
It is then the soul that engages affection-And is not the soul invisible ? Are you not as certain of the existence of God as you are of your own soul's existence, or the souls of those you converse with ? True it is, that God is not to be discerned by our senses; but is he then afar off? Doth he not fill heaven and earth with his presence? Do not kindness, faithfulness, and sympathy, belong to his character, more than to any earthly friend? Who is it that hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee?” Who is it that hath said, “ Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me?” Who is it that hath desired us to cast all our care upon him, because he careth for us? Who is it that hath said, “ He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye?" Say not, then, I cannot love God, because I have not seen him ; say rather, if thou hast the heart to say so, I cannot love God, because that love is already engaged to his rivals. I love the world too much, I love my sins too much, i. e. I love his enemies too much to have any remaining affections to bestow on him. In the
2d place, We may infer from what hath been said, if God so loved us while we were enemies, how much more will he love us, now that we are