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us, let us pray for fuch further difcoveries as may ftrengthen and comfort us in what remains of our journey through this wildernefs, till we arrive at thofe bleffed abodes of perfect light, and love, and purity, where we fhall fee him as he is, without the intervention of ordinances; and enjoy him fully, without interruption, and without end. Amen.
1 PETER i. 20, 21.
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifeft in thefe last times for you; who by him do believe in God that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.
VERY fabric muft partake of the ftrength or weaknefs of its foundation. A houfe that is built upon the loofe fand, will foon fall to the ground; nay, the higher it is raifed, efpecially if the materials be weighty, the more fudden and ruinous will its fall be. It must therefore be of the last importance to the Chriftian, to be fully fatisfied in his own mind, that the grounds of his faith and hope in God are fufficient to fuftain all the weight he hath to lay upon them.
The life of the foul is no trivial matter:
it is our ALL. Other things may be wanted; but this is the one thing needful." The death of the foul, by which I mean its final feparation from the only fource of lifeand joy, is mifery in the extreme; pure mifery, without mixture or alloy.
To this death we all became liable by our apoftafy from God. The loathfome disease, which, if left to its own operation, will foon produce this fatal effect, is deep lodged in our nature; and we are directed to look to the Lord Jefus Christ, not only for the cure of the disease, but likewife for all that exalted happiness befides, which, commencing in prefent reconciliation with God, and the renovation of the foul after his divine image, fhall at length be perfected in the entire refemblance, and full enjoy"ment, of him, in the heavenly ftate.
That the Lord Jefus is able to do thefe great things for us, is the profeffed belief of all who style themfelves Chriftians.
The dignity of his perfon, as the " eter"nal Word made flesh," the perfection of his obedience; the merit of his facrihis refurrection from the dead; and
his exaltation to the right hand of God, leave no room to doubt of his faving power: while his own account of the errand upon which he came into the world; his free unconstrained choice of the office of Redeemer; his generous offers of mercy to the chief of finners; together with the regret he always expreffed when thefe offers were rejected; may justly lead us to conclude, that he is no lefs willing than "he is able, to fave to the uttermoft all that.
come unto God by him."
These encouraging truths, which
written as with a fun-beam in the facred Scriptures, prefent themfelves to the view of every intelligent reader. Hence thofe general profeffions of gratitude to the Redeemer, and of dependence upon him, for the pardon of fin, and deliverance from wrath, which are fo common among Chriftians of almoft every denomination.
But I have had frequent occafion to obferve, that thefe views of the Saviour, though juft in themfelves, are too often blended with indiftinct, and even erroneous, conceptions, of the great fcheme of
falvation, as revealed in the gospel. Many, while they look upon the Son as the generous friend of fallen man, are too apt to reprefent the Father to their own minds as fevere and unrelenting; eager to punish his guilty creatures; yielding with reluctance to accept the offered ranfom, and to receive from a Mediator, that fatisfaction to his justice, which was neceffary to make way for fuch exercise of mercy as might consist with the authority of his laws, and the dignity of his government.
Sentiments of this kind are not only gloomy and uncomfortable to those who entertain them; but have likewise a most pernicious tendency in other refpects. They thwart the very defign of Christ's coming into the world; of whom it is expressly faid, that "he fuffered, the juft for the un"just, that he might bring us to God." It was not that our regard fhould terminate in his own perfon as Mediator; but that through him they should ascend to the eternal Father, who "fo loved the world, that " he gave his only begotten Son, that who"foever believeth in him, might not perish,