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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 source of life, and joy, is misery in the extreme; pure misery, without mixture or alloy.
To this death we all became liable by our apoftasy from God. The loathsome disease, which, if left to its own operation, will soon produce this fatal effect, is deep lodged in our nature; and we are directed to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, not only for the cure of the disease, but likewise for all that exalted happiness besides, which, commencing in present reconciliation with God, and the renovation of the foul after his divine image, shall at length be perfected in the entire resemblance, and full enjoy- . ment, of him, in the heavenly ftate. • That the Lord Jesus is able to do thefe great things for us, is the professed belief of all who style themselves Christians. • The dignity of his perfon, as the “ eter.. nal Word: made ftesh ;” the perfection of his obedience; the merit of his facrifice ; his resurrection from the dead; and
his exaltation to the right hand of God, leave no room to doubt of his saving power : - while his own account of the errand up-,
on which he came into the world; his free a unconstrained choice of the office of Re
deemer; his generous offers of mercy to - the chief of finners ; together with the regret he always expressed when these offers were rejected ; may justly lead us to conclude, that he is no less willing than “ he is ." able, to save to the uttermost all that, “ come unto God by him.” : i
These encouraging truths, which are written as with a fun-beam in the sacred Scriptures, present themselves to the views of every intelligent reader. Hence those general professions of gratitude to the Redeemer, and of dependence upon him, for the pardon of fin, and deliverance from wrath, which are so common among Chriftians of almost every denomination.
But I have had frequent occasion to observe, that these views of the Saviour, though just in themselves, are too often · blended with indistinct, and even erroneous, conceptions, of the great scheme of
salvation, as revealed in the gospel. Many, while they look upon the Son as the genetous friend of fallen man, are too apt to represent the Father to their own minds as fevere and unrelenting ; eager to punish his guilty creatures; yielding with reluctance to accept the offered ransom, and to receive from a Mediator, that satisfaction to his justice, which was necessary 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 respects. They thwart the very design of Christ's coming into the world; of whom it is expressly said, that " he suffered, the juft for the un“ just, that he might bring us to God.” It was not that our regard should terminate in his own person as Mediator ; but that through him they should ascend to the eternal Father, who “ so loved the world, that “ he gave his only begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him, might not perish, « but have everlasting life.” He came to demonstrate the love of God to finners of mankind: that by rendering the Father amiable to the convinced, enlightened soul, he might overpower its natural enmity; and upon the ruins thereof, erect à chrone for gratitude and love. Christ is indeed said to be “ the end of the law.” And the law, by showing us our guilt and depravity, and the neceflity of a better righteousness than our own, to be pleaded as the ground of our acceptance with God, is very pro. perly styled “ our schoolmaster to bring us to “ Christ.” But when we are brought thus far by the discipline of the law, doch Christ then command us to stop short at himself, and to proceed no farther: No; He who is “ the end of the law," is styled the way to the Father: for thus he describes his own character and office, John xiv. 6. “ I am the “ way, and the truth, and the life ; no man “ cometh unto the Father bat by me." It is God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself by the ministry of the Spirit, that is the complete and adequate object of faith: and we do not understand the word of “ reconciliation," till we see the undivided gödhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, united in counsel, as they are one in effence; and each performing, in the character he sustains, a peculiar work of grace for the eternal falvation of an elect world. .
'It is the agency of the Father, in this wonderful plan which 6.angels desire to “ look into," that the passage I have been rçading leads us at present to contemplate. And it will readily occur to you, that four several acts of grace are here attributed to him. · First, He ordained his Son to the office of Relecmer.
Secondly, "He manifested him to the world at the appointed season. * Thirdly, He raifèd bim up from the dead, And, * Fourthly, He gave him glory. - : .
Each of these particulars I Thall endeavour to illustrate ; and then fhow their joint tendency to establish our faith and hope in God.
. First, It was the Father who ordained Christ