Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

devils must look at with shame and confision. The Son of God suffers, that the finner may escape; and thus mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, which are never to meet upon those apoftate fpirits, meet and embrace upon the cross of Christ; and God appears infinitely just, as well as infinitely gracious, when he justifies those who believe in Jesus.

In short, all the attempts of Satan to impair or darken the glory of God, serve only to furnish out a theatre for the more illustrious display of it. He pulls down his kingdom with his own hands, and builds up

that which he meant to overturn. It is impossible to know with certainty what views he had of the Messiah; but it is plain, that he thought his death would bring great advantage to himself. He very probably hoped, that by this horrid deed, God would be provoked finally to abandon the human kind. The Jews were the only fociety of true worshippers upon earth, the people whom God had chosen for his peculiar inheritance; and if their charter could be broken, by their ungrateful rejec

tion, and barbarous murder, of their longpromised King, then of course they would fall to his share ; and so the whole world would become his own, and God have no tribute of praise from men. But, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Here again Satan is caught in his own snare; and by seeking to enlarge his kingdom, saps the foundation of it. Christ being lifted up on the cross, draws all men unto him. The covenant of peculiarity doth indeed cease; but then it is succeeded by a better and more extensive one. The wall of partition that inclosed the Jews, and separated them from the rest of the world, is now broken down; and the divine goodness, which formerly ran in a: narrow channel, now dilates itself, and embraceth a whole world, men of all kindreds, nations, and languages. Thus Satan, by overdoing, undoes his interest; by . grasping at the Jews, he loseth his Heathen subjects : for as Paul writes to the Ephesians, chap. ii. 13.- 14.

46 But now in “ Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were “ far off," (being aliens, from the comVOL. II.

T

monwealth

[ocr errors]

monwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise),

“ are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace,

who hath made both one, and “ hath broken down the middle wall of “ partition between us.”—“ Now therefore,” as it follows, ver. 19.

ye are no more ftrangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens “ with the faints, and of the household of “ God." Christ, after his resurrection, sent forth his apostles to preach the gospel to every creature. In obedience to his command, they flew abroad like lightning, invaded the kingdom of darkness on all quarters, and made an amazing progress in their own day. And we look by faith for ftill more glorious times, when the dominion of Satan shall be utterly fubverted, and all the nations of the earth shall be brought to the knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, whom to know is life eternal. Thus doth the death of Christ destroy the works of the devil, inasmuch as it displays the glory of all the divine perfections, and enlarges the kingdom of God among men,

by

by those very means which Satan employed to fully the one and to diminish the other.

2. The death of Christ is no less effectual to purchase and secure the salvation of men, in spite of all Satan's attempts to ruin them. This partly appears from what hath been already suggested. His blood is the price which redeems the soul; it expiates the guilt of fin, and gives full satisfaction to divine justice : so that now the grand obstacle is removed, which obstructed the finner's access to God, and excluded him from any share in the fruits of his beneficence. But this is not all: The death of Christ doch likewise afford the most perfuative and effectual motives to that bolie nefs, “ without which no man shall see “ God;" and thus directly destroys the works of the devil. Here we behold the frightful aspect of fin. Hell itself doth not furnish such an awful representation, either of its intrinsic malignity, or its heinous demerit. How deep, how black, must that stain have been, which nothing could wash away but the blood of Christ ?-How deadly the difease which no other medicine could cure?

How

[ocr errors]

How tremendous that justice, which nothing less could satisfy than the death of him who created the worlds ? In vain doth Satan tempt us to presume, if we duly attend to this. Here sin is made to appear exceeding sinful; and Christ from the cross proclaims God's infinite abhorrence of that accursed thing, and his resolution to punish it, with a louder and more alarming voice than even the howlings of the damned themselves can do. And then what an effectual remedy have we here against deSpair ? This is another engine which the enemy of our souls feldom fails to employ. When he cannot hold us bound with the cords of presumption, he will next attempt to plunge us into the gulph of despair, and will be ready to say to us, (as Joshua faid to the Jews with a very different aim), u Ye cannot ferve the Lord, for he is a

holy God.”. Your fins are so multiplied, and your

bad habits so strong, that it is a vain thing to think of amending now. But the cross of Christ suggests to the believer a fufficient answer to this objection. True it is, can he say, that my fins have

been

« IndietroContinua »