« IndietroContinua »
ous in the sight of God. If there were not another sinner in the whole world but yourself, and if you had only committed that one sin, so offensive is it to a holy God, that Christ Jesus must have undergone all this suffering, and this bitter death, or it would certainly shut you out from heaven, for “ therein can enter nothing that defileth.” The
progress of the argument from this point, is as easy, as it is self-evident and undeniable. If the smallest sin, if a single sin, be thus hateful to God, what must two sins be? What must great sins be? What must be the sins of a day, of a week, and of a year? What must be the sins of ten, twenty, sixty, and seventy years? If one sin be thus immeasurable in its guilt, as to require immeasurable suffering, how immeasurable is the guilt of a whole life? How infinitely abhorrent to the Lord, must be our oft-repeated and aggravated transgressions ?
It is, then, at the cross of Christ that we learn the exceeding greatness of God's mercy, and the exceeding sinfulness of our own sin, and see its awful depth. Let that depth teach us the corresponding depth of God's mercy; and let the vastness of the Lord's continued mercy, and of His multiplied loving-kindnesses, cry out to us of the enormity of our continued provocations, and of our multiplied transgressions. Let us thus travel in thought between God's conduct to us, and our conduct to Him. Let the one send us back to the other, with an increased, and an increasing, apprehension of these two great truths, God's mercy, and our own sinfulness, till we see both the one, and the other, to be indeed immeasurable; and then shall we be truly able to join with the Psalmist and say, “ For as high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him."
Reader! dost thou “ fear” God? If so, then immeasura. ble mercy is above and around thee. The Book of Truth teaches thee for thy comfort to say “ The Lord has not rewarded me according to my iniquities : for according to the height of the heaven above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him :" see marginal reading.
Whatsoever amount of this “fear" you now possess, pray to the Spirit of grace to increase it continually within your breast. The Apostle says, “ Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." Heb. xii. 28. Cultivate diligently, therefore, the sentiment of holy fear. Watch anxiously against everything that would weaken it within you. For this purpose keep these two truths continually in remembrance, and say often to yourself, Immeasurable guilt-Immeasurable mercy! The former will fill your heart with humility. The latter will fill it with gratitude and joy. You will fear to offend a God who has been so immeasurably merciful to your soul. And you will also inwardly feel that you can never sufficiently love, never sufficiently serve, never sufficiently praise, so merciful a God and Saviour. Again and again say over toyourself, Immeasurable guilt-Immeasurable mercy! Let the one be as an ocean beneath your feet, and the other as the heavens above you, with Jesus near. Look not to the latter only, lest, like Peter, you presume. Look not to the former only, lest, like Peter, you despair. Look at both equally, and you will be safely preserved. Christ will come into your tempest-tossed bark : and then to the vessel of your soul the “love” of God will be as the sail, and the “ fear” of God will be as the ballast, and over the immeasurable ocean of this sinful life, you shall have Christ for a Pilot, a steady and a prosperous voyage for your course, and a joyful entrance at last into the haven of rest, the heaven of God's immeasurable mercy.
Immeasurable Benefits forgiveness.
THE BREADTHUNBOUNDED: ITS EMBLEM-EAST FROM WEST.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.--Verse 12.
“God is love." Men have all sinned against Him, and yet a second time it is written “God is love." 1 John iv. 8,16. That God loved His enemies, we never could have supposed, had He not Himself declared it. And even now that He has revealed that blessed truth in the unerring Word, we feel it difficult to believe that He really does regard us in Christ Jesus, with a love alike unmeasured and immeasurable, as undeserved as it will be by us for ever undeservable. So exceeding great and precious are the declarations of the Divine love contained in the Scriptures, that we feel tempted to regard it as presumptuous to apply them to ourselves. Yet the fact is as indubitable as our transgression. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for it; and a little reflection will convince us that God's love must be worthy of the heart in which it dwells at once originating in Himself-love's boundless Fountain--and flowing forth in streams as unexhausted now by ages that are past, as inexhaustible hereafter by ages that are yet to come. That the Eternal Father should love His own dear Son, with an ardent, pure, and endless affection, we might readily have supposed; but that He should regard us with a sentiment at all approaching to that love, we never could have imagined. How astonished, therefore, do we feel to hear that dear Son declare, that the love with which His Father regards us, is the very same wherewith He himself is loved. “ I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me, may be in them, and I in them." John xvii. 26. Glorious declaration! It unfolds to us one of the highest honors' which we enjoy in union with the second Adam. 6 Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.” The love which surrounded us in creation is surpassedmost marvellously surpassed-by the love which embraces us in Redemption. All the saints are called to “comprehend," that is, to be for ever going forward more and more to “comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Eph. iii. 19.
A love which “passes knowledge," must necessarily also surpass expression; we can only therefore judge of it by its proofs, and by its effects. The great proof of that love was given in delivering up that only begotten Son, who was so intensely loved, to be put to death as our Surety. And one of the blessed results of that love so demonstrated, is the complete forgiveness through Him of our transgressions.