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It is not eafy indeed to enumerate the magnificent titles with which he is adorned in fcripture: The Alpha and Omega,-The first and the last,-The Prince of the kings of the earth,-The King of kings, and Lord of lords,-The King of glory, and The King of saints. What mighty works are fubfcribed to him in creation and providence! We are told, "He fhall reign till all enemies "are brought under his feet." The propriety of his facrifice as the Son of man, and the purity of his facrifice as the Holy one of God, are taken notice of in fcripture ; Heb. ii. 17. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him "to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a "merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to "God, to make reconciliation for the fins of the people." Heb. ix. 13, 14. "For if the blood of bulls, and of goats, "and the afhes of an heifer fprinkling the unclean, fanc"tifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more "fhall the blood of Chrift, who through the eternal Spirit, "offered himself without fpot to God, purge your con"fcience from dead works to ferve the living God?" To this you may add the continued fulness that dwells in him; John i. 16. "And of his fulness have all we received, "and grace for grace." Col. i. 19. "For it pleafed the "Father, that in him fhould all fulness dwell." What is this, my brethren, but to encourage and embolden finners to put their truft in him, and to carry home with power this truth, which I fhall give you in the words of the Holy Ghoft? Heb. vii. 25. "Wherefore he is able "alfo to fave them to the uttermoft, that come unto God "by him, feeing he ever liveth to make interceflion for "them."
II. I proceed now to the fecond thing propofed, which was, to confider the extent of this propitiation, founded on the laft claufe of the text: "And not for ours only, "but alfo for the fins of the whole world." In general, when we remember that this epiftle was written chiefly to the converts of the circumcifion, it may convince us, that in all probability this expreflion was intended against the great and national prejudice of the Jews, of which we fee very frequent notice taken in the New Teftament. As
they had the oracles of God committed to them, as for the wife purposes of his providence he had feparated them from other nations, and the Meffiah was to defcend from them according to the flesh, they apprehended that all the bleffings of his reign were to be confined to themfelves : therefore they are often given to understand, that the purpofe of mercy was far more extenfive, and that Chrift came with a view to fulfil that promife made to the father of the faithful, Gen. xxii. 18. "In thy feed fhall all the "nations of the earth be bleffed; becaufe thou haft obey. "ed my voice." The expreflion in the text then undoubtedly implies, that redemption through the blood of Chrift was to be preached to finners of the Gentiles; that as he had been the Saviour of all ages by the efficacy of that facrifice which he was to offer in the fulness of time, so that the virtue of it was not to be confined to the house of Ifrael, but to belong to finners of every nation under heaven.
I am fenfible, my brethren, that very great controverfies have been raised in another view, as to the extent of Chrift's death, and the import of this and other such general expreffions in the holy fcriptures. In this, as in most other debates, matters have been carried a far greater length than the intereft of truth and piety requires; and, as is alfo ufual, they have arifen from an improper and unfkilful mixture of what belongs to the fecret counfels of the Most High with his revealed will, which is the invariable rule of our duty. Without entering, therefore, into these debates, which are unfuitable to our prefent employment, or rather giving my judgment, that they are for the moft part unneceffary, unprofitable, or hurtful, I fhall lay down three propofitions on this fubject, which I think can hardly be called in question, and which are a fufficient foundation for our faith and practice.
1. The obedience and death of Chrift is of value fufficient to expiate the guilt of all the fins of every individual that ever lived or ever fhall live on earth. This cannot be denied, fince the subjects to be redeemed are finite, the price paid for their redemption is infinite. He fuffered in the human nature, but that nature intimately and personVOL. I. U u
ally united to the divine: fo that Chrift the Mediator, the gift of God for the redemption of finners, is often called his own and his eternal Son: Rom. viii. 32. "He that fpared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, "how fhall he not with him alfo freely give us all things?" Such was the union of the divine and human nature in Chrift, that the blood which was the purchase of our redemption is exprefsly called the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. To feed the church of God, which he hath purcha"fed with his own blood." This is the great mystery of godlinefs, God manifefted in the flefh, in which all our thoughts are loft and fwallowed up.
2. Notwithstanding this, every individual of the human race is not in fact partaker of the bleffings of his purchase; but many die in their fins, and perifh for ever. will as little admit of any doubt.
Multitudes have died, who never heard of the name of Chrift, or falvation through him; many have lived and died blafpheming his perfon, and defpifing his undertaking; many have died in unbelief and impenitence, ferving divers lufts and paffions; and if the scripture is true, he will at laft render unto them according to their works. So that if we admit, that the works of God are known to him from the beginning of the world, it can never be true, that, in his eternal counfels, Chrift died to fave thofe, who after all that he hath done, fhall be miferable for ever. "He is a rock, "his work is perfect." His defign never could be frustrated; but, as the apoftle Paul expreffes it, Rom. xi. 7. "The election hath obtained it, and the reft were blind"ed." But,
3. There is in the death of Chrift a fufficient foundation laid for preaching the gospel indefinitely to all without exception. It is the command of God, that this fhould be done Mark xvi. 15. "And he faid unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every "creature." The effect of this is, that the mifery of the unbelieving and impenitent fhall lie entirely at their own door and they fhall not only die in their fins, but fhall fuffer to eternity for this moft heinous of all fins, defpifing the remedy, and refufing to hear the Son of God; Heb. x.
26, 27. "For if we fin wilfully after that we have receiv"ed the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more "facrifice for fins, but a certain fearful looking for of judg "ment, and fiery indignation, which fhall devour the ad"verfaries." Let us neither refufe our affent to any part of the revealed will of God, nor foolishly imagine an oppofition between one part of it and another. All the obfcurity arifes from, and may be refolved into the weakness of our understandings; but let God be true, and every man a liar. That there is a fenfe in which Chrift died for all men, and even for those who perifh, is plain from the very words of fcripture; 1 Tim. iv. 10, "For therefore "we both labour and fuffer reproach, because we truft in "the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, efpecially "of those that believe." I Cor. viii. II. "And through thy knowledge fhall the weak brother perifh, for whom "Christ died?" Thus it appears that both in a national and perfonal view, Chrift is " the propitiation for our "fins; and not for ours only, but also for the fins of the "whole world."
III. I proceed now in the last place, to make fome practical improvement of the fubject for your inftruction and direction. And,
I. From what hath been faid, let us be induced to give praise to God for his mercy to loft finners revealed in the gofpel. Let us particularly give him praife for Christ Jefus, his unfpeakable gift: "Herein is love, not that we "loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be "the propitiation for us."
While we remember, with abafement of foul, the holinefs and juftice of God, which required fatisfaction for fin, let us allo remember his infinite compaffion, who was pleased himself to provide " a lamb for the burnt offering." Let us at the fame time give praise to the tender-hearted Saviour, who gave his life as an offering" of a sweet
fmelling favor" to God. Redeeming grace fhall be the theme of eternal gratitude and praife in heaven. After all our trials and dangers are over, we fhall then, with unfpeakable delight, afcribe the honor of our victory to
him, faying, Rev. v. 12. "Worthy is the Lamb that was "flain, to receive power, and riches, and wifdom, and ftrength, and honor, and glory, and bleffing." Why fhould we not alfo attempt to give him praife in his church on earth? for he, having finished his own work, and entered into his glory, hath give us an affured profpect, that we also fhall overcome in his ftrength; that he will come again, and "receive us to himfelf; that where "he is, there we may be alfo."
2. You may fee from what hath been faid, that fuch as are yet unrelated to this Saviour are in a state of fin, and liable to divine wrath. Hear and receive this truth, however unwelcome to the fecure, however diftafteful to the carnal mind. If it were not fo, this propitiation which God hath fet forth would have been altogether unnecessary. Let us beg of him who hath ascended up on high, to fend down, according to his promife, his Spirit to convince the world of fin. How many affecting and ftriking proofs have we of this, both in our character and ftate! and yet how difficult to make us fenfible of it! What is to be seen in the world at prefent, or what do we read in the hiftory of paft ages, but one melancholy fcene of dif order, mifery, and bloodfhed, fucceeding another? Is not this the effect of human guilt? And do we not, by mutual injuries, at once demonftrate our own corruption, and execute the just judgment of God upon one another? May not every perfon difcover the latent fource of these flagrant crimes, in the pollution of his own heart, his averfion to what is good, and his proneness and inclination to what is evil? And yet, alas! how difficult a matter is it to make the heart humble itself, and plead guilty before God: to make us fenfible, that we are tranfgreflors from the womb, and inexcufable, in this tranfgreffion; that the threatening of the law is moft juft," Curfed is every one that con"tinueth not in all things written in the book of the law "to do them;" and that it is of the infinite mercy of God, that the execution is fufpended, or any hope given us of being able to avert it?
Yet this, my brethren, I will repeat it, and I befeech you to attend to it, is certainly the cafe by nature, with