Page images
PDF
EPUB

* This

instances of its strength. Behold Jesus hanging on the cross ; his visage lacerated and mangled, his body covered with marks of scorn, swelled with strokes of violence, bedewed from head to foot with bloody gore; behold him even in this condition exert the most astonishing act of power we or angels can conceive; hear him say to the thief,—who made his prayer to him, and placed his whole dependence upon him,-hear him say; day shalt thou be with me in paradise;" "I will carry thee up with me into heaven, as a trophy of my victory over Satan, and will shew thee there as part of the spoils that shall adorn my triumphs over hell.' He snatches this abandoned sinner from the brink of destruction, as an earnest of the full recovery of all who should ever trust in him; saves one that seemed not only void of grace, but beyond its power; and sanctifies that heart in an instant, which had probably been for a long course wallowing in sin.

In all these victories we may conceive the Redeemer to have acted with this double view; that he might fully ascertain his title to the character of the Messiah, as described in the Old Testament; and that he might lay at the same time a sure foundation for his church to trust on the might of his holy arm, to the end of the world.

If it is said the Redeemer's death and burial in the grave indicate his weakness; it is answered, that Jesus entered the grave not merely as a subject, but as an invader and conquerer. He stripped the king of terrors of his dominion, and rising on the third day, triumphed openly, as “ The resurrection and the life ;-in whom whosoever believeth shall never die.” The language of his resurrection was full of power; it confirmed the words of the prophet, “ Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.—Awake, and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isa. xxvi. 19. But if these acts demonstrate the power of Jesus,

and present him before our eyes as an object every way

able to answer the dependence which we place on him for deliverance from the power of sin; how much more is the ground of this dependence strengthened by the declarations both in the Old and New Testament, of his suffi

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ciency for this work! Hear how every doubt is obviated, and all despondency graciously reproved : “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come, and save you,” Isa. xxxv. 4. “Behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young,” Isa. xl. 10, 11.

* He shall bring forth judgment unto truth,” that is, shall make all his dependents finally to triumph over sin and Satan. have given him," saith God the Father, “ for a leader and commander to the people;” “to preach deliverance to the captives.” By the prophet Malachi we are assured, “ He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; -and purge them,” that is, his faithful people, “ as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”-Mal iii. 3. St. Peter confirms these glorious declarations by proclaiming to all the Jews, enslaved and abandoned to the practice of wickedness as they were, that God having raised up his Son Jesus, had sent him to bless them, by turning every one of them from their iniquities.

St. Paul teaches us, that the Lord Jesus Christ, in his character and capacity of Mediator, is invested with absolute dominion; thať he reigns as a rightful conqueror over all his enemies: that he is a horn of salvation to those that trust in his name: that he sits on a throne of glory till all opposition to his people and himself cease, and is utterly destroyed. For in this most encouraging

light the exceeding greatness of his power to save is rei presented, when it is said, God hath " raised him from

the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and given him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all,” Ephes. i. 20—23.

Magnify then as you please, the number and strength

1

[ocr errors]

of temptations, the weakness of human nature, the power of confirmed ill habits, and the efforts of Satan; still what are all these, even though united, before him “who gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works?" What, before him whose kingly office it is to turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, and whose infinite bounty enriches the fallen soul with that holiness which makes it meet for heaven? Who, or what, are these spiritual tyrants, avarice or uncleanness, envy or malice, deceit or unbelief-by whom strengthened, and by whom abetted—that they should defy him, who hath all power in heaven and in earth to save from sin?Him, out of whose overflowing fulness all the angels in heaven, and all the saints whilst on earth, receive their sanctification, and the spotless purity they will share with him through all eternity! If one person, relying with humility and perseverance on the power of Jesus, should perish, unsuccoured, and in his sins; how would the promises of God concerning the kingly offices of his Son be true? How could Jesus answer the character given of him in the record of God? One of these alternatives must therefore be maintained: either that the character and office of Jesus are misrepresented in the Scriptures; or else, that whoever puts his trust in his power to save, shall have the victory over sin

The stubbornness of his will shall be brought to yield, his evil tempers shall be subdued, and he shall be preserved blameless in spirit, soul, and body.

What has been offered is sufficient to prove, that we have all possible encouragement to trust in Jesus the Redeemer for wisdom, righteousness, and strength. The only knowledge concerning his character which is farther necessary, is of his temper and disposition towards sinners; now, as is his majesty, so is his mercy: and he is as ready, as he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. On this head what stronger testimonies can the most jealous suspicion desire, than he has given to us.

What means his deep humiliation? his pleadings with careless and obstinate sinners by day, and his midnight importunities with his heavenly Father for them? what

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mean his kind invitations? “Ho! every one that thirsteth, let him come unto me and drink:—whoever cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out?” What can be the design of these tender expressions, but to assure us of his willingness to receive with mercy those sinners, whatever they might have been in time past, who commit their souls unto him? What was it, tell me, if it was not fervent love, that made him so long endure a condition in all respects so amazingly opposite to his original glory?Instead of Hallelujahs from the sweet tongues of angels, to hear the blasphemous revilings of men cast on himself, and all his actions: instead of the perfection of joy, to endure such sufferings that his heart in the midst of his body was even “ like melting wax,”-through the intenseness of the anguish that was upon him: instead of adoration from myriads of ministering spirits, to bear mockery and buffetings, the bloody scourge on his back, and on his face the nauseous spittle: instead of sitting on the throne high and lifted up, with the whole host of heaven worshipping him, saying “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory;" to hang upon a cross between two thieves, in the midst of insulting shouts and the frowns of eternal justice!

O! come hither, behold and see if there was ever love like this! Come and hear the voice which he uttered in the height of all his sufferings for his murderers; “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Hear, and if you can, doubt; if it be possible, question his willingness to save those who depend upon him; his willingness, who prayed even for his bitterest enemies.

In the last place, we may as firmly confide in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal salvation, as for present pardon, wisdom, righteousness, and strength. His dominion equally extends both over the world in which we dwell, and over that into which we shall enter after death : “Fear not,” he says, “ I am the first and the last, I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death,” or the grave.

It is he who hath overcome him who had the

power of death, that is, the devil; and has made his triumphant entry, before all, and for all who depend upon him; it is he who bids us trust in him, and not be afraid.

[ocr errors]

Hear with what affection and endearment he comforts his apostles, and all who should ever possess like precious faith with them in his name; “ I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” And in his prayer for the salvation of all who should believe in him, he saith, “ Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may

behold

my glory, which thou hast given me.'

With what well-grounded comfort then, and with what abounding hope are you warranted to trust in the Redeemer, both in life and in death! And, after having exercised continual faith in him, as a Saviour from the guilt, defilement, and strength of sin, from ignorance, and from all the enemies of your soul; how reasonably at the end of life may you copy the pattern of the first martyr to the Christian truth, and beholding by faith the object that was manifested to him, without a veil,

with your expiring breath, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'

say

CHAPTER XV.

TIE DIVINITY OF THE HOLY GHOST.

The work of man's salvation is represented in Scripture as engaging the joint agency of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. God the Father in infinite wisdom planned this amazing scheme, and provided himself a Lamb for a burnt-offering, a sacrifice to purge away sin. God the Son executed in his own person this plań, by submitting to be delivered for our offences, by rising again for our justification, and by interceding for us in heaven. God the Holy Ghost procures an effectual reception of this scheme of salvation, and sanctifies the soul for the everlasting happiness in which that salvation finally issues.

Each of these persons who thus co-operate in man's salvation, must of necessity be really God, because no

* See Prayer the 6th.

« PreviousContinue »