« ПредишнаНапред »
& trembleth because of thee: I am afraid of thy judg« ments.” Let such an one know, that help is laid on him that is “ mighty to save.” Let your guilt be what it will, who can so far derogate from the Redeemer's glory as to suspect that his blood cannot purge it away? Give no heed to unbelieving thoughts, or discouraging suggestions ; but be “ strong in faith, giving glory to God;” and attend to the Saviour's own words: “ Him that cometh “ unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”
5. In the last place, Let all the children of God, whose hope hath still been in the divine mercy through a crucified Saviour, embrace the opportunity now given them of profeffing, exercising, and strengthening their faith in the great atonement. Plead your relation to God through Christ, and encourage yourselves in his all-sufficiency and merit. Look upon his sufferings for humbling you under a sense of the evil of fin, which made such an expiation necessary. Nothing serves more to abase and level human pride, than to see our nature on the cross though personally united to the divine. Look upon him in his agony, for - mortifying and crucifying fin in you. There is a purifying virtue, and fanctifying efficacy, in the blood of Christ. It not only speaks peace to the wounded conscience, but purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. I am not against the introduction of every argument from scripture or reason against fin, or in support of duty ; but let them never supplant the great, the leading, the constraining argument, which is drawn from the cross of Christ. Believe it, my brethren, nothing so much reconciles the heart to duty, nothing so kindles a holy indignation against fin, as a believing view of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fin of the world. This gives the Spirit of adoption a child like fear, and a child-like love. This fills the Christian with comfort, this inspires the Christian with zeal. To seek our comfort in a separate way, or in the first instance from our duties, is to make that comfort feeble and variable as the duties are defective; but to enliven our duties by the comforts of the gospel is to follow the order of the covenant of grace, by which we at once promote the glory of God, and most effectually secure our own comfort and peace. This is the Spirit breathed by the apostle Paul, with whofe words, Gal. ii. 19, 20. I shall conclude; “ For I through the law
am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am « crucified with Christ; Nevertheless I live ; yet not I, « but Chrft liveth in me: and the life which I now live “ in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, whe * loved me, and gave himself for me."
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in
his own blood.
T HE bare repetition of these words is sufficient to con.
vince every 'hearer how well they are suited to the design of our prefent meeting. Redeeming love is certainly the most delightful of all themes to every real Christian. It is the immediate and direct object of our contemplation in the Lord's supper. This ordinance was instituted to keep up the remembrance of the sufferings and death of Christ, which was the great and finishing proof of his love. How then can you attend on it in a more becoming and dutiful, a more pleasant and desireable, or a more happy and useful frame of spirit, than when your hearts are filled with a sense of the love of Christ, and you find yourselves disposed to join, with a mixture of joy and wonder, in the doxology of the apostle John, in the text, Unto bim that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood ?
The author of this book is sometimes styled the disciple whom Jesus loved. Since, therefore, it pleased his master to distinguish him by the tenderness of particular friendship, it is no wonder that we find so much of the delightful affection of love in his writings. In the beginning of this chapter, he gives an account of the general fubject and design of the book of Revelation, the manner in which the discoveries contained in it were made to him, and his fidelity in testifying them to others. Then follows the apostolic falutation to the seven churches in Asia, which is a solemn benediction, in name of all the persons of the adorable Trinity: “ Grace be to you, and “ peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is “ to come;" (that is, from God the Father, the ancient of days, immutable and eternal); “ and from the seven spi“ rits which are before his throne ;" (not to detain you with a critical account of this phrase, it means the Holy Ghoft, single in his person, but multiplied in his gifts; the variety, fullness, and perfection of which, are denoted by this form of expression); “ and from Jesus Christ, who is “ the faithful witness, and the first-begotten from the dead, " and the prince of the kings of the earth.” To him you see he gives three illustrious characters.
1. The faithful witness, who came from above, and revealed the whole will of God for our salvation; who being the eternal truth, might be abfolutely depended on in the account he was by the apostle to communicate, of the great events of Providence towards his church and people. 2. The first begotten from the dead, declared to be the Son of God with power, by his glorious resurrection and triumph over the king of terrors. And, 3. The Prince of the kings of the earth; that is, the Lord of nature, to whom every prince and potentate must be subject, and to the ends of whose Providence, and the increase of whose kingdom, all their schemes of policy and conquest shall at last be subservient. He then, with great propriety, have ing mentioned the name, and given a short view of the character of his blessed Lord, lays hold of the opportunity to express his own and every other finner's obligation to him in this sublime afcription, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. • To enter upon the consideration of the love of Christ in its full extent, in its source, its expressions, and its effects, even those that are suggested in the text, would
far exceed the bounds of a single discourse. What I propose, therefore, at this time, in order to prepare your minds, and my own, for the folemn action before us, is only to collect into one view some of the great and general characters of the love of Christ, which are most proper to excite our' gratitude and praise; and then to niake fome practical improvement of it, for your instruction and direction.
1. First, then, let us endeavor to point out some of the great and general characters of the love of Christ. In this I shall take care to confine myself to such views as are given of it in the holy fcriptures. And every character given of it there, we are both entitled and obliged to attend to, and improve.
1. First of all, then, you may observe, that it is an overlasting love. It took its rise in the eternal counsels of Heaven. This is a character given of the love of God to his people, Jer. xxxi. 3. “ Yea, I have loved thee with « an everlasting love : therefore with loving kindness « have I drawn thee.” This expression is often used with a double view, to fhew, on the one hand, its early, its original source, and on the other, its perpetual stabili. ty, and endless duration. Pf. ciii. 17. “ But the mercy “ of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them 66 that fear him; and his righteousness unto childrens « children." If. liv, 7, 8. “ For a small moment have 6. I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather " thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, for a “ moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have 66 mercy on thee, faith the Lord thy Redeemer.” Haz ving cited these passages of the Old Testament, I must justify the application of them, by observing, that all the covenant-mercies of God to man, in our present fallen ftate, are to be referred to the love of Christ, as their price, their source, and their sum. This is plain from innumerable passages of scripture : Eph. i. 4, 5, “ Accor“ ding as he hath chosen us in him, before the founda6. tion of the world, that we should be holy, and without “ blame before him in love : having predestinated us unto VOL. I.