Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

salvation be for any, he will argue, then why not for me? If Christ was crucified for me, then I may hope that for his sake, God will surely- receive me. I will believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. He ventures to apply for pardon; and almost to his own surprise, his conscience enjoys peace within! The inward change begins by the renovating influences of the Holy Ghost; and the same person who was before in the image of Satan, is made by his inward purity to resemble the Holy One. An instance like this is not a solitary trophy of the victories of the preached Gospel. When first the sword of the Spirit was grasped by a mortal hand, three thousand fell before it; and wherever in the world it is wielded by the servants of God, it marks its way by the conquest of all whom it strikes. Many of you can add your testimony from the course of your own experience, you can say, it is the doctrine of Christ crucified that encouraged you at first to set out in the ways of religion—it is that wherein the power of God is daily manifested to your souls: then, if I ask any of you for a specimen of divine power, lead me not to the heights above, or the depths beneath-bid me not admire that word which stays the proud waves of the sea and forbids it to pass the appointed bounds -shew me not the strength of that arm which took up the vast orbs of heaven, and hurled them along the fields of space, but let us ascend Mount Calvary together and direct our

[ocr errors]

of eternal punishment deter him from sin: he continues 'his course of self-indulgence, and becomes headstrong, intractable, outrageous. All human means having failed to reclaim him, he is generally given up as irrecoverably vicious. In the course of a short time the very same person may be seen walking soberly, righteously, and godly; not partially reformed, but following universal holinessholding communion with that God whose very name he hated-delighting in that society which once he despised—he lives the ornament of human nature, and dies with a hope full of immortality. What was it, we ask, that changed him? Did the angel Gabriel lead him in a vision to the empyreal heaven, and over-power his corruptions by a' torrent of divine glory; or was a spirit of darkness sent to conduct him to the confines of hell, that the nearer sight of the livid fame might startle his soul and force him from his sins! No! these arguments, or others as strong, been tried in vain; legal hopes never yet made the heart yield. No! the man whose change we are accounting for, once heard that faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--that the Son of God himself had died for the chief of sinners--that now pardon for the past was offered freely, and grace for the future stored up for the penitent. This strikes his attention and wins his heart, and a gleam of returning hope begins to steal through his breast. If this great

had

salvation be for any, he will argue, then why not for me? If Christ was crucified for me, then I may hope that for his sake, God will surely- receive me. I will believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. He ventures to apply for pardon; and almost to his own surprise, his conscience enjoys peace within! The inward change begins by the renovating influences of the Holy Ghost; and the same person who was before in the image of Satan, is made by his inward purity to resema ble the Holy One. An instance like this is not a solitary trophy of the victories of the preached Gospel. When first the sword of the Spirit was grasped by a mortal hand, three thousand fell before it; and wherever in the world it is wielded by the servants of God, it marks its way by the conquest of all whom it strikes. Many of you can add your testimony from the course of your own experience-you can say, it is the doctrine of Christ crucified that encouraged you at first to set out in the ways of religion—it is that wherein the power of God is daily manifested to your souls: then, if I ask any of you for a specimen of divine power, lead me not to the heights above, or the depths beneath-bid me not admire that word which stays the proud waves of the sea ånd forbids iť to pass the appointed bounds -shew me not the strength of that arm which took up the vast orbs of heaven, and hurled them along the fields of space, but let us ascend Mount Calvary together and direct our eyes to him that is hanging on the cross: for there alone is to be seen, according to God's own declaration, what is the exceeding greatness of his power. There God has exhibited, not a partial exertion of his power, but as it is here energetically expressed, Christ the power of God. In Christ all the diversified operations of divine power are concentrated and brought to a point.

Christ is also the wisdom of God: for in Christ, God hath attained the two great ends of all that he does, (if they may be called two) namely, his own glory, and our happiness. Wisdom, you will observe, appears to most advantage in cases of difficulty. When she steers her way clear through many a perplex: ing difficulty, and at last arrives at her destined end without any untoward, or disorderly accident, then she appears in her proper character and native excellence.

To perceive the wisdom of God in Christ, we ought to bear in mind the difficulty of attaining the end proposed; which was the glory of God, and our happiness. If men were an upright race, all would be easy; those who continued perfect would ascend to heaven, and those who sinned would descend to hell. Bat how man, after being a sinner, could be made happy here and hereafter, was a problem of no small difficulty. If God had parduned sinners by an act of sovereign power, his truth would have been impeached: for he would then give life to whom he had before denoun

·ced death; neither could justice have been exercised; and thus, an appearance of weakness would attach to the character of God. If, on the contrary, he had offered no pardon, although he would have been just and true; his mercy and love would have had no scope for exercise: but in Christ Jesus, mercy and truth, formerly irreconcilable, have met together in a friendly manner-righteousness and peace, God's righteousness and our peace, have kissed each other. By his dying on the cross in the stead of sinners, there was a way opened for the exercise of all God's attributes: for as Christ undertook to be accountable to God for all our sins, God in punishing Christ punished our sin. Thus he displayed his justice. Moreover, since that person who became our surety was not one of ourselves, or an angel, but his own Son, who was dear to him, here his mercy and love are discovered! And not only do the divine attributes find scope for exercise in Christ's death without interfering, but they throw light on one another. Men would perhaps have regarded their pardon as no great exertion of mercy in God, or ground of gratitude in themselves, did they not see the severity of God's justice as sustained by an innocent person, which would otherwise have fallen on themselves; neither would they believe how invio. lable was his truth, if he had not shewn he would rather part with his own Son, than sully his truth, to accomplish the salvation of sinners. And from this we are led to observe, that each

« ПредишнаНапред »