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so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." John, 3:16. So loved them: how did he love them? nay, here you must excuse the tongues of angels. Which of us would deliver a child, the child of our delights, an only child, to death, for the greatest inheritance in the world? what tender parent can endure parting with such a child? When Hagar was taking her last leave (as she thought) of her Ishmael," she went and sat her down over against him, a good way off: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept." Gen. 21: 16. Though she were none of the best of mothers, nor he the best of children, yet she could not give up the child. Oh it was hard to part! What an outcry did David make, even for an Absalom, wishing he had died for him! What a breach has the death of some children made in the hearts of some parents, which will never be closed up in this world! Yet surely, never did any child lie so close to a parent's heart, as Christ to his Father's; and yet he willingly parts with him, though his only one, the Son of his delights; and that to death, a cursed death; for sinners, for the worst of sinners. Oh the admirable love of God to men! matchless love! a love past finding out! Let all men, therefore, in the business of their redemption, give equal glory to the Father with the Son. John, 5: 23. If the Father had not loved thee, he had never parted with such a Son for thee.
2. From one wonder let our souls turn to another, for they are now in the midst of wonders: adore, and be for ever astonished at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners, that ever he should consent to leave such a bosom, and the ineffable delights that were there, for such poor worms as we are. Oh the heights, depths, lengths, and breadths of unmeasurable love! See Rom. 5:6-8: read, and wonder. How is the love of Christ
commended to poor sinners! As the Father loved him; even so, believers, hath he loved you. John, 17: 23. What manner of love is this! Who ever loved as Christ loves. Who ever denied himself for Christ, as Christ denied himself for us?
3. An interest in Jesus Christ is the true way to all spiritual preferment in heaven. Do you covet to be in the heart, in the favor and delight of God? Get interest in Jesus Christ, and you shall presently be there. In heaven, persons are preferred according to their interest in the Beloved. Eph. 1: 6. Christ is the great favorite there: his image upon your souls, and his name in your prayers, makes both accepted with God.
How worthy is Jesus Christ of all our love and delights! You see how infinitely the Father delighteth in him; and shall not our hearts delight in him? Oh that you did but see this lovely Lord Jesus Christ! Why do ye lavish away your precious affections upon vanity? none but Christ is worthy of them. When you spend your precious affections upon other objects, what is it but to dig for dross with golden mattocks? The Lord direct our hearts into the love of Christ. Oh that our hearts, loves, and delights, did meet and concentre with the heart of God in this most blessed object! Oh let him that left God's bosom for you, be embosomed by you, though your love be nothing to God's: he that left God's bosom for you, deserves yours.
If Christ be the beloved of the Father's soul, think what a grievous and insufferable thing it is to the heart of God, to see his dear Son despised, slighted, and rejected by sinners: how God will bear this, that parable, Matt. 21: 33-41, will inform you: surely he will miserably destroy such wretched sinners. What a dismal word is that, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha," 1 Cor. 16: 22; that is, let the great curse of God lie upon that man till the
Lord come. Oh sinners! you shall one day know the cost of this sin: you shall feel what it is to despise a Jesus that is able to compel love from the hardest heart. Oh that you would slight him no more! Oh that this day your hearts might fall in love with him! I tell you, if you would set your love to sale, none bids so fair for it as Christ.
If Christ lay eternally in this bosom of love, and yet was content to forsake and leave it for your sakes, then, christians, be you ready to forsake all the comforts you have on earth for Christ. Famous Galleacius left all for this enjoyment; Moses left all the glory of Egypt; Peter and the other apostles left all. Luke, 18:28. But what have we to leave for Christ in comparison with what he left for us? Surely Christ is the highest pattern of self-denial in the world. Let this confirm your faith prayer. If he, that has such an interest in the heart of God, intercede with the Father for you, then never doubt of audience and acceptance with him; surely you shall be accepted through the Beloved. Christ was never denied any thing that he asked. The Father hears him always. John, 11: 42. Though you are not worthy, Christ is, and he ever lives to make intercession for you. Heb. 7: 25. Let this encourage thy heart, Oh saint, in a dying hour; and not only make thee patient in death, but in a holy manner impatient till thou be gone for whither is thy soul now going, but to that bosom of love whence Christ came ? "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, John, 17: 24; and where is he but in that bosom of glory and love where he lay before the world was? verse 5. Oh then let his soul; believer encourage every comfort ye one another with these words, "I am leaving the bosom of a creature; I am going to the bosom of God."
Sinners, embrace the bosom-Son of God. Poor fellow
mortals! whatever you are, or have been, under whatever guilt or discouragement you lie, embrace Christ, who is freely offered to you, and you shall be as dear to God as the holiest and most eminent believer in the world; but if you still continue to despise and neglect such a Saviour, sorer wrath is treasured up for you than other sinners. Heb. 10: 28, 29. Oh that these discoveries and overtures of Christ may never come to such a fatal issue with any of your souls, before whom his glory has been thus opened!
THE COVENANT OF REDEMPTION BETWEEN THE FATHER AND THE REDEEMER.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”— Isa. 53: 12.
In the fifty-third of Isaiah, the Gospel seems to be epitomized: the subject is the death of Christ, and the glorious issue thereof. By reading it, the eunuch of old, and many Jews since, have been converted to Christ. Christ is here considered absolutely, and relatively. Absolutely, and thus his innocency is clearly vindicated, verse 9. Though he suffered grievous things, yet it was not for his own sins; for "he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." But, he is considered relatively, in the capacity of a Surety for us: thus the justice of God is fully vindicated in his
sufferings, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Verse 6. How he came to sustain this capacity and relation of a Surety for us, is in these verses plainly asserted to be by his compact and agreement with his Father, before the worlds were made. Verses 10-12.
In this verse we have, 1. His work, which was indeed a hard work, to pour out his soul unto death, aggravated by his being "numbered with the transgressors;" his 'bearing the sins of many ;" and by the manner of his bearing it, namely, meekly and forgivingly: "he made intercession for the transgressors:" this was his work. 2. The reward or fruit which is promised him for this work, "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;" wherein is a plain allusion to conquerors in war, for whom are reserved the richest garments, and most honorable captives to follow the conqueror, as an addition to his magnificence and triumph; these were wont to come after them in chains, Isa. 45: 14; see Judg. 5:30. 3. The relation between that work and this triumph. Some will have this work to hold no other relation to that glory, than a mere antecedent to a consequent ; others give it the respect and relation of a meritorious cause to a reward. However, it is plain, that the Father here agrees and promises to give the elect to the Son, if he will undertake their redemption by pouring out his soul unto death; of all which this is the plain result: The business of man's salvation was transacted upon covenant terms, between the Father and the Son, from all eternity.
I. Consider the persons transacting and dealing with each other in this covenant. And indeed they are great persons, God the Father and God the Son; the former as a Creditor, and the latter as a Surety. The Father claims satisfaction, the Son engages to give it.
II. The business transacted between them; and that