« AnteriorContinuar »
tance of a hope which this day's offering of the great sacrifice for sin, makes full and free to all. Let the rich and great accept the redemption which is their’s; let the poor and low receive the Gospel, which is especially their own; for its first gracious offer was from Him, who, in the fulness of His Divine authority declared, that “to the
the Gospel is preached.” Let none refuse. For life. to the rich, life to the poor will soon be over; and neither to the rich, nor to the repentance be granted in the grave, nor salvation offered to any against whom the door must be shut. It is here, in this day of our probation, that the Gospel is offered, and here only can it be accepted. When the day appointed for the short duration of each rich man, and each poor man shall at last arrive, all other things will pass away, save the joy: ful remembrance of a Saviour's blood, or the unutterable
pangs in the expectation of His redemption made light of or refused. Let this thought be encouraged ever, not in the solemn seasons only of our more immediate religious duties, but as the companion of the daily walk through every period of our life ; “at morning, at even, and at noon day.” That is the only true hope which is built upon Christ; but if it be only a temporary impression, it is not the hope which brings us to Him. “Faith, Hope, Charity, these three," are the offered mercies of God to give, and the gracious gifts for man to receive.
A dying Saviour confirmed them by his blood ; and as the triumphant Redeemer of those who shall be saved, as the just Judge of those who, through their own sin, shall be lost, He will hereafter come in glory to receive the entrusted talents from all. In the mean time, He hath not left us “comfortless," a prey to our spiritual enemies, and our own natural corruption. He hath fulfilled His promise in the ever-present aid of His Holy Spirit to direct us to the knowledge of His mercies, and to secure us in obedience to His laws, He still, moreover, carries on, as Advocate with the Father, our cause in heaven; and them who are willing to accept of His great salvation, He brings from grace to grace, until they shall be purified in His blood, and, in and through Him, their great and only Saviour, made ripe for glory.
MYSTERY OF MAN'S REDEMPTION.
A SERMON ON THE PASSION,
2 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 5, VERSE 19. « God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself."
WHEN the inspired writers, both of the Old and New Testaments, speak fully and distinctly, of the immediate act of our Redemption, through the death and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, human language seems almost to fail, in affording expressions sufficiently strong to express this stupendous instance of Divine love. And, when we read what they have written hereupon, with consideration somewhat proportioned to this mysterious act, our best mode of perception falls infinitely short of what our redemption really is.
There are, indeed, plain and positive assurances in Holy Scripture, that our salvation hath been completely provided for; but, the full understanding of what it coșt, and how it hath been accomplished, so that infinite mercy and severe retributive justice shall have been entirely reconciled, is more than hath been revealed; and therefore, being a deep mystery, far more than our present powers of mind can attain unto.
In our utter ignorance of the ways of God, when unrevealed, we can know them only in their consequences;
and then we know enough to bring us to the holy feryour of the inspired Apostle, and with Him to exclaim, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding
But, notwithstanding the depth of this great mystery of “ God, manifest in the flesh, to take away the sins of the world,” there is still enough revealed to make the whole scheme of our redemption matter of continued gratitude and spiritual improvement. With that view of the subject let us now seriously consider the words of the text. They are awfully important to us at all times. But the solemn business of this most sacred day, renders them doubly impressive. They contain a subject of deep and momentous import; one into which “the very angels desire to look.”. They speak of God in His great character of a reconciled Father ; as the great
• Rom xi 33.
discoverer of a mysterious plan, by which our sinful race is now restored to the Divine favour; they shew us the offended Being Himself, “reconciling the world unto Himself” in the second person of the eternal Godhead.
Under the blessing of Almighty God, this important subject may be profitably dwelt upon
at this time under two heads: First, let us endeavour to point out, (as far as we are permitted to understand of so mysterious a revelation) the nature and perfect efficacy of the great scheme of our redemption; and, Secondly, let us well remember how fearfully necessáry it is, that we should rightly understand it.
The scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, very clearly shew that we are all fallen under the displeasure of Almighty God; and they also shew that there is a way by which we may be restored. The sacred history tells us what the first covenant was; and how, on our part, it was broken; that, in merited justice, the happiness of the criminal was forfeited for ever, and the threatened punishment incurred.
It was evident that man could not restore himself by virtue of any future obedience; the covenant was a covenant of works, of perfect obedience; it was, " this do and thou