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Under the Old Testament dispensation, at certain times and seasons, the Spirit was communicated tothe prophets, as it pleased God, and as the occasions os the church required: But it is said to dwell in him; it has its constant and unchangeable residence in our Mediator. And, sinally, you may observe, it is faid, " It pleased the Father, that in him this sul"ness should dwell :" a circumstance which plainly intimates, that Christ did not usurp, or violently possess it ; but that there was a persect coincidence between him and the Father, who is here considered as most highly injured by the apostasy of man, and therefore behoved to be pleased with the method of his recovery.
Having thus explained the words, I flial! endea- . vour, by divine assistance, First, To give you some account of the sulness that dwells in Christ; Second/y* Mention a sew of its endearing characters; and then. make some practical application!
I. I shall endeavour to give you some account of the sulness that dwells in Christ; and, indeed, all that I can say upon it, must sall insinitely beneath the rich and inexhaustible subject. The apostle himself seems at a loss for words to express it. Even the angels that surround the throne of God are continually admiring, while they can never comprehend, the exceeding riches of his grace. What therefore I propose, is to mention a sew things concerning the sulness which dwells in Christ ; and to lay before you the view which the gospel gives us concerning it, in order that your desires after it may be strengthened and. consirmed.
l. There is in Christ a sulness of merit. This . will appear, if we consider that he is the brightnesses the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, equrl to him in all persections; and particularly, that he is independent, and could dispose o£ himself according to his pleasure, and, consequently^ undertake for the guilty and undeserving. By humI 2. "blinS
bling himself to become man, he was capable of suffering. He came in the form of a servant, and made himself of no- reputation. He was holy, harmless, jundesiled, and separated from sinners. Considered us man, the Holy Ghost was given to him without measure, in order that he might be well-pleasing to God, who is possessed of insinite holiness; that he might have no need to satisfy for himself, and that he might afford to mankind a persect and holy example. Is there not, then, a sulness of merit in Christ, especially when you reflect, that'though he was insinitely exalted above us, though he was our justly offended Sovereign, yet he voluntarily arid cheersully undertook the arduous work of our redemption ?" Lo, I "come," says he, " in the volume of thy book it is "written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my !' God(«)."
2. There is in Christ a sulness of purchase. This is founded'upon his merit, and on the actual performance of what he so generoufly undertook in behalf of the human race. For the Father having promised, that, upon his sulsilling his engagements, he should see his seed, of the travel of his foul, and be satislied; and he having actually sulsilled them, the unshaken veracity of God assures us, that there is in him a sulness of purchase. This he himself proclaimed upon the cross, when he said, " It is sinished and then bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 'What was sinished? Satissaction to the justice of God was sully given, and complete salvation obtained for a guilty world. This sulness of purchase the Father attested when he. raised him from the dead. For the resurrection of Christ was, as it were, his discharge from the hand of justice, a public and authentic declaration on God's part, that he accepted the sacrisice of his death, as a sull atonement for the sins of his people; that their d«bt was sully paid, and, consequently, their salvation completely purchased. And this also our Saviour gloriouily demonstrated to the
(a) Hat. xj. 7, 8.
world, when he ascended up on high, and led captivity captive; wh;n he ascended to take possession of the purchased inheritance, and to secure to ail his followers an entrance into heaven.
3. There is also in our blessed Saviour a sulness of application, that is, of power and goodness to apply what he has merited and purchased. This is evident, from his exaltation at the right hand of the Majesty on high; and his having obtained a name abo\e every name) whether in heaven or in earth, sar above• all principalities and powers, and throues and dominions, that at the nanie of Jesus every knee might bow, and tongue consess. Of this we are also assured by himself. "All power," says he, " is given "unto me in heaven and in earth (n)." He was exalted, not only that h'e mi^ht be an Intercessor, and' powersul Advocate with the Father, in behalf of his people, but likewise that he might be invested with the power of bestowing upon them what he had purchased; and in him dwell all the treasures of wisdom,. grace, and glory. And therefore,.
4. There is in him a sulness of pardoning graceHe can forgive the most heinous essences, and sins of the greatest enormity; and he to whom his pard bois vouchsafed, shall never come into condemnation. How encouraging is this to poor, convinced , and trembling sinners! Perhaps thou art afflicted, because thy sins are without number, of long continuance, and' so aggravated, that they cannot be forgiven. But think, and seriously think, on the-insinite sulness of Christ's saving power, and that you have sull redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins :. "For he is able to save to the uttermost all that come "unto God by him; and whoever cometh, he will ** in no wise cast out." How encouragm;; is this also: to the believer, who is groaning under the weight of indwelling corruption, and crying out with the Psalmist, "Iniquities prevail against me!" Fear not, Christian, thy Redeemer is almighty; he has received
I 3 *
(a) Matt. xxviiii i6i
a commandment, and is himself inclined to save thee. Hear his own precious words: " I am the resurrec"tion and the lise; he that bclieveth on me, though "he were dead, yet shall he live."
5. There is also in Christ a sulness of pity and compassion for his people under all their weaknesses and afflictions. Though he be exalted to the highest degree of majesty and glory, he still acts towards them with the greatest tenderness, sympathy, and love. He wears their names upon his heart before the Father, and he kindly intercedes for them. He has a sellow-seeling with them in all their distresses, and in his love and pity he redeems them. "We "have not a High Priest," says the apostle, " that ** cannot be touched with a seeling of our insirmities,
but was in all points tempted as we are, yet with"out sin (a)" "The bruised reed he will not break, ** the smoaking flax he will not quench, till he bring ** forth judgment unto victory." The injuries done to his people, he considers as done to himself. He ** that toucheth them, toucheth the apple os his ** eye." The sympathy of our sellow-creatures is ©ften unavailing; but the sympathy of Christ is always powersul and effectual. It gives actual relief to his servants, under all their wants, their frailties, and afflictions. For,
6. There is in him a sulness of light. Does the Xhristian walk in darkness? Is he uncertain what
path of duty to pursue? This is sometimes the case . with the people of God. In Christ, their exalted Head, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. "He is the true light, that lighteneth every ** man that cometh into the world;" and, in a peculiar manner, he is the light of his humble followers. He instructs them by his word, and guide3 them by his Spirit so that they hear, as it were, a voice behind them, " This. is the way, walk ye in "it." Are any of you then in doubt, either with respect to your duty, or the state of your souls before
(") Heb. ir. i£.
fore God? To whom should- you look but to this great Prophet, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all sulness of light should dwell. It is his peculiar office to open the blind eyes, and give light to them that sit in darkness. He has done it for multitudes already; and God has promised, that, under his conduct, " he will bring the blind by a way that "they knew not, and will lead them in paths-they "have not known; that he will make darkness light "before them, and crooked things straight."
7. There is in Christ a sulness of lise. He has not only lise in himself, independent of every creature; but he is the Fountain and Dispenser of lise to the children of men. He quickens them that are dead in trespasses and sins -, and implants that principle of spiritual lise, which is the earnest and pledge of lise everlasting. Are any of his people, the members of his mystical body, under a fad decay with respect to the exercise of grace? Is their spiritual lise, like sire un* der the ashes, ready to be extinguished? He is their living head, who communicates new supplies of life, to revive their languishing graces. And hence that gracious promise, " I will be as the dew unto Israel: "They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the "vine (a)." To him, therefore, O Christian, thou must look up, when thou sindest thy love cold, and thy heart liseless in duty, when thou art complaining of deadness and languor of spirit; for he alone is the Fountain of lise; nay, he is faid in scripture to be his people's life, and has expressly promised, that " beu cause he lives, they shall live alfo (i)."
8. There is likewise, in our blessed Mediator, a sulness of strength. Hence, we have that remarkable prediction, " Surely shall one fay,- In the Lord have "I righteousness and strength, and in him shall the "seed of Israel glory (<-)." He is an Almighty Redeemer, who has all power in heaven and on earth. In him, as his people's head, there is a sulness of
(aJ Hos. xiv. j, 7. ft J John iiv. rj
/tj Isa. xto. 84, 1$