Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

stituted by God, the covenant head and representative of all his posterity. To fulfil the duties of his responsible character, God gave him every necessary qualification. He was made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures. He was placed in Paradise, and had the privilege of using all that it afforded, with but one exception. Prompted by Satan, he disobeyed God, and entailed sin and misery upon our whole race. All have sinned in him, and become obnoxious to the divine displeasure. His children were born sinners, and their children were born sinners. From parents to their offspring, the corruption of his nature, through disobedience, has been transmitted down through all successive generations, and will be transmitted to the end of time. Go where we will, we find men to be sinners. All have fallen short of the glory of God; all are involved in the ruins of our father's apostacy.

The corruption which we have inherited from him, has affected both parts of our constitution. The soul, as well as the body, is included. The understanding is darkened,

the will rebellious, the affections disordered. The members of the body are vessels of dishonour, slaves of unrighteousness. All our faculties and all our powers are de

praved.

The descriptions which are given in the revelation of God of our natural state, are mournful, calculated not only to humble, but to fill us with shame and remorse. We are dead in trespasses and sins, revolted from God, enemies to him, under the influence of evil lusts, captives of Satan, walking according to the course of this world. We have forsaken the Fountain of living waters, and hewn out to ourselves broken cisterns which can hold no water. We are helpless and fatherless; under the curse, but unable to rescue ourselves; degenerated, but loving our debased state. There is neither health nor strength in us; from the crowns of our heads to the soles of our feet, we are corrupted. In all our relations, we discover our corruption; and in all our enjoyments, feel its poisonous effects. Such is the information which the Gospel gives us, concerning our character and condition.

VOL. II.

S

[ocr errors]

Secondly. It exhibits to us a remedy abundantly effectual to heal our maladies, and to restore to us our peace.

This remedy is to be found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, who, uniting the divine and human nature in his adorable person, is Mediator between God and man. He alone has paid the price of redemption for our sins, and thus satisfied the justice of God on our account. In him are to be found pardon for our guilt, and the renewal of our nature. Of this mercy, the light of nature gives us no information. The utmost exertion of the human intellect, was incapable of proving that it was possible, much less that it was probable, that God could receive sinners into his favour. Reason, though it teaches in the most explicit manner the goodness of God, also inculcates his justice. How to reconcile these two attributes, goodness and justice, it knows not. To do this is the work of God; and for the knowledge of this work we are indebted to revelation alone.

On this subject, the Gospel affords us the fullest information. It reveals to us a Saviour, able and willing to save sinners; a great High Priest, who is holy,

harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. In the character which he sustains, in the work he has done on earth, in the authority he exercises by virtue of his exaltation to the right hand of God, we have the fullest warrant for trust in him, and for confident expectation of future blessedness through him. He is exhibited to us as God essentially ; but by appointment, voluntarily accepted, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law. Thus, then, he unites the two natures, which are requisite in a Surety for sinners. As Man, he appears in their nature for them; as God, what he does in their stead, is infinitely worthy and accepted on their behalf. - Uniting humanity with diyinity, he teaches sinners as their Prophet; atones as High Priest for those who receive him as Prophet; governs them by his law as a rule of conduct, and by his power in providence as their King. He has performed for his people all that the law of God did require from them, both in obeying the precepts and suffering the penalty thereof; so that in him there are righteousness and strength. In

him we can obtain redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God's grace.

ace. . sin Thirdly. The Gospel exhibits to us the manner in which sinners can be interested in and saved by the remedy which it reveals.

The abstract proposition, that Christ hath died for sinners, will be of no avail to any of our race. The fact of his death must be applied to the heart and conscience of every sinner. But how is this to be effected ? How shall they who hear the Gospel, which unfolds Christ's redemption, be saved? By believing in that redemption, and repenting of their sins. The nature of both faith and repentance is unfolded in the revelation which God has given us. The former is a cordial trust in the blood of Christ for pardon and complete salvation. The latter, a departure from the love of sin in the heart, and the practice of it in the life. Both faith and repentance are the gifts of God; the fruits of the operation of the Spirit of God. He is the Agent in the economy of redemption, whose work it is to apply the remedy of the Gospel for sins, to the hearts and conscien.

« ZurückWeiter »