Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

it is unspeakable and incomprehensible, because it is the love of God manifest in the flesh. "Hereby," says the beloved disciple, "perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us," (John, iii. 16;) that is, hereby we perceive the love of God the Son, because he condescended to be incarnate, to take upon him our nature, to be made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, to be born of a virgin, and, finally, to give his life a ransom for many, to redeem them from the curse of the law, the wrath of an offended God, and eternal misery. In this view the love of Jesus appears indeed to be that which passeth knowledge, and to be truly ineffable and divine. The grace of our Lord Jesus is the grace of him that was rich, and for our sakes became poor: and this is the argument which the apostle uses when he exhorts the disciples to abound in the grace of love; "ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."II. Corinth. viii. 9.

Behold then the Son of God, rich in all the glories of Godhead and Divinity-possessed of the Divine nature and Divine attributes! Behold him in the bosom of his Father! behold his Divine condescension, in his becoming surety for sinners! behold him in this character, and hear him utter these gracious words, "lo, I come! in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God! by which will," says the apostle, "we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus once for all." Behold the Son of God, in his birth, life, sufferings and death! Remember who he is that endured so much for sinners-remember that he is the great Immanuel, God with us, and admire with sacred rapture and delight the wonders of redeeming love! Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever, Amen.

Lastly, let us practically improve this doctrine, the great mystery of godliness, unto holiness of life; that so we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; and if we would adorn the doctrine of our Saviour, we must believe that he is our God. The practice of true holiness, of pure and undefiled religion, does not begin in unbelief; obe- . dience does not commence with disobedience to the express command of God the Father, who hath commanded us to believe in his Son: but how do they believe in the Son who deny the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction?II. Peter, ii. 1. Can Antichrist be religious and holy? can a liar love truth? And "who is a liar,” saith the apostle, "but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son; whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." He is Antichrist and a liar who denieth that Jesus is the Christ, that is, the Messiah; but he that denies the divinity of Jesus denies that he is Christ, the anointed, the Messiah: for if he is not God, neither is he Messiah-the Messiah is Immanuel, God with us. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life. Now he that denieth the Son hath not the Son, nor the Father, and has no life, but is dead in trespasses and sins.

True believers experience a sacred constraining influence in the love of Jesus Christ. "The love of Christ," says the apostle, " constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again." Believing in this Saviour as their God, they truly perceive his love; and this is the language of their souls, "hereby perceive we the love of God, in that he laid down his life for us." In this faith they behold the glory and riches of redeeming love, and feel its peculiar constraining energy. In the great mystery of

godliness the believer beholds not only the love of God to sinners, in giving his Son to be their Saviour, but also the holiness of God, and his abhorrence and detestation of sin. In the death of the Son of God, as the surety and representative of sinners, the purity and holiness, the righteousness and justice of God, are most gloriously illustrated and displayed, as well as his grace and mercy. How infinitely merciful, holy, just, and righteous is our God, who in his infinite love gave us his Son to be the propitiation for our sins! He would not pardon sinners without vindicating the honour of his holy and righteous law: he would not be reconciled to sinners but by the death of his own Son, who hath magnified the Divine law, and made it honourable. How inflexible is Divine justice! Behold this attribute of God in the sufferings and death of Christ! Behold how God visited his own Son as the sinners' surety! In his pity and in his love he gave him to us, to be our Saviour; but the sword of his justice is drawn against him: "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd." God spared not his own Son: "it pleased the Lord to bruise. him; he hath put him to grief. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, with his stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter." Behold the. Son of God in his life, his sufferings, particularly his last sufferings in the garden and on the cross! Behold his agony and blood sweat! Hear him say, "Father, save me from this hour! but for this cause came I to this hour!" "O, my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy. will be done!" Hear him crying out on the cross "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" Behold these things, and be astonished at the terrors


of Divine justice, and admire the riches of redeeming love! If God thus visited his own dear Son, considered as surety for sinners, shall not God visit with everlasting destruction all the impenitent workers of iniquity? If these things are done in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry? Shall not the Divine wrath flame out against all who are not in Christagainst all who are not saved from wrath by himagainst all who are not washed in his atoning blood

against all who are not clothed with his righteousness? Where shall they fly for refuge who would not have Christ to be their Saviour, nor their Lord to reign over them? what will become of them? They shall go away into everlasting punishment, and be destroyed with an everlasting destruction !

In the doctrine of Christ's divinity, as connected with the doctrine of the atonement, we behold, as in a faithful mirror, the love and mercy, the truth and faithfulness, the holiness and justice of God: we behold the glory of his grace, and the awfulness of his wrath; we behold the dignity and honour of his laws, and have every motive laid before us to fly to Christ for salvation, to believe in, and to rest upon him for eternal life. The Son of God gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Let us then live unto him who died for us, and rose again; who died for our offences, and rose again for our justification. Let us testify our love to him, by keeping his commandments: they are the commandments of our Lord and Saviour, who is entitled to our submission and obedience, because he is our God, our Redeemer, and our King. Let us worship and adore him; let us praise and bless his holy name; let his word dwell richly in us; let his law be our delight; and let all that love his salvation say continually-THE LOR B MAGNIFIED!









"The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ."

Sirth Edition.

« ZurückWeiter »