Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

on the tree.This language he borrowed from Isaiah liji. 4, 5. “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” “He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” “He died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” &c. Such is the current language of the Bible.

It is observable that inspired writers lay the principal stress on his death. Paul says, “We have redemption through his blood,” that we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, that he died for our sins, not for his own, for he had none: “ he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.

“Christ's satisfaction for sin was not only by his last sufferings, though it was principally by them ; but all his sufferings, and all the humiliation that he was subject to from the first moment of his incarnation to his resurrection, were propitiatory or satisfactory." All that he did and suffered make up that righteousness by which the believing sinner is justified. Through the whole he acted voluntarily; for he had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take it again; but he knew that it was necessary that he should suffer these things and enter into his glory; therefore he became “ obedient unto death, even the death of the cross :” not as a martyr only, to seal the truth of his own religion, but

* President Edwards's Hist. Redemp.

that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: hence he is said to be “the propitiation for our sins;” (Rom. iii. 25.) not metaphorically but really

6. Jesus Christ having finished his part of the work of our redemption, ascended to the Father, and sent the Holy Ghost, whose peculiar office it is to take it up where he had left it, and to carry it on until the glorious plan shall be all accomplished. “It is expedient for you,” said Christ to his disciples, “that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

The work of Jesus Christ is for, or in the room and stead of a sinner, that God the Father might justify him consistently with his whole character. The work of the Holy Spirit is carried on in the sinner, in order to reconcile him to God, and fit him for eternal life. Jesus Christ

opens

the

way for his discharge from the curse of the law; the Spirit of God makes him meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. Both are absolutely necessary; the latter no less than the former, because “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

It hath been proved already in a preceding part of the subject, that mankind are in a condi. tion of total depravity: if so, their final condem. nation is certain, unless the heart be changed; because a mind at enmity against God cannot be happy in his presence.

It may, perhaps, be said, that those persons only who are abandoned to wickedness are thus de

praved; but this is not the case with all mankind. It is confessed, that all men do not discover their depravity by open wickedness. Many persons are under the restraint of education, sense of honour, or a fear of wrath to come; whose hearts at the same time remain disaffected to di. vine things. Let such persons ask themselves, as in the presence of that God who looks through them, and knows every thought afar off, whether they do not restrain prayer before him ? prefer a crowd of fabulous publications to the sacred volume ? whether they are not strangers to the duties of private religion? Is not God in great measure forgotten by them? Do they not lie down and rise up, without any proper sense of him who holdeth their souls in life ? Are not their hearts wholly attached to the riches, honours and pleasures of the world? Will not a small difficulty detain them from the place of public worship? Would the like difficulty prevent their going to an evening's amusement ? Why not? The reason is obvious; they hate the one and love the other. If a preacher happens to exceed his usual length in preaching, are they not quite out of patience with him; though they allow the sermon was good, and his manner not disagreeable ? Yet would not these very persons be willing to remain until midnight at some fashionable entertainment? Are they not fatigued with the one, and in raptures with the other? I ask these questions, my friends, that you may determine what your prevailing taste is. You certainly know what you love most. If the world and the things thereof have the preference, can you believe that you shall be happy in heaven,

where all is holy? Be not deceived; for liowo ever amiable you may appear in the eyes of the world, one thing is wanting : your hearts must be changed by a divine influence, or you are undone forever.

It is a clear case with me, that should God leave the sinner to himself, and not inflict on him any positive punishment at all, the depravity of his own heart would make him entirely miserable, because the very nature of sin separates the soul from God. It follows then, “ Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John iii. 3.) In the fifth verse of the same chapter, this change is represented as being born of the Spirit ; because he effects it. Some. times it is called a translation, a passing from death to life: but in 2 Cor. v. 17. we have this striking passage; “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things pass away ; behold, all things become new.” His views, his joys, his company, his conduct are all new. His heart is broken for sin, as committed against God; he loaths himself, and repents in dust and ashes. The divine character appears glorious to him ; Christ is precious; sins of heart his constant burden; holiness the thing he longs for. He feelingly adopts the lauguage of David, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee.” The greatest pleasure he has, is in communion with God. His conduct is changed also: for having believed in God, he is careful to maintain good works. His religion begins in his heart, and ex. tends its influence over all his behaviour; so that his acquaintance take knowledge of him, that he hath been with Jesus.

Thus the Holy Ghost accompanies the dispensation of the gospel with the exceeding greatness of his power, and enlarges the Redeemer's kingdom. And thus will he continue to do, until all the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads : then sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

7. The preceding observations relative to the deity and incarnation of Christ, the doctrine of the atonement, and the influence of the Spirit of God in the regeneration of the sinner, naturally lead me to remark, that the doctrine of the Trin. ity appears to me to be so interwoven with Christianity in general, and the plan of apostolic preaching in particular, as to make an essential part of it. The Father is represented as choosing, the Son as redeeming, and the Holy Ghost as calling and sanctifying. According

According as he (the Father) hath chosen us in him. Of the Son it is said, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity." And the apostle assures us that we are “saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Thus different parts of the work of salvation are attributed to different persons in the Godhead.

Before Jesus Christ left the world, he following commission to his apostles, and to their successors in the ministry : “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy. Ghost.” Here we observe in an act of religious worship, equal honour paid to each person in the Godhead.

gave the

T

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »