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through the wilderness, you will be ashamed, (if shame is compatible with the heavenly state,) of your misapprehensions while in this dark world, and will confess to his praise, that mercy and goodness surrounded you in every step, and that the Lord did all things well. What you will then see, it is now your duty and privilege to believe. If you sincerely desire his guidance in all things, labour to submit to it. The path which he has marked out for you is difficult, but he has trod it before you, and it leads to glory. The time is short. Yet a little while, and you shall receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
THE GLORY AND GRACE OF GOD REVEALED IN
MATTH. xi. 27.
All things are delivered unto me of my Father : and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father : neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
The love we bear to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the confidence we place in him, will always be exactly proportioned to the apprehensions we form of him. Therefore, " to
in grace, and in the knowledge of him*,' are spoken of as inseparably connected. On this account the Scriptures are frequent and full in describing him to us, that we may have a large acquaintance with his all-sufficiency, and be delivered from our sins and fears. An awakened conscience that sees the need of a Saviour, well knows, that the person who can deservedly lay claim to its trust, must have these three properties, power, authority, and intention to save. How these eminently belong to Jesus, we learn from his own words here. Power belongeth to him, for he is a divine person, the Creator, Possessor, and Upholder of all things. Authority is his, for all things are delivered to him. Thus far we have proceeded, and are now to speak of his intention or office, the design of his appearance, and for which he is authorized. This is intimated in the close of my text. We are therefore now to speak,
2 Pet. ii. 18.
III. Of his office, summarily included in this one thing, To reveal the knowledge of God.
" Neither “knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and be " to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
The knowledge of God here spoken of, intends something more than merely to know that there is a God. Some faint apprehensions of this, all men have by nature. This great truth is so clearly manifested in the works of creation and providence, that any man would be greatly offended, if he was supposed to be ignorant of it. But as it is one thing, to know that there is a king over the nation, and quite another thing, to know the king, so as to have liberty of access to him, and an interest in his favour; so it is in the case before us, Our Lord did not come to tell us that there is a God, (the devils know this, and tremble, but to reveal to us such a knowledge of God as may stand with our comfort; to teach us how poor, guilty, hell-deserving sinners may draw near to God with hopes in his mercy, and call him their father and their friend.
Now, besides the revelation of this knowledge in the Old Testament, which may be properly ascribed to Christ, inasmuch as he was the Lord, Guide, and Teacher of his church from the beginning, and instructed Moses and the prophets in the things concerning himself—I say, besides this, (which was made at sundry times, and in divers manners, in a more dark and imperfect way,) our Lord Jesus, through his incarnation, has vouchsafed us a twofold revelation of that knowledge of God in which standeth our eternal life.
1. In his person.
In this respect he is said to be, " the brightness of the Father's glory, and the* express “image of his t substance.” That God is great, and good, and wise, appears in part from his works; but it is but a small portion of these attributes we can spell out in this way; and there are other perfections in God, of which we can gain no certain knowledge without a further revelation. But would we see a glorious display of the great God, let us turn our eyes to Jesus, and behold him by faith in two principal views.
1. As hanging upon the cross. Could we have seen this awful transaction, and been in a right frame of mind, we should naturally have asked such questions as these, Who is he? What has he done? Had we been told, This person, thus destitute and tormented, is the beloved Son of God, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; we must have further asked, Why then was he scourged, wounded, and nailed
* Heb. i. 3. VOL. II.
+ Της Υποστασεως. 3 L
to the tree? Why are those barbarous men permitted to mock his sufferings? Why does he not deliver himself, and destroy his enemies? The proper answer to these questions includes a revelation of the divine perfections.
1st, Wisdom. We had deserved to perish, but his mercy had designed to save us with an everlasting salvation. Yet this must be in a way worthy of himself. Sin must be punished, and the honour of his broken law vindicated. How could this be done, and the righteousness of God made to harmonize with our peace? A wisdom astonishing to angels, is manifested No sacrifices* or in devising this wonderful means. offerings, no acts of obedience or mediation, which creatures could supply, would have been of the least avail when the injured majesty of God demanded a satisfaction. But the eternal Word, united to our nature, afforded a propitiation worthy of God, and suitable for us. Jesus, by his obedience unto death, has made an end of sint, and brought in an everlasting righteousness, available for all those who flee to him as the hope set before them, for refuge from approaching wrath.
2dly, Love. God so loved the world. If you ask, How? judge from this instance, words cannot express it. He so loved sinners, enemies, rebels, that, for their sakes, he abandoned and delivered up his beloved Son into the hands of wicked men, permitted him to be assaulted by the powers of darkness; yea, it pleased the Father himself to bruise him, and to make his soul an offering for sin. This is love without parallel, and beyond conception. We can only admire and say,
"hold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed
Sdly, Justice. Wonder not that God's own Son is thus treated. He stands in the place of sinners, and therefore he is not, he cannot be spared. The words his enemies use to his reproach, will, in the lips of his redeemed people, be an expression of his highest praise. Having undertaken to save others, and being determined not to give up their cause, it is in that respect absolutely impossible for him to save himself.
Again, this justice, which was once as a flaming sword to forbid and exclude every hope of salvation to fallen man, is now engaged in our behalf. For since it has pleased the Father to charge sin upon his own Son, his wrath will turn away from all who believe. The immense debt is already paid, and justice will not exact it twice. From henceforth God is not only gracious and merciful, but just and faithful in the forgiveness of sin, and declares his own righteousness in justifying the believer in Jesus.
2. The knowledge of God is made known in the person of Christ, if we conteinplate him as reigning in glory. He is no longer a man of sorrows, oppressed and despised. He is now upon the throne. In him the fulness of the Godhead dwells, and from him, as light from the sun, the unsearchable riches of his goodness are communicated to indigent, unworthy sinners. All the divine perfections shine gloriously in him, as the God-man, the Mediator, who is exalted above all conception and praise, and doth according to his will in
* 1 John iii. 1.
† Matth. xxvii. 42.
1 John i. 9.