Imatges de pÓgina
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of his agony; to suppose, on the other hand, that his sorrow and anguish, his pains and his feelings, threw him into the darkness and horror of despair, would affect the divinity of his person, and the assurance and perfection of his faith. On this great and interesting subject, our conceptions ought to be formed and ruled by the revelation of the mystery of his person. The conflict in the agony of the Son of God was real and violent distress. Devils and men combined against him, and, to the last hour, exerted themselves to frustrate and break his designs. But he stood unmoved and undismayed, and while the sorrows of death pierced his soul, and the tongues and hands of men wounded every sense and every member, “held fast "the confidence and rejoicing of hope firm unto the end." What do you expect who enjoy the benefits of his agony? To spend your days without wrestling? This would be a vain expectation. Exemption from wrestling is none of the benefits of his agony. Contention with the powers of darkness, opposition from the world, and the sorrows and pangs of death, ye may expect; but ye may expect support under these, and at the last hour the crown of life. "Blessed is the man who endureth temptation, for when he "is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord "hath promised to them who love him."

His example. The life of the Son of God in the days of his flesh is exemplary, and particularly in faith, in obedience, in patience and in prayer. He trusted in his Father to the last hour, and professed his trust in such an open manner, that his enemies insulted it upon the cross. Follow him in faith. Under the infirmities of the flesh, and the evils and trials of life, you cannot bear up without believing in God, and believing in his dear son. Obedience without blemish and without spot, appeared all the days of his life, in the perfection of beauty. "Though he "were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which "he suffered." And, after his example, ye ought, as obedient children, to be blameless and harmless; and, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of your life, serve the Lord with reverence and godly fear. "He did not cry, nor "make his voice to be heard in the streets." Under infirmities and miseries, he made no noise, nor uttered any complaint. He felt uneasinesses and pains, but endured all in silence and patience. Be ye also patient in tribu

lation, and endure grief without fretting against the Lord, and without reviling men. To him who judgeth righte ously, he committed himself in prayer, and in this hath left us an example that we should follow his steps.

-His acceptance. An affirmation of this closes our text: "He was heard in that he feared." The prayers and supplications offered up under his agony, while the sacrifice of himself burned on the altar, were heard, and ascended up before his Father, as an odour of a sweetsmelling savour; and of the acceptance of all that he did and endured in our nature, in our stead, and under our iniquities, many incontestible proofs appear in the witness of God, and particularly in that part of it which is recorded in the epistle to the Hebrews. There he is represented "entering into heaven by his own blood;" and, as our intercessor and advocate, "appearing for us in the presence "of God," and "sitting on the right hand of the throne of "the majesty in the heavens." The acceptance of our great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who is passed into the heavens, is highly interesting unto the people for whose sins he made reconciliation by the sacrifice of himself. In his acceptance, they have the assurance and comfort of acceptance through his meditation; and "come "boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy, and find "grace to help in time of need."

His divinity. In reading and hearing the witness which God hath testified, concerning the humiliation and sufferings of his only begotten Son in our nature, we should never forget, but always acknowledge, that he who appeared in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of sinful flesh, was, and is, and will be, in the form of God, and equal with God. Before the days of his flesh began, the law and the prophets acknowledged his divinity. In these days he acknowledges it himself, saying, "I and my "Father are One;" and after their end, apostles, anointed with the spirit of truth to preach his unsearchable riches to the world, testify, that the word, who was made flesh, is God; that "he thought it not robbery to be equal with "God;" and that "all the fulness of the godhead dwelleth "in him bodily." "Wherefore, brethren, stand fast in one "spirit, with one mind, strivng together for the faith" of our Lord Jesus Christ, "in nothing terrified by the adver"saries" of his godhead, and the enemies of his cross.—

While they see nothing in the revelation of the riches of the glory of the mystery of his person, death, and love, but the virtue of a meritorious hero, and the faith of an exemplary martyr, we would have your hearts "knit together in "love, unto all riches of the full assurance of understan"ding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and "of the Father, and of Christ, in which all the treasures of "wisdom and knowledge are hid."

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After these considerations, which have been addressed unto the peculiar people who are in the fellowship of the mystery of godliness, we would have the children of disobedience to consider the existence and holiness of God; the provocation which they have given him; the necessity of reconciliation; the access to the benefit of the reconcili ation, which the merciful and faithful High Priest of our profession made for the sins of the people; and the penal and certain consequences of refusing the benefit of this reconciliation.

-The existence and holiness of God. Men who acknowledge that God exists, must acknowledge that he is holy. The holiness of the Lord our God, "in whom we "live and move, and have our being," we are bound to acknowledge. To him we are accountable, and before him we must stand. "But who is able to stand before this ho"ly Lord God?" "He hateth all workers of iniquity; and "fools," who deny his existence and blaspheme his holiness, "shall not stand in his sight." The provocation which you have given him. In the head and representative of mankind, you sinned against him as your creator and lawgiver, and came into the world sinful, and guilty, and miserable creatures, under his wrath and curse.Since the day in which you sinned in your own persons, even unto this day, you have multiplied transgression, adding iniquity to iniquity, and one evil deed unto another, to provoke the eyes of his glory. Of the benefits which his goodness has bestowed, you have becu unmindful; the duty which his law requires you have neglected; the deliverances which his providence hath wrought, you have not observed; the calls to repentance, you have refused; and the witness which he hath testified of his son, and recorded in his word, ye have not received and believed.— Are not these great provocations, and can the charge of

them be disproved? The necessity of reconciliation. "God is angry with the wicked every day, and hath pre"pared for him the instruments of death. If I whet my "glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, "I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward "them who hate me." "The wicked shall be turned into "hell, and all the nations that forget God." "Depart from "me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil "and his angels."-Do not these words stand in the holy scripture; and have they not some meaning? If you acknowledge the justice and holiness of God, and do not deny the existence and reign of sin, you ought to consider the meaning of words which stand in the hand-writing of his Spirit, and which affect your interest here and hereaf ter. Who that acknowledges scripture to be given by inspiration of God, can reasonably persuade himself that anger, wrath, fury, vengeance, are metaphors concerning the justice and holiness of God, which signify nothing; and that the agony, prayers, cries, tears, sweat, and blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ, are expences of love and duty to his righteous and holy Father, which were not necessary to the glory of his perfections, in reconciling, by him, all things to himself.- -The access unto the benefit of the reconciliation, which our merciful and faithful High Priest made in the days of his flesh for the sins of the people. For the sins of a peculiar and chosen people it was made; but before the world it is set, by the ministry of reconciliation, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, and his testimony concerning its sufficiency, and freeness, and acceptance, every sinner, every enemy, every miserable creature, is warranted, called, beseeched, and commanded, to receive, believe, and improve. Behold your privilege and your mercy, your duty, your honour, your interest. Before the guilty, the ungodly, the unjust; before the wretched, the miserable, the perishing, and the lost, the Lord Jesus Christ is evidently set forth, with all the benefits of atonement and reconciliation, through his righteousness, blood, and name; and "in his stead we beseech "you to be reconciled to God, who made him to be sin for "us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in "him." When we beseech you to be reconciled unto God, it is God himself who beseeches you, by us; and he who despises, despiseth not men but God. How long,

thoughtless creatures, shall a gracious God wait, that he may be gracious to you! How long will you despise the riches of his goodness, hate his Son, trample on his law, and vex and grieve his holy Spirit! Are ye resolved to die in your sins, and to abide the day of his wrath? Think what ye do! You know not what it is to fall into the hands of the living God.- -The penal and certain conse. quences of refusing the benefit of reconciliation to God by the death of his son, and of continuing in enmity and unbelief.-"He that believeth in the Son of God shall be sa"ved;" and it is equally certain, and incontestibly just, that he who believeth not shall perish. At this moment you enjoy an accepted time, and a day of salvation; and hear the voice of mercy sounding in every ear, and calling to every sinner, 'Escape, for the life of thy soul! Shut not 'your ears against it, and harden your heart no longer!The time, O dying man, may soon come, when thou shalt hear it no more!'

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