Discourse 7,z. Motives.

posted 11 Dec 2013, 18:33 by Stephen Chaffer   [ updated 11 Dec 2013, 18:35 ]

Motives.

1. Here is the highest encouragement and ground of acceptation. There is no room for any hard thoughts of God after so signal a discovery of himself. He is not a God of unquenchable wrath; he is willing his justice should be appeased: he took all the course that was possible for infinite wisdom to invent, for infinite power to effect, for infinite love to propose. What greater security for our blessings, than that he should make his Son a curse, that we might be blessed by him! How should so much love make us change our unworthy opinions of God! Here are the three persons employed in it: the Father contrives it, the Son effects it, the Spirit stands ready to apply it to every believer. A refusal puts a scorn upon all the three persons. As soon as ever Adam sinned, even the same day, Gen. iii. 15, God applies this remedy of a Redeemer. He did not let a day slip, for any thing we know, not an hour, before he made it known to him. His heart was in travail, and longed to be delivered of the gracious promise of a Mediator. He armed our first parents with this cordial, before he subjected them to their standing miseries. What his heart was then, it is the same still. His kindness was desirous to publish the promise, can his truth have less zeal to perform it? His kindness which moved him to assure it, has moved him to effect it, and will move him to apply it to every one that seeks to him for it in and by his beloved Son. His wrath, which we were subject to, is overcome by his love to the mediation of his Son, who has honoured him more than sin had dishonoured him. By accepting this, we own the glory of God, and honour him as much by faith as we have dishonoured him by sin; for thereby we own that satisfaction which was as grateful to him as our sins were hateful. As he honoured himself by the death of his Son, so he honours himself by giving forth the fruits of his death. He delights to honour Christ, and to see him honoured by us: we contribute to God's delight, when we approach to him by faith in his blood. Did God make this provision? Did he contrive an expiatory offering before the world was? And will he not communicate this? Would he provide him never to bestow him? Did he bruise him for nothing, but to keep him up as a jewel in a cabinet, not to give out? To whom should God give him, but to those that desire him? Would any father lay up treasures for his children, and not dispense them, when they are earnest for them in their necessities? Can there be a greater argument than this doctrine, to overcome our rebellion, extinguish our fears, hasten our approach, and add confidence to our desires?

2. The terms required are as low as can be imagined. Nothing can be objected against the conditions he requires, repentance and faith. Can any malefactor expect peace with his arms in his hand? Is it not fit there should be such conditions to justify God, since we were the guilty offenders? Can there be less than to cast away our weapons, bewail our crimes, receive his Son as our Mediator, serve him with newness of life, all which are desirable privileges? It was in his power to appoint what conditions he pleased, because he was the free and sole benefactor; what could be less than the believing and receiving the reconciliation? It was impossible the benefit could be without it: it is no benefit unless it be esteemed so; no reason any should enjoy a benefit, that does not think it a benefit. All the self-love of men could not have framed more reasonable terms. Men would have thought of 'rivers of oil, and thousands of rams,' mere impossibilities, Micah vi. 6, 7. God requires no more than to lie humbly at his feet, and reach out our hands to receive the assurance he gives. What can be easier? If faith be difficult, it is so, not in regard of itself, but in regard of our natural enmity to God, and the pride of our own wills; it is hard only as 'the law is weak, through the flesh,' Rom. viii. 3; but nothing could be more reasonable, nothing more easy in itself An ingenuous amazement at unexpected kindness should make us run more swiftly to embrace God, than ever we ran from him. We should subscribe to his articles. As he is a God to contrive the peace, let him be your God to impose the methods of enjoying it, since he Lath given this gift to a brutish world, who he knew would grieve and despise him, yet requires no more at your hands than that you should believe and accept him, which is but a just due to the greatness of the blessing.

3. There is an absolute necessity for this compliance for our happiness. If you have not a peace of God's ordaining, you can have none of your own inventing. There can be no fellowship with God without it. We cannot be happy, because we cannot enjoy God, wherein all the felicity of a creature consists. How can guilt and purity converse together? What society can stubble have with fire, but to its destruction? We cannot see God's face without it; and if the sight of God's face be wanting, felicity is at a distance. The greatest part of hell remains, though there be no positive punishment. This cannot be without a reconciled face. 'How can two walk together unless they be agreed?' Amos iii. 3. What intercourse can there be between a guilty rebel and a frowning judge? between a sinful creature and a provoked Deity? 'If he hide his face, who can behold him?' Job xxiv. 29; but when an agreement is made, there may be mutual endearments. We are enemies to God by birth, God an enemy to us by his law; the enmity will remain on God's part, while enmity remains on ours. Strike up then the treaty with God, since there is a necessity for it, and God has provided all things to that end. Shall not God's love melt you, and sour own necessities move you?

4. Wrath is unavoidable without a compliance with God. If we will not enter into these terms of reconciliation, the heart of God, which was before incensed by our sin, cannot but rise with an higher indignation at a resolve to persist in it. Abused love kindles the hottest wrath. What fence can inexcusable guilt have against an equitable justice? When man, after his creation, proved perfidious to God, there commenced u dreadful war, which only can be ended by him who Lath put an end to sin, or else it will endure for ever in hell. All must have endured what Christ suffered, had he not stood in their stead; and those that refuse him, as he is proffered by the grace of God, must endure the same for ever. If we will not receive him as a friend, eve cannot avoid him as an enemy; his eye will behold us, 'and his hand will reach us, in the thickest coverings of darkness,' Ps. cxxxix. 9, 11. Where he is not accepted as the author of reconciliation in his own way, he will be the author of judgment in his own way. If the satisfaction of his justice, which he has provided, be slighted, that Justice will be satisfied upon our own persons. If we deny him his honour by the sufferings of Christ, he will vindicate it by the sufferings of our own persons. The law was in full force against us, whereby God has obliged himself to inflict death upon the sinner, Gen. ii. 17. It is his law upon record, that damnation shall be inflicted upon every one that believes not. There is no discovery out of Christ, but of wrath prepared against the day of wrath: the day wherein God and his unreconciled enemies shall meet together, is called a 'day of wrath,' Rom. ii. 5, 6; a day wherein there shall be an appearance of wrath only to such. The angel that has a rainbow about his head, has feet as pillars of fire, Rev. x. i, to consume them that refuse the peace. Consider, then, we are sunk under infinite guilt, and cannot rise up without an almighty hand, vie are defiled with an universal filth, and cannot be cleansed Without infinite purity; sin is strong in its accusations, our righteousness imperfect in its defence, and can make no compensation for the wrongs by the other; our duties are bespotted, and are not fit for a pure eve. An eternal weight of wrath is due to all those; there is but one way of escape which God has provided, but one city of refuge whereby we may escape the edge of the revenging sword. The sword of divine justice reaches all that are without this shelter, touches none that are under Christ's wings, but like a consuming fire devours every thing else. We cannot perpetuate the war against him, but to our own sorrow, one spark of wrath will be enough to consume stubble; death will put a period to all treaties.

5. All other ways of reconcilement are insufficient. To pretend to any other ways is an injury to divine wisdom, as though his contrivance were not sufficient for the creature's restoration and support. Divine mercy will clasp no man in its arms with a wrong to any one attribute, nor to the dishonour of Christ. It will therefore never receive any who denies Christ and the efficacy of his priesthood. Men naturally are studious of making God compensation, applauding themselves in their own inventions and satisfactions of their own coining, unwilling to acquiesce in the wisdom and will of God. Two great things God would advance in the world by his grace, is his wisdom and authority; these are the things men oppose, his wisdom by the pride of reason, his authority by the perversity of will. But consider, do we need reconciliation or no? If we need it not, how came we fiends with God, since we were born enemies? If we do need it, is it not safer to enter into the terms God has proposed, wherewith he is satisfied, than to stand to our false, or, at best, hilt uncertain methods? The safest way is always the choice of wise men. Let us not be fools then in refusing the gospel method, unless we can meet with anything that has as fair a plea to divine revelation. Had we all the angels on our side, and all the men on earth to entreat for us, it would be ineffectual.. God never was in them reconciling the world; this one mediator, whom God has appointed, has done and can do that which neither men upon earth nor angels and saints in heaven can do by their joint intercessions. Place no confidence then in your own humiliations, services, duties, God never was in those reconciling any man; all that is done without faith is but enmity, and that in the best part, your minds, Rom. viii. Whatsoever fair colours they are painted with, they cannot please God. The Scripture settles an impossibility on the head of all of them: Heb. xi. 6, 'Without faith it is impossible to please God,' to gain or keep his favour. Were your righteousness of the highest elevation, it is but a creature, and therefore not the object of trust. Though Adam, while he continued in his natural righteousness, might have entered it as a plea, yet because mutable, it was no fit object of trust for him. But since the fall all pleas of a fleshly corrupted righteousness are overruled in the court of heaven. Absolute mercy, without faith in Christ, cannot save you. As God could not, after the sanction of the law, in regard of his truth, pardon the violations of it without a satisfaction, so since he has settled the way of reconciliation by faith in the blood of Christ, he cannot upon the same score of his truth save any in a way of absolute mercy, especially when that way which he has appointed is refused. As it would be against his truth, against his justice, so also against the honour of his obedient Son; for if he be at peace with one man by absolute mercy, why might he not upon the same terms have reconciled others, and then what need of the sufferings of his only Son to make up the breach? If anything else therefore be chosen as the way of this peace, God at the hour of judgment may remit us to our righteousness, services, carnal confidences, saying, Go to the reconcilers that you have chosen, and see whether they can make your peace, as he did to the Israelites: Judges x. 14, 'Go cry to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you;' a dreadful, but a just speech.

6. God seeks it at our hands, and is willing to receive us. He is not only a God in Christ reconciling the world, but he is a God in his ambassadors entreating: 'As though God himself did beseech you by us,' ver. 20, after the text. This is the tenor of his proclamation, 'Be you reconciled to God.' If he had not desired it, he would not have spent so many thoughts about it, and been at such expense to effect it. He was not bound to it; for he might have left Adam to sink into the death he had merited, without exposing his Son to a death he had not deserved, and contracted a necessity of, only as our surety; he was no more bound to seek out Adam and make him a promise of redemption than he was bound to make him a creature. He might have raised a new world, and have filled it with new inhabitants. It must be something of a vast concernment to us, that God has been so busy about, and so desirous of our acceptance of. Both God seek to us to receive wealth and worldly honours? No. This therefore must be a thing of higher value. A God seeks to us, who is infinitely more glorious than we are vile; a God who never did us the least wrong, but has borne with many injuries from us; a God who could as easily send us into hell with his breath, as breathe out a; kind invitation to us; a God who needs our friendship no more than he fears our enmity; a God no more benefited by it than the sun by darting a beam upon a grain of sand. Sure that soul never was sensible of the misery his war with God has sunk him into, who refuses to receive the peace he offers, nor can without an Inconceivable shame look God in the face at the last day, after so notorious a rejecting an entreating God. He seeks it this day, perhaps he will not seek it at our hands to-morrow. There is 'a day' wherein we may 'know the things that concern our peace,' Luke xix. 41. When the day is over, peace will not return. There is a day v herein he will pour out his wrath upon the unbelieving world. While he is yet a great way off, and his thunders at a distance, he sends an 'embassy of peace,' Luke xiv. 33. He yet seeks to his sworn enemies, and those that were in league with Satan: You may be in league with me, I have not yet shut the door. Listen, do you not hear God's voice in the gospel? He shuts out none that do not shut out themselves. What a guilt will the refusal amount to, when we are to answer for not only the first publication, but repeated offers? Besides, he is willing to receive us into favour, more willing to embrace us than we to receive him. The eternal motions in his heart which gave birth to this gracious design, are of the same force and strength still; he can never forget them. As the remembrance of the years of the right hand of the Most High is our comfort in times of trouble, so God's remembrance of the years of his own right hand, the workings of his own heart, has the like force to excite him to a reception of us, as they had to commission Christ for us. He never broke his word; and less will ho do it at the upshot of all, when his people are almost gathered, the world near its period, and the proclamation of the gospel ready to be taken down and folded up for ever; he will not at the end be worse than he has been all along. Let us be as willing to be at peace with him as he is to be at peace with us. God sets us a pattern, he seeks to us, it is an imitation of God to seek to him.

2. Exhortation. Is God in Christ reconciling the world 7 Then we must be at enmity with sin. God was in Christ reconciling sinners, not sin. God and sin are irreconcilable enemies, so that where there is a peace with one, there must be a war with the other. Fire and water may sooner agree than God and Sin, than a peace with God and a peace with sin. The traitor may be reconciled to the prince, and the treason as hateful to him as before. This is the best evidence to any that he is actually reconciled, when he hates that which made the first separation. Christ expiated sin, not encouraged it; he died to make your peace, but he died to make you holy: Titus ii. 14, 'To purify a people to himself.' The design of God in the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, was 'to destroy the works of the devil,' 1 John iii. 8. The chief work of the devil was to enter man in a league with himself and rebellion against God. God aimed at the death of our sins, when he aimed at the life of our souls. The ends of Christ's death cannot be separated; he is no atoner, where he is not a refiner. It is as certain as any word the mouth of God has spoken, that 'there is no peace to the wicked.' A bespotted conscience, and an impure, will keep up the amity with Satan, and enmity with God. He that allows himself in any sin, deprives himself of the benefit of reconciliation. This reconciliation must be mutual; as God lays down his wrath against us, so we must throw down our arms against him. As there was a double enmity, one rooted in nature, another declared by wicked works; or rather, one enmity in its root, and another in its exercise, Col. i. 21; so there must be an alteration of state, and an alteration of acts. The end of Christ's death was to reconcile God to us, and bring us back to God. We are not therefore linked in a peace with him, unless we be transformed into the image of his Son. How can we expect to be taken into the bosom of God, when we every day wilfully defile our souls! Can familiarity with God be kept up, when daily bars are laid in the way? Why was God in Christ reconciling the world? Because he was a holy as well as a gracious God; and to show his detestation of sin, as well as his affection to the creature. Shall this encourage any practice against the holiness of God? God is of as pure eyes, and can as little endure to behold iniquity, since the reconciliation, as before. God was sanctified in Christ when he was reconciling the world in him, and he will be sanctified in us if we have interest in this reconciliation. All God s acts about Christ are the highest obligation to be at enmity with that, for which the Son of God was appointed, and made a sacrifice; to receive encouragement from hence to sin more freely, is to act Judas his part with God's grace, and betray it to serve our lusts. Be afraid therefore to offend God, not so much because of his power to hurt you, as because of his love whereby he has obliged you. The peace was broken by the disobedience of Adam; it was restored by the obedience of Christ. But our obedience is necessary to the joyful fruits of it. 'Great peace have they which love thy law,' Ps. cxix. 165.

3. Be industrious and affectionate in the service of God. Has God been in Christ reconciling the world, manifesting his desire for it and affection to it by such various acts, and shall we put God off with a little service, who has not put us off with a scanty grace? God has done his utmost to engage our affection and encourage us in the choicest services: there could not be an higher way to procure it and deserve it of us. The view of the creatures, and God's goodness in them, raises a common love to God in the more ingenious natural minds. To what heights should our love ascend, who have such steps to mount by? A weak love is less than is due to him who has discovered such an immensity to us. Shall we return not a drop, or but a drop, for an ocean? How much should we think ourselves obliged to a prince who should but stop a torrent of legal penalties deserved by us? God has done this and more. How should we combine all our thoughts and affections together to serve that God acceptably, who has made all his thoughts conspire to reduce us honourably and successfully? 'I am the Lord thy God, which has brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,' is the preface to the Decalogue, as an incitement of them to a choice respect to all his precepts.; I am the God reconciling you in Christ,' is the tenor of the gospel, and much more an incitement to service, by how much the deliverance in the antitype exceeds that in the type; this being spiritual and eternal, that temporal. If you are actually reconciled, serve God as your friend. As God has given you an higher state, give him a greater honour. Do all things out of love to God as reconciled, without any base ends and sordid designs. God had no other end in being the author of peace but his own glory and your good; have then no other end but God's glory in your own welfare, advancing further to him and enjoying his reconciled favour. Serve him with a delight in him; a dull, slavish spirit becomes not any in his approach to so hearty a friend. Every duty should be performed with a triumph and glory in the God of salvation: Hab. iii. 18, 'I will joy in the God of my salvation.' God would then delight in us; next to the delight he has in his reconciling Son, he has the choicest delight in his reconciled servants, and services springing up from a sense of his love to them.

4. Let all our approaches to God be begun and attended with a sense of this. God in all his communications to his people acted as a reconciled God; we should eye him so in all our approaches to him. As there is not one mercy, one act of grace, God shows to us, but springs from this restored affection, so not any duty we offer up to God but should rise from a sense of it. Whatsoever is not by and through Christ, is not accepted as a duty. This consideration before all addresses would animate them with all those graces necessary, to be acted in them. It would make us humble to consider what we were, and how freely God reduced us. It would make us believing with an holy boldness. What despondency can there be, when God has given so many tokens of his heartiness in it? It would make us earnest; it would be a fetching fire from heaven for the inflaming our souls. Earnestness is grounded upon hope; what greater foundation for hope than the consideration that this was God's sole act? Think before every duty of the great love God bears to Christ as mediator, greater than to all men and angels; this will be a ground of confidence. For the love of God to Christ as mediator, was with respect to all that believe in him. Think much of the virtue of Christ's death, wherewith he sprinkled the throne of God, and turned the seat of justice into a throne of grace. It is the best way to receive answers; by pleading this, we mind God of all his engagements. Avery act about Christ is an argument fit to be used in prayer. God will never deny his own acts, nor the ends of them, which was to make a way for communicating himself to his creatures. God is only in Christ entertaining us, as well as reconciling us. Let us not lift up an eye to him without faith in him as a God in Christ, and carry this atoning blood in the hands of faith, in every act of communion with him.

5. Look for grace and spiritual strength from God in Christ. The conduct of mercy and grace is unstopped by Christ, to flow freely down to man. This is the foundation of the regeneration of any soul: 2 Cor. v. 17, 18, 'All things are become new, and all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.' Having spoken of the new creation, ver. 17, he lays down the true cause, God; the foundation, the reconciliation by Christ. AID things are of God, all the powerful effects and operations of the gospel in the hearts of men are from God as a reconciler by Christ, not from God as creator. The deep meditation of and closing with the promise of God in and through Christ, brings grace into the heart, not a consideration of God's precepts, but of God's promises. The application of the reconciling love of God in Christ by faith, is attended with a powerful benediction of the Spirit, pulling up the foundations of the enmity on our parts; the Spirit is received by the preaching of the gospel, the meditations of the gospel, the applications of the gospel; the Spirit is conveyed with those, not with the precepts of the law, Gal. iii. 5. Men begin at the wrong end, they would rise from obedience to faith, and deal with God as if he were to be appeased and satisfied by them. But begin at faith, a firm assent, a full consent to the gospel and the offers of redemption, and go down, by virtue of that, to obedience; it is by casting ourselves upon God in Christ that we receive vigour for all spiritual obedience. The spirit of holiness is the principle whereby we obey, not the effects of our obedience. Christ is first redemption, then sanctification; God a God of peace, and then a God of grace. We should look upon God as a God of peace, and under that title implore him for increase of habitual grace. As a God of peace, he 'works in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight' Heb. xiii. 20, 21. Our sanctification depends upon our justification. God promised to be as a dew to his people under the gospel, Hosea iv. 5. Dew descends from a clear sky, and grace from a reconciled God. As God in Adam had conveyed a natural righteousness to his posterity, had Adam stood, so God in Christ only conveys a spiritual righteousness to Christ's spiritual offspring.

6. When any rising of enmity is in the soul, go to God in Christ. As God was in Christ reconciling the world, so he is in Christ reconciling a veal after the readmission of guilt through temptation; not that the guilt of the whole mass of sins of a believer returns upon his far], tent a particular guilt of that sin he has committed lies upon him, for which he must have a fresh application of reconciling mercy. He must go to God in Christ for this; as the first application was made in and through Christ. so must the second and third, as often as we need it, even in our daily pardons. Christ sits an officer in heaven to this purpose, and God Lath constituted him an officer to this end, and is in him in his intercession accepting it, as well as in his first satisfaction. The Corinthians the apostle writes to, some of them at least, were reconciled, yet he beseeches them to be reconciled to God, i.e. renew their reconciliation upon every new breach, and regain the favour of God which they had forfeited by their sins, for which he had reproved them in the former epistle. This must be sued out every day. What was the foundation of the first peace is the foundation of the renewals of it; the same course you took at the first, will be successful for the second. God was not out of Christ in the first, and he will not be out of Christ whenever there is any need. As God was willing and desirous to make reconciliation by the blood of Christ, when all your sins lay before him with their crimson aggravations, much more will he renew it upon a particular fall. But he may hide his face till you sue out a pardon upon his own proclamation and contrivance; and if it be a presumptuous sin, he may deny you the comfort of this peace a long times perhaps as long as you live. Let not any presume upon this, for it belongs not to any man that lives in a course of known sin, which is inconsistent with a reconciled state.

7. How contented should those that are reconciled be in every condition! The peace of God should bear rule in our hearts, to compose them upon any emergency: Col. iii. 15, this will keep the heart and mind from solicitousness Philip. iv 6, 7, this will make us despise the promises of the world alluring us, and the threatenings of the world to scare us. This peace should be the guard of our souls, and will render us happy when the world may account us most miserable, and therefore should render us contented. If you would not have the riches and honours of the world without it, you may well bear the scorns and reproaches of the world with it. The world could not secure you, if you had a war with God, nor defend you from the arrows of his wrath. But since you have peace with God, you are mounted above the enmities of the world, and your spirits should be guarded by it from any tumultuous passions. If the wrath of God be ceased towards us, we may well bear the strokes of a Fathers since we are not like to feel his sword as a Judge. How cheerfully may we kiss the afflicting hand of God, when he is at peace with us! Look upon all your mercies too (though they are of a meaner bulk outwardly than others), as flowing from this fountain, which may make you not only contented with them, but highly value them. It gives a sweeter relish to mercy than Adam could have; he had the goodness of God, but not the goodness of a reconciled Father, while he was in innocence. If this makes heaven the sweeter, it should make mercies here more savoury

8. Let us then be reconcilable to others. Not only where we offer, but from whom we receive an injury. God's reconciliation should be our rule in dealing with others. Hard hearts and uncharitable dispositions are unlike to God, who had a heart full of tenderness to them, who will not part with a grain of their right to their brethren, when God parted with his Son to work their peace with him; and had he not been more forward in it than they, they had perished for ever. God sets his own actions to us as a pattern of ours to others: Luke vi. 36, 'Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful,' if we are irreconcilable to others, we are not imitators of God, but reject the noblest pattern, and discover no sense of the kindness of God to us. Since God has made Christ a propitiation for sin, the apostle makes this inference, that 'if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another,' 1 John iv. 10, 11. Did God send his Son out of his bosom, and veil his glory, to be at peace with us, and entreat us to accept his favour, and shall we be upon every occasion at sword's point with our brother? Such a disposition is against the whole tenor of the gospel, and a keeping up a wolfish and brutish nature against the design of the gospel administration, Isa. xi. 6. Christ came to slay the enmity between God and us, between Jew and Gentile; it is a crossing the design of God, to preserve enmity between Christian and Christian; it is to keep up the partition wall, and frustrate (what in us lies) the end of Christ's death, which was to demolish it. The peace God wrought was a matter of grace, the peace we owe to our brother is a matter of debt; it is due to the command of God. God first laid the scene of our reconciliation, not assisted by the counsels of others; not sought to by ourselves, but seeking us. Our doing the like to others is an imitation of God, whereas to be implacable in revenge is to partake of the devil's nature.

9. Glorify God for this. Since God sends out such a blessing to us, we should send out loud prayers to him. Heaven smiles upon earth, and earth should bless heaven Glorify God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though we have all immediately from Christ, yet Christ has all from the Father. He is the propitiation for our sins, but he was appointed by the Father. He came to redeem, but he was sent by God upon that errand. He paid our debts as a surety, but he was accepted by God. He was a mediator to bring us to God, but he was Commissioned by God to that end. What a love did God retain to his creatures, though he abominated their Sins, and in the midst of his indignation against their iniquities had bowels for their persons! How did God forecast for us, when we were 'prisoners in the pit wherein was no water,' Zech. ix. 11, the captives of the mighty, and the prey of the terrible! Isa. xlix. 25. When the law of God was against us, and his truth taking part with his law, his wisdom and mercy found a way to preserve his truth, and satisfy the curses of the law, that we might enjoy the blessings of the gospel, when we could not in the least deserve it, unless peevishness and perversity, treachery and disloyalty, weakness and wilfulness could pass for allurements; we had then been inconceivable meriters. Such free and full compassion deserves our thank fullness, though we could not merit his grace. It is not a contracted, half-made, or oppressive peace, It is an extensive, tender, and abundant peace, like a river and a flowing stream, a peace whereby we are borne in his bosom, Isa. lxvi. 12. How should we adore the depth of that wisdom which found a refuge for us, when heaven and earth were at war with us; adore this goodness, that when we were no sooner born, but we were He objects of a cursing law, the scorn of a malicious devil, our Jesus should be sent to pacify the law, and shame the devil our enemy I Angels glorify him for this peace; should we be outstripped by beings less concerned in it? God is only praised in and through Christ; God and Christ are joined together in the saints' praise: Rev. v. 13, 'Blessing, honour, glory, and power be unto him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever;' and so they should be in ours. How beautiful will this whole work appear, when the whole methods of it come to be read in heaven in the original copy, when they shall be seen in the face, in the bosom of God, in fair and plainer characters! To conclude. If all the sparks that ever leapt out of any fire since the creation, and all the drops of rain that have fell upon the world; were so many angelical tongues, their praise would come short of the excess of this love. Let the praise of God for this, be not the business of a day, but the work of our lives, since eternity is too short to admire it.

End.

Comments