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xlv. 21. They rob Christ of his glory, in pretending to join to his perfect and compleatly finished work, their own poor and paltry performances ; or by totally neglecting the great falvation, he has wrought out by his arm alone.
The Lord will be magnified in the salvation of his people, and had in reverence of all the saints ; the base and obnoxious idol of self-righteousness must not stand in the temple of the living God; Dagon shall fall and Merodach shall be broken in pieces, and the Lord alone shall be exalted. I am God and there is none else, and I will not give my glory to another, the glory of my juftice, which would be stained if I suffered sin to pass unpunished; the glory of my holiness, which would be greatly obscured if I did not require a perfect righteousness for salvation; and the glory of my mercy, which would be totally eclipsed if salvation were a debt that was owing for some creature obedience.
4thly. You are to note herefrom, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the obnoxious state of the finner in consequence thereof. How exceedingly offensive must sin be conceived to be, in the eyes of the immaculate Jehovah, seeing that his onlybegotten fon, when considered as the finner's substitute, is constrained to drink the bitter cup of unmixed vengeance ; nor was there abatement made him in the price, of one drop of his precious blood. Not all the manifestations of the divine displeasure against sin, in the most alarming and distresling judgments, so loudly declare the refentment of heaven, or paint the hideous monster in such terrifying colours, as the blood of the holy Jesus, spilt and poured out like water to expiate sin, and manifest to the finner that there
was no other way for his reconciliation. Floods of water that shall deluge the earth and drown it's ungodly inhabitants; fames of fire and briinstone that shall devour and depopulate whole countries ; do not so much manifest God's hatred of fin, as the sufferings of his only-begotten and well-beloved Son. He was stricken, smitten of God and affliated; he was wounded, bruised, chaftised, oppressed, and cut off out of the land of the living; he had done no violence, yet the Lord bruised bim, and put him to grief. The most exquisite sufferings of our blessed Lord, are described and thus set forth in a variety of expressions, adapted by infinite wisdom to the greatness and various sensations of sorrow, the illustrious sufferer felt; by the evangelical prophet, ch. liii. who remarks upon the whole, that transgression and iniquity, even our transgressions, our iniquities, were the cause.
Settle it then in your hearts as a truth momentous and undoubted, that sin when it seems most pleasing, is then most poisonous ; and when solicited to compliance therewith, turn your eyes to yonder cross; there fee what sin has done, and be assured it is still the fame. And while you view the bleeding Lamb ftretched on the wood of his cross; ask your heart, Whence is all this? What has he done? Wretch that I am, what have I done ? Have not my sins faftened him to the cross? Has not my unbelief pierced that tender bleeding heart, that now trembles in the pangs of death, and while bathed in it's own gore, yet fames with love ? O grace unparallelled, matchless
mercy! can it be that it should flame with love to me, a sinner, and his murderer? Yes, adored be sovereign grace, adored be matchless
and superlative goodness, the finners furety bleeds, the sinners Saviour prays, father forgive, nor did he bleed, or pray in vain.
And if when we were yet without strength, and ungodly, Christ died for us, much more will he save us by living in us ; if while we were yet finners, he engaged by death to save us, how much more being saved he will iive to intercede for us. In a word, if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life ; which leads us to the second principal part of the text, and which presents us with a ftate of amity, from whence to infer the certainty of salvation secured unto us by his life.
Salvation respects, first, a deliverance from that death, our sins had deserved, and to expiate which, the Redeemer shed his blood ; this Elihu had an eye unto in that beautiful passage, Job xxxiii, 242
" deliver him from going down inas to the pit, I have found a ransom ; deliver him ; (Pedabhehu,) redeem him, pay the price for him, not of corruptibles, gold or silver, but precious blood, the blood of Christ, pure and spotless as a lamb without blemish. I have found a ransom, (Copber,) a covering, Christ Jesus the meffenger, the interpreter, the one of a thousand, the true mercy-feat ; in him I am pleafed, in him my Tour acquiesces.
This, our apostle also looks unto, ver. 9, "much ss more then being justified by his blood, we " shall be saved from wrath through him.”. Sin being pardoned through the blood of atonement, can no more condemn, and the finner being justified through the redemption that is in Chrift Jesus, has nothing to fear from the rigour of the law, or the justice of God ; since the former can produce no indictment against him, and the latter has accorded to his free and full justification. The wrath of God, says the scripture, is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, but Jesus Christ is appointed and set forth to be a propitiation for sin, that the sinner might be reconciled through faith in his blood, and obtain the remiffion of sins; and hereby be delivered from the curse, and freed from condemnation. Sinners because of their transgressions have deserved to die eternally, and to wail on beds of inextinguishable fire for ever; and nothing but the blood-shedding of the Son of God could prevent it ; for without shedding of blood (says the law which was but a shadow) there is no remiffion, not even in the shadow ; much less in the realizing, fubftantiating dispensation of the gospel. But since Christ the Lord has died, he has made a full and perfect satisfaction for the fins of all that shall believe in him, and notwithstanding a finner may cry out in respect of his corrupt nature yet remaining, and the frequent ebullitions of corruption, " O wretched man that
' I am, who shall deliver me from the body of ự this death ? Yet the believer will always have a heart-reviving answer in readiness, I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I shall be delivered from the body of death I feel, and from the death I might justly fear, had he not died to redeem
2dly, Salvation respects that state of blessedness, which Jesus the forerunner is gone to prepare for his people ; and concerning which he hath said, I will come again and receive you to myself, that
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where I am, there ye may be also. This is that salvation, the finner made holy, enjoys in the light of God's countenance ; by which his heart is made glad more than with wine; and in the beatific light of the most amiable of all objects, whose footsteps shine with such refulgent brightness in the things that are seen, the workmanship of his hands.
The royal psalmift seems to have had a .- Jively conception of this heavenly blessedness, and a
thorough knowledge wherein it did consist, when he says, Pf. lxxiii, 25, “ Who.n have I in heaven " but thee? What are all the glories that heaven itself can boast in comparison of my God, a kingdom without Christ, can yield no happiness, not even a kingdom in heaven; thrones and crowns, &c. compared with him, are not worth a wish, not even to be enjoyed through everlasting ages and in heaven too. But, says he, Pf. xvi, 11, “ in thy presence there is fullness of joy. What can I want when I have thee? Happy soul that can say the Lord is my portion, even while on earth these shall have no lack, and in heaven there is (Sebabb,) expressive word, fullness of joy, at iby right hand there are pleasures for evermore. So near to thee my God, I must be happy, thy munificient hand dispenses blessings in abundance, and from the smilings of thy face eternal day and infinite delights issue ; for these pleasures, will be such for evermore. Not like the transient blaze of feeble pleasures arising from created good, which disappoint our most fanguine expectations, and vanish tasteless in the highest enjoyment of them.
Precious salvation ! How marvellous the love that first moved it! How unsearchable the wif