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(says Goodwin) was a heart bespoke on purpose to be made a vessel, or rather a fountain of mercy, wide and capable enough to be so extended, as to take in, and give forth to us again all God's manifestative mercies.” Then let his saints come to him, and expect largely from him ; his fulness divinely suits their emptiness, and wherever in scripture Christ's fulness is mentioned, God's people are likewise introduced as receivers, John i. 14. 16. Coloss. ii. 9, 10; even as around a medicinal spring, there are glasses containing the water, and patients coming to partake of it. Christ is far more set upon his own glory and the salvation of his people, than we can be, he his more anxious to glorify us, than we are to be glorified. Let us then come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus is the alioner of mercy. Peter testi. fied shortly after the Saviour's ascension, “him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins ;” and how liberally did he shower down pardons. The hard hearts of Jerusalem sinners which had stood unbowed when the rocks were riven, were not merely broken, but melted. The exulting apostles went out and proclaimed to perishing millions, “ through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins," and the Gentile wilderness rejoiced, and blossomed as the rose, and still the Saviour lives to bow the hearts of rebels, and powerfully protect his saints. The office he sustains as advocate of his people, is one of
tender love, set up on purpose that mercy might triumph, and grace reign. The angel of the Lord stands by, Zech. iii., to see that the brand plucked from the burning is secured from the adversary's rage, and adorned with the garments of salvation. To encourage us under a sense of sin to draw near to God, John testifies, that " if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness;” and this hope is wholly founded on the priestly office of Christ, for it is added,“ if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Compare 1 John i. 9, with ii. 2.
Looking then at Jesus as the medium, throne, storehouse, and almoner, of mercy, we may well be filled with wonder that the banished ones from Eden should be so richly blessed; that those driven from an earthly paradise to toil in a wilderness, watered by the curse and prolific in sorrow - those between whom and the tree of life the fiery sword waved, should be redeemed to a better Eden of spiritual and eternal blessings, by him whose laws they had broken. True, in the work of restoration there is a fiery sword, but it pierces the bosom of incarnate love; there is a river, but it is a stream of blessedness, even the deep, wide, and clear current of eternal mercy, which bears the sinner back to God and glory. “O groundless deeps! O love beyond degree!
The offended dies, to set the offender free.” Ought we not then, while receiving the atonement and all blessings by it, to feel as did Noah, when, again treading the green earth, he stood beside his altar, saw the bow of God in the heavens, and heard with rapture his words of promise, and expressions of complacence. We have a nobler victim, a more beauteous bow, a better covenant, and richer blessings. God smells a sweet savour in the sacrifice of Christ, and declares to the soul his grace restores, “I will accept you with your sweet savour.”
“ Thou Prince of Glory, slain for me,
Breathing forgiveness in thy prayer;
For murderers shed !
“Oh! while I gaze, in wonder lost,
Upon that livid, mangled form,
This guilty head!
“Let me but hear thy dying voice
Pronounce forgiveness in my breast;
In all its woes.
“Lord, thine atoning blood apply,
And life or death is sweet to me;
And give repose.”
JESUS IN HIS MINISTRY AND MIRACLES, THE MIRROR OF
“ Christ is a path, if any be misled
He is a robe, if any naked be;
If any be a bondman, he is free ;
If any be but weak, how strong is he.
It is worthy of observation that the life of the Saviour, as recorded by the Evangelists, is not called his history, but his gospel, and this not merely by human authority, but by the inspired writers themselves. The Evangelist Mark thus begins his testimony, “ the beginning of the glad tidings of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” There is a fulness of meaning in this word, as it is applied to the Saviour's ministry and miracles. His words and actions bring to us glad tidings concerning God. “ The acts of Christ (says one) were a system of sublime hieroglyphics, every part of which stood for some glorious aspect of the divine character; while, of that system, his words were meant to furnish us with
the key and interpretation.” Jesus sojourning on earth, in our nature, was “the brightness of his father's glory, and the express image of his person;" he could say, “ he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” How wondrous must his person be, who could with truth lay claim to such preeminent honor. How beneficially glorious his character, who could and did gather up into himself, all that the prophets predicted ; and who infinitely exceeded all the combined excellencies of all the excellent of the earth, who had been his heralds and types. Yet such is Jesus, and“ his name shall be called wonderful;" and all the saints should join the royal psalmist in singing, “thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into thy lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.”
But our object will be to shew that Jesus while tabernacling in our world, exhibited in his actions, spirit, and communications, both in life, and in death, a glorious representation of the tenderness, kindness, and willingness of divine mercy. We cannot be thankful enough that so much of what the Saviour said and did is preserved for our use. In his spotless and beneficial life, we see holiness in its unblemished beauty, and mercy in its inexhaustible plenitude. We are not merely told that he was born, lived, and died, but the circumstances of his birth, life, and death are detailed, “ that we may know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and believing have life in his name.” But as all who have Bibles, and hearts to study them, may easily search this out for their own good, and as the author has dwelt on the subjects discussed in