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. .—. . — — be thou in Adam's room
Having sent you in my last, a few remarks on some of the objections raised against the perfection and extensive demands of the moral law, the righteousness and atonement of Christ; I shall now proceed to state mjre fully how the astonishing work of man's redemption was effected.
What I have already said concerning the apostasy of man, the corruption of his nature, his aversion from God, and his utter inability to rescue himself from deserved ruin, will, I trust, evince the absolute need in which we stand of a Mediator, or as Job expresses it, Of a daysman, who can lay his hands on both parties—the offender and the offended—And it is our happiness that the Son of God viewed us in this helpless condition; that in order to snatch us from a situation which involved perpetual destruction, he graciously took on him —' Not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham; and was made in all things like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertain* ing to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.'
The doctrine of redemption, though generally neglected, is of the last importance to man. This is the 'salvation of which the prophets inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto us: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.' This is the mystery into which angels are represented as having been anxiously desirous to look; but which, fully to comprehend, they must descend from celestial regions to learn on earth, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God. And, indeed, who so fit to announce the incarnation of the Son of God, as those inquisitive spirits who had long witnessed his glory in heaven; who owed to him the confirmation of their blessedness; who, from the beginning, had been employed as ministering spirits to those whom he left his Father's bosom to redeem; and who always felt themselves deeply interested in the promotion of his glory and in the happiness of man.
When the birth of Christ was first proclaimed, there were shepherds, it is said, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. It may be thought, perhaps, that the shepherds of Judea need an apology for manifesting any trepidation on such a joyful occa
sion: - but who could have seen such a messenger and beheld such splendour without astonishment and without dread! The benevolent herald, however, neither expressed surprize nor waited for excuse; but kindly hastened to remove the tremour that his presence had produced. 'And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'
Who can for a moment contemplate this wonderful intelligence, and not exclaim with the devout psalmist, Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Herein is love, says an apostle, not that we Joved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 'He was given for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes; to bring out the prisoners from the prison ; and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. . ..
To accomplish the work of man's redemption, the Son of God left the bosom of his Father, and, though 'equal with God, made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' Should it be asked why the Lord Jesus condescended to take our nature into union with his divine person, the answer is—It behoved him to be made like unto his brethren: or, in other words, it was to qualify himself for the arduous work he had graciously undertaken to perform—that the divine law might be magnified in the same nature by which it was first dishonoured—'that he might by the grace of God taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many