« AnteriorContinuar »
lambs that he carries in the arms of his mer« cy—with whom he delights to dwell, and to whom he graciously saith in his word, 'son, daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins #re forgiven.'
This is the voice that sooths the pangs of grief,
Look, therefore, to this almighty Saviour— this friend of sinners—thou prisoner of hope. He is not only our advocate with the Father, "flrainst whom we have sinned, but the propitiation for our sins. 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them—for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him—'Be it known unto you, therefore, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.' Neither the number nor the magnitude of your sins forbids your approach. Were none but the comparatively worthy encouraged to come, vain man might think he had whereof to boast. But in the affair of salvation, the Lord hath purposed to stain the pride of human glory, and to bring into contempt those things that are generally considered as establishing a kind of title to his favour and forgiveness. For were any other plea than sovereign grace through the blood of Christ admitted in the court of heaven, the self righteous moralist might glory in his doings; the wise man in his wisdom; and the mighty in his strength. But as nothing done by man can in the least conduce to his justification before God, we must conclude with the apostle, and rejoice in the conclusion, 'that salvation is of grace—not by works, lest any man should boast.' The inspired writer felt for the honour of his divine Master, as well as for the souls of men: and while he laboured to preserve the gospel in its purity, he showed the arrogant their danger, and exalted the riches of grace by opening a door of hope for the chief of sinners.
When the Lord Jesus Christ, as the surety of the church, had finished the work which the Father gave him to do; he ascended up on high as a triumphant conqueror. 'He led captivity captive: he spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them on the cross:' and when he entered the mansions of blessedness as a publick person—as our forerunner—it was proclaimed throughout the heavenly regions—' lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty: the Lord, mighty in battle.'
Such was the reception with which the despised Galilean met in the realms of glory! This was a part of the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. For this exaltation he ardently prayed during his abasement on earth. 'These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said,
Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee—I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' He prayed to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. 'Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'
This Jesus, remember, is possessed of sovereign dominion. All power in heaven and in earth is given unto him. He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel an;' forgiveness of sins. He has commanded, 'that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations;' and to this command annexed, for the encouragement of his faithful ministers, a promise that he will be with them alway, even unto the end of the world. Now, to this almighty Saviour, this Prince of peace, who sits as a priest upon his throne, you are encouraged to come. In his name you may confidently trust; for, 'by him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.' If, then, all power in heaven and in earth be in his hands, and to be used as he pleases—if his blood, as the Redeemer of mankind, cleanse from all sin, and his righteousness, as a substitute, justify the ungodly—if he be the resurrection, and the life, and it be true, that whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall never die—if he have invited sinners to come to him for complete salvation, and have said without limitation and without exception, 'him that cometh, I will in no wise cast out'—what should hinder your approach? It is still, and ever will be the language of his heart, while there is a redeemed sinner upon earth—' Father, I will that they also, whom