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appearance, and have recommended them as perfect models of piety and virtue. They were ready to obtrude on his silence the query of their ungrateful progenitors. 'What profit is it that we have kept his ordinances ?—Where, fore have we fasted and thou takest no knowledge?' But when they found that neither their religious nor their political notions met with his concurrence, they were exceedingly enraged; they aspersed the Holy One of Israel, and called the Messenger of peace, a deceiver— a fomenter of sedition-^-a blasphemer of his God —and an enemy to Caesar.
These, and similar remarks will, I trust, demonstrate that the love of God to man is absolutely sovereign and free; and that no worthiness is sought for in the object on whom its blessings are conferred. 'God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that
are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.' Were the glorious gospel revealed only, or principally, to the wise and the prudent, it would, as the excellent Charnock expresses it, be viewed as a discovery made to reason rathejthan to faith: and were divine grace communicated to the comparatively pure, it would be considered as a debt which the Almighty lay under some sort of obligation to discharge: but when both are bestowed on objects that are uncommonly depraved—that have nothing to plead in extenuation of their guilt—there is no room for glorying, but he that glorieth must glory in the Lord.
Let it, however, be remembered, that the love of God, freely exercised towards his elect, is never to be viewed as detached from their head and surety, the Lord Jesus Christ. In him they were chosen; in his comeliness they are comely; in his righteousness they are righteous; in him shall they be blessed; and in him shall they glory. In them personally considered dwelleth no good thing. But they were chosen in him to grace and holiness here, and to glory hereafter. He, as the head, they as the members: they are one with him, and where he is, there shall they be also. As mediator of the covenant, he is the Father's elect, in whom he is well pleased: and the love of the divine Father to sinners, is abundantly manifest in his choosing them in him as their head—in making a covenant with him on their behalf—in afterwards quickening them by his Spirit—in the bestowment of grace, and in causing all things to work together for their good till he bring them to glory. 'Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins—What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things!—Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? it is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us—Who,shall separate rate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'
As, therefore, we have such indubitable evidence of the everlasting love of God to sinners, wherefore dost thou doubt? O thou of little faith! Let me say to you, Lavinia, as Jesus did to the ruler of the synagogue, fear not—only believe—and thou shalt be made whole. When the ancient Israelites in the wilderness were bitten by the fiery serpents, Moses, you remember, was commanded to make a brasen serpent—to set it upon a pole, and, to tell every one who was bitter*, that if he looked upon it he should live. Now, if instead of instantly looking at this serpent, the
wounded Israelite had stood reasoning with himself about the malignant nature of his wound, or querying whether the means of recovery were adapted to the end; or whether a cure might not be effected some other way, he would have paid very dear for his ungrateful hesitancy. The healing of his body was connected with implicit and prompt obedience to the divine command: it was the only method prescribed for relief; and had the command been disregarded, he must inevitably have perished.
Now, thus it is, in a spiritual sense, with the soul. It is by nature the subject of moral evil, extremely depraved, and obnoxious to final perdition: and from this perdition there is no possibility of escape, except in the way that infinite mercy has graciously provided. What that way is, we learn from the lips of him who said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; and of whom the brazen serpent was a striking figure. 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,' said the compassionate Saviour, ' even so must the Son of man