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and to walk with ready minds in all the commandments of the blessed Jesus I Herein you will prove to angels, to men, and your own consciences, that you are the followers of God, and the dis. ciples of the precious Redeemer.
Awake, O sinners, to consider Christ's worthiness of your love, and your infinite need of him. Renounce all your idols and vain confidences. Hear his sweet and persuasive voice, "Look unto me all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved."
LOOKING TO JESUS FOR SALVATION.
Isaian Xlv. 22.
Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth ;for I am. God, and there is none else.
IN ancient times, when Israel was journeying from Egypt to the promised land, and could not obtain leave to pass through Edom, and were forced to go the great round of that country, the dreary length of the way, caused them, as usual, to complain and reurrnur against God and Moses. As a correction far this offence, God sent fiery serpents among them for their punishment. And when they found themselves bitten and dying by multitudes, they were awakened to apply to Moses to make intercession for them. Moses, the servant of God, and their servant, ever stood upon the post of obedience. The consequence was, God directed him to make an ima&e of a burnishing hue, erect it on a pole visible to all parts of the camp, and to issue proclamation, that all persons bitten, should look to the brazen serpent and be healed. Allow me to remark, that no person complying with the proclamation, was ever disappointed. God mingles mercies with his judgments—and a due attention to the former, always prevails.
This brazen serpent, we are informed in the New Testament, 'was an eminent type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was lifted up to the view of the whole world on the cross, and proclamation has been made in the gospel to every creature, that whosoaver ist stung or wounded by sin, may look unto him' and be saved. The Israelites, when bitten by the fiery serpents, no skill of the physician or medical application could heal them, till God provided a remedy. Thus man, pirrshing by sin, cannot investigate a method of cure—but God has discovered a miraculous Saviour exalted on the cross, that all who will look unto him, may live.. Thus Christ speaks of this wonderful recovery : "As Moses lift— "ed 'up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of '; man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him, should not "perish, but have eternal life." As the children of Israel were commanded to look to the brazen serpent and live; thus sinners are called upon in oui' text, to look to Jesus and be saved. Those in the most distant parts of the camp, might see the brazen serpent and be healed, so the inhabitants of the remotest and darkest corners of the earth, may only look to an exalted Saviour, andbecome sure of eternal life.
This ^rxt, with its connection, point out in the most certain; manner, the Messiah, in his mediatorial and saving character. He is the righteousness and strength of his people. These are his peculiar characteristics. It is also added, " That to him every knee shall bow.'' This is applied with emphasis by St. Paul to Christ, in his epistle to the Romans, when he declares, "As
I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me.'' Wherefore let sinners, who feel themselves perishing by their iniquities^ look unto Jesus, and they shall be saved.
I will not here detain yonr attention to the Hebrew criticism, respecting the commanding and future time; the sense is obvious, that they who look by faith to Jesus, shall obtain salvation.
The phrase, "All the ends of the earth,'' to which the address presented, is an easy and common figure, expressing all the rational inhabitants of the remotest parts of the world. And tint♦extensive invitation, is enforced by a roost commanding motive: <' For I am God, and there is none else." Christ Jesus is God, »nd he is almighty to save. All other Gods, refuges, and dependencies are entirely insufficient for this purpose. On this account it is said in our context, respecting Jewish and heathen idolaters, *' They have no knowledge, that set up the wood of their graven *' image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.''
The Prophet challenges all the adorers of false deities, to produce a single instance of their ability to save, or their capacity of foretelling one truth. "Tell ye and bring them near, yea, let * them take counsel together; who among their Gods have de** dared the redemption of my people from ancient time? Have "not I the Lord, and there is no God else beside, a just God "and a Saviour, and there is none besides me." After this affirmation of his alone sufficiency to save, is immediately subjoined the exhortation in odV text; "Look unto me, and be ye saved, f* all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else."
Now allow me to direct your attention to this subject, in the following manner:
First, Let us consider what is implied in looking unto Christ; "Look unto me."
Secondly, What is the import of the salvation here promised and commanded, "And be ye saved.''
Thirdly, The motives urging us to a compliance; "For I am u God and there is none else."
First, We are to consider what is implied in looking unt« Christ; "Look unto me."
First, This idea directly arises in the mind, that sinners are unable to help themselves. If they could relieve themselves, why should they look to another? They are destitute of power for this purpose. They are like the lame man, which lay by the pool of Bethseda, incapable of casting himself into the water, when the troubling angel descended. Thus sinners are every where in the gospel, held up to view as impotent creatures in matters of religion. They are represented as dead ; dead in trespasses and in sin. A dead body can neither re-animate itself, nor form any plan for its resurrection. They are represented as reduced to such a state of inability, that they cannot think a right thought, or speak a right word; and our Lord declares, "That without him, "they can do nothing." Thus sinners must perish, and they may cast their despairing eyes on a thousand objects for relief, but unless they turn them to Jesus, they are forever lost. Their false refuges fail, and every floating straw sinks at the touchNo hope for them, but casting their eyes " Upon the rock of ages, ** upon the Lord, in whom there is righteousness and strength; u on him, in whom the seed olTsrael shall be justified and glory."
Secondly, It implies that a sinner's hope of life and salvation, must be fixed on Christ alone. He is the only Saviour, the anointed of God for this purpose, the alone propitiation for sin. Sinners cast their eyes to the law as an original resort, tnough they know it is not adequate to their wishes, yet their deceived minds fondly expect, their failings and deficiences will be supplied by the merits of Christ. Thus a compounded satisfaction, partly their own, and partly in their corrupted fancy, borrowed from the atonement of Christ, lay the baseless foundation on which they expect pardon of sin, and acceptance with God. Thus a collection is formed, of a motley mixture of their own performances, and the obedience of Christ—and on this composition, they quiet their consciences, and rest their mistaken hopes. This, like the feet of Nebuchadnezer's image, partly iron, and partly clay, and the stone which is cut out without hands will dash to pieces, and their hope, like that of the hypocrite, will perish. It shall be like chaff on the summer threshing floor, which the wind carrieth away, and no plaes found for it. Hence the righteousness of Christ must remain pure and unmixed, to every soul that be