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hue. Hence the obedience and righteousness of Christ is of infinite consequence, and is every way acceptable with God, as a saba stitution for the offences of them that believe. But how do the sufferings of Jesus contain in them such amazing qualities ? For this purpose, consider to what they were opposed as a remedy, and the infinite rank and exaltation of the person who suffered.
First, Christ's sufferings were opposed to, and designed as a remedy for sin and rebellion. Obedience and disobedience are opposites in their nature. Man's disobedience, and the obedience of Christ, not only stand in a natural opposition, but the latter is intended to be a redress of the evil of the former. Sin is an infamous and malignant misrepresentation of God and his government. It is a declaration, he is unworthy of the duty and obedience of his creatures. Now to all this misrepresentation of God, and reproach cast upon him, Christ's obedience is opposed as an antidote and remedy. How it answers this end, and be comes of such immense valuation, appears,
Secondly, From the rank, quality, and infinite excellency of his character. He was God, co-equal with the Father in exise tence, substance and glory. He was independent in his nature, and under no obligation to submission or obedience. He possessed the most perfect knowledge of God, the worthiness of his character, the propriety of liis laws, and the justice of his government. Now the subjection and obedience of such a preeminent personage as Jesus, expresses in the most striking manner, the venerable nature of his authority, the holiness and rectie tude of his laws, and gives the strongest demonstration of the fitness and equity of the penal sanctions, whereby they are enforced. Thus is apparent the glory of the truth of Christ's declaration, “ That he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it; not to « do his own will, but the will of his Father that sent him."Hence his perfect obedience is of infinite worth and value, exactly adapted to remedy all the evil of sin, and to iestore to divine favor and acceptance every ungodly offender who believes
in him. And this obedience expressed in the life, humiliatiogy sufferings, and death of the Immanuel, is that whereby the law is magnified and made honorable, and forms that very righteousness whereby God is well pleased ; and on account of which, he receives to favor and eternal life every soul that believes.“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one “ that believeth."
A brief iinprovement shall now conclude this discourse.
First, We learn proper apprehensions of the obedience and mediation of Christ, are of the last importance in the christian life. An error in this point may be of the most dangerous consequence. Life eternal consists not only in knowing the true God, but also Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. The more we discern of the worthiness of God and the excellency of his law as manifested in the obedience of Christ, the more reason and encouragement we have to go to God through faith in him, and build our salvation and acceptance wholly upon him. It is an interesting fear to a person who sees his own heart, has a clear sense of God and the holiness of the law, lest it should not be consistent with the divine perfections and government to shew mercy to him. And until a person duly concerned about sin, and the friendship of Jehovah, comes to have some just discoveries of the intention and worthiness of the obedience of Christ, he can never obtain any true peace or comfort. But when brought to a real and spiritual understanding of the use and value of Christ's meritorious obedience, sees how God is well pleased on the account thereof, how it is consistent with all the laws, attributes and prerogatives of Godhead, to pardon sin and justify the ungodly for the sake of his atoning righteousness, this scatters his fears, fills him with hope and joy, and affords him a sure foundation to build his expectations upon for eternity.,
Persons who have never been convinced of sin, and who have but mean apprehensions of the justice of God and the holiness of
his law, can easily take the consistency of the divine perfections with the forgivness of sin, for granted. How the honor of God and his law may be reconciled with the salvation of sinners, gives them no trouble. If they may be delivered from wrath and hell, whether it is in a way securing the glory of God or not, gives them not a thoughtful moment. But the soul under an awakening attention to these things, flies to the covert in the righteousness of Christ, as to a tower of safety, consolation and peace. He trusts in this way for justification and the pardon of all his transgressions. This method of salvation is exceeding precious to him. It is in the feelings of his leart, the wisdom of Gods and the power of God.
Secondly, Let us all be exhorted, my brethren, to make our. selves acquainted with this glorious plan of acceptance with God, by the meritorious obedience and righteousness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Your salvation depends upon a riglit and spiritual understanding, and a cordial belief of this truth. It you are blind to this, you are ignoront of an essential branch of the gospel.
Believers must surely rejoice in that which gives pleasure to their God; they cannot but rejoice in this wonderful method of salvation by the cbedience and righteousness of the Saviour. Rejoice not in yourselves, nor in your own works, but in Christ Jesus your Redeemer. How precious is the thought, “ he is the « Lord our righteousness. Rejoice in him evermore; and again, «I say unto you, rejoice."
And to those who are in darkness respecting all these things, what can be said ? Will you continue in blindness and derangement, still to go about to establish your own righteousness, and to set aside the righteousness of God ? Allow me to recommend to your serious meditations, this Apostolic counsel, “ Awake a thou that sleepesi ard arise from the dead, and Christ will give “ you light."
I. JOHN 111. 1.
Behold, what manner of love, the Father hath bestowed upona
us, that we should be called the sons of God.
ADOPTION is a doctrine of christianity frequently taught us in scripture. It appears in the Old Testament, like other shadows and figures of that dispensation ; but in the new, its appearance is in all the splendor of glory and wonder. It is mentioned in the Old Testament, and explained in its nature, uses, and benefits in the new. And here it is introduced by the disciple, whom our Lord loved with a note of wonder and astonishment. The word behold, is introductive to various sentences of somewhat different signification in the bible. But it is chiefly employed to command attention to something extraordinary, and out of the usual course of nature ; as “behold a virgin shall cone sceive and bear a son,” &c.
When the mind contemplates the wonders of divine love, in making children of enemies and rebels, it is lost in astonishment at its nature, manner and accomplishment. With open eyes of surprize, it cries out, “ Behold what manner of love." This is the true subject of admiration among all intelligences. The
length, breadth, depth and height, is as incomprehensible as the great Supreme. Love, divine love, the ineffable gift or bestowe ment of God, transcends created conception. “Behold, what 6 manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us." The term Father, how endearing, tender, and affectionate the appellation ? It involves in it every blessing of comfort, provision, and protection. “ I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons 6 and daughters saith the Lord Almighty."
This relation into which mien are brought to God in our text, is not a natural one, for by nature they are children of wrath ; but it is stiled adoption, receiving, acknowledging and admitting them to relations, honors, immunities and blessings, to which they had no just, natural, or meritorious claim.
In directing your attention to the important doctrine in our text, we shall, by divine assistance, endeavor to consider the ntture-properties and blessings of adoption.
First, With regard to its nature. It is no distinguishing characteristic of God, that he is the Father of all by creation. In this sense he is the Father of angels, devils and wicked men, of the heavens and earth, and of all creatures animate and inanimate.
Neither again is the exercise of his conferring power and protidence, whereby he provides for, and sustains all things, the foundation of this relation. But we become the children of God in a twofold respect.
The term adoption, is borrowed from the civil laws ond usages of all nations. Persons of property, and especially those who have no children, wish to have heirs to their estates hence, they select children of other families, educate them, sometimes confer upon them their own name, constitute them their own by act of law or testament, and ordain them successors to their inberitance. Thus Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses to be her son, and Mordecai Esther to be his daughter. These human adoptions