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friends, we know something of his grace-we know that it is great grace--but the extent of its greatness we cannot comprehend. Again,
His love was manifested in the condition and manner of life, to which he submitted. In the early part of his life, be submitted to a hard and laborious employment. When he entered upon public life, he still appeared in circumstances of abasement, and subsisted by charity. “The Son of Man," saith he, “ hath not where to lay his head.” He was also vilified and traduced as a deceiver, as a blasphemer, and confederate with devils. Thus he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself-of sinners for whom he had the kindest designs, and was preparing the greatest of blessings.
But the greatest, and the summary expression of his love, was his death upon the cross. Here the scriptures lay the greatest, and frequently the whole stress of his sufferings.
6. To him that loved us, and washed us in his own blood.” Merely to have lived in our world, and consorted with sinners, without the sufferings he underwent would have been great condescension. But that he should take á body, and come into the world, on purpose to suffer', agonize, and die—that he should become a man, on purpose that he might be a man of sorrows, and save sinners from endless woe, is an expression of love beyond comprehension.
But the expressions of his love did not terminate at his death. As he had prayed for his church, for all those who should believe on him, and promised to support them, against the gates of bell ; so he has continued to intercede for them before the throne, and has been faithful to his promises, by making all things, in his providential government, subservient to their good. To all who receive him, he manifests a peculiar love, and will love them to the end. None shall pluck them out of his hand. He sends the comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is the purchase of
his sufferings, to guide, restore, support, quicken, and comfort them. He knows and pities their infirmities, and sympathizes with them in their trials and conflicts. He often brings them to his banqueting house, where his banner over them is love. He gathers them in his arms, and carries them in his bosom ; and never leaves, nor forsakes them, till they are prepared to be where he is, and see his glory,
Finally, the love of Christ is manifested, by the preparation he makes in the heavenly world, for those who believe in his name, and “ follow him in the regeneration.” Then will his followers understand the greatness of his love, when they see it ex. pressed in its final issue. What that will be, we cannot now strictly determine; for though Christians, in this world, do have some prelibation--though they have the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, yet eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, to determine the happiness, God hath prepared for them that love him. “ Christ loved the church," says the apostle, “ and gave himself for it ; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." For this end he left the realms of bliss-and for this end he has entered heaven, as the forerunner. to prepare a place for them, and has promised that he « will come again, and receive them to himself, that where he is, there they may be also.”-I proceed in the
He has gone
III. And last place, to mention the returns, we are obligated to make to him who hath so loved us. Not that any adequate compensation can be given for a Saviour's love ; for what have we which we did not receive ? Noris any thing required but a return of love--a delight in his character, and in the character of his children. This is reasonabie and fit in the nature of things. It is reasonable and fit that we
should love Christ primarily for his inherent excel. lency-for his being benevolent--a friend to God and his law; and as evidences of this his infinitely holy and benevolent character, it is reasonable and fit, that we should love him for what he has done and suffered for us and the human race; that is, we ought to love him with a love of complacence, and a love of gratitude. Our love ought to be active, and expres. sed in all proper ways.
1. We ought to express it, as in the text, by offering up devout ascriptions of praise.“ Unto Him, that loved us, and washed us from our sins, in his own bloodto Him, be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Again, “ Blessing and honor and glory ånd power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” Of these and every ascription of praise, the Lamb of God is infinitely worthy. All who love him, will rejoice him thus praised, and will account it their highest privilege, to be permitted to join with his followers in presenting his praises.
2. We ought to manifest our love to Christ, still further than by words. It ought to appear in a steady, active zeal for his name and honor, and devotedness to his cause. When the Saviour said to Peter,
lovest thou me?" he directed him as a proof and manifestation of his love, to feed his sheep, and feed his lambs. A profession of love to Christ, without sincere and actual exertions in his cause, is mere hypocrisy, Let us all, therefore, if we have any regard to the Saviour, manifest it, by studying to advance his kingdom, and promote, in the best manner, the great design for which he came into the world, viz. the glory of God, in the salvation of sinners. Surely it is our most reasonable and incumbent duty, to live wholly to Irim that loved us. We ought to make it our meat and drink to do jis will to em
ploy all our time and talents, all we have and are, in subserviency to his interest and glory.
Another very important and acceptable way for us to express our love to Christ, is by loving, assis :ing, and relieving his members, as far as we have capacity, or opportunity. Surely, if we love him, those who bear his image will be especially dear to us. How strongly has the Saviour manifested his approbation of acts of kindness and love to his followers, and declared that he will consider them as expressions of love to himself, in the representation he has given of the day of judgment ? Matt. xxv. 34. “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, for I was an hungred and ye gave me meat~ I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink--I was a stranger, and ye
took me innaked, and ye clothed me I was sick, and ye visited me I was in prison, and ye came unto me." And when the righteous shall, in their humility inquire, when they manifested such love to him ; he will answer, “ Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
So great stress is laid by the apostle John, upon our exercising love and kindness to the poor members of Christ, that he makes it the turning point of
“ We know," says he “ we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren-He that loveth not his brother abideth in death-Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren-Who hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
Again, We ought to manifest our love to Christ, by obeying all his commands. It ought to flow forth in an uniform obedience. This, he himself hath established, as a test of its being genuine. “ If ye
love me, keep my commandments—He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that lov
He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.” And again, “If a man love me, he will kcep my words.” Had we the tongues of angels, and an understanding of all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and should e profess the greatest degree of affection and love to the Saviour, and even give our bodies to be burned, for the brethren, it would be nothing and vanity, without a cordial subjection of heart to his authority, and a life governed by his precepts.
Finally, As obedience to his commands in general is a proper and necessary expression of love to the Saviour, so especially is an obedience to his last comniand, his dying charge, to celebrate his love, in the memorials he then institued. Are not the great things he has done for sinners, and to magnify the law of God, worthy to remembered with the liveliest gratitude ? But can any be said, gratefully to remember him, who constantly neglect the memorials of his love, which he instituted for the express purpose of maintaining his remembrance ? Not but that there may be many who love him, who have not as yet owned him in his ordinance ; but such, surely, cannot be at ease in their neglect. Let such be exhorted to reflect on his love, and his affectionate command,
" This do in remembrance of me."
Let the professing people of God now do it, in remembrance of Him. May you, my brethren, be hereby enabled to perceive the love of God-be quickened in your love towards him and his members, and excited to go forth and manifest it, in a life of self-denial, and uniform obedience to his com
How gracious and kind was the Saviour, in Instituting this memorial. It manifested the greatest concern and regard for us. He knew our weakness. He knew how strong our attachments would be to