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of our corrupt and sinful nature, let us depend solely on that grace for strength, and that mercy for pardon. And do thou, “O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations, through Jesus Christ, our Lord."*

* Collect of 4th Sunday after Epiphany

382

DISCOURSE XIV.

THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF REDEMPTION BY CHRIST

CONTRARY TO THE TENET OF ABSOLUTE PREDESTINA

TION.

TITUS, II. 13, 14,

“ Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who

gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto him. self a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

In my two last Discourses, I endeavoured to explain the nature and object of that trial, to which according to the sacred Scriptures, man on his first creation was subjected; as also the sources of his transgression, the extent of his guilt, and the nature of his punishment. We are now to consider that glorious scheme of redemption, by which divine mercy interposed to remedy as far as possible the calamitous effects of the fall; and thus triumph over the malignity of the grand foe to God and man, by rendering even his machinations subservient to the divine purposes, and ultimately deriving from them occasion for a more illustrious display of divine wisdom and mercy; “ of glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will

"* than belonged even to the primeval state of Paradise, and the original prospects of mankind.

In examining this grand scheme of redemption, we are first irresistibly led to contemplate the unspeakable dignity of that Being, by whom it was completed; that "seed of the woman who was to crush the head of the serpent.”+ That Christ who is the Redeemer of man, he who is our Saviour, is himself styled by the prophet, “The Mighty God, Wonderful, Counsellor, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” the “ IMMANUEL,” GOD WITH US;& who according to the beloved apostle, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," who yet “became flesh and dwelt

towards men,

* Luke ii, 14.

+ Gen. iii, 15.

Isa. ix. 6.

Isa. vii, 14.

among us; (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."* He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last; who was, and is, and is to come ;'* “ who hath on his vesture a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords."! This is the great Being whom we find conducting and executing every part of the divine dispensations towards the race of man.

Look first to the creation : here our blessed Lord appears exercising divine Omnipotence, directed by divine wisdom to effect the purposes of creative love ; for “ all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “God,” says St. Paul, “ who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."|| Or, as he expresses it in another place; “ by him who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; by him were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him and for him : and he is before all things and by him all things consist.”

And our Lord himself declares to the Jews concerning the Father, “ Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”** From this declaration it follows, that wherever the divine glory was visibly manifested, wherever the divine voice was distinctly heard, there it was the majesty of him who is the brightness of his Father's glory,” which was manifestedthere it was the voice of the divine Word,” even Christ, which was heard. By his intervention, was the whole scheme of the divine economy towards man, undoubtedly conducted. For, says St. Paul, “there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.”ti HE, AT THE MOMENT

• John i. 1-14. || Heb. i. 1-3.

+ Rev. i. 8, 11. xxi. 6. Rev. xix 16.
9 Col. i. 15_17. . John v. 37.

S John i. 3. tt 1 Tim. ii. 5:

The great

OF THE FALL, INTERPOSED TO PRESERVE FROM DESTRUCTION THAT RACE WHICH HE HAD HIMSELF CREATED. plan of redemption formed in the eternal counsels of the Godhead, he in every step of his progress, either personally effected, or with ever-watchful energy, directed its accomplishment. He 56 who was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

"* is the same who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and declared, “I AM hath sent you ;"the same who promulgated the law on Mount Sinai, and proclaimed I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt:"I the same “whose glory filled the first temple ;”S and whose appearance as the expected Messiah in the second temple, crowned it with a glory exceeding the glory of the first; because more permanently and more universally enlightening ; no longer confining its radiance to a single nation, but diffusing its healing beams to the remotest regions of the earth : “ for the people who sat in darkness saw great light; and to them who sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up ;'|| the light of truth from the instructions, and of immortality from the mercy of Christ. And as Christ is the Creator, so he is the Lord and Judge of

As the moral Governor of the world, he will raise up all men from the dead, and place them before his tribunal, where they shall be tried for their own conduct, and judged according to their own works, with the strictest equity ; “for there is no respect of persons with God.”

But if this was the full extent of revelation with respect to the dispensations of God to fallen man, every human being must look forward to the last decisive hour, when the sentence of the Supreme Judge shall fix his doom, with extreme terror-nay, I had almost said, with all the anguish of despair. We might, indeed, be sure every just allowance would be made for the weakness of our common nature, and the peculiar temptations to which we are exposed. But what human being is there who does not feel at his heart, that he has wilfully and perversely deteriorated his own nature and abused the advantages he possessed ; resisting the authority and quenching the light of reason and conscience,

man.

John i. 14.
$ 1 Kings viii. 11.

+ Exod. iii. 2, 5, & 14.
# Matt. iv. 16.

Exod. xx. 1, 2. 1. Rom.fii. 2.

by which that “which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath showed it unto them; for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful ; but became vain in their own imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” While all who were prevented by the immediate power of revelation from thus plunging into idolatry and its attendant profanations and crimes, those who rested in the law, and “made their boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonoured God;" so that 6 both Jews and Gentiles were all under sin. There is none righteous; no, not one: all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"* neglecting the aid he has held out in his warnings and his promises, and quenching the influence of his Holy Spirit, ever present and ever ready to communicate light and power, (as far as he requires knowledge and obedience,) to all who would not close their eyes, and harden their hearts against his saving influence. In fact, what human being can plead in his defence ignorance, which he has chosen to retain rather than to remove; passions which he has studied to indulge, not to restrain ; temptations which he has been prompt to seek, rather than cautious to avoid ?

Thus, however an all-searching trial and a strictly just retribution, might suit the wants and expectations of creatures who have preserved their innocence; they yet must ever be most formidable to beings labouring under a consciousness of guilt, and shrinking from the thoughts of punishment. In such, the ideas of a righteous inflexible Judge, and an irrevocable sentence, must inspire unspeakable terror; and the prospect of that resurrection which would place them before such a tribunal, must excite distress and alarm, not consolation and hope. What is it, then, in the Christian scheme, which has brightened this dismal prospect ? Assuredly it is the joyful certainty, that the same Jesus, who will appear in all the majesty of his Godhead, the Lord and Judge of man, has also been his Saviour. It is the certain conviction, that “he gave himself for us, that he

* Rom. i. 19-21. ii. 23. and iii. 9, 10, 23.

VOL. III.

2c

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