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ment thus rendered by him to the holiness of the Divine law, he obtained power to forgive sins, to pardon the worst transgressors, and to cancel every trespass against the bless sed government of heaven. The first step for our restoration, therefore, is to apply to Him for the exercise of this power. There is none other name under heaven, given amongst men, whereby we must be saved. He is the way, no man cometh to the Father but by him.' "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,'—the act of pardon which he alone can declare in our behalf,—is the only mode by which the curse of the law can be removed, and we be presented before God, absolved and free from the judgment of his righteous condemnation.
2. When this essential act of grace is extended to the soul by the great Redeemer, then, and not before, is the avenue opened for the love of God, the second blessing which the Apostle, in the text, prays for his people. It is true, indeed, that in a certain sense, the Lord loves all his creatures. He gave his only begotten Son to die for the sins of the whole world, because he loved that world, although it lay in wickedness. But it is also true, that he is ' angry with the wicked every day,' and that he loves not, but hates, the lying tongue, the proud lock, the bloody hand, and every other fruit of human corruption. To reconcile this apparent contradiction, it is only necessary to remember the difference between the love of benevolence or charity, and the love of complacency or affection. Thus, even a kind hearted individual, amongst men, will relieve the bodily necessities of the most profligate ; nay, many a one would risk life to save, from flood or fire, those for whom they felt no personal regard · whatever. And by the very same distinction we may understand, that the Judge, who has publicly condemned the criminal and abhors his crime,
will yet contribute, if need be, to keep him from starving in the dungeon. Should we have any difficulty in distinguishing the universal love towards all men, which prompts such deeds of benevolence as these, from the particular personal affection felt for a dear friend or brother, for parents or children? Surely not. Now, in like manner, we may understand, that while the Almighty loves all his works so as to provide for their necessities, relieve their wants, and furnish the means to rescue them from destruction, yet this, wonderful as it is in its extent, is merely the love of God's benevolence or charity. It is only for those who are pardoned through Christ Jesus, and who have cast aside their enmity, their ungodliness, their sensual lusts, desiring heartily to love, and serve, and worship him in sincerity and truth,—it is only for these that the pure and holy Governor of heaven can entertain the personal love which the Apostle mentions in the text. Whoso doeth the will of my Father,' saith Christ, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' These enjoy the love of God as his own regenerated children. The light of his countenance beams upon their path. The approving smile of his favor cheers and blesses them, and to them he addresses the gracious promise, I will be your God, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord of Hosts.
3. The third subject which enters into the Apostle's supplication is, The communion of the Holy Ghost,'—a privilege most inconceivably glorious. To have our fellowship with the Eternal Spirit of truth and holiness—to possess his abiding and sanctifying presence—to be delivered not only from the condemnation of sin, but from its power—to be filled with that peace which passeth understanding, and that joy which the world can neither give nor take away— to be endued with wisdom, strength, spiritual knowledge, spiritual affections, spiritual faculties—to have our conversation in heaven, and be gradually transformed in the re-:) newing of our minds, until our only delight is in the will of God, and there is none upon the earth that we desire in comparison of him—to have the Kingdom of God established so firmly in our hearts, as to give us a lively hope, full of consolation, a steadfast hope that may be an anchor to the soul —to realize the language of the Apostle when he said, that to live was Christ and to die was gain,' and to be able to say, when the last conflict draws near, · Lord, now 'lettest thou thy servant de part in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,'—all this, and more than the tongue can tell, is included within the communion of the Holy Spirit—the noblest result of the,., Christian's warfare, the crowning mercy of the love of God.
What better supplication, then, can be offered for you, than the Apostle's prayer, my brethren ? · "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. What can point us more simply, and yet more conclusively, to the true gradation in our blessed religion,—the condemned sinner, first forgiven by an act of grace through Christ—then experiencing the Father's love—then received into the companionship of the Spirit, and thus, by degrees, made fit for the habitations of eternal glory. And, O why should we refuse the homage of our humble and grateful adoration to that ineffable Trinity, by whom, in the unity of the only Living God, these precious offices are graciously sustained ? Let the subtle Arian cavil— let the Socinian argue and dispute—yea, let the infidel deride, if he will, the sublime and affecting mysteries of Divine truth. But let us, my Christian brethren, cling to them with abiding confidence; and while we hold ourselves ready to give to every man a reason
for the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear'wbile we shun the dark intolerance of bigotry, and compassionate the advocates of error, let us prize more and more those doctrines which are so beautifully and affectingly interwoven with the daily services of our primitive Church, and utter, with the fervor of adoring faith, the humble supplications, O God, the Father of heaven-0 God, the Son, Redeemer of the world—0 God, the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son—O Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three Persons and one God have mercy upon us miserable sinners. Thus professing the knowledge of the truth, and devoutly using its constant ministrations, may you all, my beloved brethren, so experience its renovating influence, its sanctifying power, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, may be with you all, evermore.
JOHN 1. 14.
THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US.
Having placed before you, my brethren, a connected view of the sacred doctrine of the Trinity, together with a short outline of the plan of redemption, in order to show the absolute dependence of the whole Gospel upon this doctrine, we return to the more direct track of the Apostles' Creed, and point your attention to the incarnation and sufferings of the Saviour, which are set forth in these terms,that our Lord • was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.' The Eternal Word, which in the beginning was with God,' and WAS GOD,'—even that · Word,' saith the Apostle in our text, 'was MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us.' Let us reverently enter upon the consideration of this branch of our faith, showing the various circumstances connected with the Saviour's birth, and marking the peculiar events of his marvellous history.
1. In the incarnation of the Eternal Son of God, we behold, in the first place, a miracle, clearly announced by the Prophets, and as clearly testified by the Evangelists, namely, that he should be born of a Virgin. Thus, in the earliest intimation given to Adam and Eve in Paradise, the promised Saviour is called the seed of the woman.' Next, the Prophet Jeremiah declares, that the Lord hath