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such a vindication of the divine character, such a display of the holiness and justice of God, that no lower effect could result from it than the justification and acceptance of all penitent believers. The sufferings and death of Christ could not but merit eternal life, and purchase for us the blessings of a glorious immortality, if we accept by faith the benefits of his propitiation. The economy of our redemption proceeds entirely from God, but the connexion of its parts is not entirely arbitrary. They cohere together necessarily; and the sacrifice of Christ is effectual for the salvation of his people, not merely because God chose to annex a value to it, but because the blood poured forth upon the cross was the blood of his own Son. It is the dignity of the victim which has completely satisfied the justice of the Almighty; and the redundancy of his merits that has procured for us higher blessings than we can describe.

The apostle speaks with the greatest confidence, in contrasting the ancient legal sacrifices with the inherent sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ. “ If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God ?” (Heb. ix. 13, 14.) “ The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John i. 7.) He has effected for those who are interested in him an entire exemption from liability to punishment, and procured for them a title to the blessedness of heaven, because he was the Son of God.

It is said, moreover, that he redeemed them that were under the law, that they "might receive the adoption of sons." (Gal.iv.5.) The immediate effect of Christ's death is the imputation of his righteousness to the believer, and this righteousness produces an instant acquittal from punishment; but such was the dignity of his person, such the exuberance of his merits, and the high complacency of the Father in his work, that it was worthy of him to bestow on them who are believers in his Son, greater blessings than those which their first parents had forfeited. It was not merely to relieve from misery that Christ died ; it was not only justification that was the fruit of his sufferings ; but adoption into the family of heaven, the privileges of sons and daughters for all his believing people. In consequence of being united to Christ by faith, we partake of his peculiar prerogatives; and because he was the Son of God, God has “ sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. iv. 6.) Thus we are no longer servants, but children, being made nigh to him by the blood of Christ," (Ephes. ii. 13,) and are raised to a greater height of happiness and glory than we could have expected to reach, had we continued in a state of immaculate purity. Christ has added to our original glory; he has not only redeemed us from the first transgression, but has merited blessings to which man, even in innocence, could not have aspired. (Rom. v. 21.)

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound : that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Every humble believer, now, every penitent approaching the sacrifice of the Son of God, when he feels his conscience relieved from a sense of guilt, finds at the same time, through the agency of the Spirit of God, a peace and joy, a confidence and trust, springing up in his mind, which bespeaks a new relation ; he approaches the Divine Being in a domestic character ; he says, My Father! God discloses to him his tenderest compassion, taking him, as it were, to his arms, rejoicing over him, and making him a son and heir of the Most High God. Henceforth he walks with God as a dear child, an imitator of his perfections, a sharer of the fulness of the glory of his heavenly Father. “ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John iii. 1.) Such appellations as these it would have been impious to assume, if God had not revealed them to us in his word. “ God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father !"

Recollect, that if we remain “ under the law,” (except as it furnishes to us the rule of life,) it is in consequence of not having approached to Christ by faith, and not having received the testimony of God respecting him. Recollect, also, that if we are thus under the law, we are under the curse; no middle state can be devised; there is no state betwixt a state of condemnation and a state of justification, between the legal state, which is one of bondage and fear, and the filial state, which is one of confidence and joy; no medium between that state of distance from God in which he appears as an enemy, and the condition of being adopted into his family, and becoming heirs of his kingdom. There is an infinite variety in the human character; but there. is an impassable barrier, a fixed line of demarcation, which separates the children of God from the children of the devil. Those who do not receive Christ by faith, remain under the law, and are exposed to all its penalties; they live under its curse; at home,

on

abroad, in solitude, in company, in joy, in suffering, in life and death, in every scene of existence, in every variety of condition, the wrath of God, like a dense cloud, hangs over them, replete with all the elements of misery and despair ; and it must break upon them sooner or later. It is only prevented, by the slender thread on which their life depends, from discharging its fury on their devoted heads. Nothing can save us but the death of Christ, no other name is given under heaven ; the object to which the

eye

of faith must be ever directed is, “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John i. 29.) Have

you

looked to him ? If you look into yourselves, you will find only matter for despondency ; if

you

look into your own hearts, and into your own conduct, your best performances will but remind you of the inadequacy and imperfection of your obedience. Know yourselves, and you know only what must minister to despair; but “ this is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” (John xvii. 3.) If you come to Christ, and commune with him, you will find that poverty is exchanged for riches ; condemnation for justification ; dismay, fear, and distrust of God, for a firm reliance on his promises, a strong hold his mercy,

and a filial relation to him as your heavenly Father.

We might suppose that, if men in any degree believed these truths, they would all be either rejoicing in Christ's redemption, or earnestly pressing forward to obtain it; that every assembly would be divided into two classes—those who, having embraced the salvation which is by Christ, find in him the joy and comfort of their lives; and those who, not having found this inestimable treasure, are earnestly desiring to possess it, and sedulously devoted to the search.

But that there should be persons neutral and unconcerned, believing at the same time that the wrath of God is kindled against them, that they are hastening to the divine tribunal, and that those who die in their sins will sink into destruction, is, indeed, an infatuation that wants a name ; angels look upon it with unutterable surprise, and their joy is proportionably great when they see one sinner repenting. But if there is joy in the presence of the bright inhabitants of heaven over a converted soul, (Luke xv. 10,) what should be the joy of those to whom the intelligence of a Saviour is brought, who are invited to partake of the salvation which is prepared for them, and pressed to enter into favour and fellowship with God ? Hear, then, the proclamation which is made to every one of you : “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isai. xlv. 22.) “ Fury is not in me : who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace; and he shall make peace with me.” (Isai. xxvii. 4,5.) “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die ?" (Ezek. xxxiii. 11.)

Reader, these are truths which you have often heard, but they are not on that account less essential to your welfare ; for that very reason it is necessary that they should be reiterated, and that the 66 pure minds” of the most eminent Christians should “ be stirred up” by them to fresh diligence and zeal. They are the bread of life, the food of the family of God; all real Christians taste of them, and are sustained and fitted by them for all the spiritual functions and duties of the Christian warfare.

Until you partake of this bread, you have no life in you: the spirit is dead, the soul is withered and blasted, torpid and inactive, and lost to God; there is no vital union betwixt you and the Father of Spirits, you are severed from the spring of all felicity by being in a state of alienation from God. Then you will begin to live indeed, to know the divine life, when you come and taste of the salvation of God, when you cast yourselves on the

mercy of the Saviour, and say, “ Lord, save, or we perish.” Then the mercy of God will be revealed unto you, and you will one day join in singing “a new song, the song of Moses and the Lamb,” (Rev. xv. 3,) which none can sing but they who are redeemed from the earth.

Since these things are so, let us all flee to the Saviour; let us, without delay, lay hold of the great atonement; thus shall

“ be justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts xiii. 39.) Christ is ready to receive us ; Christ says to every one,

66 Come unto me, all ve that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt . xi. 28.) Oh, “ seekoye, then, the Lord while he

may be found, call upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isai. lv. 6, 7.)

we

THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,

27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON ; AND J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW.

J. &W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London,

THE

LAST DAYS OF DR. JOHNSON.

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