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and teachest out of thy law, that thou mayest give him rest in the day of adversity,” Ps.xciv. 12. Reader, art thou in trouble ? Has the stroke of affliction fallen on thee? Is there not a cause? Is thine heart acquainted with God, as thy God? Knowest thou the riches of his grace, by a personal interest obtained through faith in Jesus? Then He would teach thee, more and more, the lessons thou hast already begun to learn. He would manifest himself to thee more fully, and lead thee, with increased feeling, to say, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” Ps. lxxiii. 25.
But it may be, afflicted reader, that thou art yet a stranger to all but the mere name of Jesus; thou dost not know his preciousness to those who believe; thou hast not cast thyself at his feet, saying, “ Lord, save me, or I perish;" thou hast not felt thy case to be desperate without him; thy heart to be exceeding sinful; and the scriptural delineations of the heart to be true of thine own: and yet thy troubled spirit needs rest. O, seek it in the way this narrative unfolds. Turn to the Scriptures. Read them as they may never have been read before--with prayer for Divine illumination. Adopt the peti tion, “ Q Lord, enlighten me by thy Spirit, that I may
know thee.” Offered sincerely, earnestly, through Jesus, it shall not be in vain. But turn not from the truth which the word of God reveals, however humbling to thy pride, however grievous to thy conscience. A man's true ch ter is not hi own opinion of himself, but that which God discerns. What must he not know of thee, who has read thy heart and watched thy most secret hours, without interruption, all thy life? Yet would He save thy soul; and thy very sorrow has come to soften thee and make thy need of salvation apparent. Yield, troubled spirit, yield to the hand that smites thee. He that has wounded, can heal. Thy need is provided for.
Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” “ It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 1 Tim. i. 15
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY
20, RED LION SQUARE ;
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, LONDON,
J. & W.Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London,
If we believe that Jesus Christ was with the Father before all worlds, that he was his true and proper Son, essentially partaking with him in the perfections of Deity, we shall not readily admit that he came into the world to accomplish a purpose which could be effected by other means, or by an inferior agent. Whatever objects could have been accomplished by inferior agency, we cannot suppose to be the only design of the incarnation of Christ. He who is frugal in the economy of creation and providence, would not lavish a superfluity of greatness and glory upon the work of our salvation. If the ends to be attained could have been attained by inferior instrumentality, those instruments would have been employed. If the Saviour came into the world merely for the purpose of instructing us, it is plain this could have been done by the agency
of men. done by Moses, who rivetted the attachment of the Israelites to a burdensome and painful ritual; by the prophets, who attested their mission from heaven, and were regarded, by all the pious of the Jewish nation, with the profoundest deference. If, therefore, our Saviour came into the world only to reveal a fact, or enforce a doctrine, nothing more was necessary than that he should be a human being.
But if we consider him as the Redeemer of mankind; if we believe that he came not merely to exemplify a rule of life, but to satisfy its violation ; that he came, not only to explain the statutes of Heaven, but to pay the penalty arising from the curse denounced against their transgression ; that he came essentially to change the moral situation of mankind, to roll away that mass of human guilt, which lay, like the stone on the grave's mouth, entombing all their hopes, and rendering it impossible for them to recover themselves from the condemnation and ruin in which they were involved ;-then we shall admit, of course, that the end of his manifestation could not have been effected at less cost.
Those who dispute the divinity of Christ, act consistently in endeavouring to explain away his atonement; the two doctrines are inseparably connected, and must stand or fall together. But they who are not so taught, but believe, in deference to apostolic testimony, that Jesus Christ 6 was with God” and “ was God,” (John i. 1,) will admit, with the greatest readiness and gratitude, that he came for the purpose of redemption. And how is this effected ? Jesus Christ who was not originally “under the law;" was made under it, for the purpose of producing a righteousness, and meriting a ground of acceptance, which, in the eyes of an infinitely wise and holy Being, should be imputed for the benefit of penitent believers, and thus, by his perfect obedience and propitiatory death, working out a justification, from which the spiritual wants of all mankind should be supplied, if they received his testimony and believed on his name. (See Gal. iv. 4,5; Rom. iii. 21, &c.) The character in which he appeared was that of a substitute; it was also that of “days-man,” a person who mediates between two contending parties for the purpose of reconciliation. He alone, being God, as well as man, and thus laying his hands on both, was capable of accomplishing this great object--of satisfying the claims of divine justice, and opening for guilty creatures an approach to the throne of Heaven. “ He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isai. liii.) “ He was oppressed and he was afflicted.” The vicarious nature of Christ's sacrifice, the vicarious character of his appearance on earth, run through all the statements in the New Testament. It is on this account that our warmest gratitude is challenged, and our strictest obedience required. “ Thelove of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 14, 15.) “ He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. iv. 25.)
It was undoubtedly for the wisdom of the Divine Majesty to determine whether the law should take its original course, or accept of such a satisfaction as should insure all the objects for which it was originally designed. It belongs, indeed, to the Divine Being to be just ; but if all the ends of justice be obtained by the substitution of another in the place of the offender, shall we attempt to impose limits on the decisions of the Almighty, and say that the right of dispensing with the penalty attached to a law, as to the exact direction it may take, is not within the prerogative of Him by whom it was made and promulgated ? Believing, as we do, that Jesus Christ is a Divine person, the law of God is magnified by his death : for the glory of the divine character as a holy being,-his hatred of sin, his attachment to the law as a rule of purity, appear greatly enhanced, and recommended to our notice with the highest advantage, in consequence of this sublime and astonishing event. If our Saviour was indeed the Son of God, “ the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” (Heb. i. 3,) then, to see him extended on the cross, dying under the divine wrath, and crying in the bitterness of his soul, “ My God ! my God! why hast thou forsaken me ?” is to behold a more costly offering to divine justice, a more glorious assertion of the majesty of the law of God, than could have been displayed in the punishment of millions of guilty creatures. Here we see the glory of the divine character shining forth in a manner the most amazing, harmonious, and consolatory. “ Him hath God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God,—that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom. iii. 25.)
He came “to redeem them that were under the law,” (Gal.iv.5;) and under this comprehensive title is included all mankind, Jews and Gentiles, bond and free: wherever human nature is diffused, transgression is diffused with it; wherever a child of Adam is found, there is found one who is under the law; it is indeed a part of our nature, a condition of our being, to be born under the law. But “ as many as are under the law are under the curse : for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal. iji. 10.) It is for deliverance from this curse, which shuts us up to eternal darkness, that we are indebted entirely to the mediation of our blessed Redeemer. He has delivered us“ from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” (Gal. iii. 13.)
•It is the effect of divine appointment that Jesus Christ became incarnate, that he was made capable of dying, by assuming a frail and finite nature. This is to be resolved solely into the sovereign pleasure of God; no reason can be assigned for it but his infinite mercy, no other explanation given than that “God is love.” (1 John iv. 8.) But when we look at this event in another stage of it, when we consider Jesus Christ as placed under these circumstances, as actually “ made of a woman,” and “ made under the law," by that mysterious union of the divine and human natures; when we contemplate him as performing what he did perform, and suffering what he did suffer, as our substitute, and on our account ;-the necessary consequence is