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"hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and "revealed them unto babes."
2. It is a revelation, in the person of Jesus Christ. As a revelation, it stands distinguished from all false religions; and as revealed in the person of Jesus, it is distinguished from all former dispensations of the true God, who, in time past, had spoken by the prophets, but was pleased, in those last days, to speak unto us by his Son. The law was given by Moses, both to enforce the necessity of a universal sinless obedience, and to point out the efficacy of a better mediator; but grace and truth, grace answerable to the sinner's guilt and misery, and the truth and full accomplishment of. all its typical services, came by Jesus Christ. All the grand peculiarities of the Gospel centre in this point, the constitution of the person of Christ*. In the knowledge of him standeth our eternal life. And though our Lord, on some occasions, refused to answer the captious questions of his enemies, and expressed himself so as to leave his hearers in suspense; yet, at other times, he clearly asserted his own just rights and honours, and proposed himself as the supreme object of love, trust, and worship, the fountain of grace and power, the resurrection, life, and happiness of all believers.
That he vindicated to himself those characters and prerogatives which incommunicably belong to God, is evident from the texts referred to. He was a judge of the thoughts and intents of the heart. He forgave sins. He adopted the style of supreme majesty. His
Matth. ix. 2, 3.
*Col. ii. 3. 9.; John xvii. 3. John viii. 38.; John xiv. 9.
"He that hath seen me hath
"seen my Father." Which of all the creatures of God dare use
wonderful works were proof of an almighty power. He restored sight, health, and life, with a word*. He controlled the elements †, and showed himself Lord of quick and dead, angels, and devils; and both his enemies and his friends understood his claim. The Jews attempted to stone him § for making himself equal to God, and he received from Thomas the most express and solemn ascription of Deity that can be offered from a creature to his Creator [.
Yet all this glory was veiled. The word was made flesh; he assumed the human nature, and shared in all its infirmities, sin excepted. He was born of a woman, he passed through the states of infancy, childhood, and youth, and gradually increased in wisdom and stature**. He was often, yea, always afflicted. He endured t† hunger, thirst, and weariness. He‡‡ sighed, he He‡‡ sighed, he wept, he groaned, he bled, he died; but amidst all, he was spotless and undefiled. He § repelled the temptations of Satan, he appealed to his most watchful enemies for his integrity, he rendered universal unceasing obedience to the will of God, and completely fulfilled the whole law.
these words! God, in the strict sense, is invisible and inaccessible; but he communicates with his creatures through Christ his Son, without whom he cannot be seen or known at all. We cannot enjoy any spiritual, clear, and comfortable views of God, unless our thoughts fix upon the man Christ Jesus; he is the door and the veil to the holy of holies, and there is no coming to the Father by any other way.
* Matt. viii. 3. ix. 30.; John iv. 53.
† Matt. xiv. 25.; Mark iv. 39.
John xi. 25. 44.; Luke iv. 34.; Matt. iv. 11.; Luke x. 17.
§ John v. 18.; x. 33.
†† Mark xi. 12.; John iv. 6. 7.
Mark vii. 34.; John xi. 35. 38.; Luke xxii. 44. SS Matt, iv. 1. 10.; John viii. 46.; xiv. 39.; xvii. 4.
In him the perfection of wisdom and goodness shined forth. He burned with love to God, with compassion to men; a compassion which he freely extended to the most necessitous and the most unworthy. He returned good for evil, wept for his enemies, prayed for his murderers. Such was his character, a divine person in the human nature, † God manifest in the flesh. And from this union, all he did, and all he said, derived a dignity, authority, and efficacy which rendered him every way worthy to be the Teacher, Exemplar, Lord, and Saviour of mankind.
S. In the person and sufferings of Christ there is at once a discovery of the misery of fallen man, and the means of his complete recovery. It has already been observed, that the full explication of these truths was deterred till after his resurrection; and the subsequent writings of his apostles are useful, to give us a complete view of the cause, design, and benefits of his passion. At present we confine ourselves to his own words. He frequently taught the necessity and certainty of his sufferings; he spoke of them as the great design of his incarnation, that it was by this means he should draw all unto himself, that he was on this acount, especially, the object of his Father's complacency, because he voluntarily substituted himself to die for his people. He enforced the necessity || of believing on him in this view; and applied to himself the prophecies of the Old Testament**, which speak to the same purpose. Isaiah had foretold, that the Lord would lay upon him the iniquities of us all; that he was to be
Luke xix. 41.; xxiii. 34. Matt. xvi. 21.; xx. 28. || John iii. 14—18.
+ 1 Tim. iii. 16.
§ John xii. 32.; x. 17.
wounded for our transgressions, and by his stripes we should be healed. Here then we see the manifold wisdom of God. His inexpressible love to us commended; his mercy exalted in the salvation of sinners; his truth and justice vindicated, in the full satisfaction for sin exacted from the surety; his glorious holiness and opposition to all evil, and his invariable faithfulness to his threatenings and his promises. Considered in this light, our Saviour's passion, is the most momentous, instructive, and comfortable theme that can affect the heart of man; but, if his substitution and proper atonement are denied, the whole is unintelligible. We can assign no sufficient reason why a person of his excellence was abandoned to such miseries and indignities; nor can we account for that agony and distress which seized him at the prospect of what was coming upon him. It would be highly injurious to his character, to suppose he was thus terrified by the apprehension of death or bodily pain, when so many frail and sinful men have encountered death, armed with the severest tortures, with far less emotion.
Here, as in a glass, we see the evil of sin, and the misery of man. The greatness of the disorder may be rationally inferred from the greatness of the means necessary to remove it. Would we learn the depth of the fall of man, let us consider the depth of the humiliation of Jesus to restore him. Behold the Beloved of God, perfectly spotless and holy, yet made an example of the severest vengeance; prostrate and agonizing in the garden; enduring the vilest insults from wicked men; torn with whips, and nails, and thorns; suspended, naked, wounded, and bleeding upon the cross, and there heavily complaining, that God had for a season forsaken him. Sin was the cause of all his anguish. He stood
in the place of sinners, and therefore was not spared. Not any, or all, the evils which the world has known, afford such proof of the dreadful effects and detestable nature of sin, as the knowledge of Christ crucified. Sin had rendered the case of mankind so utterly desperate, that nothing less than the blood and death of Jesus could retrieve it. If any other expedient could have sufficed, his prayer, that the bitter cup might pass from him, would have been answered. But what his enemies intended as the keenest reproach, his redeemed people will for ever repeat as the expression of his highest praise, *"He saved others, himself he cannot save." Justice would admit no inferior atonement, love would not give up the cause of fallen, ruined man. Being therefore determined to save others, he could not, consistently with this gracious design and undertaking, deliver himself.
Again, the means and certainty of a salvation proportioned to the guilt and misery of sinners, and a happiness answerable to the utmost capacity of the soul of man, are revealed in the same astonishing dispensation of divine love. When Jesus was baptized he was pointed out by a voice from heaven; "This is my be"loved Son, in whom, (or for whose sake,) I am well pleased.” He afterwards proclaimed his ‡ own authority and sufficiency, that all things were delivered into his hands, and invited every weary, heavy laden soul to seek to him for refreshment and peace. He gave the most express assurances §, that whoever applied to him should in no case be rejected. He mentioned his death
*Luke xxiii. 35.
Matth. xi. 27, 28.
John xii. 32, 33.
Matth. iii. 17.
§ John vi. 37.