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But our faith and hope derive still further encouragement and support, when we consider, in
The third place, The perfection of Christ in his mediatorial character and work upon earth. When God intended the reconciliation of the world by his Son, he required his assumption of our nature, his substitution in our place, and his full payment of all our debt to law and justice. Now all these we find to be the uniform doctrine of scripture. By the prefigurations of the law, by the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, and by the history and doctrine of the New Testament, we have growing evidence, and repeated assurances of the truth concerning his voluntary incarnation, his vicarious obedience and passion, and his meritorious righteousness. This is laid down in our text as a sure ground of Christian confidence, respecting the final purpose of di. vine benevolence, for its glorious completion is stated as the certain and natural consequence of having made peace through the “ blood of his cross ;” as if the apostle had said, the price of universal good is paid ; law and justice have ratified the purchase, the glorious liberty and felici. ty of mankind are therefore proclaimed and sure. Not a single soul could be saved from eternal ruin, without the highest manifestation of the glory of God, and the most perfect vindication of the rectitude of the divine government. When Je. sus finished the work which his Father gave him to do, he fulfilled all righteousness, and at the same time established the law. When he suffered and died for our sins, he satisfied, yea, and glo. rified divine justice, and obtained universal and eternal redemption.
Not only can we entertain no doubt, but must feel the highest and fullest confidence in the
perfection and universal efficacy of the atonement of Christ, as being the very thing demanded and appointed by the Supreme Governor of the world, offered by a person of equal dignity, his own Son, accepted as of infinite value and universal influence, and accordingly presented to the believing acceptance of the whole world. Hath Jehovah himself directed every eye to the foundation which he hath laid in Zion; and does he not thereby as. sure us of the final glorious erection, of the uni. versal extent, and everlasting duration of the temple of mercy? Can he begin to build without counting the cost, or finishing the immense design ? Shall Jesus of Nazareth, possessing the nature and entire character of Deity, undertake
to save the world, and not execute his purpose ? Shall the Prince of Life die, and in the article of death say, it is finished! and yet die in vain ? Hath his whole life magnified the law, and made it honourable, and hath his death been a real and declared satisfaction to divine justice, and shall not these insure the legal operation and exercise of mercy to the utmost extent of his loving design, and of human necessity ? In him reside infinite love and infinite merit; therefore he is the propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. Behold then the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, and say we believe, and are sure, that, by him, God will infallibly reconcile to himself all things which are in heaven, and which are on earth. I shall only add,
Fourthly, that the high state of honour, authority, and influence, to which the justice and love of his Father, and his own personal merit have advanced him, must banish every fear, and support and enliven our faith and hope, that by him God shall reconcile to himself all things which are in heaven, and which are on earth. This is the doctrine of the text, the context, and of the scriptures in general. For this purpose it hath pleased the Father, that in him all fulness should dwell. He is therefore called in the immediately preceding verse, the head of the body, the church, and in chapter ii. 10, the head of all principality and power. Hence we read, that having by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, and that his Father appointed him heir of all things; that he is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject to him; that God set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and
gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. The whole truth upon this important article is collected in Phil. ii. 6—12; pointing out his supreme power and glory as the reward of his meritorious humiliation, and inseparably connect. ed with his universal influence, and the loyal and devout homage paid him by all in heaven and on earth.
Only consider how he rose to, and fills the throne of universal empire, and say if there is not in him a combination of powers to convince, convert, and sanctify a whole world of sinners, or punish his opposers with immediate and everlasting destruction. If there is power in acknow. ledged excellence and beauty to attract the eye and captivate the heart, in real grandeur to raise sublime sentiments, and in diffusive goodness to overcome evil, to excite gratitude, and create friendship, never were these displayed in such high and commanding perfection as in the condescending grace and exalted character of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Not light, nor all the worlds of light, and brightest sun in their centre, can in themselves, or by all their united influences, combine such an assemblage of beauty and glory as meets in him who made them all, and hath added to the goodness and greatness of creation the more marvellous grace of redemption. We lift our eyes, and are struck with the sight of the Sun of Righteousness, the light of this world, of all worlds, the glory of Heaven, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. Here is one fairer than the sons of men, the only begotten of the Father, full of