Page images

has been shown; and the moral rules and precepts are all given in subordination to him. Christ and his redemption are also the great subject of the history of the Old Testament from the beginning all along;

and even the history of the creation is given as an introduction to the history of redemption that immediately follows it. The whole book, both Old Testament and New, is filled up with the Gospel, only with this difference, that the Old Testament contains the Gospel under a vail, but the New contains it unvailed, so that we may see the glory of the Lord with

face. VI. By what has been said, we may see the usefulness and excellency of the Old Testament. Some are ready to look on it as being out of date, and as if we, in these days of the Gospel, have but little to do with it. But this is a very great mistake, arising from a want of observing the nature and design of the Old Testament, which, if it were observed, would appear full of the Gospel of Christ, and would in an excellent manner illustrate and confirm the glorious doctrines and promises of the New Testament, Those parts of the Old Testament which are commonly looked upon as containing the least divine in struction, are mines and treasures of gospel knowledge; and the reason why they are thought to contain so little is, that persons do but superficially read them. The treasures which are hid underneath are not observed. They only look on the top of the ground and suddenly pass a judgment that there is nothing there. But they never dig into the mine : if they did, they would find it richly stored with what is more valuable than silver and gold, and would be abundantly requited for their pains.


What has been said may show us what a precious treasure God has committed into our hands, in that he has given us the Bible. How little do most persons consider what a privilege they enjoy, in the possession of that holy book, which they have in their hands, and may converse with as they please. What an excellent book is this, and how far exceeding all human writings ! It reveals God to us, and gives us a view of the grand design and glorious scheme of Providence from the beginning of the world, either in history or prophecy. It reveals the great Redeemer, his glorious redemption, and the various steps by which God accomplishes it from the foundation to the top-stone! Shall we prize a history which gives us a clear account of some great earthly prince or mighty warrior, as of an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Marlborough ? and shall we nou prize the history that God gives us of the glorious kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ, the Prince and Savior, and of the great transactions of that King of kings, and Lord of armies, the Lord mighty in battle; and what he has wrought for the redemption of his chosen people?

VII. What has been said may make us sensible how much most persons are to blame for their inattentive, unobservant way of reading the Scriptures. How much do the Scriptures contain, if it were but observed! The Bible is the most comprehensive book in the world. But what will this avail to us, if we read it without observing what is the drift of the Holy Ghost in it? The Psalmist, Psalm 119: 18, begs of God that he would enlighten his eyes that he might "behold wondrous things out of his law.” The Scriptures are full of wondrous things. Those his.

tories which are too commonly read as if they were only private concerns of particular persons, such as of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; of Ruth, Joshua, the Judges, David, and the Israelitish princes, are accounts of vastly greater things, and of far more extensive concern.

The histories of Scripture are but too commonly read as if they were written only to entertain men's fancies, and the infinitely great things contained in them are passed over without notice. Whatever treasures the Scriptures contain, we shall be never the better for them if we do not observe them. He who has a Bible, and does not observe what it contains, is like a man who has a box of silver and gold, and does not know it. He will be never the better for his treasure, and so might as well be without it. He who has plenty of the choicest food stored up in his house, and does not know it, will never taste what he has, and will be as likely to starve as if his house were empty. VIII. What has been said


show us how great a person is Jesus Christ, and how great his errand into the world, seeing there was so much done to prepare the way for his coming. God had been pre

way for him through all ages of the world froin the very beginning. If we had notice of a stranger being about to come into a country, and should observe that great preparation was made for him, alterations made in the state of the whole country, many hands employed, persons of great note engaged in the preparation ; and all the affairs and concerns of the country so ordered as to be subservient to the design of entertaining him; it would be natural for us to think, this is some extraordinary per

paring the

son, and it is some very great



which he is coming. How great a person then must he be, for whose coming the great God of heaven and earth, and Governor of all things, employed four thousand years in preparing the way! Soon after the world was created, and from age to age, he has been doing great things, bringing mighty events to pass, accomplishing wonders without number, often overturning the world in order to it. He has been causing every thing in the state of mankind, and all revolutions and changes in the habitable world, from generation to generation, to be subservient to this great design. Surely this must be some great and extraordinary person, and a great work indeed it must needs be for which he came.

We read, Matt. 21 : 8-10, when Christ was coming into Jerusalem, and multitudes ran before him, having cut down branches of palm-trees, and strewed them in the way; and others spread their garments in the way, crying, Hosanna to the Son of David, that the whole city was moved, saying, Who is this? They wondered who that extraordinary person should be, that such preparation should be made for him. But if we consider what great things were done in all ages to prepare the way for Christ's coming, how the world was often overturned for it, much more may we cry out, Who is this? What great person is this? and say, as Psalm 24 : 8, 10, Who is this King of glory, that God should show him such respect, and confer on him such honor ? Surely he is honorable in God's eyes, and greatly beloved; and surely it is a grand errand upon which he is sent. Redemption.





Having shown how the work of redemption was carried on through the first period, from the fall of man to the incarnation of Christ, I come now to the second period, the time of Christ's humiliation, or the space from his incarnation to his resurrection. And this is the most remarkable period of all time. Though it was but between thirty and forty years, yet more was done in it than had been done from the beginning of the world to that time. We have observed that all events from the fall to the incarnation of Christ were only preparatory for what was now done. And it may also be observed, that what was done before the beginning of time in the eternal counsels between the persons of the blessed Trinity, chiefly respected this period. We therefore now proceed to consider the second proposition, viz.

That during the time of Christ's humiliation, from his incarnation to his resurrection, the purchase of redemption was made.

Though many things had been done in the work of redernption, though millions of sacrifices had been offered; yet nothing was done to purchase redemption before Christ's incarnation. No part of the purchase was made, no part of the price was offered

« PreviousContinue »