Page images

so fruitful and agreeable to support us, an air so pure and refined to refresh us, the vast ocean to be the channel of our correspondence and commerce, so many kinds of fruits for our nourishment, so great a number of animals to serve us, all the parts of the universe combined to administer to our wants, our comforts, and our pleasures; this was unquestionably a most surprising expression of love, but this was not“ the exceeding “ riches of the grace of God.” He had something greater and better to bestow upon us than a world—and why should it be reckoned arrogance to say the earth, nay, the universe, was made for as, when God has undeniably bestowed upon us what is infinitely more, his Son, his own Son, “ who is God over all, and blessed for ever;" his Son, who alone is of more value than ten thousand worlds, for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds would still be bounded and finite; but the eternal Son of God is altogether infinite, possessing in himself all the immensity of the divine nature? What is a world but the breath of his mouth, the effect of a single word, the sea but as “ the small drop in the bucket,” the earth as “ the small dust in the balance?” What is the sun, but the shadow of his eternal light, and the heaven but as the veil and curtain of his glory. To have given us his Son then, is not only grace, but the rictes or disgrace, nar,“ the exceeding riches “ of hos grace;" seing there is noiling equal or like to this in at the treasures of mercy ar.d lore, which will appear fatie, if we consider in the

Seon pace, in what mazzer God has bestowed his Sua ugais

For tai be sent tim tere below to save us ia as the cazzing splencor of an angel, with the raecy of a kng, with the pompasigley oaccequerer, we shoud tare bian imidly indebied io la for making bis Son leave bearea's got 19 code into our 10., to break cur bands and dairer es from our misery; bat brann svines we excess, the superabundance on the diriDe stade and lore-that the * Ancient of dars" sizca d bucae a babe or a dar cid, that the right Gai, ibe everlast

ing Father," ndo is for the besked, should be core * a man of sormoat * ihe Prince of * Feack," * the Lord of the kings chibe earth,” mar, the Lord of anguis shema be born ofa mean Foman, in a stable, and said in a manger,-that “the heir of all things" sod be about a

place 10 lar his head," er a mrd a bread to Support nature, and thai ide diantain and girar of life to all creatures Shortcit Os On in the most patial and manner, maled 10 a cross-liva thousuis are lost, and swallowed up in an abyss of incomprehensible love, of which we are unable to measure the height, or sound the depth, or to conceive the length and breadth, for “ it passeth all un, “ derstanding." Parents naturally love their children as the lively images of themselves, as part of their own blood, as partakers of their own substance, as living pictures in which they hear, and see, and know, and love themselves— but never was earthly son beloved of a father as the eternal Son of God was of his; for earthly children have an existence out of, and distinct from their parents; but Christ was“ in the Father, « and the Father in him," so as to make but one and the same essence with him. Betwixt parents and children there is always some difference, however near the resemblance may be; but Christ “ was the brightness of the Father's glory, and “ the express image of his person,” so that to see him was to see the Father. Children have many faults and imperfections which frequently relax the ardour of a father's love; but Christ, the great Redeemer, was all perfect, was perfection itself, and it was as his “ meat and drink to “ do the will of his heavenly Father.” What then must have been the inconceivable love of God to men, when he spared not such a son, but

gave him up for us all," an only son, the son of his love, in whom he was ever well pleased—that he should reduce him to such a state of abasement in order to exalt us; that he should impoverish him, that we “ through his poverty might “ be made rich;" that he should permit him to be covered with reproach, that we might be clothed with glory; that he should wound him, that by his stripes we might be healed, and by his sorrow be made glad; and give him up to die

upon a cross, that we might be recovered to eternal life? Now, know I,” saith God to Abraham, “ that thou fearest God; seeing thou “ hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, « from me." But Abraham owed his son to God; God owed us nothing. Abraham had received his son from God by an extraordinary and supernatural effect of his power ; God held his, only of himself. Abraham could not have retained his son, had it pleased the Almighty to take him away—but what power in heaven or in earth could have robbed the Father of his wellbeloved Son? Abraham, in offering up his son a sacrifice, performed an act of obedience as well as of love; but God, in giving his Son to death, performed a miracle purely of mercy and love: behold then again in this, the riches, “ the ex“ ceeding riches of the grace of God.” And farther let us consider, in the

Third place, the state of those creatures to whom God gave his Son as a new subject of admiration, wherein we may discover more of the amazing riches of free grace. Had God sent his eternal Son into the world to be our head and king, while man remained in a state of innocence, had we retained the original purity and perfection of our nature, it would have been a great, a distinguishing favour; but to give him for sinful men, for criminal ungrateful creatures, for heaven-daring rebels, the objects of abhorrence and of indignation, is a dispensation of the riches of

grace, which we can never sufficiently prize and esteem. “In this,” says the apostle,“ in this, “ above all things else, has God commended his “ love to us, in that, while we were yet sinners, “ Christ died for us." The more unworthy and hateful any object is, the more remarkable are the goodness and mercy which confer any favour upon it, and to love one's enemies is the last and highest effort of charity. To love our friends is but justice and gratitude; to love our parents or children, is only natural tenderness and affection; to love and do good to strangers is but the ordinary duty of humanity; to love and relieve the poor, and such as we expect nothing from in return, and from whom we have received no services, is at the best but kindness and generosity;

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »