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the approaching birth of Christ. They came to Joseph, to warn him of the danger which threatened the new-born Savior, and to point out to him the means of safety. And how were their minds engaged at the time of the birth of Christ! The whole multitude of the heavenly hosts sang praises, saying, “ Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men.” And afterwards, from time to time, they ministered to Christ when on earth ; at the time of his temptation, of his agony in the garden, at his resurrection, and at his ascension. All these things show that they were greatly engaged in this work; and the Scripture informs us that they pry into these things. 1 Pet. 1: 12. " Which things the angels desire to look into." And how are they represented in the Revelation as being employed in heaven in singing praises to Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb! Now, shall these take so much notice of this redemption, and of the Purchaser, who need it not for themselves, and have no immediate concern or interest in it, or offer of it; and will you to whom it is offered, and who are in such extreme necessity, neglect and take no notice of it?
3. Did Christ labor so hard, and suffer so much to procure this salvation, and is it not worth the while for you to be at some labor in seeking it? Did our salvation lie with such weight on the mind of Christ, as to induce him to become man, to suffer even death itself, in order to procure it? And is it not worth the while for you, who need this salvation, and must perish eternally without it, to take earnest pains to obtain an interest in it after it is procured, and all things are ready?
4. Shall the great God be so concerned about this salvation, as often to overturn the world to make way for it; and when all is done, is it not worth your seeking? What great, what wonderful things has he done : removing and setting up kings, raising up a great number of prophets, separating a distinct people from the rest of the world, overturning nations and kingdoms, and often the state of the world; and so has continued bringing about one change and revolution after another for forty centuries in succession, to make way for the procuring of this salvation! And when at the close of these ages the great Savior comes, passing through a long series of reproach and suffering, and then enduring all the waves and billows of God's wrath for men's sins, insomuch that they overwhelmed his soul: after all these things done to procure salvation for sinners, is it not worthy of your being so much concerned about it, that it should not be thrown by, and made nothing of, in comparison of worldly gain, gay clothing, or youthful diversions, and other such trifting things?
O! that you who live negligent of this salvation, would consider what you do! What has been said on this subject, may show you what reason there is in that exclamation of the apostle, Heb. 2: 3, " How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?'' and Aets, 13:41, “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” God looks on you as great enemies of the cross of Christ, as adversaries and despisers of all the glory of this great work. And if God has made such account of the glory of salvation as to destroy many nations to prepare the way
for the glory of his Son in this work; how little account will he make of the lives and souls of ten thousand of such opposers and despisers as you, who continue impenitent, when your welfare stands in the way of that glory ? Surely you shall be dashed to pieces as a potter's vessel, and trodden down as the mire of the streets. God may, through wonderful patience, bear with hardened careless sinners for a while; but he will not long bear with such despisers of his dear Son and his great salvation, the glory of which he has had so much at heart, before he will utterly consume them without remedy or mercy.
II. An Use of Encouragement. I will conclude with a second use of encouragement to burdened souls to put their trust in Christ for salvation. To all such as are not careless and negligent, but make seeking an interest in Christ their main business, being sensible in some measure of their necessity, and afraid of the wrath to come: to such, what has been said on this subject holds forth great encouragement to venture their souls on the Lord Jesus Christ. And as motives proper to excite you so to do, let me lead you to consider two things in particular.
1. The completeness of the purchase which has been made. You ave seen that this work of purchasing salvation was wholly finished during the time of Christ's humiliation. When Christ rose from the dead, and was exalted from that abasement to which he submitted for our salvation, tho purchase of eternal life was completed, so that there was no need of any thing more to be done in order to it. But now the servants were sent forth with the message, Matt. 22 : 4, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage." Therefore, are your sins many and great ? Here is enough done by Christ to procure their pardon. There is no need of any righteousness of yours to obtain your pardon and justification; no, you may come freely, without money and with out price. Since therefore there is such a free and gracious invitation given you, come, come naked as you are; come as a poor condemned criminal; come and cast yourself down at Christ's feet, as one justly condemned, and utterly helpless. Here is a complete salvation wrought out by Christ, and through him offered to you. Come, therefore, accept of it, and be saved.
2. For Christ to reject one who thus comes to him, would be to frustrate all those great things which God brought to pass from the fall of man to the incarnation of Christ. It would also frustrate all that Christ did and suffered while on earth; yea, it would frustrate the incarnation itself. Ali the great things done were for this end, that those might be saved who should come to Christ. Therefore you may be sure Christ will not be backward in saving those who come to him, and trust in him; for
no desire to frustrate himself in his own work. Neither will God the Father refuse you; for he has no desire to frustrate himself in all that he did for so many hundreds and thousands of years, to prepare the way for the salvation of sinners by Christ. Come, therefore, hearken to the sweet and earnest calls of Christ to your soul. Do as he in
vites and as he commands you. Matt. 11 : 28–30. “ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
FROM CHRIST'S RESURRECTION TO THE END
OF THE WORLD.
We have already shown how the work of redemption was carried on through the two first of the THREE PERIODS into which we divided the whole space of time from the fall to the end of the world. We are now come to the third and last period, beginning with Christ's resurrection ; and would show, that the space of time from the end of Christ's humiliation to the end of the world is all taken up in bringing about the great effect or success of Christ's purchase.
INTRODUCTION TO PERIOD THIRD.
Not but that there were great effects and glorious success of Christ's purchase of redemption before, even from the beginning of the generations of men. But all that success was only preparatory, by way of anticipation, as some few fruits are gathered be.