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"trembleth because of thee: I am afraid of thy judg"ments." Let such an one know, that help is laid on him that is "mighty to fave." Let your guilt be what it will, who can fo far derogate from the Redeemer's glory as to fufpect that his blood cannot purge it away? Give no heed to unbelieving thoughts, or discouraging suggestions; but beftrong in faith, giving glory to God;" and attend to the Saviour's own words: "Him that cometh "unto me, I will in no wife caft out."
5. In the last place, Let all the children of God, whose hope hath still been in the divine mercy through a crucified Saviour, embrace the opportunity now given them of profeffing, exercifing, and ftrengthening their faith in the great atonement. Plead your relation to God through Christ, and encourage yourselves in his all-fufficiency and merit. Look upon his fufferings for humbling you under a fense of the evil of fin, which made fuch an expiation necessary. Nothing ferves more to abafe and level human pride, than to see our nature on the cross though perfonally united to the divine. Look upon him in his agony, for mortifying and crucifying fin in you. There is a purifying virtue, and fanctifying efficacy, in the blood of Chrift. It not only speaks peace to the wounded confcience, but purges the confcience from dead works to ferve the living God. I am not against the introduction of every argument from scripture or reafon against fin, or in fupport of duty; but let them never fupplant the great, the leading, the constraining argument, which is drawn from the cross of Chrift. Believe it, my brethren, nothing so much reconciles the heart to duty, nothing fo kindles a holy indignation against fin, as a believing view of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fin of the world. This gives the Spirit of adoption a child like fear, and a child-like love. This fills the Chriftian with comfort, this infpires the Christian with zeal. To feek our comfort in a separate way, or in the first inftance from our duties, is to make that comfort feeble and variable as the duties are defective; but to enliven our duties by the comforts of the gospel is to follow the order of the covenant of grace, by which we at once promote the glory of God, and most ef
fectually fecure our own comfort and peace. This is the Spirit breathed by the apoftle Paul, with whofe words, Gal. ii. 19, 20. I fhall conclude; "For I through the law "am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am "crucified with Chrift; Nevertheless I live; yet not I, "but Chrft liveth in me: and the life which I now live "in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, whe "loved me, and gave himself for me."
REV. i. 5.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
HE bare repetition of thefe words is fufficient to convince every hearer how well they are fuited to the defign of our prefent meeting. Redeeming love is certainly the most delightful of all themes to every real Christian. It is the immediate and direct object of our contemplation in the Lord's fupper. This ordinance was inftituted to keep up the remembrance of the fufferings and death of Chrift, which was the great and finishing proof of his love. How then can you attend on it in a more becoming and dutiful, a more pleasant and defireable, or a more happy and useful frame of fpirit, than when your hearts are filled with a fenfe of the love of Christ, and you find yourselves difpofed to join, with a mixture of joy and wonder, in the doxology of the apostle John, in the text, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood?
The author of this book is fometimes ftyled the disciple whom Jesus loved. Since, therefore, it pleafed his mafter to distinguish him by the tenderness of particular friendship, it is no wonder that we find fo much of the
delightful affection of love in his writings. In the beginning of this chapter, he gives an account of the general fubject and design of the book of Revelation, the manner in which the difcoveries contained in it were made to him, and his fidelity in testifying them to others. Then follows the apoftolic falutation to the feven churches in Afia, which is a folemn benediction, in name of all the perfons of the adorable Trinity: "Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is "to come;" (that is, from God the Father, the ancient of days, immutable and eternal); " and from the seven spi-"rits which are before his throne;" (not to detain you with a critical account of this phrafe, it means the Holy Ghoft, fingle in his perfon, but multiplied in his gifts; the variety, fullness, and perfection of which, are denoted by this form of expreffion); " and from Jefus Chrift, who is "the faithful witness, and the first-begotten from the dead, "and the prince of the kings of the earth." To him you fee he gives three illuftrious characters.
I. The faithful witness, who came from above, and revealed the whole will of God for our falvation; who being the eternal truth, might be abfolutely depended on in the account he was by the apoftle to communicate, of the great events of Providence towards his church and people. 2. The first begotten from the dead, declared to be the Son of God with power, by his glorious refurrection and triumph over the king of terrors. And, 3. The Prince of the kings of the earth; that is, the Lord of nature, to whom every prince and potentate must be subject, and to the ends of whofe Providence, and the increase of whofe kingdom, all their schemes of policy and conqueft shall at laft be fubfervient. He then, with great propriety, having mentioned the name, and given a fhort view of the character of his bleffed Lord, lays hold of the opportunity to exprefs his own and every other finner's obligation to him in this fublime afcription, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
To enter upon the confideration of the love of Chrift in its full extent, in its fource, its expreffions, and its effects, even thofe that are fuggefted in the text, would
far exceed the bounds of a single difcourfe. What I pose, therefore, at this time, in order to prepare your minds, and my own, for the folemn action before us, is only to collect into one view fome of the great and general characters of the love of Chrift, which are most proper to excite our gratitude and praise; and then to make fome practical improvement of it, for your inftruction and direction.
I. First, then, let us endeavor to point out fome of the great and general characters of the love of Chrift. In this I fhall take care to confine myself to fuch views as are given of it in the holy fcriptures. And every character given of it there, we are both entitled and obliged to attend to, and improve.
1. First of all, then, you may observe, that it is an everlasting love. It took its rife in the eternal counfels of Heaven. This is a character given of the love of God to his people, Jer. xxxi. 3. "Yea, I have loved thee with "an everlasting love therefore with loving kindness "have I drawn thee." This expreffion is often used with a double view, to fhew, on the one hand, its early, its original fource, and on the other, its perpetual stability, and endless duration. Pf. ciii. 17. "But the mercy "of the Lord is from everlafting to everlasting upon them "that fear him; and his righteoufnefs unto childrens "children." If. liv. 7, 8. "For a small moment have "I forfaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather "thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, for a "moment; but with everlasting kindnefs will I have "mercy on thee, faith the Lord thy Redeemer." Ha ving cited these paffages of the Old Teftament, I muft justify the application of them, by obferving, that all the covenant-mercies of God to man, in our present fallen ftate, are to be referred to the love of Chrift, as their price, their fource, and their fum. This is plain from innumerable paffages of fcripture: Eph. i. 4, 5, "Accor"ding as he hath chofen us in him, before the founda"tion of the world, that we fhould be holy, and without "blame before him in love: having predeftinated us unto VOL. I. 3 Q