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ting ardour himself, but exerted all his zeal to induce others to follow his example. His generous soul, wished not to enter into the kingdom of heaven alone. He was to be happy himself, and he desired from his heart, that all men might be partakers of his joy. In his father's house, he knew there were many mansions, and the object of all his labours was, that inhabitants innumerable might with him repair thither, and have everlasting life. And his anxiety that they should do so, proceeded not only from a knowledge of the sublime felicity which they would there receive, but also from a high sense of the extraordinary means, which had been employed to cure this felicity for them. These were no less, than the sufferings and death of the Son of God. He is consecrated the way, the truth, and the life, and all who come to the Father come by him. To this new and living way, therefore, the Apostle failed not to turn men's attention, nor could he for a moment remain indifferent, when he beheld any
inclined to neglect so great salvation. The love of Christ constrained him, to shew them their ingratitude, and their danger. Accordingly, with all the earnest
ness of which he was capable, we here find him exhorting the Corinthians to mind the things necessary. to their peace, inviting them to turn unto God, and praying them not to die in their sins. God, saith he, 6 hath committed unto us the ministry of “ reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambas“ sadors from Christ; as though God did be“ seech you by us, we pray you in Christ's
stead, be ye reconciled to God.” But lest a sense of demerit should fill them with despair, lest a consciousness of guilt, should make them dread, that this proposed reconciliation was impossible, he informs them that these fears are groundless, that this dreaded barrier to their salvation is removed, that the sufferings they merited have been endured, that the punishment of their sins has been paid, and an abundant entrance into felicity immortal opened : “ For God, hath made him to be sin for us, “ who knew no sin, that we might be made " the righteousness of God in him.” Thus you see, that the favour of their Creator
here, and the enjoyment of his presence • hereafter, was the supreme, the unspea
kable happiness, to which the Apostle invited his brethren of mankind; and the words
of our text he here introduces, in order to shew them the sure, and indeed the only, foundation upon which they must rest their hopes of obtaining it.
If we then value as we ought, this supreme felicity, or duly regard that good and merciful Being who hath provided it, we cannot but esteem it a matter of the last importance, rightly to consider the meaning which these words convey, and the great truth which they contain. They are the words of Eternal Life, and words, therefore, which we cannot too carefully examine, or be at too much pains thoroughly to understand. Their natural and most obvious import appears to be this.
“ The Almighty and All-merciful Father “ of the human race, graciously purposed " to deliver his creatures, from that mi
sery which, by their disobedience, they “ had justly incurred, and to restore them " to that felicity which they had basely “ forfeited : But seeing that he could not, .“ consistently, accomplish this work of “ mercy, without at the same time signally
displaying his justice, and manifesting
“ his utter abhorrence of their crimes, he
appointed Jesus, his well-beloved and on
ly begotten Son, to fulfil the obligations “ which they had broken, and suffer the
penalty to which they were liable, appointed him for this end, to descend for a season from the mansions of uncreated
glory, to tabernacle among men, to sub“ mit to a series of indescribable indigni“ ties, and sorrows, and pains, from which “ the innocence and perfection of his nature “ otherwise exempted him; and to do all “ this, not merely that he might have an
opportunity of publishing, and ratifying “ to the world, a system of the most im
portant doctrines, and setting before them “ a pattern of the most perfect virtue; but “ also to avert the wrath of heaven, 'to “ make peace by the blood of his cross, and
present himself to God, as an offering “ for sin. Accordingly, this gracious pur
pose, which, in the councils of eternity.
was formed, hath, in the fulness of time, “ been executed. Christ, the second “ of the glorious Trinity, hath become our “ mediator, and placed himself in our stead. “ In this capacity he hath actually submit“ ted to the obligations of his people, and
s become responsible for their guilt. And “ thus, by his being made sin, or rather a “ sin offering for them, they are made the s righteousness of God in him; that is,
they are treated as righteous for his sake, " they are freed from the curse of the law,
they are acquitted from the sentence of “ death, and re-established in their title to 66 eternal life.'
This is the doctrine plainly delivered, in the
passage now before us, and in numberless other passages of Sacred Writ.
. Yet this, however plainly taught, like most other plain truths, such is the strange perversity of man, hath had the unhappy fate to be disputed and denied. Though promulgated as the wisdom of God, to some it hath been, and unfortunately still is, a rock of offence, and has been branded by them, to their shame, with the name of foolishness. Blind or presumptuous, they have openly pronounced it to be both absurd and unnecessary,
irrational to the extreme-unbecoming the God of heaven to reveal, and unworthy of us, his intelligent offspring, to receive. But let us be on our guard against such big swelling words of vanity, and be