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It may be regarded under the two aspects of the power! Having seen all this, how elevated is the view which is which is exercised for us, in the personal work of the Lord presented of the power of the gospel of Jesus. How many Jesus Christ, and the power which is exercised in us, by the souls have been rescued from the power of that wicked adoperations of the Holy Spirit.
versary who leads men captive at his will! And by what 1. Consider the gospel as the great instrument of salvation means have they been delivered from its chains ? Not by in what it does for us.
human eloquence or the powers of moral suasion in a single The law held'us in bondage, kept us under condemnation, instance. Nothing but the gospel has ever emancipated a bound us over to endure the everlasting wages of sin. This single soul, or brougḥt one to the enjoyment of lasting peace, bondage the gospel has broken; it has released us from all But this has been, in every age, quick and powerful, and condemnation; it has provided a sacrifice which can answer sharper than a two-edged sword, and has turned thousands every claim of the law, and given a new and glorious hope from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto to those who were without hope. In the obedience which God. There have been multitudes in every age who were Jesus has rendered to its precepts, and the satisfaction which living witnesses of its power; who by its enlightening, comhe has made to its penalties, the law has been silenced in forting and sanctifying efficacy, have been created anew, and every demand, and the power of the gospel for salvation has filled with joy and peace in believing. been exhibited. And under the gospel, by this work of the These effects the world still beholds. It wonders at them, Redeemer, as our substitute, God can exercise mercy to those and is unable to account for them. They are seen wherever whom the law has condemned, without setting aside, in any the gospel is faithfully administered. The simple exhibition degree, the authority or sanctions of his law.
of Christ crucified is still as truly and effectually as ever a Again, Satan held us in captivity; we were under the hammer which breaks in pieces the rocks, and a mould which power of the god of this world; and he exercised over the forms into the likeness of Christ those who are subjected to hearts and habits of all a ruinous dominion. From his power its divine influence. the gospel rescues us. The Lord Jesus has destroyed him Wherever you look abroad upon the Christian church, you that had the power of death. When he hung as a bleeding see the power of the gospel displayed. In every year miman upon the cross, and was to all appearance subdued and riads are converted by its influence unto Christ; angels look destroyed, then he triumphed over Satan and spoiled his with joy upon its operations, and the name and character of principalities and powers, and made a show of his conquest the Lord Jesus are glorified in its results. Extensive reopenly. And this one fact, the death of Jesus upon the cross vivals of religion, under the simple preaching of its truth, for sinners, has been the single great instrument by which show upon a large scale its power unto salvation. Satan's kingdom has been demolished, and the Saviour's With false systems of doctrine, all the talent and eloquence empire has been established throughout the world. of men convert no sinner's soul, while the lifting up of a
The power of the gospel for us is exhibited in heaven, in crucified Jesus, though feebly done by the talent of the the accepted sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, in his prevailing preacher, is drawing all unto him. Under other preaching, intercession as our great High Priest, and in the continual religion dies, and hardly the form of godliness remains. crowning of the subjects of his redemption for his sake. Under the preaching of the cross, grace, mercy and peace
It is exhibited on earth in the providence which causes all are multiplied among men, and God confirms his word with things to promote the salvation of sinners; in the continual the demonstration of his Spirit and with power. progress of truth, and its conquest over error throughout the III. The power of the gospel is displayed in that gracious world; in the justifying of innumerable multitudes of sinners, operation which brings back every individual sinner to holiand giving the guilty consciences of men peace with God, ness and peace. in the unceasing triumphs which it accomplishes over death, 1. In the awakening and conversion of sinners, in the and in the ransomed souls whom it brings to eternal glory. turning of their hearts from the power of Satan unto God,
It is exhibited in hell, in the restraint which it has put to the gospel displays its power unto salvation. The natural the power of Satan; in the limits which it affixes to his de- mind of man refuses all subjection to the will of God. The signs of malice; in the subjection which it compels him to strong man armed keeps his palace, and his goods are in acknowledge to the Lord Jesus, as the head over all, and in peace. Without concern for himself, and in a determined the triumphs which it is attaining over him among men from conflict with his Creator, the sinner sets himself to oppose day to day.
the grace of Jesus; and it is only as he is subdued by a To the universe, the gospel is thus presented as the power power stronger than he, that his soul is spoiled of its rebelof God for salvation in behalf of sinners. For them it has lion, and renovated in love. In the accomplishment of this provided a satisfaction and righteousness sufficient for the conversion, the gospel is mighty through God, to the pulling whole world. For them it has opened a new and living way down of strong holds, and every imagination which exalteth of salvation, abundant for their universal acceptance. For itself against God. When Jesus stilled the tempest with them it is daily finishing its works of grace, and adding two words, “ Peace, be still," men wondered at the exhibinew beings to the triumphant hosts of heaven.
tion of his power, and exclaimed, “What manner of man is This power of the spel, as exercised for us in the offer this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?" The coning and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pass over version of the sinner is a far greater work than the stilling of thus cursorily, because my chief object is to display the the ocean. The sea will sometimes be calm of itself; but power of the gospel unto salvation, as exercised within us. the wicked are always “ like the troubled sea when it cannot Under this view,
rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." To still the raging II. It is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that sea, and to subdue the sinner's soul into the calmness and believeth.
beauty of a spiritual life, the gospel, as the word of Jesus, is When we consider the whole progress of the gospel in the the chosen instrument. It is made the savour of life unto world, and reflect upon the innumerable multitude of souls life, and new-creates the sinner, not by the will of man or whom it has actually rescued from the bondage of sin by the the will of the flesh, but by the power of God. power of the Holy Ghost, we behold the power of God more The minister of Jesus speaks in the ears of a dead man, remarkably displayed in this than in all the works of creation. whom no thunder could have awakened, and he rises up to
We have seen the little stone cut out of the mountain with give glory to God. Christ calls upon men to deny themout hands, as the gospel is called in the book of Daniel, grow selves, to part with their sins, which they have esteemed into a mighty mountain, and establish itself in all the king-their ornament and subsistence; to stand at defiance with the doms of the earth. We have seen millions of sinners sub-allurements and opposition of the world, and to rejoice if they mitting their hearts to a doctrine, at first every where spoken are counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ's sake, and against, upon the testimony of a few poor and despicable they obey him without consulting with flesh and blood. persons; to a doctrine diametrically opposite to the propensi-Those affections which are bound to the earth are lifted up ties of their own natures; involving unceasing self-denial, and to heaven. That spirit which boasted in rebellion against the assumption of a severe and painful cross. We have seen God, yields to him with the submission of a lamb; and the this submission made in hope of a reward from one whom same man who proudly said, “I will not have this man to they have never seen, and in whom, if they had seen him, reign over me; who is Lord over me?" now says, in an they would have found no beauty by a natural eye for which humble dependance upon Christ, “Lord, what wilt thou have he should be desired; and this reward, too, whatever it might me to do?" This change of character and heart the gospel be, deferred for a long time, and offering, in the meanwhile, has accomplished; and thus, in the conversion of the transno ground of assurance to expect it, but a faith in his power gressor, shows itself the power of God unto salvation. who has promised it, and requiring a perpetual contest with 2. In the free justification of the sinner before God, and persecution and suffering and death.
giving him acceptance and peace of conscience, the gospel displays its power unto salvation. It comes to the penitent/the heart of man, is a glorious exhibition of power. It is transgressor as a ministration of righteousness, as a word of like keeping a spark alive in the midst of the ocean, and susreconciliation and peace. It opens the prison doors and bids taining a hope, even against hope. the captive go free. The power of the law was great, as The follower of Jesus is encompassed with innumerable represented in the mighty thunderings with which it was difficulties. Many heavy loads are united in their pressure given; but in comparison with the gospel, the law was weak, upon his soul. He must bear the weight of a wounded spirit; and could make nothing perfect. The power of the law was the sorrows of indwelling sin; the burden of a decaying bofor destruction. The power of the gospel is a life-giving dy; the load of scorn and reproach from Satan and the world. power. The law could only hold down the man who was But amidst all these, the gospel gives liim beauty for ashes ; down before; it could never give him life again. But the the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the power to give life is far greater than the power to kill. The spirit of heaviness. When fearfulness and trembling come gospel is thus mighty to pass by transgressions and sins, to upon him, and his steps are almost gone, this is his comfort set at liberty the souls that are bound, and to give boldness in his affliction, that the word of God hath quickened him, in the presence of the King of Saints to the poor captives of and that God will perfect that which he hath wrought for Satan.
his servant. In the midst of all his difficulties, the gospel When the sinner's heart is brought under the influence of leads the Christian not to lean upon any created strength, nor the gospel by the power of the Holy
Ghost, it takes away to look for the help of man, but to trust only in the word of the burden of guilt;
it silences every accuser; it fills the be- divine promise, and to cast his whole care upon him who has liever with the confidence of hope; it forbids every weapon begun a good work in him, and will carry it on, unto the day to prosper which is formed against him, and condemns every of the Lord Jesus. tongue which rises up in judgment against his soul. The This preserving power of the gospel is displayed in many justification which the gospel gives is a perfect and entire instances through a long course of years, and in circumstances one. The sins of a life, however accumulated, however ag- of great trial and distress. “Eighty and six years,” said gravated, are blotted out in one moment, and that for ever. Polycarp upon the day of his martyrdom, "have I served JeA new and perfect righteousness is bestowed upon the par- sus of Nazareth.” And what can be a more delightful testidoned sinner; and he stands before God, not only without a mony to the worth and power of the gospel, than that of an stain of guilt, but with a character as perfect, and a title to old man who has passed through all the sorrows of life, an inheritance of glory as entire, as if he had never trans- and at the period of gray hairs, when all the charms of earth gressed against God.
have lost their power, can say, "I have been young and now In the justification of the believer, the gospel makes every am old, yet saw I never the righteous forsaken,” to me Jesus thing sure. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's is still precious. This testimony is given every day, and elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? God is honoured in the power which his gospel exhibits, to It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again; who is sustain and preserve those who have entrusted themselves at the right hand of God for ever." And where he is his fol- to it. lowers are also to be. In this total change in the relation of 5. The gospel exhibits its power unto salvation, in the final a sinner towards God, the gospel shows its power; it turns crowning of the saints in glory. For every child of God beaside the edge of judgment, and rejoices in a victory over fore me, its work of grace shall be fully and eternally accomcondemnation; and relieving a soul from fear, from danger, plished. As the ransomed of the Lord, they shall return to and from death, it shows itself to be the power of God unto Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They salvation.
shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall 3. The gospel displays its power unto salvation in its pro- fee away. Then, how wonderful is the display of power gressive sanctification of those whom it has converted unto which has brought a child of wrath and sin to be an heir of God, and justified in the righteousness of Jesus. It is the everlasting glory! The sufferings of Jesus shall then have great and only instrument of making men holy. Thus the received their full reward. He shall be glorified in his saints, Redeemer says in his intercession to the Father, “Sanctify and admired in all that believe. He shall rejoice forever them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” In the progress-over the vast multitudes whom"he hath redeemed and washed ive exercise of its power to give life, it leads the converted from their sins in his own blood. Countless armies shall assoul every day nearer to the image of God. There is a semble before him, with his mark upon their foreheads; all heavenly teaching by the Holy Spirit, accompanying the the fruits of his redemption, plucked out of the jaws of the word, which forms Christ in the believer's heart more per- lion; begotten again through his word, to the enjoyment of a fectly; which writes upon his heart the divine law, and makes lively hope, an everlasting possession, and permitted to dwell it his delight to do his will. There is here a continual ex- in the presence of the Lamb forever. hibition of the power of the gospel. The impression upon Then the salvation of each redeemed soul is finally accoman adamant, from a simple touch of the seal, would not be plished, and the gospel has displayed its full and proper more wonderful than this transformation of an earthly and de- power in the conversion, the justifying, the sanctifying, the graded soul into the divine image, by the preaching of the preserving, and the crowning every subject of the redemption word of truth.
of Jesus. The work in each instance has been the same. A In the gospel we behold, as in a glass, the glory of the vessel of wrath fitted for destruction has been brought to Lord, and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory for the master's honour and use; and unnumbered milglory, by the Spirit of the Lord. The application of the lions who were by nature poor and miserable, and blind and great truths of the gospel to our hearts, by the power of the naked, for whom, while they were without strength, Christ Spirit, destroys the temptations of sense and appetite; over- died, will be found rescued by the power of the gospel, and comes the allurements and terrors of the world; bruises Sa- made to shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the tan under our feet, and makes us, after the image of the Lord stars, forever and ever. Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; This text teaches us the proper ground of hope. The and in this daily progress of our souls to God, we see new power of God as promised and exercised in the gospel of Jedisplays of the power of the gospel, and rejoice in him who, sus. If you look upon your own characters, you find yourby its instrumentality, can make all grace abound in us. selves utterly weak and unworthy.
All reflections upon 4. The gospel displays its power unto salvation, in uphold-yourselves will inevitably be of the most humiliating and ing and preserving those who are brought to a knowledge of painful character; and if you were compelled to receive the its truth
wages which you have earned by your own conduct, you It is the great instrument of keeping every child of God could not sustain the load. You have nothing which you can through faith unto salvation. By the divine power attending offer unto God. There is no part of your lives which could its ministrations, it is able to keep us from falling, and to furnish you a sufficient hope of acceptance before him, and if he present us before the throne of divine glory with exceeding should call you into judgment, it must be to condemn and joy. For this it is styled an incorruptible seed; an abiding destroy you. Bat while you are thus entirely deficient in seed in the heart, and brings forth permanent and increasing yourselves, there is offered to you in the gospel of Jesus, a fruit. It is a tree with perpetual fruit, without any variation sufficient and abiding hope. There the divine power presents for the difference of seasons. Like that tree which St. John itself to your acceptance, as all-sufficient for your wants, and saw in Paradise, which brought forth its fruit every month, of invites you to lean upon it, as a staff which can never be twelve different kinds. Thus Jesus promises that every broken. branch in him which beareth fruit shall be purged and made Will you then be persuaded to cast out all idea of trusting to bring forth more fruit, and they who live in him shall have in yourselves; to renounce all dependence upon your own life more abundantly. This preservation of divine grace in character and conduct, and to seek a righteousness beyond yourselves, in the perfect and spotless obedience of the Son of God. You are simply invited to accept the provisions of
LECTURE XV. the gospel, and as Noah, believing God's word, sought refuge and protection in the ark; and as the persecuted Israel THE GRACE OF THE GOSPEL AS A DIVINE GIFT. ite, trusting the divine command, found a shelter in the city of refuge; so to flee to the work which the Lord Jesus has The unsearchable riches of Christ.-EPHESIANS 111. 8. finished, and plead nothing but that for your acceptance before God. If you are convinced of your wants, and of your By this expression, I understand the unsearchable provi. total inability to save yourself, and are ready to be freely jus-sions of grace, which are contained in the gospel of Christ. tified, and freely saved by the power of Christ, every thing is These provisions the apostle Paul was sent to offer to the ready for you. The sacrifice and obedience of Jesus have gentiles; and in the whole of his ministrations, he shows been accepted in your behalf. God is well pleased in him, us the remarkable difference which there is between that and well pleased to save you, for his sake ; and nothing is view of the gospel which is the result of speculative examiwanting, but that you, with a penitent and humble spirit, nation, and that view of the gospel which has been formed should receive the blessings which are so freely offered you from an experience of its life-giving power. The man who in Christ Jesus. The gospel presents you all a foundation examines the gospel upon its exterior, sees much in it to adupon which you may securely build. Without fear ormire, for its beauty of moral precepts, its attractive examdoubting you may embrace this glorious hope ; and when you ples of personal character, and its peculiar revelations of the do embrace it in your hearts, all your guilt shall be removed, existence and character of God; and upon this ground he adall your dangers shall pass away, and everlasting light and vocates and enforces the system of religion which he conceives glory shall rest upon your souls.
the New Testament to contain. Do not trust yourselves before a heart-searching God with The man who has experienced the power of the gospel to any other ground of hope, for plead what you will, you will convert and sanctify, forgets these peculiar reasons for valube inevitably condemned. When God riseth up in judgment ing the gospel, in his wondering admiration of it, as a you cannot answer him, or stand before him, but in the all- system of unsearchable grace for the chief of sinners. Our sufficient and prevailing merits of an incarnate and suffering minds will naturally dwell upon that aspect of this system, Saviour, which have been thankfully embraced and dwelt with the most constancy and delight, which we feel to be upon by you.
most suited to our individual wants; and if we have felt ourYou see to whom all the praise is to be given for the work selves to be ruined sinners, and have sought the gospel as a of salvation. In this work man is nothing. He brings to it remedy for our necessities, we shall pass over every minor no strength, no merit, no claim of any kind. You are to as- characteristic, and adore the exceeding riches of grace which cribe the whole glory to that mighty Saviour who loved you, Almighty God has been pleased here to exhibit. when you were dead in trespasses and sins, and interposed This view of the gospel occupied the thoughts and affechis power and his worthiness for you, when you were perish- tions of the Apostle Paul. He seldom speaks of Jesus or his ing, without strength and without hope. To him. let your dispensation, except under the idea of a scheme of glorious thanksgivings be every day addressed, as you are led on from salvation ; of which, in infinite mercy, he had been made a strength to strength. In him let all your confidence be subject, though he was before a persecutor, a blasphemer, placed, for what he has promised to do for you, while you and injurious. Paul's knowledge of the truth was the result are passing the wilderness of life ; and when you are brought of an experience of its power, and to the same experience he to rest, in the presence of his glory, to him will you find desired to bring all to whom he addressed himself, as an amyourselves constrained to offer all the honour and praise for bassador of Christ. what he has been pleased to undertake and finish in your No view of the gospel is so honourable to God, or so combehalf.
forting and suitable to ourselves, as this to which your atHe is the great object of universal praise; all the angels tention is now to be directed the riches of its grace as a of God worship him; all the spirits of just men made per- divine gift to man. The apostle states to the Ephesians, that fect, ascribe honour unto him, and from our hearts he asks God especially designed, in the salvation which he had prothe same tribute of thanksgiving and honour.
vided in the gospel, “ to show in the ages to come, the exGive him glory before your feet stumble upon the dark ceeding riches of his grace in Christ Jesus ;" and to further mountains, and he turn the light which you look for into the and promote this design, had commissioned him, though less shadow of death. Be wise in making him your friend while than the least of all saints, to preach among the Gentiles his mercies are offered you in his word, and let the power of the unsearchable riches of Christ.” the gospel be for you a power to save.
I have selected these words of the apostle as a text, beFor reflect, I pray you, in conclusion, that the same power cause they show the fact, which it is my design to exhibit which the gospel has to save, it has to destroy. It increases in this discourse, that the provisions of grace offered to sinthe condemnation and misery of those who reject it, and it ners in the gospel, are truly unsearchable. They are adewere far better, never to have heard its gracious invitations, quate to supply every want; they are adapted to every than having heard them, to cast them voluntarily away. To circumstance and relation of man ; they are sufficient for the this destroying power of the gospel, to those who reject it, necessities of the whole race of men. Jesus refers when he says, “Whosoever shall fall on this 1. The unsearchable grace of the gospel is displayed in stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will the freeness with which it offers every blessing to man. It grind him to powder.” It has an irresistible energy. It requires nothing to be done by us in order to merit its blesscomes with an overwhelming force upon those who have de- ings. It never puts us upon earning an interest in the merspised its mercies, and makes it better for such persons if they cies which it has provided. To the utmost meaning of the had never been born. This gospel must appear in the great terms, every blessing of the gospel is a free gift of God to man. day, as a witness for or against every child of man. It They are as much so as the manna which was rained from will bear testimony for all who have accepted its invitations, heaven upon the Israelites, or the water which followed them that justice is satisfied, and all condemnation must pass away from the rock in their wanderings through the wilderness. that the Lamb is worthy, and infinite honour and glory must be Under this character as free and unmerited gifts, the privibestowed. It must witness against all who have refused its leges of the gospel are presented through the whole inspired mercies, that they are without hope ; the law must take its volume. The first promise of a Saviour is a remarkable ilcourse, while their condemnation and ruin have been awfully lustration of this fact. That promise was not given in anincreased, by choosing death rather than life. With a de-swer to any solicitations on the part of our first parents. structive weight it falls upon such, to grind them to powder, They could hardly be supposed able to conceive of the posto consign them over to everlasting ruin, and to bind them in sibility of such a promise. Indeed it was not literally given chains of eternal darkness and death.
to them at all. It was included in the threatening which Happy will it be, for all before me, to have this powerful was denounced by God against the serpent who had degospel a witness of approbation and not of condemnation in ceived them, and not personally addressed either to Adam or that solemn day.
Eve, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Saviour was thus a free gift of God, a gift unthought of by man; and every blessing which the Saviour brings is as entirely a free gift as himself. " The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The whole amount of mercies and privileges which the gospel bestows, are un- eyes with eye-salve, that we may see. It fills the liungry clogged with any conditions. The gracious invitations with good things, and exalts those of low degree. How which it addresses to men, are entirely unlimited in their ap- beautifully, and in what lively colours, is this fulness of plication. “Ho! every one that thirsteth," it says upon gospel provisions exhibited by the Spirit of God, speaking the high places of the earth," and he that hath no money, come through the prophet Isaiah in that passage which our blessed buy and eat; yea, buy wine and milk without money and Lord applied to himself in the first public discourse which he without price." And again, in the conclusion of its book of ever delivered : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, begrace, it says again, “The spirit and the bride say come, and cause the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto let him that heareth say come, and let him that is athirst come, the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, and whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely.” to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
Now here is exhibited the unsearchable riches of the gos-prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable pel. It comes to creatures who can do nothing to deserve its year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to blessings, or to acquire an interest in its glorious promises, comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in and presents itself as perfectly suitable to their wants, by of Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for fering freely and unconditionally to their acceptance all the mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, mercies they can desire. Fallen creatures can do nothing to that they might be called trees of righteousness, the plantrestore themselves. The angels who are confined in chains ing of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” of darkness can do nothing to obtain salvation from their Now this passage precisely illustrates the aspect of gospel ruin. They are utterly incapable of meriting God's favour, grace, which is before your minds, the fulness with which it and we are equally so. No salvation would avail us any supplies every want of 'man; because it takes a view of manthing which required us to do any thing to deserve its be- kind in a vast variety of conditions, in every stage of sorrow stowal upon us.
and distress, and represents the gospel as adapting itself to The whole scripture unites to caution us against the every different state, and as supplýing every want under thought of earning grace: “Say not in thine heart, who which men are suffering. shall ascend into heaven ? that is, to bring Christ down from Look then upon the fulness of these provisions; conceive above; or who shall descend into the deep ? that is, to bring of miserable man in every condition in which he can be imup Christ again from the dead. But what saith it? The agined ; conceive of him bowed down with a sense of guilt, word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart; that or harassed with the temptations of Satan, or sinking under is, the word of faith which we preach ; that if thou shalt persecutions from men, or under the hidings of God's favour, or confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy in the prospect of immediate dissolution, and in every condiheart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be tion the gospel presents him with all that he can want: pardon saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteous- for all sin, strength against every temptation, support under ness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." every trial, comfort under every affliction, and life everlasting
Yes, we do preach, as the Holy Ghost preaches throughout by the simple exercise of faith in Jesus, as life was given to the whole Bible, that to receive every divine blessing by faith the dying Israelite by looking upon the brazen serpent. If freely as it is freely offered, is the only office assigned to any there were a possible situation for which the gospel would child of man. After we have embraced the invitations of not yield a supply, if there were a single thing which it rethe gospel, we have much to do to honour and adorn it in all quired us to furnish from our own store, it would display no holy conversation and godliness; yet our first reception of unsearchable riches of grace, nor would it be adapted to our its blessings must be altogether free, and we must stand in- necessities. debted for them solely to the sovereign grace of God. When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, if they
But while I merely say the gospel shows its riches of had been provided with bread and water, but had been left to grace in offering every blessing freely, I say too little. St. their own guidance, or no miracle had been wrought to prePaul expresses the greatest jealousy upon this subject. He serve their clothes, or to keep their feet from the effect of declares that if we attempt to do any thing, however good in long and wearisome toil, how 'evident is it that the want of itself, expecting by it, either in whole or in part, to merit any one blessing would have rendered all the others nugaour salvation, we make void the whole gospel. “Behold tory and useless. God must supply all their wants, for they I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ had no ability to supply one themselves. Just so is it with shall profit you nothing.” Salvation must be wholly of us. Should the gospel leave a single necessity unsatisfied, works, or wholly of grace. If salvation were of works, in all its other provisions, however rich and abundant, would ever so small a degree, there would be room for boasting; be in vain. Go, for instance, to the bedside of a dying sinfor we should have done something for ourselves. Whereas, ner, and say, “You must render such and such services to under the gospel, boasting must be utterly excluded ; and the Lord before you can be accepted by him," what hope salvation from first to last must be received as a free gift of or comfort would such tidings inspire ? How cruelly God for Christ's sake.
would such a message mock the anguish of a man who feels What unsearchable grace is this ! and still more so, if you that he can do nothing ; who is conscious that he is sinking consider to whom such offers are freely made. The invita- into perdition, and must be plucked by some powerful arm tions of the gospel are presented and pressed upon the atten- from the gulf which stretches beneath his soul! But tell tion of beings universally depraved; beings who perversely him, or any other sinner, that “Christ died for the chief of reject all that has been done for them, who stand out to sinners; that those who come to him he will in no wise cast resist its gracious influence, and to fight against God until out; that sins like scarlet may be made as white as snow; they are subdued and led captive by a power stronger than that there is a fountain which cleanseth from all sin;" and themselves. These gracious invitations of God follow these you offer hope and comfort which are entirely abundant; creatures through all the wanderings of their sinful lives, you present a foundation upon which the soul may build still pressing upon their attention the solemn call, “Turn without fear, and may see a sinner made a precious jewel in Fe, for why will ye die." The gospel of Jesus, in the ten- the Redeemer's crown for ever. derness of its compassion, literally persecutes the sinner Thanks be to God! there is not a desirable blessing f} with its entreaties that he would be saved. It will not give man which the gospel does not impart to us in our vur of him up. It is like a rich and noble prince who follows a need. Pardon, peace, holiness and joy, are all offered freely, mendicant up and down, beseeching him to accept the as- and bestowed abundantly for the Redeemer's sake. We find sistance whích he offers; and thus freely offering, and per-all fulness to dwell in Jesus Christ. He is made our wisdom severingly offering, unsearchable riches to sinners who could and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption; and deserve nothing, who despise and reject the mercies which receiving from him grace upon grace, we stand complete in are presented, and weary the patience of the Most High with him. When our hearts have embraced his sufficiency, we their perverseness,
the gospel displays its unspeakable grace are rich, we are full ; we drink of a fountain which destroys as a gift of God to those who are really perishing in their sins. all thirst for every other one, and have no disposition to go
II. The unsearchable grace of the gospel as a divine gift, from him to draw elsewhere. Jesus is all in all, an answer is displayed in the full and perfect manner in which it com- to every accusation, a remedy for every evil, a supply for municates its blessings to man. There is not a want in the every necessity, an eternal antidote to despair. In him we sinner which it does not abundantly supply.. Are we by na- have life abundantly, and feel assured in the hope of treasures ture wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked ? passing man's understanding, which he has laid up for us. It gives us, without money or price, gold tried in the fire, that In this wonderful fulness of supply, the gospel displays we may be rich; and white raiment to cover us, that the riches of grace truly unsearchable; for ages have past, and shame of our nakedness may not appear; and it anoints our no want has ever been found which it could not answer; and the Christian must still exclaim at the close of the longest). This security which the gospel offers to every sinner who experience of its power, “O
the length and breadth, and height filees to it for refuge, gloriously exhibits its unsearchable and depth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ! riches of grace. It gives us an inestimable hope. It assures How unsearchable! how past finding out !".
us that if we are ready to commit ourselves to Jesus “he is III. The unsearchable grace of the gospel is exhibited in able to keep us from falling, and to present us before the the perfect security with which it bestows its mercies upon throne of his glory with exceeding joy." It bids us be carethe sinner. The cordial embracing of the invitations of the gos- ful for nothing, but live the life we now live in the flesh, by pel finally secures to every believer the everlasting possession faith in the Son of God, "who loved us and gave himself for of its inestimable blessings. The gospel offers us salvation us," to know and remember in whom we have believed, and with all its attendant benefits, as the matter of an everlasting to be assured that he is able to keep that which we have comcovenant, in all things well ordered and sure, confirmed to mitted to him unto that day, and to preserve us blameless those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. It repre- unto his heavenly kingdom. sents that covenant as confirmed by God himself with an Thus are the unsearchable riches of gospel grace displayed. oath, in order that by two immutable things (that is, the It offers with the utmost freedom to every sinner, all the certain faithfulness of divine promise and the additional so-privileges and mercies which the Lord Jesus Christ hath lemnity of a divine oath), in which it is impossible for God purchased. If he is willing freely to accept them, it bestows to lie, we may have strong consolation, who have fled for upon him fully and perfectly a covenant title to salvation, refuge, to lay hold of the hope set before us. It represents and all things which accompany salvation; it communicates the Lord Jesus Christ as the mediator of that covenant, and every holy habit and grace, and enables him to walk worthy of all its blessings as treasured up in him for our everlasting the Lord unto all pleasing; makes him humble, and watchbenefit. It states these blessings to be treasured up in him, ful, and persevering; and to show its ability to save unto the that they may be made finally secure ; because if they were uttermost, it secures to him finally and unalterably, the blessentrusted to the mutability and perverseness of our wills, ings which it has freely promised, and for the enjoyment of they would be inevitably lost.
which it has fully prepared him. The statements of the scripture upon this treasuring up of These unsearchable riches of grace I desire with my whole a believer's hopes in Christ, and their infallible security, as heart and strength to press upon your acceptance. I would laid up in him, are remarkably strong and expressive. The have you experience in your souls the worth, the unspeakLord Jesus Christ is said to live in the believer, and the be-able worth of the gospel of Jesus, and be able to comprehend liever to have died with him. “I am crucified with Christ, with all saints, that love of Christ, which passeth know nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” If ledge, that your souls may be filled with the fulness of God. this be our character, and Christ lives by his spiritual pre- These provisions of the gospel are sufficient for you all. sence and influence in our hearts, while Christ lives we shall They are perfectly sufficient for the comfort, the holiness and live also. But the apostle speaks in yet stronger language the full salvation of every soul in this assembly. in another place, addressing himself to the Colossian Chris- They are sufficient for your comfort. If there be any of tians, “ Ye are dead ;" i. e. to the world and the flesh, " and you brought by a view of their own sinfulness to the very your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ, who is our borders of despair, what can they need more than to hear that life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in God himself has undertaken their cause, has assumed their glory." Here Christ is not only called our life, but our life nature, and expiated their guilt by his own sufferings unto is said to be “hid with Christ in God;" and because it is death? What could they wish to add to this? What can, so, we may hope that when he shall appear, we shall also by any possibility, be added to it? If this be not sufficient, appear with him in glory.
what can be ? Your sins, though they were more and more Let us examine, for a moment, the real meaning of these aggravated than those of any human being, are but finite words.
still; they are many, but they may be numbered. The atoneWhen God first made man, he committed the life of the ment which is offered for you, and the righteousness which whole family to Adam as their head and representative, that is wrought out for you are of value infinite. The blood of they might stand or fall in him; but, notwithstanding Adam Jesus Christ will cleanse from all sin, and all who believe in was made perfect, and had but a single restraint imposed him will be justified from all things from which they could upon him as a test of his fidelity, he fell; and by this one not be justified by the law of Moses. Let a man's sins be apostacy brought death and ruin upon his whole posterity. of ever so deep a die, they cannot be inore red than scarlet Now, in restoring, men to his favour under the gracious sys- and crimson, and these can be made as white as snow. We tem of the gospel, God says, “I will not commit your can hardly conceive of greater guilt than. David's, after all eternal interests into your own hands; if I do, so weak are the mercies which he had received; and yet he prays, and you, so encompassed with temptations, so prone to diso-prays with success, " Purge me with hyssop, and I shall bedience, what can I hope but that you will cast them all be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;" and away and perish. I will give you another covenant repre- then he acknowledges the abundant efficacy of the remedy. sentative and head, even my beloved Son, in whom I am well “ Thou hast made the bones which thou hast broken to rejoice." pleased, and commit all your interests to him. He shall be What abundant instances the history of the church has given your hope. He shall be your life. Your life shall be hid of the sufficiency of the gospel for the sinner's comfort. Be. with Christ in God; then shall I be sure that no enemy shall hold three thousand Jews on the day of Pentecost, whose prevail against you, for he is mighty to save, and none can hands were yet stained with a Saviour's blood-scarcely one pluck you out of his hands."
hour had they believed in this crucified Lord, before they This I believe to be the true meaning of the passage re-all ate their bread with gladness and singleness of heart, ferred to.
blessing and praising God.” Thus, wherever Christ is But this full and final security of a believer's hopes does preached and received, true joy springs up in the heart. not depend upon any single passage of the scriptures. 1. Though we see him not, yet believing in him, we may reconsider it the statement of the whole scriptures, and insepa-joice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." This is, and ndijonnected with the gospel as a system of unsearchable is to be, the invariable effect of a proper acceptance of the
ace. I very truly believing soul is given into the hands gospel throughout the earth. Sing, O ye heavens," says Ti the Redeemer, that he may keep it by his own power, the prophet, in looking forward to this day, " for the Lord
through faith unto salvation." In his intercession to the hath done it; shout ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth 'ather, recorded in the 17th of John, he affirms, that of those into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein, who had been given to him, he had lost none; that they had for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in kept his word, and he had bestowed eternal life upon them, Israel.” Only let the gospel descend as the dew upon any according to the divine covenant.
place, or upon any soul, and “the wilderness will be glad, St. Paul, in addressing the Philippians, was confident that and the desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose;" for the he who had begun a good work in them would carry it on Lord, by the ministrations of its unsearchable riches of grace, unto the day of the Lord Jesus. He knew that the same will comfort Sion; he will comfort all her waste places; he Lord would be the finisher who had been the author of every will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the true faith; and from this confidence he pressed upon every garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found in every believing soul the assurance that the Lord would never leave habitation, and in every soul which receives this gospel, or forsake them, so that they might boldly say, “ The Lord thanksgiving and the voice of melody. There is not a human is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me;" sorrow which it cannot console; and if you will accept its and all might trust that what God had promised he was able invitations and offers, it shall be found an abundant source of also to perform.
comfort to you all,