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of his blood, diffusing peace and reconciliation; the swelling emotions of sensual desire, the
angry tempests of guilty passion, must be quelled by the energy of his spirit, restoring the soul to rectitude and virtue. Our souls, in fine, are to be redeemed from error, from guilt, and sin, by the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Going forth conquering and to conquer, his office it is to “ cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” In effecting these glorious purposes, he must be manifested to our souls both in the rich fulness of his mercy and the almighty energies of his grace.
If, from the consideration that the salvation of Christ is a spiritual salvation, and that his office is to enlighten, pardon, and redeem us, it necessarily results that there must be a spiritual manifestation of him to the soul, this truth will be rendered still more apparent, by considering the nature of those affections and duties which we are to discharge towards the Redeemer. The claims of this divine and glorious personage to our profound adoration, to our fervent love, to our lively gratitude, to our unbounded confidence, to our sincere and zealous obedience, will not be contested. How then can: we exercise towards him these exalted affections till our understandings discern his excellence and glory, till our souls are forcibly impressed with the exalted and endearing relations which he sustains towards us? Will we bow before him in profound adoration, until we discern and acknowledge the divine glories of his nature, as the only-begotten of the Father, the King of kings and Lord of lords ? Will the lively fervours of gratitude and
love be excited but by the manifestation to our souls of the divine and endearing virtues which shed around the Redeemer the mild lustre of celestial glory, and present him to us as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely, the Lamb of God, who was wounded for our sins and bruised for our iniquities? Will we cast upon
him the heavy load of our sins, and repose on him the burden of our sorrows, until we discern the allsufficiency of his mercy, the fulness of his graceuntil he is manifested to our souls as a Saviour possessed of resistless power, and animated with infinite desire to succour and restore us? Will we yield him the tribute of zealous and holy obedience, while we are insensible to the excellence and glory of his person, to the rich displays of his mercy and love towards us! ? Ah! superficial and feeble will be that homage, that love, that confidence, that obedience, which are not founded on a just appreciation of the excellence and glory of the Saviour, on a clear view of the important and endearing offices which he sustains towards us, on a lively impression of the riches of that mercy and grace which he freely and fully dispenses. Until we discern the excellence and worth of the object, in vain shall we seek to rouse affection; until the eyes of our understandings are enlightened to discern the Saviour, indistinct and uncertain will be our conceptions of him; until we know him in whom we are to believe, feeble and comfortless will be our faith ; until God shines into our hearts to give us the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, the vail of blindness will cover them. An unknown Saviour cannot exert his power, cannot dispense his blessings, cannot awaken affection VOL. III.
inspire confidence and hope, or command obedience. Blessed Jesus! it is only when manifested to our souls in the riches of thy mercies, in the exhaustless treasures of thy grace, in the glorious effulgence of thy divine nature, that thou dost appear infinitely worthy our ardent love, our unbounded confidence, our eternal obedience and
2. The Saviour then must be manifested to our souls. Under what characters must this manifestation take place ? This is the second object of inquiry
Christ manifests himself to the soul, as a Saviour atoning for sin by the merits of his blood, redeeming from sin by the efficacy of his grace, restoring the soul by his almighty power to the favour of God, to immortal blessedness and glory. As a Saviour pardoning sin, as a Saviour subduing sin, as a Saviour conferring everlasting redemption, does the true believer discern the Saviour, and exercise upon bim the triumphs of holy faith.
When the Spirit of God, lighting up the accusations of conscience, presses upon the trembling soul of the sinner the conviction of his guilt; when, enlightened to discern the inflexible claims of God's justice, the unspotted rigour of divine holiness, he trembles under the sentence of condemnation which his sins have merited, which divine justice and holiness exact; when, turning his view on his own character and condition, he finds himself condemned at the bar of eternal justice, possessed of no plea to avert' the vengeance that impends over him, no power to render that unspotted obedience which divine holiness exacts;
when the soul of the sinner is thus abased and humbled, Christ manifests himself as a Saviour expiating sins by the merit of his blood. I have trodden the wine-press of divine wrath; I have nailed to my cross the sentence of condemnation; my blood has fowed a ransom for the guilty; sprinkled on the mercy-seat, it propitiates divine justice. “Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."* Soothing and enlivening these heavenly accents of his compassionate Redeemer descend into the soul of the penitent sinner. He beholds the arms of mercy extended towards him-he beholds the bosom of the Saviour open to receive him to rest and peace infinite mercy and infinite power shedding around the Son of God their glorious effulgence--every doubt is dispelled-hushed every apprehensionvigorous and triumphant confidence animates his spirit. Wretched and guilty, he flees to the Friend of the wretched, to the Saviour of sinners. His weary and heavy laden soul sinks to soothing rest in the bosom of his Lord. Sheltered there, the tempest of divine justice passes by unheard ; the light of the reconciled countenance of his God alone shines upon him; his Saviour intercedes for him as the purchase of his blood; to his Saviour he clings as his Lord and his God, his tender and unfailing friend and protector. O my Saviour ! feeble is language to display the power of thy manifestation to the soul of the penitent; feeble is language to convey the joy and transport which exhilarate the bosom where thy mercy dispenses its healing balm.
* Matthew xi. 28.
Nor confined is this manifestation of Christ to the single office of a Saviour expiating by his blood the guilt of sin. Ineffectual even would be the consolation conveyed to the soul of the penitent by the dispensation of forgiveness, if sin, left to uncontrolled dominion, were still permitted to blast his peace, to load his conscience with new transgressions, to arm with redoubled vengeance the shafts of divine justice. The awakened penitent is deeply impressed with the enormity, the baseness, and guilt of sin. Whether he regards it as destructive to the purity and peace of his soul, as awakening against him the wrath of heaven, or as tinged with the heavy guilt of ingratitude and rebellion against his Maker and God, his liveliest indignation is aroused against it, his most zealous and strenuous resolutions engaged in a contest with it. But alas! when he considers how pure, how strict, how undeviating the obedience which a holy and just God exacts, when he considers what exalted fervours of love and acts of duty are due to that God who has blotted out his iniquities, to that Saviour who bought him with his own most precious blood; and when he considers what errors and prejudices cloud bis understanding, what sensual appetites and passions control and enslave his will, and corrupt and debase his virtuous affections, what a host of temptations assail him, either assuming an alluring garb, imperceptibly to obtain the victory over him, or by sudden and violent force overpowering his holy resolutions; when he thus considers his impotence and depravity, the law of his members warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity, he sinks under the conviction of his weakness and unworthiness; his agonized soul bursts