Page images

say, "We will remember thy love more than wine: We will think of thy loving kindness in the midst of thy temple?" In the amazing act now emblematically set before you, the death of Christ, you have the most abundant evidence of the inconceivable love of your Saviour: Receive the sacred pledge of his kindness with reverence and with love.


Communicants! "Ye have thought of the loving kindness of God your Saviour in the midst of his tem ple." I hope your meditation of him has been sweet, and that you are now disposed to say, "We love him, who first loved us."

"O love the Lord, all ye his saints!" It had been your duty to have loved him though he had never loved you. He is the most amiable and worthy of ben ings, and therefore the proper object of the supreme esteem and love of all intelligent creatures. But your obligations to love him are certainly greatly increased, by what he has done, and suffered, and procured for you. For you he left the honours and felicities of his pre-existent state; for you he took on him the nature of a man, the form of a servant, and the likeness of a sinner; for you he toiled and suffered; for you he bled and died: for you he obtained the favour of his Father, and the graces of his Spirit-the hope of im mortality, and the joys of paradise. Let a deep sense of his transcendent excellence, and his inconceivable kindness, ever dwell upon your heart, and excite a warm and active reciprocal affection.

Cautiously guard against every thing that has a tendency to abate the fervour of your love. If you are


true lovers of the Saviour, you can never cease to love him. The Holy Spirit, who is the author of the love of Christ, as of every other holy principle in the heart of man, dwells in you, and will continue with you for ever. But, by involving yourselves too deeply in the cares or pleasures of the world, you are in danger of grieving the Spirit of love, and of provoking him to withdraw his enlivening influence. Live above the world, if you would wish to enjoy the manifestations of Jesus' love to you, and experience the pleasures which flow from your love to Jesus. Oh! it ill becomes you, Christians, to give yourselves up to a languid indifference with respect to the Saviour. Yet thus it too often is. The heart is cold under the melting beams of the Sun of righteousness; and the affections are dull and stupid, when they should be waked to rapture at the remembrance of his love. Surely, my brethren, these things ought not so to be. Is this your kindness to your friend? It was not thus that Jesus loved you, His affection was unabated and unvarying. The floods of divine wrath could not quench it; the thunders of angry Omnipotence could not terrify it; and all the glories of the celestial state cannot induce him, for a moment, to neglect the prosecution of the work of love. Sure I am, Christian, whatever may be the cause of your declining affection, it is not to be found in the object of your love. He has not become less amiable or excellent. He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. His heart is still as tender his hand is still as liberal, as when you first. experienced his love. He is never weary of doing you good. O never be weary of the reasonable and delightful service of rendering love for love. Instead of your love waxing cold, let the fervour of your af fection increase in proportion to your increasing knowledge of his excellence, and experience of his kindness.

he is ever near.

Manifest your love to the Saviour, by abounding in exercises of kindness to him. Often think of him. Contemplate the dignity of his person, and the beauties and glories of his mediatorial character. Let thoughts of Jesus sanctify and sweeten all your meditations. Often speak to him. Though he is unseen, Tell him all your wants, and fears, and sorrows. In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to him. Often speak of him. Speak of him to your fellow-saints, that you may inflame their affections. Speak of him to sinners, who know him not, that you may lead them into a saving acquaintance with his love. Imitate his example-love his ordinances-esteem and do good to his people-support his interest --and, in one word, obey his law. Retiring from his table, carry this solemn injunction on your consciences and hearts: "If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." Go in peace.



CHRISTIANS! the sufferings to which your believing and affectionate contemplation should now be directed, as the expiation of your guilt, the price of your redemption, and the foundation of your hope, were be yond conception intense and agonizing. The depth of the debasement to which your Lord submitted, the severity of the anguish which he endured, cannot be conceived by the imagination, nor told in the language of mortals. A consideration of the cause, however, for which he suffered, may enable us to form some idea of their prodigious extent; or, at any rate, may serve to impress us with this truth, that our most dreadful conceptions of them come far short of the dreadful reality.

Christ Jesus, "the Just One, suffered in the room of the unjust." "He who knew no sin, was made a sin-offering in our stead." He suffered for sin, and in the room of sinners. He died, in order to expiate the guilt and avert the perdition of an elect world. Sin is an evil of inconceivable magnitude: It is the violation of obligations endlessly varied, and infinitely powerful. Our obligations to love and serve

[ocr errors]

God, as they arise from, so they must correspond to, the excellencies of his nature, the relations we bear to him, and the favours which we receive from him. The perfections of his nature are, in the strictest sense of the word, infinite. Our relations to him, as our creator, our preserver, our governor, our judge, are numerous and intimate; and the blessings we receive from him are in number infinite, and in value incalculable. Sin, then, must involve, in its very essence, the violation of obligations inconceivably strong: It is rebellion against the highest authority, and ingratitude for the greatest goodness: It is disobedience to the best of parents, and treason against the greatest of rulers: It is to pour contempt on infinite condescension and kindness, and to set at defiance infinite power and indignation. What, then, is the just desert of sin? What is the merited doom of the sinner? The answer of reason and of God is,-Death, and destruction-the second death-everlasting destruction. Every sin deserves this, for God has said so; and if every sin, surely much more every sinner : for what man has not been guilty of thousands, of tens of thousands of criminal actions?

Jesus suffered, not for one offence, but for innumerable offences-not for one sinner, but for a multitude of sinners, whom no man can number: "The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. Exaction was made, and he became answerable *." The chastisement of the peace of an elect world was upon him. He bare all that was necessary, in the ordination of a righteous God, to render it consistent with the principles of his moral government to pardon and save innumerable millions of sinners. He sustained the weight of Omnipotent displeasure; that eternal opposition to moral evil, which has produced such tremendous consequen* Isa. liii. 6, 7. Lowth.

« PreviousContinue »