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gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John iï. 16. “ And we love him because he first loved us.” “The love of Christ constrained us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again,” 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. And,
by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” John xiii. 35. He that says he loves God, and hateth his brother, is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” 1 John iv. 20. And, when both shall have produced their full effect, “perfect love shall cast out fear,” the voice of God shall be unaccompanied with thunder and lightning, cloud and tempest. The storm is in the mind of the guilty creature. The wrath of fire is not in God, but in fallen man; in “ the carnal mind, which is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of od, neither indeed can be,” Rom. viii. 7. When that is extinguished, all is at peace. The aim and labour of the gospel is not to reconcilę God to man; but to reconcile men to God: for “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 16.
Fourthly, Both the legal and evangelical dispensations equally discover to us out distance from God. The one, by enumerating and declaring our offences; the other, by enumerating and declaring the tender mercies of our God. The law treats us as alienated friends, whom it is needful to convince, to reprove and humble. The gospel considers us as friends restored, no “ longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God:" "once darkness, but now light in the Lord: once, afar off, but made nigh by the blood of Christ.”. The law shows us how far we have deviated from the path of duty
“ like sheep go
and happiness; the gospel conducts us back through our wanderings, unravels the intricacies and errors of our dark steps, and replaces us in our father's house. Moses informs us that we are wrong, ing astray;” Jesus is “ the way, the truth, and the life.” and takes us under the care of “ the shepherd and bishop of souls.” Moses points out the dreadful depth into which we have fallen, the dreadful distance from heaven to hell; Christ reveals the glorious height to which we are raised, the glorious distance from hell to heaven. Moses tells me what I ought to be and to do; Christ makes me such as he would have me to be. “ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus," Eph. ii. 1, &c.
But the law was delivered to the world in a very different manner from the publication of the gospel; in fire that burned, in tempest that roared, in a cloud that darkened, in words that threatened. It awed men into distance; it inspired terror. But the gospel comes in light that consumes not, in glory that dazzles not, in language that threatens not. The law says, 6. Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall surely be put to death. There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it
shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.” 5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish,” Exod. xix. 12, &c. The gospel says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matt. xi. 28. " He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. 37. But to the impenitent and unbelieving, the gospels speaks the same terror which the law did from Sinai; nay, it wears a still more frowning aspect:
Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile,” Rom. ii. 8, 9. “ How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him," Heb. ii. 3. “ He that despised Moses's law died without mercy, under two or three witnessess: of how mush sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace?” x. 28, 29. And on the other hand, to them that believe, the law speaks in the mildest, gentlest language of the gospel; for “ there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Rom. viii. 1. “ And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and
gra. cious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” Exodus xxxiv. 6, 7. “ And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments,” XX. 6. I know not whether the whole bible contains an expression of goodness more singular and striking than those words
which issued from the mountain that burned with fire. Our fears are alarmed at the mention of the great and dreadful name-" The Lord God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children.” But justice has its limits. It may be stretched out to the third or fourth generation of offenders. Yet the “Lord will not strive continually, neither will he keep his anger for ever.” But grace knows no bounds. When mercy is to be extended, it looks forward and forward, from a third and a fourth, to thousands of
generations of them that love God. In what promise of the New Testament is the love of God preached more sweetly than in this precept of the Old?
Both dispensations then have their mildness, and both their terror. Their mildness from the grace of the Creator; their terror from the guilt of the creature. And if the proclamation of the law were thus dreadful; if the alarm of judgment to come shake the foundation of the everlasting hills; if Sinai tremble, and the rocks melt before the Lord, coming as a Protector and a Friend, what must the sessions be, the great day of doom, the awful hour of execution, when the judge shall come “ in faming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Thess. i. 8. " When the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved; and the element shall melt with fervent heat,” 2 Pet. jäi. 12. “ Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver,” Psal. 1. 22.
“ Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. But now hath he obtained a more
excellent ministry: by how much also he is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their minds, and write them in their hearts; I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. For I will be mercifut to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away,” Heb. viii. 1, &c. And all “this is of God, who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the let. ter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glori, ous? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that, excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious," 2 Cor. iii. 6, &c.
We are assembled this night, my brethren, the subjects of the law; the students of the gospel; the expectants of Christ's second appearance. “See then that ye resist not him that speaketh from heaven." Ye are happily set free from the law of ceremonies; happily subjected to the law of morality; and “ not without law unto Christ.” “ Stand fast therefore in that liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free." Enjoy and improve what you have; affect not more than a wise Providence permits. Look forward to that day when you shall join an imumerable company