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the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” And you will be pleased to observe,
I. It is God's own purpose. The contrivance, the discovery, the progress, the accomplishment, all, all is from heaven. In what relates to this world, in what contributes to the sustentation and comfort of a tranfient life; human sagacity, ingenuity and industry may challenge a little praise. Men foon invented and improved the necessary, useful, and ornamental arts. They soon learned to build cities, to work in brass and iron, to “ handle the harp and organ.” But their dexterity, address, perseverance and success in the pursuit of perishable interests,' form an humiliating contrast with their aukwardness, indolence, inattention and incapacity in their higher, their spiritual and ev. erlasting concerns. Wise in trifles, or to do evil, how to do good they find not. The experiment was permitted to be fully made. It was proved how far the powers of nature could go. Egypt, Affyria, Greece, Rome, improved one upon another ; and what was the results. The world by wisdom knew not God.” They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."*
To increase our wonder and mortification, when God's purpose of mercy was declared, when his method of salvation was revealed, men were “flow of heart to believe.” They “ resisted the Holy Spirit ;” Chrift “ came to his own and his own received him not.” The disciples themselves understood not, believed not “ what the prophets had spoken.” No wonder then that the doctrine of the cross was “ to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” Here then is a purpose, which not only is not of man's forming, but which man uniformly and violently opposed.
In other cases, we behold the wisdom of God blending itself with human counsels, directing, subduing them to its determination, and the great God gra. ciously condescending to divide his glory with the creature. But if there be a design more peculiarly his, from which he claims undivided praise, which was not, which could not be of man, nor “according to our works,” it is this, the gracious design of “ sav. ing them that believe," by Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
II. This leads us forward to observe, that, as the work of redemption is JEHOVAH's own peculiar pur, pose, so it is a purpose of grace. The thoughts of the Father of spirits” are unfolded, and they are thoughts of peace.” Transporting view! Behold the greatest and most glorious of all beings employing himself in devising the means of doing good, of communicating happiness, of relieving the miserable ; and forming a scheme of benevolence which extends from eternity to eternity, and comprehends innumerable myriads of rational beings restored, recovered from ignorance, from guilt, from misery, to wisdom, to holiness, to *perfect and exalted felicity. Blessed purpose ! The formation of man, the creation of an universe are only parts of it. Man was formed that he might be re. deemed ; was sent into this world to be prepared for “ heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The firmament was expanded, adorned, lighted up, to witness the display of “ the exceeding riches of the grace of God, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jefus ;" and every successive opening of the plan of Providence is only a new discovery, a more endearing expression of the love of Christ " which passeth knowledge,” of " the peace of God which pafleth all understanding." Think, ( guilty man, think, O my soul, what a purpose of justice, think what a purpose of wrath would have been, had “ God sent his Son into the world to condemn the world !”—The spirit fails at the dreadful thought. Behold an insulted God descending to con
found the pride and presumption of the builders of
Ill. This purpose of God, this purpose of grace was
Christianity as old as the creation! It boasts a much more ancient date. The creation is of yesterday, the world is not yet fix thousand years old; but christianity is of the effence of God himself. It bears date
cs of * John iii. 16. .
66 of old, even from everlasting.” “ This pure river of water of life” proceeds out of the throne of God, who dwells in inaccessible light. Imagination wearies. itself, thought is loft, in tracing it up to its fource, Bless the Lord, O my soul, who from eternity, in the greatness of his might, in the plenitude of his goodness, in the incomprehensibility of his wisdom, condescended to fix the bounds of thy habitation, to arrange the events of thy mortal existence, to prepare thy place in the heavenly mansions; who a before the world began" surveyed with complacency and delight his own benevolent design, his own glorious work, the universe which he was about to speak into being, the bit of clay he was to fashion into a man, the im, mortal spirit which his breath was to inspire, the. needy perishing wretch whom his mercy was to redeem. But
IV. The blessed Author of this gracious, everlasting purpose, has revealed and bestowed it in his own way, He “ hath saved us," " not according to our works,” nor in the way of our own wisdom--it is given us in Christ Jesus. From the formation of the merciful plan of salvation to its consummation in glory, the necessity of a Mediator is never for a single moment left out of view. His name, like a sweet perfume, is wafted on the wings of every wind. Survey the world of nature through all its vast extent, and in its minut. est particle, and we behold the omnific “ Word by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made that is made.” He also “upholdeth all by the word of his power;" “ all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth.” Open the history of redemption at whatever page, and it still unfolds the mercy of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Con. ducted of the Spirit back to the eternal days of uncre- . ated light, admitted to the deliberations of the couns cils of peace, we hear the Son of God proclaim, 76 I am Alpha," “ the beginning." Carried forward in joyful hope to the day when he hall “ make all things
new," the same voice still proclaims, “I am Omega,"
in the First-begotten into the world, he faith, And let
fundamental law of God's everlasting kingdom before
be access to, hope in, and acceptance with God, for
love, * John v. 11, 12,
of Go God's ever be burn