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must mingle. Then was "the hour and the power "of darkness." The clouds of human guilt, which hung over his head, hid from him his Father's throne, that his prayers should not pass through. Then was God "far from helping him, and from "the words of his roaring." "My God," he cried, "my God; why hast thou forsaken me !"* Marvellous truly was that love to man, which could move the Father, for a moment, to forsake his Son, that, with everlasting mercies, strangers might be gathered! Well might he have said, as to Israel of old, "How shall I give thee up," my Son? "How shall "I deliver thee," my well-beloved?" Mine heart "is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together."+"But God is not a man that he should "lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent." He had promised; and he would fulfil. His love had prompted our rescue. His wisdom, from ancient days, had formed the plan. And his faithfulness, which faileth not, was pledged for its execution. "The mountains shall depart, and the "hills be removed; but my kindness shall not de

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part from thee; neither shall the covenant of my

peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy "on thee." And he sent mercy to earth, with all the blessings of the covenant, though her path must first be stained with the blood of his dear Son. Hear, O heavens! and give ear O earth! Let every thing that hath being, attend, with astonishment, to these amazing deeds of love; and render " thanks "to God for his unspeakable gift." "Herein is "love; not that we loved God, but that he loved

* Psalm xxii. I.

+ Hos. xi. 8.

Numb. xxiii. 19. § Isaiah liv. ro.

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,"* and gave his only begotten Son for usgave him, though unspeakably exalted, to inhabit a body of pain and death; though naturally and practically innocent, to be the mock and sport of sinners; though eternally and infinitely dear to him, to feel, for a season, the agonies of dereliction! "Bless the Lord, O our souls! and all that is within "us, bless his holy name "+

3. The gift of Christ is unspeakably valuable; because through it every other blessing is derived.

God did not humble his Son to the likeness of sinful flesh, expose him to a life of misery, give him up to a death of shame, and raise him again from the tomb, merely to please our curiosity, or excite our sympathy; or even only to exhibit an example of patience and perfection, for our imitation. Christ is the foundation of every gift, which God can bestow on man, consistently with the honour of all the attributes of his nature. Hence when Paul, in a passage of the preceding epistle, which was not long ago illustrated in your hearing, declares, "All things are yours," he assigns this as the cause, " ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Christ, as he himself assures us, is the way, the only way of access to the Father. "I am the way, and the "truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Fa


ther, but by me :"§ and through him alone can the favour of God descend on men; for "there is "no salvation in any other."It is through him that life itself is prolonged, as the season of repentance, and of preparation for futurity: for the sen

* 1 John iv. 10. + Psalm ciii. 1.

1 Cor. iii. 21-23. See the foregoing discourse. § John xiv. 6. Acts iv. 12. M M

tence originally denounced against the eater of the forbidden fruit was, "In the day that thou eatest

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thereof, thou shalt surely die."* It is through him that the providence of Jehovah has become a parental dispensation, instead of a system of avenging judgment. It is in him that God is well pleased, and reconciles the world unto himself.-By him conscience is disburdened of its load of guilt.— Through him we are adopted into the family of God, and are made partakers of the spirit of adoption. Through him we now rejoice in the hope, and, in the end, obtain possession of eternal glory. In short, all the present privileges of believers, and all their hopes respecting things to come, are derived from Christ. All the improvement, therefore, of which these privileges are the means; all the consolations, which these hopes afford, are given with, and enhance the value of "the unspeakable


gift." Hence the apostle's exulting demand, "He "that spared not his own Son, but delivered him 66 up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things!"†


II. The second circumstance, in which it was remarked, that the value of a gift, and the obligation of the receivers principally appears, is, the relative character and situation of the parties.

In illustrating this, let us attend

1. To the independence of the giver.

That being is independent, who has all the means of his support and happiness within himself; and who cannot, therefore, be influenced by any thing from without. To him promises and threatenings, favour and disfavour are, in themselves, alike indif† Rom. viii. 32.

* Gen, iii. 17.


ferent. All his actions flow from motives suggested by his own mind; from his own perception of what is wise, and just, and good. Independence, indeed, in this strict and absolute sense, is not competent to any creature. It is the attribute of only one being in the universe, the Almighty Creator and Eternal God. He is independent alike in his existence, and in his happiness: he is consequently independent in the exercise of all his perfections. If we speak of his existence, "I am" is his name.* is from everlasting to everlasting; the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. His being, as to duration, is not measured by time; as to bounds, is not limited by space; and as to stability, is not affected by the vicissitudes of created things. His happiness is equally immeasurable in its duration, unlimited in its extent, and unchangeable in its nature. In the perfection of wisdom, power, and goodness, the perfection of happiness is implied. Perfect wisdom knows all its means; perfect power can command them; and perfect goodness is itself an inexhaustible source of complacency and satisfaction. It is the derangement of our bodily organs that occasions unhealthiness and pain. It is the limitation and depravity of our mental faculties that beget doubt, fear, remorse, and all the other passions which poison our felicity. But God is all-perfect, and therefore all blest. His perfections are always the same; and therefore his happiness continues ever full, of increase or diminution. ask, could move him to form men on the earth

without the possibility What then, you may

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to bestow on them the gift of life, the gift of sup

• Exod. iii. 14.


port, the gift of a Saviour? Was it not by these to found a claim to gratitude, obedience, and praise; and thereby to increase his own felicity? No: our "goodness extendeth not to him."* "Can a man "be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be "profitable to himself? Is it any pleasure to the "Almighty that thou art righteous? or is it gain to “him that thou makest thy ways perfect?" The most exalted conceptions of saints or angels cannot equal the extent of his perfections. Their praises, therefore, cannot brighten his perception, or increase his estimation of them; or add to the happiness, which his eternal contemplation of them must afford. He became not more glorious, or more happy, "when the morning stars" first “ sang together, "and all the sons of God shouted for joy." In the formation of these his attributes were exercised and manifested; but they were not rendered more excellent in themselves, or more capable of affording him an infinite and everlasting bliss. And if not from the desire of our praise, can we suppose the Almighty to bestow his gifts from the fear of our enmity, our reproaches, and execrations? No: of these he is equally independent. "Will he re

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"Thy wickedness But "if thou sin

nest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?""The kings of the earth may set them"selves, and the rulers take counsel together against "the Lord." "He that sitteth in the heavens shall "laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.'

*Psalm xvi. 2.
+ Job xxii. 2, 3.

Job xxii. 4.
Ibid. xxxv. 8, 6.

Psalm ii. 2, 4.

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