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Infinite goodness does not seem to be so much the description of one attribute as a combination of them all put together, illustrating each other, collecting all into one grand point, all uniting to form one grand focus, and defusing their benign influence upon the needy children of men. Here is a mine that will never be exhausted to all eternity. Well may the psalmist sing, How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought out for them that trust in thee before the sons of men. (a) From this never failing spring proceeds, all our peace, and shews the deity to be the parent of all good, and whose goodness is from everlasting to everlasting. Holy and reverend is his name.
This does the incarnation of the Son of God reconcile and humanise all the divine perfections in the deity, whereby he can be just, and holy in the salvation of repenting sinners, so that he may stand God confessed by all in heaven, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, and adored by the church of the first born to all eternity.
(a) Ps. xxxi. 19.
Luke ii. 14.
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND
ON EARTH PEACE, AND GOOD WILL
A s the advent of Christ gives Glory to God in the highest, so on earth it proclaims peace and good will to men.
1. Peace. This implies the pardon of șin, seeing there can be no true peace to the guilty. For peace implies a deliverance from all tormenting fear, seeing where that kind of fear is there cannot be peace within. But when pardon is obtained, the well known language of the soul is, O Lord, I will praise thee, for thou wast angry with me, and hadst good reason so to be, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. (a)
THEREFORE, bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name; who forgiveth all thy sins, and healeth all thy diseases. We have redemption in his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of his grace. This peace is proclaimed in the everlasting gospel, and the ministers of Jesus can say to poor perishing sinners, We bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. Therefore, be it known unto you, men and brethren that, through this man is preached to you forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things which they could not by the works of the law. It is inconsequence of this amazing circumstance that Jehovah can, and will say to the penitent sinner, I have blotted out thy transgressions as a cloud, and thine iniquities as a thick cloud; return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (a)
2. This peace goes farther than simple pardon; it implies reconciliation. A rebel may be pardoned; so that his life may be given him, and yet he may not be in a state of favour and reconciliation with his prince who has spared his life; nay, there may be still enmity in his heart against such a prince, and also against his service. Not so in the present case. The pardoned soul is truly reconciled to his once offended
prince, and in his he; nay, the his prince
(a) Isa. xliv. 22,
Lord; and can say, Behold, God is my salvation,. I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he is also become my salvation. Surprising change! the terror is gone, the soul can come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy, and find grace to help.in time of need. Moreover, the Lord enters into a covenant relation, to be their God, and they become his people. They are his people who were not his people, and his beloved who were not his beloved. Jehovah says, thou shalt no more be termed . Forsaken; neither shall thy land be termed Desolate ; but thou shalt be called Hiphzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shalt be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin shall thy sons marry thee : and as a bridegroom rejoiceth over a bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. (a) Charming language! spoken by that God against whom we have sinned. The Lord is so far from being a terror, that he is their hiding place, their strength and shield, a present help in time of need. · Furthermore the enmity is taken away from the believer, so that having much forgiven he loves much. He can say, I will love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication. Whom have I
(a) Isa. Ixii. 4, 5.
in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth I desire in comparison of thee! Whom having not seen we love, in whom though not seeing, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
3. THIS peace goes farther still, namely, a full justification. The criminal, here may be pardoned; yea, taken into favour, and yet he may be justly deemed guilty of the crimes laid to his charge; but in this case the pardoned soul is fully cleared, so that neither law nor justice can lay anything to their charge, "seeing it is God that justifies. For them Christ has died; yea, and is risen again for their justification, and who ever liveth to make intercession for them. Sach a case is similar to that of an insolvent debtor, who has an able and a willing bondsman; and who freely satisfies the creditor, so that he can have po more claim upon the debtor, who is amply acquitted, and is therefore at liberty. Herein he can sing,
"Jesus, thy blood and righteousness,
Yes, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in his blood, whom God hath set forth as a propitiation in his blood, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.