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Woman," who knew no sin," who, from his birth to his death, “ did all things well,” doing continually, “ not his own will, but the will of him that sent him."
6. After all, “ behold the Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world !” This was a more glorious manifestation of himself, than any he had made before. How wonderfully was he manifested to angels and men, when he was wounded for our transgressions," when he “bore all our sins in his own body on the tree :” when having, by that one oblation of himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, he cried out, “ It is finished: and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” We need but just mention those farther manifestations, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, into the glory which he had before the world began; and his pouring out the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost: both of which are beautifully described in those well known words of the Psalmist, “ He hath ascended up on high; he hath led captivity captive; he hath received gifts for men : yea, even for his enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among, or in them."
7. “ That the Lord God might dwell in them." This refers to a yet farther manifestation of the Son of God, even his inward manifestation of himself. When he spoke of this to his Apostles, but a little before his death, one of them immediately asked, “ Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world?" By ena. bling us to believe in his Name. For he is then inwardly manifested to us, when we are enabled to say with confidence, “My Lord, and my God!" Then each of us can boldly say, “ The life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." And it is by thus manifesting himself in our hearts, that he effectually destroys the works of the devil.”
III. 1. How he does this, in what manner, and by what steps he does actually destroy them, we are now to consider. And, first, as Satan began his first work in Eve, by
tainting her with unbelief, so the Son of God begins his work in man, by enabling us to believe in him. He both opens and enlightens the eyes of our understanding. Out of darkness he commands light to shine, and takes away the veil which the god of this world had spread over our hearts. · And we then see, not by a chain of reasoning, but by a kind of intuition, by a direct view, that “ God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their former trespasses,” not imputing them to us. In that day we know that we are of God," children of God by faith, “ having redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins.” “ Being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ:" that peace which enables us in every state, therewith to be content; which delivers us from all perplexing doubts, from all tormenting fears ; and in particular from that “ fear of death, whereby we were, all our life-time, subject to bondage.'
2. At the same time, the Son of God strikes at the root of that grand work of the devil, pride: causing the sinner to humble himself before the Lord, to abhor himself, as it were, in dust and ashes. He strikes at the root of selfwill, enabling the humbled sinner to say in all things, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt." He destroys the love of the world, delivering them that believe in him from
every foolish and hurtful desire;" from the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life.” He saves them from seeking, or expecting to find happiness in any creature. As Satan turned the heart of
from the Creator to the creature; so the Son of God turns his heart back again, from the creature to the Creator. : Thus it is, by manifesting himself, he destroys the works of the devil, restoring the guilty outcast from God, to his favour, to pardon and peace; the sinner in whom dwelleth no good thing, to love and holiness; the burdened, miserable sinner, to joy unspeakable, to real substantial happiness. : 3. But it may be observed, that the Son of God, does not actually destroy the whole work of the devil in man,
as long as he remains in this life. He does not yet destroy bodily weakness, sickness, pain, and a thousand infirmities incident to flesh and blood. He does not destroy all that weakness of understanding which is the natural consequence of the soul's dwelling in a corruptible body; so that still,
Humanum est errare et nescire :
Both ignorance and error belong to humanity. He entrusts us with only an exceeding small share of knowledge in
our present state, lest our knowledge should interfere with our humility, and we should again affect to be as gods. It is to remove from us all temptation to pride, and all thought of independency, (which is the very thing that men, in general, so earnestly covet, under the name of liberty,) that he leaves us encompassed with all these infirmities, particularly, weakness of understanding, till the sentence takes place, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return!”
4. Then error, pain, and all bodily infirmities cease: all these are destroyed by death. And death itself, “ the last enemy” of man, shall be destroyed at the resurrection. The moment that we hear the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God, Then shall be fulfilled the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. This corruptible [body] shall put on incorruption ; this mortal [body] shall put on immortality:" and the Son of God manifested in the clouds of heaven, shall destroy this last work of the deyil.
5. Here, then, we see in the clearest, -strongest light, what is real religion: a restoration of man, by him that bruises the serpent's head, to all that the old serpent deprived him of: a restoration, not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God: implying, not barely deliverance from sin, but the being filled with the fulness of God. It is plain, if we attend to the preceding considerations, that nothing short of this is christian religion. Every thing else, whether negative or external, is utterly wide of the mark. But what a paradox is this! How
little is it understood in the christian world! yea, in this enlightened age, wherein, it is taken for granted, the world is wiser than ever it was from the beginning. Among all our discoveries, who has discovered this ? How few, either among the learned or unlearned! And yet, if we believe the Bible, who can deny it? Who can doubt of it? It runs through the Bible from the beginning to the end, in one connected chain. And the agreement of every part of it, with every other, is, properly; the Analogy of Faith. Be ware of taking any thing else, or any thing less than this for religion. Not any thing else; do not imagine an outward form, a round of duties, both in public and private, is religion. Do not suppose, that honesty, justice, and whatever is called morality; (though excellent in its place,) is religion. And least of all dream that orthodoxy, right opinion, vulgarly called faith,) is religion. Of all religious dreams, this is the most vain, which takes hay and stubble for gold tried in the fire !
6. O do not take any thing less than this; for the religion of Jesus Christ! Do not take a part of it for the whole. What God hath joined together, put not asunder. Take no less for his religion, than the "faith that worketh by love," all inward and outward holiness. Be not content with any religion which does not imply the destruction of all the works of the devil, that is, of all sin. We know weakness of understanding, and a thousand infirmities will remain, while this corruptible body remains. But sin need not remain : this is that work of the devil, eminently só called, which the Son of God was manifested to destroy in this present life. He is able, he is willing to destroy it now, in all that believe in him. Only be not straitened in your own bowels! Do not distrust his power or his love! Put his promise to the proof! He hath spoken : and is he not ready, likewise, to perform ? Only “ come boldly to the throne of grace," trusting in his mércy : and you shall find; “He såveth to the uttermost all those that come to God through him!”
THE GENERAL SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL
ISAIAH xi. 9,
The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as
the waters cover the sea."
1. IN what a condition is the world at present! How does darkness, intellectual darkness, ignorance, with vice and misery attendant upon it, cover the face of the earth! From the accurate enquiry made with indefatigable pains by our ingenious countryman, Mr. Brerewood, (who travelled himself over a great part of the known world, in order to form the more exact judgment,) supposing the world to be divided into thirty parts, nineteen of them are professed heathens, altogether as ignorant of Christ, as if he had never come into the world. Six of the remaining parts are professed Mahometans : so that only five in thirty are so much as nominally Christians !
2. And, let it be remembered, that since this computation was made, many new națions have been discovered : numherless islands, particularly in the South Sea, large and well-inhabited. But hy whom? By heathens of the basest sort, many of them inferior to the beasts of the field. Whether they eat men or no, (which indeed I cannot find any