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And who is He that suffers for us? or what induces him to die for our offences ? The Gospel unfolds the dignity of his person, who “ thought it no robbery to be equal with God;" and tells the marvels of his pity and his love to man, whom he came to seek and to save when lost. And when it was necessary for our salvation to lay 'aside his eternal glory,--to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh,--to be humbled, afflicted, and slain ; with an unsearchable richness of grace, he undertook and fulfilled the great work. “ Being made under the law, he fulfilled all righteousness;" devoting himself to death, it was a sacrifice sufficient to expiate the direst curse of sin. Moreover, the Gospel exhibits his righteousness to the disobedient, and declares his death an adequate atonement for their guilt; bids them believe its report, and tells them they “shall be justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.". The law is magnified by the obedience of Jesus. God hath glorified his justice, and expressed an infinite abhorrence of sin, by making Christ a sacrifice for it ; testifying to the universe, that the death of his Son could alone expiate sin; and showing to all his creatures, in other worlds, that if they shall transgress, there re.
maineth no more possible sacrifice for sin, and that his Son can die for sinners no more.
For man, however, the Gospel tells us, the sacrifice is made, the law is magnified, and God is reconciled ; and thereupon it proclaims pardon, peace, and good will to man, with unlimited freedom; inviting all the world to accept terms of freest grace;
to believe that Christ was dead for their sins; and in this belief, to return to God, penitent and yet confiding; giving up their hearts to the influence of his love, and persuaded that Christ is to them the Father's gift for salvation; and that they may now, even now, and after all their sins, receive, possess, and enjoy in Christ all the requisites, the comforts, the character, the grace of a saved state! The Gospel proclaims aloud, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters !" Yes, there is a glorious sufficiency for all! And if any man perish to whom the Gospel comes, it is through no restriction in the call, and through no unwillingness in God to show mercy, or in Christ to save to the uttermost; for we are bid publish to all the world a Gospel of salvation, and to say, "whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Nor does it hold forth pardon only to the
believing sinner, but adapting its grace to all his exigencies of loss and deficiency, both of holiness and enjoyment, it opens up a fulness of regenerating power, in the promise of the spirit, to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus; to save us from our sins, and fill us with joy and peace in believing—“ a joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” And he who is neither blessed nor sanctified through the Gospel, nor seeking to be so, is ignorant of its nature.
From the brief delineation of it which we have given, is not its saving character obvious ? And may we not call it the Gospel of salvation, seeing it reveals the Father's purpose of salvation, and records the Son's purchase of salvation, and contains the di. vine grant of salvation, and exhibits provision for saving to the uttermost, from sin and from punishment, all who embrace it ; and only condemns those who refuse to accept the free salvation which it proposes, generally, to the acceptance of all? And hence is it, that we are so much interested in the truth of the Gospel ; for bereave us of this, or weaken our persuasion of its certainty, and we are left without peace on earth, and without assurance of immortality. Or if the sentiment of immortality abide in
us, yet have we no ground, unless a ground of lawless presumption, on which to rear a single hope of salvation from the evils and miseries connected with the moral disorders of our natures. And is immortality without salvation a prospect on which men can look with desire ? If the Gospel had been a revelation of God's purpose to deal with us strictly on the original terms of our accountability, its truth had been a terror, and we might have anxiously sought after arguments to invalidate its pretenșions. But seeing the true Gospel is a Gospel of salvation, we hai] its announce ments; we rejoice to publish it abroad'; knowing, when we declare it, that “we bring glad tidings of great joy which are to all people."
Yet, my friends, for us to prove, and for you to admit the Gospel to be true, is not enough. The devils also believe and tremble. Thousands of our fellow-men do likewise believe its truth, and yet tremble without hope on coming to the verge of mortality. The understanding cannot resist a certain quantity of evidence, and the Gospel has much to attest its verity. But the mere concession of the truth, may leave the awakened conscience in terror, and the
wounded spirit in despair. The Gospel is true, whether we believe it or no, and it is a Gospel of salvation, whether we believe it or no; but to make it the Gospel of my salvation, or of your salvation, with respect to the comforts of a saved state, there is required something besides a concession of its truth, and something besides, a knowledge of its character; and what that is, shall be submitted to your consideration in a subsequent discourse.
To conclude for the present,-how great a thing is it that we have a Gospel of salvation brought nigh to us ! Compared with the grandeur and momentous importance of such a theme, what are the discoveries of science, the interests of ambi. tion, or the negotiations of empires ? A mortal man on the brink of eternity will put away these things from him, and call for salvation. A lost world needs salvation as the one thing essential to bliss ; and he who gains it is blessed, ennobled, and glorified; but to him who loses it, what remains ? As often as we think of our sin and misery, and as often as heaven or hell occur to our thoughts, let us give thanks to God for the Gospel of salvation ! What intelligence so interesting hath ever.