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with the magnitude and impor- grand treaty of reconciliation tance of their subject ? To wit, with rebellious man. that God was in Christ reconciling This we are informed in one the world unto himself, not imput- comprehensive word. “God was, ing their trespasses unto them ; in Christ, reconciling the world and hath committed unto us the unto himself.” It is only in word of reconciliation. Now then Christ that Jehovah is a God of we are ambassadors for Christ, as salvation. The sinner's salvathough God did beseech you by us, tion is built upon this, from the we pray you in Christ's stead, foundation to the top-stone. And BE YE RECONCILED UNTo God. were it not for the mediation of
Christ, it would be utterly and Astonishing thought! As tho' for ever impossible for one of God did beseech you by us. What
our apostate race to escape the an expression is this! How ama: wrath to come. Without a me. zing, how wonderful the idea !
diator, and such a mediator as' What a mixture of majesty and Christ, God could no sooner parmeekness is here! What condon, and receive the sinner into descension ! infinitely beyond all his favor, than he could deny comparison, all human concep himself, or abdicate his throne. tion! That the great and eter. Therefore, it is expressly assert. nal God, whose wrath we have ed in his word, that other founprovoked, and who, by a single dation can no man lay, than that volition, might sink us to deser- is laid, which is Jesus Christ ved and eternal death, should yet there is salvation in none other condescend to propose a treaty -no other name given under of peace with his rebellious crea- heaven amongst men, whereby tures, and offer terms of recon
we must be saved." Indeed it ciliation ;--and not only so, but is thought, that God could not, even to beseech and intreat them because it would be inconsistto accept, and become reconcil-ent with his perfections) bestow ed! What an infinite strength of love is manifested in this: any favors on mankind, in the
present life, either spiritual or What an inexpressible regard temporal
, but for the mediation to the happiness of moral beings of the Son of his love ; and that How unspeakably is the heart of on this ground it is asserted the blessed God engaged in the in the scriptures of truth, that salvation of sinners! But le Christ “is the Saviour of all speaks, and he acts like himself. men, specially of them that beHis name, and his nature are
lieve.” love. This should melt us into
The nature, and reality of penitence, gratitude, and holy Christ's atonement are most affection. Oh, what guilt, must clearly taught us in the sacred we, worthless worms of the dust, I word. Also its absolute necessiincur, what condemnation must
ty in order to the sinner's salvawe deserve, if we can abuse such tion, is there abundantly incullove, and turn a deaf ear to a be- cated, and, indeed, it is apparent seeching God!
to the eye of enlightened reason. Let us then, in the first place, We read, “ God so loved the enquire how the blessed God world, that he gave his only be carries on, and accomplishes this gotten Son, that whosoever be«
lieveth in him should not perish, | And it is not only declared that but have everlasting life.” Here he bare our sins in his own body is pointed out, the formation of on the tree, but that the great the sinner's hope and trust. Its end to be answered by it, was to necessity may be easily inferred. manifest the righteousness and For, if God could save sinners justice of God, in pardoning and in any other way but by the death saving sinners. " Whom God of his Son, surely he would not hath set forth to be a propihave made this infinite sacrifice. tiation through faith in his blood, The death of Christ would have for the remission of sins that are been needless. Again, The a- past, through the forbearance of postle saith, " when we were yet God, that God might be just, without strength, in due time and the justiSer of him that beChrist died for the ungodly.” lieveth in vizus.” This opens This implies, that we had no the whole gospel scheme of merability to remove those obstruc-cy to view, and exhibits those tions that were in the way of glorious purposes which God in mercy, and to procure that sal Christ is effecting by reconcilvation to ourselves, for which ing the world unto himself, not Christ died. The law of God imputing unto them their tresthreatens the sinner with eternal passes. The foundation of the death, and his truth and justice whole is laid in the atonement stand bound for the execution of of Christ. This is the inexhaust. it. If, therefore, this penalty ible source, and fountain of should never be inflicted, the mercy. « Of his fulness," saith law of God could not be honor the evangelist, “ have all we reed, nor his truth and justice vin- ceived, and grace
for grace.” dicated in the sinner's salvation. In consequence of the atone“ But Christ hath redeemed us ment of Christ, the sinner is refrom the curse of the law, being prieved the penalty of the law made a curse for us.
in its execution suspended, and made sin for us, who knew no he placed in a state of probation sin, that we might be made the -a state, in which he may berighteousness of God in him." come united to Christ, and a There was an absolute necessity, partaker of the special benefits that the Supreme Ruler of the of his redemption. A space of universe shouid display the same repentance is allowed-all needcharacter in government, which ed temporal benefits bestowed he had expressed in his law; means instituted and ordered to and this induced the necessity of be used the word given the an atonement for the exercise ministry of reconciliation comof pardoning mercy to the sin- mitted to men and the ambas. ner.
God could not, otherwise, dors of Christ sent forth to pubhave appeared the righteous, lish and proclaim the glad tiholy, and sin-hating God. This dings of salvation, that God is in was effected in the fullest man- Christ, reconciling the world ner by the death of Christ. It unto himself to exhort sinners is abundantly taught, that God to repentance and faith in the expressed his wrath against sin- blood of Christ, and beseech ners, in the sufferings of his them in Christ's stead to become Son in their room and stead. reconciled to God.
In consequence, likewise, of God is also by his ministerirg the mediation of Christ, God is servants beseeching them to be pleased to grant the influences reconciled to him ; and has apof his Holy Spirit to accompa- pointed a preached gospel, the ny his word to succeed the stated mean of saving them that means of grace and insure their believe. end, by awakening the attention, Having attended to the ground convincing the minds, and re- of reconciliation to God, and the generating the hearts of sinners; way in which it is effected, we by which they are turned from will now enquire, darkness to light, from sin to 2. What is implied in being holiness and from Satan to God. reconciled to God? And the By thus uniting them to Christ, question is answered in the first by faith, they become branches place Negatively. It implies no in him the true vine-living change or alteration in God. members of his glorious spiritu- He is invariably, immutably, and al body, the church-partakers eternally the same. He is of of the benefits of his righteous-one mind.-Reconciliation imness, and joint heirs with him, plies a change in that being of who is the heir of all things. whom it is asserted, towards
Thus it is that God hath laid some other being with whom the foundation of redemption in he was previously disaffected. Christ. And thus God in Christ But there is no such change of is carrying on and accomplish- affection in the mind of God; ing the great purposes of re- and he is never spoken of in deeming love, and reconciling scripture as being reconciled to the world unto himself, by all the sinner, but invariably as rethe teachings of his word, his conciling the sinner to himself. Providence, and his Spirit. This In the words of the apostle is the acceptable year of the which we have considered, the Lord. Now is the day of salva- word is used in this sense in tion. The heavens are clothed three verses successively—who in smiling mercy, and every hath reconciled us unto himself thing joins to preclaim this reconciling the world, &c.-be ye truth, that God is propitious to reconciled unto God. It is a wrong sinners that he is waiting up- idea of God that he becomes reon them tobe gracious, with long conciled to the sinner, when he suffering patience, and calling pardons him, and works faith in after them, in the most moving his heart. God is immutable, and endearing invitations of love and there is no possibility of this and mercy, to return unto him change in him. The redeemed and live. Saying in his word, sinner is the object of his eter“ Ho, every one that thirsteth, nal electing lovę. God as really come ye to the waters.come loves the elect sinner before, as buy wine and milk without mo- after his (the sinner's) reconcili. ney and without price. Who- ation to him. He loves him as soever will, let him take of the one chosen to be a member of waters of life freely. As I live, Christ, which is the only way of I have no pleasure in the death acceptance.-God loved him of him that dieth. Turn ye, turn from eternity, and the eternal ye, for why will ye die ?? And love of God is the cause of his ac
tual union to Christ, in time. In mies, and becoming his real proof of this point, see Romans friends. It implies a real conix. 11-14. “ For the children formity of heart to the characbeing not yet born, neither having ter of God, and all those duties done any good or evil, that the which arise from the law of their purpose of God according to elec- relation to him, both as creation might stand, not of works but tures and as sinners. This prinof him that calleth. It was said ciple is very extensive in its naunto her, the elder shall serveture and exercises, as it hath the younger. As it is written respect to a great variety of obJacob, have. I loved, but Esaujects, and relative duties ; but have I hated." See also, that it is all summed up in one comdeclaration of the Most High, prehensive term-it is the exby the prophet Jeremiah. “1ercise of true, supreme love to have loved thee with an everlast- God. This is what is implied, ing love, therefore with loving- and the whole that is implied in kindness have I drawn thee." reconciliation to God. The soul Remember, it is God in Christ thus reconciled, is freely and who reconciles the world unto cheerfully disposed to take his himself. God, in Christ, loved proper place and character, and the elect sinner from eterni- give God the throne. He is ty and it is only in Christ that willing that Jehovah should be God hath any complacency in God, which none others are ; the sinner after his conversion. and he has such a feeling sense -But,
of his own criminality, in being 2. Positively. To be recon- ever opposed to God, and his ciled to God implies a great, a government, that he sees, and thorough and essential change, feels and acknowledges how hoin the feelings and affections of ly and righteous God is in the the sinner ; as great as is the threatenings of his law, and that difference between variance and he would be perfectly just in reconciliation, hatred and love. making him the monument of It implies that the sinner before his eternal wrath and vengeance. he is reconciled is at variance He therefore accepts the punishwith God, and in the temper of ment of his iniquities, exercises his heart wholly opposed to his repentance towards God, and character and law; for, if he submits himself unconditionally were not, there would be no pro- into his hands. Again, priety in speaking of his becom- He loves the character of the ing reconciled, or exhorting him Saviour who hath taken the part to it, since he hath that already of God, in utterly condemning the in which reconciliation consists: sinner, and magnifying and hon. for, so far as he is not opposed oring the divine law by his obe10 God, he is essentially recon- dience unto death. The mediaciled to him. It is plain, that torial character will appear lovethe command or exhortation is ly and glorious in the view of addressed to God's enemies ; him who is truly reconciled to for reconciliation implies friend-God; and from the sense which ship, agreement, and harmony, he has of his own character, as and their becoming reconciled, a sinner and transgressor of is their ceasing to be his ene-God's holy law, an insolvent debtor to divine justice, and ex- to thine own conscience, as thou posed to and deserving of eter- must hereafter to thy Judge. nal punishment, he will feel his
ASAPH. dependence on sovereign mercy, and put his trust alone in Christ, as his only and all-sufficient Saviour, who is the end of the law An evil Heart the source of Inf. for righteousness to all them
delity. that believe. Such is the nature, and such the distinguish-TN every age there hath aping exercises of reconciliation to God. Were-it proper, in this a natural indisposition to receive essay, we might greatly enlarge the truth. The truth condemns upon the subject, and trace the them, and whatevever condemns operation of this divine principle them they endeavor to reject. of love to God, as it extends it-There can scarcely be found a self through all the various re
remarkable instance of lations of being. Do this, rea- this, than in the conduct of the der, in thine own meditations, Jewish rulers in their treatment and come to a ready and imme- of Jesus Christ, at the hour of diate compliance with the duty his sufferings. “ Likewise also of being reconciled to God. the chief priests mocking, said This, as I have endeavored to among themselves with the explain, is nothing less than the scribes, He saved others, him. exercise of supreme love to God. self he cannot save. Let Christ And doth not thine own con- the king of Israel, descend now science tell thee, that this is thy from the cross that we may see immediate and indispensible du- and believe."-The chief priests ty ? Only consider what a glo- and scribes, who spoke these rious and good being God is, words were inen of education, what infinite obligations thou art instructors and judges in their under to him! What great own nation, and accustomed, in things he has done for thy sal- other matters, to examine, comvation, in giving his Son to die pare and weigh the strength of what means he hath used, and is evidence ; so that their infidelistill using with thee-how long ty in this instance, and after all he hath already waited upon that they had seen, their requirthee-what light and advantages ing other evidence that Christ thou enjoyest under the glori- was the Son of God, evidently ous dispensation of the gospel, to arose from an indisposition to know thy duty, and comply with receive the truth. It proved that his will; and canst thou feel, when divine restraints were that thou hast any cloak for thy withdrawn and their hearts were impenitency, or the least possi- rancorously fixed against the ble color of excuse, why thou truth, no possible degree of evshouldst, for another moment, idence was sufficient to silence neglect to love God and be recon- their cavils, or reconcile them to ciled to him! Is not the exhor- their duty. tation perfectly reasonable, and The same heart is now found the duty infinitely binding upon in men. After the full and comthee? Answer these questions, plete evidence, which God has