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I counsel you not to neglect a conscientious attendance upon the judicatories of the church. The supervision of her affairs, her government and discipline, require united action. Faithfulness in the many painful duties and difficulties that come before you as a judicature may cloud and perplex you for a season, but the sunshine of peace and happiness will shed a brighter light on your path. Ministerial faithfulness has a present as well as a future reward annexed. The field of Christian enterprise widens before you. The Christian public are now adopting measures and sending out young men (apparently) of the right spirit, which, under God, are calculated to change the aspect and moral condition of the whole world. The signs of the times impart comfort and confidence to the friends of the Redeemer, they indicate the near approach of that day which has long been the subject of prophecy and prayer, when the Star of Bethlehem should again appear in the East with renewed splendor, and lead a multitude of wise men to search for Him, who was born King of nations, as well as King of the Jews. The Christian Church is now opening her treasures, and presenting to him gifts, gold, frankincense, myrrh, who is to reign over our rebellious world, and bring it under the government of his grace and universal righteousness.
Brethren, consider well the importance and fearful reponsibility of the office you sustain-you are ambassadors for Christ-as though God did beseech sinners by you, in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God. Like Aaron you are called to stand between the living and the deadlet your censers always be full of the incense of much prayer to God -that the plague may be stayed-that immorality, crime, and rebellion, may be arrested, and sinners saved.
Brethren, it is with a mournful sensibility I look along your ranks, and see them thinned by the mysterious hand of God; some are sent to other portions of the visible church; some fallen in the ranks of efficient duty; and not a few called to render their last account. Our harps are on the willows-how long they may be silent-how long our spiritual captivity may last in this section of our beloved Zion, none but God himself knoweth. I presume until some prophet from the Lord shall say to us, "Let the priests and the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: (Joel 2:17.) Let us pray for more of the spirit of our divine Master, when on Mount Olivet, which overlooked the city, he wept over her infatuated inhabitants. Let us weep over the slumbering and secure condition of the churches in this quarter of God's moral vineyard, and say, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
BY GEORGE G. POAGE,
THE REDEMPTION PURCHASED BY THE SON OF GOD.
GAL. 4:4, 5. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
The principal object of the apostle in writing this epistle seems to have been, to expose certain errors which had been introduced among the Galatians, and to establish them in the faith of Christ, especially on the important point of justification. Certain Judaizing teachers had crept in among them who endeavored to degrade the character of Paul, and taught that obedience to the ceremonial law was necessary in order to justification. The apostle, after asserting and vindicating his apostolical authority, proceeds to show that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ: (2:16.) He then goes on to state the use of the law. "Wherefore the law was our school-master to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith:" (3:24.) The temple and all the institutions connected with it were typical, teaching the necessity of an atonement for sin, and pointing to the coming Messiah who should make that atonement. The church was then in a state of minority; and as an heir, so long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father; even so the Jews were in bondage under the elements of the world: (4:1, 2, 3.) They were under obligation to observe all the requirements of the ceremonial law. But when the fulness of the time was come, the time appointed of the Father, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, and He having accomplished all that was typified by the rites and ceremonies of the law, they were freed from all obligations of obedience to that institution.
In the counsels of eternity God determined to send into the world
one to save perishing sinners. . When man fell, a Savior was promised. This promise was renewed to Abraham; and the coming of the Messiah was repeatedly foretold by the prophets. When this long predicted time was fully come, God was not unmindful of his promise. Angels announce the Savior's entrance into the world. Behold the Babe of Bethlehem, born in a stable and cradled in a manger! This is the Son of God! his Father's equal! Heaven was his throne, and angels his subjects. The highest orders of intelligent creatures delighted to serve and honor him. But he left his Father's bosom; he descended from his glorious abode; down to earth he came; the God of heaven became man; he united the human and the divine natures. He thus became capable of sorrow, and affliction, and pain, and death. He was made of a woman, yet so that he was free from sin and pollution, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was made under the law. The King of kings and Lord of lords took the form of a servant and became subject to the law to redeem them that were under the law. He saw us poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked, and helpless, and he came to satisfy the claims of law and justice, and to redeem us from destruction; that we might receive the adoption of sons. That we might be received into his family, instructed by his word and Spirit, clothed with his righteousness, fed with the bread of life, protected from all our enemies, and prepared for a more enlarged estate in another world. Thus he who was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. That we might become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; heirs to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. That we might be entitled to all the privileges of children of God while in the world, and be fitted for and finally received to the enjoyment of Him in his kingdom of glory.
When God made man he gave him a law to which he required per fect obedience as the condition of life, and annexed to its transgression, a penalty. By disobedience man forfeited his title to life and became liable to the penalty, which was death. He became subject to temporal death, was deprived of the enjoyment of God, and exposed to his wrath and curse, which would sink him to the depths of misery forever. Hence, that God might be just, that he might maintain the authority of his law, and the honor of his government, and save sinners, it was necessary for the Son of God to assume human nature that he might render obedience to the law, and endure its penalty. Being made of a woman, made under the law, he satisfied its claims in both these
respects. His obedience to all its requirements was perfect. He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin: (Heb. 4:15.) The eye of omniscience saw no blemish in his character. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners: (Heb. 7:26.) He was constantly engaged in doing good. His life was a life of labor, and toil, and fatigue. He endured the reproach, and contempt, and scorn of a wicked world. He was betrayed by the token of friendship into the hands of his enemies; was buffetted and spit upon, and crowned with thorns; was condemned at the bar of Pilate, and expired on the cross of Calvary. But this was not all, else why do we hear him in the garden of Gethsemane exclaiming, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death? Why do we see him agonizing until he sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground? Was the Son of God sore amazed and filled with agony merely in prospect of enduring sufferings? He was now about to drink to the dregs the cup of wrath which would have sunk a world of sinners to endless perdition. The time had come when God was about to call for the sword of justice saying, Awake, O sword, against the man that is my fellow. And when the powers of darkness were combined against the Son of God, his Father withdrew and we hear him exclaiming, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! Thus, by his obedience, and sufferings, and death, he satisfied the claims of law and justice in our stead. He suffered for sins, the just for the unjust: (1 Pet. 3:18.) He was delivered for our offences: (Rom. 4:25.) He bare our sins in his own body on the tree: (1 Pet. 2:24.) He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him: (2 Cor. 5:21.) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: (Gal. 3:13.) He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed: (Isaiah 53:5.) Having thus made an atonement for sin, he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, there to intercede for his people. Through his atonement and intercession a way is opened in which those who are under condemnation may be redeemed. The offers of mercy and salvation are made freely to the chief of sinners, and the Holy Spirit is sent to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and all who, convinced by his word and Spirit, of their sins, come as humble penitents, in the exercise of faith, receive a righteousness which justifies them from all their sins. Christ's right
eousness is imputed to them, and they are thereby rendered acceptable in the sight of God, and receive the adoption of sons.
THEIR STATE IS CHANGED. They who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; they who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ: (Eph. 2:12, 13.) They are taken into the relation to God of children to a father, and his language to them is, I will be a father unto you and ye shall be my children: (2 Cor. 6:18.) Under his parental care and protection they shall be preserved from all evil. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them: (Ps. 34:7.) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul: (Ps. 121:4-7.) THEIR CHARACTER IS ALSO CHANGED. Their proud, haughty, self-confident spirit gives place to a meek, humble, teachable frame; an affectionate, filial, obedient disposition: (Gal. 5:23. Col. 3:12. Acts 20:19. Matt. 11:29.) Their anxious inquiry is, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? and they are zealous and faithful in the discharge of every known duty: (Acts 9:6. John 15:14.) They delight in the law of the Lord, and in all his commandments: (Ps. 119:16, 35, 47, 70, 143.) Feeling their entire dependence on God, they are enabled, by the spirit of adoption which they receive, to draw near to him with confidence, knowing that he is more ready to give his Spirit and all needed blessings to those who ask him, than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children: (Rom. 8:15. Matt. 7:11. Luke 11:13.) They have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them, and to bear witness with their spirits that they are the children of God: (Rom. 8:14, 16.)
THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS ARE ENABLED TO LAY HOLD OF THE PROMISES OF GOD, WHICH ARE EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS. There is no want to them that fear him. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing: (Ps. 34:9, 10.) Godliness is profitable unto all things having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come: (1 Tim. 4:8.) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God: (Rom. 8:28.) For if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ: (Rom. 8:17.) Being thus taken into the family of God, entitled to all the privileges of his house, guided and sanctified by his word and Spirit, nourished and supported
THEY HAVE A SURE TITLE TO HEAVEN.