« FöregåendeFortsätt »
themselves cover their faces with their wings, and stand back as unequal to the arduous undertaking. But still, God willeth not that any of his children should perish, and His own arm brings them deliverance. He himself finds out a ransom, and lays our help upon him, who is mighty to save. But who is this who is mighty to save, and in the councils of the Eternal appointed to deliver us? The dignity of him also, conspires with the dignity of the Father to increase, if possible, the abundance of the grace. No less a person was he, than "the Son of God,—the only begotten Son "of God, in whom dwelleth all the fulness "of God. Angels indeed are called the "sons of God; but unto which of the angels, "said he at any time, thou art my son, "this day have I begotten thee ?”—In this then was manifested the love of God towards us, because he spared not his own. Son, his only begotten Son, but freely gave him up to death for us all. Surely if the love of the giver, appears magnified by the worth and excellence of the gift, never, never, we can safely say, was there love like that with which the father hath loved us. Had He sent but one of the angels, who
surround his throne, to effect this work of salvation, and one who could have fulfilled his purpose, doubtless we should have had reason to celebrate this goodness with everlasting songs of praise ;-but to send the Son of his bosom, the only begotten of his love, One who was infinitely more precious than all worlds,-to send Him on this errand of grace ;-here the subject becomes too high for the human faculties to reach, and too overpowering for the mental behold. Able, O God! only to say, that eye to "this is not the manner of men," we must, humbly and at a distance, adore what we shall never be able fully to comprehend.
But if the blessings of redemption are thus enhanced to us by the dignity both of the Being who designed, and of Him who was appointed to confer them, these blessings cannot but be still more enhanced, when we reflect, also, upon the unparalleled humiliation and sufferings submitted to, in order to confer them.
If the redemption of the world was to be accomplished, and if no less a person than the Son of God was fitted to accomplish it, might not he with the same ease with which
he created, have also redeemed us? In redeeming us, was it indeed necessary that he should leave the mansions of bliss, and the armies of heaven, to live on earth and tabernacle among men? Yes, to stoop so low as this was deemed necessary for the Captain of our Salvation. He left the heavens and came down, and, with condescension unparalleled, dwelt among us.
But though he did thus humble himself and dwell among us, yet was not he clothed with the ensigns of celestial majesty, or did not he appear to the world environed with some visible glory ?—No, for us men, and for our salvation, even every thing like this he was willing to lay aside for a season. Though he was the Lord of angels, and the Maker of the worlds, yet was he made, in all things, like unto his brethren. Though he was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet was he found in fashion as a man, and made in the likeness of sinful flesh !-And here is contained a mystery of grace, which the prying mind may desire to look into, but which its feeble eye cannot penetrate. It is a mystery which will employ the thoughts
of the most exalted seraphs, and be the exhaustless source of their highest admiration, "world without end."
But though the Son of God did thus descend into the vale of mortality, and divest himself, for a while, of that glory with which he shone from the beginning, yet might he not, at least, have come forth in the pomp of an earthly sovereign; with all that majesty and magnificence which captivates the attention, and raises the esteem of men? —No, even this also, did it please the Father that the Son of his love should forego. His first appearance was in the midst of disgrace and obscurity, and from his cradle to his grave we behold but one melancholy scene of ignominy and oppression, of poverty and of pain. He was born, we are told, in a stable, and laid in a manger. And when he grew up, he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He wandered about from place to place, and though heir of all things, had not where to lay his head. By some, he was reproached as a sower of sedition; by others, reviled as an impostor; by some, he was accused as a blasphemer ; by others, even branded as a sorcerer and
a devil. And thus through every stage of his life, was the innocent Jesus doomed to "bear the contradiction of sinners against "himself." But follow him to the last scene; -follow him to the scene of his sufferings and death, and things yet more wonderful will open to our view. Behold the Lord of Glory dragged as a felon and condemned as a slave,-behold him prostrate upon the ground in an agony, and extended with racking torture upon the cross.-Behold him, in the garden of Gethsemene, sweating, as it were, great drops of blood, and on the hill of Calvary bowing his head, pouring out his soul, and giving up the ghost,—and then "ask of the days that are past, which were "before thee, since the day that God created "man upon the earth, and ask from the one "side of heaven unto the other," whether there was ever sorrow like that sorrow which was endured by the Saviour of the world, or such an abundance of grace shown as was then shown to the children of men.
But that this abundant grace may appear in its fullest extent, and be displayed in all its lustre, let us also reflect upon the character and condition of those upon whom it