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As our Redeemer too, what has not the Almighty done for us! His favours are more in number than we are able to express.” He first called man from non-existence into a life of happiness, and when his creature had frustrated that blessed boon by transgression, He rescued him from the everlasting bondage of sin, and death, and hell. He descended from the throne of his glory, suffered upon the cross for us miserable sinners, who were already “in the valley of the shadow of death,” and verging towards “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” We were under the sentence of eternal excision, until the Saviour of the world removed it, by expiating the sin on account of which it was denounced, and thus making us co-heirs with himself in the fruition of eternity. We are, therefore, particularly, “ His people and the sheep of His pasture,” “by whom we are now sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” We, who but for Him should have been the slaves of Satan, are now advanced by Him to the glorious liberty of the children of God, and, “ if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” How delightful are the consolations which are afforded to us, in contemplating the Everlasting God in the character of our Redeemer! What must be the immensity of His love for the feeble objects of his creation, when He could do so much for their delivery from the deadly penalties
of sin! What must be the character of His mercy, when He could not only forgive the erring descendants of an erring forefather, but quit the habitation of his omnipotence, relinquish for awhile the dignity of the Divine Nature, to dwell among those who had provoked the penalty of everlasting exclusion from his kingdom in Heaven! How can we withhold our love from Him, who has so loved us as to die for us the most painful death that the ingenuity of malice ever devised, and only that we might not have our portion in a world eternal, where there will be nothing heard but the wailings of the tormented—where there will be nothing seen but “the blackness of darkness for ever."
In the character of our Sanctifier, He is equally entitled to our adoration, our honour, and worship. In this particular capacity of the Godhead, He qualifies us for that blessed estate for which He created us, and to which, after we had lost it by
, transgression, He voluntarily laid down his life to restore us. It is in this character that He “ feeds us with the breath of life,” “pours the oil and wine” of a healing piety into our souls, places us “beside the waters of comfort,” “under the shadow of a great rock”—the rock of our Salvation—“in a weary land," and directs us through the “strait gate" into “that narrow way,” which leads to everlasting life. By His Holy Spirit he becomes at once “a lantern unto our feet, and a light unto our paths,” “ a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat,” our Comforter, Ruler, and Guide. It is through the Holy Spirit only, that we have access to the Father, that we are “strengthened with might in the inner man,” that we become “holy and acceptable unto the Lord.” What were our knowledge, but for this divine instructor ? What were our piety, but for the suggestions of this blessed director? What were our distresses, our errors, but for this unfailing resource against the sorrows of the world and the temptations of the flesh? Without Him, we should be “ as sheep going astray,” but, when we obey his voice, He restores us“ to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls."
Thus it is, in the three characters, under which the Divinity appears in the blessed Trinity, that He presents Himself to us with the most endearing claim upon our obedience, our gratitude, and our love. Let us remember, that we withhold them at our peril. Let us, therefore, never cease to bestow them “while we have any being.”
DEATH THE WAGES OF SIN.
Romans, vi. 23.
“The wages of Sin is Death.”
In the latter part of the chapter of St. Paul's epistle, in which these words occur, we find sin represented by him, under the most appropriate figure of a master exercising authority over his slaves. Its absolute dominion over man, is beautifully set forth under this very picturesque and impressive image. Sin is everywhere a master and a tyrant. It repays our services with stripes and miseries. It allures us into its vassalage by false representations and splendid promises, but in the end requites us with all the curses of the most absolute slavery. It surrounds us with temptations, which bloom before us, in the prospect of life, like so many forbidden fruits, luring the eye and inviting the touch; offering, indeed, honey to the