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an act of distinguishing love in God, to shew compassion to our sinful and rebel. lious race. He passed by the angels that sinned, while he pitched his love upon the guilty sons of men. How much nobler creatures in our apprehension were fallen angels than fallen men ;-how much more capable, had they been recovered, of glorifying God in the use of their more exalted powers !—Yet there appears no such concern for the salvation of these once glorious spirits. No powerful hand is stretched out to lay hold of their sinking nature, and to prevent them from falling into the pit of endless perdition. On the contrary, we are told, that “ God
spared not the angels that sinned, but 6 cast them down to hell, reserving “ them in everlasting chains under dark“ness to the judgment of the great day.”
But while they are left in the hands of inexorable justice, we, who are beneath them in dignity of nature, and equally liable to the divine displeasure, are regarded with an eye of tender compassion. Towards our guilty fallen race the offended Majesty of heaven entertains thoughts of peace, is daily saying,
“ Be ye recons
“ ciled to me," and holds out the sceptre of offered reconciliation. He beheld us lying in our sins,—depraved, miserable, hopeless, helpless; and his time was a time of love. The Most High over all the earth laid bare his almighty arm, and spared not his only-begotten Son, but delivered him up to death for us all, rather than that we should bear our iniquities, and perish under a righteous condemnation.
This leads me to mention, that the love of God in redemption will appear more evident, if we attend, second, To the means employed for its accomplishment.
Many were the obstructions that seemed to be in the way of the sinner's recovery to God and happiness,-obstructions so great, that Infinite Wisdom alone could have devised the means for removing them consistently with the honour of the divine perfections. God's law had been broken : and how could the honour of that law be maintained, if the transgressors of it might pass with impunity ? God's holiness had been despised,--his goodness abused, his justice violated ;
and how was mercy to be extended to such offenders, and at the same time these venerable, these essential attributes of the Godhead made to appear glorious in the sight of his creatures! These were difficulties which no created wisdom could have resolved ; and the love of God in our redemption appears so much the greater, as these difficulties rendered means necessary for fulfilling his gracious purpose, which must astonish and con.
attentive observer. “God so 6 loved the world, that he gave
his only“ begotten and beloved Son," to suffer and die for men ;-an expression of love, the greatest that can be conceived, whether we consider the dignity of the person given, or the greatness of the sufferings to which he was exposed.
The person given was none other than the Son of God, his only-begotten and well-beloved Son, his Son in such a sense as can be applied to no creature : For he was one with, or equal unto the Father, possessed of the same glorious and incommunicable perfections, and entitled to the same divine worship. This is a gift surpassing in excellence the most
exalted conceptions of men or of angels, in comparison of which the whole creation is as nothing ; since “ all things “ were made by him, and without him “ was not any thing made that is made.” For what was this gift, but one as rich as eternal blessedness could make him,-one who possessed the fulness of earth, and the more immense treasures of heaven ? This was a gift more valuable than thousands of worlds, of angels, or even of the highest orders of intelligent beings; because his person is incomparably greater than all conceivable creation, he being the Maker and Lord of all. And therefore, when God intended in redemption to give us the highest expression of his love, he bestows the choicest gift that even divine goodness itself could impart. As when he would insure our security and comfort, he swears by himself, because he could swear by no greater ; so, when he would insure our eternal salvation, he gives us his Son, because he could not give a greater, he being God, equal with himself,
Lord of Lords, and King of Kings,—the First and the Last,—the Beginning and the Ending,—which is, and which was, and
which is to come,—the Almighty, who is over all, God blessed for ever. How inconceivable, then, the love of God in bestowing on us a gift of such transcendant excellence!
But even this is not all. The greatness of the gift is enhanced by the peculiar circumstances which attended the manner of bestowing it. Had the Son of God appeared in our world in the pomp and dignity of a king ;—had he been honoured, caressed, and admired, by those who approached him ;-had every one vied with each other who should have paid him the highest reverence, even in this the condescension would have been infinitely inconceivable. But the love of Jehovah appears still more wonderful in the circumstances of abasement to which the glorious Redeemer voluntarily submitted, and in the number and severity of the sufferings which he so cheerfully endured : For “ though he was rich, yet for our sakes “ he became poor, that we thro' his po“ verty might be made rich.” If we judge of the degree of affection which any one bears to us by the measure of trouble, expense, or personal inconve