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motives. This the lower creation is perhaps entirely incapable of doing. The devil and his angels have so much knowledge as that one of their number said, "I know thee who thou art, Jesus the Son of God;" but they have ceased to be moral agents. Knowing evil to be such, they prefer it, and say, "Evil, be thou my good."

Sinful man puts darkness for light and light for darkness; his understanding first errs, and then he commits sin,-not as such, for every man has some rule, some code of morals, some excuse for his conduct. And if there be any of the children of disobedience to whom this remark does not apply, it must be those who most resemble their "father the devil, for his works they do."

And because man is a moral agent, he is capable of loving God, and of being conscious that God loves him. How precious then is the soul of man thus nobly endowed, thus richly capacitated! Of what high, exalted, pure, unutterable delight must the soul be capable from such a source of happiness: external nature has its delights, and sense has its gratifications; the pursuits and acquisitions of knowledge have their joys; but they are lost in the distance, they sink into insignificance, compared with the rapture of the accepted child of God when he saith, "Abba Father," and in the hearing of faith is addressed with, "My son! My son!" This is a joy which earth cannot give, nor death take away.

The soul is capable of divine holiness; according to St. Peter, he may be "a partaker of the divine nature;" he may, saith our Lord, be merciful and loving as his heavenly Father. Being first justified from all things by the blood of Christ, he may be cleansed from all sin, and do the will of God on earth, even as it is done

in heaven. How precious then is the soul of man! Its redemption will appear unspeakably important, if you consider the unholy motives of which it is capable; the misery of which it is susceptible; and the utter impurity to which it may sink. What an awful description is that which a single sentence contains! "Hateful and hating one another;" reft of every excellence, lost to affection, abandoned of God, incapable of sympathy, sunk in the depths of pollution, consigned to misery and despair!

Nothing that appertains to the soul of man makes its redemption appear more precious than the eternity of its duration. One of the most accomplished of heathen bards ventured the conjecture, "non omnis moriar," "All of me shall not die:" life and immortality had not to him been brought to light by the gospel. We know that we shall live for ever. Then it is true that all the happiness of men in all ages is not equal to what one soul may enjoy in heaven. The years of every man's life since the days of Adam added into one sum would be immeasurably insignificant contrasted with the years of eternity. Eternity hath no wrinkle on its brow; no symptom of decay. The mind is overwhelmed with the idea, it cannot comprehend it; nor can any being but the Eternal, whose "goings forth are from everlasting."

But the happiness of man in time is very partial; much remains to be wished; it is interrupted by infirmity; by the very provisions of providence it is the pledge of something better, but not the thing itself: it is of short continuance; we talk of an aged man, but where is he who has seen many days? comparatively, some are old men; but few and evil are the days of the longest lived. Man, however, is capable of happiness,

perfect in its nature, uninterrupted in its progress, and eternal in its duration. How precious then the redemption of the soul!

Consider, again, what influence the reflection of the immortality of the soul hath upon its capacity to endure misery. The misery of a lost spirit is unspeakably awful, from the consideration that it shall never cease to be. "Who knoweth the power of thine anger?" all that his anger can inflict: who can tell what the dregs of the cup of trembling are? The groans of the whole creation from the fall of Adam, "which hath travailed in birth until now," are not produced by such a length or by such a quantity of misery as that of which one soul is capable, and must endure in the shades of hell, in eternity. Eternity-space without limit, duration without end, contiuuance without progression; the very spirit sinks and faints within us at the thought of a human being, the smoke of whose torment ascendeth up day and night for ever; or at the idea of being exposed to ceaseless wo. All the sorrows of mankind, sickness and disease, loss and privation, bereavement and fear; all that man suffers, put into the balance, is found immeasurably wanting. No way of escape from the prison-house, no door of hope to the captive, no place of refuge from the ever-coming storm of fire, no dawn of morning to that night of despair, no pause for relief, no interval of sweet oblivion, in which the captive may dream of liberty, the sufferer of ease, the despairing man of deliverance! How precious the redemption of the soul!

II. The price at which it was redeemed.

"Ye were not redeemed," saith St. Peter, "with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and with

out spot." All the inanimate portions of universal creation, however grand or numerous, or diversified ; a thousand suns, the lights of a thousand systems; all would have been a trifle, compared to the price of redemption.

The blood of every living thing that ever existed would have had no cleansing power, no atoning virtue, no comparison of worth to the blood of the cross. If angels had become imbodied in flesh, though it is thought, on I know not what authority, that they are creatures of a more excellent faculty than man, their blood could not have availed. They seem to be superior to man, for they have stood the probation from which some by transgression fell; they existed before man; they are spiritual beings, who have no infancy and no decay, being as young now as when "the morning stars sang together for joy;" but they could not atone for man. Though "they excel in strength, doing his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word," they could not carry our infirmities, or bear our transgressions; they could not do thy will, O God; for thy will is our sanctification.

"The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us ;" the Divinity was not changed into man; but God became incarnate; and, inasmuch as the blood of man, though like "the blood of bulls and goats" in quality and consistence, is infinitely more valuable; so, and we speak it with reverence, though the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us was like human blood, it was infinitely more availing and available, for it was the blood of the Holy One and the Just.

But who can conceive of the price; the coming and the death of the Son of God? If an ancient sage is reported to have spent a day, and then to have length

ened out his meditation to two, to four days, in resolving the question, What is God? saying, The longer he thought, the less he could resolve; well may the gift of the Son overwhelm us, like the glory that overshadowed and overcame the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration. Angels whose intellect was never obscured by sin, nor enfeebled by the fall; who were never removed from the presence of God, desire to look into this "mystery," and are not able. The heart of the believer may swell, the affections may expand, and the soul may adore its God, when the subject occurs to the worshipper; but the understanding can never fathom the mystery; which, perhaps, is, in some sense, an object of faith even to angels themselves.

It would seem, then, we cannot conceive of the mystery as it is; nor can we arrive at a knowledge of it by illustration or comparison: "To whom will ye compare me, saith the Lord; as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." There is, however, one consideration which deserves attention; the price paid was provided by God; therefore, it was, however excellent and divine, not actually out of proportion to the redemption effected. To us there may seem no proportion between the redemption of any number of human souls from death to life, and the death of the Son of God; between our sufferings in eternity and his humiliation unto death; but God saw it good to find a ransom, and no less a one than "his only begotten Son." "It pleased the Lord" (mysterious words) "to bruise him." The proportion between the price and the thing purchased is sometimes absurdly enhanced by the ignorance of the buyer; sometimes by caprice, as in the case of rare, ancient, or curious matter; some

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