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nothing to any map: but sin is not merely want; it is positively debt. Again, a man who is both poor and in debt, may be healthy and strong; so that by diligence and hard labour, he may not only procure the necessaries of life, but even be able in time to do justice to his creditors; but sin is disease as well as debt; it is the sickness of the soul, which wastes its strength, and ren. ders it incapable of doing, nay, disinclined to attempt, any thing for the recovery of its health and vigour. Once more, the most insolvent debtor may, by flight, get beyond the reach of his creditor : but to what place can a sinner flee where God is not present? whose essential goodness is the irreconcilable enemy of sin, and only clothes itself with justice to condemn and punish it. In short, our Lord's description of the Laodiceans, 6 wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” is the picture of every child of Adam in his natural state, with the same fatal inscription written over his head, “ He knoweth it not." And did he who was rich; he whom we had offended; he who stood in no need of us; be who passed by creatures of a superior order, leaving them to inherit the misery they had chosen, and, in our punishment, as well as in theirs, might bave displayed and glorified the perfection of his own nature ;-did he, I say, for our sakes become poor? How astonishing this
• grace!-how impossible to be credited, if he himself had not declared it.
IV. Let us now inquire, in the fourth place, for what end was it that he did this?
It would justly have been deemed an act of uncommon generosity, bad he simply discharged the debt we were unable to pay, that, being relieved of that burden, we might be at liberty to earn a scanty subsistence by our future labour and industry. It would have been a
higher act of generosity, to raise us at once above poverty, and the fear of want, by supplying us from his own stores with the necessaries of life “ feeding us," as Augur expressed his wish, “with food convenient for us.” But the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ proposed an end still higher than this: He became poor, saith the Apostle, “ that we might be rich ;" that is, possessed of every thing that could render us completely happy. Here it is that grace shines forth in its sweetest and most transcendent glory. But how shall we describe what
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither bath it entered into the heart of man to conceive?" The best assistance I can give you, is to select from Scripture a few of those passages that speak of the riches which Christ doth at present confer upon his people; and then leave your own minds to imagine how immense their final portion must be, when Christ shall come again to complete their salvation.
“ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
grace; for by him all who believe are justified from all things." With pardon, which is the introductory blessing of the covenant,“ peace with God” is inseparably connected; for “ being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In consequence whereof, believers are received into the house and fami. ly of God; not as servants, but as children: for “to as many as receive Christ, to them gives he power to be. come the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name.” “ Behold,” said the apostle John, “ what manner of love the Father bath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." Nor is this a mere title of honour; believers have not only the name, but the nature of children. Accordingly they are said, by
another Apostle, to be “partakers of the divine nature.” Christ dwells in thein by his Spirit, in such a manner, that it is not so much they that live, as it is “ Christ that liveth in them.” Once more, as they have the name and pature of children, so likewise the portion that is connected with that relation; for, as Paul reasons, (Romans viii. 17.) “ If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” And what is their portion? It is styled eternal life ; “a treasure in the beavens that faileth not;"2" a kingdom that cannot be moved ;" —an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away."
These few quotations, which will be familiar to the ears of all who are conversant with the holy Scriptures, may serve to give us some notion of the riches which Christ doth impart to his people. I shall therefore conclude this head with two poted passages recorded in the preceding epistle to the Corinthians, which describe the provision that is made for believers in Christ, in terms more expressive than many volumes would suffice fully to unfold. The one is chap. i. 30. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." The other is chap. iii. 21. et seq. “ All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cepbas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Cbrist is God's."
V. The fifth and last thing in the text that remains to be illustrated, is the connexion betwixt the poverty of Christ and the riches of his people, or the iufluence that the one hath upon the other: "He became poor, that we
“ through his poverty might be rich.”
This connexion will appear, if we consider that his voluntary humiliation, in taking upon him our low nature, fulfilling all righteousness, and giving himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God, hath so magnified the law, which we had broken, and given such full satisfaction to the justice of the lawgiver, that a way is now opened for the free and honourable exercise of mercy to the most guilty and polluted of the posterity of Adam, Hereby “ sin was condemned in the flesh,” that is, in the same nature that had offended : And God, by “setting forth his own Son, to be a propitiation through faith in bis blood," doth now manifest his righteousness, no less than his mercy, in the forgiveness of sin; and appears to all his intelligent creatures to be infinitely just, as well as infinitely gracious, when he justifies those that believe in Jesus. The Son of God “was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities :" “ He bore our sins in his own body upon the cross :" So that “ now there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus ;" for, as the Apostle reasons, (Rom. viii. 33, 34.) “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? Is it Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
And as the death or sacrifice of Christ absolves all that believe on him from the guilt of sin, which, as I formerly observed, is the fundamental and introductory blessing of the covenant; so his exaltation, which is the reward of his poverty, or voluntary humiliation, qualifies him to confer upon them all those consequent blessings which enrich them in time, and shall complete their happiness in the eternal world. Thus it is written, (Philip ii. 8, &c.) that because “ Christ humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;" therefore “God also hath highly exalted bim, VOL. I.
and given bim a name wbich is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And to the same purpose we read, (Eph. i. 21. et seq.) that “When God raised him from the dead, he set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and put all things under bis feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” When Christ ascended up on bigb, leading captivity captive, he then received gifts for men, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. And now all power is committed to him, both in heaven and on earth: He not only appears in the presence of God as our great High-Priest, to plead the merit of his sacrifice, and to bless his people; but he sits at the Father's right hand, enthroned in glory, as “the King whom God hath set upon his holy bill of Zion;" from whence he sends forth his angels as “ ministering spirits,” to minister unto the heirs of promise during their continuance in this house of their pilgrimage, till they arrive at his Father's house in heaven, where they shall be advanced to sit with bim upon his throne, and possess fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.
And now, my dear brethren, in the review of these five particulars, to which the Apostle directs our attention in proof and commendation of the grace which he celebrates, what improvement doth it become us to make of the subject?
Doth not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ call for