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áre we of little faith? we may, if we believe the doctrine of Christ's divinity, apply to Jesus for increase of every grace; we may say to him as the disciples did, “ Lord, increase our faith;" we may unto him, « Lord, we believe, help thou our unbelief.” If we deny the divinity of the Son of God, we cannot con. sistently approach him in prayer: we cannot say, with the apostle, “this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." If we believe, as the apostles did, in Jesus, we may have the same kind of confidence that they had : we may, with them, pray to Jesus, and trust in him as the hearer of prayer. If
face we are beset with temptations, if thorns in the flesh, messengers of Satan, are sent to buffet us, we may beseech the Lord that they may depart from us; and he that heard the apostle will hear us, and either de. liver us from the temptations, by removing them, or he will afford us sufficient strength to resist them. His grace is sufficient for us: his strength is made perfect in weakness. Are we weak in ourselves ? In Christ we have strength, and are made strong, yea, able to do all things through his strength : “I can do all things," says the apostle, “through Christ which strengthened me.” In the belief of this doc- , trine of our holy faith, we have an holy confidence towards God the Father, as a reconciled Father, and a comfortable assurance that he will hear and graci. ously answer the prayer of faith addressed to him in the name of Jesus. He presents the prayer of his people, their spiritual offerings and sacrifices, unto the Father, perfumed with sacred incense, being our great high priest, who ever liveth to make intercession for us; him the Father hearetha always, and in him he is always well pleased. But if we deny the divinity of our Mediator, advocate, intercessor, and high priest, we can have no reason to hope that E! Father will hear our prayer: In fact, we do not pe"
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through the Mediator, and our prayers are not the prayers of faith, if we do not depend upon the intercession of our great high priest; and how can we depend upon his intercession, if he be but a man, or an angel?
Thirdly, let us improve this doctrine of our holy faith, to the confirmation of our hope of eternal life, that so we may have good hope through grace, as the “anchor of our souls both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb. vi. 19. Eternal life is the highest and most glorious object of hope, and this eternal life is in the. Son of God; it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ. “This," says the apostle, “is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son; he that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the '. Son of God.” And again; “ we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true: and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Christ Jesus; this is the true God and eternal life.”-1. John, v. If we cannot believe that the Son of God is the true God; if the apostle erred in saying that he is the true God, may he not have erred in saying that he is eternal life? How can we depend upon the record above mentioned " God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son ?" If the Son is not the true God, what dependence can we have upon the scrip- . tures? And what hcpe can we have in Christ, as the giver of eternal life, and the bread of life, if he is not the true God ?
The doctrine of Christ's divinity establishes the · hope of believers, even their hope of eternal life, upon
a solid foundation They behold in Jesus the Son of
to take a fall in Saviour in his opus,
God, an all-sufficient, an almighty Saviour: they can say, with the psalmist, “in God is our salvation and our glory, the rock of our strength and our refuge is in God.” And as this doctrine establishes the hope of believers, so it is the source and spring of their spiritual consolation : they that believe in the Son of God as their God and Saviour, as the Lord their righteousness, and as their compassionate Redeemer, may well be filled with all joy in believe ing in the Son of God. The great mystery of godliness pours the balm of consolation into the wounded heart and troubled soul: God was manifest in the flesh, and we know that “he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin."- I. John, ijä. Was God manifested in the flesh? was he manifested to take away our sins? and can the sacred and blessed work fail in his hands ? Is the great Immanuel the redeeming Saviour? did he die for us? did he redeem his church with his own blood ? Was he who knew no sin made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him? Who then shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? who shall condemn us, if God justifies us? who shall impute sin unto us if Christ has redeened us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us, and by having borne our sins in his body on the tree?" Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth : who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Come then, sinner, come in faith, and adore the mercy of thy glorious Saviour; come and lay thy sins and guilt at the foot of his cross; come to Jesus for salvation, for pardon, for righteousness, and for sanctification : he is the very Saviour you want; in him all fulness dwells; he is able to save even to the uttermost all that come to the Father by him. • Jesus will not refuse you his salvation : he will not cast out those that come to him: he will not break the bruis
ed reed, nor quench the smoking flax: he will bind up the broken-hearted, and comfort all the mourners in Zion.-" If any man thirst,” says Christ, “let him come unto me and drink : he that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” And elsewhere; "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”—John, vii. Jesus can pour down upon his people the sacred influence of his holy spirit, and fill our souls with divine consolation, light, and love.
Fourthly, let us improve this doctrine practically, to the increasing of our love to God the Father, and to the Son Christ Jesus. The love of the Father appears most conspicuously in his unspeakable gift : “ in this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." I. John, iv. The Father hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He gave us his well beloved Son, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person: he gave us his Son, in whom he delighted from all eternity; yea, for our sakes he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up to the death for us all. Though God consulted his own honour and glory in this stupendous dispensation, yet Divine love and compassion shine forth with transcendent lustre and brightness : in this dispensation we see that God is love. Had God sent the highest' angel in heaven to save us (if salvation could be the work of an angel) this would have been great love; but herein is love, and in this was manifested the love of God, because that God sent his only begotten Son, that we might live through him. When Abraham by faith offered up his only son, Isaac, the angel of the Lord said unto him, now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast
not withheld thy Son, thine only Son, from me:" the stress is laid upon these words, thy Son, thine only Son: as this was the highest act of Abraham's faith, fear, love, and obedience, so God's giving his own Son, his only begotten Son, his well beloved Son, is the greatest act and most glorious manifestation of Divine love, love unspeakable and incomprehensible. So great is the love of God in giving us his own Son, that upon this manifestation of love the apostle builds his hope of receiving from the God of love every needful grace and blessing. “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up to the death for us all, how shall lie not with him also freely give us all things ?” Every blessing, every precious gift of God to his church, here and hereafter, grace, glory, and eternal life, are all summed up in this one unspeakable gift of God, his own Son Christ Jesus. If our love to God is to be excited by a believing view of his love to us; if we love him, because he first loved us, then that doctrine which gives us 'the brightest and most glorious view of Divine love to sinners must, as a practical doctrine, have the strongest tendency to excite and increase our love to God, and therefore must be most practically useful: but no doctrine can show the love of God to sinners in such a glorious point of view, as the doctrine of the incarnation, life, sufferings, and death of the Son of God. ; And for the increasing of our love to Jesus, our compassionate Saviour, let us consider, that he who 'loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, is the Son of God, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. · The true way to increase our love to Christ Jesus is to dwell with sacred delight and rapture upon his love to us; and the true way to estimate his love, if love unspeakable can be estimated, is to view the dignity and glory of him who loved us, and manifested his love in his divine condescension, and in his lowly humiliation. The love of Christ passeth knowledge;