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the value of immortal souls; the vanity of earthly distinctions; the misery of the most prosperous transgressors; the malignity of sin; the lost state of man; the presumptuous nature of every selfrighteous confidence; the inestimable value of this foundation for our hope; the sinner's motives and encouragements to repentance, and the believer's obligations to the most self-denying and devoted obedience to his reconciled God and Father.—He therefore, who truly believes and understands this doctrine, and who glories in the cross of Christ alone, habitually gives his eternal concerns a decided preference to every worldly object. He feels an earnest desire to promote the salvation of mankind, especially of those who are most dear to him. He is “ crucified to the
world, and the world to him.” He repents of all his sins, forsaking and hating them, and seeking the crucifixion of every sinful propensity. Though he entirely renounces all confidence, save in the unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus, he yet deems it his pleasure, privilege, and honour, to “live to him, wlio died for him “and rose again.” The example and love of Christ reconcile him to reproach, contempt, selfdenial, and persecution for righteousness' sake; and dispose him to forgiveness, love of enemies, enlarged benevolence, and whatever can “ adorn " the doctrine of God our Saviour."
Whilst we would therefore “contend earnestly " for the faith once delivered to the saints," we would also caution every one not to " imprison " the truth in unrighteousness.” They, who vilify the atonement, are not the only “ enemies of " the cross of Christ :” for, such as hold the doctrine in a carnal heart, and disgrace it by a sensual life, fall under the same condemnation.' It is to be feared, that many, who are zealous against the fatal Socinian heresy, are tainted with the abominable infection of Antinomianism: and that numbers of another description, who contend for the doctrine of the atonement, do nevertheless rest their hope of salvation principally upon their own moral goodness, and not on the merits and expiatory sufferings of Christ. But, as that “God of all grace," " who spared not “ his own son, but delivered him up for us all,” will " with him freely give all things” to the true believer; so, assuredly in his awful justice he will not spare any of those, who oppose, neglect, or abuse his great salvation : for “our God is a con** suming fire.”
ESSA Y X.
On the Exaltation of Christ, and his Appearance in
the presence of God in our behalf.
When our Saviour upon the cross was about to commend his spirit into the Father's hand, he said, “
" It is finished.” Whatever the types had prefigured, or the prophets foretold, concerning bis obedience, conflicts, and sufferings; whatever the glory of God, the honour of the law, or the rights and satisfaction of divine justice, required; and whatever was necessary, in order to his own final victory, triumph, and exaltation at the right hand of the Father, as our Advocate and Friend, was then fully accomplished; that is, as far as it could be, previously to his death, which immediately followed. He then became conqueror over the world, sin, and Satan, (triumphing over them, even on the cross;) and, having consecrated the grave by his burial, to be a sacred repository for the bodies of his disciples, he arose on the third day a mighty Victor over the king of terrors : and at that crisis commenced the glory which was to follow his sufferings.
The evidences of our Lord's resurrection have been already considered ;' the ends answered by that great event may here be briefly mentioned. He thus confirmed, beyond all reasonable doubt, every part of the doctrine which he had taught; proving especially that he was the Son of God, in the peculiar and appropriate sense, in which he had claimed that high relation to the Father, and for which he had been condemned as a blasphemer. He fully evinced, that his atonement had been accepted, and had-effectually answered those great and gracious purposes, for which it had been made. He thus became capable of possessing in our nature the mediatorial throne, which had been covenanted to him as the reward of his obedience and sufferings; and to appear, as our Advocate and Intercessor, in the presence of the Father: being our Brother, and glorying in that condescending relation to us. And finally, he was the first-fruits of the general resurrection, the earnest and pledge of that grand and interesting event.
I shall not further enlarge on the circumstances of our Lord's resurrection, or on the instructious that may be deduced from it: but as his mediation is naturally divided into two distinct parts, it regularly falls within the plan of this work, to consider at present that part which he now performs in his heavenly glory, as we before did, that which he fulfilled during his humiliation on earth. From
Essay I. p. 14–17.
the depth of his voluntary abasement, “he as" cended
far above all heavens, that he might “fill all things.” He then “led captivity captive, “and received gifts for men, yea, for the rebel“lious also; that the Lord God might dwell
" For the heavens must re“ ceive him, until the restitution of all things.” “ I go,” says lie to bis disciples, " to prepare a
and if I go to prepare a place for you;
I will come again and receive you to my"self, that where I am there ye may be also.3”We will therefore, in this Essay, point out the purposes for which Jesus, “our Forerunner, hath for
us entered into heaven,” and the means by which he prepares the way for our admission to the same place of holy felicity.
The royal prophet introduces Jehovah declaring with an oath, which,denoted, “ the immutabi
lity of his counsel,” that the Messiah was constituted “a Priest for ever, after the order of Mel“chizedek ;4” and the apostle' thence argues, that the Aaronick priesthood was never intended to be perpetual. Now Melchizedek’s priesthood especially differed from that of Aaron, in that it united the regal power with the sacerdotal office; which showed that the Messiab was to be a Priest upon a throne, 5 »
Before we proceed with the
Ps. Ixviii. 18. Eph. iv. 7-16. ? Acts iii. 21. 3 John xiv. 2, 3.
4 Ps. cx. 4. Gen, xiv. 18. Heb. vii, 5 Zeca vi. 12, 13,