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" Ye are
a peculiar people, Pet, ii. 9. The offers of Christ, indeed, are large, and general; but the application of Christ is but too few, Isa. liii. 1. The greater cause have they, to whom Christ comes, to lie with their mouths in the dust, astonished, and overwhelmed with the sense of fo peculiar and distinguishing a mercy,
Eightly, Jelus Christ is a suitable mercy, fitred, in every respect, to all our needs and wants, i Cor. i. 20. wherein the admirable wisdom of God is illustriously displayed; “ complete in him," (saith the apostle) Col. ii.-20. Are we enemics? He is reconciliation : Are we fold to sin and Satan? He is redemption : Are we condemned by the law ? He is the Lord our righteousness : Hath fin polluted us? He is a fountain opened for fio, and for uocleappels : Are we lost, by departing fiom God? he is the way to the Father. Rest is not so suitable to the weary, nor bread to the hungry, as Christ is to the sensible fioner Ninthly, Christ is an astonishing and wonderful merey;
his Name is called wonderful, lla. ix. 6. and as his name is, so is he, a wonderful Christ : His Person is a wonder. 1 Tim. iii. 16. “ Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifelted in the « flesh :"
His abasement wonderful, Phil. ii. 6. His love is a wonderful love; his redemption full of wonders; angels desire to look into it. He is, and will be admired by angels and faiuts to all eternity.
Tenthly, Jesus Christ is an incomparable, and matchless mercy; “ as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, fo is my be“ loved among the sons,” (faith the enamoured spouse) Cant. ii. 3. Draw the comparison how you will, betwixt Christ and all other enjoyments, you will find none, in heaven or earth, to equal him : He is more than all externals, as the light of the Jun is more than that of a candle : Nay, even the worst of Christ is better than the best of the world; his reproaches are better than the world's pleasures, Heb. xi. 25. He is more than all fpirituals, as the fountain is more than the fiream. He is more than justification, as the cause is more than the effect; more than fanctification, as the person himself is more than the image, or picture. He is more than all peace, all comfort, all joys, as the tree is more than the fruit. Nay, draw the comparison betwixt Christ and things external, and you will find him betier than they; for what is heaven without Christ? Plal. lxxiii. 25. " Whom have I in heaven but thee?" If Christ Mould say to the saints take heaven among you, but as for me I will withdraw myself from you ; the saints would weep, even in heaven itself,
and say, Lord, heaven will be no more heaven tó ús, except thou be there ; who art by far the better half of heaven.
Eleventhly, Christ is an unsearchable mercy; who can fully express his wonderful name? Prov. XXX. 4. Who can tell o. ver his unsearchable riches ? Eph. iii. 8. Hence it is, that fouls never tire in the study or love of Christ, becaufe new wonders are eternally rising out of him : He is a deep which no line of ang created understanding, angelical or human, can fathom.
Twelfthly, and lafily, Chrili is an everlasting mercy, “ fame yesterday, to day, and for ever,” Heb. xiii. 8. All other enjoyments are perishable, rime-eaten things ; time, like a moth, will fret them out: But the riches of Christ are durable riches, Prov. viii. 18. The graces of Christ are durable graces, Joho iv, 14. All the creatures are flowers, that appear and fade in their month; but this Rofe of Sharon, this Lilly of the Valley never withers. Thus you see the mercy performed, with its desirable properties.
Thirdly, The last thing to be opened, is the manner of God's performing his mercy to his people; which the Lord did,
1. Really, and truly, as he had promised him.
First, Really, and truly: as he had promised, so he made good the promise. Acts ii. 36. “ Let all the house of Israel know al“ suredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye cruci« fied, both Lord and Chrift."
The manifestation of Christ in the flesh, was ao phantasm, or delusion, but a molt evident and palpable truth. 1 John i. 1. " That which we have heard, which we have feen with our eyes, " which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled," A truth so certain, that the affertors of it appealed to the very enemies of Christ for the certainty thereof, Acts ii. 22. Yea, not only the facred, but prophane writers, witness to it; not on ly the evangelists and apostles, but even the heathen writers of those times, both roman and jewish, as Suetonius, Tacitus, Plini. us the younger, and Josephus the jewiso antiquary, do all ac. knowledge it.
Secondly, As God did really, and truly perform Christ the promised mercy, so he performed this promised mercy exactly, agreeable to the promises, types, and predictions made of him to the fathers, even the most minute circumstances thereof. This is a great truth for our faith to be established in . Let us there. fore cast our eyes, both upon the promises, and performances of God, with respect to Christ, the mercy of mercies. See how he VOL. II.
was represented to the fathers, long before his manifestation in the flesh; and what an one he appeared to be when he was really exhibited in it..
First, As to bis person and qualifications, as it was foretold, so it was fulfilled. His original was faid to be upsearchable, and eternal, Micah v, 2. and so he affirmed himself to be, Rev. i. 11. “ I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” John vi. 31, 32. “ Before Abraham was, I am.” His two natures, united into one perfun, were plainly foretold, Zech. xiii. 7. The man my Fellow; and such a one God performed, Rom ix. 5. His immaculate purity and holinels were foretold Dan. ix. 24. “ point the mos Holy;" some render it, the great Saint, the Prince of Saints; and such a one he was indeed, when he lived in this world. John viii. 46, “Which of you convinceth me of “ fin?" His Offices were foretold, the prophetical Office predicted, Deut. xviii. 15. and fulfilled in him, John i. 18. His priestly Office foretold, Plal. cx. 4. fulfilled, Heb. ix. 14. his kingly Office foretold, Micah v. 2. aod in him fulfilled; his very ene• mies being judges, Matth. xxvii. 37.
Secondly, As to his birth, the time, place, and manner thereof were foretold to the fathers, and exactly performed, to a tittle.
First, The time prefixed, more generally in Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xliv. 10. When the Scepter should depart from Judah, as, indeed, it did in Herod the Idumean : More particulary in Daniel's feventy weeks, from the decree of Darius, Dau, ix. 24. answering exactly to the time of his birth; fo cogent, and full of proof, that Porphyry, the great enemy of Christianş, had no other evasion, but that this prophecy was devised after the event: Which yet the Jews (as bitter enemies to Christ, as himfelf) will by no means allow to be true. And, lastly, the time of his birch was exactly pointed at in Haggai's prophecy, Hag. ii. 7, 9. compared with Mal. jii 1. He must come whillt the second temple ftood; at that time was a general expectation of him, John i. 19. and at that very time he came, Luke ii. 38,
Secondly, The place of his birth was foretold to be Bethlehem Ephrata, Micah v. 2. and so it was Mar. ii. 5, 6. to be brought up in Nazareth, Zech. vi. 12. Behold the man whose name is “ the branch.” The word is Netzer, whence is the word Nazarite. And there, indeed, was our Lord brought up, Mat. ii. 23
Thirdly, His parent was to be a virgin, Ifa, vii. 14. punctually fulfilled, Mat. i. 20, 21, 22, 23.
Luke ii. 12.
Fourthly, His stock, or tribe, was foretold to be Judah, Gen. xlix. 10. and it is evident (faith the apostle)" that our Lord
sprang out of Judah,” Heb. vii. 14.
Fifthly, His harbinger, or forerunner, was foreteld, Mal. iv. 5, 6. fulfilled in John the Baptist, Luke i. 16, 17.
Sixthly, The obscurity, and meannels of his birth were predicted, isa. liii. 2. Zech. ix. 9. to which the event answered,
Thirdly, His doctrine, and miracles were foretold, Ifa. xvi. 1, 2. Ib. xxxv. 4, 5. the accomplishment whereof in Chrift, is evideat in the history of all the evangelifts.
Fourthly, His death for us was foretold by the prophets, Dan. ix. 26, “ The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself :" lla. liii.
5. “ He was wounded for our tranfgressions.” And so he was, John xi. 50. The very kind, and manner of his death, was prefigured in the brazen serpent, his type; and answered in his death upon the cross, John iii. 14.
Fifthly, His Burial in the tomb of a rich man, was foretold, Ifa. liii. 9. and accomplished most exactly, Mat. xxvii. 59, 60.
Sixthly, His resurrection from the dead was typed out in Jo. nah, and fulfilled in Christ's abode three days and nights in the grave, Mat. xii. 49.
Seventhly, The wonderful spreading of the gospel in the world, even to the Ies of the Gentiles, was prophesied of, Ila. xlix. 6. to the truth whereof we are not only the witnesses, but the happy in frances and examples of it. Thus the promised inercy was performed.
Infer. 1. If Christ be the mercy of mercies, the medium of conveying all other mercies, from God to men: then, in vain, do men expect, and hope for mercy of God, out of Jesus Christ.
I know many poor finners comfort themselves with this, when they come upon a bed of sickness; I am sinful, but God is merciful : aod it is very true, God is merciful; plenteous in mercy; his mercy is great above the heavens; 'mercy pleaseth him: and all this they that are in Christ shall find experimentally, to their comfort and salvation. But what is all this to thee, if thou art Christless? There is not one drop of saving mercy that comes in any other channel than Christ, to the soul of any man.
But must I then expect no mercy out of Christ? This is a hard case; very uncomfortable doctrine. Yes, thou mayest be a Christless, and covenantless foul, and yet have variety of temporal mercies, as Ishmael had, Gen. xvii. 20, 21. give thee the fatnefs of the earth, riches, honours, pleasures,
a numerous and prosperous pofterity; will that content thee? Yes, yes, if I may have heaven too: No, no, neither heaven, nor pardon, nor any other spiritual, or eternal mercy, may be expected out of Christ, Jude, ver. 21. O deceive not yourselves in this point; there are two bars betwixt you and all spiritual mercies, viz. the guilt of lin, and the filth of fin: and nothing, but your own union with Christ, can remove these, and so on pen the passage for spiritual mercies to your souls.
Why, but I will repent of fin, strive to obey the commands of God, make restitution for the wrongs I have done, cry to God for mercy, bind my foul with vows, and strong resolutions again fin, for time to come: will not all this lay a groundwork for hope of mercy to my soul? No, no, this will nor, thiş. cannot do it.
Firft, All your forrows, tears, and mournings for fia, caaDot obtain mercy: could you shed as many tears for any one sia that ever you committed, as all the children of Adam have shed upon any account whatsoever, since the creation of the world ; they will not purchase the pardon of that one lin; for the law accepts do short payment ; it requires plenary fatisfaction, and will not discharge any fopl without it: nor can it acknowledge, or own your souls to be such, The repentance of a soul finds, through Christ, acceptance with God, but out of him 'tis no
Secondly, All your Arivings to obey the commands of God, and live more strictly for time to come, will not obtain mercy. Mat. v, 29. " Except your righteousness shall exceed the righte, “ ousness of the Scribes and Pharisces, ye shall in no case enter “ into the kingdom of heaven."
Thirdly, Your reftitution, and reparation of wrongs you have done, cannot obtain mercy : Judas restored, and yet was damned. Man is repaired, but God is not. Remission is the act of God, 'tis he must loose your consciences from the boud of guilt, or they can never be loosed,
Fourthly, All your cries to God for mercy, will not prevail for mercy, if you be out of Christ, Mat. vii. 22. Job xxvii, 24, A righteous judge will not reverse the just sentence of the law, though the prisoner at the bar fall upon his knees, and cry, Mercy, mercy,
Fiftbly, Your vows and engagements to God for time to come, cannot obtain mercy; for they being made in your own strength, 'tis impoffible you should keep them; and if you could, yet it is impossible they thould obtain remiffion and mercy : hould you never sin more for time to coine, yet how shall God