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prize of supreme power and mercy, this invasion and descent upon their dominions. They had heard of the design of bruising their head, overturning their government, making their slaves to revolt. Long experience had made them expert in the black art of perdition ; long success made them confident, and their malice still pushed them on to opposition, whatever be the success. As they were no doubt apprised of this designed deliverance, and alarmed at the signs of its approach, they made all preparations to oppose it, mustered all their forces, employed all their skill, and, as all was at stake, made their last efforts for a kind of decisive engagement; they armed every proper instrument, and set every engine of spiritual destruction aworking; temptations, persecutions, violence, slander, treachery, conterfeit Messiahs, and the like.

Their adversary appeared in a form that did not seem terrible ; not only as a man, but as one despised of the people, Psal. xxii. 6. accounted as a worm and no man. But this made the event more glorious. It was a spectacle worth the admiration of the uni. verse, to see the despised Galilean turn all the artillery of hell back upon itself: to see one in the likeness of the Son of man, wresting the keys of hell and death out of the hands of the devil; to see him entangling the rulers of darkness in their own nets, and making them ruin their designs with their own stratagems. They made one disciple betray him, and another deny him; they made the Jews accuse him, and the Romans crucify him : but the wonderful Counsellor was more than match for the old ser. pent ; and the Lion of the tribe of Judah too hard for the roaring lion. The devices of these powers of darkness were in the event made means of spoiling and triumphing over themselves, Col. ii. 15. The greatest cruelty of devils, and their instruments, was made subservient to the designs of the infinite mercy of God; and that hideous sin of the sons of men, overruled in a perfectly holy manner, for making an end of sin, and bringing in everlasting righteousness, Dan. ix. 24. The opposition made to this deliverance, did but advance its glory, particularly the opposition it met with from those for whose good it was intended, that is, sinners themselves. This served to enhance the glory of mysterious long-suffering

and mercy,

It would take a long time to insist on all the opposition he met with, both from the enemy of sinners, and from sinners themselves; but at last he weathered the storm, surmounted difficulties, led captivity captive, obtained a perfect conquest, purchased an everlasting inheritance, founded an everlasting kingdom, triumphed on the cross, died with the publishing his victory in his mouth, that it was finished.

The world is represented as silent before the Lord when he rose up to work this great deliverance. And, as was shown before, no part of the world was unconcerned in it. The expectation was great, but the performance could not but surpass it. Every part of it was perfect, and every circumstance graceful; nothing deficient, nothing superfluous, nothing but what became the dignity of the person, and the eternal wisdom of the contrivance. Every thing was suited to the glorious design, and all the means proportioned to the end. The foundation of the everlasting kingdom was laid, before it was observed by the men that opposed it, and so laid that it was im. possible for the gates of hell to prevail against it; all things adjusted for completing the deliverance, and for securing it against all endeavours and attempts to overturn it. The great Deliverer, in that low disguise, wrought through his design, so as none could oppose it without advancing it, to the full satisfaction of that infinite wisdom that devised it, and the eternal admiration of the creatures that beheld it.

The Father was well pleased ; heaven and earth rejoiced, and was astonished; the powers of hell fell down like lightning. In heaven, loud acclamations and applauses, and new songs of praises, began that

are not ended yet, and never will; they will still increase ; still new redeemed criminals from earth, saved from the gates of hell, and entering the gates of heaven, with a new song of praise in their mouths, add to the ever-growing melody, of which they shall never weary; for that is their rest, their labour of love, never to rest, day nor night, giving praise and glory to him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb at his right hand, who redeemed them from all nations and tongues, washing them in his own blood, and making them kings and priests unto God.

But still an objection may be made concerning the little honour and respect this work met with on earth where it was performed. This, duly considered, instead of being an objection, is a commendation of it. Şin had so corrupted the taste of mankind that it had been a kind of reflection on this work, if it had suited it. Herein the beauty of it appears, that it was above that depraved, wretched taste which it was designed to cure; and that it did actually work that change on innumerable multitudes of nations.

If the cross of Christ met with much contempt on earth, it met also with incomparable honour. It made the greatest revolution in the world that ever happened since the creation, or that ever will happen till Shiloh come again : a more glorious, a more lasting change than ever was produced, by all the princes and conquerors in the world. It conquered multitudes of souls, and established a sovereignty over men's thoughts, wills, and affections. This was a conquest to which human power hath no proportion. Persecutors turned apostles; and vast numbers of Pagans, after knowing the cross of Christ, suffered death and torments cheerfully to honour it. The growing light shone from East to West; and opposition was not only useless, but subservient to it. The changes it produced, are sometimes described by the prophets in the most magnificent expressions ; thus for instance, Isa. xxxv. 7. it turned the parched

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ground into pools of waters; made the habitations of dragons to become places of grass, and reeds, and rushes ; made wildernesses to bud and blossom as the rose. It wrought this change among us in the utmost isles of the Gentiles. We ought to compare our present privileges with the state of our forefathers before they knew this blessed object; and we will find it owing 'to the glory of the cross of Christ, that we who are met here to-day, to worship the living God in order to the eternal enjoyment of him, are not worshipping sun, moon, and stars, or sacrificing to idols.

But the chief effects of the cross of Christ, and which shew most of its glory, are its inward effects on the souls of men. There, as was before hinted, it makes a new creation ; Christ is formed in them, the source and the hope of glory. This is a glorious workmanship, the image of God on the soul of man. But since these effects of the cross of Christ are secret, and the shame put upon it ofttimes too public, and since human nature is so much influenced by example; it will be useful to take such a view of the honour done to this object, as may arm us against the bad example of stupid unbelievers.

The cross of Christ is an object of such incomparable brightness, that it spread a glory round it to all the nations of the earth, all the corners of the universe, all the generations of time, and all the ages of eterni. ty. The greatest actions or events that ever happen. ed on earth, filied with their splendour and influence, but a moment of time, and a point of space.

The splendour of this great object fills immensity, and eternity. If we take a right view of its glory, we will see it contemplated with attention, spreading influence, and attracting looks, from times past, present, and to come; heaven, earth, and hell; angels, saints, devils. We will see it to be both the object of the deepest admiration of the creatures, and the perfect approbation of the infinite Creator. We will see the best part of mankind, the church of God, for four thousand years looking forward to it before it happened; new generations yet unborn rising up to admire and honour it, in continual successions, till time shall be no more ; innumerable multitudes of angels and saints looking back to it with holy transport, to the remotest ages of eternity. Other glories decay by length of time: if the splendour of this object change, it will be only by increasing. The visible sun would spend his beams in process of time, and as it were grow dim with age; this object hath a rich stock of beams, which eternity cannot exhaust. If saints and angels grow in knowledge, the splendour of this object will be still increasing ; it is unbelief that intercepts its beams; unbelief takes place only on earth, there is no such thing in heaven or in hell. It will be a great part of future blessedness, to remember the object that purchased it; and of fu. ture punishment, to remember the object that offered deliverance from it. It will add life to the beams of love in heaven, and makes the flames of hell burn fiercer. Its beams will not only adorn the regions of light, but pierce the regions of darkness. It will be the desire of the saints in light, and the great eyesore of the prince of darkness and his subjects.

Its glory produces powerful effects wherever it shines. They who behold this glory are transformed into the same image, 2 Cor. iii. 18. An Ethiopian may look long enough to the visible sun before it change his black colour; but this does it. It melts cold and frozen hearts, it breaks stony hearts, it pierces adamants, it penetrates through thick dark

How justly is it called marvellous light, i Pet. ii. 9. ! It gives eyes to the blind to look to itself, and not only to the blind, but to the dead. It is the light of life, a powerful light, its energy is beyond the force of thunder; and it is more mild than the dew on the tender grass.

But it is impossible fully to describe all its effects, unless we could fully reckon up all the spiritual and eternal evils it prevents, all the riches of grace and glory it purchases, and all the divine perfections it displays. It has this peculiar to it, that as it is full

ness.

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