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cause it ought to be the sum and sub- Now you will observe how suited stance of every missionary message to man's estate is the message before to the perishing heathen, and to the us. For FIRST OF ALL, CHRIST IS THE house of Israel.
In the thirtyIf you will observe attentively the eighth verse we read, " How GOD sermon before us, it contains one anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the great truth developed in several Holy Ghost and with
who went ways. The great truth is, that God about doing good, and healing all that has sent us a message of peace by were oppressed of the devil : for God Jesus Christ. This truth is deve- was with him.” There was an express loped in several ways, because it is design, as it were, that Christ should made to rest on.
himself be a preacher of his peace, First of all —Christ being the anoint- because by this very method God seed preacher of this peace.
cures, in the eyes of his people, their Secondly-Christ being its procurer full approbation and their full consent, by his sufferings and resurrection. that this peace must be exceedingly
Thirdly-Christ being its bestower valuable. It is not preached to us in the remission of sins.
merely by Moses or by the prophets, And Fourthly-Christ being the or even by the angelic host themselves, decider in the great day of his coming, when they said, 'good will and when he finally confirms the peace of peace to men.” But the Lord Jesus his people.
Christ himself was the anointed proNow the blessing of peace is one phet of his church, and he himself was sought after universally, inasmuch as the preacher of the very peace which it is a word synonymous with men's from age to age he communicates to happiness; and if we ask men of all his people. This, I say, secures every tribe, nation, country, and va. its entrance, and recommends its rious pursuit, what was their object adaptation to every one that is taught in life, they would all, more or less, of God; for they are enabled thus to declare that they were in pursuit of reason, that that peace must be unhappiness. Now God saw that all the speakably precious, of which Christ is attempts of man to obtain happiness not only the sum and substance and were vain in himself; and, therefore, the procurer, but which he even conour text declares that God sent Jesus descended to preach himself to the sons Christ preaching peace.
And God of men. saw, secondly, that man was not only Now there is a peculiar stress to without peace, but was unable to pro- be laid on the words that “God anointcure peace, and therefore Jesus Christ ed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy obtained that peace for him. In the Ghost,” because it intimates to us, one way we are led to see man as an that if Christ was a mere man he empty creature, and in the other we could not preach peace in the same are led to see man as a weak, sinful, way as the Apostle sets him out, and feeble creature; and hence, in a “ Jesus of Nazareth the Lord of all.” peace so constituted, sensible that they There is therefore a beautiful union, have no happiness within naturally, and a requisite union in the person of nor by any means they can invent can Christ; for when he comes they procure happiness, those who are Lord of all, he comes preaching the its partakers, are led to rejoice in the very peace that he bestows; if he was truth, that God has sent a message of a mere creature, we might say, that peace to the sons of men.
were going again to creature
springs, and that we were about again | Here, then, in the first place, Christ to seek our happiness in the arm of is the preacher. flesh, when God hath said, “ Cursed We observe, SECONDLY, THAT CHRIST is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh the arm of flesh his strength." This is stated in the thirty-ninth and If Christ was a creature, however high, fortieth verses,
“ And we
are wit. however exalted in God's creation, nesses of all things which he did, both yet still we might naturally shrink in the land of the Jews and in Jeru. from the idea of depending on a crea- salem ; whom they slew and hanged ture, or a creature's word. But he is on a tree. Him God raised up the LORD of all-he is God over all. He third day, and shewed him openly." is omnipotent in his power—and he Now here is Christ set forth as the is gracious in his gifts to the full one who made peace, and procured amount of Divine love, and Divine peace for his people. We find the wisdom, and Divine power. So then Apostle Paul, in his first chapter of the we are enabled to look on this great Epistle to the Colossians, and the preacher as the Lord of all; and yet twentieth verse, saying, “ And, having he is set out to us as Jesus of Naza. made peace through the blood of his reth in his manhood, inasmuch cross, by him to reconcile all things Jesus was his incarnation name, the unto himself; by him, I say, whether name connected with his taking our they be things in earth, or things in flesh upon him. So that he preaches
heaven. And you, that were somepeace from sympathy as well as from times alienated, and enemies in your infinite power; and he knew in his mind by wicked works, yet now hath manhood, and from the sufferings of he reconciled, in the body of his flesh his manhood, and from the sensibi- through death, to present you holy, lities of his manhood, and from the
and unblameable, and unreproveable weakness of his manhood, how peces- in his sight.” The peace which the sary a requisite peace must be to Lord Jesus Christ procured was purthe sons of men.
Christ in his man- chased at the expense of his own sufhood had a need of peace, because ferings ; and if I may so speak, his Christ in his manhood had a need of giving up his own peace. He not only support; and, therefore, it is expressly came to preach peace, and to suffer said, that “ Jesus of Nazareth was agony; but in the very procuring this anointed with the Holy Ghost.” The peace, his own soul suffered the deHoly Ghost was not given by measure sertion of his Father's countenence, unto him, that is to say, the fulness and his Father's presence; and he of the Holy Ghost was given unto was obliged to cry out in his agonies Christ's manhood, that he might by on the cross, “My God, my God, the very enjoyment which he had, why hast thou forsaken me?" and the very close union which his god- Now, the great truth then that the head and manhood possessed, pour Christian learns when he stands on out on his people with a sympathising Calvary, and beholds the sorrows of heart that very peace which was to be Christ, and the agonies of Christ, is this their portion for time and eternity. —how precious that peace must be since Oh, my friends, it is a blessed truth it flows to my soul through the blood that he was Jesus of Nazareth in all of my Redeemer-since it was conthe sensibilities, and in all the weak- nected with the agonies of Jesus of ness of our nature, upheld by the Nazareth ; and before he could leave wonderful power of the Holy Ghost. this legacy, “My peace I leave you," he was obliged to seal his will by great truth, that Christ by his work, his own blood. He conveyed it to us once finished, has procured peace for in a manner that enriches it in the all that believe in him. Christian's view, and in a manner But we must advance one step more that strips the poor proud Pharisee, in the fact of Christ's procuring peace. and the poor proud sinner of all pre. Observe, the Apostle connects his tensions to receive it upon his own death with his resurrection, in the next merits. It teaches us, in fact, that verse, “Him God raised up the third it is not only a valuable peace, but that day, and showed him openly.” Now it has been effected by Christ alone ; this I mention, because we too often and it is just because the sons of men suppose that the work of Christ was have no eye of faith to behold Christ finished when he died, whereas, in crucified, because they cannot see the fact, the work of Christ was not finishwonders of Calvary, that ever self- ed till he rose again. He had to conrighteousness has been known in the tend not only with death in its agoworld, or that a proud Pharisee has nies, but he had to contend with death ever existed. But bring any sinner to in its very chamber. He entered into Christ crucified, and show him that, or the regions of death, and he disposrather let the Holy Ghost show him sessed the strong man of his power, Christ, and he cannot be a Pharisee in his own palace, in his kingdom. any longer. He is convinced, once for And this is the glory of the resurall, that he has no part, or share, or rection, that Christ comes out to his portion in procuring the peace ; that people in his risen and in his glorified the absurd idea which runs in the humanity-not in his suffering and hunatural mind of making his peace with miliated humanity-as the Prince of God is full of opposition to the truth, Peace, announcing to the world that he that Christ has made peace by the has broken all the shackles, and all the blood of his cross; and, therefore, every bonds of death—that he has contended one who depends, in the slightest de- with the prince of the power of the gree, on his own efforts, or uses one air, and with him that had the power effort to make peace with God, in the of death, that is the devil, and that he sense of procuring it, independently of subdued him and conquered him in Christ, that man is practically an in- his own kingdom, and that he rose fidel, that man is practically turned triumphant to preach peace to his away from Jesus, who will admit of people. It is for this reason that the no condition, no partnership, no com- New Testament lays such a stress upon promise, no union between himself and the resurrection of Christ, and we the sinner in the procuring of this peace. never should separate the one from He will take it on himself altogether, the other, or suppose the death of and he will have nothing to do with Christ was more essential than his the man who attempts to do any thing resurrection, since the work of Christ to make his peace with God. He is a whole, composed of parts, every calls on the poor sinner to receive the one of which was essential to his vi. peace that he has procured, and he carious work. So far, then, we see calls on the guilty rebel to receive the Christ as the procurer. message of peace simply as a recipient, Now, then, let us attend, in the without money, and without price ; THIRD PLACE, to the blessings proand, if I may so speak, without effort, mised. We read in the forty-third and without condition. My friends, verse, “ To him gave all the prowe cannot speak too plainly on this phets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall re- | ing in that they may have peace, and ceive remission of sins.” You ob- the remission of their sins. But here serve, my beloved friends, that Christ comes the limitation. It is said es. IS HERE THE BESTOWER OF PEACE. He pressly in our text, “that whosoever not only announces the peace as the believeth in him shall receive remis. anointed preacher; and he not only sion of sins.” There is no idea in procures the peace as the dying vic- Scripture that any but the elect, any tim, and the risen and triumphant but the church of God, are washed in Saviour, but he also bestows the peace the blood of Christ. There is the cir. in a limited and a peculiar manner. cle within the circle ; and here is God And herein exists the great difference in his own sovereignt; dispensing his between the redemption of Christ and gifts, bestowing on his own chosen the pardon of Christ. He redeems people the peculiar blessing of the forman as man because he bore his na- giveness of sins. So that it is much ture. He redeemed man in his mi- to be lamented, that any in modern sery and wretchedness, and died for days should set out a doctrine like the sins of men universally. He re- universal pardon, or that because deemed man as a creature which he churches and preachers have gone too identified with himself, and, therefore, far on the side of limiting the redempthere is an extensiveness and a gene- tion, and the preaching of the Gospel, rality thrown over the redemption of that, therefore, they should be driven Christ in the Scriptures, which we to the opposite error of confounding cannot fail to remark, inasmuch as the church with the world, and the it is said, “ He gave himself a ran- world with the church. It is a solemn som for all ;” and, inasmuch as he is and a simple truth, that none but a said to have given his life "for the believer has the forgiveness of sins, sins of men."
and that not on account of his believ. Now all these expressions have ing, but simply in believing, inasmuch something more than merely speaking as God has appointed both the means of national distinctions. They seem and the blessing, and in that peculiar to imply and to intimate, that there and special channel the believer comes is in Christ, as a redeeming Saviour, into the possession of the designed and as a ransom presented to the blessing of God. Faith, then, is no. Father, an adequacy for the sins of thing more than the hand that receives the whole world, in order that in the --faith is only the channel that conproclamation of the message no sin veys the waters from the fountain of ner may despair, and none may com- life to the poor thirsty soul. God has mence at the wrong end, with the de- connected faith with the forgiveness sire of climbing up into heaven, and of sins, not because of any virtue or seeing if their names are written in any merit, or any efficacy in faith the Lamb's book of life, and whether itself, but because it bas an approthey have been amongst the selected priating quality, it has the power of number whom Christ will bring to receiving and valuing the blessing it glory, but that the book of redemp- receives, and estimating that mercy tion might be thrown open, and thrown which is conferred on the soul. open in all its universality and exten- But the Apostle says further in this siveness, and thereby that any and verse, “To him gave all the prophets every one of the sons of men might be witness, that through his name, whoinvited to come to that as a full and soever believeth in him shall receive overflowing fountain, and that believ- remission of sins." It is a delightful thing sometimes to look back on the a rod.” But here is his love to their prophetic declarations, and to trace in persons—“ nevertheless, my lovingall the passages of the prophetic word kindness will I not take away, nor the glorious truth, that all the ser- suffer my faithfulness to fail them." vants of GOD were washed in the same Now, in the midst of their sins God's fountain. When we open the book of loving-kindness is by no means di. Psalms we find it continually repeats minished; but his very loving-kind. this delightful message of the remission
ness, if I may so speak, is exerted to of sins. Thus, in the thirty-second them in the language of gracious rePsalm, “Blessed is he whose trans- buke, in the language of the kindest gression is forgiven, whose sin is chastisement, and in the language of covered.” In the hundred and third fraternal exhortation to bring them Psalm, “ Bless the LORD, O my soul ; | back into the enjoyment of his own and all that is within me, bless his presence, and the light of his counteholy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. The remission of sins is often dwelt Who forgiveth all thine iniquities : upon by the Prophets as well as by who healeth all thy diseases.” And the Psalmist. We find that the Proin the middle of the same Psalm, we phet Isaiah assures his people, the find that this forgiveness is so com- Jews, “though your sins be as scarlet, plete and so perfect, that “as far as they shall be as white as snow.” This the east is distant from the west, so is the first figure he makes use of. He far hath God removed our iniquities makes use of another figure when he from us ;” and inasmuch as the east says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth and the west shall never meet together, out thy iniquity as a cloud, and thy never be united, never lose their places, transgressions as a thick cloud.” In so the sins of the believer never shall the one he washes away the defilement, approach him in any degree whatever; and in the other he destroys and blots but once removed are always equally out its magnitude ; and just as the removed in the midst of his darkness, sun in its risen power consumes and in the midst of his temptation, and blots out the cloud from the face of even in the midst of his follies. There heaven, so do the rays of Christ's is no hatred of God to his soul; there mercy and love blot out for ever the is an hatred of God to his sin. He sins of his people from the light of sees the sins of his children, but not God's countenance, and even from to be angry with them, not to hate their own souls. We find that the them, (if I may so speak) not to hate prophets have so many passages on them and cast them off; but he sees this subject that we could not attempt their sins to correct them, and he sees to refer to them all, but we would just their sins to punish them, in order bring one forward from the Prophet that they may be sanctified, and that Micah, where he represents, in his sethey may be delivered from that which venth chapter, God not only washing is the greatest of all miseries. So that away the defilement of sin, and blotting the question, whether God sees sin in out its magnitude, but casting it out of a believer, is also answered very sim- his sight for ever, so that it shall never ply from Scripture" If thy children be remembered by him, declaring that forsake my laws, I will visit their in- he will cast all their iniquities into iquities.” God saw their iniquities. the depths of the sea.” Now, this is "I will visit their iniquities with an expression so delightful, that it stripes, and their transgressions with shows us that God, when he forgives