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32. The Good Gift

+ Luke xi. 13. 187

33. Unstable as Water

Gen. xlix. 4. 193

34. The Christian Doxology Rev. i. 5, 6. 199

35. Nehemiah

Nebem. xiii. 22. 205

36. Closet Prayer

Matt. vi. 6. 211

37. False Ways

Prov. xiv. 12. 217

38. The Self-invited Guest * Rev. iii. 20.

223

39. The Saints and the Wicked 1 Sam. ii.9. 229

40. Peace, Peace !

Isaiah lvii. 19. 235

41. Is thine heart right?

2 Kings x. 15. 241

42. Jesus receiving Sinners

Luke xv. 2. 247

43. The Ironical Permission Eccles. xi. 9. 253

44. Abraham interceding

Gen. xviii. 27. 259

45. Patient Suffering

James v. 10, 11. 265

46. Faith's Pilgrimage

Heb. xi. 13. 271

47. Advent

et Rom. xiii. 12. 277

48. The Dialogue

Sol. Song i. 7,8. 283

49. The Accuser Rebuked

Zech. iii. 2. 289

50. The Lord's Way prepared Malachi iii. 1. 295

51. Satan's Works destroyed + 1 John iii. 8. 301

52. Farewell

Acts xx. 32. 307

SERMON I.

JOHN iii. 16.- God so loved the world, that he gave

his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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HEAR what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith, unto all that truly turn to him !'-One of this description was at the very time standing before him. Nicodemus had come to profess his faith, that

a teacher sent from God.” . And he was sincere in this profession. But his faith was also very feeble, and his apprehension of divine things dark and confused. Our Lord therefore treats him as a child; not fully explaining the doctrines at which his new disciple stumbled, but fastening upon his attention a few striking truths, which might afterwards be digested by slow degrees, as the Spirit of God should enable him. Hence you will find, that almost every verse in this discourse contains one distinct sentencedesigned at one time to awaken, at another to encourage, his hearer.—My text is of the latter description. At that moment, Nicodemus could scarcely enter into the glorious consolation which it contains. Subsequent events have made it plainer; and it will be our own fault, if, in meditating upon it, we fail to “ understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” 1

1 Psalm cvii. 43.

B

It was

These words, then, declare unto us,

I. THE SOURCE OF OUR SALVATION. It originated in the love of God the Father-" God so loved the world !

We are sometimes in danger of overlooking this. We speak of the Father's justice, holiness, and truth; and of the Son as removing his anger from us, by satisfying that justice. All this is right; yet it must not be so understood, as though the Son had prevailed on the Father to do that, which he was reluctant or unwilling to do of his own accord. No-the Scriptures invariably represent him as the first mover in the work. • Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1

“ the kindness and love of God towards man” which appeared, when

according to his mercy he saved us....through Jesus Christ.' In these passages, the Father's love is set forth, as having first designed that salvation, which the love of the Father and of the Son united to ac

accomplish. Our Lord dwells upon this love, as something peculiarly worthy of observation. God so loved the world !” And was it not indeed singular--marvellous ?

When was love more condescending? What were we? dust, ashes, worms! And in whose heart was compassion towards us excited ? in the heart of Him who is higher than the highest !- When was love more unmerited ? It was kindness to those who had rebelled against lawful authority, and marred God's most glorious work; who had taken part with apostate angels; and who, when even tried and convicted, did not“ make supplication to their judge."3—When was love more free? What God hath since bestowed through Christ, is in fulfilment of covenant engagements

1 1 John iv. 10. 2 Titus iii. 4--6. 3 Job ix. 15.

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-in recompense of the Redeemer's merit. But what inducement was there for his entering into such engagements ? Why should he have begun to devise any way of salvation at all? For all this, no motive can be found, but his own free love. He was bound to nothing -could gain nothing by saving us, which he possessed not already—could lose nothing by abandoning us to our well-deserved fate. Nothing but love, then, could move him to the step which he took ; love, never to be fathomed—ever to be adored by us.

II. THE PRICE OF OUR SALVATION is here declared.—What was given that we might be saved ? He gave his only begotten Son!” It is that only begotten Son himself who tells you so.

There are several considerations here, to shew the value of this astonishing gift.

1. Christ was his Father's “ Son." This title, whatever else it may mean, (and we know that in it are contained mysteries far beyond our comprehension) undoubtedly implies dearness. God must have loved his Son, at least as much as he “ loved the world.” We are assured that he did so. “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” i - The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his

Before he came upon earth, he “was in the bosom of the Father.” 3 “ I was by him” (saith Wisdom, personating him) as one brought up with him ; I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him,"' 4 -equally loving and beloved by him.- For, moreover,

hand.”.

2. He was the Father's “ only begotten Son : ” not a stranger, adopted to some privileges of the family; but a son by birth--of the same nature—and inheriting by right all that belonged to his Father. Nor had I Matt. iii. 17. 2 John iii. 35. 3 Johni. 18. 4 Prov. viii. 30.

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And yet,

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he any to share with him those rights and that affection. God has many adopted sons—but one only begotten. Having given him, therefore, he could give no more.

3. The Father did actually “give" this his Son; his love for the world appearing to overbalance, for a time, his affection to his only begotten. To spare us, he spared not him!

But, in order to see the value of this gift, think what it was, to which the Father delivered him up, and under what circumstances he parted with him ? Did he merely go “to receive for himself a kingdom and return?i to 66 take on him the nature of angels ?” 2 or if to visit man, was it with the certainty that they will reverence my Son?3_Let his history tell ! God gave his Son to poverty, to persecution, to the contempt of man, to the treachery of false friends, and the cruel injustice of enemies. He gave him—to die ! not accidentally, through the malice of the wicked-but intentionally, according to his own decree, and their mutual covenant. A sacrifice of atonement was wanted, such as none could make but God's incarnate Son. The Son was willing—would the Father consent? Yes! the plan was his own ; and he shrunk not from its accomplishment. “ When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

In short, there were doubtless many ways, by which God might have shewn great love to a fallen world: but none could ever have equalled this! no gift could compare with this unspeakable one--" He gave his only begotten Son!” 1 Luke xix. 12. 2 Heb, ii. 16. 3 Matt. xxi. 37. 4 Gal. iv. 4, 5.,

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