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Wonder not, my brethren, that I am intense. I am not mad I speak the words of truth and soberness: and did I to-night fling the very essence of life, as a sacrifice for the salvation of these deathless spirits, it would not be beyond what the majesty of the subject requires. Sinners ! now you may be lost if you please; but go and remember, that your damnation is your own act, and tnat you have struck a suicide upon your souls. Of one thing I am determined, and there are many that will follow me-to go again to the altar of atonement, to remember, in deep humility, that I have need of mercy: and there to seek a new application of the power of the death, and of the power of the resurrection; and entreat to be kept faithful unto death, that I may receive the crown of life. “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." And let all the people say, “Amen."
GOD THE AUTHOR OP SALVATION.
RBV. T. MYERS, A.M.
“Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.”—Psalm iii. 8.
If there be one word which should suggest unto fallen man thoughts of more intense interest than another, it is the word “Salvation.” Were we conscious of the full extent of our wanderings from the pathway of holiness, we should be surprised at the loving-kindness which hath revealed it to us. While it is eloquent of deliverance, it reminds us of ruin. , It raises us indeed by the whisperings of hope, but then it humbles us by the discovery of our wretchedness. And if we dwell upon the history of man the civilized, or man the savage, and gather notices of the open defiance with which he treats the authority of Godof the recklessness with which he breaks God's commandments, and the misery which it delighits him to bring upon his fellows—then might feelings of astonishment well nigh overwhelm us, that such beings as we are should be blessed with the visitings of mercy. God's goodness, we know, and his wisdom spread themselves as a mantle orer every the least work of his fashioning; but it may be that in man's case alone, is displayed the putting forth of his mercy. We are taught by the Almighty that all the costly things of creation could never equal in value one human soul—that spark lit up by Deity when breathing upon dust ; thence we can well understand that he hath ever watched it with a ceaseless guardianship, and would not suffer it to go down to perdition, without providing for its rescue and offering it deliverance. Grandeur there is, and majesty, in those golden lamps which are hung about the firmament; but were an eclipse to go forth upon each one of their shinings, the darkness would be nothing to that occasioned by the crushing one rebellious soul. Its very preciousnes
ness was turned, as it were, by mercy in its favour; and thus it became possible that the rebel one, and the guilty, should be cheered by tidings of salvation.
And when we further call to mind what this word includes —not merely escape from wrath, but partnership in triumph; not merely rescue from captivity, but admission to sonship; not merely the rolling away of the curse, but the shedding down of the blessing—then may we naturally wonder that this message of gladness is so neglected by mankind. “ Salvation” is a word of such frequent utterance, that it falls upon our ears as an idle thing, and a worthless. We have heard it repeated so often, from the days of childhood, through the years of manhood, that familiarity with the sound hath taken off much of impression from the sense. Hence, there is much necessity that the heralds of its mysteries should, from time to time, present the same truths under a variety of aspects,
and to mingle the oldness of matter, and the newness of manner; that the attention being arrested by what is pleasing, the heart may be impressed by what is profitable. Wheresoever we turn, whatsoever we survey, all, with one single exception, “ belongeth unto the Lord.” Jf we could perform what David could only desiremif we could hasten away from one gorgeous world unto another, and could gather within a glance the endless retinue of star, and sun, and planet, we could never gaze upon the minutest atom which belongeth not unto Jehovah. Sin is the only workmanship throughout creation which He fashioned not. Angel hath disobeyed, and man hath disobeyed. Through sin, God's image on man's soul hath become sepulchred in dust ; and it is just because this stain is upon it, and this pollution is upon it, which belong not unto the Creator—that we have this day to announce to you the means of its restoration, as belonging exclusively unto the Lord.
The subject, then, to which we would direct your remaining meditations is, God's plan of saving sinners ; and we would attempt to lead your devotions by explaining simply the separate offices of God the Father, Son, and Spirit, in devising, executing, and applying, salvation : thus showing how in each case we arrive at David's conclusion, that “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.” And may that Almighty One in whom we trust, be with us, and guide us securely away from all error, and lead us safely into all truth!
That was an hour of melancholy sadness when the woman gave unto the man “and he did eat." The act itself was neither holy nor unholy, but it was breaking a command : and hence an outward proof of the state of feeling within. The state of mind into which Adam must have passed before he could venture to taste or to touch; here was the sin~here the disobedience. We may search through the length and breadth of creation for an excuse for Adam, and can find none. He was not over-mastered by superior cunning ; be, says St. Paul, was not deceived." He was surrounded by all that could minister to his longings: he held communings with all that could strengthen his allegiance; he was warned against all that could seduce him from holiness. He was created free to stand, and free to fall—perfectly holy, yet capable of sinning
will instantly perceive that there can be no holiness in any being without the power of transgressing.) Like ourselves, he could be biassed by opposing inotives ; being sustained by direct ministerings of loftier spirits, yet not completely warded off from the assailings of evil ones. Had it been impossible for him to disobey, then would his freedom from iniquity be nothing but a mockery of obedience. We hold, however, that though Adam fell, the Almighty set up a sufficient defence around him to keep him from falling; so that upon himself alone must be laid all the guilt of the fall. He was not placed in any wild and thorny region, ignorant of the destinies committed to his keeping, or of the foes by which he was surrounded. He was in every sense, self destroyed. As the Almighty had nothing to do with his wandering away into the desert, so it is, entirely of free mercy if ever he be invited back to the fold. And alas! sorrow and sighing have ever since been the result of this one sad act; the going down of man's body into the dust whence it was taken—and the passing away of man's spirit to a heritage of wailing for ever.
If we would fully understand how we ourselves are affected by this sin of our
forefather, we may gather much from the fifth chapter of Romans. We there learn that he was dealt with as the representative of the whole race. God entered into covenant with him in behalf of all men. If he broke not the law, then would he win for himself, and each one of his offspring, the crown and the glory, without tasting death or needing resurrection. If he transgressed, then all must be involved in the same ruin-all heirs to the same legacy of the crime and the curse.
Had he been alone in the obedience or the misery, the angels who beheld the experiment might not have felt surprize at its result : but knowing him the covenant-head of all future generations, the keeper of the destinies of countless millions, his fall became of all things the most improbable.
Now we introduce such thoughts as these, to shew, not only that all are equally in need of redemption, but that none hath the slightest right to ask it of the Lord. But if such a blessing be possible, whence must it come? Where is the being throughout creation's myriads who could devise a plan by which we might escape the punishment of our guilt, and yet justice be honoured, and the law be satisfied? The angels around the throne might have the will, but they had not the power, to interpose; they are but bright shining things, who have no righteousness' whatsoever to spare for man. Whence then could the guilty ones look for deliverance, but from that Maker whom they had offended so wantonly? Who but himself could arrest the arın of justice uplifted to slay them?
And, blessed be his holy name, the first threatening was mingled with the first promise: and when every one of us deserved nothing but the out-pouring of wrath, His love was still abundant towards us the sinful ones. Before the foundation of the world he had prepared for this foreseen apostacy. Though angry with the sin, he still loves the sinners: he willeth not that any should finally perish; he hath made ample provision that all should again call him “Father," and become heirs of his heavenly mansionry. Inasmuch, then, as we are, in every sense, self-destroyed through the fall, and have forfeited every claim to blessedness, and shattered the image of our Maker; and inasmuch as the provision for our return to the sunshine of his favour must proceed entirely from the Almighty; then let us bow humbly and reverently before His goodness, and, ascribing salvation unto God the Father, assent to the position of David, that "it belongeth unto the Lord."
As the origin of redemption is to be ascribed to God's free grace, so also must the way of its execution. This plan was, the providing a surety, who, obeying perfectly in man's nature, and suffering the bitterness of the curse in man's nature, should as his substitute atone for his guilt. But where was the being to be found who should be, as Job expresses it “ a daysman between us” -to “lay his hand upon us both ?" The full punishment of guilt must fall somewhere ; for heaven and earth should pass away before one tittle of the law should fail. This law is for every created being, and for every sinner upon earth, and every holy one above. Forgiveness there could be none, and pardon there could be none, till the sternest of its penalties had been paid. Man of himself could never atone for a single sin. No righteousness for the future can make atonement for the past; just because we owe every moment a fresh debt of obedience. To atone for infinite guilt, our surety must possess infinite merit, so as to condense as it were the eternal punishment of all men into a moment of time: and what angel or arch-angel could do this? Still fur ther; it was human nature which transgressed—it must be human nature which must both obey and suffer; it was human nature which was tempted and fellit must be human nature which must be tempted and triumph. To undertake all this for the apostate and the polluted, the love must be supreme, and the willingness complete.
And where, again, throughout the creation could such requirements be found united, that mercy and truth should meet together; righteousness and peace embrace each other? As then no arm could achieve salvation but the Lord's behold, great is the mystery of godliness; God is manifest in the flesh-Go and man linked together in wondrous union. The Creator of all things, the Eternal Word, stoops froin his throne; is made flesh, and dwells among us; is content to take the form of a servant, and to learn obedience by the things which lie suffered. Born of a virgin, as Son of God and Son of man, he passes through all the stages of infancy and manhood, that he may sympathize with all our infirmities. He came unto his own and experienced their rejection: he endured the hourly contradiction of sinners against himself: he kept the law perfect and undefiled; being holy, harmless, separate from sinners, though tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He proved himself “ very God," by the miracles which he wrought, and “ very man" by the tears which he shed. He proved himself the promised Messiah to both Jew and Gentile ; endured in his last struggle the infinite burden of the sin of the world; up-bearing the curse, abolishing death, and triumphing over Satan for ever. He is laid awhile in the grave, but seeth not corruption; the third day he springs from its cold custody by the might of the indwelling Deity, and ascends unto the Father ; presents human nature once more spotless before his presence; pleads before the throne, the Lamb as it had been slain, the merits of his death ; and there now lives and reigns as King over his Church-as the Advocate of all his pilgrim-followers—and the Intercessor to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.
It concerns us much to ascertain the extent of the efficacy of Christ's death.
We believe that Christ Jesus died for all men, and we take the words in their most unlimited sense. “He tasted death for every man,” saith St. Paul. He ransomed all, and thus the whole world became his “ purchased possession;" so that every obstacle being removed on God's part which could prevent his being reconciled to all, the invitation may go forth to every one of Adani's lineage, to approach and accept this free salvation. He is “ Head over all things for his Church ;” and because he rose, all men shall rise also. “ The Father judgeth no man,” saith St. John, “but hath committed all judgment to the Son." So that because all have been redeemed, all shall be compelled to start up from their graves, and swell the throng that shall congregate round his judgment-throne. Hence we heartily subscribe to the tenet of our Church, that Christ Jesus “ redeemed me and all mankind :" so that if the voice of the speaker could be echoed across the mountains and valleys of a land, it would ever fall upon the ear of a lonely outcast, whom the Saviour beseeches not to return, because he agonized for him, and died for him.