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and to neglect it is a contempt which will have fatal consequences. God is angry with unbelievers every day. Against them his wrath is revealed, and upon them his wrath is coming. Unbelievers make him a liar. Unbe lievers are condemned already, and for unbelievers instruments of death are prepared.
Are these words alarining you? We wish unbelievers and despisers to be alarmed; and at the same time shew how ye may escape, and to whom ye should flee. The Lord our Righteousness is an hiding-place from the tempest, and a covert from the storm, free and open to the world; and "whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, "but hath everlasting life." The serpent of brass was a remedy, free to the eye of every Israelite; and the Son of God is a remedy, free to the faith of every sinner: "For as "Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so "must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believ"eth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." The Son of man was lifted up upon the cross. At this moment he is lifted up on the right hand of the majesty on high; and at this moment he is lifted up in the word of the truth of the gospel, within sight of every guilty eye. Are any looking, and coming? "Him that cometh, he will in no wise "cast out;" and him that looketh he is able to save. Some, it may be, are reasoning in their thoughts, that they dare not look, and come toward the Saviour, because they know not whether he intended to save them in dying. And neither did any of these who are praising him before the throne know this before they believed. His intention in dying is not the object of inquiry at present. Your business, and interest, is with the testimony concerning his death, in the ministry of reconciliation: "He suffered for "sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to "God." "When we were yet without strength, he died "for the ungodly." "While we were yet sinners, he died "for us;" and, "when we were enemies, we were reconcil"ed to God by the death of his Son." "He is the propi "tiation for our sins, and not for ours only; but also for the "whole world." "My flesh I will give for the life of the "world." "For God so loved the world, that he gave his "only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him "should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God "sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world,
"but that the world, through him, might be saved." These are faithful sayings, and the testimony given in them to the death, and sufficiency, and freeness of the Saviour of the world is worthy of all acceptation. Every sinner is warranted, counselled, encouraged, and commanded to receive it; and every sinner, unto whom it is made known, shall receive it or perish. "Unto him who loved "us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
THE TRIUMPH OF THE SON OF GOD IN HIS DEATH.
COLOSSIANS ii. 15.
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
UNDER all dispensations, the death of the Lord our Righteousness hath been a principal theme in the ministry of reconciliation. Patriarchs waited for it, Priests prefigured it, Prophets foretold it, Evangelists related it, Apostles preached it to the world, and into the mystery of it Angels themselves desire to look. But neither men nor angels are able to comprehend, nor tongues, and pens, and languages sufficient to express the glory of this mystery of godliness. Here the perfections of God appear, and exalt themselves in the highest; here the powers of darkness unite, and pull upon their head swift destruction; and here heaven opens and pours upon earth blessings more numerous than grains of sand along the shores of the sen, and more excellent than chief things of ancient mountains, and precious things of everlasting hills.
Our Text is one of the monuments of the fame and glory of the Son of God, and upon it are inscribed the effects of his death on the powers of darkness. Behold it; walk round and round, reading, believing, and singing, "Having "spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of theni "openly, triumphing over them in it."-In order to illustrate these words, we shall abridge the history of the adversaries; and describe the glory of his person by whose power they were crushed; explain the operations of his power in the Text, and the mystery of the glory of these operations.
The history of these adversaries comes before us in the FIRST place. Our Text calls them "principalities and pow"ers." Elect and confirmed angels, who are ministers of
the power, and doers of the will of God, bear these characters in some other texts of scripture, but in this the Apostle gives them to those angels who have sinned and fell into condemnation; and the following particulars are outlines of their history:
First, They are Spirits, whom God created for his glory in holiness and happiness. When the foundation of the earth was laid, and the corner-stone of the universe fastened, they raised their voices among the rest of their order, and praised his power, and wisdom, and goodness.-2dly, Immediately after this they sinned. We cannot define their first sin, nor give their offence any particular name. All that is certainly known is, that they sinned, and sinned in heaven soon after their creation; and in great numbers.—.. 3dly, They were immediately cast into a place prepared for them, called hell. "God spared not the angels who sinned,. "but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into "chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment."* 4thly, A chief among these spirits who were cast down into hell, is called Satan, devil, serpent, prince of the power of the air, prince of the world, god of this world, and the spirit who worketh in the children of disobedience.-5thly, This evil spirit beguiled Eve in paradise, and by her drew Adam, the representative of mankind, into sin and misery.-6thly, The Lawgiver permitted this terrible spirit to arm himself with a power of death over mankind, according to the curse of the law. By his power, as an executioner of the curse, he holds sinners in slavery, blinds, tempts, torments, and kills them, in many different forms.7thly, At the grand assize in paradise, he was condemnedto additional degrees of punishment, and informed of the dissolution of his power by the Seed of the woman. "The "Lord God said unto the Serpent, Because thou hast done "this," deceived and ruined mankind in their representa -. tive, "thou art cursed. And I will put enmity between "thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”—† · 8thly, This ambitious and revengeful spirit did all he could to break the purpose of the Son of God. He set up for himself a kingdom in the world, in opposition to his kingdom, and reigned, by sin unto death, over the greatest part of mankind before he appeared in our nature. And after,
*3 Pet. ii. 4. + Gen. i. 14, 13,
Lis appearance, he attempted to destroy him in Bethlehem, assailed him in the wilderness, and, by his speakers, insulted and blasphemed him upon the cross.-9thly, To the attack upon the Son of God on the cross, this outrageous chief brought along with him the principalities and powers who were in his interest. But,
We proceed to describe the glory of his person who appeared in our nature, and crushed these terrible adversarics. The glory of his person was a great object in the eyes of men whom the Holy Ghost anointed, and sent forth to preach and to assemble the world to his standard. They insisted every where upon his works, and upon his benefits, and upon his laws and ordinances. But they did more. In their writings, these holy men set before the churches descriptions of the glory of his person, and upon these descriptions grafted the morality of Christianity, the only stock where this supernatural plant thrives and brings forth fruit unto God. Accordingly, in the Epistle to the Colossians, the writer has inserted a glorious description of his person, operations, and grace, in these words: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first"born of every creature. For by him were all things "created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible "and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or princi"palities or powers, all things were created by him and "for him. And he is before all things, and by him all "things consist. And he is the head of the body, the "church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the "dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. "For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness "dwell. And having made peace through the blood of his "cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by "him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in "heaven." A similar description of his person and office is recorded by the same writer, in the Epistle to the Philippians, "Who being in the form of God, thought "it not robbery to be equal with God. But made him"self of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a "servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And be"ing found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and "became obedient unto death, even the death of the "cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,