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the evil from which it saves. In the humiliation of the Savior, embrac ing his sufferings and death, we see, the price at which this grace was purchased and extended. Nothing less than the blood of Christ could prepare the way for its dispensation. Victims might bleed on the altar of sacrifice till the earth should be desolated, and Lebanon might burn, in vain. If the mind is led to no more costly sacrifice, no more high and holy offering, sin must remain for ever unpardoned, and guilt nnmitigated. It is the Lamb of God, that must be bound upon the wood; it is the sword of divine justice, that must slay the victim; it is the fire of God's wrath that must kindle on the substitute. Blessed be God, this has not been withheld. When there was no eye that could pity, and no arm that could save, then God interfered; and when Lebanon was not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof for a burnt offering; when the earth was poor, and man was ruined, and angels were powerless; then the throne of God furnished both the priest and the sacrifice. And the penalty from which we are thus spared, and the glory to which we are raised, must require an eternity to experience, and an eternity to tell. Here, then, at the cross of Christ, we see how the grace of God is magnified, and his love to sinners illustrated.
Come, then, my soul, here take thy privileged and chosen seat; here employ all thy contemplations; here rest that weary anxiety, which seeks in vain for peace and hope in sin. Come, sinners, from the various pursuits and perplexities of life, sit together at the feet of Jesus, and learn of him. Contemplate Christ crucified, Christ the mighty God, the equal Son, and crucified to save us from wrath. Reflect, that in this event every insuperable obstacle to the sinner's salvation is removed, the glorious attributes of God are eminently displayed for your admiration, a plan is presented peculiarly calculated to affect and soften the heart, God's hatred of sin is conspicuously seen, his love for man is demonstrated, an example of benevolence and self-denial is afforded us, and the grace of God is pre-eminently exalted. Come, brethren, bring your minds to the deep and delightful contemplation of these topics. Stay here, till the multiplied and bright objects of the scene open on the view in their true splendor. Stay till you forget all other objects, till the world retires, heaven opens, till the soul is wrapt in that circle of thought and employment which angels enjoy, but from which a deceitful world is ever calling it away.
THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST.
ACTS 2:33.-Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalled, &c.
THE exaltation of Jesus in his mediatorial character was the necessary result of his humiliation. He had assumed our nature, been tempted in all points like as we are, felt our infirmities, suffered an ignominious
death on the cross, and had risen from the tomb. After this, and while surrounded by a multitude of his disciples, he was parted from them, and received up into heaven.
To those who conversed with him after his resurrection, and who were now the eye-witnesses of his ascension, the evidence of his divinity was complete. But it is the design of the Savior that the testimony of competent witnesses to this fact shall be confirmed by standing evidences of his presence and power through every age of the church. In accordance with his promise, and in the execution of his purposes of grace, he sent the Spirit in the work of conversion soon after his ascension. And while the multitude were under the influence of this divine visitation, Peter boldly preaches Christ crucified, demonstrates to the Jews from their own scriptures that he was the Messiah, appeals for further confirmation to his miracles wrought in their presence, certifies to his resurrection and ascension, and adduces the obvious manifestations of divine influence at that time on the multitude as a standing testimony of his presence and power. "Therefore," he says, "being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
The divinity of Jesus, proved in his humiliation, is demonstrated also in his exaltation. For we may consider him exalted,
I. In the place he now occupies.
II. In his moral perfections, illustrated in the plan of redemption. III. In the execution of his mediatorial office, and in the praises of the redeemed.
I. Christ is exalted in the place he now occupies. For we cannot with some, who rob him of other distinctions, be satisfied to leave him, we know not where, while we honor him as we know not whom. We worship him as God's equal Son, who created all things, who upholds all things, who is the only Savior of men, and the judge of all. We therefore receive the testimony of divine inspiration, that after he had accomplished our redemption in the days of his flesh, "he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us." He has gone to prepare a place for us, "whence also he will come again, and receive us unto himself, that where he is, there we may be also." He was united in glory with the Father before the world was. This glory was beheld in him while on earth, full of grace and truth. He was received up into glory when he ascended, exalted above men, being appointed head of the church and heir of all things,-above angels, as it is written, "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, made so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."
I am supplied then, in the Scriptures, with an answer to every important question that can be asked respecting my Savior. If asked who he is; I answer in the language of inspiration, he is "the mighty God." Immanuel, God with us,"- "God over all blessed for ever,"-" the true God and eternal life." Considered in the work of redemption, he is "the Son of God with power" to atone for sin, and has "laid down his life for us." If asked where he was before the world; I answer, "glorified with the Father," as asserted by himself in John 17: 5. If asked where
he now is, I answer, "exalled at the right hand of God," where he will continue to be, preparing for the reception of the saints, until he shall come again to judge the world; for all judgment is committed into his hands. When this is accomplished, and the mediatorial office ended, the saints shall inhabit "the kingdom of Christ and of God," of which the Father and the Son are indiscriminately called the Sovereign, as united in equal honor, power, and glory. In the Revelation, it is said, "the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of the city :" "the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." And in Colossians, 2: 2, it is said, "the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."
Thus is Christ exalted as the Sovereign of the Universe, the Creator, Preserver, and Judge of all; original, underived, omnipotent, independent; who supports the pillars of the Universe, and can safely keep whatever is committed to his hands. He is exalted as a Savior, having accomplished the redemption of sinners.
We mourn not therefore as Mary, when she said, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." He was seen of his disciples for forty days after his resurrection. They were the witnesses of his ascension to heaven. In the spirit of prayer, they returned to Jerusalem, and worshipped and held communion with him. At the expiration of ten days, he manifested his efficient presence in the fulfilment of glorious prophecy, in the divine work of regeneration, in the effectual instruction and comfort of his people; and by these operations and influences he has ever since continued to establish and confirm his people. We receive these testimonies, we worship the Savior at the right hand of God, we realize his promises of divine influence.
II. Christ as Mediator is exalted in his own moral perfections, illustrated in the plan of redemption. These perfections are inherent, and depend not for their existence and true excellence on any thing that has been, or can be done. But in the plan of redemption, circumstances were furnished for their public and eminent display. They shone through the man Christ Jesus, and illuminated his character in the days of his flesh. They furnished an example in practice, and inspired a code in morals, such as philosophy has exhausted its power in vain to create. Exalted to his seat in heaven, he sheds his glory through all the place, and enkindles in all his worshippers a flame of love, admiration, and joy. And having received gifts for men, he diffuses through this dark world the light and grace, which roll a flood of dazzling glory through heaven and eternity. We see it faintly here. It multiplies and brightens on the devout and heaven-directed eye of prayer. It is displayed in burning effulgence, as we are transformed by degrees into his image; and when we put off this flesh, it shall enkindle in the soul that fervid glow of pure devotion, which will prove to the glorified saints, what are those joys, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, but which God hath prepared for them that love him."
That, which gave offence on earth, will constitute the glory of the Savior in heaven. The purity of his character, and the strictness of his moral law, and the justice and spirituality of his kingdom will there be his glory. It is the holiness of God, which secures the love and homage of all holy beings. Their song is, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God
of hosts." This is the standard of pre-eminence with the inhabitants of heaven. The holiest being there will be the happiest, and accounted the most worthy. This it is, which will give peculiar energy and triumph to the devotions of heaven. The true purity of the divine character will be seen in the display of inherent attributes, and it will be appreciated and loved by all who are round about him. Therefore, the Savior will be exalted, in the glories of his own perfections, in a world where those perfections will be fully appreciated, by minds moulded and formed by his divine energy and benevolence to the same glorious and pure image.
III. We contemplate Christ as exalted in the execution of his mediatorial office, and in the praises of the redeemed. By virtue of his atonement he saves sinners; not by works of righteousness which they have done, but by his own grace. And sensible of their dependence on that grace, their song will always be "not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory."
The company of the saved will be a great company, and their habitual employment will be acts of praise and homage to Him, who has redeemed them out of every nation, and washed them in his own blood. The Scriptures say this company will be innumerable. Every one, who shall stand and bow there, will be a trophy of victorious grace, saved by Christ. Not one will take any merit to himself, or ascribe any part of the work of his redemption to any but to Jesus of Nazareth. They will constitute, therefore, a standing and shining monument of his benevolence and power. Each was an heir of hell, and all that makes him to differ from those," the smoke of whose torment ascendeth up for ever and ever," he owes to the grace of Christ. Here is laid a foundation for that praise, which shall fill all heaven. O brethren, if we are borne by him across this gulf, which stretches its deep shadows between us and the heavenly world, will not he possess an eminence up to which we shall delight to extend our view; and will not he excite our praise above and beyond all else which can engage or interest the soul? While the songs of angels shall delight the soul, and all the resplendent glories of the place charm the eye, shall we not find that all is beneath the Lamb, who is the light of the temple, and by whose sacrifice we have obtained a name and an inheritance there? Although we are informed that there are few comparatively saved under the circumstances in which sinners have lived and do still live, yet all the company of saints, "a multitude which no man can number," shall be truly assembled. It is true the Gospel has found, and does now find, but poor acceptance in the world. Most men have rejected it, and my witnesses are here, that it is with difficulty commended to the approbation and embrace of sinners. Some here, still in their sins, have heard thousands of sermons, and ten thousands of prayers. Truly there are comparatively few saved. Still, Christ shall be glorified in the praises of the redeemed. You may reject the Gospel, but heaven shall be peopled by willing subjects of the King of kings. Christ shall be exalted without you, in the exercise of his power, in the display of his moral perfections, and in the multitude of his saints. Yes, though not one of you should accept his offered grace, his praise shall be glorious, his name infinitely exalted. Not to recur to that glory he shall gain while he vindicates the law in your condemnation and punishment, he shall be celebrated in the joyful songs of myriads of the saved.
The covenant of grace, or of redemption, secured to the Son a nume
rous seed to serve him, in whose conversion the Holy Spirit was to be the efficient, active agent. Under this covenant, a dispensation of grace commenced immediately after the fall, and many saints were gathered from earth before the public ministry and death of Christ. Under the new influence of Gospel light, and in connection with the ascent of Christ the Savior, and the descent of the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier, a season of religious revival was enjoyed on the day of pentecost, which will be ever memorable in the history of the church. Similar triumphs have been witnessed in succeeding ages, and they are destined to continue until the world shall be converted, and the church on earth shall embrace the world's population, and triumph over her enemies. Christ is on the throne. The agency is there. It is almighty. We have the promise recorded; and it has been for eighteen centuries in a constant course of execution.
Under this gracious administration, revivals of religion have been often enjoyed by the church. I allade now to facts, which are familiar to you. Here, Christ has been exalted and honored in the salvation of sinners. A divine work has been here repeatedly wrought, of which ye are witnesses, and which impresses the subject with peculiar and deep interest. Oh, from this spot, from the feeble services of this house, how many shall be permitted to rise, and join that multitude whose everlasting song shall be,-" Worthy the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God, by his blood!" And while the Gospel here continnes to speak, how many more, we may hope, will, through the same divine influence, be prepared for the same employments, and admitted to the same company!
Glorious thought! that Christ is still exalted, and we are under disci pline for heaven. Yes, he is still at the right hand of God, exalted to be a Prince and a Savior. Still it may be repeated, he has "received of the Father the gift of the Holy Ghost." Thanks be to God, we may still add, He has shed forth that which ye have seen and heard. God grant also, that we may be able soon to forget the past, in the happy, rapturous experience of the present, and say," Which ye now see and hear."
From the wide field of instruction furnished by this subject, two or three reflections deserve particular consideration.
1. How humble ought Christians to be, under a sense of their dependence, and with the example of Christ, their great Master, before them! He was independent, yet he condescended, became poor for our sakes, and submitted to an ignominious death. We are entirely dependent; let us cherish a spirit of humility. This grace is eminently characteristic of the Christian. Without it, he can never find a place at the foot of the cross, can never realize the blessedness of communion with saints, can never enjoy the satisfactions of a soul at peace. The moment he rises in his feelings above his place, he loses that calm serenity which ever prevails in the vale of humility, and encounters storms, peril, and ruin. The Scriptures, therefore, often instruct us to "be clothed with humility." A proper sense of guilt will ever keep us humble and safe. Whenever we become restive, and attempt to rise, we encounter dangers An humble posture is always the safest, and the only proper one for a poor sinner. "A man's pride shall bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit." Let Christians, therefore, dwell much on