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you? What are we to think of the blindness | JESUS: for he shall save his people from of your understandings, and of the depravity their sins.” of your affections? Indifferent to him? Here is a “name above every name:" a What are we to think of your regard to your name which " is as ointment poured forth”own safety and happiness? Can you find it is Jesus. This name was not only given salvation in any other ? What will you do by the order of God, but explained by the without him when you come to die? How same order. Jesus signifies Saviour. But will you appear before him when he is seated this name was not peculiar to him—others on his great white throne ?
had worn it. The Hebrew name which anFor once in the end of the world hath he swers to Jesus is Joshua; and two persons appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of had this name expressly given them under himself, and to them that look for him will the Old Testament: the commander who he appear a second time, without sin unto succeeded Moses; and the high priest consalvation.” See the Babe of Bethlehem, the cerned in the building of the second temple. Judge of all! “ Behold, he cometh with The Levites also in the days of Nehemiah clouds, and every eye shall see him. But confess to God; “ According to thy manifold who may abide the day of his coming, and mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved who shall stand when he appeareth! Happy them out of the hand of their enemies.” Such those who have loved and followed him “in a saviour was Gideon and Samson, with many the regeneration !" He will receive them to others. himself, “ that where he is there they may The name then is common; but not the be also."
reason of the imposition—"For he shall save “ But where shall the ungodly and the his people from their sins.” As if he had sinner appear ?"
said—“Others have been called saviours because they have rescued the body; they were
temporal deliverers; they saved the Jews from DISCOURSE XXIII.
the Egyptians, the Philistines, the Midianites. But this child is called a Saviour for a
nobler reason—he rescues the soul—he is an THE DESIGN OF OUR SAVIOUR'S
eternal Deliverer. •He saves his people COMING.
from their sins.' (CHRISTMAS.)
By this explanation, the angel not only
distinguishes Jesus from every other saviour, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt but opposes the favourite prejudices of the call his name JESUS: for he shall save his nation to which he belonged. The Jews expeople from their sins.—Matt. i. 21.
pected a Messiah who should be called a It is a wonderful event which we have this Saviour; but by this name they understood day been called to commemorate. The ful. a hero, a conqueror who should break the ness of time is arrived: the prophecies are civil yoke, free them from the tyranny of accomplished: the promises are fulfilled: the Rome, and if not lead them to universal emzxpectations of the Church are realized : “ the pire, at least restore them to all their original desire of all nations is come—and we have dignity in their own land. “But, Ö ye been with the shepherds at Bethlehem, and Jews,” says the Angel, “the Saviour is corne have seen the babe wrapped in swaddling- to restore you, not to an earthly Canaan, but clothes, and lying in a manger.”
a better, even a heavenly country. He is For what purpose has the son of God as come to deliver you, not from civil bondage, sumed our nature, and in circumstances of the but from spiritual slavery: not from Cæsar, deepest humiliation entered our world? A but Satan." He is come to save you from new star has graced his birth: “ wise men” your greatest enemies; and these are not have traveled from the East to do him the Romans—but your sins." homage; "and a multitude of the heavenly Let us not pass over this. Jesus came, host have praised God and said, Glory to God not to suggest improvements in agriculture; in the highest, and on earth peace, good will plans of commerce; theories of civil policy. towards men !" Thus heaven and earth have He left the governments of the world as he borne witness to the importance of this event. found them: these are things which fall But wherein does the importance of it ap- within the reach of our wisdom to devise, and pear? By what title answerable to his cha- our power to accomplish.—But who could racter shall we acknowledge him? Wherein save a soul from sin ? lies our concern with him? And why are Let us, I. CONSIDER SIN AS AN ENEMY. we so interested in his birth, as to make it And, II. SEE IN WHAT MANNER THE SAVIOUR the subject of our greatest joy?
DELIVERS US FROM IT. Let us call to mind the address of the angel We talk of enemies. What should we to Joseph, when he announced his conception think of an adversary, who, filled with malice, of the Virgin Mary—" And she shall bring and armed with power, should invade our forth a son, and thou shalt call his name I country, ravage our fields, destroy our cot
tages and mansions, our palaces and tem-1 him. This is that which renders man, though ples; who should despoil us of our goods, the work of his hands, filthy and abominatear us from our families, deprive us of our ble; and constrains even the God of love, the liberty, and lead us away in irons, to termi- Father of mercies, to say, concerning him, nate a wretched existence in a dungeon or a “The wicked shall not stand in my sight, I mine! And oh! were a deliverer to arise to hate all the workers of iniquity.” crush the foe, and to save the captives—how Behold sin in its names.
For what term should we prize him! If he had suffered in is there, expressive of reproach or misery ; the struggle, his wounds would be deemed what image is there, that can produce averscars of honour. When the ear heard him, sion or fear; that is not employed by the it would bless him; and when the eye saw Scriptures to represent sin? Sin! it is disohim, it would give witness to him. Our very bedience: it is rebellion: it is treason: it is children, made fainiliar with the story, would murder: " it is the work of the devil.” Sin! never see him pass along without exclaiming, it is ignorance: it is folly: it is madness. “Hosannah, blessed is he that cometh in the Sin! it is blindness: it is deafness: it is name of the Lord !" But this enemy would dumbness: it is sickness: it is poison : it is be a friend, compared with sin: and such a slavery: it is plague: it is death: it is hell! deliverer, therefore, would be nothing, com- Now, as it is said of Nabal, “ as the name is, pared with the Saviour of sinners. How is so is the man;" the same may be observed it then that we feel so much indifference to- of sin : as the name is, so is the thing. Sin wards him; that we are not continually ut- is not libelled by any of these dreadful repretering the memory of his great goodness! sentations; they are all given us by One who that we are not daily praying "Let the perfectly understands sin, and they fall infiwhole earth be filled with his glory!" It nitely short of the subject
. For if we comis because—we do not believe the enemy to pare sin with other evils, it will be found be so dreadful. The reason is—that we en substantially to contain them all, and to be tertain slight notions of sin. To judge of the the cause of all. This is the fountain which importance of a remedy, it is necessary to has imbittered all our streams, and the seed know the malignity of the disease: to ascer- which has so thickly sown the world with tain the claims of a benefactor to our grati- wretchedness. tude and love, it is necessary for us to know Behold therefore again the effects of sin. the evils from which he delivers us.
How different is man from what he was oriEvery thing turns upon this. If sin be our ginally !—But sin has made this change. Sin worst enemy, it is easy to prove that he who has stripped him of his glory, and taken the saves us from it is our best friend. Let us crown from his head : " wo unto us that we then look at sin, and take three or four views have sinned !" of its evil and malignity.
Observe the soul of man-it is sin that has Behold sin with regard to God. That debased it, defiled it, robbed it of the image, must be the greatest evil, which is most op- and banished it from the presence of God-it posite to the greatest good. In forming our is this that has filled it with confusion and estimate of sin, we are not to judge of it so regrets—it is this that has produced unruly much by the relation it bears to us, or to our passions, tormenting anxieties,' a terrified fellow-creatures, as by its relation to God; conscience, a wounded spirit. for against Him it is committed; and every Take the body of man. This was once all sin strikes at God as much as if no other be- immortal, without a defect, a disease, a daning was affected by it; and notwithstanding ger. But “by sin death entered into the its fatal effects with regard to mankind, we world,” and was crowned “king of terrors." may say to God, of every transgression, And now “man that is born of a woman is “ Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and of few days, and full of trouble.” At his birth done this evil in thy sight." Sin is enmity he enters a labyrinth of thorns and briers, and against God; against his attribates; against cannot move without " piercing himself his government. God never yet revealed a through with many sorrows. design which sin hath not withstood ; nor comfort has its cross, and every blessing its gave a command which sin has not trampled curse. And how little of the misery of the under foot. Sin deposes God from his sove- world comes under our observation ! Oh! reignty, abuses his goodness, abhors his holi- could we witness all the pains of the diseased ness, vilifies his wisdom, insults and denies at this moment: could we behold all the efhis omniscience, his justice, and his power. fects of war, pestilence, and famine! Could And hence nothing is so offensive to God. It we see the bones of all the human race, from is called the “abominable thing which he the death of Abel to this very hour piled into hates." And we read that he is “of purer one immense heap-oh! what could we eyes than to behold iniquity.” It is a meta- think of an enemy capable of producing such phor, taken from a person who has such a mischief as this ! perfect abhorrence of a thing, that he cannot Behold Adam and Eve, expelled from Parabear the sight; the very thought of it shocks | dise. Behold the Deluge, sweeping away
"the world of the ungodly." Behold Sodomment !-How is it possible for us to think toe and Gomorrah, “set forth as an example, suf- highly of its guilt!! fering the vengeance of eternal fire.” See There is yet another way of judging of the the plagues of Egypt, the destruction of the evil of sin and it is by considering the former inhabitants of Canaan, the dispersion means employed to remove it. Now there and misery of the Jews, a people once dear was only one Being in the universe equal to to God-in all these instances, the evil of sin this work—the Lord of life and glory. By no is brought down to a level with our senses. other hand could this enemy fall; a thousand And it is sin also that has reduced the mate attempts had been made—but the victory was rial creation to vanity, and doomed it to a reserved for him. general conflagration. As, under the law, the And there are two things here worthy our very house of the leper was to be pulled down, remark. so it is with regard to this world. You say, The first is, that he derives from this wak Can trees, and valleys, and hills, and skies, his highest title. His name is the memorial be criminal? No; but they have been the of this achievement; he will henceforth te unconscious instruments of the sinner's guilt, known through all worlds as the conqueror they have been contaminated by his use of of sin! And therefore we find, that though be them, and the day of God cometh, wherein is a Creator and Preserver, yet he is adored “the heavens shall pass away with a great under the character of a Saviour, by all the noise, and the elements shall melt with fer-saints on earth, and by all the angels in heavent heat, the earth also, and all the works ven. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to that are therein, shall be burned up." receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and
Thus far we have traced the effects of sin strength, and honour, and glory, and bless down through the history of this world. But ing." " Unto him that loved us, and washed there is another world that has been running us from our sins in his own blood, and hath parallel with this, and which will continue made us kings and priests unto God, be glory when this is no more. And here the conse- and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. quences of sin most tremendously appear. And the second is, That even in this glori
Enter it and see. The first thing that ous Personage, who alone was adequate to strikes you, is the fall of an innumerable mul- the undertaking, it required something pecutitude of superior beings, hurled down from liar and extraordinary to accomplish it. He heaven-What roused the vengeance which does not deliver a sinner as he performed his pursues them with such severity? What is it other works. In order to save-he must be that, in a moment, could transform angels humbled and exalted—he must descend from into devils ! A little of that envy, that pride, heaven to earth-and ascend from earth to that independence of spirit which you think heaven. nothing of —"he spared not the angels that Let us enter into this, and, II. Consider IN sinned, but cast them down to hell, and de- WHAT MANNER HE SAVES HIS PEOPLE FROM livered them into chains of darkness, to be THEIR SINS. Now he accomplishes their de reserved unto judgment.”—And what place liverance by price—and thus he redeems: is that, “the smoke of whose torment ascend- and by power—and thus he renews: in other eth up for ever and ever?" Sin built hell; words, by his cross, and by his grace. sin produced the worm that never dies;" sin To save us, he must suffer: by the shedkindled “ the fire that never shall be quench- ding of his blood we are ransomed, and by his ed.” Oh! could you lay down your ear, and death we live. The case is this. Where the hear sin spoken of in its proper dialect, by the command of the law is broken, the curse of old sons of perdition! What do you suppose the law enters. Sin renders man obnoxious Judas now says of betraying his master for to punishment; and this punishment is as thirty pieces of silver; Saul of persecuting certain as the justice and the truth of God can David ; Cain of killing his brother Abel! But make it. Now we had sinned, and therefore all this regards the present degrees of their must have suffered—had not the Saviour bemisery, not its future continuance.
come our surety, and our substitute. But he, Hence, you must contemplate sin in the standing in our place, became answerable for threatenings of the Scripture. Oh! read and us; "he has redeemed us from the curse of tremble. Read of "everlasting destruction the law, being made a curse for us.” Thus it from the presence of the Lord and the glory is said, the Lord “ laid on him the iniquity of of his power"-read of a doom which I hope us all.” And how was it laid upon him—but you will never hear—" Depart, ye cursed, by way of expiation? And for what purpose into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil was it laid upon him ?—but that we might be and his angels.” Now I reason thus, and a released from a load which would have sunk child can understand me-if God can right- us to the lowest hell. Hence it is said, “Beeously threaten all this misery, he can also hold the Lamb of God that taketh away the righteously inflict it; and if he can righteous- sin of the world. Once in the end of the world ly inflict such misery, sin must deserve it- hath he appeared, to put away sin by the saand if sin deserves it deserves such punish-crifice of himself.” In this sense he is so often
said to " die for us”—not only for our good, influence of connexions, and the fear of conbut in our place, and as our victim. How sequences? Would you not rejoice if God else could he have fulfilled the types under would take off the restraint, and allow you to the law! We are assured from the writings live as you please? Would you not feel grateful of the New Testament, especially from the towards him if he would permit you to live in epistle to the Hebrews, that the daily and sin, and not die in sorrow? Blessing him for annual sacrifices offered by the Jews were the indulgence, would you not go forth, free typical of Christ: but if they typified him at and easy, and say, “Well
, no longer will I all
, it must have been in bis death; and if be detained from worldly dissipation-my they typified any thing in his death, it must heart has been always in it. No longer will have been the atonement which it made. I avoid slander–I always found it the salt They could not typify, in him, the death of a which gave a relish to conversation. I will martyr, sealing his doctrine with his blood; now grind the faces of the poor, and debase er the death of an example illustrating the myself even to hell, to get wealth–I loved virtues which he had taught. These views money equally well before; but it was dreadof his death are true as far as they go; but ful to think that no covetous man, who is an they did not go far enough to reach the main idolater, should have any inheritance in the thing, the thing which God determined from kingdom of God—but now I can be covetous the foundation of the world to render promi- here, and safe hereafter ?" nent in his death, and which the Church has Turn we to the Christian. Of the Reso beautifully expressed in these words deemer's subjects it is said, “Thy people "He was wounded for our transgressions, he shall be willing in the day of thy power;" was bruised for our iniquities; the chastise- and among other things he is willing to part ment of our peace was upon him; and with with sin-with all sin—with even his dearest his stripes we are healed.”
sing. His present hatred is greater than his And thus it is that he saves us from the former love. He now sees, not only what sin guilt of sin. But, to take a full view of this has cost him, but also what it cost the Repart of the subject, it is necessary to observe, deemer. “ Can I ever call that sweet, which that by his atonement he not only removes he found so bitter; or deem that light, which guilt from the view of God, but also takes it he found so heavy? Can I ever be a friend from off the mind. For it is here alone that to his enemy?—to a monster that killed him we find effectual relief. That which appeases who is all my salvation, and all my desire ?" God's wrath, can alone appease the sinner's A Christian may be surprised by sin, but he conscience. This blood, which speaketh bet- can never be reconciled to it. He has sworn ter things than that of Abel, addresses both eternal hatred against it—and he took the oath God and the sinner-it says to the one, “ For- under the cross. bear to strike;" and to the other, “ Be encou- But is this all? Is he held in bondage by raged to hope.” It answers all that justice a tyrant he detests? No. Jesus opens the has to say in a way of claim, and unbelief in prison to them that are bound. He saith to a way of objection. Thus by believing “we the prisoners, Go forth. Sin shall not have enter into rest.” Our fears and jealousies dominion over you; for ye are not under the subside; we draw near to God with humble law, but under grace. Thus sin is dethronconfidence, and feel “a peace which passeth ed—not only in the heart, but also in the life. all understanding."
By the influence of his Holy Spirit, he inBut to know whether our relief be really creasingly mortifies their corruptions, and peace, or nothing more than ease—it is ne- enables them to “lay aside all malice, and cessary to consider, not only how it is obtain- all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all. ed, but by what it is accompanied. The peace evil speakings, and, as new-born babes, to dehe gives has purity with it , yea, purity in it. sire the sincere milk
of the word, that they Those whom he redeems, he sanctifies; those may grow thereby.” The means of grace are whom he pardons, he renews. And hence now prized; and as they are used with a you read of our being “saved by the washing humble dependence and a holy purpose, they of regeneration, and the renewing of the are not used in vain. In waiting upon the Holy Ghost."
Lord, their “strength is renewed: they In attending to this process, let us remem- mount up with wings, as eagles; they run, ber, that he always saves us from the love of and are not weary, and they walk, and are sin. Here is the difference between moral re- not faint.” Losses and trials, and all the disformation and evangelical conversion. In the pensations of Providence, are now also under one, sin is avoided; but in the other, it is ab- a gracious agency, and are made to “work horred. For sin may be shunned where it is together for their good.”. still loved; and the retreating sinner may But while the reign of sin is thus destroylook back, like Lot's wife, and bewail the ed, the remains of it continue: and these are idols he has been
forced to leave. Am I ad- deplored and felt by the Christian as his. dressing none who know what it is to forsake greatest distress. « wretched man that I sin, only from a regard to reputation, from the am! who shall deliver me from the body of
this death ?" In these circumstances, two God, and God could derive no service from things relieve his mind, and animate him in you: you would remain strangers to peace the warfare. The one is, that his Saviour is and pleasure ; and the cause of your misery “able to keep him from falling;” and the would be left behind. Sin and sorrow are other is, that “ he will present him faultless inseparable.
God himself cannot separate before the presence of his glory, with ex- them: he can only destroy the one by receeding joy.". Then will he shake himself moving the other. He makes men happy by from all his dust, and“ put on his beautiful making them holy. garments” of complete holiness. What a Besides these thoughtless creatures which blissful change! When he examines him. I have mentioned, there are some who are self, he can find no ignorance, no pride, no more systematically wrong with regard to unbelief, no weakness-He is become a part this subject. They profess to glory in the of a “glorious Church, and has no spot, or Saviour's cross, but they will have nothing to wrinkle, or any such thing !"
do with his sceptre. His righteousness is But this respects only the soul-yonder their darling theme; but they mean by itstill lies the poor body. "Death is the conse- a tine robe to cover a filthy back. They are quence of sin; and while the body is in the fond of the assurance of faith ; but they ingrave, the believer is not saved from all the tend by it a speculative persuasion of iheir natural effects of sin. But Jesus comes- safety, underived from and unconnected with “ the resurrection and the life. He will any gracious operations and qualities, as evichange this vile body, that it may be fa- dences. They consider it as a species of unshioned like unto his glorious body, accord- belief even to question their being the people ing to the working whereby he is able even of God; but they retain the love of the world to subdue all things unto himself."
in their hearts, and discover the same unsubNow behold the work of the Saviour per- dued tempers as others. They think it would fectly accomplished, and the deliverance of be wrong to allow sin either to distress or his people absolutely complete. Behold him alarm them-sin cannot hurt a believer-in" delivering up the kingdom to God, even the deed sin has not the same evil when found in Father," and hear him saying, “ All these I them, as when found in others: " he hath not engaged to save from their sins; and lo! they beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen are all sinless."
perverseness in Israel !" This error does not, To conclude. Let us observe, First, If his like many others, arise from mere ignorance. name be called Jesus, because he shall save And therefore the apostle Jude calls those his people from their sins, how awfully de- who hold it “ ungodly men, who turn the ceived are those who hope to be saved in grace of our God into lasciviousness.” And them! And yet, a degree of this confidence they would do well to remember that anotoo commonly prevails. There are few in-ther Apostle says, “ The wrath of God is redeed but entertain some expectation of going vealed from heaven against all ungodliness to heaven when they die, however unholy and unrighteousness of men.” And the Sathey may live. Hence, though conscious that viour himself says, “But these mine ene they love sin, and indulge themselves in the mies, which would not that I should reigo practice of it, they feel nothing like despair over them, bring hither, and slay them before or distress. But upon what principle is your me.” The character here given of the Lord's hope founded? Did you never read that people is, that they are saved from their sins: “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord ? and this is what every truly awakened soul Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not desires. inherit the kingdom of God ?” Did the Sa- Therefore, Secondly, Here is relief and viour come to give you a license to sin with consolation for those who are sensible of the impunity? His coming was designed to make evil of sin, and are asking, “What must I do sin appear “exceeding sinful;" his aim, as to be saved ?" Though deliverance appears you have heard, was to save us from it. “He so unspeakably desirable, you feel that you gave himself for us, that he might redeem us are wholly unable to accomplish it yourselves. from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a Nothing in your sufferings, or doings, can peculiar people, zealous of good works. For wash away the pollution, or subdue the influthis purpose the Son of God was manifested, ence of sin. Such despair as this makes way that he might destroy the worksof the devil.” | for the hope of the Gospel. The convictions, And what notion have you of salvation, un- which you feel so painful and alarming, are accompanied with a deliverance from sin? necessary, to enable you to perceive the This is like saving a man from drowning, by meaning, and to feel the importance of this keeping him under the water which is de- glorious dispensation. And these also prestroying him; or like recovering a man from pare you to welcome the approach of such a sickness, by leaving him under the malady peculiar Saviour. So that to you it is not only which constitutes the complaint. Were it “a faithful saying,” but “ worthy of all accep. possible for you to be pardoned and not sanc- tation, that Jesus Christ is come into the world tified, you could enjoy no communion with I to save sinners." Open, then, your hearts,