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not worthy to be noticed, nay, scarce worth one single thought, compared with, with what ? Let all nature tremble at the news, the incarnation, and the death of the ALMIGHTY CREATOR, in the room of his rebel creatures, that the honour of his father's law and government might be effectually secured, while sovereign infinite grace interposes to save the self-ruined, hell-deserving rebels, to the eternal disappointment of satan, God's enemy, and our mortal foe!
And can it now, after all this, be a question, whether God is ready to be reconciled to those who, on his own invitation, return to him through Jesus Christ? Or can it be a question, whether Christ is willing to be their Mediator and Highpriest, in the court of heaven, in the holy of holies above ? What! after God has given his Son to die, that consistently with his honour he might receive such to favour; he not willing! infinitely incredible !-What! after the Son of God has left his Father's bosom, to lie in a manger ! to groan in the garden! And, be astonished, O ye heavens, and be ye horribly afraid !-- To hang and die upon the cross, in the room of a God-hating, Christ-murdering world ; that he might honour bis Father's law, break up satan's plot, and open a way for the sinner's return! Yet he not willing -What! willing to die on the cross, and not willing to mediate in heaven! infinitely incredible! Yea, if possible, more than infinitely incredible! So certain, my dear Aspasio, as the Gospel is true, just so certain may your Theron be, that God is ready to be reconciled to the sinner, who returns to him through Jesus Christ. Nor does he need a new revelation in the case ; nor does he need to be assured of any proposition not plainly revealed in the Gospel. Enough has been already done! enough has been already said! But never did your Theron believe these things with all his heart, till by seeing the glory of the God of glory, he saw the grounds and reasons of the law, pronounced it holy, just, and good, and worthy to be magnified and made honourable, even by the death of God's Own Son. 1 John v. 1.
And this kind of faith, in the nature of things, cannot be. without works. For, while your Theron, through the influences of the Holy Spirit, doth with open face, behold as in a glass, the glory of the Lord; what can be do, but love, admire, adore the God of glory; and give up himself for ever to him through Jesus Christ ? And now, how can we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? We are crucified with Christ; buried with him ; risen with him; and can sin, after all, have dominion over us! Impossible. Rom. vi. 2. 14. The gratitude, the ingenuity of unrenewed nature, I grant, is not to be depended upon. Israel sang God's praise, but soon forgot his works. But, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, from day to day, through the course of our lives, we are, we cannot but be, changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. iii. 18.
And, believing the Gospel to be true, no doubt remains of the safety of our returning to God through Jesus Christ. His glory and beauty inclines me to return. His grace through Christ puts courage in my heart. I return. I find rest to my weary soul. And by this I know, my “faith is real, and no delusion,” even because he hath given me of his spirit, (1 Jolin iv. 13.) set his seal upon my heart, (Eph. 1. 13.) made me his child, in the very temper of my soul, (Rom. viii. 16.) and in my heart his law is written, and in his ways I love to walk. Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. But as to this, heaven forbid that your Theron's confidence should ever be greater than his evidence; his evidence, not only now, but in all future times.-.I am, for ever,
THERON TO ASPASIO.
New-England, April 3, 1759. DEAR ASPASIO). Many an agreeable hour have we wandered over all the works of nature; viewed the heavens above, the earth beneath, and surveyed the mighty ocean ; nor did you ever fail to intermingle devout reflections. If now, instead of painting the beauties of the creation, we rise at once to contemplate the glories of the Creator, glories infinitely superior to those of fields and forests, gardens and palaces, yea, infinitely superior to the bright expanse of heaven, adorned with all its shining orbs; no theme can, my Aspasio, better please.
GOD! how awful is the name ! how great is the Being ! Behold the nations are as a drop of the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance. Yea, all nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. And so great is the excellency of the DIVINE MAJESTY ; so exceeding great is his beauty, that to behold his glory, and love, and honour; and enjoy him, is heaven itself; it is the chief happiness of all that world. The seraphim, while he sitteth on his throne, high and lifted the great MONARCH of the universe, through the brightness of his glory, cover their faces, unable to behold; and, as in a perfect ecstasy, cry, holy, holy, holy !--This is his character, the character he exemplifies in all his conduct, as Lord of hosts, as governor of the world; in a view of which, they add, the whole earth is full of his glory. Isai. vi. 3.
The two grandest affairs, which, according to Scripture, ever have been, or ever will be, transacted in the government of this glorious monarch, are the work of our REDEMPTION by the death of his Son, and the final JUDGMENT of the VOL. II.
world. These, therefore, let us contemplate, that in them we may behold, as in a glass, the glory of the LORD.
Who was his Son? The brightness of his glory, and the image of his person ; by whom, and for whom, all things were created ; loved equally to himself, and honoured with equal honours in all the world above. Let us view him on the cross, incarnate ! View him there as an incarnate God, dying for sinners! And fix our attention, whole hours together, on this greatest and most wonderful of all God's works! The plan was laid in heaven. This great event was determined in the council there. Acts iv. 28. All the perfections of the Godhead sat in council, when it was decreed the Son of God should die. Strange decree! Why was it made ? Astonishing! Why did it ever come to pass ? Did he die to move the compassions of his almighty Father towards a rebellious race: No: for to give his Son thus to die, was greater grace, than at one sovereign stroke to have cancelled all our debt, and pardoned all the world. Did he die to take away, or lessen, the evil nature and ill-desert of sin ? No: for infinite purity and impartial justice must look upon the rebellions of a revolted world, as 'odious and ill-deserving as if he had not died. He died, to bear the punishment due to us. We were under the curse ; he was made a curse in our room ; set forth to be a propitiation, by his holy Father, to declare his rightcousness, and show the rectitude of his government in the eyes of all created intelligences; that he might be just, do as bis law threatens, and yet not damn, but justify, the sinner that believeth in Jesus.
Eternal damnation was our due, according to the divine law; a law not founded in arbitrary will. A law art cily made, may be arbitrarily repealed; but a law only declaring. what is fit, must for ever stand in force. To rise in rebellion against the infinitely glorious Majesty of heaven, deserved eternal damnation ; as he is infinitely worthy of the highest love and honour from all his intelligent creatures. His infinite amiableness and hopourableness infinitely oblige us to love and honour him. All our heart and mind and strength are his due. The least defect deserves eternal wo. Thus the omniscient viewed the case. His Son, in the same
view, approved the law as strictly just. Both looked on the sacrifice and death of an incarnate God, in the room of sinners, to open a way for their salvation, as a plan infinitely preferable to the law's repeal by a sovereign act. The Son had rather endure the most painful, shameful death, than that one tittle of the law should fail; it was so strictly just. God ought to have his due. The law barely asserts the rights of the Godhead. So much, however, was his due, as to be loved, with all the heart, and obeyed in every thing. And so worthy was the Deity of this love and obedience, that the least defect deserved eternal death. “ 'Tis right, 'tis right,” said the eternal Son," that the first instance, or the least degrée of disrespect to my eternal Father, should incur eternal ruin to the sinning creature. And I had rather become incarnate and die myself, than yield this point.” That God is infinitely amiable; that he ought to be loved with all our heart; that the infinite excellency of his nature infinitely obliges ús, can never be set in a stronger light, than it is by the cross of CHRIST,
The infinite dignity of the Mediator, and the extreme sufferings he underwent, as an equivalent to our éternal wo, in the loudest manner proclaim, that the law was just; just in the eyes of God; and just in the eyes of his Son. A law, threatening eternal damnation, infinite goodness would never have enacted, had not impartial justice called for it. Much less would infinite goodness have appointed God's own Son to answer its demands, if in its own nature too severe. pose, the Son of God died to answer the demands of a law, in its own nature cruel, is to make God a tyrant, and the death of his Son the most shocking affair that ever happened !
But what did this law, of which we so often speak, require ? Say, my dear Aspasio, what was the first and chief command ? Your master's answer you approve. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. But why was love required ? Because God was lovely. And why the penalty so great? Because his loveliness was infinite. If the infinite amiableness of the divine being does not lay an infinite obligation on his, çreatures, to love him for being what he is, how can we justify