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cause it ought to be the sum and substance of every missionary message to the perishing heathen, and to the house of Israel.
If you will observe attentively the sermon before us, it contains one great truth developed in several ways. The great truth is, that GoD has sent us a message of peace by Jesus Christ. This truth is developed in several ways, because it is made to rest on.
Now you will observe how suited to man's estate is the message before us. FOR FIRST OF ALL, CHRIST IS THE ANOINTED PREACHER. In the thirtyeighth verse we read, "How GOD anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: for GoD was with him." There was an express design, as it were, that Christ should himself be a preacher of his peace,
First of all-Christ being the anoint- because by this very method God seed preacher of this peace.
Secondly-Christ being its procurer by his sufferings and resurrection. Thirdly-Christ being its bestower in the remission of sins.
And Fourthly-Christ being the decider in the great day of his coming, when he finally confirms the peace of his people.
Now the blessing of peace is one sought after universally, inasmuch as it is a word synonymous with men's happiness; and if we ask men of every tribe, nation, country, and various pursuit, what was their object in life, they would all, more or less, declare that they were in pursuit of happiness. Now God saw that all the attempts of man to obtain happiness were vain in himself; and, therefore, our text declares that God sent Jesus Christ preaching peace. And GoD saw, secondly, that man was not only without peace, but was unable to procure peace, and therefore Jesus Christ obtained that peace for him. In the one way we are led to see man as an empty creature, and in the other we are led to see man as a weak, sinful, and feeble creature; and hence, in a peace so constituted, sensible that they have no happiness within naturally, nor by any means they can invent can they procure happiness, those who are its partakers, are led to rejoice in the truth, that God has sent a message of peace to the sons of men.
cures, in the eyes of his people, their full approbation and their full consent, that this peace must be exceedingly valuable. It is not preached to us merely by Moses or by the prophets, or even by the angelic host themselves, when they said, good will and peace to men.” But the Lord Jesus Christ himself was the anointed prophet of his church, and he himself was the preacher of the very peace which from age to age he communicates to all his people. This, I say, secures its entrance, and recommends its adaptation to every one that is taught of God; for they are enabled thus to reason, that that peace must be unspeakably precious, of which Christ is not only the sum and substance and the procurer, but which he even condescended to preach himself to the sons of men.
Now there is a peculiar stress to be laid on the words that "GoD anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost," because it intimates to us, that if Christ was a mere man he could not preach peace in the same way as the Apostle sets him out, "" Jesus of Nazareth the Lord of all." There is therefore a beautiful union, and a requisite union in the person of Christ; for when he comes as the Lord of all, he comes preaching the very peace that he bestows; if he was a mere creature, we might say, that we were going again to creature
springs, and that we were about again | Here, then, in the first place, Christ to seek our happiness in the arm of flesh, when GOD hath said, "Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh the arm of flesh his strength." If Christ was a creature, however high, however exalted in GoD's creation, yet still we might naturally shrink from the idea of depending on a creature, or a creature's word. But he is LORD of all-he is GoD over all. He is omnipotent in his power-and he is gracious in his gifts to the full amount of Divine love, and Divine wisdom, and Divine power. So then we are enabled to look on this great preacher as the Lord of all; and yet he is set out to us as Jesus of Nazareth in his manhood, inasmuch as Jesus was his incarnation name, the name connected with his taking our flesh upon him. So that he preaches peace from sympathy as well as from infinite power; and he knew in his manhood, and from the sufferings of his manhood, and from the sensibilities of his manhood, and from the weakness of his manhood, how necessary a requisite peace must be to the sons of men. Christ in his manhood had a need of peace, because Christ in his manhood had a need of support; and, therefore, it is expressly said, that "Jesus of Nazareth was anointed with the Holy Ghost." The Holy Ghost was not given by measure unto him, that is to say, the fulness of the Holy Ghost was given unto Christ's manhood, that he might by the very enjoyment which he had, and the very close union which his godhead and manhood possessed, pour out on his people with a sympathising heart that very peace which was to be
Now, the great truth then that the Christian learns when he stands on Calvary, and beholds the sorrows of Christ, and the agonies of Christ, is this
their portion for time and eternity.-how precious that peace must be since Oh, my friends, it is a blessed truth that he was Jesus of Nazareth in all the sensibilities, and in all the weakness of our nature, upheld by the wonderful power of the Holy Ghost.
it flows to my soul through the blood of my Redeemer-since it was connected with the agonies of Jesus of Nazareth; and before he could leave this legacy, "My peace I leave you,"
is the preacher.
We observe, SECONDLY, THAT CHRIST
IS THE PROCURER OF THIS PEACE.
This is stated in the thirty-ninth and fortieth verses, And we are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly." Now here is Christ set forth as the one who made peace, and procured peace for his people. We find the Apostle Paul, in his first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, and the twentieth verse, saying, “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. And you, that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight." The peace which the Lord Jesus Christ procured was purchased at the expense of his own sufferings; and if I may so speak, his giving up his own peace. He not only came to preach peace, and to suffer agony; but in the very procuring this peace, his own soul suffered the desertion of his Father's countenence, and his Father's presence; and he was obliged to cry out in his agonies on the cross, "My God, my GoD, why hast thou forsaken me?"
he was obliged to seal his will by his own blood. He conveyed it to us in a manner that enriches it in the Christian's view, and in a manner that strips the poor proud Pharisee, and the poor proud sinner of all pretensions to receive it upon his own merits. It teaches us, in fact, that it is not only a valuable peace, but that it has been effected by Christ alone; and it is just because the sons of men have no eye of faith to behold Christ crucified, because they cannot see the wonders of Calvary, that ever self-ed till he rose again. He had to conrighteousness has been known in the tend not only with death in its agoworld, or that a proud Pharisee has nies, but he had to contend with death ever existed. But bring any sinner to in its very chamber. He entered into Christ crucified, and show him that, or the regions of death, and he disposrather let the Holy Ghost show him sessed the strong man of his power, Christ, and he cannot be a Pharisee in his own palace, in his kingdom. any longer. He is convinced, once for And this is the glory of the resurall, that he has no part, or share, or rection, that Christ comes out to his portion in procuring the peace; that people in his risen and in his glorified the absurd idea which runs in the humanity-not in his suffering and hunatural mind of making his peace with miliated humanity-as the Prince of GOD is full of opposition to the truth, Peace, announcing to the world that he that Christ has made peace by the has broken all the shackles, and all the blood of his cross; and, therefore, every bonds of death-that he has contended one who depends, in the slightest de- with the prince of the power of the gree, on his own efforts, or uses one air, and with him that had the power effort to make peace with GoD, in the of death, that is the devil, and that he sense of procuring it, independently of subdued him and conquered him in Christ, that man is practically an in- his own kingdom, and that he rose fidel, that man is practically turned triumphant to preach peace to his away from Jesus, who will admit of people. It is for this reason that the no condition, no partnership, no com- New Testament lays such a stress upon promise, no union between himself and the resurrection of Christ, and we the sinner in the procuring of this peace. never should separate the one from He will take it on himself altogether, the other, or suppose the death of and he will have nothing to do with Christ was more essential than his the man who attempts to do any thing resurrection, since the work of Christ to make his peace with God. He is a whole, composed of parts, every calls on the poor sinner to receive the one of which was essential to his vipeace that he has procured, and he carious work. So far, then, we see calls on the guilty rebel to receive the Christ as the procurer. message of peace simply as a recipient, without money, and without price; and, if I may so speak, without effort, and without condition. My friends, we cannot speak too plainly on this
Now, then, let us attend, in the THIRD PLACE, to the blessings promised. We read in the forty-third verse, "To him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name
great truth, that Christ by his work, once finished, has procured peace for all that believe in him.
But we must advance one step more in the fact of Christ's procuring peace. Observe, the Apostle connects his death with his resurrection, in the next verse, "Him GOD raised up the third day, and showed him openly." Now this I mention, because we too often suppose that the work of Christ was finished when he died, whereas, in fact, the work of Christ was not finish
whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." You observe, my beloved friends, THAT CHRIST IS HERE THE BESTOWER OF PEACE. He not only announces the peace as the anointed preacher; and he not only procures the peace as the dying victim, and the risen and triumphant Saviour, but he also bestows the peace in a limited and a peculiar manner. And herein exists the great difference between the redemption of Christ and the pardon of Christ. He redeems man as man because he bore his nature. He redeemed man in his misery and wretchedness, and died for the sins of men universally. He redeemed man as a creature which he identified with himself, and, therefore, there is an extensiveness and a generality thrown over the redemption of Christ in the Scriptures, which we cannot fail to remark, inasmuch as it is said, "He gave himself a ransom for all;" and, inasmuch as he is said to have given his life "for the sins of men."
Now all these expressions have something more than merely speaking of national distinctions. They seem to imply and to intimate, that there is in Christ, as a redeeming Saviour, and as a ransom presented to the Father, an adequacy for the sins of the whole world, in order that in the proclamation of the message no sinner may despair, and none may commence at the wrong end, with the desire of climbing up into heaven, and seeing if their names are written in the Lamb's book of life, and whether they have been amongst the selected number whom Christ will bring to glory, but that the book of redemption might be thrown open, and thrown open in all its universality and extensiveness, and thereby that any and every one of the sons of men might be invited to come to that as a full and overflowing fountain, and that believ
ing in that they may have peace, and the remission of their sins. But here comes the limitation. It is said expressly in our text, "that whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." There is no idea in Scripture that any but the elect, any but the church of God, are washed in the blood of Christ. There is the circle within the circle; and here is GoD in his own sovereignty dispensing his gifts, bestowing on his own chosen people the peculiar blessing of the forgiveness of sins. So that it is much to be lamented, that any in modern days should set out a doctrine like universal pardon, or that because churches and preachers have gone too far on the side of limiting the redemption, and the preaching of the Gospel, that, therefore, they should be driven to the opposite error of confounding the church with the world, and the world with the church. It is a solemn and a simple truth, that none but a believer has the forgiveness of sins, and that not on account of his believ ing, but simply in believing, inasmuch as God has appointed both the means and the blessing, and in that peculiar and special channel the believer comes into the possession of the designed blessing of GOD. Faith, then, is nothing more than the hand that receives
faith is only the channel that conveys the waters from the fountain of life to the poor thirsty soul. God has connected faith with the forgiveness of sins, not because of any virtue or any merit, or any efficacy in faith itself, but because it has an appropriating quality, it has the power of receiving and valuing the blessing it receives, and estimating that mercy which is conferred on the soul.
But the Apostle says further in this verse, "To him gave all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." It is a delightful
thing sometimes to look back on the prophetic declarations, and to trace in all the passages of the prophetic word the glorious truth, that all the servants of GOD were washed in the same fountain. When we open the book of Psalms we find it continually repeats this delightful message of the remission of sins. Thus, in the thirty-second Psalm, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." In the hundred and third Psalm, "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases." And in the middle of the same Psalm, we find that this forgiveness is so complete and so perfect, that "as far as the east is distant from the west, so far hath God removed our iniquities from us;" and inasmuch as the east and the west shall never meet together, never be united, never lose their places, so the sins of the believer never shall approach him in any degree whatever; but once removed are always equally removed in the midst of his darkness, in the midst of his temptation, and even in the midst of his follies. There is no hatred of GOD to his soul; there is an hatred of GOD to his sin. He sees the sins of his children, but not to be angry with them, not to hate them, (if I may so speak) not to hate them and cast them off; but he sees their sins to correct them, and he sees their sins to punish them, in order that they may be sanctified, and that they may be delivered from that which is the greatest of all miseries. So that the question, whether GoD sees sin in a believer, is also answered very simply from Scripture-" If thy children forsake my laws, I will visit their iniquities." GOD saw their iniquities. "I will visit their iniquities with stripes, and their transgressions with
a rod." But here is his love to their persons-" nevertheless, my lovingkindness will I not take away, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail them." Now, in the midst of their sins God's loving-kindness is by no means diminished; but his very loving-kindness, if I may so speak, is exerted to them in the language of gracious rebuke, in the language of the kindest chastisement, and in the language of fraternal exhortation to bring them back into the enjoyment of his own presence, and the light of his counte
The remission of sins is often dwelt upon by the Prophets as well as by the Psalmist. We find that the Prophet Isaiah assures his people, the Jews, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." This is the first figure he makes use of. He makes use of another figure when he says, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy iniquity as a cloud, and thy transgressions as a thick cloud." In the one he washes away the defilement, and in the other he destroys and blots out its magnitude; and just as the sun in its risen power consumes and blots out the cloud from the face of heaven, so do the rays of Christ's mercy and love blot out for ever the sins of his people from the light of GOD's countenance, and even from their own souls. We find that the prophets have so many passages on this subject that we could not attempt to refer to them all, but we would just bring one forward from the Prophet Micah, where he represents, in his seventh chapter, God not only washing away the defilement of sin, and blotting out its magnitude, but casting it out of his sight for ever, so that it shall never be remembered by him, declaring that "he will cast all their iniquities into the depths of the sea." Now, this is an expression so delightful, that it shows us that God, when he forgives