« PreviousContinue »
are, by sentence of law, given or delivered into the hands of executioners. So Acts, 2 : 23, " Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain ;” and so he is said to deliver him up to death for us all.” Rom. 8: 32.
4. God's giving of Christ, implies his application of him, with all the purchase of his blood, and settling all this upon us as an inheritance and portion. "My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." John, 6 : 32, 33. God hath given him as bread to poor starving creatures, that by faith they might eat and live. And so he told the Samaritan woman, " If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." John, 4 : 10. Bread and water are the two necessaries for the support of natural life; God hath given Christ, you see, to be all that, and more, to the spiritual life.
II. This gift of Christ was the highest and fullest manifestation of the love of God that ever the world saw.
1. Consider how near and dear Jesus Christ was to the Father : he was his Son, " his only Son;" the Son of his love, yea, one with himself; the express image of his person; the brightness of his Father's glory: "Unto us a Son is given," Isa. 9:6, and such a Son as he calls "his dear Son." Col. 1: 13. A late writer tells us, that in the famine in Germany, a poor family being ready to perish, the husband proposed to the wife to sell one of the children for bread to relieve themselves and the rest. The wife at last consented it should be so; but then they began to think which of the four should be sold; and when the eldest was named, they both refused to part with that, being their first-born, and the begin.
ning of their strength. Well, then they came to the second, but could not yield that he should be sold, being the very picture and lively image of his father. The third was named, but that also was a child that best resembled the mother. And when the youngest was thought of, that was the Benjamin, the child of their old age ; and so they determined rather to perish in the famine than part with a child for relief. And you know how Jacob mourned when his Joseph and Benjamin were rent from him. What is a child but a piece of the parent wrapt up in another skin? And yet our dearest children are but as strangers to us in comparison of the unspeakable dearness betwixt the Father and Christ. Now that he should ever thus part with his Son, his only Son, is such a manifestation of love as will be admired to all eternity. And then,
2. Let it be considered to what he gave him, even to death, and that of the cross; to be made a curse for us; to be the scorn and contempt of men; to the most unparalleled sufferings that ever were inflicted or borne by any. It breaks our heart to behold our children struggling in the pangs of death ; but the Lord beheld his Son struggling under agonies that never any felt before him. He saw him falling to the ground, grovelling in the dust, sweating blood, and amidst those agonies turning himself to his Father, and, with a heart-rending cry, beseeching him, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass.” Luke, 22 : 42. To wrath, to the wrath of an infinite God, was Christ delivered, and that by the hand of his own Father. Sure, then, that love must needs want a name, which made the Father of mercies deliver his only Son to such miseries
3. It is a special consideration to enhance the love of God in giving Christ, that in giving him he gave the richest jewel in his cabinet, a mercy of the greatest
worth and most inestimable value. Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is : "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" Psa. 73: 25. Oh what a fair One! what an only One! what an excellent, lovely One is Christ ! Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the garden of Eden, into one ; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one; oh what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it should be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Now, for God to bestow the mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as his Son was, yet not to account him too good to bestow upon us, what manner of love is this!
4. Once more let it be considered on whom the Lord bestowed his Son: upon angels ? No; but upon men. Upon men, his friends ? No; but upon his enemies. This is love ; and on this consideration the apostle lays a mighty weight. "God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Rom. 5 : 8–10. Who would part with a son for the sake of his dearest friends? but God gave him to, and delivered him for enemies : Oh love unspeakable !
5. Let us consider how freely this gift came from him. It was not wrested out of his hand by our importunity; for we as little desired as deserved it. It was surprising, self moved, eternal love, that delivered him to us. "Not that we loved him, but he first loved us.” 1 John, 4: 19. Thus, as when you weigh a thing, you cast in weight after weight, till the scales break; so doth God, one consideration upon another, to overcome our hearts, and make us admiringly to cry, "What manner of love"
is this! Thus I have showed you what God's giving of Christ is, and what matchless love is manifested in that incomparable gift.
INFERENCE 1. Learn hence the exceeding preciousness of souls, and at what a high rate God values them, that he gave his Son, his only Son out of his bosom, as a ransom for them. Surely this speaks their preciousness : all the world could not redeem them; gold and silver could not be their ransom; so speaks the apostle, “ You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” 1 Pet. 1: 18. Such an esteem God had for them, that rather than they should perish, Jesus Christ shall be made a man, yea, a curse for them. Oh, then, learn to put a due value upon your own souls: do not sell that cheap for which God hath paid so dear: remember what a treasure you carry about you; the glory that
you see in this world is not equivalent in worth to it.” " What shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?” Matt. 16: 26.
2. If God has given his own Son for the world, then it follows, that those for whom God gave his own Son, may warrantably expect any other temporal mercies from him. This is the apostle's inference, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with him, freely give us all things ?” Rom. 8: 32. And so, 1 Cor. 3: 21-23, "All things are yours, for ye are Christ's:" that is, they hold all other things in Christ, who is the capital and most comprehensive mercy.
No other mercy you need or desire, is or can be so dear to God as Jesus Christ is. As for the world, and the comforts of it, it is the dust of his feet; he values it not, as you see by his providential disposals of it, hav. ing given it to the worst of men. "All the Turkish empire," saith Luther, "as great and glorious as it is, is but a crumb which the Master of the family throws
to the dogs." Think upon any other outward enjoyment that is valuable in your eyes, and there is not so much comparison between it and Christ, in the esteem of God, as between your dear children and the lumber of your houses, in your esteem. If then God has parted so, freely with that which was infinitely dearer to him than these, how shall he deny these when they may promote his glory and your good ?
As Jesus Christ was nearer the heart of God than all these, so Christ is, in himself, much greater and more excellent than all of them. Ten thousand worlds, and the glory of them all, is but the dust of the balance if weighed with Christ. These things are but poor creatures, but he is "
over all, God blessed for ever.” Rom. 9:5. They are common gifts, but he is the gift of God. John, 4 : 10. They are ordinary mercies, but he is The Mercy, Luke, 1 : 72, as one pearl or precious stone is greater in value than ten thousand pebbles. Now, if God has so freely given the greater, how can you suppose he should deny the lesser mercies? Will a man give to another a large inheritance, and grudge him a trifle ? How can it be?
There is no other mercy you need, but you are entitled to it by the gift of Christ; it is, as to right, conveyed to you with Christ. So, in the fore-cited i Cor. 3 : 21-23, the world is yours, yea, all is yours, for ye are Christ's. So 2 Cor. 1:20, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen.” With him he hath given you all things richly to enjoy. 1 Tim. 6: 17,
If God has given you this nearer, greater, and allcomprehending mercy, when you were enemies to him, and alienated from him, it is not imaginable he should deny you any inferior mercy, when you are come into a state of reconciliation and amity with him. So the apostle reasons, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much