Page images

consider - 1st, In what respects Jesus is the Author of our faith,-2dly, In what respects he is the Finisher of it,-and 3dly, How we are to look unto Him in this interesting character.

I. Let us consider in what respects Jesus is the Author of our faith.

1. He is the Author of our faith, by accomplishing those events in the economy of God's government, which were necessary to open the way for the promulgation of the doctrines of the Cross. These doctrines all harmonize and centre in one point, the reconciliation of sinful man to the offended Majesty of heaven, through Jesus Christ. But how was this proclamation of mercy to be made to a world of rebels, without infringing the authority of God's law ; without sullying the honor of his government ; without shaking the stability of his throne ? Infinite Wisdom solved these tremendous difficulties, and devised a scheme of redemption which should be as illustrious in displaying the justice as the mercy of God. The Son of God condescended to pour out his blood for the remission of sin, that God might be just, and yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. The cross was to sustain a Victim so pure, so immaculate, so holy-what do I say ? it was to bear on its torturing arms the Son of God himself-one who declared himself equal to the Father-a dying spectacle to angels and to men, to prove that sin could be expiated by no sacrifice less costly. Now, my brethren, elevate your minds to the contempla

[ocr errors]

tion of this august and awful scene; the Son of God descending from heaven and dying on Calvary, to ransom our ruined race from the dreadful consequences of sin : think, too, how much was to be done to prepare the way for so astonishing an event. From the time that the consoling prophecy was given, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, to that awful moment of consummating the work of redemption, when Jesus exclaimed, “ It is finished ”-in this long lapse of ages, how many grand events must transpire before the “fulness of time” could come ! A deluge must sweep

from the earth its sinful inbabitants, a chosen few must be preserved to re-people the world. Their descendants must be scattered abroad. Abraham must be called from his kindred, and a solemn covenant be made with him by Jehovah, to preserve in his seed the line of the faithful. His de. scendants must be led forth from their Egyptian bondage. The law must be given from mount Sinai. The Jewish economy must be established. The heathen must be scattered before the children of Israel, and themselves established in the promised land. They must become a distinct people, separated from the rest of the world to retain the knowledge of the true God, and to furnish a parentage for the expected deliverer of mankind. But the time would fail me to tell of the vast changes which this wonderful people experienced : of the revolutions too, which were all the while

taking place in the Gentile world—the rise and fall of empires, the progress of arts and sciences, the turning and overturning of the great mass of human affairs and projects, by all of which the way was preparing to usher in one simple but grand event; the sacrifice on the cross of the only begotten Son of God.

Now, who had the controul of this astonishing order of things ? Who superintended and directed these momentous events? It was the Son of God himself, as we are abundantly taught in Scripture; He who was in the beginning with God, and was God; by whom all things were made, and by whose providential agency they have continually been sustained. He took on himself the whole work of redemption in its preparation, its progress,

and its consummation. After having guided by his controlling hand the long train of events which must precede his appearance in our world, when the fulness of time was come, he left the bosom of his Father, took upon himself the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Then, and not till then, could repentance and remission of sin be preached in his name. Then, and not till then, could the doctrines of the Cross, the great object of the Christian's faith and confidence, be fully unfolded and explained. Let us look then, my brethren, unto Jesus as the Author of our faith, because he bath accomplished those events in the economy

[ocr errors]

of God's government, which were necessary to open the way for the promulgation of the doctrines of the Cross.

2. Jesus is the Author of our faith, by having promulgated himself, and by his Apostles, the doctrines of the Cross.-After the way was opened for the pardon of sin, and for man's acceptance with God, by the obedience, the sufferings, and the death of Christ, it was still necessary that the meaning of these wonderful events should be explained. Otherwise, they would have been shrouded in impenetrable mystery : and man, though so deeply interested in them, could only have gazed on them with wonder and awe. Our Saviour, therefore, before his crucifixion, and his Apostles more fully after it, taught the connection between his sufferings, obedience, and death, and man's salvation. They taught, that by the blood of Jesus, a full pardon of guilt might be obtained, and that the simple conditions of this pardon were, repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ. These doctrines of the Cross, my brethren, have reached our ears. The Son of God, who now guides and governs the affairs of this lower world, hath distinguished us by his providence from thousands of our fellow men, by placing in our hands the records of his sufferings and death, and by instructing us how we may become interested in the atonement which he has made for sin. From him emanates the light of religious truth, which beams upon us in meridian lustre. To him, * therefore, let us look, as the Author of our fạith,


because he hath by himself, and by his Apostles, promulgated the doctrines of the Cross.

3. Jesus is the Author of our faith, by producing this grace within us, through the influences of the Holy Spirit. It was not enough, my brethren, for our Saviour to accomplish those events which were necessary to prepare the way for the promulgation of the doctrines of the Cross. It was not enough for him to have promulgated, by himself and his Apostles, these doctrines so glorious to God, and so interesting to man. The most difficult part of his work yet remained to be accomplished ; the greatest obstacle was yet to be removed; the most splendid triumph was yet to be won. He had satisfied the demands of Divine Justice. He had conquered the powers of darkness ; but he had not subdued the heart of man; that almost impregnable fortress of iniquity, full of passions and propensities the most sinful; subject to the dreadful rule of the powers of darkness ; in league with the great adversary of all good; hostile to the interests of its rightful Sovereign ; unwilling to submit to his lawful authority; and, above all, spurning with deadly hatred his kindest overtures of pardon and reconciliation. This foe must be subdued, and none but the arm of Omnipotence could subdue it. Christ, by his death, procured for sinful and rebellious man the influences of the Holy Spirit, and this mighty and mysterious Agent perfects the triumph of the Cross. Your experience, Christians! will testify, that if you have aught of faith

« PreviousContinue »