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Nor can the words be so applied to MESSIAH as to intimate that even his sufferings were more than necessary, or greater than the exigence of the case required. The efficacy of his atonement is indeed greater than the actual application, and sufficient to save the whole race of mankind if they truly believed in the Son of God. We read, that he groaned and bled upon the cross, till he could say, It is finished, but no longer. It becomes us to refer to infinite wisdom, the reasons why his sufferings were prolonged for such a precise time; but I think we may take it for granted that they did not endure an hour or a minute longer than was strictly necessary. The expression seems to be elliptical, and I apprehend the true sense is, that Jerusalem should receive blessings, double, much greater, thạn all the afflictions which sin had brought upon her. And in general to us, to every believing finner, that the blessings of the Gospel are an unspeakably great compensation, and overbalance, for all afflictions of every kind with which we have been, or can be exercised. Afflictions are the fruit of fin, and because our sins have been many, our afflictions may

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be many. But where fin has abounded, grace has much more abounded *. · Before our Lord healed the paralytic man who was brought to him, he said, Be of good cheer, thy fins are forgiven thee t. His outward malady rendered him an object of compassion to those who brought him ; but he appears to have been sensible of an inward malady, which only Jesus could discern, or pity, or relieve. I doubt not but his conscience was burdened with guilt. An assurance therefore that his fins were forgiven, was sufficient to make him be of good cheer, whether his palsy were removed or not. To this purpose the Psalmist speaks absolutely and without exception. Blessed is the man, however circumstanced, whose transgresion is forgiven, whose iniquity is covered 1. Though he be poor, afflicted, diseased, neglected or despised, if the Lord imputeth not his iniquity to him, he is a blessed man. There is no situation in human life so deplorable, but a sense of the pardoning love of God, can support and comfort the sufferer under it, compose his {pirit, yea make him exceedingly joyful in all his tribulations. For he who feels the power

* Rom. v. 20. + Mark ii. 5. ' Pfal. xxxii. 1. · VOL. I.

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of the blood of Jesus cleansing his conscience from guilt, and giving him access by faith to the throne of grace, with liberty to say Abba, Father; he knows that all his trials are under the direction of wisdom and love, are all working together for his good, and that the heaviest of them are light, and the longest momentary, in comparison of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which is reserved for him in a better world *. Even at present in the midst of his sufferings, having communion with God, and a gracious submission to his will, he possesses a peace that passeth understanding, and which the world can neither give nor take away.

I shall close this preliminary discourse with a few observations, by way of improvement.

1. How justly may we adopt the Prophet's words, Whois a God like unto thee ole! Behold and admire his goodness! Infinitely happy and glorious in himself, he has provided for the comfort of those, who were rebels against his government, and transgressors of his holy law. What was degenerate Israel, and what are we, that he should thus prevent us with his mercy, remember us in our low estate, * 2 Cor. iv. 16, 17, Micah vii. 18.

and redeem us from misery, in such a way, and at such a price ! Salvation is wholly of grace*; not only undeserved, but undesired by us, till he is pleased to awaken us to a sense of our need of it. And then we find every thing prepared that our wants require, or our wishes can conceive: yea, that he has done exceedingly beyond what we could either ask or think. Salvation is wholly of the Lord of, and bears those signatures of infinite wisdom, power and goodness, which distinguish all his works from the puny imitations of men. It is every way worthy of himself, a great, a free, a full, a sure salvation. It is great, whether we consider the objects miserable and hell-deserving finners; the end, the restoration of such alienated creatures to his image and favor, to immortal life and happiness ; or the means, the incarnation, humiliation, sufferings and death of his beloved Son. It is free, without exception of persons or cafes, without any conditions or qualifications, but such as he himself performs in them, and bestows upon them. It is full, including every desirable blessing ; pardon, peace, adoption, protection and guidance through this world, and in the ; * Ephes, ii. 5 S t Psal. iii. 8.

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world to come eternal life and happiness, in the unclouded, uninterrupted enjoyment of the favour and love of God, with the perfect and perpetual exclusion of every evil. ,

2. When the Lord God who knows tlie human heart would speak comfort to it, he proposes one object, and only one, as the necessary and all-sufficient source of confolation. This is MESSIAH. Jesus in his person and offices, known and received by faith, affords a balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. If we admit that they who live in the spirit of the world, can make a poor fhift to amuse themselves, and be tolerably fatisfied in a Itate of prosperity, while every thing goes on according to their wish ; while we make this concession, (which however is more than we need allow them, for we know that no state of life is free from anxiety, disappointment, weariness and disgust) yet we muft ftill consider them as objects of compaffion. It is a proof of the weakness and disorder of their minds, that they are capable of being satisfied with such trifles. Thus if a lunatic conceives his cell to be a palace, that his chains are ornaments of gold, if he calls a wreath of his straw a crown, puts it on his

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