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him—“The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” Who is the man who is not the seed of the woman? Adam; he was excluded from this promise, as head of the race. It is in the second Adam that the promises are Yea and Amen. It is not a promise made to men, but to Christ, the second Adam, because God had outwardly set aside the first Adam as object of the promises of God. There is another who is brought in, and He is the object of all the promises. It is the second Adam, the seed of the woman.
We find it very hard to be willing to come down so low as to know ourselves, and to say —"I am a sinner, and nothing but a sinner; I have a right to nothing; I have sinned against God, against the light of my conscience, against knowledge; I have nothing, and I have a right to nothing but condemnation.” Nevertheless, the thing is true, and conscience tells us so, even when the will will not submit to it. If you say, sent myself before God," go and do so; but you cannot
" answer him one of a thousand, and conscience tells us so, as did the conscience of Adam. Adam did not await the presence of God; he hid himself among the trees of the garden, because he did not dare to appear before God. Well, are you, reader, prepared to be judged? Would you like all that you have ever done to be published before the whole world? Whoever you may be, you would not dare to appear before God such as you are, with all that you have ever done; and your conscience bears witness to the justice of God. You well know that you are guilty, and if your will does not tell you so, you may well try to make some excuse for yourself
. You would be very glad to say, “The woman whom thou gavest me has been the cause of my ruin"; but,
; though your conscience does not tell you so, God, in His goodness, has provided for all: He has taken to Himself the knowledge of good and evil.
Even when man is in unbelief, his conscience tells him truths from which he cannot escape. Can we think that a bad conscience could be happy in heaven! No; that cannot be. I do not here speak of grace. Some, perhaps, think that they can, as to the natural conscience, be happy in heaven; well, see what man is, and what God says to him. He tells him not to fear the flesh, because He means to deal with him in grace, in which is found a remedy for everything. God sets aside man who is condemned, and introduces the new man, and even the very condemned, into His glory. He has set eternal life in the new man, in the seed of the woman; it is in the Son, and we have life in Him.
Here then from the beginning, in the second Adam, all the promises are Yea and Amen in Christ, to the glory of God - It is this Christ who is the object of all the thoughts of God. We see what are the riches of this grace, for it is the Son of God who is in question, the second Adam, who is also the Holy One and the Just.
All the various glories are given to Him, and He must wear them all. All that is a manifestation of God must be in Him, and must display itself in Him who is the only Object of it. This is why the love of Christ passes knowledge. Yes, and it is for us that this is accomplished, and that it takes its dimensions; and, when I speak of its dimensions, I speak of that which is infinite, and it is Christ who is the object of it.
As to the poor world, all difference between the Jew and the Gentile disappears; 'tis altogether effaced. God shews grace to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. They are all wretched sinners; and if the Jews have tried to enjoy the promises, through their own righteousness, they are the more guilty, because they have the light of the law. They are the ungodly without strength. When the true God was there, when He introduced Himself into their midst by miracles, they were without strength because they had broken the law. The consequence thereof was it was evident that the due time was come, as to man, because he had shewed his utter powerlessness; and as to God also it was the due time. Why? Because He was about to manifest His pure love, and to shew that all depended on this love.
When we have arrived at this, then we find all the fulness of the blessedness of the love of God. All difference between the Jew and the Gentile is done away,
for they who are heirs were by nature the children of wrath.
Man has shewn what man is, and God what God iswe were children of wrath even as others; we had nothing but judgment to expect, but God has shewn Himself rich in mercy.
This is where we must begin. We must take the other end, if we can speak of an end of that which has no end, and find in God the resources of grace and goodness, which find their development in a being far off from Him, and who is the enemy.
We must see the grace of Him who has met every requirement. and who wills to save the sinner in spite of his wickedness whatsoever he may be.
It is a God who acts in grace towards those who are ungodly, towards poor sinners who have a right to nothing: -Who can understand this? It is the unsearchable riches of Christ, which are to be revealed to the principalities and powers-Christ becomes the vessel of all this grace. It is the love of Jesus which displays itself towards the most miserable sinner, even towards one who would not draw near to God, and who has a right to nothing. God, who is rich in mercy, comes to save him who is in sin and in misery.
Instead of making man come to Him, as would have been right and just, God Himself comes to meet man in order to make Himself known—He comes into the midst of evil, because man will not come into the midst of goodness-God comes in flesh into the midst of all this iniquity, in order to shew what it is, but He comes in holiness to shew also what it is. It is the love of a perfect God who is far from repelling iniquity: He comes on the contrary to seek it. How blessed it is, to feel that one has to do with God, with God infinite and infinitely holy. If He were not altogether holy, I might doubt if my salvation was finished; but it is a God infinitely holy, who presents His love to me, and while abiding in His holiness, comes to seek the sinner, people of bad character, in order to present to them His grace, and to set them at peace with Him.
It is He who is there, with the woman taken in
adultery, with women of bad character, as he was reproached with. It is God who eats with, and who makes Himself the companion of, people of bad character. Is it there where one would seek God if He were in this town? What man would seek there would be iniquity. God saves people of bad character, and He is only the more glorified—He sets aside the pride of man, and He makes manifest not that man has sought God, but that God has sought man. Well, here it is that we have all these unsearchable riches of Christ: all is there, in His person. Christ, as Creator, as Son of God, Heir of the promises, and as Son of Man, has a right to all. He is the witness of love and holiness by His life, and God has been fully glorified in Him. Jesus could
Jesus could say, "I have finished the work that Thou gavest me to do." If it is question of the holiness of God, He bears witness to this holiness, He deserves to be seated at the right hand of God. “I have glorified Thee on the earth," He says, " and now, glorify Thou Me, with Thine own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." He has a right to this glory through His work, and He had already a right to it without that.
What a work is His ! See again the unsearchable riches of this grace, when He was made sin for us. Here it is that these two ends meet, if one can speak of the ends of infinity. It is where the Holy One was made sin, when the Son of God who was the Prince of Life was made subject unto death, when the wrath of God fell upon His Beloved, upon His Son, and all for us poor miserable sinners, far off from God, not desiring to belong to Him. He whose sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood, and who bore our sins, was at the time that He endured the terrible wrath of God, He was at that very moment the most precious object of the infinite love of His Father, because He glorified Him perfectly. All this was accomplished between God and Christ. The angels desired to look to the very bottom of this mystery and man would avoid it altogether. The very outside of this was too fearful, too solemn, for him to dare to expose himself to such a conflict.— Yes, our pardon is a work all divine.
In the first chapter of the Hebrews the apostle presents us with the divine glory of Christ.
“God has spoken to us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds, who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
What a proof the apostle gives us of the glory of Jesus and His divine work. "He has purged our sins.” It is the most precious part of His grace.-In His love in redemption He shews Himself more excellent than in creation. Has Jesus ceased to be man? No, He is the God-man, who manifests Himself as man made sin. It is not a Messiah who was fulfilling the promises made to a nation, but more than that; all that passes between God and man, between Satan and sin, without that blessing would have been impossible. If I say, does sin
, separate me from God? Does the power of Satan sepasate me from God? No.-Is it that even morally there
? is a barrier between the heart of God and man?-No. All that could come in as a barrier between me and God has been done away in the death of Jesus. If difficulties were insurmountable, there where the heart of man (who cannot rise to the height of the thoughts of God) shews itself as it is—Christ presented Himself in the most complete weakness; He came into the lower parts of the earth, and there it was, He laid this Stone which cannot be shaken, this Rock of ages; there it is that we have found the certainty of our salvation—these are the unsearchable riches of Christ. What can now be denied to us, when God Himself has passed through this? Can I still have a doubt, a difficulty? God has provided for all. If He fails me, He will not have that which He Himself has merited. We belong to Christ, as it is said, " He shall see of the travail of His soul.” We see then how every thing has shown itself, every thing has tried its strength in the presence of the work of the love of God, and has but served to make manifest what is the power of His love.
All that was a barrier to the salvation of man is destroyed and has but served to bring it about. As to all