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ment with the Father, from eternity, to die for sinners, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring them unto God.” But so carnally had they understood the Scriptures, that when Jesus came, and when they might have“ beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” they “saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him."
Had they understood the mind of Almighty God, in the revelation of the ancient Scriptures touching His Son, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. And therefore, while St. Peter declares, that Jesus, being “ by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God delivered, the Jews by wicked hands had crucified and slain Him,” he tenderly aims to lead them to the abundant mercy of God, in the full assurance of its exercise towards them, now that the sin-convincing Spirit was charging their guilt home upon them, by ascribing their rejection and murder of Christ, to the dark veil that was upon
their hearts concerning Him. Their sin was rather that of a most inconsiderate zeal, as the chief-priests, and rulers, and Scribes, and Pharisees, incited them, than a deliberate act of impious enmity against Him, as the Son of God, become incarnate for the world's salvation. Under the awfully darkening influence of this ignorance, Paul verily thought within himself, “that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth : under its delusion he persecuted the Church of God, and Christ himself, in his suffering members. O how dreadful the consequences of man's lapse into sin, which made the deepest counsels of God, for a fallen creature's happiness in grace and glory, foolishness unto him ;leaving him in absolute darkness, until the Eternal Spirit, entering his soul in the fulness of mercy, shall say,
" Let there be light ;” and then there is light, to understand unto eternal salvation the things that are freely given unto sinners of God. If the natural mind were not in spiritual darkness, deep and unrelieved, like that of Egypt, which God spread over the land for Pharaoh's sin, could there be such an ignorance of his pure and perfect law, which is the bright transcript of his own majesty, as to allow, that a sinner should hear its awful denunciation against him, and yet turn away from “ the Lamb slain” for sin, “from the foundation of the world,”—even from Him, who taketh away the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,- from Him whom “God made to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him?" If men were not miserably ignorant, as the god of this world, acting through the darkness of their natural hearts, blinds them, could they turn away in daring unbelief, from a scriptural view of Jesus Christ,--the stupendous proof, that “God is Love,”-the bright and blessed manifestation, that “He so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, to the end, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but should have everlasting life ?” If men were not miserably unacquainted with the preciousness of Christ's atonement and righteousness, and with the spiritual purport of his own solemn remark, that if He wash not all who bear his name, they have no part in Him, could they turn away, as they do, in wretched unbelief from that blood of Jesus Christ, God's only son, which cleanseth from all sin ? Were they not miserably led astray from the solemn truth, that if they are not put into Him by faith, they can no more be saved, than the sinners of the old world could have escaped from the waters while they were without the shelter of the ark, would they not seek to be found in Him? and, standing on the battlements of the city of refuge, glorify God for their safety? Is it then enough, that a man should say, 'I knew not these things, and therefore all is safe with me?' No, brethren, no. God forbid that any of you should lay this flattering unction to your souls. You have
a gospel in which all these things are plainly written : and there is a Spirit, promised by God, to make all truth known unto his people: and He hath undertaken, in all the inviolability of eternal faithfulness, to give that Holy Spirit unto them who ask it. A man ignorant of God in Christ, can no more recover himself out of the mortal disease under which his soul is labouring, than a sick man, (unless by a direct interposition of Almighty power) can recover of a malady unto death, without the skill of a physician, and the application of a sovereign remedy; as God may bless the sagacity of the one, and the healing virtue of the other.
If we are ignorant, dear friends, we are wilfully ignorant : and thus to remain, under all the means of light and knowledge, is a most dreadful manifestation of the heart's entire alienation from all the mercies of redeeming love, so freely proffered to, and so tenderly pressed upon the acceptance of a lost sinner's soul, under the dispen