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released among the children of Adam. ceived many donatives from his Father on high, to shower down
his coronation day: that illustrious day, when he that in righteousness has made, war and conquered, received on his own head many crowns, Rev. xix. 11, 12.
He that could take so much pleasure on earth in his labours of love, takes more delight in heaven in the distributions of grace.
This is the sweetest part of his triumph, and the most visible among men, even the gifts of the Spirit which he sent down after his ascension, to animate the word, and make it, age after age, efficacious to the salvation of sinners. It was necessary that his
should have some share in the glory of that day. What was said of the great day of deliverance, when the Jews obtained victory over their designed murderers, may be applied, with honour, to the day when our Lord ascended to heaven, and celebrated his triumph over the spirits of darkness. This was a good day for Israel, Esth. ix. 22; for all the saints a good day, when Jesus rested from his enemies, and a month which was turned unto him from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to a day of gladness. This was a day of receiving portions for his brethren, and of sending gifts to the poor. Jesus our King is the Prince of power, and the Prince of peace.
He solemnized his victory with acts of mercy, and began his reign with gifts of grace. He led Satan, the arch traitor, bound at his chariot wheels; and scattered donatives of pardon and life among the sons of Adam, that had been seduced by him into the great rebellion. And in the distribution of his favours, he acts like one who is made “ Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all,” Eph. i. 22, 23.
Be not afraid, O thou trembling believer, lest thou shouldst not be able to get near him for the throng; or lest, amidst the crowd of suppliants, thou shouldst be overlooked; for he has eyes like a flame of fire. He will find thee out, however much thou mayest be overtopped by thy christian neighbours, and will distinguish thee with marks of approbation and love. He will supply thee with suitable and abundant grace, and with infinite compassion dispense his consolations to thy soul. It is further pleasing
observe from this passage, that God the Father had not given away all his gifts to men, even when he gave them his only begotten Son. For, since that time, he has given his Son more gifts to be distributed among them ; from whence we may gather the unwearied love, the inexhausted stores of Divine
grace and mercy. Christ is called the gift of God, John iv. 10. and the unspeakable gift, 2 Cor. ix. 15. He
his own Son out of his bosom, and gave him up to death for us; his Son that was nearest his heart : grace!
his Son, the delight of his soul, and object of his eternal enjoyment: and yet he is not weary of giving. O! the unmeasurable treasures of O! the unlimitable bounties of our God! Stand amazed, O heavens, and let the earth lie low in thankfulness and wonder; and every holy soul adore this surprising love!
We may also advance a step farther, and see here the Divine condescension to human weakness; how a giving God stoops to the capacity of receiving creatures, and bestows the richest blessings on us in a sweet and alluring manner of conveyance. When he gave his Son to us, he first arrayed him in flesh and blood, that the glories of the Deity might not affright us, nor his terror make us afraid. When he proceeds to confer on us further gifts, he puts them into the hands of his Son, dwelling in our nature; that we might have easy access to him without fear, and receive gifts from him as a delightful medium, by whom a God of infinite purity has a mind to confer favours on sinful man. He has put all grace into those hands, whence we ourselves would choose to fetch it. If a God of shining holiness and burning justice should appear like himself, and call to us, and hold forth his hand, and say to us in thunder, “ Here are gifts, here are pardons, here is salvation for yon,” we should be ready to say with Job, “ Withdraw thine hand far from me, and let not
thy dread make me afraid,” Job xiii. 21. But, see the wisdom and mercy of God. We sinners, who durst not approach an absolute God, any more than dry stubble could come near to a consuming fire, we come to a Man, to one who has worn our flesh and blood, and who is our Brother. We come with courage to him that looks like one of us, to receive the gifts of a holy God; and, supported and screened by this merciful Mediator, the terrors of his holiness do not sink us, nor the fire of his justice devour us. O my soul, bow down and worship that God who stoops so low to thee, and has found such a mild, and gentle, and endearing method of conferring his favours on thee.
One would have expected that this surprising condescension and grace should have banished all kinds and every degree of diffidence and distrust, and silenced for ever the doubts and fears of the weakest and most trembling believer. say, “if we could be sure that the character belonged to us. We know he has received gifts, but not for such wretches as we. We are traitors, rebels. We have eaten of his bread, and
lifted up the heel against him. We have sworn obedience and fidelity, and yet have joined with his enemies in opposing him. We have crucified the Lord of glory afresh, and put him to open shame; and, by our treacherous conduct, have done more to dishonour him than the vilest and most malicious
“ Yes,” you
of his adversaries. It cannot be, therefore, that God would give, or Christ receive gifts for us." Read over the passage again, and blush at your unbelief. “Thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also.” Yes, indeed, here are gifts for you ; the very blessings you wanted. Yea, exceeding abundant above all that you can ask or think. “ Woman, thy sins which are great are forgiven thee : I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Here it is signed with Jehovah's own hand, sealed with the blood of Christ, and witnessed by his Spirit. Here, take it; keep it safe and clean, and produce it to the law, or conscience, or any of thy enemies, when they would endeavour to terrify thee with death and condemnation. More than this, here is a charter which reinstates you in all your forfeited and long lost privileges; the image of God impressed anew, the favour of God restored, and communion with God again encouraged; and fresh supplies of grace, and strength, and consolation. “ I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. My grace shall be sufficient for you, and my strength shall be made perfect in your weakness. Here, take it; and whenever you are apt to be cast down and disquieted within you, whenever heart, and Aesh, and faith seem to fail, have recourse to this sovereign restorative, and draw water out of those wells