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only saints, but angels all around will catch the sound, and every creature in heaven, and those redeemed from the earth, will feel the theme, and join their voices, say. ing, “ Worthy is the lamb, that was slain to receive power, and riches, and glory, and blessing ; and be these ascribed to him who sitteth on the throne, and to the lamb for ever and ever.”
What now remains, my brethren, but that we all joyfully accept the overtures of divine grace ? Are you convinced of your guilty helpless condition ? Here in Christ Jesus is grace to help, and mercy to pardon you. Say not in your hearts, “We are by the purpose of God excluded from salvation.”—God's purpose is not contrary to his word ; his election contradicts not his grace. You are already chosen to the enjoyment of the gospel : You have already been made partakers of some awakening influences of the spirit : You have been call. ed by the invitations of God. His word excludes you not, and you have no right to exclude yourselves, Remember, that they who are chosen to salvation, are chosen to be holy. In a way of faith and penitence salvation is offered ; in this way make your election sure. Comply with God's calls—his word will never fail. Remember your dependence on his grace, seek it humbly, accept it thankfully, receive it not in vain, walk worthy of him who has called you to his kingdom and glory
EPHESIANS i. 7. &.
In whom we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of
sins, according to the riches of his grace ; wherein he hath abound. ed toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
THE Apostle, in the third verse of the context, celebrates the grace of God in the spiritual blessings bestowed on our fallen race; and then proceeds to enumerate these blessings. He hath chosen us to be holy-predestinated us to the adoption of children-made us accepted in the beloved-granted us redemption through Christ's blood-revealed to us the mystery of his will-gathered both Jews and Gentiles together in one body-and sealed us with the holy spirit of prom: ise, which is the earnest of our inheritance."
The blessing mentioned in the text, is our redemp. tion.
For the illustration of this privilege we may consid. er-Who are the subjects of it ?-What is the nature of it -The way in which it is procured-The fourtain from which it originates—And the wisdom displayed in it.
1. We are to consider, Who are the subjects of this redemption ?
The Apostle says, “WE have redemption ;” that is, “We who were chosen in Christ to be holy-we
who have believed and trusted in Christ, have redemption."
The redemption purchased by Christ, though offer. ed without distinction to all who hear the gospel, is actually bestowed only on those, who repent of their sins and believe in the Saviour. " The redeemer comes to those who turn from ungodliness.” It is sin which has brought us under condemnation-It is by repentance of sin that we obtain redemption. The benefits of the gospel are free, but not indiscriminate. They are designed for as many as will receive them on the terms proposed; but not for all promiscuously, wheth, er they comply with the terms or not.
The idea which some fondly entertain, that redemption is absolutely universal, and in fact comprehends all men, is without scriptural foundation. There are in. deed some expressions which import universality. Christ is said “to have given himself a ransom for all, and to be made a propitiation for the sins of the whole world." But such expressions must always be understood in a sense consistent with the terms stated in the gospel. The price paid for our redemption is sufficient for all. It is designed for the benefit of sinners in all nations and ares. It is not, like the legal expiations, of limited efficacy and temporary use. The offer of salvation is made to sinners of all characters, and all who believe will be made partakers of it.
“ The rightcousness of God through the faith of Christ, is unto all them who believe, and there is no difference.” In these respects Christ died for all, and gave himself a ransom for all. But the benefits of redemption will be actually bestowed only on those who are penitent, faith. ful and holy-not on all indiscriminately, whether penitent or impenitent; whether believing or unbelieving. The gospel expressly assures us, that without repentance, faith and holiness, there is no salvation that Christ came to save us from our sins, to deliver us from this evil world, and to redeem us from our vain con
versation that he bore our sins on the cross, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness. If, expecting to be justified by Christ, we are still found sinners, and emboldened io continue such, we treat, as the minister of sin, that Saviour who came to call us to repentance, and to purify to himself a people zealous of good works.
II. We are to consider the nature of this redemption.
There is a twofold redemption mentioned in the writings of this Apostle ; the redemption of the soul from the guilt of sin by pardon, and the redemption of the body from the power of the grave ty the resurrec. tion. It is the former of these, which is intended in the text ; for so it is explained : We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The latter is intended verse 14, where the Apostle speaks of the Spirit, as "the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession ;” and Romans 8th chapter, where the creature is said to “ wait for the adoption even the redemption of the body.” But these two privileges are connected. The remission of sin, which is the release from our obligation to punishment, is accompanied with a title to eternal life. “ Whom God justifies, them he also glorifies.”
The divine law condemns those, who continue not ja all things written therein to do them. As we have all sinned, so, considered in relation to the law only, we are all under condemnation. Forgiveness frees us from this condemnation, and places us in a state of favor with God. It is expressed in scripture by a varicty of phrases ; such as the blotting out of our iniquities -the forgiveness of our debts- making us acceptedadmitting us to peace with God—justifying us from our sins, and unto life--imputing righteousness, and not imputing sin. — These phrases all import the same thing : Our deliverance from that state of guilt, in which we stood exposed to suffer the demerit of our
sins ; and our gracious acceptance to a state of peace with God, as if we had not offended.
The terms of this forgiveness are called repentance, faith, regeneration and conversion, or turning to God; all which express the same thing in different points of view, even a change of soul from the habitual love of sin to the love and service of God. Whenever the sinner, convinced of his sins, renounces them with godly sorrow and in hearty purpose, committing himself to the mercy of God in Christ with resolutions of future obedience, he is discharged from guilt, and entitled to eternal life. Where this change is real, there will be fruits meet for repentance. From these fruits arises a comfortable evidence of the sincerity of the heart, and a good hope of the heavenly inheritance.
III. The next thing here observable is, the way and manner, in which believers become partakers of this privilege. Through the blood of Christ.
The Apostles, and especially St. Paul, in their preaching and writings, dwell much on the death of Christ, as the ground of our hope. Christ crucified was their favorite theme.
The infinite mercy of God inclines him to forgive sinners; but his wisdom saw fit to grant them forgiveness in such a way as should clearly display his right. eousness, as well as his mercy. The punishment of our iniquities he therefore laid on his own Son, who voluntarily gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
The Apostle takes notice, that Jesus Christ, through whose blood we obtain forgiveness, is the Beloved. Ön this circumstance greatly depends the value of his sac. rifice. “ He hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood.-God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.He hath not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for ps-Christ was manifested to bear our sins, and in him