« הקודםהמשך »
O most blessed and glorious Lord God! who, in infinite compassion, hast given thine only Son to be the Saviour of mankind, and art in Him reconciling the world unto thyself, not imputing unto us our trespasses and sins ; teach me with deep humility and lively gratitude to adore and bless Thee for the transcendent display of grace and mercy in the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. May this adorable mystery of love engage my profound contemplations, and my lively affections. May my most fervent desires be excited, my most earnest exertions roused, to obtain the inestimable blessings of this great salvation. Inspire me, O God, with that faith which will unite me to the Redeemer, and be the pledge of my forgiveness and everlasting redemption. Teach me humbly to adore thy sovereign will, in requiring faith in thy Son, as the indispensable condition of thy mercy. Enable me to form profound, just, and lively views of this exalted virtue. May I not rest contented in a nominal acknowledgment of the Saviour ; in a speculative and unfruitful belief in his doctrines; or in an indistinct and general view of his character and offices. O teach me, that these external, superficial, and imperfect views of Christ, thy blessed Son, while they dishonour his dignity and glory, will not stand the scrutiny of thy justice, will not convey peace and consolation to my soul, or entitle me to the joys of thy favour. 'Teach me to lay the foundation of my faith in a deep conviction of my unworthiness and guilt. And when thus awakened and alarmed, 0 do Thou enlighten me to discern the excellence and glory of Christ Jesus; and to apply his precious blood to my consolation and peace. May I discern the all-sufficiency of his merits ; the perfection of his righteousness; the fulness of his grace ; his ability and willingness to save. May I cordially, joyfully, and stedfastly repose on Him as the Almighty Mediator, by whose righteousness alone I can be justified ; by whose Spirit alone sanctified and saved. May my faith purify my heart, raise me above the unhallowed gratifications of the world, and form in my soul the holy graces and virtues which will prepare me for the fruition of thy presence. Thy grace alone, Almighty God, can inspire and perfect my faith,-earnestly I implore thy quickening and sanctifying strength. Lead me humbly and thankfully to that spiritual banquet, where every holy grace of the soul is nourished and strengthened by the body and blood of thy Son. There, O God, may I seal, through faith, my title to thy favour; there may the smiles of thy reconciled countenance be shed upon me; and there may my weak and humble faith be quickened to the holy triumphs of joyful assurance and hope, through the mighty power of that Redeemer, who, as the eternal Son of thy love, liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Faith in Christ as the eternal Son of God, and as a Prophet, a
Priest, and King. Thou dost perceive, O my soul, that faith in Christ consists in such a lively, supreme, and stedfast reliance on his merits and grace, as produces peace of conscience, joy in the favour of God, redemption from the dominion of sin, sincere devotion to the Saviour, universal obedience to his commands. This faith necessarily implies a just and lively view of his glorious character and offices. Until the glories of Christ, and his important offices, are fully displayed to our minds, we shall not discern the all-sufficiency of his merits, his almighty power to save us, his
supreme claims to our homage and obedience. Faith, when exercised upon the Saviour in the various offices which He sustains towards us, is a most sublime, ennobling, and consoling principle. It opens to our astonished contemplations, those eternal glories of the Godhead which were centered in the person of Jesus Christ. It exhibits this Saviour dispensing the luminous revelation of the attributes and will of JEHOVAH ; of the duties, hopes, and final destiny of man. It displays Him, clothed in the garments of righteousness and mercy, standing before the altar of Divine justice, and sending up that costly incense of his blood, which propitiates the holy indignation of an offended God, and invokes for man the blessings of peace and salvation. It displays Him, " clad with the garments of vengeance,"
“ with zeal as with a cloak," marching triumphant over his adversaries, "treading them down in his anger, and trampling them in his fury,”—and finally ascending, in majesty and power, to the throne of universal dominion ; where He rules, the conqueror of death and hell, dispensing to his people the succours of his grace, and receiving their homage and obedience, as the King and Captain of their salvation. When the believer sincerely embraces his Saviour in all these glorious offices, as the eternal Son of the Father, as the illustrious Prophet of the Highest, as the atoning Priest and Intercessor of his people, as the resistless King and Captain of their salvation--adoration, gratitude, love, and joy, will swell his soul. Every thought, every power, every affection, will celebrate the Saviour's glory. Uniform, sincere, zealous obedience, will attest the sincerity of the ardent devotion of the believer to his Almighty Lord and King.
From a lively belief in the Divine character and glorious offices of the Saviour, thou must derive, O my soul, peace, holiness, and consolation. And this faith should be in holy exercise when thou art to partake of that ordinance, the efficacy of which will depend on thy lively apprehension of that Saviour, whom it sets forth as thy strength and refuge.
Contemplate, then, the Saviour with lively faith, as the eternal Son of the Father.
The voice of the prophets, his forerunners; the declarations of his inspired Apostles attesting his own pretensions ; the exalted offices which He came to execute ; the glorious triumphs of his cross ; the eternal throne, on which He governs, and will finally judge the world; all proclaim his Divine dignity and glory, and urge thee, with supreme faith, to adore Him as thy Lord and thy God. Hear the glorious names and titles of Divinity conferred by the prophets on the Messiah that was to come—“Emanuel, God with us—The Mighty God—The Lord our righteousness—The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple—The God whose throne is for ever and ever." Hear the united testimony of the holy Apostles, who, in declaring that Christ was “God manifest in the flesh,” and that in Him “dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead,” only confirm the Divine pretensions of Jesus Himself, “I and the Father are one-I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, which was, and which is, and which is to come, the Almighty.” The exalted offices which He came to execute-to unfold the eternal counsels of the Father— to establish the everlasting rules of truth and duty-to satisfy the claims of Divine holiness and justiceto demolish the dominion which sin and death had established over mankind--to open the gates of everlasting bliss which Divine wrath had closed against a guilty world—these are offices which a creature stamped with native weakness could
execute — they require the omnipotent