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holiness should ever be spoiled by improper company. For, it would be very unbecoming to mix up with such a hierarchy of pure and united spirits, any number of passionate or impure beings. And as

many sons are to be brought from our earth to this heaven, there is the more need to guard against the introduction of unsanctified sons. Well, all this danger is effectually provided against. Nothing that defileth or divideth shall ever enter the gates of glory. All who shall inherit heaven, will be made “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." Corruption shall put on incorruption, and mortality put on immortality, to put them off no more for ever. Sin will be as impossible for ever as suffering ; and disagreement as unknown as death. All the exceeding weight of glory will be “ an eternal weight of glory.” So far this is an arrangement which, it will be allowed, is highly becoming the high character of God, and of heaven too. This will be a state of things in full harmony with all that we know, or can imagine, of the personal glory and felicity of the Godhead. May we not, therefore, expect that as the grand end of his mercy and grace is so worthy of all his perfections, that all the means of bringing many sons to this glory will be equally worthy and becoming ? God is as unlikely to let down his character by the plan of salvation, as by the result of it. His way of saving is, therefore, as sure to be what becomes himself, as heaven is so.

II. The sufferings of Christ are declared to be the way in which it became God to bring man to glory.

This, however, is denied by many, and doubted by more. Other ways are said to be far more becoming the character of God. An atonement is said to be unworthy of his goodness to ask, and of his justice to accept. Accordingly, it is held and upheld by not a few, that the most becoming way of saving sinners is, graciously to forgive and forget all their sins, without any satisfaction to law or justice, but repentance. Let us examine this matter, said to be so becoming!

How does it become Him, who is the author and end of all things, to pardon all sin, and any sin, on the repentance and reformation of the sinner, alone? It is allowed by the enemies of the atonement, that it becomes God to require repentance and amendment, in order to pardon. Well, this must of course be because God hates sin, and because sin is an evil which ought to be repented of and given up, and because an impenitent and unholy heart will not suit heaven. But, unless it can be proved that pardon, thus obtained by repentance, would prevent for ever all sin in heaven, it cannot “become” God to

was;

pardon, on such conditions, if He intend to maintain eternal glory. For, were pardon thus cheap, where would be the check against the recurrence of sin in heaven ? Who would fear much to renew sinful experiments on high, if the matter were thus easily settled below ? Remember, it is essential to the eternity of heaven, that sin he eternally impossible to all the “ many sons” brought to glory. But on this plan, sin would be for ever both possible and practicable, because so easily remedied. In fact, were this doctrine of repentance true, it would be an eternal temptation to sin.

But, it is thought that being in heaven will be enough to prevent all sin for ever. “ Forever," is a word easily uttered, but it is a duration unutterable. However, whatever heaven may be, that it always

and we know that being in it did not prevent some angels from becoming devils. This, therefore, is no eternal antidote against sinning and falling again. “But, if we were made, like heaven, perfectly pure and wise, would not that be an eternal security ?”. Now, I readily grant that it ought to be so. I must, however, remind you that, at their creation, the now fallen angels were as full and effulgent with holiness and wisdom as God could make them; and yet they rebelled and fell. A plain proof that no degree of "the image of the Heavenly” could prevent, by its own power alone, the return of any son in glory to “ the image of the earthy," if he were brought to heaven by mere repentance, however that repentance issued in perfect holiness. The perfect holiness would be for ever in jeopardy by the cheapness and easiness of a penitential pardon.

But, would not all tendency to fall wear itself out by degrees, until every one was so tired of trying rash experiments, that all would give them

up

for ever, and thus the evil cure itself ?” I answer—evil has never cured itself in this way, but waxed worse and worse. But even if it could eventually become its own antidote, how would it “ become” God to wait until all had worn themselves weary of trying rash and wrong experiments ? “ But, why not then confirm for ever the holy principles and inclinations of all as they enter heaven, and thus prevent the possibility of sin ?" Confirm them! why, the plan of saving by mere mercy, on mere repentance, leaves nothing to confirm them with, but that kind of power which keeps the mountains steady, and the stars regular; and such physical power God does not apply to mind, but to dead matter. It would not become Him by whom all minds were made rational, and for whom all minds should be religious, to confirm them in holiness by force. Mind can only be made or kept virtuous by the wer of virtuous motives. Unless, therefore, salvation by repentance alone has power in itself to confirm perfection, it should be discarded at once, as untenable and untrue.

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Now, we have seen that it has not absolute power to do so. The atonement of Emmanuel has, alone, the power of moral confirmation. The evil of sin, seen in his humiliation, seen in his sufferings, seen in his blood, will be an eternal antidote to all sin in heaven. None of all the many sons in glory will ever think of sinning, when they see him in the midst of the throne as a lamb that has been slain. The sight of Christ, and the idea of future sin, will never blend in any conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ. He will be HighPriest for ever in heaven, and, therefore, his crucified presence will be as effectual to prevent all future sin, as his death was to atone for

past sin.

Thus, whilst the plan of salvation by the atonement secures repentance of the best kind, it secures also, by moral and immortal means, the eternal holiness of the truly penitent. How, then, could it “ become” God to bring many sons to glory, in a way that gives no certainty for keeping them in glory? Would this be worthy of any of his perfections ? If not, then it became Him, as he intended to keep them in heaven, to bring them all to it by a way that was sure to keep them for ever sinless : that is, by the “

new and living way opened up through the rent veil" of the Saviour's humanity. Is it necessary to prove that this mediatorial method of saving can and must prevent for ever the possibility of sinning or falling again in heaven? If so, the proof is at hand, in the single fact that the atonement will never be repeated. Now, as the death of Christ is the only thing that could atone for sin, and as He will die no more, it will be known and felt through all the universe of God, that another rebellion would be eternally fatal. This is a point which never can become doubtful or dim in heaven.

For as it was impossible for man or angel to conceive that ever the Son of God would die once to save, so it must be for ever impossible to imagine that he will die again ; and thus for ever impossible for saints or angels to be tempted again to sin, by the hope of pardon or impunity. Words, principles, warnings, might be misunderstood and misinterpreted, and thus be got over ; but the one atonement of Emmanuel is a transaction so peculiar and impressive, that it must for ever prevent all mistakes and all presumption.

“But, sinning in heaven!" it may be said, " no one ever dreams of such a thing. What, then, is the use of spending so much time and strength on a point which people never think about ? Would it not be wiser to expend this labour on the prevention of sin on earth ?" Well, the only thing which can effectually prevent it on earth is that which alone can eternally prevent it in heaven---the influence of he cross of Christ; and if that be needed there, to keep saints and

angels in their place and character, surely it is wanted here, where inclination and temptation to sin are so strong!

I am not, therefore, beating the air, nor fighting shadows, in this argument; but climbing to the highest point in eternal glory, that I may throw myself down with irresistible force upon your consciences, by the fact, that there is only one remedy for sin-only one effectual preventive of sin, in the universe of God. Heaven cannot be kept heaven, without the cross in the midst of the throne. How then can you be cured or kept from sin, without glorying in that cross ?

The love of Christ has not that constraining influence amongst us which it ought, and might have. How else could so many, who profess to depend on Him for salvation, keep back from the sacrament of his death? Oh, consider, ye who forget his dying command : how can it be safe to neglect this commemoration on earth, seeing it would be unsafe in heaven for any patriarch, prophet, apostle, or martyr, to neglect the marriage supper of the Lamb ? I tell you now, and will prove it anon, that there is not an angel in heaven would be safe to cease from joining in the new song; for they, too, are all kept in their proper place and spirit by looking into the sufferings of Christ ; and but for the confirming influence of his cross on them, they would all have no more security against falling, than Satan and his angels had in their first estate.

Neglecter of the sacrament, weigh this solemn fact. Consider this, ye who think little about your need of an interest in the blood of the Lamb. All heaven upbraids you both ; all saints and angels in glory combine to reprove your guilt and folly in trifling with that blood, which is the only unalterable seal of their safety. How then can you be safe from sin or hell, seeing such conduct as yours would unseat, and uncrown, and ruin, any spirit before the throne ?

Brethren! I have not been beating the air this morning, but preparing to deal deadly blows against all hopes of salvation which are not entirely founded upon the cross of Christ. Some argue for another way of salvation; and more take for granted, that if they only repent and reform at last, there is no great danger of missing heaven. Now, were all this as true as it is false, still, a heaven got in this way could not be kept, to a certainty. There would be, in spite of all its glories, eternal danger of losing it again; because there is not moral force, either in repentance or perfection, to prevent sin. Human perfection failed in paradise ; angelic perfection failed in the heaven of heavens. He must, therefore, be a dupe or a driveller, who, in the face of such facts, could flatter himself that he could do better to all eternity. No, no, brethren ; if we wish for an eternal heaven, we must seek it as the purchase of the Saviour's blood : for it is proved by fatal experience, that finite beings, however happy or pure, are for ever capable both of erring and falling, when left to their own power. God has, therefore, determined to put a final stop to all defection in all unfallen worlds ; and as it would not become the Father of spirits to confirm spirits by force, he so loved them as to confirm them by the death of his Son. He saw that his blood would secure and seal the eternal safety of all the fallen men who trusted in it, and of all the unfallen angels and worlds who adore it; and he withheld not, he grudged not, he hesitated not, to make Him the redeemer of man, and the ratifier of angels. It was the utmost that infinite love and power could do ; and God did it as willingly as he created light.

III. It is declared that, in saving man by the sufferings of Christ, God had a regard to the relation in which all things in the universe stood to himself.

What he did in making Christ a sacrifice for our sins, was what “became” him to do as the author and end of all things visible and invisible. Now,

1. It certainly became God to save man in a way that should not endanger the safety of angels.

But this could not have been done by a penitential salvation. That would have been to tell all the unfallen universe, that tears would repair any injury they might ever do to the honour of God, or their own interests. A fine lesson, in a universe where even innocence is no safeguard from temptation! They must have very low ideas of God, indeed, who can imagine that it would become him to pardon sin on mere repentance. Were this the fact as to the way of pardon, the probability would inevitably be, that God would have to go on pardoning to all eternity. In like manner, a legal salvation would have tended to relax the obedience of angels. For, if man had got to heaven by an imperfect obedience, why might not angels expect to keep heaven by an imperfect one? And if a return to duty be enough for man, why should it not be enough for angels? Thus salvation by works would just throw loose the whole universe to try whatever experiments they liked ; because, on that principle, they would only have to return to their duty, in order to set all right again.

It surely requires but little discernment to see and feel, that such a plan of pardoning would ill become Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things.

2. It certainly became God to save man in a way which should not impeach his character for not saving fallen angels.

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