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now small, yet who can conceive the extent to which his capacity may be enlarged ; the dignity to which his nature may be raised; and the degree to which his virtue and happiness may be improved, in some distant period of his existence ? Man, considered as a rational and immortal creature, rising and continuing to rise, in the scale of being forever and forever, has a kind of infinity annexed to him.
If one rational and immortal soul is so important, What shall we say of the human race at large ? When we view men as mortal, they appear in a diminutive figure ; but this mortality, which seems to lessen the importance of the individual, increases the importance of the race; because the race is multiplied by this quick succession. Contemplate the vast number, which composes one generationconsider how soon one generation passes away, and another comes-reflect how many such successions must already have passed-look forward, and think how many more will follow in the unknown ages, that the world will continue realize that all these beings will exist forever in happiness or miserythat eternal misery is the natural consequence of incurable vice, and that happiness can result only from a holy and virtuous temper—contemplate these things, and then say, Whether the redemption of mankind was a business too small to be undertaker by the Son of God ?- Is not the end to be accomplished so amazingly great, that we may believe a divine Saviour would be employed in the work ? Is not the work too great and arduous to be undertaken by a feebler hand ?
When we consider the Saviour as dying for the redemption of a mortal creature, there seems to be a disparity between the means and the end. But when we consider this mortal creature as having an immortal soul, which will exist through
eternity in happiness or misery ; and consider also, that there are innumerable millions of such creatures, and will be innumerable more of the same kind, and in the same condition ; then our views must be altered. It can no longer seem a thing incredible, that God should redeem the world by his Son.
4. We know not but the human race is essentially connected with other parts of the moral world; and their redemption productive of interesting consequences to other beings. And doubtless it is so.
În that part of the creation which falls within our notice, we see a dependence of one thing upon ano. ther. If one part was struck out, confusion would immediately follow. We see an easy gradation from the lower creatures to higher, until we come up to man. We are told, that, above man, there are intelligent beings, and that among these there are orders and degrees. The gradation may probably be continued beyond all our conceptions. However we may view the human race, when we consider it by itself, yet if we consider it in its relation to other beings, and to the creation of God, we must think it to be of infinite importance. Should this link, in the chain of God's works, be broken, the whole order of the system might be destroyed.
God certainly had some wise and great end in making such a race : The preservation of the race, when made, and the redemption of it, when fallen, might, in the plan of God's government, be as necessary as its creation.
We are assured from scripture, that the redemption, though it immediately relates to man, is a work in which other intelligences have some concern. Our
Our great Redeemer has all power given him in heaven and earth ; principalities and powers are made subject to him ; the multitude of the heaven. ly host rejoiced and sang praise at his birth ; an. Vol. I.
gels, on divers occasions, ministered to him ; they aided him in his persecutions—strengthened him in his temptations-attended him at his resurrection and ascension—and are subject to him in his kingdom; they learn from the gospel dispensation the manifold wisdom of God; they join with those who are redeemed from the earth, in songs of praise to him who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb who was slain. The work of redemption is far more important than we are apt to conceive it, when we consider it only in relation to ourselves.Though it primarily relates to us, yet we have reason to believe, that it is adapted to answer other great purposes in the moral world. And until we know how many and how great these purposes are, let us not pretend to say, The means are unsuitable or disproportioned to the end. When we enter into another state, new scenes will open; new displays of divine wisdom and goodness will be made. Then we shall see and admire that proportion in the works of God, which now lies beyond our search.
5. When we consider the works of God we should remember what a being he is.
Does it seem strange, that so great a Being should do so much for so small a creature as man? To an Infinite Being all things are alike easy; and the exercises of his power will always be guided by his perfect wisdom. But how perfect wisdom will judge, we can no more determine, than we can comprehend what infinite power can do. Man, small as he is, was formed by God's hand ; and a creature which was not too small for him to make, is not too insignificant for him to preserve. There are innumerable creatures below us. These are al. so the objects of his care. A sparrow falls not to the ground without him. We are of more value than many sparrows. The hairs of our head are numbered. Will our souls be neglected ? A ra. tional soul is of more value than the world.
When we consider the greatness of God, we must remember, that goodness belongs to greatness. In the contemplation of human greatness, we often leave out the idea of goodness, because we see that the thing itself is often wanting. Men of great wealth and power despise those who are placed below them. If we see much condescension joined with earthly dignity, we admire it as something rare. But these partial conceptions of greatness we must not apply to the Diety. "Goodness is his glory, and the exercise of it is his delight.
That man is unworthy of such a work as has been done for him, is undeniable ; yea, he is unworthy of the daily bounties of Providence. But if the goodness of God is equal to the work, then we may believe, that it has been done. As God is an infi. nite and allperfect being, his goodness must exceed all our thoughts. However our guilt may abound, his grace much more abounds.
We see and know that God has made kind provision for our present support :-May we not from hence reasonably hope, that he has done more for our future happiness? We feel that we are weak, and need the care of his Providence, and we perceive that we enjoy it. We are conscious too, that we are guilty, and dependent on his grace :--May we not hope for this? The gospel tells us, that he has sent his Son to redeem and save us, and given his spirit to sanctify and preserve us :-Is it not a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation ? We are sinners, but still God loads us with his benefits:-May not his daily bounty encourage our hope in his everlasting mercy? We cannot have too humble thoughts of ourselves, nor can we have too exalted thoughts of God.
If he had never revealed his mercy to save us, we could never have been assured how he would deal with us. Mercy is free ; it may do for sinners more or less, as wisdom shall direct. The hopes
of nature are doubtful hopes. At most they can only say, Who can tell, if God will be gracious? If human reason without revelation, could not gain assurance of pardon, much less could it conceive such a method of dispensing pardon, as the gospel dis
But since the discovery is made, and fully attested by signs and miracles, we have good reason to receive it; and we ought to receive it with gratitude and joy. It is the Lord's doing ; let it be marvellous in our eyes.
How great soever the work of redemption is, it is not too great for perfect wisdom to contrive, boundless mercy to adopt, and infinite power to execute. Man, however small, is the creature of God, a rational and immortal creature; and his race is an innumerable multitude. God, whose goodness extends to the brutal tribes, which exist but a few days, may well be supposed to regard such a race as the human, created to exist forever. We see the race to be important; and, in its connexion with other beings, it may be vastly more important than we can conceive ; and the work of redemption, though it immediately relates to man, may answer other grand purposes in God's moral government. The works of grace then, though marvellous beyond conception,
are rational and
crediblerational, as suited to the wants of man, and agreea. ble to the goodness of God-credible, as revealed in his word, and attested by signs and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
It becomes us then seriously to contemplate, and devoutly to admire these works of God ; and with thankfulness and joy to take the benefit of them. For our salvation God has marvellously interposed. Shall we despise his grace, and neglect our salvation? How then shall we escape ? Jesus has offered himself a sacrifice. If we reject this, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.