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Chapter XIX.

Showing How We Should Behold In The Crucified Christ, As In The Book Of Life, Both Our Sins, And Also The Displeasure, The Love, Justice, And Wisdom Of God.

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side.Rev. 5:1.

Christ crucified is set before our eyes as a Book of Life, whence we may learn the sacred wisdom of God, which is in him eminently displayed. For the whole Scripture, the Law and all the prophets, are completely fulfilled in him by his most perfect obedience, wherein he was 233 faithful even unto death, and suffered the most cruel torments for the sins of the world. And this perfect internal and external obedience and suffering, is that Book of Life written within and without. Rev. 5:1.

2. In the first place, the Crucified Jesus presents us with a deplorable sight of our sins, both as to their number and heinousness. By the lamentable complaint into which he burst forth, he manifested that inward anguish of soul, which he suffered for the hidden and secret sins of our hearts. In his wounded and mangled body, bleeding on the cross, he leads us to behold and read, as in a book, the malignity of those sins which we have committed by all our members, in having yielded them up to the government of lust.

3. Besides this, the devout soul may behold in Christ Crucified, the justice of God in judging sinners. There was no other means by which to remove both our sin and the punishment attending it, than this high atonement made by the Lord himself. And hence we may learn that God is so far from letting any sin go unpunished, that he will rather deliver up his most beloved Son unto death than connive at the transgression of a sinner. Rom. 4:25.

4. Hence the soul may, further, contemplate the infinite love and condescending mercy of the Heavenly Father, most wonderfully displayed in our Crucified Saviour. Rather than that we should forever perish in our wretched state, and be subject to eternal death and damnation, he would have his own Son make satisfaction for us; which we ourselves, yea, and all the other creatures besides, had never been able to perform.

5. The contemplation of Christ Crucified will, in the next place, lead us to a sight of the most gracious will, providence and fatherly care of God, as it respects the recovery of lost mankind. No opposition was so great, no difficulty so stubborn and obstinate, which he did not conquer by his beloved Son, the author of our salvation. That we might inherit everlasting joy, he left nothing untried, nor did he spare even his own Son.

6. In the same Book of Life (the Crucified Jesus), appears also the infinite wisdom of God, namely, in finding out a means of salvation, such as could never have entered into the thoughts of any creature whatever, and which, at the same time, revealed both the justice and the mercy of God. For the work of our salvation was so wisely ordered, that by manifesting the infinite mercy of God, his justice was not at all infringed; as, on the other hand, Christ by his death has so atoned for sin, that in satisfying the claims of strict justice, his infinite mercy is rendered more bright and conspicuous. And as by eating of the forbidden tree, the first Adam (Gen. 3:1), brought us under the curse; so God in his marvellous wisdom has, by the tree of the cross, taken away the curse, and restored his blessing. 1 Peter 2:24. Yea, by the unsearchable counsel of the divine wisdom, it is so brought about, that through the death of Christ, all things detained under the power of death are restored to life, death itself being destroyed at last. 1 Cor. 15:26. By his pains and torments is purchased for us eternal pleasure in heaven; by his griefs and sorrows are gained joys celestial without end. And by this wonderful work of God, though foolish in the eye of the world, he hath confounded the wisdom of the wise; and by the foolishness of God (1 Cor. 234 1:25), he has manifested a wisdom altogether unfathomable to men.

7. In Christ Crucified farther appears the brightest and fairest pattern of patience and meekness that was ever seen. So far was he from revenging the injuries done him, that he made intercession to his Father for his revilers, yea, even laid down his life for the sins of those who put him to death.

8. The believer discovers, moreover, in Christ the most astonishing humility, wherein he was so eminent, that he readily underwent the most ignominious death of the cross. Thus are the death and passion of Christ become to a faithful soul, redemption from hell, an avenue into paradise, a complete reconciliation with God, a victory over the devil, that great enemy of souls; a full satisfaction for sins, and in one word, an entire recovery of that original righteousness which had been lost.

9. By all this, it sufficiently appears to a Christian soul, that Christ Crucified is indeed a Book of Life, teaching nothing but the eternal and infallible truths of God. Let us then silently sit down at the feet of our Crucified Lord, who, as the great Teacher of souls, and Book of Life, will not neglect to instil into an humble heart, the lesson of a living faith, and of a holy life consequent on it; provided we desire to be not dead, but living members of his body, and to be so controlled and influenced both by his life and his death, as to produce abundant living fruits.

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