"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ." (Colossians 4:2,3)
To be employed by the Lord, to be fitted and qualified by him, to speak forth the "mystery of Christ," is the most solemn work that ever God set a creature to be employed in! Angels have been God's ministers to execute his judgments upon ungodly men and ungodly nations. They have been commanded to cut down thousands, and send them to black despair as an effect of their sin; and they have been employed to protect and defend the church of God. But it does not appear to me that angels can ever make good ministers of Jesus Christ. "Come," say you, "you are getting on high ground with a witness, to make it appear that a poor crawling worm like you is employed in that for which an angel is not qualified." I really believe it, and therefore I speak what I believe. The most an angel could do in preaching the gospel would be to preach it in the letter and to others; and not in the spirit, nor to themselves. Now just see a short illustration made of their employment in this business, and the circumstances at the birth of Christ. Angels had left their seats above, to come down and contemplate the amazing scene. They looked on with solemn and holy awe; and while they wondered and gazed, and gazed and wondered, at length one broke silence, and said, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11) It was good tidings of news to man! It was "unto you," and not unto us. Angels could only hold forth and declare unto those who were immediately interested in it. But when the prophet of God, Isaiah, was led to speak on the solemn subject, he comes much nearer home, and says, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given!" Now there is a great difference between you and us--the one is at a distance, and the other is close at home. And so we find that the Lord's ministers of old spake of the things which they had known, tasted, handled, and felt, and their eyes had looked upon; and therefore the apostle said, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us!"
Now the gospel of Jesus Christ is the mystery of God; and was designed of God to be fitted for poor, perishing, guilty sinners. It was intended only to suit poor, needy, ruined, guilty, wretched creatures, as we are; because, if it were not for poor sinners, it would not belong to us. Why, bless your poor hearts, it was never designed for any one else! And if you search the Word of God throughout, you will find it is only adapted for poor, needy, crawling worms; for the halt, the lame, the blind, the burdened, the dejected, and such as are ready to perish. As for those who can get light and power when they please, who can manufacture a religion for themselves, get access to God, feel happiness and light, and do not sigh and pant after Christ and entirely depend upon him to do every thing for their souls, they do not want such a remedy as this. But when God lays the axe to the root of the tree, and cuts down self-importance; when he lays it prostrate in the dust, and they are brought to feel they are without God, it makes a wonderful difference. And if God should give any of you a solemn cut or stab, you will feel yourselves as dead as possible, without any help of your own; and when thus brought to ruin, you will lay low as a perishing sinner at the feet of Christ, till he is revealed in your heart as the hope of glory. And when his blessed Majesty is thus made known as your salvation, O how you will triumph in the glorious "mystery of Christ!"
I candidly declare to you I hardly know where to begin; but I think I shall commence at the latter end first; and, my brother, that is the way I have been going on all the days of my life, according to the views of man; for I have been moving in a way which is altogether contrary to what men call right reason, right judgment, and right movements.
I. I shall, therefore, make a few remarks upon the mystery of Christ, that Foundation Stone, that great subject, and that fundamental point. If you take away that, all else that remains would be nothing but wretchedness, barrenness, and ruin!
II. Notice the characters whom the apostle addresses; and look a little into the nature of the address, that they are said to "pray," to "watch," and to be "thankful," and "withal praying also for us."
But what us is this? It is us, who are called in our public capacity to deal out the "mystery of Christ." And what are they to pray for? That we should be great men, talented men, highly respected men, opulent and rich men? O no! But they are to pray for open doors, that God would "open to us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ." All things short of this sank in the apostle's mind into insignificance. Hence we find, in another place, the same apostle, inspired by God to preach the gospel of his grace, calls all things short of "the mystery of Christ," nothing but dung and dross. He might have used a prettier expression than "dung." But no. God had so sickened him of all his free-will powers and qualifications of nature, and had so sharpened his conscience for Christ and sweetened it with the love of Christ, that every thing that came in the way of Christ, every thing that opposed self to Christ, he rejected as a horrible nuisance, too filthy to touch with his fingers; and, therefore, he accounted it all but dross and dung for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Now has the Lord the Spirit brought you and me to an experimental feeling of this point? If so, he has really done more for us than he has done for the holy angels that are in heaven; for there is not an angel in heaven that now surrounds the throne that can sing this song. They can sing of electing love, and of preserving love; but they cannot sing of redeeming blood to save their souls. There was no redeeming blood to save or quicken them. No; this blessing is peculiar to poor sinners; it is only for those who are interested in Christ and can say, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Eph. 1:7) No angel knoweth the sweetness of the song of the poor sinner who is saved by sovereign grace: "Unto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests." (Rev. 1:5,6) Look at the exaltation to which they are raised! Who were they? Poor, wretched, ruined sinners, whom God picks off the dunghill, and takes out of the dust, whom he raises to princely dignity, and causes to inherit the throne of glory. Why, bless you, some of those who are brought by the Spirit of the living God to experience a little measure of this in their consciences were some of the worst creatures that ever were brought into existence; but it is all to the praise of God's glory, and they will say, "Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name give glory!" The blood of Jesus can cleanse the vilest sinner that ever existed; as the apostle saith, "Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are cleansed, but ye are justified." (1 Cor. 6:11) Why, this is a wonder of wonders! It is the greatest wonder that the devil ever met with. It has staggered Beelzebub himself, and it has proved the greatest of all wonders in every age of the world. When this blessed atonement is applied to the conscience of the poor sinner, if he is the weakest fool or idiot, it does not matter, the devil, with all his infernal cunning, can never fool Christ out of his soul, "for his soul is hid with Christ in God," and not a hoof nor hair of the elect body shall ever be lost or missing. And when God's Spirit leads the soul into this truth, and he is blessed with vital experience to feel the power of it, it causes him to triumph in the riches of God's matchless grace!
I. But, first, let us speak a little of the mystery of Christ! Now where shall we begin with this solemn subject? I honestly tell you, before the Lord, that I feel a degree of solemn trembling in my mind lest I should make an awful bungling job of such a mighty subject as this; for I am such a fool; but I will endeavor, as far as the Lord shall be pleased to help me, to speak of it, and as he shall lead me to see and feel the glory of it.
"The mystery of Christ." We will begin, then, first of all, in the eternal settlements of the Three-One God, before a creature was made. In the mind of Jehovah, Christ was set up from everlasting. Now he could not be set up as God. To talk of a set-up God appears to me contrary to the nature of God; but he was set up in the mind and purpose of Jehovah. The Eternal Trinity, with one glance, surveyed all circumstances that ever took place; and in this mystery of God, in the immutable mind, Christ in the Person of the Son, was appointed to be the Mediator between God and man, and in that middle capacity to be heir of all things and head over all things to his body the church; yea, to be so really devoted for their benefit that a company of poor crawling reptiles, under the teachings of the blessed Spirit, should crawl out of self and creep into Christ; that so the Lord might justify them in his mantle, fully and freely from every law-charge for ever and ever. Now here is a wonderful mystery hid in God. But this was not declared till after the fall, and then it began a little to be made known. This mystery was hid in God, of Jew and Gentile being taken into union in Christ's mystic body. When, in his immutable love, all new covenant blessings were secured in the Person of Christ, then this divine mystery was hid with God in his own bosom. And I often think, with some degree of solemn pleasure, of what is said concerning Christ. He is emphatically called the "Word of God." "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) And he sits in heaven, with a garment dipped in blood; and his name is called the "Word of God." (Rev. 19:13) Now I do not know a single passage where the Father or the Spirit is called "the Word." The solemn term is applied exclusively to the Son; he is "the Word;" and as through our words we make known the thoughts and purposes of our hearts, so through and by Christ, God makes known and reveals the mystery that is hidden in his heart towards us. All the hidden things of God are in him; and when Christ came forth from the Father, he made known the hidden things which were in God from before the world was. Here the mystery begins, and has its origin, in the settled mind and purpose of God, in the councils of eternity.
But we observe further. When this mystery began to be made known a little, it was revealed in types and shadows, and in figurative expressions. No sooner had God created man, given him a law, favored him with blessings, and created him in his own image, as the God of nature, than man sinned. Perhaps some of you may think that the favor of God depends upon the cultivation of grace, in your doing your part. But how comes it to pass that you, a poor, wretched sinner, should think you could manage it better than holy Adam did? Adam had no sin in his nature to grapple with; he was all holy in the image of God; yet notwithstanding that, he lost it all. He has really done his part; for he has let the devil in and God out, and has brought his posterity to ruin. But even now, fallen men think they can do something to please God; they think they can do something to save their souls, that they can do a part of it. But the Lord knows, I am an old man now, more than seventy years of age, and I speak it in the presence of God and you; and I say, if my salvation depended upon anything that I have done, or expect to do, I am sure to be damned. I have not a particle of hope on that ground. No. I have no hope but in this glorious "mystery of Christ," in which all blessings were secured and settled, according to the purpose of the Three-One God before the world began!
I consider, then, that when God first began to make known this "mystery of Christ," he revealed it unto his servant Adam, in his fallen state, when he said unto him, "Adam, where are thou?" I believe Adam was the first Arminian; for an Arminian professes to have power to do a something, and yet does it not; and if this is not Arminianism, I do not know what is. Now Adam had this first in his fallen nature. What did Adam say, when the Lord asked him, "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?" He said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Just as though he meant to say, if it had not been for the woman which God had given unto him, he should not have eaten of it. He wanted to lay the blame upon God for giving him a wife, and also to throw it upon her. But what does the woman say to God? "O," she says, "the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." She was ready to lay the blame anywhere else but on herself. What a council of mischief there was between them both! And what did they do, when they felt their misery? They sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons, as if to hide their shame, and to cover it over by a little of their own doings, so that God should not see it. Man is ever ready to charge his sin upon God; and when sin is opened up and discovered to him, he is ever ready to take some method of his own to cover it.
But now God began to make known a little of this mystery. How does he do it? In the first promise which was made to our fallen parents, wherein God says to the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15) And God knows he has done it many a time. Satan has bruised the heel of Christ, till the heel of Christ in the members of his mystical body have been so hurt as often to get out of their center, so that they have not been able to creep one step towards the Christ of God; yet his gracious Majesty has healed the wound; he has felt the effects of his bruise, but the Seed of the woman has bruised the serpent's head. Now after their fall God gave skins to cover them, as an emblem of the covering which the slaughtered Lamb wrought out by his active and passive obedience, and imputed to his people to hide their sins from view. And from this moment, the "mystery of Christ" began to appear; and so it was gradually developed and opened up by the direction of God in the appointment of sacrifices, wherein these declarations of mercy acted as restraints and pull-backs upon the spiritual worshipper, when the flesh would stir and draw away the heart from the Lord; and it went on, from time to time, to be further revealed, until the great point of this mystery came to be made known, and was near at hand. And when was that? When the Person of the Son was taken directly and immediately into union with a personal body, the nature of his people; for in that nature he gave a demonstrative proof that the whole of the elect were in his heart, in union to him, and were never separated from him. He became incarnate as Immanuel, God with us; and the Holy Ghost tells us it is a great mystery, "great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, seen of angels;" (1 Tim. 3:16) but he was not preached unto them; he was only preached unto the world. Well; here this mystery was opened up,--"God with us!" Here was God in our nature, love in our nature, omniscience in our nature, omnipotence in our nature, omnipresence in our nature, holiness in our nature, justice in our nature, and the fullness of God, the Godhead bodily, concentered in our nature; for "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Col. 2:9) And Christ, the incarnate Word; Christ, the Head of the church; Christ, in all his travels below, traveled as God with us and in us, as God with you and me! Our covenant God was never separate from Christ, and never will be. All the solemn steps and movements which God takes, in manifesting his mercy, pity, love, and compassion, in apportioning strength unto our day, are all in Christ. God is in Christ; and in the revelation of this solemn "mystery of Christ," all the glorious realities of his gospel grace are made known to the objects of his love. And this is one of the branches of this mystery of which we have to speak, of a covenant God in Christ Jesus!
Now have you ever felt that a God out of Christ must necessarily be a consuming fire? Have you ever felt such a solemn disparity between you and God that you have really not been able, at times, to speak unto his blessed Majesty? Has it ever entered into your conscience that no man can come unto the Father but through Christ? Perhaps there are some here who can, with a light and trifling manner, repeat the Lord's Prayer four or five times a day, and say, "Our Father, which art in heaven;" and yet have never felt in their souls, and known solemnly what it is to call God Father in the Person of Christ. Then I say all that you are now doing is nothing but insulting his blessed Majesty; it is mocking him. You have no Scripture authority for it; and if ever God convince you of your sin, by laying it on the conscience, he will make you to tremble for it. I remember, when under the first teachings of God, how I was torn to pieces with feelings of horror on account of this; and I no more dare say "Our Father," than I could leap into a burning fiery flame. I knew that I had sinned against a pure and holy God; and I could not see how there was the least probability of a holy God being the Father of such an ungodly sinner as I was; and I never experienced a measure of the blessedness of this mystery, "God with us," until by the spirit of adoption I was enabled to call him Father. As for you who can call him Father with unhallowed lips, and mock God with a form of words, your worship is nothing but a solemn insult to him; and he will say unto you one day or the other, "Who hath required this at your hand?" He will not be mocked with impunity. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; for he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." O, sinner! Remember, you may trifle with yourself, and with your fellow-creatures; but God will not be trifled with impunity. Sooner or later, he will come and reckon with you. And you who can preach about God's everlasting love and his electing grace, and live anything but according to the doctrines of Jesus Christ, he will be sure to bring you to a reckoning at last. But now, God be thanked, there is no other way of knowing this but through the revelation of this mystery by the blessed Spirit; for, from my heart I can say, if there were any other way, alas! I am sure I should make some mistake; and therefore I praise his blessed name that this is the only way in which the mystery of God in Christ Jesus, "God with us," can be opened up.
But again. This "mystery of Christ" was figured forth under the law. The mercyseat was typical of this; for there God said, "I will meet with thee, and commune with thee." Now, poor sinner, if ever you have been brought here, and know what it is to have a little faith and a little hope; if you have been made to sigh, groan, and pant in your feelings after Jesus, and you have met a covenant God in Christ, O what a happy welcome have you found, and how you have blessed and praised his holy name for seeing where his glory and his majesty were shining, that it was all in the Person of Christ, that Christ was "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person." (Heb. 1:3) And the soul who thus meets a covenant God in Christ Jesus meets him in his declarative glory; and there is nothing here but joy and peace to his poor sinking spirit; and in the opening up of this, O what a wonderful mystery it is!
But another branch of the "mystery of Christ" is, that the whole church of God, Jew and Gentile, bond and free, rich and poor, all that ever have been and ever will be, they all stand in inseparable union to the Lord Jesus Christ as their Head; they all have their being, and are one in and with him, and were never separated from him. I have said many times, and I say it again, that that was a wonderful figure of this mystery which was revealed to Peter. You know he was much devoted to the Jews; and the Lord wrought a kind of miracle to show unto him the mystery of the calling in of the Gentiles. He put Peter into a trance. Peter saw the heavens opened, and a certain vessel let down near him, as it were a sheet knit at the four corners, wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and unclean fowls of the air; and there came a voice, which said unto him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat." Now Peter never before had eaten such a meal, and he said, "Lord, I cannot; they are all unclean; and I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." But the Lord replied to him, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." Now mind, they were not cleansed in themselves; and if any of you are clean, it is not surely in yourselves, but you were cleansed in God's secret mind, in union to the Lord Jesus Christ, from eternity. I believe that all his people were eternally in him; and when he came from heaven, all his elect were in him. Jesus is God's bread for them. He is the food of their souls; they were never separate from him, but were all set apart in him, chosen in him, accepted in him, and blessed in him. And mind, this vessel was let down from heaven and taken up again three times; the Lord here showing the divine approbation of the Eternal Trinity, the Three-One God, who were in union to these creeping things and flying things; and that in this solemn mystery they were all shut up; for the vessel was taken up again to heaven, to show that it was all settled and completed in the purpose of God from eternity. Here was set forth the "Mystery of Christ" in his union to the church, and their union to him. And when he came on the grand errand of salvation, all the church came with him. He never lost one of them; and, therefore, he says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh, I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37) Unbelief says, "They shall not come;" and carnal reason says, "They shall not come;" and the devil says "I will take care to hinder them; I will devise some means to stop them from coming;" but they belong to Christ, and at the appointed time they shall come, and neither sin nor Satan can stop them. So that here God's mysterious love is set forth in Christ being crucified for them; here they are brought to know something of God's everlasting mercy revealed to them!
But again. When God is speaking, at another time, of this "mystery of Christ," and of the inseparable union that subsists between the members and the Head of Christ's mystical body, he says, "The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of thee." Now, you know the Head of the body is Christ; and the feet are always a part of the body, but they are continually hobbling into some puddle. And so, some of God's people are poor hobbling creatures; for they do not know all their lives how they have been hobbling on; they have been in such dirty holes, or they have so staggered in faith, that they hardly know where they are or what they are. But this divine "mystery of Christ," of the Head and the members as one with him, and that he cannot do without them, is calculated to rejoice their poor sinking hearts. Blessed be his name, the whole church is complete in him; and he cannot present it to the Father as a glorious church until every hoof is presented with him before God as a perfect church. "The "mystery of Christ" will be gloriously unfolded when the whole church is brought into a sweet manifestation of oneness with Christ; and that is a precious declaration, when praying to the Father for his church, he says, "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me out of it; for all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them." (John 17:9,10) And what does he there pray for? That they may be made one, manifested as one in union to him, and manifested as one in union to the Father through him. "As thou, Father, art in me; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." (John 17:21-23) But we are lost somehow or other in this solemn mystery of the glories of Christ,--that such as we should be made one in glorious union to him as the Head of the church, and that at last we should shine in immortal oneness as the members of his mystical body, in union to him the Head, and so to triumph in him for evermore. May we, therefore, take encouragement. It is for all those who are poor, sensibly lost sinners, for all who are poor helpless worms, for all who are poor crawling worms, and who are without help. And thus, "the battle is not to be strong, nor the race to the swift;" but "he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." (Isa. 40:29) Blessed be his name, it is for the poor burdened, convinced sinner, who is without help, who cannot do any work of his own, and who is made to struggle and pant after the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. And I tell you, poor soul, the Lord Jesus Christ came to pick up such as you are; he came to pick up these nothings in self; and thus he is glorified in opening up the mysteries of his salvation. And here the child of God will be brought to feel that there is a union and oneness subsisting between him and Christ; and that in this mystery every one is in his proper place, are all fixed according to divine appointment, and that all the millions of Christ's redeemed shall be presented to the Three-One God in perfect union to God incarnate. Thus God will be glorified, and the church for evermore sing the wonders of his love. And this is one branch of the "mystery of Christ!"
But I observe further. Another branch of this "mystery of Christ" is, what it has been done for; and why this people have been taken into union with him. Some persons tell us he has brought all mankind into a salvable state, and put salvation upon very easy conditions; and the better to gild the lie, they say, "that by God's aid and help we may do it all." Now, if this were not a lie, I should be ruined; for if my salvation depended upon this, I should be entirely lost. And if you are among this class of persons, you had better send me about my business; for I am sure such a poor helpless creature as I am, without any might or power, you will not find of any use whatever; but that blessed portion of God's Word just suits me: "Who hath saved us, and called us, with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Tim. 1:9) Now some people wish to make a distinction here, and say, "We are not saved for works, but in accordance to works." Then God is not true. Now which are we to believe? God, or man? God says, it is "not according to our works." What is it according to, then? It is "according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." This is the firm and unshaken basis; planned, settled, and arranged by God himself from before the foundation of the world; and so our blessed Christ has for his people "finished transgression and made an end of sin." (Dan. 9:24) And is not that better than setting you and me about it to finish it? For what could such poor polluted creatures as we do, if he were to set us about it? Why, I will tell you what has proceeded from all that ever I have done; it has driven me farther away than I was before. I never did anything but what served to increase my confusion and misery. And Paul was of the same mind; for, he says, "I was alive without the law once;" and while he was under the law, in his carnal mind, he never could enter into the spirituality of it. And I believe many a child of God has felt this in its spirituality, who have not known it in the letter of the word. But the apostle says, "I was alive with the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (Rom. 7:9) He then felt that he should be damned with all his perfect obedience to the law. And what became of Paul's holiness, what became of his piety, and what became of his doing all the commandments of God in order to get to heaven? Why, his fancied righteousness fled away; sin revived, and he died to all hope of being saved in this way; and had there been no other channel opened up, he must have sunk for ever into eternal despair! Here he was delivered from all thoughts of saving himself; he felt that he had no more power to do it than he had to pull down the skies; and thus his legal hopes gave up the ghost and vanished away. And those who have been taught this truth will bless God that they have no part to do in their own salvation. But, perhaps, some will say, "I do believe there is something for man to do in it, and is it not written so in the Word of God? I will find a portion to prove it; and I wonder that you have never read it before." What is it then? "Does not the apostle Paul say, 'Work out you own salvation with fear and trembling?' There now; what do you think of that? Does not that cut off your creed?" No, not a branch of it. You have read only a part of the text: "Work out you own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." And if you and I, by the working of the Spirit in us, are working out what God is working in; and God is working in what we are working out--why our working will be one of the sweetest things that we can do. But until God works in us his grace, by the power of his Spirit, there will be no ability in us to work it out. Suppose now, a farmer's man had nothing but straw to thrash, he might work from morning to night, and no corn would come out; or, set a person to pump at a well, where the sucker is dry, why he might pump from day-break to midnight, and no water would run out. Just so it is with a poor empty, barren, and unprofitable creature, without either grain or water; he is utterly unable to work anything out, until God, by his blessed Spirit, is graciously pleased to work it in, and thus enable him to do it to the praise and glory of his blessed name. But it is the great work of the Lord to accomplish this in the soul; and when you are brought to know something of this in your heart and conscience, by the invincible workings of the Holy Ghost, you will enter a little into the blessedness of this "mystery of Christ;" you will then perceive that it is a salvation wrought out by the Lord alone, that it is complete, that nothing can be added to or taken from it; that no creature-doings can come in here at all, but that the work is all of the Lord, from first to last. It is a salvation which shows that the objects of it can never perish; that Christ has made an end of sin for them, and brought in an everlasting righteousness in which they are accepted; that he has redeemed them from the curse of the law, satisfied the claims of justice, overcome the world, and delivered them "from death, and him that had the power of it, that is, the devil;" and that he has obtained eternal redemption for them; consequently they can never be lost in time. It shows also that they are redeemed to God, that they are saved from the lowest state of wretchedness and degradation, and brought to the highest state of dignity and glory, even to that of "sons of God," of being "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ." And it not only shows that they are redeemed from the world, the curse of the law, and inflexible justice, but also that they are redeemed from the plague of their own hearts; yea, from all plagues both from within and without; that they are redeemed to hold sweet intercourse and blessed communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. And when they are brought to have fellowship with the solemn "mystery of Christ," in his suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation, they will be brought to see that it was for this purpose that his blessed Majesty became poor; for this that he groaned; for this that he led a life of suffering here; for this that he bled and died; and for this that he has now sat down at the right hand of God, having "finished the work" which the Father gave him to do. Here the soul is brought to see how the glorious Three-One God has accomplished this "mystery of Christ," which had its origin in his everlasting love from eternity, and has flowed under-ground, as it were, till the appointed time for it to spring up in the hearts of his redeemed people, and which will at length raise them up to the election likeness of the Lord the Lamb!
But my strength tells me to give up for the present; and, therefore, I shall leave the subject to the evening; when with the Lord's help I hope to enter a little further on it, and then take my leave of you for this year.
And now, may the Lord bless the few remarks that have been made to the profit of our souls; and his name shall have the praise!