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pressed it upon him, and would not be refused, he looked not for gorgeous or gay apparel for himself, or for a purse of gold, or a splendid house, nor did he ask you to trumpet his fame; but he looked round on those struggling with poverty, crushed and enfeebled by age, bound in affliction and iron, or burdened with debts which they could never discharge, and asked you to forget him and to remember them. The developments of such a character would fill your mind with new conceptions of its beauty, and your heart would be insensibly knit with his.

It will be perceived that these illustrations bear on the explanation of what is meant by the merits of Christ. His merit was of this extraordinary or superabundant kind. It was beyond what could have been demanded of him, and was such that, if he chose to ask it, or so designed it, it could be made available to others. This leads us to the second general inquiry

II. In what did His merits consist? Keeping in view the remarks already made, it will be necessary to show that all that he did when on earth was of this extraordinary character, that he rendered real service to the universe for which the rewards given him will be no more than an equivalent; and that his merits were of such a nature that they may be made available to others.

(1.) All that he did was of an extraordinary character, or was service which could not have been demanded of him. This remark is based on the fact that he was Divine, and has no pertinency except on that supposition. When it is said that his service or work was such as could not be demanded, it is meant that there was no law, or obligation which could bind the Divinity to become incarnate, to be an humble teacher of mankind, to minister to their wants with his own hands, or to make an atonement for their transgressions. The entire transaction was of a kind which could be enforced by no law. If he was equal to the Father and one with him, he was under no law but the infinite and eternal law of his own Divine nature. There was no obligation on him to become a man, a priest, a sacrifice ; to toil, to weep, to die.--Another illustration may be introduced here. There is an heir-apparent to a crown. Every consideration of propriety, (and perhaps a statute-law of the realm,) requires him to perform the duties of a son in the palace, and to appear and act on all occasions as becomes the first man in the realm next to the throne. But there is no law which requires him to become a day-labourer, or a menial, or that makes it his duty to go into some peasant's cottage and watch the long night by the cradle of a dying child. There may possibly be no law against it, if he chooses to do it; but it cannot be demanded of him. The Son of God in heaven would appear there always in a manner appropriate to his unequalled relation to the Father; but what law was there requiring him to come down to earth, to be a man of sorrows, to take part in our sadnesses and woes, and to die? If he did this, the service was altogether of an extraordinary character, and was entirely a work of merit. This remark is obvious. Its bearings, if conceded to be true, are of great importance. The force and pertinence of this reasoning, as has been already remarked, proceeds on the supposition that he is Divine. If he is not, however exalted as a created being he may be, it does not appear how he could have any extra merit, and consequentiy how the doctrine of justification by his righteousness could be held. If Christ be a mere man, or an angel, or an archangel, or creature of any rank, no such extraordinary service could be rendered-none could be made available to us.

We have seen that man may acquire extra merit from his fellow-man, merit which may be made available to others. The question is, why a creature may not do this in reference to the service of God; and why, if the Saviour were less than Divine, he might not do the same thing for us? The answer to this question is obvious. When you employ a man, you contract for a certain amount of service or of time. You do not contract for all that he has. You contract for what is usual, or what you specify. All beyond the limits of that contract remains his. But there is no such contract, understanding, or stipulation, expressed or understood, between a creature and God. Alla man's powers, his time, his talents, his service, his skill, his learning, his influence, belong to his Maker. Of every creature God demands " all the heart, the mind, the might, the strength.” There is not a moment of time in which a creature can feel that he is released from the claim of his Maker; there is not a power or faculty of mind or body which he possesses which is beyond the range of the demand of the Divine law; there is not a service of prayer, or praise, or sacrifice which he could render, which is beyond the limits of his duty; there is not an act of benevolence to the poor, the needy, the sinful, or the dying, which he can perform, which is beyond the all-comprehensive grasp of the Divine command to do good. Can a creature of the Almighty put himself into the midst of a service acceptable to God which he may feel was not required of him? Can he love with an ardour beyond what God requires ? Can he maintain a degree of fidelity in temptation beyond what is demanded ? . Can he stoop to some scene of woe, and do good to a sufferer in a way which the law that binds him to God did not make his duty ? Can he evince compassion for the sinful and the sad beyond what the law of his nature and the commandment of his Maker demand? If he cannot, how can there be such extra merit that it can be made available to others? And if the Lord Jesus were a mere man, as one class of Socinians tells us; or an angel of exalted rank, as another class assures us; or the highest created intelligence, as the Arian affirms,--how could he have wrought out any merit which can be available to us? How could he have done anything beyond what he was bound as a creature to do? How could he so have stepped beyond the limits of the Divine law as by abounding merits to save å world ? It is difficult to see, therefore, how he who denies the Divinity of the Lord Jesus can hold to the doctrine of a meritorious sacrifice on his part, or to the doctrine of justification through his merits at all: and there is a melancholy consistency in the philosophy and practical faith of those who deny his Divinity, in yielding up the doctrine of the atonement, and then the whole doctrine of justification by faith. But admit that Christ is God, equal with the Father, and all is clear. Then, being under no obligations to become incarnate, being bound by no law to leave the throne of heaven, and seek a home in a manger, a lodging-place without a pillow, a death on a cross, and a burial in the grave destined for another, all this is the work of extra merit, and may all be available for others. We see him in our world, not as a mere man, and thus bound by law to render every service to the cause of God; but as Immanuel God with us the voluntary messenger from heaven---the equal with God-performing a service to which no law bound him, and to which no other powers were adequate, and which therefore may constitute a fulness of inerit that may be available for those who have


(2.) The second remark is, that Christ rendered real service to the universe by his work. His coming, his teaching, his death, his resurrection, were an advantage to the cause of God and of virtue, to the full extent of the reward which he will receive. The universe has been so much profited by his voluntary and wonderful service in the cause of virtue and salvation, that there is a propriety that he should be rewarded for it; and the reward which he will receive is no more than an equivalent for the value of the service rendered. It will be asked, What has been the advantage of his work to the universe ? In what way is it to be measured or estimated ? It may be replied, We do not know fully yet, nor are our minds in a condition now, if they

If we

will ever be, to estimate what is appropriate to “ satisfy” him for the “ travail of his soul.” But the general answer, whoever can appreciate its meaning, will be, that the value or worth of his voluntary services is to be estimated by all the evils which his coming has arrested or prevented, and by all the happiness in this world and in heaven of which it has been the cause. could ascertain this, we could estimate the amount of his services to the universe, and of course the amount of the reward which is due to him, or the amount of his merit. No attempt can be made by us to gauge the amount of this merit. All that can be done is to submit a few hints to illustrate the real nature of the service which he rendered.

(a) He did voluntary good through his life. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and vigour to the lame; he restored the maniac to his right mind, and brought back the poor outcast who "dwelt among the tombs” to the comforts of home. All this was doing good to the world, which, if he had not come, would not have been done.

(b) He set a most holy example of virtue to mankind. He showed what true virtue is how man should live, and how he should meet the temptations of the great enemy of the soul. All this is so much gained to the cause of virtue, above what would have been if he had not come; and the value of having one perfect example in a world where there had been no such standard, and amidst the conflicting opinions of men on the subject of morals, cannot be estimated.

(c) He taught man by his example how to bear trials. He himself went through all the usual forms of woe and grief, and showed in each one of them how man ought to endure calamities, and how in them consolation might be found. But who in a suffering and dying world can estimate the value of such an example ?

(d) He taught man the true character of God; the nature of his law; the kind of worship that would be acceptable to him, and the way in which the throne of mercy may be approached. But who can estimate the value to a sinful world of the knowledge of the way of pardon ?

(e) He introduced a religion which has contributed everywhere to the promotion of industry, purity, chastity, truth, honesty, intelligence, and liberty; which has raised one sex from the deepest degradation, and softened the asperities and removed the tyranny of the other; which has led to the founding of hospitals and asylums, and which will ultimately put an end to all the forms of evil and vice that tyrannize over man: and who can gauge the amount of service which He has thus rendered to man and to the universe ? (f) He made an atonement for sin--his greatest, noblest

. work. He vindicated by his death the honour and the law of God, and solved the question which has everywhere confoundel the human intellect, low justice and mercy can meet together, and how righteousness can be maintained, and yet the sinner go free. He secured to the universe by his death all the advantages which could have been secured by the everlasting punishment of the sinner himself, and all the advantages which now result from admitting to heaven countless millions who but for his sacrifice would have been eternally wretched :--and what finite mind can estimate the value of His service rendered to the universe ?

(g) He checks evil by his gospel and his grace, and turns the disobedient to the paths of virtue. Take one single example as an illustration of the amount of service thus rendered,--the case of Saul of Tarsus. Think of what he would have been with his extraordinary talents, his uncommon learning, his vast energy of character, and his restless ambition, and his proud and selfconfident heart, if there had been no atonement; and then of what he was after he was converted to the cause of truth. Think of his influence, while he lived, in meeting the evils and corruptions of idolatry; in closing temples of polluted worship; in purifying the fountains of morals; and in diffusing abroad the principles of pure religion. Think of the good which has heen done since his time, by his incomparable writings, in maintaining the truth, and imparting consolation in a world of sorrow; and see in the conversion of that man an instance of the kind of service which the Lord Jesus rendered to the universe. Then reflect that the case of Saul of Tarsus is but one of many hundreds of millions-individually less bright, but in the aggregate outshining his. --as the mingled light of the galaxy is of greater glory than the twinkling of a single star,--and then ask, Who can estimate the amount of service which the Son of God has rendered to the universe ? All that has been done by His holy life and example ; all that has been accomplished on earth hy the influence of His religion ; all that His death did to honour the Divine law; all that has been or will be done by arresting evil and staying the desolations of sin ; all the additions which have been or will be made by redemption to the numbers of the heavenly host; and all the immortal songs and joys of the redeemed in heaven, all these things are to be taken into this estimate, and will be the measure of the voluntary service rendered

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