"The religion of a sinner," as good Mr. Newton used to say, "stands upon two pillars: what Christ has done for us in the flesh; and what he does in us by his Spirit." Christ dying for us; and Christ living in us, is the very ground and pillar of the truth.  Come, Oh my soul! retire from a busy, thoughtless world; collect your scattered powers; explore the sacred volume, and examine with delight these glorious pillars, which support the fabric of your hopes, and point to realms on high. Consider what Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, has done for you, when he became incarnate. And may the review of this stupendous mercy kindle such a flame of love, as never, never will expire!
The mighty God graciously made himself of no reputation, but took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And, being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. ii, 7, 8.) And why did the ever-blessed Jesus thus humble himself? Oh! mystery of love! It was to save his people from their sins. (Matt. i, 21.) It was that he, who knew no sin, might be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; (2 Cor v, 2l.) It was to finish the transgression; to make an end of sins; to make reconciliation for iniquity; and to bring in everlasting righteousness; (Dan. ix, 24.)
Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; (1 Cor xv, 3.) He has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; (1 Peter iii, 18.) He bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed; (1 Peter ii, 24.) He was once offered to bear the sins of many; (Heb. ix, 28.) He is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world; (John i, 29.)
Jesus, the beloved of the Father, was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil; (1 John iii, 8;) that we might live through him; (1 John iv, 9;) that he might be the propitiation for our sins; (1 John iv, 10;) that he might be the Savior of the world; (I John iv, 14.) He gave himself for us, that he might deliver us from this present evil world; (Gal. i, 4;) from the wrath to come; (1 Thess. i, 10;) and that, through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Heb. ii, 14.)
These are some of the glorious things which Jesus has done for us in the flesh; and, that none may despair of salvation on account of their multiplied transgressions, it is further declared in the everlasting Gospel, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; (1 Tim. i, 15;) that he came to seek and to save that which was lost; (Luke xix, 10;) that he died for the ungodly; (Rom. v, 6;) that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; (Rom. v, 8;) that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin; (1 John 1, 7;) by which precious blood we are redeemed; (4 Peter i, 19;) and justified; (Rom. V2 9;) and by which we, who were sometimes far off, are made near; (Ephes. ii, 13;) and obtain the forgiveness of sins; (Ephes. i, 7.)
Jesus is further declared in Scripture to be our peace, (Ephes. ii, 14;) our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, (1 Cor i, 30;) the one Mediator between God and man, (1 Tim. ii, 5;) our Advocate with the Father, (1 John ii, 1;) our compassionate High priest, (Heb. iv, 15;) our all-prevailing intercessor, (Heb. vii, 25;) who gave himself a ransom for all, (1 Tim. ii, 6;) and who tasted death for every man, (Heb. ii, 9.) Therefore, says the apostle, Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us; (1 Cor. v, 7.) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; (Gal. iii, 13.) And the Lord himself declared, that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill; (Matt. v, 17.)
Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable is his wisdom, who can be just, and yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus; (Rom. iii, 26.) A door of hope is now opened to perishing sinners; for, through Jesus, we have access by one Spirit unto the Father; (Ephes. ii, 18.) He is the only Savior; (Acts iv, 12;) the only foundation; (1 Cor iii, 11;) the only way—for no man comes unto the Father but by him; (John xiv, 6.)
This is the record, that God has given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son; (1 John v, 11, 12.) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins. For him has God, with his right hand, exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins; (Acts v, 31.) And through him is preached the forgiveness of sins; and by him all who believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses; (Acts xiii, 38, 39.)
Much, very much more is revealed in the Scriptures of truth, concerning the freeness, fullness, and all-sufficiency of this great salvation wrought out for us by the blood of Jesus, when he took upon him our nature, and stood in the place of sinners. But ah! my soul, enough is here written to raise your warmest notes of grateful adoration. May every succeeding meditation on the love of your Redeemer, drawn from the sacred fountain of revealed truth, add fresh fervor to your praise, and constrain you to live more to his glory, who loved you and gave himself for you. "Blessed Savior! increase my faith, while I consider what you are now doing in the hearts of your people, through the influence and agency of the Holy Spirit."
Man, through the fall, was not only excluded from the kingdom of heaven, but was very far gone, gone as far as possible, from original righteousness. The image of God was gone from him; and the image of the evil one was stamped upon him. He became a guilty and polluted creature, unable either to satisfy offended justice, or to perform one single act of acceptable obedience. By the fall, he lost all title to the heavenly inheritance, and all fitness for the mansions of celestial glory; and thus became an outcast—an heir of misery and death. To deliver fallen man from this state of condemnation, God sent his only begotten Son into the world, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal. iv, 6.)
And in order to prepare and make us fit for the inheritance of the saints in light, God sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, enabling us to cry Abba, Father. (Gal. iv, 6.) At the creation, God said, "Let there be light, and there was light." So in the new creation, he shines into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his glory, in the face of Jesus Christ.
The first work of the Holy Spirit is to enlighten the eyes of our understanding, (Ephes. i, 18,) to convince us of sin, (John xvi, 8,) to show us the spirituality of the law, (Rom. vii, 9,) and the purity of the divine nature, (I Peter ii 16,) to bring us into an intimate acquaintance of our own hearts, that by this knowledge of our own corruption (Jer. xvii, 9) and helplessness, (2 Cor. iii, 5,) we may be deeply humbled, (Job xlii, 6,) and led to seek for deliverance from these evils by the aid of some power greater than our own. (Isa. xli, 10.) Being thus emptied of all self-righteous notions and proud conceptions of our own strength, and groaning under the guilt of sin, through a spiritual application of the divine law to our consciences, we are prepared for the joyful reception of the Gospel, where pardon is freely offered to every coming sinner, and grace, mercy, and peace extended to the weary and heavy-laden soul.
Thus the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. (John xvi, 13.) He testifies of Christ. (John xvi, 14.) He gives us an inward witness of his power and mercy, in the conversion of our souls. (Rom. viii, 16.) He makes us the trophies of his victory over sin and death, and, finally, the precious jewels in the Redeemer's crown.
The Spirit carries on the great work of salvation, which Jesus began in the days of his flesh, when he gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works; by renewing us in the spirit of our mind, (Ephes. iv, 23;) by making us new creatures, (2 Cor. v, 17;) by sanctifying us wholly in body, soul, and spirit, (1 Thess. v, 23;) by consecrating us as temples of the Lord Almighty, (2 Cor. vi, 16,) and filling us with those fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God. (Phil. i, 11.)
Being, through the operation of the Spirit, united by faith to Jesus Christ, as branches to the vine, (John xv, 5,) and members to the head, (Eph. iv, 16,) we receive out of his fullness grace for grace. (John i, 16.) We can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us, (Phil. iv, 13,) and are made more than conquerors, through him that has loved us, and given himself for us. (Rom. viii, 37.) We are enabled to crucify the flesh, (Gal. v, 34,) to resist the devil, (James iv, 7,) to renounce the world, to mortify the corrupt affections, (Col. iii, 5,) to walk in newness of life, (Rom. vi, 4,) and to glorify God with our bodies and our spirits, which are his; knowing that we are not our own, being bought with a price, (1 Cor. vi, 20,) even with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; (1 Peter i, 19.)  Thus the love of Christ constrains us to obedience. (2 Cor. v, 14.) The patience of God leads us to repentance. (2 Peter iii, 15.) And by all the tender mercies of God, we are sweetly influenced through the Spirit of grace, to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. (Rom. xii, 1.)
This part of that glorious work of redemption, which Christ performs in us by his Spirit, is so essential, that, without it, all our views of Gospel truths, however orthodox, and all our trust in his atonement, however consoling, are mere delusions; for "whom he justifies, them he also glorified." (Rom. viii, 30.) Sanctification is as essential to our enjoyment of heaven, as justification is to our admittance into it. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Heb. xi, 6.) Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. (Heb. xii, 14.) Happy, then, is the man whose hopes of heaven rest upon these two adamantine pillars; without either of which, the fabric cannot stand.
"Blessed Jesus! may my hope be fixed wholly upon you. Be my rock, my only confidence, my soul's unbounded trust. While simply resting on your great atonement, may I daily feel this inward work of grace, that so your living care may perfect what your dying love began."
 Great God of mercy, hail!
To you I lift my voice;
Your comforts never fail
The faithful to rejoice.
 What matchless wonders shine
In rich, redeeming love;
Where attributes divine
In sweetest concord move.
 Stern Justice smiles content,
And lays his thunders by,
Since Jesus underwent
The death of Calvary.
 The trembling sinner now
Can boldly plead with God:
And mercy can bestow
The pardon bought with blood.
 Your truth, which never fails,
A blessed assurance gives;
For Christ the Lord prevails,
And high in glory lives.
 He lives, to intercede;
To send the Spirit down
To help his people's need,
And all his mercies crown.
 What depth of sovereign love,
What breadth, before me lies!
Its height is heaven above,
Its length exceeds the skies.
 An ocean deep and wide,
Where angel minds are lost;
An ever-swelling tide
Refreshing every coast.
 How rich the prospect glows
Beyond this vale of tears;
Where crystal water flows,
And verdure crowns the years.
 Oh blessed Spirit! come,
Conduct me, by your grace,
To that eternal home
Where I shall see your face.
 You happy saints, rejoice,
Who feel the Spirit's power;
Lift up your grateful voice,
And wait the joyful hour.
 'Twill soon arrive, with smile;
With healing on its wing;
To bear us far from toils,
To Christ our heavenly king.