by Justin Taylor; BETWEEN TWO WORLDS; June 8, 2015
If you only know the Jonathan Edwards of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” you need to read his sermon on “The Excellencies of Christ.” There he celebrates the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies” found in Jesus Christ.
At one point in this sermon to his flock at Northampton, he directly addresses “the poor, burdened, distressed soul.” He would like to ask you a few questions if you are hesitant to close with Christ:
What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul upon Christ?
Are you afraid that he can’t save you, that he is not strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? But how can you desire one stronger than “the mighty God”?
as Christ is called (Isaiah 9:6).
Is there need of greater than infinite strength?
Are you afraid that he won’t be willing to stoop so low, as to take any gracious notice of you? But then, look on him, as he stood in the ring of soldiers, exposing his
blessed face to be buffeted and spit upon, by them!
Behold him bound, with his back uncovered to those that smote him! And behold him hanging on the cross!
Do you think that he that had condescension enough to stoop to these things, and that for his crucifiers, will be unwilling to accept of you if you come to him?
Or, are you afraid that if he does accept of you, that God the Father won’t accept of him for you?
But consider, will God reject his own Son, in whom his infinite delight is, and has been, from all eternity, and that is so united to him, that if he should reject him he would reject himself?
What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ?
Or, where in should you desire a Savior should be otherwise than Christ is?
What excellency is there wanting (i.e. lacking) ?
What is there that is great or good?
What is there that is venerable or winning?
What is there that is adorable or endearing?
Or, what can you think of that would be encouraging, that is not to be found in the person of Christ?
Would you have your Savior to be great and honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean person?
And, is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy that you should be dependent on him?
Is he not a person high enough to be worthy to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation?
Would you not only have a Savior of high degree, but would you have him notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low degree, that he might have experience of afflictions and trials, that he might learn by the things that he has suffered, to pity them that suffer and are tempted?
And has not Christ been made low enough for you?
And has he not suffered enough?
Would you not only have him have experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to pity those that are in danger of it, and afraid of it? This Christ has had experience of, which experience gave him a greater sense of it, a thousand times, than you have, or any man living has.
Would you have your Savior to be one that is near to God, that so his mediation might be prevalent with him?
And can you desire him to be nearer to God than Christ is, who is his only begotten Son, of the same essence with the Father?
And would you not have him near to God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him?
And would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature, and not only so, but united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch to the vine, of the member to the head, yea, so as to be looked upon as one, and called one spirit? For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him.
Would you have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well as by what he says?
And can you think, or conceive of greater things than Christ has done?
Was it not a great thing for him, who was God, to take upon him human nature, to be not only God, but man thenceforward to all eternity?
But would you look upon suffering for sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than merely doing, though it be never so extraordinary a thing that he has done?
And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than Christ has suffered for sinners?
What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?
Jonathan Edwards , Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738 (WJE Online Vol. 19), ed. M. X. Lesser, 584-86.