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supreme intelligent Being, the Author and Creator of all Things, and can by no Reasoning whatever discover any other Being concerned in the making, framing, or governing the World: And therefore all the Hopes and Fears, in a Word, all the religious Acts of Man, in the State of Natural Religion, are necessarily and immediately relative to this one supreme Being. But put the Case, that Natural Religion could possibly discover that this one supreme Being had an eternal Son, to whom he had communicated all Power and Authority, who was the immediate Creator, Governor, and Judge of Mankind; I beseech you to consider, whether, upon this Supposition, there would not necessarily arise an Alteration in Natural Religion ; whether the Hopes and Fears, and all other religious Acts of Mankind would not relate immediately to this there immediate Creátor, Governor, and Judge. Can it be reasonably supposed that we were created by the Son of God, that we are now under his Government, and shall be finally under his Judgment, and at the same time maintained that no Service, Obedience, or Regard is due to him from us bis Creatures and Subjects ?: If this cannot be maintained consistently with this Supposition, the Conclusion
will be, That the Religion of a Christian is a natural and reasonable Service, arising from the Relation between Christ and Mankind, which the Gospel has revealed and made known to the World.
When we consider what Expectations we have from our Redeemer, and what great Promises he has made to us in his Gospel, we cannot possibly avoid inquiring who this Perfon is: When we hear his Promise to be always present with us to the End of the World, to support us under all, our Difficulties, 'tis but a reasonable Demand to ask by what Authority he does these Things: And when we are told that he liveth for ever, and is the Lord of Life and of Glory, there is no room to doubt of his being able to save us, St. Paul tells us, that the Lord Jesus Christ sħall change our vile Bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious Body: A great Expectation this ! But consider what the reasonable Foundation of this Expectation is: St. Paul tells us, it is the Energy of Power with which Christ is endued, whereby he is able' even to subdue all Things to himself. Our Saviour puts this Article upon the same Foot: Hear his Declaration ; Verily, verily I say unto you, , The Hour is coming, and now is, when the
Dead fall hear the Voice of the Son of God; and they that hear fall live. In the next Verse the Reason follows: For, as the Father bath Life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have Life in himself
. John V. 25, 26. . If the Son has Life in himself, even as the Father has Life in himself; if he is really endued with Power to which all Nature submits and obeys, a Power sufficient for the Creation of the World at first, and for the Preservation ever since; we have Reason to conclude, that he is now as able to restore Life, as he was at first to give it; to call Men from the Grave into Being, as well as to call them out of nothing at the first Creation.
The Relation of Christ to Mankind as Creator and Governor considered, the Work of Redemption could not properly have been undertaken by any other Hand: For, if Christ was the immediate Creator and Governor of the World, what Reason can you imagine why God should resume this Authority out of the Hands of his Son, or set up another to have Dominion and Authority over any Part of the Creation, which by natural Right belonged to Him, who made all Things ? Were we to consider one Person as our Creator, and another as our
Redeemer, it would be extremely to the Diminution of the Honour and Regard due to the Creator, inasmuch as the Blessing of Redemption would greatly outweigh the Benefit of Creation, and it would be natural to us to prefer the Love that delivered us from the Evils and Miseries of the World, to that which placed us in them. In the daily Service of our Church' we praife God for creating and preserving us, but above all for his inestimable Love in the Redemption ; which is very consistent with Respect to one great Benefactor, who both made us and redeemed us: But, had any other Hand redeemed us, such Expression of Gratitude to him would have reflected Dishonour upon the Creator.
St. Paul tells us expresly, That Christ is Head of the Church; a Title founded in the Right of Redemption, that in all Things be might have the Preeminence; that, as he was the Head of all Creatures in virtue of having created, them, so he might be the Head of the Church, the elect People of God, in virtue of having redeemed them : For: it pleafed the Father, that in bim should all Fullnefs dwell; that is, that Christ should be all in all, the Head of the second as well as of the first Creation. Colol. i. 18.
According to St. Paul's Reasoning here, if any other Person had redeemed the World, or if the World had been redeemed without Chrift, he would not have had the Preeminence in all Things ; which yet he had before Sin came into the World; and, consequently, the Sin of the World would have been the Diminution of the Headship and Power of Christ. Upon these Principles of the Gospel Revelation we may discern some Propriety in Christ's coming to redeem the World: The Work was such, that no Person of less Power could undertake it; and his Relation to the World was such, as made it fit and proper to commit the Work to him.
The Redemption of Mankind is a Work which in the Event seems to concern Men only: But, considered as a Vindication of the Justice and Goodness of God towards: his Creatures, it is a Work exposed to the Consideration of every intelligent Being in the Universe. Whether they may be supposed to inquire into God's Dealings with the Children of Men, we may judge by ourselves. . 'Tis little we know of the Fall of Angels; yet how has that, employed human Curiosity! For every Man considers himself as having an Interest in the Justice