« AnteriorContinuar »
to preserve or heighten his felicity. The glorious reward conferred upon our Saviour doth not pre
judice the freeness of his love to man. There was no tie upon God to save man. The object of inercy
man in his lapsed state. It is illustrated by the consideration of what he is in himself. No motives
of love are in him; he is a rebel impotent and obstinate. The freeness of mercy set forth by comparing
him with the fallen angels who are left in perfect, irremediable misery. Their first state, full, and
punishment. The reasous why the wisdoın of God made no provisious for their recovery. . 107
CHAP. IX.The Greatness of the Divine Mercy in Redemption,-The greatness of redeeming love
discovered by considering, 1. The evils from which we are freed--the servitude of sin, the tyranny of
Satan, the bondage of the law, the empire of death. The measure of love is proportionable to the de-
grees of our misery.. No possible remedy for us in nature. Our deliverance is complete. II. The
divine love is magnified in the means by which our redemption is accomplished : they are the incar.
nation and sufferings of the Son of God. Love is manifested in the incarnation, upon account of the
essential condition of the nature assumed, and its servile state: Christ took our nature after it had
lost its innocency. The most evident proof of God's love is in the sufferings of Christ. The descrip-
lion of them with respect to his soul and body: The sufferings of his soul set forth from the causes of
his grief, the disposition of Christ, and the design of God in afflicting him. The sorrows of his forse-
ken state: all comforting influences were suspended, but without prejudice to the personal union, or
the perfection of his grace, or the love of his Father towards him. The death of the cross considered,
with respect to the ignominy and torment that concurred in it. The love of the Father and of Christ
amplified upon the account of his enduring it.
CHAP. X.-Divine Mercy is Magnified in the Excellency of the State to which Man is advanced.
He is enriched with higher prerogatives, under a better covenant, entitled to a more glorious reward
than Adam at first enjoyed.' The human nature is personally united to the Son of God. Believers
are spiritually united to Christ. The gospel is a better covenant than liat of the law. It admite of
repentance and reconciliation after sin. It accepts of sincerity, instead of perfection. It affords su-
pernatural assistance to believers, whereby they shall be victorious over all opposition in their way to
heuven. The difference between ine grace or the Creator and that or the Redeemer. The stability of
the New-Covenant is built on the love of God which is unchangeable, and the operations of his spirit
that are effectual. The mutability and weakness of the human will, and the strength of temptatious,
shall not frustrate the merciful design of God in regard of his elect. The glorious reward of the gos-
pel exceeds the primitive felicity of Adam, in the place of it, the highest heaven. Adam's life was
attended with innocent infirmities, from which the glorified life is entirely exempt. The felicity of
heaven exceeds the first, in the manner, degrees, and continuance of the fruition.
CHAP. XI.-Practical Inferences.--. Redeeming love deserves our highest admiration and humble ac.
knowledgments. The illustration of it by several considerations. God is infinitely amiable in himself,
yer his love is transient to the creature. I! is admirable in creating and preserving, man, more in re-
deerning him, and that by the death of his Son. II. The discovery of God's love in our redemption
is the strongest persuasive to repentance. The law is ineffectual to produce real repentance. The
common benefits of providence are insufficient to cause faith and repentance in the guilty creature.
The clear discovery of pardoning mercy in the gospel only can remove our fears, and induce us to re-
turn to God.
III. The transcendent love of God should kindle in us a reciprocal love to him. His
excellences and ordinary bounty to mankind cannot prevail upon us to love him: his love to us in
Christ only conquers our hatred. Our love to him must be sincere and superlative. IV. The despi-
sing of saving meroy is the highest provocation : it makes the condemnation of men most just, cer-
tain, and heavy. .
CHAP. XII- The Justice of God in Redemption.-Divine justice conctus with mercy in the work
of our redemption. I. The reasons why we are redeemed by the satisfaction of justice are specified.
to declare God's hatred of sin, to vindicate the honour of the law, to prevent the secure commission
of sin. These ends are obtained in the death of Christ. II. The reality of the satisfaction made to
divine justice considered. The requisites in order to it. The appointmeut of God, who in this trans.
action is to be considered not as a judge, that is minister of the law, but as governor: His right of
jurisdiction to relax the law as to the execution of it. His will declared to accept of the coinpensit-
Lion made. The consent of our Redeemer was necessary. He must be perfectly holy. He must be
God and man.
CHAP. XIII. - The Justice of God in Redemption.-Divino justice is declared and glorised in the
death of Christ. The threefold account the scripture gives of it, as a punishment inflicted for sin, as
a price to redeem is from hell, as a sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Man was capitally guilty;
Christ, with the allowance of God, interposes as his siirety. His death was inflicted on him by the
supreme Judge; the impulsive cause of it was sin. His sufferings were equivalent to the sentence of
the law; the effect of them is our freedom. An answer to the objection, that it is a violation of jus-
Lice to transfer the punishment from the guilty to the innocent. The death of Christ is the price that
redeems froin hell. This singular effect of his death distinguishes it from the death of the martyre.
An answer to the objections--how could God receive this price, since he gave his Son to that death
which redeems us? and how our Redeecmer, supposing him God, can make satisfaction to himself ?
The death of Christ represented as a sacrifice. The expiatory sacrifices under the law were substitu
ted in the place of guilty men. The effects of them answerable to their threefold respect to God, sin
and men ;' the atonement of anger, the expiation of sin, and freedom from punishnieni. All sorts of
placatory sncrifices are referred to Christ, and the effects of them in a subline and perfect manner.
No prejudice to the freeness and greatness of God's love, unt Christ by his death reconciled him to
CHAP. XIV.- The Justice of God in Redemption.-I11. The completeness of Christ's satisfaction
proved from the causes and effects of it. The causes are the quality of his person and degress of his
sufferings. The efleets are his resurrection, ascension, intercession at God's right hand, and b's
exercising the supreme power in heaven and earth. The excellem benefits which God reconciled
bestows on men, arr the effects and evidences of his complete satisfaction. They are pardon of sin,
grace, and glory. That repentance and faith are required in order to the partaking of the benefits
purchased by Christ's death, doth not lessen the merit of his sufferings; that afflictions and death are
inflicted on believers doth not derogate from their all-sufficiency.
CHAP. XV.-Prurtical Inferences.-I. In the death of Christ there is the clearest discovery of the
evil of sin. II. The strictness of divine justice is most visible in it. dll. The consiluration of the end
of Christ's death takes off the scandal of the cross, and changes the vilence into acturation. IV l'lve
satisfaction of justice by Christ's sufferings affords the strongest assurance that God is ready to pardon
sinners. V. The absolute necessity of complying with the terms of the gospel for justification. There
are but two ways of appearing before the supreme Judge; either in innocence, or by the righteous
ness of Christ. The causes why men reject Christ are, a legal temper that is natural to them, and the
predominant Jove of sin. The unavoidable misery of all that will not submit to our Saviour. • 206
CHAP. XVI.-The Holiness of God in Redemption.-of all the divine perfections, holiness is
peculiarly admirable. The honour of it is secured in our redemption. I. In the bitter sufferings of
Christ, God declared himself unappeasable to sin, though appeasable to sinners. The privileges
purchased by Christ, are conveyed upon terms honourable to holiness. Pardon of sin, adoption, the
inheritance of glory, are annexed to special qualifications in those who receive them. JIL The
Redeemer is made a quickening principle to inspire us with new life. In order to our sanctification,
he hath given us the most perfect rule of holiness, he exhibited a complete pattern of it, he purchased
and conveys the Spirit of holiness to us, he presents the strongest motives to persuade ns to be holy;
The perfect laws of Christ are considered, as they enjoin an absolute separation from all evil, and
command the practice of all substantial goodness. Some particular precepts, which the gospel
especially enforces, with the reasons of them, are considered.
CHAP. XVII.-The Perfection of the Laws of Christ. -The perfection of Christ's laws appears by
comparing them with the precepts of Moses. The temple service was managed with pomp suitable to
the disposition of the Jews, and the dispensation of the law; the Christian service is pure and spiritu-
al; the Levitical ceremonies and ornaments are excluded from it, not only as unnecessary, but in-
consistent with its spirituality. The obligation to the rituals of Moses is abolished, to introduce rea!
righteousness. The indulgences of polygamy and divorce is taken away by Christ, and marriago
restored to its primitive purity. He cleared the law from the darkening glosses of the Pharisees, and
enforced i: by new obligations. The law of Christ exceeds the rules which the highest masters of
morality in the school of nature ever prescribed. Philosophy is defective as to piety, and in several
things contrary to it. Philosophers delivered unworthy conceptions of God. Philosophy doth not
enjoin the love of God, which is the first and great command of the natural law. Philosophers lay
down the servile maxim, to comply with the common idolatry. They arrogated to themselves the
praise of their virtue and happiness. Philosophy doth not propound the glory of God for the supreme
end of all human actions. Philosophy is defective as to the duties respecting onrselves and others. It
allows the first sinful motions of the lower appetites. The Stoics renounce the passions. Philosophy
insufficient to form the soul to patience and content under afflictions, and to support in the hour of
deach. A reflection upon some immo-al maxims of the several sects of philosophers.
CHAP. XVIII.- The Erample of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. ---Examples have a special
officacy above precepts to form us to holiness. The example of Christ is most proper to that end, be-
ing absolutely perfect, and accommodated to our present state. Some virtues are necessary to our
condition as creatures, or to our condition in the world, of which the Deity is incapable; and these
eminently appear in the life of Christ ; they are humility, obedience, and love in suffering for us.
His life contains all our duties, or motives to perform them. Jesus Christ purchased the Spirit of ho-
liness by his sufferings, and confers it since his exaltation. The sanctifying Spirit is the concomitant
of evangelical mercy.' The supernatural declarations of the law on mount Sinai, and the natural
discovery of the divine goodness in the works of creation and providence, were not accompanied
with the renewing efficacy of the Spirit. The lower operations of the Spirit were only in the hea-
thens. The philosophical change differs from the spiritual and divine. Socrates and Seneca consi-
Our Saviour presents the strongest inducements to persuade us to be holy. They are proper
to work upon fear, hope, and love. The greatness of those objects, and their truth, are clearly
manifest in the gospel.
CHAP. XIX.-Practical Inferences.-1. The completeness of our recovery by Jesus Christ; he frees
us from the power as well as guilt of sin. Sin is the disease and wound of the sonl; the mere pardon of
it cannot make us happy: Sanctification equals, if not excels, justification; it qualifies us for the en-
joyment of God. J. Saving grace doth not encourage the practice of sin. The proinises of pardon
and heaven are conditional. To abuse the mercy of the gospel is dishonourable to God and pernicious
to man. III. The excellency of the Christian religion discovered from its design and effect. The
design is to purge men from sin, and conform them to God's holiness according to their capacity; this
gives it the moet visible pre-eminence above other religions. The admirabile effect of the gospel in
the primitive Christians. An earnest exhortation to live according to the purity of the gospel, and the
great obligations our Saviour hath laid on us.
CHAP. XX.-The Power of God in Redemption. The divine power is admirably glorified in the
creation of the world, in respect of the greatness of the effect and the manner of its production. It is
as evident in our redemption. The principal effects of it are considered. I. The incarnation of the
Son of God is a work fully responsible to omnipotence. U. Our Redeemer's snpernatural concep-
tion by the Holy Ghost. n. The divine power was eminently declared in the miracles Jesus Christ
wrought in the course of his ministry: His miracles were the evidence of his celestial calling; they
were necessary for the conviction of the world : their nature considered. IV. The divine power was
glorified in making the death of Christ victorious over all our spirital enemies. V. The resurrec-
tion of Christ the effect of glorious power. The reasons of it from the quality of his person, and the
nature of his office, that he might dispense the blessings he hall purchased for believers. His resur.
rection is the foundation of faith. lt hath a threefold reference, in his person as the Son of God, to
his death as an all-sufficient sacrifice, to his promise of raising believers at the last-day. ... 288
CHAP. XXI. - The Power of God in Redemption.-VI. The divine power was glorified in the con.
version of the world to Christianity. Notwithstanding the imaginary infirmity is Christ crucified,
yet to the called he was the power of God. The numerous and great difficulties that obstructed the
receiving of the gospel. What the state of the world was at the first preaching it. Ignorance was
universal, idolatry and the depravation of manners, were the consequences of it. Idolatry was
fortified by custom, antiquity, and external pomp. The depravation of manners was extreme. The
principal account of it frorn their disbelieving a fuinre state, and their attributing to their gods those par
sions and vices that were pleasing to the flesh. The aversion of the volgar heathens was strengthened
by those in veneration among them. The philosophers, priests, and princes, vehemently opposed tha
gospel ; an acconnt of their enmity against it. The consideration of the means by which the gospel
was conveyed, discovers that omnipotency alone made it successful. The persons employed were a
few fishermen, without authority and power to force men to obedience, and without ari or eloquence
to insinuate the belief of their doctrine. The groal, sudden, and lasting change in the world, by tho
preaching of the gospel, is a certain argument of the divine power that animated those weak appear.
ances. Idolatry was abolished. A miraculous change followed in the lives of inen.
a divorce to all the sinful delights of sense ; and embraced, for the honour of Christ, those things
that nature most abhors. A short view of the sufferings and courage of the martyrs; Their pa-
tience was inspired from heaven. Christianity was victorions over all opposition. VII. The divine
power will be gloriously manifested in the complete salvation of the church at the last day. Our
Saviour shall ther finish his mediatory' office. Death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed. The
bodies of the saints shall be raised and conformed to the glorious body of Christ.
CHAP. XXII. - Practical Inference. The extraordinary working of the divine power is a convincing
proof of the verity of the Christian religion. The internal excellences of it are clear marks of its
divinity, to the purified mind. The external operations of God's power were requisite to convince
men in their corrupt state, that the doctrine of the gospel came from God. The miraculous owning
of Christ by the whole divinity from heaven. The resurrection of Christ the most important article
of the gospel, and the demonstration of all the resi. How valuable the testimony of the apostles is
concerning it ; that it was impossible they should deceive or be deceived. The quality of the wit.
nesses considered. There cannot be the least reasonable suspicion of them. It is utterly incredible,
that any human, temporal respects moved them to feign the resurrection of Christ. The nature of the
testimony considered. It was of a matter of fact, and verified to all their senses. The uniformity of
it assures us there was no corruption in the witnesses, and that it was no illusion. They sealed the
truth of it with their blood. The miracles the apostles did in the name of Christ, a strong demonstra-
tion that he was raised to a glorious life. That power was continued in the church for a time. The
conclusion, how reasonable it is to give an entire assent to the truth of Christianity. It is desperate
infidelity not to believe it; and the highest madness to pretend to believe it, and to live in disobedience
CHAP. XXIII. - The Truth of God in Redemption.-The honour of God's truth, with respect to the
legal threatening, was preserved in the death of Christ. The divine truth, with respect to the promises
and types of Christ under the law, was justified in his coming and the accomplishment of our re-
demption by him. 1. Some special predictions considered, that respect the time of his coming. The
particular circumstances that represent the Messiah, are verified in Jesus Christ. The consequences
of the Messiah's coming, foretold by the prophets, are all come to pass. II. The types of the law are
complete in Christ. A particular consideration of the manner, the rock, and the brazen serpent, as
they referred to him. The paschal lamb considered. A short parallel between Melchizedec and
Christ. The divinity of the gospel proved, by comparing the ancient figures with the present truth,
and predictions with the events. The happiness of Christians above the Jews, in the clear revelation
of our Saviour to them from the accomplishment of prophecies concerning the first coming of
Christ, our faith should be confirmed in the promise of his second.
The work of redemption affords to intelligent beings the brightest exhibition of the divine attributes, which, probably, has ever been given in the universe. And although fallen men only are the objects of this stupendous work, yet, indirectly, it may be of immense benefit to other species of intelligent creatures, by manifesting to them the character of God more illustriously than it can be viewed any where else. This eternal, self-existent, and incomprehensible Being, cannot be known by any creature farther than he is pleased to reveal himself; and we can conceive of no method by which a discovery can be made of the divine perfections, but by their exercise in the production of some work, which may become the object of contemplation to rational creatures. All direct and intuitive knowledge of the divine essence, is evidently beyond their capacity. They are not able to penetrate the minds of each other, with this species of knowledge. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ?" God only is able to search the hearts and know all the secret thoughts of his creatures, which to all others must remain an inscrutable depth, unless they are pleased to make some revelation by external acts or signs of what is within them. Solomon, in his dedicatory prayer, says, “For thou, even thou only knowest the hearts of all the children of men.” Much less can creatures look into the divine essence; or know any thing of the attributes of God, except so far as he is pleased to make himself known. “Even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God." There can be, therefore, no stronger evidence that the Son and Spirit are partakers of the divine nature, than the plain, unequivocal testimony, that they both possess this knowledge, which is constantly declared to be peculiar to God. The former says, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father ;"
and again, “No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” And of the latter, it is written, The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” But, as was said, creatures however exalted, can only know God by the external manifestations which he makes of himself; and we have reason to believe, that the end of all the works and dispensations of Jehovah is, the revelation of his character. Although possessed of an infinite sufficiency of all goodness and happiness in himself, it accords with the perfection of his nature to communicate of his infinite fulness, and thus to manifest his glory. Hence the creation of intelligent beings, who might be capable of contemplating his perfections, and rendering to him a tribute of praise; and hence, a rich variety of works in which the attributes of God may be seen. And there can be no doubt, that this Being of infinite benevolence, has connected the felicity of his creatures with the manifestation of his own glory. Goodness, as well as wisdom and power, is legibly inscribed on all his works. Now, as far as the knowledge of God is concerned, it makes no difference, whether we ourselves, or others, are the objects of any particular work. We can behold the divine attributes, as manifested in the creation, preservation, and government of other beings, as clearly as when they are exercised towards ourselves: and other intelligent creatures may contemplate the love, the wisdom, the justice, and the truth of God, as displayed in the redemption of man, with as much advantage, as if they themselves were the objects of this stupendous plan. That the inhabitants of other worlds take a lively interest in the works of God on our globe, is evident from what the Almighty said to Job, out of the whirlwind, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth ?"_“when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” If these celestial beings were so delighted and animated with the contemplation of the work of creation, can we suppose that they are indifferent to the more glorious exhibition of the divine attributes in redemption ? Although they need