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time wear away, and be consumed by moths and rottenness. We learn who those are that shall thus consume away, by the foregoing verse, viz.those that are the enemies of God's people: Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousne88, the people in whose, heart is my law, fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
2. The contrary happy lot and portion of God's church, ex: pressed in these words, Myrighteousness shall be for ever,and salvation from generation to generation. Whoare meant as those that shall have the benefit of this, we also learn by the precedo ing verse, viz. They that know righteousness, and the people sa: whose heart is God's law ; or, in one word, the church of Gocha And concerning this happiness of theirs here spoken of, wé may observe two things, viz. 1. Wherein it consists; 2. Its continuance.
(1) Wherein it consists, viz. In God's righteousness and salvation toward them. By God's righteousness here, 13. meant his faithfulness in fulfilling his covenant promises to his church, or his faithfulness towards his church and people in bestowing the benefits of the covenant of grace.. upon. them; which benefits, though they are bestowed of free and sovereign grace, as being altogether undeserved, retr. as God has been pleased, by the promises of the covenant of grace, to bind himself to bestow them, so they are sbě stowed in the exercise of God's righteousness or justice And therefore the apostle says, Heb. vi. 10. God is not inriglita eous, to forget your work and labor of love. And so 1 John i If we confess our sins, he is faithful, and just to forgive uş our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So the word righteousne88 is very often used in scripture for God's covex. nant faithfulness ; so it is used in Nehem. ix. 8. Thou hast performed thy words, for thou art righteous. So we are often to.. understand righteousness and covenant mercy for the same thing ; as Psal. xxiv. 5. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psał: xxxvi. 10. Continue thy loving kindness to them that knowo thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. And Psal. li, 1 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvo
rion ; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. Dan. ix. 16.0 Lord, according to thy righteousness, I beseech thet, let' thine anger and thy fury be turned away. And so in innumerable other places.
The other word here used is salvation. Ofthese two, God's righteousness and his salvation, the one is the cause, of which the other is the effect. God's righteousness, or covenant mercy, is the root of which his salvation is the fruit. Both of them relate to the covenant of grace. The one is God's covenant mercy and faithfulness, the other intends that work of God by which this covenant mercy is accomplished in the fruits of it. For salvation is the sum of all those works of God by which the benefits that are by the covenant of grace are procured and bestowed.
(2) We may observe its continuance, signified here by two expressions ; for ever, and from generation to generation. The latter seems to be explanatory of the former. The phrase for ever, is variously used in scripture. Sometimes thereby is meant as long as a man lives. So it is said, the servant that has his ear hored through with an awl to the door of his master, should be his
for ever. Sometimes thereby is meant during the continuance of the Jewish state. So of many of the ceremonial and Levitical laws it is said, that they should be statutes for ever. Sometimes it means as long as the world shall stand, or to the end of the generations of men. So it is said, Eccles. i. 4. “ One generation passeth away, and another cometh ; but the earth abideth for ever.” Sometimes thereby is meant to all eternity. So it is said, “ God is blessed for ever,” Rom. i. 25. And so it is said, John vi. 51.
“ If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.”......And which of these senses is here to be understood, the next words determine, viz. to the end of the world, or to the end of the generations of men. It is said in the next words, “ and my salvation from generation to generation.". Indeed the fruits of God's salvation shall remain after the end of the world, as appears by the 6th verse : “ Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: For the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment,
and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner, but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” But the work of salvation itself toward the church shall continue to be wrought till then : Till the end of the world God will go on to accomplish deliverance and salvation for the church, from all her enemies; for that is what the prophet is here speaking of; till the end of the world; till her enemies cease to be, as to any power to molest the church. And this expression, from generation to generation, may determine us as to the time which God continues to carry on the work of salvation for his church, both with respect to the beginning and end. It is from generation to generation, i. e. throughout all generations; beginning with the generations of men on the earth, and not ending till these generations end, at the end of the world......And therefore we deduce from these words this
The Work of REDEMPTION is a work that GOD
carries on from the fall of man to the end of the world.
THE generations of mankind on the earth did not begin till after the fall. The beginning of the posterity of our first parents was after the fall ; for all their posterity, by ordinary generation, are partakers of the fall, and of the corruption of nature that followed from it; and these generations, by which the human race propagated, shall continue to the end of the world : So these two are the limits of the generations of men on the earth ; the fall of man, the beginning; and the end of the world, or the day of judgment, the end. The same are the limits of the work of redemption as to those progressive works of God, by which that redemption is brought about and accomplished, though not as to the fruits of it; for they, as was said before, shall be to all eternity.
The work of redemption and the work of salvation are the same thing. What is sometimes in scripture called God's saving his people, is in other places called his redeeming them. So Christ is called both the Saviour and the Redeemer of his people.
BEFORE entering on the proposed History of the Work of Redemption, I would,
1. Explain the terms made use of in the doctrine ;...and,
2. Show what those things are that are designed to be accomplished by this great work of God.
First, I would show in what sense the terms of the doctrine are used...... And, 1. I would show how I would be understood when I use the word redemption ;...and, 2. how I would be understood when I say, this work is a work of God carried on from the fall of man to the end of the world.
I. I would show how I would be understood when I use the word redemption......And here it may be observed, that the work of redemption is sometimes understood in a more limited sense, for the purchase of salvation ; for so the word strictly signifies, a purchase of deliverance ; and if we take the word in this restrained sense, the work of redemption was not so long in doing. But it was begun and finished with Christ's humiliation. It was all wrought while Christ was upon earth. It was begun with Christ's incarnation, and carried on through Christ's life, and finished with his death, or the time of his remaining under the power of death, which ended in his resurrection : And so we say, that the day of Christ's resurrection is the day when Christ finished the work of redemption, i.e. then the purchase was finished, and the work itself, and all that appertained to it, was virtually done and finished, but not actually.
But then sometimes the work of redemption is taken more largely, including all that God works or accomplishes tending to this end ; not only the purchasing of redemption, but also all God's works that were properly preparatory to the pui'chase, or as applying the purchase and accomplishing the success of it ; so that the whole dispensation, as it includes the preparation and the purchase, and the application and success of Christ's redemption, is here called thc work of redemption.
All that Christ does in this great affair as mediator, in any of his offices, either of prophet, priest, or king ; either when he was in this world, in his human nature, or before, or since ; and not only what Christ the mediator has done, but also what the Father, or the Holy Ghost, have done, as united or confederated in this design of redeeming sinful men ; or, in one word, all that is wrought in execution of the eternal covenant of redemption ; this is what I call the work of redemption in the doctrine ; for it is all but one work, one design. rious dispensations or works that belong to it, are but the several parts of one scheme. It is bụt one design that is formed to which all the offices of Christ do directly tend, and in which all the persons of the Trinity do conspire, and all the various dispensations that belong to it are united ; and the several wheels are one machine, to answer one end, and produce one effect.
II. When I say, this work is carried on from the fall of man to the end of the world ; in order to the full understanding of my meaning in it, I would desire two or three things to be observed.
1. That it is not meant, that nothing was done in order to it before the fall of man. There were many things done in order to this work of redemption before that. Some things were done before the world was created, yea from all eternity. The persons of the Trinity were as it were confederated in a design and a covenant of redemption ; in which covenant the Father had appointed the Son, and the Son had undertaken the work; and all things to be accomplished in the work were stipulated and agreed. And besides these, there were things done at the creation of the world, in order to that work, before man fell ; for the world itself seems to have been created in order to it. The work of creation was in order to God's works of providence : So that if it be inquired, which of these kinds of works is the greatest, the works of creation or the works of providence ? I answer, the works of providence ; because God's works of providence are the end of his works of creation, as the building an house, or the forming an engine or machine, is for its use. But God's main work of providence