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2. The justice of God is exceedingly glorified in this work. God is so strictly and immutably just, that he would not spare his beloved Son when he took upon him the guilt of men's sins, and was substituted in the room of sinners. He would not abate him the least mite of that debt which justice demanded. Justice should take place, though it cost his infinitely dear Son his precious blood; and his enduring such extraordinary reproach, and pain, and death in its most dreadful form.
3. The holiness of God is also exceedingly glorious in this work. Never did God so manifest his hatred of sin as in the death and sufferings of his only begotten Son. Hereby he shewed himself unappeasable to sin, and that it was impossible for bim to be at peace with it.
4. God hath also exceedingly glorified his truth in this way, both in his threatenings and promises. Herein is fulfilled the threatenings of the law, wherein God said, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. God shewed hereby, that not only heaven and earth should pass away, but, which is more, that the blood of him who is the eternal Jehovah should be spilt, rather than one jot or tittle of his word should fail, till all be fulfilled.
5. And lastly, God has exceedingly glorified his mercy and love in this work. The mercy of God was an attribute never seen before in its exercises, till it was seen in this work of redemption, or the fruits of it. The goodness of God appeared towards the angels in giving them being and blessedness. It appeared glorious towards man in his primitive state, a state of holiness and happiness. But now God hath shewn that he can find in his heart to love sinners, who deserve his infinite hatred. And not only hath he shewn that he can love them, but love them so as to give them more and do greater things for them than ever he did for the holy angels, that never sinned nor offended their Creator. He loved sinful men so as to give them a greater gift than ever he gave the angels; so as to give bis own Son, and not only to give him to be their possession and enjoyment; but to give him to be their sacritice. And herein he has done more for them, than if he had given them all the visible world; yea, more than if he bad given them all the angels, and all heaven besides. God hath loved them so, that hereby he purchased for them deliverance from eternal misery, and the possession of immortal glory.
II. Each person of the Trinity is exceedingly glorified in this work. Herein the work of redemption is distinguished from all the other works of God. The attributes of God are glorious in his other works; but the three persons of the
Trinity are distinctly glorified in no work as in this of redemption. In this work every distinct person has his distinct parts and offices assigned him. Each one has his particular and distinct concern in it, agreeable to their distinct
, personal properties, relations, and economical offices. The redeemed have an equal concern with, and dependence upon each person, in this affair, and owe equal honour and praise to each of them.
The Father appoints and provides the Redeemer, and accepts the price of redemption. The Son is the Redeemer and the price. He redeems by offering up himself. The Holy Ghost immediately communicates to us the thing pur. chased; yea, and he is the good purchased. The sum of what Christ purchased for us is holiness and happiness. But the Holy Ghost is the great principle both of all holiness and happiness. The Holy Ghost is the sum of all that Christ purchased for men. Gal. iii. 13, 14. He was made a curse for us, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit, through faith.
The blessedness of the redeemed consists in partaking of Christ's fulness, which consists in partaking of that Spirit, which is given not by measure unto him. This is the oil that was poured upon the head of the church, which ran down to the members of his body, to the skirts of his garment. Thus we have an equal concern with, and dependence upon each of the persons of the Trinity, distinctly; upon the Father, as he provides the Redeemer, and the person of whom the purchase is made; — the Son as the purchaser, and the price ;-the Holy Ghost as the good purchased.
The Good attained by Salvation is wonderfully Various and
Here we may disinctly consider--the variety--and the greatness of the good procured for men.
I. The good procured by salvation is wonderfully various. Here are all sorts of good procured for fallen man, that he does or can really need, or is capable of. The wisdom of God appears in the way of salvation, in that it is most worthy of an infinitely wise God, because every way perfect and sufficient. We, in our fallen state, are most necessitous creatures, full of wants; but they are here all answered. Every sort of good is here procured; whatever would really contribute to our happiness, and even many things we could not have thought of, had not Christ purchased them for us, and revealed
We had pro
them to us. Every demand of our circumstances, and craving of our natures, is here exactly answered.--For instance,
1. We stand in need of peace with God. voked God to anger, his wrath abode upon us, and we needed to have it appeased. This is done for us in this way of salyation; for Christ, by shedding his blood, has fully satisfied! justice, and appeased God's wrath, for all that shall believe in him. By the sentence of the law we were condemned to hell; and we needed to have our sins pardoned, that we might be delivered from bell. But in this work, pardon of sin and deliverance from bell, is fully purchased for us.
2. We needed not only to have God's wrath appeased, and our sins pardoned; but we needed to have the favour of God. To have God, not only not our enemy, but our friend. Now God's favour is purchased for us by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
3. We needed not only to be delivered from hell, but to have some satisfying happiness bestowed. Man has a natural craving and thirst after happiness; and will thirst and crave, till his capacity is filled. And his capacity is of vast extent; and nothing but an infinite good can fill, and satisfy his desires. But, notwithstanding provision is made in this way of salvation to answer those needs, there is a satisfying happiness purchased for us; that which is fully answerable to the capacity and cravings of our souls.
Here is food procured to answer all the appetites and faculties of our souls. God has made the soul of man of a spiritual nature; and therefore he needs a corresponding happiness; some spiritual object, in the enjoyment of wbich he may be happy. Christ has purchased the enjoyment of God, who is the great and original Spirit, as the portion of our souls. And he hath purchased the Spirit of God to come and dwell in us as an internal principle of bappiness.
God hath made man a rational, intelligent creature; and man needs some good that shall be a suitable object of his understanding, for him to contemplate ; wherein he may have full and sufficient exercise for his capacious faculties, in their utmost extent. Here is an object that is great and noble, and worthy of the exercise of the noblest faculties of the rational soul. God himself should be theirs, for them for ever to behold and contemplate; his glorious perfections and works are most worthy objects; and there is room enough for improving them, and still to exercise their faculties to all eternity. What object can be more worthy to exercise the understanding of a rational soul, than the glories of the Divine Being, with which the heavenly intelligences, and even the infinite understanding of God himself is entertained !
Our souls need some good that shall be a suitable object of the will and affections; a suitable object for the choice, the acquiescence, the love, and the joy of the rational soul. Provision is made for this also in this way of salvation. There is an infinitely excellent Being offered to be chosen, to be rested in, to be loved, to be rejoiced in, by us; eyen God himself, who is infinitely lovely, the fountain of all good; a fountain that can never be exhausted, where we can be in no danger of going to excess, in our love and joy; and here we may be assured ever to find our joy and delight in enjoyments answerable to our love and desires.
4. There is all possible enjoyment of this object, procured in this way of salvation. When persons entirely set their love upon another, they naturally desire to see that person; merely to hear of the person, does not satisfy love. So here is provision made that we should see God, the object of our supreme love. Not only that we should hear and read of him in his word, but that we should see him with a spiritual eye here: and not only so, but that we should have the satisfaction of seeing God face to face hereafter. This is promised, (Matt. v. 8.) Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God. It is proInised, that we shall not see God, as through a glass darkly, as we do now, but face to face. 1 Cor. xii. 12. That we shald see Christ as he is. I John iii. 2.
We naturally desire not only to see those whom we love, but to converse with them. Provision is made for this also, that we should have spiritual conversation with God while in this world; and that we should be hereafter admitted to converse with Christ in the most intimate manner possible. Provision is made in this way of salvation, that we should converse with God much more intimately, than otherwise it would have been possible for us; for now Christ is incarnate, is in our nature : he is become one of us, whereby we are under advantages for an immensely more free and intimate converse with bini, than could have been, if he had remained only in the divine nature; and so in a nature infinitely distant from us.---We naturally desire not only to converse with those whom we greatly love, but to dwell with them. Provision, through Christ, is made for this. It is purchased and provided that we should dwell with God in his own house in heaven, which is called our father's house.-To dwell for ever in God's presence, and at bis right hand.
We naturally desire to have a right in that person whom we greatly love. Provision is made, in this way of salvation, that we should have a right in God; a right to him. This is the promise of the covenant of
66 That he will be our God." God, with all his glorious perfections and attributes, with all his power and wisdom, and with all his majesty and
glory, will be ours; so that we may call him our inheritance, and the portion of our souls: what we can humbly claim by faith, having this portion made over to us by a firm instrument; by a covenant ordered in all things and sure. And we may also hereby claim a right to Jesus Christ. Love desires that the right should be mulual. The lover desires, not only to have a right to the beloved, but that the belured should also have a right to him: he desires to be his beloved's, as well as his beloved should be his. Provision is also made for this, in this wise method of salvation, that God should have a special propriety in the redeemed, that they should be in a distinguishing manner his: that they should be bis peculiar people., We are told that God sets apart the godly for himself, Ps. iv. 3. They are called God's jewels. The spouse speaks it with great satisfaction and rejoicing, Cant. ii. 16. My beloved is mine, and I am his.
Love desires to stand in some near relation to the beloved. Provision is made by Christ, that we should stand in the nearest possible relation to God; that he should be our father, and we should be his children. We are often instructed in the holy 'scriptures, that God is the father of believers, and that they are his family,--And not only so, but they stand in the nearest relation to Christ Jesus. There is the closest union possible. The souls of believers are married to Christ. The church is the bride, the lamb's wife. Yea, there is yet a nearer relation than can be represented by such a similitude. Believers are as the very members of Christ, and of his flesh and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. Yea, this is not near enough yet, but they are one spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 17.
Love naturally inclines to a conformity to the beloved. To have those excellencies, upon the account of which he is beloved, copied in himself.' Provision is made in this way of salvation, that we may be conformed to God; that we shall be transformed into the same image, 2 Cor. iii. 18. We all with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.—And that hereafter we shall see him as he is, and be like him.
It is the natural desire of love to do something for the beloved, either for his pleasure or honour. Provision is made for this also in this way of salvation ; that we should be made instruments of glorifying God, and promoting his kingdom here, and of glorifying him to all eternity.
5. In this way of salvation, provision is made for our having every sort of good that man naturally craves; as honour, wealth, and pleasure.—Flere is provision made that we should be brought to the highest honour. This is what God has promised, that those that honour him, he will honour. And that true Christians shall be kings and priests unto God. Christ