« AnteriorContinuar »
When, according to St. Paul's expressions, all the XXXII. world was become guilty before God, (or, subRom. iii. jected to God's judgment:) all men (Jews and Gentiles) were under sin, under condemnation, under the curse; all men were concluded into disobe
. 16, 18. dience, and shut up together (as close prisoners)
Gal. iii. 10.
Rom. xi. under sin; all men had sinned, and come short of
82. εἰς ἀπεί
23. v. 12.
the glory of God: death had passed over all, because all had sinned:
When for us, being plunged into so wretched a condition, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress could be obtained here below: (for what means could we have of recovering God's favour, who were apt perpetually to contract new debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores? What capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or infirm? How could we be reconciled unto Heaven, who had an innate antipathy to God and goodness? [Sin, Rom. vii. according to our natural state, and secluding evanRom. vii. gelical grace, reigning in our mortal bodies, no good thing dwelling in us; there being a predomi
nant law in our members, warring against the law Rom. vi. 6. of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to Coloss. iii. the law of sin; a main ingredient of our old man
Ephes. iv. being a carnal mind, which is enmity to God, and Rom. viii. cannot submit to his law; we being alienated from 7. xia the life of God by the blindness of our hearts, and
Ephes. iv. enemies in our minds by wicked works:] How could we revive to any good hope, who were dead in trespasses and sins, God having withdrawn his quickening Spirit? How at least could we for one moment stand upright in God's sight, upon the na
Rom. v. 10.
tural terms, excluding all sin, and exacting perfect SERM. obedience?)
(Rom. vi. 13, 11.)
When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate Ephes. ii. 5. case, then Almighty God, out of his infinite goodness, was pleased to look upon us (as he sometime Psal. cxliii. did upon Jerusalem, lying polluted in her blood) Exod. with an eye of pity and mercy, so as graciously to Ezek. xvi. design a redemption for us out of all that woful distress and no sooner by his incomprehensible wisdom did he foresee we should lose ourselves, than by his immense grace he did conclude to restore
I Pet. i. 20.
Tit. i. 2.
But how could this happy design well be com- Eph. i. 4, passed? How, in consistence with the glory, with 9, 11, & iii. the justice, with the truth of God, could such ene-2 Tim. i. 9. mies be reconciled, such offenders be pardoned, such Rev. xiii. 8. wretches be saved? Would the omnipotent Majesty, 25. so affronted, design to treat with his rebels immediately, without an intercessor or advocate? Would the sovereign Governor of the world suffer thus notoriously his right to be violated, his authority to be slighted, his honour to be trampled on, without some notable vindication or satisfaction? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, or ever permit a gross breach thereof to pass with impunity? Would Athan. de the immutable God of truth expose his veracity or his constancy to suspicion, by so reversing that peremptory sentence of death upon sinners, that it should not in a sort eminently be accomplished? Would the most righteous and most holy God let slip an opportunity so advantageous for demonstrating his perfect love of innocence, and abhorrence of iniquity? Could we therefore well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation, or reinstated in freedom without a ran
Gen. ii. 17.
SERM. som, or exempted from condemnation without some XXXII. punishment?
No: God was so pleased to prosecute his designs of goodness and mercy, as thereby nowise to impair or obscure, but rather to advance and illustrate the glories of his sovereign dignity, of his severe justice, of his immaculate holiness, of his unchangeable steadiness in word and purpose. He accordingly would be sued to for peace and mercy: nor would he grant them absolutely, without due compensations for the wrongs he had sustained; yet so, that his goodness did find us a Mediator, and furnish us with means to satisfy him. He would not condescend to a simple remission of our debts; yet so, that, saving his right and honour, he did stoop lower for an effectual abolition of them. He would make good his word, not to let our trespasses go unpunished; yet so, that by our punishment we might receive advantage. He would manifest his detestation of wickedness in a way more illustrious than if he had persecuted it down to hell, and irreversibly doomed it to endless torment.
But how might these things be effected? Where was there a Mediator proper and worthy to intercede for us? Who could presume to solicit and plead in our behalf? Who should dare to put himself between God and us, or offer to screen mankind from the divine wrath and vengeance? Who had so great an interest in the court of heaven, as to ingratiate such a brood of apostate enemies thereto? Who could assume the confidence to propose terms of reconciliation, or to agitate a new covenant, wherewith God might be satisfied, and whereby we might be saved? Where, in heaven or earth, could there be found a
priest fit to atone for sins so vastly numerous, so ex- SERM. tremely heinous? And whence should a sacrifice be taken, of value sufficient to expiate for so manifold enormities, committed against the infinite Majesty of Heaven? Who could find out the everlasting re- Aivia τρωσιν εὑράdemption of innumerable souls, or lay down a com- vs. Heb. petent ransom for them all? Not to say, could also purchase for them eternal life and bliss?
These are questions which would puzzle all the wit of man, yea, would gravel all the wisdom of angels to resolve: for plain it is, that no creature on earth, none in heaven, could well undertake or perform this work.
Where on earth, among the degenerate sons of Adam, could be found such an high priest as became Heb. vii. us,holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners? and how could a man, however innocent and pure as a seraphim, so perform his duty, as to do more than merit or satisfy for himself? How many lives could the life of one man serve to ransom; seeing that it is asserted of the greatest and richest among men, that none of them can by any means redeem his Psal. xlix. brother, or give to God a ransom for him.
And how could available help in this case be expected from any of the angelical host; seeing (beside their being in nature different from us, and thence improper to merit or satisfy for us; beside their comparative meanness, and infinite distance from the majesty of God) they are but our fellow-servants, and have obligations to discharge for themselves, and cannot be solvent for more than for their own debts of gratitude and service to their infinitely-bountiful Creator; they also themselves needing a Saviour, to preserve them by his grace in their happy state?
SERM. Indeed, no creature might aspire to so august an honour, none could achieve so marvellous a work, as to redeem from infinite guilt and misery the noblest part of all the visible creation: none could presume to invade that high prerogative of God, or attempt to infringe the truth of that reiterated proclamation, I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Hos. xiii. 4. Saviour.
11. xlv. 21.
Wherefore, seeing that a supereminent dignity of person was required in our Mediator, and that an immense value was to be presented for our ransom ; Isa. lix. 16. seeing that God saw there was no man, and won
Karvine, dered (or took special notice) that there was no in
tercessor; it must be his arm alone that could bring salvation; none beside God himself could intermeddle therein.
But how could God undertake the business? Could he become a suitor or intercessor to his offended self? Could he present a sacrifice, or disburse a satisfaction to his own justice? Could God alone contract and stipulate with God in our behalf? No; surely man also must concur in the transaction: some amends must issue from him, somewhat must be paid out of our stock: human will and consent must be interposed, to ratify a firm covenant with us, inducing obligation on our part. It was decent and expedient, that as man, by wilful transgression and presumptuous self-pleasing, had so highly offended, injured, and dishonoured his Maker; so man also, by willing obedience, and patient submission to God's pleasure, should greatly content, right, and glorify him.
Ephes. i. 8.
Here then did lie the stress; this was the knot, Ephes. i. 5. which only Divine wisdom could loose. And so in
Tit. iii. 4.
Rom. v. 8. deed it did in a most effectual and admirable way:
Gal. iv. 4.