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cious, and knows that God is just and holy, and that he will be severe in revenging all disobedience, he hath no care nor desire to reform himself. He will not lay a restraint on his pleasing appetites, when he expects no recompense; he esteems it lost labour to abstain ; and all his design is, to allay and sweeten the sear of future evils by present enjoyments. When he is scorched with the apprehensions of wrath to come, he plunges himself into sensual excesses for some relief. He resolves to make his best of sin for a time: according to the principle of the epicures, “ Let us eat and drink while we may; to-morrow we shall die.”

The sum of all is this, that an unrelenting and unreformed sinner is incapable of pardon; for unless God should renounce his own nature and deny his deity, he cannot receive him to favour. And it is inconceivable how the rational creature once lapsed, should ever be encouraged to repentance without the expectation of mercy: and there being an inseparable alliance between the integrity and felicity of man by the terms of the first covenant, the one failing, he could not entertain the least degree of hope concerning the other. By all which it appears he is under an invincible necessity of sinning and suffering for ever; his misery is complete and desperate.

CHAPTER V.

THE WISDOM OF GOD IN REDEMPTION.

God by his infallible prescience, to which all things are eternally present, viewing the fall of Adam, and that all mankind lay bleeding in him, out of deep con passion to his creature, and that the devil might not be finally victorious over him, in his council decreed the recovery of man from his languishing and miserable state. The design and the means are most worthy of God, and in both his wisdom appears.

This will be made visible, by considering that all understanding agents first propound an end, and then choose the means for the obtaining of it. And the more perfect the understanding is, the more excellent is the end it designs, and the more fit and convenient are the means it makes use of for acquiring it. Now when God, whose understanding is infinite, and, in comparison of whom, the most prudent and advised are but as dark shadows, when he determines to work,

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especially in a most glorious manner, the end and the means are equally admirable. I. The end is of the highest consequence.

Were it some low inconsiderable thing, it were unworthy of one thought of God for the effecting of it. To be curious in contriving how to accomplish that which is of no importance, exposes to a just imputation of folly; but when the most excellent good is the end, and the difficulties which hinder the obtaining of it are insuperable to a finite understanding, it then becomes the

only wise” God to discover the divinity of his wisdom, in making a way where he finds none. And such was the end of God in the work of our redemption. This was declared by the angels, who were sent ambassadors extraordinary to bring tidings of peace to the world; they praised God, saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men,” Luke ii. 14.

The supreme end is his own glory; and, in order to it, the salvation of man hath the nature and respect of a medium; the subordinate is the recovery of the world from its lapsed and wretched state.

1. The supreme end is the glory of God. This signifies principally his internal and essential glory; and that consists in the perfections of his nature, which can never be fully conceived by the angels, but overwhelm, by their excellent greatness, all created understandings. But the glory that results from God's works is properly intended in the present argument, and implies,

(1.) The manifestation whereby he is pleased to represent himself in the exercise of his attributes. As the divine nature is the primary and complete object of his love, so he takes delight in those actions wherein the image and brightness of his own virtues appear. Now, in all the works of God there is an evidence of his excellencies; but as some stars shine with a different glory, so there are some noble effects, wherein the divine attributes are so conspicuous, that, in comparison with them, the rest of God's works are but obscure expressions of his greatness. The principal are creation and redemption. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work,” Psalm xix. 1. And when God surveyed the whole creation, and saw that all which he had made was good, he ordained a sabbath, to signify the content and satisfaction he had in the discovery of - his eternal perfections therein. But his glory is most especially resplendent in the work of redemption, wherein more of the divine attributes are exercised than in the creation, and in a more glorious manner. It is here that wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, and power, are united in their highest degree and exaltation. Upon this account the apostle useth that expression, 1 Tim. i. 11, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God;" it being the clearest revelation of his excellent attributes, the unspotted niirror wherein the great and wonderful effects of the Deity are set forth; tà peyalcia si Oco, Acts ii. 11.

(2.) The praise and thanksgiving that arise from the discovery of his perfections by reasonable creatures, who consider and acknowledge them; when there is a solemn veneration of his excellencies, and the most ardent affections to him for the communication of his goodness. Thus in God's account, whoso offers praise, glorifies him, Psalm 1. 23. An eminent example of this is set down in Job xxxviii. 7, when at the birth of the world, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” And at its new birth, they descend and make his praise glorious in a triumphant song, Psalm lxvi. 2. It will be the eternal exercise of the saints in heaven, where they more fully understand the mystery of our redemption, and consider every circumstance that may add a lustre to it, to ascribe “blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, to him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever," Rev. v. 13.

2. The subordinate end is the restoring of man; and this is inviolably joined with the other. It is expressed by“ peace on earth and good will towards men.” Sin hath broken that sacred alliance which was between God and man, and exposed him to his just displeasure; a misery inconceivable! And what is more becoming God, who is the Father of mercies, than to glorify his dear attribute, (“God is love,”) and that which in a peculiar manner characterizes his nature, by the salvation of the miserable ? What is more honourable to him, than by his almighty mercy to raise so many monuments from the dust, wherein his goodness may live and reign for ever?

Now for the accomplishing of these excellent ends, the divine wisdom pitched upon those means which were most fit and congruous, which I shall distinctly consider.

The misery of falten man consisted in the corruption of his nature by sin, and the punishment that ensues; and his hap

piness is in restoring of him to his primitive holiness, and in reconciliation to God, and the full fruition of him. The way to effect this was beyond the compass of any finite understanding.

That God, who is rich in goodness, should be favourable to the angels who serve him in perfect purity; we may easily conceive; for though they do not merit his favour, yet they never provoked his anger; and it is impossible but that he should love the image of his holiness wherever it shines. Or suppose an innocent creature in misery, the divine mercy would speedily excite his power to rescue it; for God is love to all his creatures, as such, till some extrinsical cause intervenes, which God hates more than he loves the creature, and that is sin; which alone stops the effusion of goodness, and opens a wide passage for wrath to fall upon the guilty. But how to save the creature that is undone by its own choice, and is as sinful as miserable, will pose the wisdom of the world. Heaven itself seemed to be divided. Mercy inclined to save, but justice interposed for satisfaction. Mercy regarded man with respect to his misery, and the pleas of it are, Shall the Almighty build to ruin? Shall the most excellent creature in the lower world perish, the fault not being solely his ? Shall the enemy triumph for ever, and raise his trophies from the works of the Most High? Shall the reasonable creature lose the fruition of God, and God the subjection and service of the creature, and all mankind be made in vain ? Justice considered man as guilty of a transcendent crime, and it is its nature to render to every one what is due. Now “the wages of sin is death ;” and “shall not the Judge of all the world do right?" All the other attributes seemed to be attendants on justice. The wisdom of God enforced its plea, it being most indecent that sin which provokes the execution should procure the abrogation of the law; this would encourage the commission of sin without fear. The majesty of God was concerned; for it was not becoming his excellent greatness to treat with defiled dust, and to offer pardon to a presumptuous rebel immediately after his offence, and before he made supplication to his Judge. The holiness of God did quicken his justice to execute the threatening; for “he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.” As goodness is the essential object of his will, which he loves unchangeably wherever it is, so is sin the eternal object of his hatred, and where it is found in the love of it,

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it renders the subject odious to him. “He will not take the wicked by the hand,” Job viii. 20, marginal reading. The law of contrariety forbids purity and pollution to mix together. And the veracity of God required the inflicting of the punishment; for the law being a declaration of God's will, according to which he would dispense rewards and punishments, either it must be executed upon the offender, or if extraordinarily dispensed with, it must be upon such terms, as the honour of God's truth may be preserved. This seeming conflict was between the attributes.

The sublimest spirits in heaven were at a loss how to unravel the difficulty, and to find out the miraculous way to reconcile infinite mercy with inflexible justice; how to satisfy the demands of the one, and the requests of the other. God was to overcome himself before he restored man. In this exigence his mercy excited his wisdom to interpose as an arbiter, which, in the treasures of its incomprehensible light, found out an admirable expedient to save man without prejudice to his other perfections; this was by constituting a Mediator, both able and willing, between the guilty creature and himself; that by transferring the punishment on the surety, he might punish sin and pardon the sinner.

And here the more severe and rigorous justice is, the more admirable is the mercy that saves. In the same stupendous sacrifice he declared his respect to justice and his delight in mercy. The two principal relations of our Redeemer are, the one of a gift from God to man, the other of an oblation for men to God. By the one, God satisfies his infinite love to man, and, by the other, satisfies his infinite justice for man. Neither is it unbecoming God to condescend in accepting the returning sinner, when a Mediator of infinite dignity intercedes for favour. The divine majesty is not lessened, when "God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Cor. v. 19. Neither is the sanctity of God disparaged by his clemency to sinners, for the Redeemer is the principle and pattern of holiness to all that are saved. The same grace that inclined God to send his Son to die for us, gives his Spirit to live in us, that we may be revived and renewed according to his image, and by conformity to God be prepared for communion with him. Here is a sweet concurrence of all the attributes; "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” Psalm lxxxv. 10. Who can count up this heap of wonders ? Who can unfold all the

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