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world in the nature of man, namely, to be avenged on the grand enemy of mankind, and to overturn his usurped empire as the god of this world; "For this purpose was the Son of God manifested." Where we may notice these two or three things:
1. The great champion who takes the field, and appears in the quarrel of fallen man; and he is no less a personage than the Son of God. I remember the church, Is. lxiii. 1, when she hears tell of a Saviour coming to rescue a lost world of mankind sinners, she cries, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?" Here you have a pointed and positive answer to this inquiry; it is none other than the Son of God. But O! "who shall declare his generation?" or who can frame to pronounce his great and glorious name; for it is a name above every name," a name "at which every knee must bow, and every tongue confess that he is the Lord," the Son of God. This is he who under the Old Testament, was known sometimes by the name of the "seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the Shiloh, the man of God's right hand, Immanuel, the branch of righteousness, the plant of renown, the messenger of the covenant, the sun of righteousness, the ruler of Israel, whose goings forth are of old, from everlasting; and who, in the New Testament, is called the "Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man, the sent of God the Mediator, the Redeemer" of lost sinners. O sirs, let "his name be as ointment poured forth" to you; for "the virgins love him."
2. We have the grand enemy this renowned champion had in his eye, and that is the devil, the old serpent, the head of the apostate angels; he and his confederated spirits, who had commenced a rebellion against God, their great Lord and Creator, for which they were tumbled out of the glories of heaven, into the depths of hell, and laid "under chains of darkness, in which they were reserved unto the judgment of the great day." Sirs, here is matter of surprise and wonder. Our guilty consciences would have been ready to tell us, upon hearing of the coming of the Son of God to this lower world, that his errand would have been to be avenged upon rebel man, who had renounced his allegiance to God, and joined against him in a covenant with hell, and in an agreement with death we might have expected to have heard him saying, "Ah, I will ease me of these mine adversaries, and be avenged on mine enemies" of Adam's family. But, to the eternal surprise of heaven and earth, he takes the field, not against fallen man, but against fallen angels, who had ruined man, by drawing him into the same condemnation with themselves.
3. We may notice the way and manner how the Son of God takes the field against these enemies. He does not make his attacks upon him in a secret and clandestine manner, he does not lay a secret ambush, or steal a dint of the enemy unawares; no, but he acts in an open and fair way, he is manifested. He proclaimed war against him in paradise, and gives the enemy four thousand years to prepare himself for battle, before he actually takes the field against him in person; so that the enemy cannot say he wanted warning, or was taken in a surprise. Every prophet raised up under the Old Testament was a herald sent before the renowned Captain of salvation, to give devils and men warning of his approach; they "proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord" to lost man, but "the day of vengeance" upon fallen angels, and all the wicked world, who keep by them.
4. We have the stated ground and design of the war commenced against this enemy; it was to destroy his works: For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. The grand plot of hell was to ruin the works of God, to disturb the creation, to deface the image of God, and to set up his empire in these lower regions: being cast out of heaven, he would set up his throne upon earth, and reign without control as the god of this world. But now, the purpose of the Son of God was to counteract the enemy, to sap and overturn the foundation of his usurped kingdom, and to set up and establish his own and his Father's authority among the sons of men; For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
The text itself is a distinct doctrine, namely, That the Son of God was manifested for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
The method I design, through divine assistance, is,
1. To offer some things with relation to this renowned champion, the Son of God, who espouses the quarrel of fallen
II. Of the grand enemy, the devil, against whom the combat and war is carried on.
III. Of the manifestation of the Son of God.
IV. Of the works of the devil, and how they are destroyed by the Son of God.
I. The first thing is, to speak a little of our renowned champion the Son of God. of the gospel, is to
Sirs, our great work, who are ministers raise his glory, and to bear his name
among the Gentiles, that sinners through the knowledge of him may be brought to break their covenant with hell, and put their trust under the shadow of his wings. Only, before I proceed, I would advertise you, sirs, that by the fall of Adam, the whole tribe of mankind are become the captives. and prisoners of this mighty enemy, the devil, here mentioned in the text. Immediately upon the breach of the first covenant, which denounced death against the soul that sinned, a hand-writing was given out by divine justice, by which we were delivered over to the power of the devil, as God's great jailer and executioner; and accordingly, the devil, having a legal right and power, carries away all mankind as his slaves and captives, tying us fast to his service with the chains of our own lusts. Hence is that description of sinners in their natural state, Eph. ii. 2, 3, where we are told, that they "walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Now, sirs, there is your condition and mine, while in a natural state. Every man by nature is the devil's lawful captive; he comes into the world wearing the devil's livery of original sin, and he is led about in the devil's service in the chains of his own lusts and depraved nature. I remember there is a strange and surprising question put, Is. xlix. 24: "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?" Angels and men could not answer this question, till the renowned champion in the text, the Son of God, appears and resolves it; and you see what was his answer to that stunning and confounding question, ver. 25: "Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH," in the person of his eternal Son, "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for 1 will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children." And my text is just a farther opening of what is there said; For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Now, this premised, I come to offer you a few thoughts respecting the Son of God, our glorious deliverer.
1. Then, He is a person of a noble extract and pedigree, as you see in the text; he is the Son of God by eternal generation, his Father's first-born, and therefore higher than the kings of the earth." It adds much to the character of a general, when it can be said of him, that he is a son, or a cadet, or the representative of such a noble or royal family;
and should it not contribute to commend the Captain of our salvation, that he is the Son of God, the brightest ornament of the family of heaven, yea, the very "brightest of the Father's glory," and that he and the Father are one God?
2. This renowned person, the Son of God, had an ancient kindness for our family and tribe; for he from eternity "rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men." And his kindness to our family made him, in the council of peace, when he saw us in distress, offer his service to his eternal Father, on our behalf, saying, "Lo, I come: I delight to do thy will, O my God."
3. That he might be in a capacity to help and relieve us from the hand of the enemy, he matches with our family, he marries our nature into a' personal union with himself. Law and justice required that the same nature that sinned should suffer; and that he who should be our Redeemer, and the avenger of our blood upon Satan, should be our nearest of kin: "He was made a little lower than the angels," that he might "still the enemy and the avenger." So that our Goel, our kinsman, is the avenger of our blood; according to that of the apostle, Heb. ii. 14: "He took part of the children's flesh, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."
4. This renowned champion, the Son of God, who takes the field alone in our quarrel against Satan, is one of a very martial and heroic spirit; he fears no enemy that stands in his way. Is. lix. 16-18; see there with what an heroic spirit he takes the field, though none of Adam's family, or yet of the family of angels, could join him in the enterprise: "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his own arm brought salvation," &c.
5. He is one that is successful in all his enterprises; he never lost a battle, victory follows him in his train and retinue. Wherever he goes, he stains his raiment with the blood of his enemies, like one that treadeth in the wine-fat; for he "treads them in his anger, and tramples them in his fury." When death the king of terrors encounters him, he cries, “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." When the armies of hell encounter him, he spoils them, and leads them about in triumph, and makes his ignominious cross a triumphant chariot, to which he ties them as so many trophies of his victory; he "casts death and hell into the lake of fire and brimstone." And hence it comes, that this very name is the terror of hell; for "things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, bow at the name of Jesus."
6. He is incomparable for power and wisdom; hence his name is "Christ the power of God, and Christ the wisdom of God." For power, he has "all power in heaven and earth," and therefore none is able to withstand him. Who has an arm like him? "His hand is full of power, and his right hand is great in might." And, for wisdom, "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in him: The cunning of the old serpent is but folly to him: "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, and turns the counsel of the froward headlong." So much for the first thing, some thoughts concerning our renowned champion, the glorious Son of God, who appears in the quarrel of lost sinners of Adam's family.
II. The second thing was, to offer a few thoughts concerning the grand enemy of mankind, that the Son of God had in his eye when he appeared upon the stage, and that is, the devil. Concerning this enemy, I shall only tell you,
1. That he was once an angel of light, and had his habitation at first in glory. The apostle Jude insinuates this, when he tells us, that they "left their first habitation." He was one of the brightest stars in the higher orbs of heaven, Is. xiv. 12, called "Lucifer, the son of the morning."
2. Pride and ambition was the sin of the devil. So much is hinted to us by the apostle; "being lifted up with pride, he fell into condemnation." He valued himself upon his own created excellencies, and would needs vie with God: he said in his heart, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High," Is. xiv. 13, 14. Some think, that the thing that gave occasion to his pride to vent itself, was the intimation of God's design of taking upon him a nature inferior to that of angels, in the person of his eternal Son, and the order given that, "all the angels of God should worship him,” even in that nature, when he should bring his first-begotten into the world. He disdained to worship God in a nature inferior to his own, for which he was tumbled from heaven to hell, with all the angels that joined him in his apostacy.
3. Being cast out of heaven, he was filled with the madness of revenge and enmity against God; and finding our first parents in paradise, "crowned with the glory and dignity" of the divine image, he, through his flattering hisses, draws them into a confederacy with himself against God, by tempting them to eat of the forbidden fruit, whereby they and their whole posterity had perished for ever with the devils, under the weight of the wrath and curse of God, unless the Son of God had interposed to "destroy the works of the devil,” and to set the captives of the mighty at liberty.