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say, This shall be the rule of your lives, and of my ordinary judgment. And therefore consequently they speak of an ordinary event also : and they are the rule of just judgment, and therefore justice must not be contemned by their contempt.
Or if any shall think, that all this proveth not a demonstration of justice on the Redeemer to be absolutely necessary, but that God could have pardoned the penitent without it; it is nevertheless manifest that this was a very wise and congruous way: as he that cannot prove that God could not have illuminated, and moved, and quickened the inferior sensitives without the sun, may yet prove that the sun is a noble creature, in whose operations God's wisdom, and power, and goodness do appear.
14. And how agreeable is this doctrine of the sacrifice of Christ, to the common doctrine of sacrificing, which hath been received throughout almost all the world! And who can imagine any other original of that practice, so early and so universally obtaining, than either Divine Revelation, or somewhat even in nature, which beareth witness to the necessity of a demonstration of God's justice and displeasure against sin ?
15. How wisely is it determined of God, that he who undertakes all this, should be man, and yet more than man, even God? That the Monarch of mankind, and the Mediator, and the Teacher of man, and the sacrifice for sin, should not be only of another kind; but that he be one that is fit to be familiar with man, and to be interested naturally in his concerns; and one that is by nature and nearness capable of these undertakings and relations? And yet that he be so high and near the Father, as may put a sufficient value on his works, and make him most meet to meditate for us?
16. How wisely is it ordered, that with a perfect doctrine, we should have the pattern of a perfect life, as knowing how agreeable the way of imitation is to our natures and necessities?
17. And as a pattern of all other virtue is still before us; so how fit was it, especially that we should have a lively example, to teach us to contemn this deceitful world, and to set little comparatively, by reputation, wealth, pre
eminence, grandeur, pleasures, yea and life itself, which are the things which all that perish prefer before God and immortality ?
18. And how needful is it that they that must be overtaken with renewed faults, should have a daily remedy and refuge, and a plaister for their wounds; and a more acceptable name than their own to plead with God for pardon?
19. How meet was it that our Saviour should rise from the dead (and consequently that he should die) to shew us, that his sacrifice was accepted, and that there is indeed another life for man; and that death and the grave
shall still not detain us?
20. And how meet was it that our Saviour should ascend into heaven, and therein our natures be glorified with God; that he might have all power to finish the work of man's-salvation, and his possession might be a pledge of our future possession ?
21. Most wisely also is it ordered of God, that man might not be left under the covenant of works, or of entire nature, which after it was broken, could never justify him, and which was now unsuitable to his lapsed state, and that God should make a new covenant with him as his Redeemer, as he made the first as his Creator: and that an act of general pardon and oblivion, might secure us of forgiveness and everlasting life ; and that as we had a rule to live by, for preventing sin and misery, we might have a rule for our duty in order to our recovery.
22. And what more convenient conditions could this covenant have had," than a believing and thankful acceptance of the mercy, and a penitent and obedient following of our Redeemer into everlasting life ?"
23. And how convenient is it, that when our King is to depart from earth, and keep his residence in the court of heaven, he should appoint his officers to manage the human part of his remaining work on earth ? And that some should do the extraordinary work in laying the foundation, and leaving a certain rule and order to the rest, and that the rest should proceed, to build hereupon; and that the wisest and the best of men, should be the teachers and guides of the rest unto the end.
24. And how necessary was it that our Sun in glory
should continually send down his beams and influence on the earth? Even the Spirit of the Father to be his constant Agent here below; and to plead his cause, and do his work on the hearts of men ? And that the apostles, who were to found the church, should have that Spirit, in so conspicuous a degree, and for such various works of wonder and power, as might suffice to confirm their testimony to the world : and that all others as well as they to the end, should have the Spirit for those works of love and renovation, which are necessary to their own obedience and salvation.
25. How wisely it is ordered, that he who is our King, is Lord of all, and able to defend his church, and to repress his proudest enemies.
26. And also that he should be our Final Judge, who was our Saviour and Lawgiver, and made and sealed that covenant of grace by which we must be judged; that judgment may not be over dreadful, but rather desirable to his faithful servants, who shall openly be justified by him before all.
27. How wisely hath God ordered it, that when death is naturally so terrible to man, we should have a Saviour that went that
before was once dead, but now liveth, and is where we must be, and hath the keys of death and heaven; that we may boldly go forth as to his presence, and to the innumerable perfected spirits of the just, and may commend our souls to the hands of our Redeemer, and our Head.
28. As also that this should be plainly revealed ; and that the Scriptures are written in a method and manner fit for all, even for the meanest, and that the ministers be commanded to open it, and apply it, by translation, exposition, and earnest exhortation; that the remedy may be suited to the nature and extent of the disease ; and yet that there be some depths, to keep presumptuous daring wits at a distance, and to humble them, and to exercise our diligence.
29. As also that the life of faith and holiness should have much opposition in the world, that its glory and excellency might the more appear, partly by the presence of its contraries, and partly by its exercise and victories in its
trials; and that the godly may have use for patience and fortitude, and every grace; and may be kept the easier from loving the world, and taught the more to desire the presence of their Lord.
30. Lastly, And how wisely is it ordered, that God in heaven, from whom all cometh, should be the end of all his graces
and our duties? And that himself alone should be our home and happiness; and that as we are made by him, and for him, so we should live with him, to his praise, and in his love for ever; and that there, as we shall have both glorified souls and bodies, so both might have a suitable glory; and that our glorified Redeemer might there be in part the Mediator of our fruition, as here he was the Mediator of acquisition.
I have recited hastily a few of the parts of this wondrous frame, to shew you, that if you saw them all, and that in the true order and method, you might not think it strange that Now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, is made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God;" Ephes. ii. 11. which was the first part of God's image upon the Christian religion, which I was to shew you.
But Cesides all this, the wisdom of God is expressed in the Holy Scriptures these several ways: 1. In the revelation of things past, which could not be known by any mortal man: as the creation of the world, and what was therein done, before man himself was made; which experience itself doth help us to believe, because we see exceeding great probabilities that the world was not eternal, nor of any longer duration than the Scriptures mention; in that no place on earth hath any true monument of more ancient original; and in that human sciences and arts are yet so imperfect, and such important additions are made but of late.
2. In the revelation of things distant, out of the reach of man's discovery. So Scripture-history, and prophecy do frequently speak of preparations and actions of princes and people afar off.
3. In the revelation of the secrets of men's hearts: as Elisha told Gehazi what he did at a distance: Christ told Nathaniel what he said, and where: so frequently Christ told the Jews and his disciples what they thought, and shewed that he knew the heart of man': to which we may
add, the searching power of the word of God, which doth so notably rip up the secrets of men's corruptions, and may shew all men's hearts unto themselves.
4. In the revelation of contingent things to come, which is most frequent in the prophecies and promises of the Scripture ; not only in the Old Testament, as Daniel, &o. but also in the Gospel. When Christ foretelleth his death and resurrection, and the usage and successes of his apostles, and promiseth them the miraculous gifts of the Spirit; and foretold Peter's thrice denying him; and foretold the grievous destruction of Jerusalem, with other such like clear predictions.
5. But nothing of all these predictions doth shine so clearly to ourselves, as those great promises of Christ, which are fulfilled to ourselves, in all generations. Even the promises and prophetical descriptions of the great work of conversion, regeneration, or sanctification upon men's souls, which is wrought in all ages, just according to the delineations of it in the word: all the humblings, the repentings, the desires, the faith, the joys, the prayers, and the answers of them, which were foretold, and was found in the first believers, are performed and given to all true Christians to this day.
To which may be added, all the prophecies of the extent of the church; of the conversions of the kingdoms of the world to Christ; and' of the oppositions of the ungodly sort thereto; and of the persecutions of the followers of Christ, which are all fulfilled.
6. The wisdom of God also is clearly manifested in the concatenation or harmony of all these revelations: not only that there is no real contradiction between them, but that they all conjunctly compose one entire frame: as the age of man goeth on from infancy to maturity, and nature fitteth her endowments and provisions according to each degree; so hath the church proceeded from its infancy, and so have the revelations of God been suited to its several times : Christ who was promised to Adam, and the fathers before Moses, for the first two thousand years, and signified by their sacrifices; was more fully revealed for the next two thousand years, by Moses first in a typical Gospel (the adumbration of the grace to come) and then by the
prophets, (especially Isaiah, Micah, Daniel, and Malachi) in