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deterred effectually from evil, nor encouraged to good; especially to so much as creatures must go through for the crown of life: and so the law would have been no fit instrument for the government of the world; that is, the law would have been no law. But this the wise and righteous God would not be guilty of, of making a law that was no law, and was unmeet for the ends to which he made it; which was essential to it as a law. There was no way to avoid this intolerable consequent when man had sinned, but strict execution of the law, or by sufficient satisfaction instead of such an execution. The execution would have destroyed the commonwealth, even the whole inferior world, at least the reasonable creature who was the subject. The wisdom and love, and mercy of God would not give way to this, that the world should be destroyed so soon after it was made, and man left remediless in everlasting misery. Satisfaction therefore must be the remedy: this must be such as might be fit to procure the ends of the law, as if the law itself had been executed; that is, as if the offenders did all die the death that it did threaten. It must therefore be a public demonstration of justice, and of the odiousness of sin, to the terror and warning of sinners for the future. And this was done with Jesus Christ, when none else in heaven or earth could do it. For it did as fully demonstrate the justice of God, and preserved his honour, and the usefulness of his law and government, that a person so high and glorious, and so dear to him, should suffer so much for sin, as if all the world had suffered for themselves. And thus God" made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; 2 Cor. v. 21. And thus "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; Gal. iii. 31.
(2.) Hereby also God demonstrated the holiness of his nature; how much he hateth sin, and how irreconcileable he is to it, as light to darkness. As the law and judgments of God do proceed from his perfect nature and will, so do they bear the image of that perfection and demonstrate it to the world. This therefore is the nobler end and work of Christ in our redemption, to declare the holiness and perfection of God in his nature and will; though the former (the declaring of his governing justice,) be the nearer end. If the death of Aaron's two sons were such a declaration, that "he will be sanctified in all that draw near him;" Lev.
x. 2, 3. If his laws and present judgments do declare him to be "a holy and jealous God, that will not forgive sin without a valuable consideration or satisfaction; Josh. xxiv. 19. How much more evidently is this declaration in the death of Christ? If the Bethshemites cry out," Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?" (1 Sam. vi. 20.) upon the death of 50,070 men; how much more may the guilty soul say so, when he thinks on the crucified Son of God? As it is the end of God's execution on transgressors, that "the Lord may be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy may be sanctified in righteousness;" (Isa. v. 16.) so was it his end in the sacrifice of his Son.
(3.) Another end of our redemption by Christ, is the demonstration of the infinite wisdom of God. His wisdom in the preventing the ruin of the created world; that it might not be said that sin and satan had frustrated him of the glory of his creation, and destroyed it almost as soon as he had made it. Yea, in getting an advantage by the malice of his enemies for the more admirable attainment of the ends of his law, and the glorifying of all his governing attributes. He would not have made man a free agent, and left him in the hand of his own will, and suffered him to sin, if his wisdom had not known how to secure his own interest and honour to the full. And so also in the economy and admirable frame of his gracious sapiential government by Christ, the manifold wisdom of God doth shine; Ephes. iii. 9, 10. As the wonderful structure of heaven and earth, and every part of this natural frame, doth gloriously reveal the wisdom of the Creator; so the wonderful contrivance of our redemption by Christ, and the reparation of the world by him, and the moral frame of this evangelical dispensation, doth wonderfully demonstrate the wisdom of the Redeemer. And as the observation of our natures may give us cause to say with David, Psal. cxxxix. 14. "I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;" so the observation of our natures and conditions, may well cause us to say, 'I will praise thee, for I am graciously and wonderfully redeemed; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.' As nature may teach us to admire the frame of nature; so grace will teach us to admire the frame of grace, and to see the beauty of its several parts, and much more of the whole, where all the parts are orderly composed.
(4.) Yea, the very power of God is demonstrated in Christ. And therefore he is called, Cor. i. 24. "The power of God and the wisdom of God:" not only formally, because Christ himself is the wise and powerful God; nor only efficiently, because God doth exercise his power and wisdom, by his Son in creation, redemption, and government; but also effectually and objectively, as Christ is the great and most admirable demonstration of the power and wisdom of God in the world.
What work transcendeth the incomprehensible miracle of the incarnation? That God should assume the nature of man into personal union? The creation of the sun is no greater a work of power, than the incarnation and sending of the Son of God, the intellectual sun, the light of the world, that living light, "that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world: though yet the darkness comprehendeth not his light;" John i. 4. 6.9. What was he but the living visible power of God, when he healed all diseases, cast out devils, raised the dead, and rose from the dead himself, and ascended into glory, and sent down the Holy Spirit on his church, enduing them with power from on high: Acts i. 8. Luke xxiv. 49. When he was on earth he was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, and went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;" Acts x. 38. Being dead," he was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead;" Rom. i. 4. "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive;" Eph. iv. 8. Yea, he filled his servants with power; Acts vi. 8. Even such as was admired and desired by the ungod ly; Acts viii. 19. He being" the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they;" Heb. i. 3, 4. As Christ therefore in his glorified humanity united to the Godhead, is far more excellent than the angels of God, and more glorious than the sun, so is the power of God more abundantly demonstrated in him, than in the sun, or the angels, or any other creature. The illuminated do know this," and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe; according to the working of
his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the celestials, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and hath given him to be Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all;" Ephes. i. 19—23.
Besides this, even in the works of Christ for his church, his calling, and sanctifying, and ruling, and preserving them, his subduing their enemies, and raising them from the dead, and glorifying them with himself, how glorious is the very power of God by his Son; Thess. i. 11. Phil. iii. 10. Eph. iii. 7. 20. 2 Pet. i. 3. 16. 1 Cor. iv. 20. Ephes. vi. 10. 1 Cor. xv. 43. 1 Pet. i. 5. And, therefore, his Gospel may well be called, "The power of God to salvation; Rom. i. 16. Which hath been the instrument of his power in doing such wonderful works in the world; 1 Cor. i. 18. ii.5. 2 Cor. vi. 7. 2 Cor. xiii. 3, 4.
(5.) But the most sweet and conspicuous end of our redemption, was the demonstration of God's love and mercy to mankind, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy prepared unto glory; Rom. ix. 23. Of all God's attributes, there is none shineth more illustriously in the work of our redemption than love and mercy. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us;" 1 John iii. 16. By the creation and sustentation of us we perceive the love of God, but more abundantly by our redemption. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten son into the world, that we might live through him; 1 John iv. 9. O wonderful love which condescendeth to such rebels, and embraceth such unworthy and polluted sinners, and pitieth them even in their blood! Even after we had sold ourselves to satan, and cast away the mercies of our creation, and had all come short of the glory of God, and were sentenced to death, and ready for the execution, then did this wonderful love step in, and rescue and recover us. Not staying till we repented and cried for mercy, and cast ourselves at his feet; but seeking us in the wilderness, and finding us before we felt that we were lost, and being found of us before we sought him, and beginning to us in the depth of
our misery. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins ;” 1 John iv. 10. Though God love us not in our sin and misery before our conversion, so far as in that state to justify us, and adopt us, and take pleasure in us, or have communion with us in the Spirit, yet doth he so far love us in that state, as to redeem us by the blood of Christ, and tender us his salvation, and to bring in his chosen effectually to entertain his offer. And thus "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given to us; for when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly, and commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;" Rom. v. 6. 8. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;" John xv. 13. What was the Son of God, but love incarnate? Love born of a Virgin, Love coming down from heaven to earth, and walking in flesh among the miserable, seeking and saving that which was lost. Was it not Love that spoke those words of life, those comfortable promises, those necessary precepts, those gracious encouragements which the Gospel doth abound with? Was it not Love itself that went preaching salvation to the sons of death, and deliverance to the captives, and offered to bind up broken hearts? Luke iv. 18. Was it not Love that invited the heavy-laden; Matt. xi. 28. And that sent even to the highways, and the hedges to compel men to come in, that his house may be filled; Matt. xxii. 9, 10. Luke xiv. 23. Was is not Love itself, that went up and down healing and doing good; that suffered them for whom he suffered, to scorn him, and spit upon him, and buffet him, and condemn him; that being reviled, reviled not again; that gave his life an offering for sin, and died and prayed for them that murdered him? No wonder if the Gospel be it that teacheth us to call God by the name of Love itself; 1 John iv. 8. For it is the Gospel that hath most fully revealed him to be No wonder if the Gospel do so frequently and importunately require us to love one another, and even to lay down our lives for Christ, and for one another, when it hath given us such a ground and motive, and president for our love. He that seeth the true face of redemption, and understandeth, and savoureth the Gospel, and the grace of Christ, must needs see most cogent reasons for such duties; 1 John