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state, “have not believed God, yet now have obtained mercy," &c. 1 Pet. i. 10, “ Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
144. Hence also we may conclude; that all the privileges and bleflings of the gospel, even the whole of our redemption and salvation, are the effect of God's pure, free, original love and grace; to which he was inclined of his own motion, without any other motive besides, his own goodness, (that is, without being persuaded, induced, or prevailed with to grant it by any other being or perion) in mere kindness and goodwill to a sinful perishing world. These are " the things that are freely given to us of God," 1 Cor. ii. 12.
CHA P. VIII.
All the Grace of the Gospel dispensed to us in, by or through the Son of
God. How this is to be undersiood, &c.
145. N EVERTHELESS, all the fore-mentioned Love, Grace
IV and Mercy, is dispensed, or conveyed to us in, by or through the Son of God, Jesus Chrift, our Lord. To quote all the places to this purpose would be to transcribe a great part of the New Testament. But it may suffice, at present, to review the texts under the numbers (139, 141]: from which texts it is evident; that “the grace," or favour, "of God is given unto us by Jesus Christ:"that he “has shewn the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness to us, through Jesus Christ :" that he has sent his Son into the world that we might live through him ;--to be the propitiation (or mercy-seat] for our fins :” that “he died for us : that we who were afar off are made nigh by his blood: that God has made us accepted in the Beloved, [in his beloved Sonj in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of fins :" that we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus :" that “before the world began the purpose and grace of God,” relating to our calling and salvacion, " was given us in Christ Jesus: before the foundation of the world God chose us in Christ,” Eph. i. 4.“ We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand,” Rom. v. 1, 2. “God hath given to us eternal life: and this life is in his Son," i John v. 11.--Nothing is clearer from the whole current of Scripture, than that all the mercy and love of God, and all the blessings of the gospel, from first to last, from the original purpose and grace of God, to our final salvation in the possession of eternal life, is in, by or through Christ; and particularly, by his Blood, by the redemption which is in him, as “ he is the propitiation," or atonement," for the fins of the whole world,” John ij. 2. This can bear no dispute among Christians. The only difference that
can be, must relate to the manner how these blessings are conveyed to us in, by or through Chrift. Doubtless they are conveyed through his hands, as he is the minister, or agent, appointed of God to put us in poflession of them. But his blood, death, cross, could be no ministring cause of blessings assigned to his blood, &c. before we were put in polfefsion of them. See Rom. v. 6, 8, 10, 19. Eph. ii. 13, 16. Col. i. 20, 21, 22. ^ Nor truly can his blood be possibly considered as a ministring, or instrumental cause in any sense at all; for it is not an agent, but an object; and therefore, though it may be a moving cause, or a reason for bestowing blessings, yet it can be no active, or inftrumental cause in conferring them. His blood and death is indeed to us an assurance of pardon : but it is evidently something more; for it is also considered as an offering and sacrifice to God, highly pleasing to him, to put away our fin, and to obtain eternal redemption, Heb. ix. 12, 14, 26. Eph. v. 2.
146: How then is this to be underftood? Ans. The blood of Christ is the perfect obedience and goodness of Christ. For his blood is not to be confidered only with regard to the matter of it. For so it is a mere corporeal substance, of no more value in the sight of God, than any other thing of the same kiud. Nor is the blood of Christ to be considered only in relation to our Lord's death and sufferings; as if mere death or fuffer: ing were in itself of such a nature, as to be pleasing and acceptable to God. But his blood implies a character; and it is his blood, as he is a “Lamb. without spot and blemish,” (1 Pet. i. 19.) that is, as he is perfectly holy, which is of so great value in the fight of God. His blocd is the same as his offering himself without spot to God,” Heb. ix. 14. Theend of his coming into the world was “to do the will of God," Heb. x. 7. (John v. 30. vi. 38.) not to offer figurative, ceremonial facrisices, but to perform solid and substantial obedience, in all acts of usefulness and beneficence to mankind, by which he became a high-priest after the order of Melchizedek, the “King of Righteousness, and the King of Peace," or Happiness, Heb. vii. 2. And he abode in his Father's love, or continued to be the object of his complacency and delight, because he kept his commandments. And the reason of his eminence and high diftinéticn is afligned to the perfection and excellence of his moral character, Heb. i. 9, “. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity ; therefore God, even thy God, hath ancinted thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Heb. v. 8, 9, “ Though he were a Son, yet learned he, [yet he was disciplined in] obedience by the things which he suffered: and, being thus made perfect, he became the author of eternal falvation to all them that obey him.” Ifai.liij. 5, “ The chastite. ment,” or discipline,“of our peace,” which procured our happiness, “ w25 upon him.”[701a Castigatio, Eruditio.] And the apostle, in another place, (Phil. ii. 7, 8, 9.) thews us the true ground of our Lord's being exalted and made head over all things, as our Redeemer; namely, because “he emptied himself and took upon him the form of a Sere vant," that he might serve mankind in their most important inte. rests; and because in this way, in serving us, he “became cox dient to death, even the death of the cross ;" which was the highest instance of cbedience, love and goodness he could pollib!
old, vereisly aid to putns, and a to such hor mai
exhibit. For, as he himself justly observes, (John xv. 13.) “ Greater Hove hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for (or to serve] his friends.” And upon this account it was, that the Father loved, and highly exalted him, and blessed us with all the grace of the gospel. Thus “Christ gave his life a ransom,” or atonement, “ for many.” Or, inother words, (Eph.v. 2.) “Christ hath loved us," to such a degree, that he“hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling favour.” And to put the matter out of all doubt, the apostle (Rom. v.) expressly affirms, that the grace of God, and his gift to a fine ful world, Ver. 15; even that free gift, which relates to justification, not only from the consequence of Adam's one offence, but to the many offences which men have committed, Ver. 16; that grace and gift, which has reference to our reigning in eternal life, Ver. 17; he affirms, I say, that this gift and grace is in, by or through the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, [e» gazilo to ty svarbgwtie Inox Xgasy, Ver. 15.] that is to say, through his goodness, love and benevolence to mankind. And he directs us to conceive, that, as Adam's ofence and disobedience was the reason or foundation of death's palling upon all mankind : so Christ's rightecuufness and obedience is the reason, or foundation, not only of the general reltoration to life, but of all other gospel blessings. He considers the offence of the one, and righteousness of the other, as moral causes of different and opposite effects. For, faith he, Ver., 18, 19, “ As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even fo by the righteousneis of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience the many were made finners; so by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous.” 2 Cor. viii. 9, “ Ye know the grace. [the goodness and love] of our Lord Jefus Chriit, that though he was rich, yet for your fakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
147. From all this it appears; that the blood of Christ, or that by which he has bought, or redeemed us, is his love and goodness to men, and his obedience to God; exercised indeed through the whole of his state of humiliation in this world, but most eminently. exhibited in his death. His blood is precious, (1 Pet. i. 19.); and it is precious not in the sense in which silver and gold, or any other matea rialthing, is precious, but as it is the “blood of a lamb without spot and blemith:” that is to fay, it is his compleat and spotless righteousness, his humility, goodness and obedience unto death, which makes his blood precious, in the best and highest sense, and gives his cross all
sca prth and efficacy: 1tly understood, od rational light,
148. This being rightly understood, our, redemption by Christ, I conceive, will stand in a very clear and rational light. For thus obedience, or “doing the will of God,” (Heb. x. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12.) was the sacrifice of sweet smelling favour which he offered unto God for us. It was his righteousness, or righteous, kind and benevo, dent action, his obedient death, or the sacrifice of his love and obedience, which made atonement for the fin of the world; so far, and, in this tense, that God on account of his goodness and perfect obedience, 10 highly pleasing to him, thought fit to grant unto mankind, whom he
. might might in strict justice have destroyed for their general corruption and wickedness, (John iii. 17,) the forgiveness of sin, not “ imputing unto them their trespasses,” (2 Cor. v. 19.) or those “sins which were past," or which they had already committed, (Rom. iii. 25.) and for which they deserved to fall under the dreadful effects of God's wrath. And no: only did he forgive former trespasses (to all the living, and to all the penitent and obedient dead ;) but further, he erected a glorious and perfect dispensation of grace, exceeding any which had gone before it in means, promises, and prospects; at the head of which he fet his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, invested with universal power in hea. venand in earth, constituting him King and Governour over the new body, which he designed to form, the Captain of our salvation, the High-priest of our profession, the Mediator and Surety of the new core nant, to negocitate and manage all affairs relating to our present instruction and sanctification, to raise all the dead out of their graves, and to put the obedient and faithful into possession of eternal life. In this new constitution the Redeemer was commissioned to enlarge the bounds of the kingdom of God, before limited to the Jews, and to take into it the idolatrous Gentiles also, upon their profession of faith in Christ, and of subjection to his government; accounting them his children and chosen people, and conferring upon them all the privileges and blessings of the gospel. Accordingly, he sent forth his Apostles and other subordinate ministers, to reconcile or change the heathen world unto God (2 Cor. v. 18, 19.) by the preaching of the gospel, having poured out his Spirit upon them, and furnished them with various gifts and powers, to qualify them for their work, and to make them successful in it. Thus the whole of gospel-grace is in, by or through Christ. Thus we are redeemed, or bought with his blood.  (*)
149. But how are the blessings of the gospel the result of pure grace and mercy, if they have respect to the obedience and worthiness of Chrift? Answ. The blessings of the gospel are the gift of God to the obedience of Christ. And though the gift is by the obedience of Christ, yet it is a free gift, Rom. v. 16, 18. See (67). Indeed, if we are redeemed by satisfying law or justice, then our redemption could not be of grace, because it would be of law, or justice; or rather, it would then be impracticable. For law and justice allow no equivalent of substitution, nor can be satisfied any other way than by the legal punishment of the offender. But the scripture faith nothing of Chrilt's satisfying justice: nor is it any ways neceffary to suppose it. For it is the prerogative of every lawgiver to soften the rigour of law, and to extend mercy, to the peoritent or impenitent, as he sees fit (t). And God was of himself inclined to mercy and kindness, out of his own pure goodness. Therefore what Chrift did, was neither to incline God to be gracious, nor to disengage him from any counter-obligations
(*) See the connection between Christ's worthiness, and our redemption further ellablished and explained, Scrip. Doc. of Orig. Sin. Pars I. in the Appendix.
(1) See the Note on Rom. v. 20, at the paragraph beginning with these words, "Law never doth, nor can pardon,"
arising from law, or justice, or what the finner's cafe might deserve. But (1.) What Christ did and suffered was a proper and wife expedient, a fit ground and method of granting mercy to the world. Rom. iiie 24, We are “justified freely by the grace of God; through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” We are justified freely by grace. But truth requires that grace be dispensed in a manner the most proper and probable to produce reformation and holiness. Otherwise, the chief design of it will be defeated. Now this is what our Lord has done. He has bought us by his blood, and procured the remission of sins, as what he did and suffered was a proper reason for granting, and a fit way of conveying, and rendering effectual the grace of God; which, according to the rules of wisdom and goodness, could not have been communicated, but in a way proper to secure the end and intention of it. The end and intention of it was to “ redeem us from a vain,” heathenish" conversation,” i Per. i. 18, 19;“ to deliver us from all iniquity, and to purify us into a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Tit. ii. 14. Now this could be doire no otherwise than by means of a moral kind, or such as are apt to influence our minds, and engage us to forsake what is evil, and to choose that which is good and holy and pleasing to God. And what means of this fort could be more effectual, than the heavenly and most illustrious example of the son of God, shewing us the most perfect obedience to God, and the most generous goodness and love to men, recommended to our imitation by all postible endearing and engaging considerations ? God, of his efsential goodness, will do every thing that is fit and right; but it appears from all his constitutions, as well as this, that he will do it in a tway that is fit and right. Accordingly we read Heb. ii. 10, that “ it became him [it was agreeable to his wisdom and goodness) for whom [for the display of whose glorious perfections) are all things, and by whom are all things (who is the end and author of all dispensations] in bringing many fons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." His honour and glory, or righteousness, goodness and truth, required that his grace should be planted upon such a ground, and exhibited and conferred in such a manner as this. Thus grace and redemption are not only perfectly reconciled ; but thus the grace of God is greatly magnified, as he has vouchTafed his mercy in a method the most conducive to promote our truest happiness and excellency. (2.) All that Christ did, or suffered, was by the will and appointment of God: and was conducive to our redemption only in virtue of his will and appointment. Heb. 1. 7. “ Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." Christ executed what God ordered and commanded. Therefore all that Christ did and suffered must be assigned to the grace of God, as its original cause. And thus grace and redemption are not only consistent; but thus by redempfion grace is multiplied; as the grace of our Lord concurred with the love of God for our salvation. ...150. But why should God choose to communicate his grace in this mer diate way, by the interposition, obedience and agency of his son; who again employs subordinate agents and instruments under him? I answer; For the display of the glory of his nature and perfections. The fover
agency, him? The cover