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sovereign disposer of all things may communicate his blessings by what means, and in any way, he thinks fit. But whatever he effects by the interposition of means, and a train of intermediate causes, he could produce by his own immediate power. He wants not clouds to distil rain, nor rain, nor human industry to make the earth fruitful, nor the fruitfulness of the earth to supply food, nor food to sustain our life. He could do this by his own immediate power: but he chooses to manifest his providence, power, wisdom and goodness in a variety of instances and dispositions, and yet his power and goodness are not only as much concerned and exercised in this way, as if he produced the end without the intervention of means, but even much more. Because his power, wisdom and goodness are as much exerted and illustrated in every single intermediate step, as if he had done the thing at once, without any intermediate step at all. There is as much power . and wisdom exercised in producing rain, or in making the earth

fruitful, or in adapting food to the nourishment of our bodies; I say, there is as much power and wisdom exercised in any one of these steps, as there would be in nourishing our bodies by one immediate act, without those intermediate means. Therefore, in this method of procedure, the displays of the divine providence and perfections are multiplied, and beautifully diversified, to arrest our attention, exercise our contemplation, and excite our admiration and thankfulness: for thus we fee God in a surprizing variety of instances. Nor, indeed, can we turn our eyes to any part of the visible creation, but we see his. power, wisdom and goodness in perpetual exercise, every where. In like manner, in the moral world, he chooses to work by means, the mediation of his Son, the influences of his Spirit, the teachings of his Word, the endeavours of apostles and ministers; not to supply any defects of his power, wisdom, or goodness, but to multiply the instances of them; to fhew himself to us in a various display of his glorious dispensations, to exercise the moral powers and virtues of all the subordinate agents employed in carrying on his great designs, and to set before our thoughts the most engaging subjects of meditation, and the most powerful motives of action. And this method in the moral world is still more neceflary; because, without the attention of our minds, the end proposed, our fanelification, cannot be attained.

151. But if the agency, or ministry, of Christ, in executing the gracious purposes of God's goodness, be a right appointment, how comes his love and obedience to be a just foundation of divinegrace (*); or a proper

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(*) When I say, Christ's love and obedience is a just foundation of the divine grace, I know not how to explain myself better than by the following instance. There have been matters willing, now and then, to grant a relaxation from study, or even to remit deserved punishinent, in case any one bey, in behalf of the whole school, or of the offender, would compose and present a diftich or copy of Latin verses. This at once thewed the master's love and lepity, and was a very proper expedient for promoting learning and benevolence in the fociety of little men training up for future usefulnels, and, under due regulations, very becoming a good and wife Tutor.

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expedient to communicate it to us! Answ. The Love and Obedience of Christ will appear a very just Foundation of the Divine Grace; and the most proper Expedient to communicate it, and our Redemption by Christ will stand in a just, clear and beautiful Light, if we duly consider ; - that Truth, Virtue, Righteousness, being useful and doing good, or, which is the same Thing, Obedience to God, is the chief Perfection of the intellectual Nature. Intelligent Beings are of all others the most excellent; and the right Use of the Power of Intelligence is the - very highest Glory and Excellence of intelligent Beings. Consequently,

Righteousness, Goodness and Obedience must be of the highest Esteem and Value with the Father of the Universe, a most pure and perfect Spirit; the only Power, if I may so say, that can prevail with him, and the only acceptable Price, for purchasing [95] any Favours, or Blessings at his Hands. And it must be the most sublime and perfect Display of his Wisdom and Goodness to devise Methods, and erect Schemes for promoting Righteousness, Virtue, Goodness and Obedience; because this is the most effectual Way of promoting the truest Excellency, Honour and Happiness of his rational Creatures. For which Reason, he cannot, possibly, in any other Way exercise his Perfections among the Works of his Hands more nobly and worthily.

152. God graciously intended the future State of the Church should be revealed, for the Benefit and Comfort of his People in succeeding Ages: But then, some superior Worth must be honoured with this Favour; and an heavenly Herald is ordered to proclaim to the whole rational Creation, “ Who is worthy ?” Who can produce an Eminence of Character, which God shall esteem proportionable to the Favour? Rev. V. 2. But none could answer the Challenge, but the Son of God. He had Merit sufficient; "he prevailed,” Ver. 5, or excelled so far in real Worth, as to deserve the Benefit. Which moral Eminence is represented by the Emblem of " a Lamb as it had been flain," Ver. 6; denoting his perfect Innocence and Purity, his Goodness and Benevolence, Meekness and Humility, his Submission and Obedience to God, and his steadfast Adherence to Truth and Duty under all Trials, and even in the very Terrors of Death. This is the Worthiness by which he prevailed to open the Book. And the same Worthiness, in the fame Manner, is declared to be the Foundation of our Redemption, Ver. 9; “Thou art worthy to take and open the Book; for (thy Worthiness is equal to a much greater Effect) thou waft Nain, and haft redeemed us to God by thy Blood.”

153. And that the Removal of Evils, or the Donation of Benefits in favour of some, should have respect to some signal Instance of Righteousness and Obedience performed by another, must be acknowledged a very juft and proper Method of promoting the moral Good. For, that Happiness should be consequent to Righteousness, Goodness, and Obedience, is perfectly consonant with the Nature of Things. Thảo all Beings, without Exception, Tould practise Righteousness is also

true; one may fay, that the kind Verse-maker purchased the Favour in both Cales ; or that his Learning. Ingenuity, Industry, Goodness, and Compliance with the Governour's Will and Fleasure, was a juft Ground, or Foundation of the Pardon and Refreshment, or a proper Reason of granting them. VOL. II.

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the Righteousness of some should redound to the Good of others, is a bit and proper. Conftitution, fo far as the Quantity of Virtue or Righteousness may thereby be probably increased. (For an unactive, unobedient Reliance upon the Merit of another is absurd: Or, it is not true or right, that I should be finally benefited by the Righteousness of another, while I live wickedly myself.) And the Quantity of Virtue may probably be increased several Ways. 1. As this Method wil excite the Wise and Benevolent to Acts of Righteousness and Obedience, by the Prospect of being useful, and procuring Good to others. 2. Hereby illustrious Examples will be proposed for Imitation. 3. Which will be strongly inforced and recommended by the Benefits and Blessings, which are thereby derived to us. · 154. Agreeably to this Scheme, Abraham is proposed as a brigt: Example of Obedience and Reward; and his Obedience is given as the Reason of conferring Blessings upon his Posterity, and particularly ci having the Messiah, the Redeemer and greatest Blessing of Mankinc, descend from him ; Gen. xxii, 16, 17, 18, “ By myself have I swore, faith the Lord, for because thou haft done this Thing, and hast not with: 1 held thy Son, thine only Son: That in Blessing I will bless thee, and was Multiplying I will multiply thy Seed as the Stars of Heaven, and as the Sand which is upon the Sea-thore ; and thy Seed shall possess the Gate of his Enemies; and in thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blelied: :

Because thou hast obeyed my Voice. Gen. xxvi. 2-5,“ The Lord laid, , unto Isaac,— I will be with thee and bless thee: And in thy Seed Mail all the Nations of the Earth be blessed: Because that Abraham obezt. my Voice, and kept my Charge, my Commandments, my Statutes and my Laws." Gen. xviii. 26–32, Had but ten righteous Persons beca: found in Sodom, God, upon Abraham's Intercession, would have spares the City for the Sake of those Ten; probably as they might have proved the Seed and Means of Reformation. Moses also, by his Intercellios (in which he performed an Act of Virtue; namely, Faith in the Good i ness of God, and Kindness and Compassion for the Israelites) mace Atonement for their Sin, in the Affair of the golden Calf, and preventes their Destruction, Exod. xxxii. 30, 31, 32. See also Num. xiv. 20 Phineas likewise, by being zealous for his God, and executing an Ac of Justice upon two notorious Criminals, “ turned away the Wrath oj 6* from the Children of Israel; made Atonement for them," and gained the honourable Entail of the Priesthood on his Pofterity, Num. XXV. 11, 17, 13. Deut. iv. 37, “And because he loved thy Fathers," for their Piety and Virtue, “therefore he chose their Seed after them, and brought thee outwith his mighty Power out of Egypt," &c. i Sam. vii. 8, 9, 10. Job Xill. 7, 8, “ The Lord said to Eliphaz, My Wrach is kindled againt thee and thy two Friends ;-Therefore go to my Servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a Burnt-offering, and my Servant Job shall pray for you ; ; for him will I accept: Left I deal with you after your Folly,”. &c. Psal. cv. 41, 42, 43, “ He opened the Rock, and the Waters gulhed out, they ran in dry Places like a River. For he remembred his holy Promise, and Abraham his Servant. And he brought forth his People with Joy, and his Chosen w.th Gladness.” Jer. xv. I, Then said the Lord unto me; Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my Mind could not

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CH. VIII. We ought to imitate those Acts whereby Christ has Redeemed us. 371 be towards this People.” Ezek. xiv. 13-21, “ Son of Man, when the Land finneth against me by trespassing grievously, though these three Men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they should deliver neither Sons nor Daughters, they should deliver only their own Souls by their Righteousness." That Virtue, Righteousness, Goodness and Obedience should be the Price of Happiness, and procure Blessings to ourselves and others, is a very just and noble Constitution; and may not only be seen in such Examples as I have just now mentioned ; but, I make no doubt, takes place throughout the whole rational Universe. Christ, indeed, is a Person of the highest Eminence; and the Effects of his Righteousness are proportionable to his personal Worth and Excellency; and amazingly extensive : But I reckon the Rule, Scheme, and Reason of his Work, and its Effects, is general, and reaches to all rational Beings. For it is consonant to all Reason, that a diligent, humble, and kind Subserviency

to the well being of others, should be honoured with Favours from the E Fountain of all Good. It is perfectly fit, that illustrious Virtue and

Righteousness should be crowned with an extensive Influence ; and

that the good Effects thereof should reach to many, and be the Occadei fion and Means of their Happiness. And in our World here we find, E in Fact, that it is by Virtue, Self-denial, Integrity, Love and Kind00* ness, studying and labouring to do Good, that we are any of us useful, b and a Blessing to ourselves and others. We ourselves bless the Good eli and Benevolent; and by so doing, judge it is fit and right God should pod bless them, and make them Blessings. Gen. xii. 2. 3 155. Nor is this Comparison lessening of the Dignity of our Lord, De or any Disparagement of his glorious Work. For it is no Difparage.

ment to the High-priest of our Profession, that we also are “a royal Priest. bermine hood;" that we are « Priests to God.” It is no ways derogatory even to * the most perfect Excellence of the Divine Nature, that Wifdom, Good

ness, Justice and Holiness are in Men the fame in Kind, though not in Degree, as they are in God. Or, should I account for our Lord's uni.

versal Dominion, and his being constituted Judge of the whole World Beat the last Day, by alledging; that, although all Authority and Judgod ment belong to God, yet it is the general Method of his Wisdom, to 1 employ Delegates in the Exercise of his Authority. For we see in our * World, he doth not immediately judge, and punish the Criminals

who make themselves obnoxious to the Censures of the Society, but

has every where appointed Kings and Governours, Magistrates, supe. k rior and subordinate, to administer and execute Judgment among het Mankind in Affairs relating to Society. What Wonder then, if he

has appointed his well-beloved Son, a Being of so transcendent ExcelE lence, to be the Judge of all, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. This

Way of arguing would not lessen our Lord's Authority, but would o very justly account for it. Even so it is no Disparagement to the Dig

nity of our blessed Lord, or to the glorious Work of Redemption, that among Men are found Actions similar to his, both in Nature and

Effect. tas 156. But that which puts the Matter out of Dispute, is our being

required, not only to imitate our Lord in other Instances of his Love and Obedience, but in thofe very Acts whereby he has ransomed, or

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sedeemed us. Mat. XX. 26, 27, 28, “ Whosoever will be great among you," my Disciples, “ let him be your Minister. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your Servant;" let him deserve his How nour by Usefulness, by asisting and doing Good to all. “ Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministred unto, but to minister, and to give his Life a Ransom for many.” Our Lord came to serve and affist, to be useful, and do Good to all, with all Humility, Meekness and Gentleness ; and even humbled himself, and condescended so far, for promoting the Happiness of Mankind, as to lay down his Life to redeem them from Sin and Misery. And he is most honourable and eminent in Christ's King. dom, who comes nearest to his Example. John xv. 12, 13, "Love one another as I have loved you. Greater Love hath no Man than this, that he lay down his Life for his Friends.” 2 Cor. viji. 79," Abound in this Grace,” this Act of Kindness to your distressed Brethren ; " for ye know the Grace," the great Love and Goodness, " of our Lord Jefus Christ, that though he was Rich, yet for your Sakes he became Poor," &c. * Eph. V. 2, “ Walk in Love, as Christ also has loved us, and given himseif for us an Offering, and Sacrifice to God.” All this is till more! clearly and strongly expresled. i John ii. 16, “ Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he (that is, Jesus Christ) laid down his Life (orige nuwe) for us : And we ought to lay down our Lives (utię twy cadea@ur) for the Brethren,” to promote their Happiness. It is, therefore, so far from diminishing the Dignity of our Lord, or the Glory of his Work, to produce similar Instances among us; that it is made our Duty, by an inspired Apostle, to copy after his Example, even in his Dying for us. Indeed there is no Comparison between the Value and Importance of Christ's ! Work, and any we can perform. Yet ours, in a much lower Degree, may produce similar Effects ; and will not fail of being attended with a proportionable Measure of the Divine Blessing.

157. But here I must put in a Caveat ; namely, that it cannot be long to us to set a Value upon the Obedience and Goodness of fupposed Saints, and then determine how much it shall redound to the Bene fit of ourselves, or others. By no Means. In so doing corrupt Chriltians have taken a very presumptuous, and unwarrantable Liberty. For this is manifestly to invade the Divine Prerogative, and to take out of his Hands a Work, which, in the Nature of. Things, is peculiar to himself alone; and can belong to none, but to the Judge of all the Earth, who only knows the Hearts of all Men, and who alone can truly adjust Rewards and Punishments. He alone can settle the Value of any Virtue or Righteousness ; and he alone must appoint and beitow the Benefits proper to honour it with : Nor has he given any Manetther Capacity or Authority to rate, or estimate the Goodness of other Beings, whether Men or Angels, and then to assign the Benefits pro- :: per to be bestowed on others on Account thereof: Nor is our Faith and Dependence in Revelation directed to any other Worthiness (belides the Goodness of God) but that of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jelus Christ.

158. And as the Justness and Truth of Redemption clearly appears in this Light; fo the Propriety of it is no less evident. Had our Redemption been of a Civil Kind, it might have been effected only Dj

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