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• delights in died; this is molt refpect to God a
Power, or such corruptible Things as Silver and Gold : But it is of the Moral Kind; and therefore is most properly effected by Moral Means, Goodness and Obedience ; both with respect to God and ourselves. ; With respect to God; this is most suitable to his perfect Goodness, who delights in doing Good, and multiplying Goodness and Beneficence among his Creatures; whose Wisdom turnis even the Sinfulness of Men into an Occasion of displaying the most perfect Holiness, and of furnishing the most powerful Motives to Piety and Obedience. With respect to Us ; Redemption, in this way, is most properly adapted to our Case, and to the designed End, our eternal Salvation. For thus we are taught the absolute Necesity and infinite Importance' of Obedience, and ingaged to it, in the most effectual Manner ;: being redeemed by Goodness and Love, we have the most perfect Example of Goodness and Love, and the most powerful Inducement to ex-. ercise them towards others. And by Obedience, Goodness and Love, .. we are most properly prepared for the Usefulness, Honours and Happiness of the heavenly State. Thus this noble Cause is, in every Respect, properly adapted to the best and noblest Effects. And upon, the whole, it must surely be allowed, that it was perfectly congruous to the Nature of Things, to found the Pardon of Sin, and the Gift of eternal Life, upon that in another, which in ourselves is the only due Improvement of God's Mercy, and our only Qualification for Happiness.
159. But how is it agreeable to the infinite Distance there is between the most high God, and Creatures fo low and imperfect, who are of no Consideration when compared to the Immensity of his Nature, that he should so greatly concern himself about our Redemption ? Answ. He who is all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, attends to all the minutest Affairs in the whole Universe, without the least Confusion or Difficulty. And if it was not below his infinite Greatness to make Mankind, it cannot be so to take Care of them, when created. For Kind, he can produce no Beings more excellent than the rational and intelligent; consequently, chole must be most worthy of his Regard. And when they are corrupted, as thereby the End of their Being is frustrated, it must be as agreeable to bis Greatness to endeavour (when he fees fit) their Reformation, or to restore them to the true Ends for which they were created, as it was originally to create them.
160. But still, why ihould a Being so transcendently glorious as the Son of God, the Heir of all Things, by whom he made the Worlds, the Brightness of his Glory, and the express Image of his Person, be employed in this Work? Why must the Talk of a very difficult and painful Obedience be imposed upon him, a Being transcendently glorious, in Favour of a Part of the Creation, so inconsiderable as our World ? Might not an inferior Hand have been more proportionable to Creatures of a Rank fo: mean and inferior ? Answ. Righteousness, Virtue, Obedience to God, and Beneficence to his Creation, can be below the Dignity of none, but mult be the real Glory and Excellence of any; and, indeed, is the only Thing which can give Excellence and Distinction to any Being what. : loever. Moral Perfection, exercised and diffused through universal Nature, in Acts of Love, Goodness, and Righteousness, is the Glory. of the Supreme Being Himself. And the Father of all, would have all Beings conformable to his own moral Excellency. For this Reason, it is, not orly his Wisdom, but also his Goodness to exercise them all, without Exception, in Truth, Virtue, Goodness, and every moral Perfection; in order to raise their Worth, and advance their Honour and Felicity. For those Powers, which rest and terminate in themfelves, are solitary and barren; those only are excellent, valuable, and deserving of Praise and Blessing, which are well employed, eminently useful, and productive of Good.
161. And as for Mankind's being a mean and inconfiderable Part of the Creation, it may not be so easy to demonstrate, as we imagine. The Sin that is, or hath been, in the World will not do it. For then the Beings, which we know stand in a much higher, and, perhaps, in a very high Rank of natural Perfection, will be proved to be as mean, and inconsiderable as ourselves ; seeing they in great Numbers have finned. Neither will our natural Weakness and Imperfection prove, that we are a mean and inconsiderable Part of God's Creation: For the Son of God, when clothed in our Flesh, and incompassed with all our Infirmities, and Temptations, loft nothing of the real Excellency and Worth he possessed, when in a State of Glory with the Father, before the World was. Still he was the beloved Son of God, in whom he was well pleased. Belides, lince God may beftow Honours and PriviJeges as he pleases, who will tell me what Preheminence, in the Pur. pose-of God, this World may possibly have above any other part of the Universe ? Or what relation it bears to the rest of the Creation? We know that even Angels have been ministring Spirits to fome Part, at least, of Mankind. Who will determine how far the Scheme of Redemption may exceed any Schemes of Divine Wisdom, in other Parts of the Universe? Or how far it may effect the Improvement and Happiness of other Beings, in the remotest Regions ? Eph, iii. 10, " To the Intent that now unto the Principalities and Powers in heavenly Places, might be known by the Church the manifold Wisdom of God, according to the eternal Purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." i Pet. i. 12, “ Which Things, that are reported by them that have preached the Gospel, the Angels desire to look into.” It is, therefore, the Sense of Revelation, that the heavenly Principalities and Powers ftudy the Wisdom and Grace of Redemption; and even increase their stock of Wisdom, from the Displays of the divine Love in the Gospel. Who can say, how much our Virtue is more, or less, severely proved, than in other Worlds ? Or, how far our Virtue may excel that of other Beings, who are not subjected to our long and heavy Trials ? May not a Virtue, firm and steady under our present Cloggs, Inconveniences, Discouragements, Persecutions, Trials, and Temptations, possibly furpass the Virtue of the highest Angel, whose State is not attended with such Imbarrassments? Do we know how far such, as Ihall have honour. ably passed through the Trials of this Life, shall hereafter be dispersed through the Creation? How much their Capacities will be inlarged? How highly they shall be exalted? What Power and Trusts will be put into their Hands? How far their Influence shall extend, and how much they shall contribute to the good Order and Happiness of the Universe?
Possibly, the faithful Soul, when disengaged from our present IncumOrances, may blaze out into a Degree of Excellency equal to the highest Honours, the most important and extensive Services. Our Lord has nade us Kings and Priests unto his God and Father, and we shall fit ogether in heavenly Places, and reign with him. To him that overcomes the Trials of this present State, he will give to fit with him in uis Throne. True, many from among Mankind shall perish, among he vile and worthless, for ever: And so thall many of the Angels. Chefe Considerations may satisfy us, that, possibly, Mankind are not o despicable, as to be below the Interposition of the Son of God. Rather, the surprising Condescensions and Sufferings of a Being so glorious should be an Argument, that the Scheme of Redemption s of the utmost Importance; and that, in the Estimate of God, who lone confers Dignity, we are Creatures of very great Consequence. aftly, God by Christ created the World ; and if it was not below his Dignity to create, it is much less below his Dignity to redeem the World, which, of the two, is the more worthy and honourable. ; .
162. Thus I have endeavoured to explain and clear the Scheme of Redemption by the Blood of Christ, or his spotless Goodness and Obeience; the noblest and most acceptable Sacrifice any Being can offer to he supreme Father, the God of perfect Goodness, Truth and Rightepusness. In which Method all the Means and Ends of our Redempion are secured, and our Salvation is, in every Respect, fully provided for. For thus, 1. Pardon and all the Blessings of the Gospel are freely given us. And yet, 2. Our Subjection, and Obedience to God are well secured. · For, being founded upon the perfect Cbedience of Christ, Ehe Grace of Forgiveness cannot prompt us to have indifferent Thoughts of the Authority of the Law of God, or of our Obligations to obey
him. 3. Thus the Lustre of Righteousness appears among us in the utmost Perfection; the Son of God having exercised all God-like Love to us, and all due Obedience to the supreme Father; and thus has set before us the most perfect and engaging Example for our Imitation. 4. In this Way, all proper Means are provided for our Instruction, Comfort, Direction, and for giving us the promised Inheritance. And, 5. The most powerful Motives, the Love of God, and of the Redeemer, the Promises of the Gospel, and the Prospects of Immortality, are propoled to animate our Obedience, Self-denial and Perseverance. And thus, 6. A Person is constituted to manage the great Affairs of our :
alvation, and to complete our Redeinption, who has demonstrated himself to be altogether worthy of the Office of Lord and Saviour ; and who is made Head over all Things for the Church, having all Power given him in Heaven and Earth *
* And in most, if not in all, of these fix Respects, Christ is said to “ take way the Sin of the World,” John i. 29; “ to redeen us from all Iniquity," ht: 1.14.-_" from a vain Conversation," 1 Pet. i. 18; “to purge our Sins by himself," Heb. i. 4; “ to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself," Heb. ,26; “ to bear our Sins in, or by, his own Body on the Tree,” i Pet, ii. 24.
s Place seems to be taken from Isai. liii. 4, 11, 12, “ Surely he has born our briefs, and carried our Sorrows." He shall bear their Iniquities."A a 4
163. I have been the longer upon this Article, because it is of Importance. I should indeed have shewn, that the Scripture Notion of Atonement exactly fits this Way of accounting for our Redemption by the Blood of Christ. But that would have swelled this Work too much; and what I have said is sufficient for my present Purpose. However, it is my Design to attempt to state and clear the Scripture, Account of Atonement, if Health and Life be continued.
• C H A P.
“ He bare the Sins of many.” That the Apostles did not understand these Es. pressions, as denoting the Imputation of our Sins to Christ is plain from St. Matthew's applying the 4th Verse to our Saviour's healing Diseases, Mat. viii. 17. Observe,
1. That X ), which we render hath born, Ver. 4, 12, fignifies so to bear, as to carry or take away. And in this Sense it is, at least, fix times used by the Prophet Isaiah, and so rendered in the English Bible. Isai. viii. 4, "The Spoil of Samaria shall be taken away,” xwi xv. 7,- " that which they have laid up, shall they carry away,” xxxix. 6,- " shall be carried to Babylon.” xl. 24, the Whirlwind shall take them away,” xli. 16,- "the Wind shall carry them away.” So Chap. lvii. 13. lxiv. 6,- “ Our Iniquities like the Wind have taken us away." Gen. xlvii. 30. Lev. xi. 25, 40. Num. xvi. 15;
Sam. xvii. 34. Ezek. xii. 7. Dan. i. 16, &c. It is the Word which is used in the Case of the Scape-goat, Lev. xvi. 22, “And the Goat fall bear," or carry away, “ upon him all their Iniquities into a Land not inhabited.” Signifying thereby the total Removal of Guilt from the penitent lsraelites. See also Exod. xxviii. 38, “ Bear away the Iniquity.” Lev. x. 17. Isai. xlvi. 4. Hence, as bearing Iniquity, in some cases, is taking it away, the Word XD to bear, fre. quently signifies to forgive ; and is so tranflated, Gen. iv, 13. Margin. xvi. 24, 26, [spare] l. 17. Exod. xxxii. 32. xxxiv. 7. Num. xiv. 18, 19. Joh. xxiv. 19. Psal. xxv. 18. xxxii. 1, 5. lxxxv. 2. Ifai. i. 14. ii. 9.
2. That the Word 520, which in Isai. liii. 4, we translate carried (car. ried our Sorrows], and Ver. 11, bear, [“ he shall bear their Iniquities”], though a Verb but seldom used, will also admit the Sense of carrying of, or away, as a Porter carries a Burthen. Isai. xlvi. 4, “ Eren I will carry you off,” or away, " and I will deliver you.”
· As the Iniquities and Transgressions of the Children of Israel were put upon the Head of the Scape-goat, and he carried off all their Iniquities, lo fignify that they were fully pardoned, Lev. xvi. 21, 22; fo the Lord iaid upon our Saviour the Iniquities of us all ; and he bare, or carried them away, Ifai. liii. 6, 11. Signifying that our Sins are fully pardoned, and in every Respect quite removed, by the Atonement of our Lord's Goodness and Obe. dience, as above explained. “ He was wounded for our Trangressions, the Chastisement of our Peace (which was expedient to accomplish ou Peace, Reconciliation, &c.] was upon him, and with his Stripes we are healed," all our Disorders, spiritual and natural, are removed.
Thus the Citation in Mat. viii. 17, (" himself took [away] our Infirmities, and bare [carried off] our Sicknesses''), is very proper. For our Lord was then acting one Part of his saving Work, which the Prophet Isaiah speaks of, when he was removing the Griefs and Sorrows of the People. Thus allo the Sense of 1 Pet. ii. 24, will be easy, and stand thus ; “ His own self bare away our Sins on his own Body on the Tree, that we being dead unto," or rather, feparated from, “Sin,” being freed from the Guilt of Sin, “ should live unto Righteousness.”
Note ;' 1426e, ceasuri, Mat. viii. 17. avouezusing i Pet. i. 24, will allo
C HA P. IX. Further Reflections upon the Gospel. It is a Scheme for restoring and pro
moting true Religion and Virtue. Proved to be jo, from our Saviour's
Discourses and Parables. 164. A N D as the whole Grace of the Gospel is in or by Chrift,
A for this Reason, Christ, or the Lord, are frequently put for the whole Gospel. Rom. ix. 1, 3, “ I speak the Truth in Chrift. I could with myielf accursed from Chrift. xvi. 7 " In Christ before me." Ver. 8, “ Beloved in the Lord :” So Ver. 9, 11,'12, 13. 2. Cor. iii. 16, " Nevertheless when it (the vailed Heart of the Jews) shall turn unto the Lord,” (that is, the Gospel, in Contradistinction to Moles, in the foregoing Verse ; who in like Manner, is put for the Law, which was given by him.] Ver. 17, “ Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” Ver. 18, Be. holding as in a Glass the Glory of the Lord,” &c. Phil. iii. 1,« Rejoice in the Lord," iv. 4. iv. 1,.“ Stand fast in the Lord, my dearly Beloved.” · And in other Places.
165. It is further to be observed ; that the whole Scheme of the Gospel in Christ, and as it stands in Relation to his Blood, or Obedience unto Death, was formed in the Council of God, before the Calling of Abraham, and even before the Beginning of the World. Aets xv. 18, “Known unto God are all his Works (the Dispensations which he intende ed to advance] from the Beginning of the World.” Eph. i. 4, “ According as he hath cholen us in him [Chrift] before the Foundation of the World.” [W Oxataban; xTue* j 2 Tim. i. 9,“Who hath saved us and called us, according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the World begant.” i Pet. i. 20, “ Who Chrift): verily was fore-ordained before the Foundation of the World [mopo mxachon xoguet ) but was manifest in these last Times for you” (Gentiles.] Hence it appears ; that the whole Plan of the Divine Mercy in the Gospel, in Relation to the Method of communicating it, and the Person, through whose Obedience it was to be dispensed, and by whose Ministry it was to be executed, was formed, in the Mind and Purpose of God, before this Earth was created. God, by his perfect and unerring Knowledge, : foreknew the future States of Mankind; and so, before-appointed the Means, which he judged proper for their Recovery. Which Fore
admit the Sense of carrying or taking away. Mat. v. 40. xv. 26. Rev. iii. . 11. Mark xiv. 13. Luke vïï14. John xii. 6. xx. 15. Acts xxi. 35. Mat. xvii. I. Luke xxiv. 51.
* Though Aw and xzovou owwyou may have Reference to the Jewish Difpensation, yet surely rataGoan xogue mult refer to the Creation of the World. See Mat. xxv. 34. Luke xi. 50, 51, John xvii. 24. Heb. iv. 3. ix. 26.
† See the last Note upon Rom. xvi. 25.