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SERM. to be extremely slurred by disaster, to be blasted by slanXXXI.
der, to be supplanted by envy or malice; but will bring Pl. xxxvii. forth his righteousness as the light, and his judgment as the
3. God will thus exalt the bountiful man's horn even here in this world, and to an infinitely higher pitch he will advance it in the future state : he shall there be fet at the right hand, in a moft honourable place and rank, among the chief friends and favourites of the heavenly King, in happy consortship with the holy angels and blessed saints; where, in recompence of his pious bounty, he shall, from the bountiful hands of his most gracious Lord, receive an incorruptible crown of righteousness, and an unfading crown of glory. The which God of his infinite mercy grant unto us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom for ever be all praise. Amen.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleaħng in his fight, through Jesus Chrift: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Heb. xiii. 20, 21.
UPON THE PASSION OF OUR BLESSED
PHIL. ii. 8.
Col. . 6.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
crofs. When, in consequence of the original apostasy from SERM. God, which did banish us from paradise, and by conti- XXXII. nued rebellions against him, inevitable to our corrupt and Cyril. c. impotent nature, mankind had forfeited the amity of Jul. viii. p.
278. is. p. God, (the chief of all goods, the fountain of all happi- 303. ness,) and had incurred his displeasure ; (the greatest of Schni. 38. all evils, the foundation of all misery :)
When poor man having deserted his natural Lord and Iren. iii. 33, Protector, other lords had got dominion over him, so that ifa xxvi. he was captivated by the foul, malicious, cruel spirits, and 13. enslaved to his own vain mind, to vile lusts, to wild parfions :
When, according to an eternal rule of justice, that sin Gen. iv. 7. deserveth punishment, and by an express law, wherein death was enacted to the transgressors of God's command, the root of our stock, and consequently all its branches, Iren. V. 16. stood adjudged to utter destruction :
When, according to St. Paul's expressions, all the world Rom. iii. was become guilty before God, (or, subjected to God's judg- üródiu os Tam ment:) all men (Jews and Gentiles) were under fin, under condemnation, under the curse; all men were concluded in-v. 16, 18. to disobedience, and shut up together (as close prisoners) Rom. xi.
Iren. ii. s.
Rom. jii. 9.
32. tis äituar. Gal. iii. 22.
18, 5. Rom. vii, 23.
SERM. under fin; all men had hnned, and come sort of the glory XXXII.
of God: death had passed over all, because all had finned:.
When for us, being plunged into fo wretched a condi33. v. 12. tion, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress
could be obtained here below: (for what means could we have of recovering God's favour, who were apt perpetually to contract new debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores? What capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or infirm? How could we be reconciled unto Hea
ven, who had an innate antipathy to God and good. Rom. vi. ness? (Sin, according to our natural state, and secluding 12.1., 20. evangelical grace, reigning in our mortal bodies, no good
thing dwelling in us; there being a predominant law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and
bringing us into captivity to the law of fin; a main ingreRom. vi. 6. dient of our old man being a carnal mind, which is enmity Colof. iii. to God, and cannot submit to his law; we being alienated Ephef . iv. from the life of God by the blindness of our hearts, and
enemies in our minds by wicked works :) How could we revive to any good hope, who were dead in trespasses and
fins, God having withdrawn his quickening Spirit ? How Ephes
. iv. at least could we for one moment stand upright in God's Coloff.i. fight, upon the natural terms, excluding all fin, and
exacting perfect obedience?) Ephes. ii. 5.
When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate case, (Rom. vi.
then Almighty God, out of his infinite goodness, was 13, 11.) Psal. cxliii. pleased to look upon us (as he sometime did upon Jeru
salem, lying polluted in her blood) with an eye of pity and Xiv: 7: mercy, so as graciously to design a redemption for us out
of all that woful ditress : and no sooner by his incomprehensible wisdom did he foresee we should lose ourselves, than by his immense grace he did conclude to
restore us. Eph. i. 4, But how could this happy design well be compassed? 9, 11, & iii.
How, in consistence with the glory, with the justice, with 2 Tim. i. 9. the truth of God, could such enemies be reconciled, fuch Rev. xiii. 8: offenders be pardoned, such wretches be saved? Would
the omnipotent Majesty, so affronted, design to treat with SERM. his rebels immediately, without an interceffor or advo- XXXII. cate? Would the sovereign Governor of the world suffer Rom, xvi. thus notoriously his right to be violated, his authority to
Tit. I. 2. be Nlighted, his honour to be trampled on, without some notable vindication or satisfaction? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, or ever permit a gross breach thereof to pass with impunity? Would the im- Athan. de mutable God of truth expose his veracity or his constancy Gen. ii. 17. to suspicion, by so reversing that peremptory sentence of death upon finners, hat it should not in a fort eminently be accomplished? Would the most righteous and most holy God let slip an opportunity fo advantageous for demonstrating his perfect love of innocence, and abhorrence of iniquity? Could we therefore well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation, or reinstated in freedom without a ransom, or exempted from condensnation without some punishment ?
No: God was so pleased to prosecute his designs of goodness and mercy, as thereby nowise to impair or obscure, but rather to advance and illustrate the glories of his sovereign dignity, of his severe juftice, of his immaculate holiness, of his unchangeable steadiness in word and purpose. He accordingly would be sued to for peace and mercy: nor would he grant them absolutely, without due compensations for the wrongs he had sustained ; yet so, that his goodness did find us a Mediator, and furnish us with means to satisfy him. He would not condescend to a fimple remission of our debts; yet so, that, saving his right and honour, he did stoop lower for an effe&tual abolition of them. He would make good his word, not to let our trespasses go unpunished ; yet so, that by our punishment we might receive advantage. He would manifest his detestation of wickedness in a way more illustrious than if he had persecuted it down to hell, and irreversibly doomed it to endless torment.
But how might these things be effected? Where was there a Mediator proper and worthy to intercede for us? Who could presume to folicit and plead in our behalf?
SERM. Who should dare to put himself between God and us, XXXII.
or offer to screen mankind from the divine wrath and vengeance? Who had so great an interest in the court of heaven, as to ingratiate such a brood of apostate enemies thereto? Who could affume the confidence to propose terms of reconciliation, or to agitate a new covenant, wherewith God might be satisfied, and whereby we might be saved? Where, in heaven or earth, could there be found a priest fit to atone for fins so vastly numerous, so extremely heinous ? And whence should a sacrifice be taken, of value sufficient to expiate for so manifold enor
nities, committed against the infinite Majesty of Heaven? Aiwvízv 2.ó- Who could find out the everlasting redemption of innumegewoon nigba rable souls, or lay down a competent ransom for them
all? Not to say, could also purchase for them eternal life and bliss ?
These are questions which would puzzle all the wit of man, yea, would gravel all the wisdom of angels to resolve: for plain it is, that no creature on earth, none in heaven, could well undertake or perform this work.
Where on earth, among the degenerate sons of Adam, Heb. vii. could be found such an high priest as became us, holy,
harmless, undefiled, separate from finners and how could a man, however innocent and pure as a seraphim, so perform his duty, as to do more than merit or satisfy for himself How many lives could the life of one man serve to ran
som; seeing that it is asserted of the greatest and richef Pfal. xlix. among men, that none of them can by any means redeem
his brother, or give to God a ransom for him.
And how could available help in this case be expected from any of the angelical hoft; seeing (beside their being in nature different from us, and thence improper to merit or satisfy for us ; beside their comparative meanness, and infinite distance from the majesty of God) they are but our fellow-servants, and have obligations to discharge for themselves, and cannot be solvent for more than for their own debts of gratitude and service to their infinitelybountiful Creator ; they also themselves needing a Saviour, to preserve them by his grace in their happy ftate?