Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(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 ungodly; 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 power of God by his Son; 2 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

[ocr errors]

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


iv. 7-12. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God; he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." So 1 John iii. 10, 11. 14. 16-18. No wonder if, by this love, we know that we are translated from death to life; and if by it the children of God be known from the children of the devil; 1 John iii. 10, 11. 14. For love is the very nature and image of our Father. No wonder if this be the new commandment, which had newly such a powerful motive, and president: and no wonder if it be the great distinguishing character, by which all men shall know that we are the disciples of Christ; John xiii. 35. When he had set us such a copy, and taught us this lesson by such effectual means, writing it out for us in lines of blood, even of his own most precious blood, and shedding it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.

But if we should come down to the particular benefits of Christ's death, and see what love is manifested in them, even in our calling, our justification, our adoption or sanctification, our preservation, and our everlasting glorification, we should find ourselves in an ocean that hath neither banks nor bottom; and when we have fathomed as far as we can, we must be contented to stand and admire it, and to say with the beloved apostle, " Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!" 1 John iii. 1.

And this is the blessed employment of the saints, which they are called to by the Gospel, to live in the participation and consideration, and admiration of this wondrous love, that "Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, and so being rooted and grounded in love, they may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God;" Ephes. iii. 17-19. And withal," to be followers of God as dear children, and walk in love as Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour;" Eph. v. 1, 2. love without dissimulation;" Rom. xii. 9, 10. a pure heart fervently;" 1 Pet. i. 22. That we love as brethren, being compassionate, pitiful, and courteous; not

"And to Even from

rendering evil for evil, but contrariwise blessing; knowing that we are thereunto called, that we should inherit a blessing;" 1 Pet. iii. 8,9. "And that we keep ourselves in the love of God," (Jude 21.)," that nothing may be able to separate us from it;" Rom. viii. 35-37. And if we thus imitate our heavenly pattern, "the God of love and peace will be with us;" 2 Cor. xiii. 11. And thus I have shewed you the principal ends of the undertaking of Christ in the work of our redemption, especially as they are attained directly by his cross and resurrection.

(6.) Another end also is apparent in the Scripture; which is the glorifying of God's rewarding justice, together with his mercy in the salvation of his elect. This end he partly attaineth here: (God hath his ends continually.) In this life his servants have much of his mercy; and the beginnings of their reward in the beginning of their salvation; but the fulness is hereafter in their glorification. All his promises he performeth in their seasons. Even in the present pardon of our sins he honoureth his faithfulness and justice; 1 John i. 9. His faithfulness in making good his promise, and his justice in rewarding the performers of the condition, and giving what his promise had made their due; that so men may even here in part" discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not; while they see God's esteem of his people as his jewels, and spare them as a man spareth his son that serveth him;" Mal. iii. 17, 18. "The King of Zion is just, having salvation;" Zech. ix. 8. "The righteousness of God is manifested in our justification;" Rom. iii. 21, 22. "Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus;" Rom. iii. 25, 26.

But it is most eminently at judgment, and in the world to come, that this remunerative justice with mercy will be glorified.

"When Christ shall come (purposely) to be glorified

« ForrigeFortsæt »