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ISAIAH xliv. 23.

Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it: Shout, ye lower parts of the earth: Break forth into finging, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Ifrael.

THE deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, which is often a subject of Ifaiah's predictions, fo nearly resembled, in feveral circumftances, the redemption of mankind by Jefus Christ, that the prophet feldom mentions the former, without feeling his mind enlivened with a view of the latter; and he rarely difmiffes the one without giving a rapturous display of the other. In his predictions of that deliverance he ufually mingles fome elevated expreffions, which can properly be applied only to the great redemption. Hence the writers of the New Teftament so often borrow his language as descriptive of their own times. VOL. V.

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That the words of our text refpect the gospel difpenfation, is probable from the prophet's calling on all creatures in heaven and earth to join in fongs of praise for God's wonderful mercy. The deliverance of the Jews from Babylon by Cyrus was an event, which peculiarly concerned them. The redemption of mankind from fin by Jefus Chrift is a work, in which all nations are concerned, and in which angels feel themselves interested. From this they learn the manifold wifdom of God.

The prophet invites the heavens, the earth, the mountains, the forefts, and every tree, to break forth into finging, becaufe the Lord hath redeemed Jacob. It is ufual with the prophets thus to awaken the attention of rational beings by addreffes to inanimate nature.

We may obferve,

I. The benefit here celebrated is Redemption. This fuppofes a ftate of guilt and bondage. Redemption is often applied to temporal deliverances. But here it intends a Spiritual deliverance, or falvation from the dominion and demerit of fin by the grace of God through the atonement of Chrift. So the meaning of it is ftated "I have blotted out as a in the preceding verfe. thick cloud thy tranfgreffions, and as a cloud thy Gins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.'

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Redemption includes the forgiveness of fins in this world, and eternal life in the other. The apoftle fpeaks of a redemption, which confifts in the remiffion of fins; and of a redemption of the body from the bondage of corruption. These two privileges are connected. Forgiveness, which is a discharge from our obligation to punishment, is accompanied with a title to future happiness. "Whom God juftifies, them he alfo glorifics."

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The law of God condemns those, who continue not in all things written in it. As we have all tranfgreffed this law, we are all condemned by it. Forgiveness frees us from condemnation, and brings us into à ftaté of favour with God. ing juftified by faith, we have peace with God,. and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Forgiveness, in the nature of it, implies a title to glory. Man was made to exift forever. The death threatened to difobedience intends, not a ceffation of being, but pofitive punishment. The remiffion of this punishment imports an opposite state; not exemption from mifery by annihilation, but à title to a happy immortality. "As fin has reigned unto death, fo grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life."

This redemption comes to men through the blood of Chrift. "We have redemption through his blood."

The mercy of God is inclined to forgive finners. But the wisdom of God faw fit to bestow forgiveness in a way, which fhould difplay his righteoufnefs. "He fet forth his fon a propitiation for fin, to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of fins, that he might be juft, and the juftifier of them who believe."

"Chrift was manifested to bear our fins; and in him was no fin." This character of Chrift fhews the excellency of his facrifice. "Such an high-prieft became us, who is holy, harmlefs and undefiled, and made higher than the heavens ; and who needed not, as the ancient priests, to offer facrifice firft for his own fins, and then for the fins of the people; for this he did once, when he offered up himself."

Our redemption is afcribed to Chrift's blood-to

his death on the crofs. But to accomplish our redemption the holiness of his life was neceflary; for without this, there could be no atoning efficacy in his death.

The redemption purchased by Christ, though offered without distinction, is actually bestowed only on penitent and believing fouls. Hence the call in the words preceding the text, "Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee." "The Redeemer comes to those, who turn from ungodliness in Jacob." It is by fin, that we have fallen under condemnation. It is by repentance, that we obtain redemption. "Chrift bare our fins, that we, being dead to fin, fhould live unto righteoufnefs." He came to redeem us from iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." The apoftles proclaimed a free and gracious falvation; but they stated the terms of it to be "repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jefus Chrift."

To our compliance with these terms, the operation of the divine Spirit on our hearts is neceffary. Hence believers and penitents are faid, to be "born of the Spirit"-"renewed by the holy Ghoft"-" created in Chrift Jefus to good works." But ftill finners are required to repent and turn to God, to make them a new heart, and to walk in God's statutes, as if all this were their own work.

Wherever God fends the gospel, he fends his Spirit to accompany it. Hence it is called a miniftration of the Spirit, and they who oppose it are faid to refift the Spirit. They, who attend on the miniftration of the word, actually receive the Spirit in his convincing and awakening influence. The Galatians are faid to have "received the Spirit in the hearing of faith."

An attendance on appointed means, and an improvement of divine excitements are required in order to the obtaining of that grace, which will be effectual to repentance and converfion. "Afk and ye fhall receive, feek and ye fhall find. God gives his Spirit to them who afk him. To him who hath fhall more be given." It is not pretended, that there is any certain connexion between the endeavours of finners, and renovating grace; for who can fay, He has not often abused and forfeited the grace of God already? But yet it is plain, that God ordinarily beftows his renewing grace on finners, only when they are found in the diligent obfervance of his appointments. Hence Christians are faid to be begotten and born of the word, as well as of the Spirit. As the grace of God ufually works in men's hearts by means of the word, fo they are most likely to receive this grace, when they are in the diligent ufe, not when they are in the contemptuous neglect of these

means.

Hence we may observe,

II. Our redemption is a Divine Work The LORD hath redeemed Jacob.

It was God, who, in his unfearchable wisdom, laid the plan of our falvation. It originated, not with us, but with him. It was the effect, not of our folicitation, but of his felfmoving goodness. As God is the Being dishonoured by our revolt, fo to him only it belongs to determine, whether we may be received to his favour. This important question no created intelligence could anfwer. God has a right to punish offenders; whether he will recede from this right, he only can tell. The knowledge, which angels have on this fubject, comes to them by divine discovery; not by their own fagacity. They defire to look into this glo

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