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rious scheme, and hence they learn the manifold wifdom of God.
As the plan, fo the purchase of falvation is from God. It was he, who fent a Saviour into the world, fealed his heavenly miffion, appointed him to be a facrifice, raifed him from the dead, and gave him glory. Chrift fays, "He came from God; and came to do the will of God who fent him." It was this miffion, which gave efficacy to Chrift's facrifice, and which is the ground of our faith in his atonement. "We are redeemed by the precious blood of Chrift, who was ordained before the foundation of the world, and was manifefted in these laft times for us, who by him do believe in God, who raifed him from the dead and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God."
The terms of our acceptance are from God. Had it been declared in general, that falvation is attainable, yet none could thence ascertain the con dition of it-whether repentance be fufficient, or fome harder condition be required. Hence heathens, who had no direct information on the fubject, have anxioufly enquired, wherewith they fhould come before the Lord; whether they fhould bring flocks of facrifice, floods of oil, or the blood of their offspring. But God has fhewed us what is good. He has required that we repent of fins which are paft, and that we walk humbly and righteously with him in future.
The means of falvation are from God. It is not owing to the will of man, but to the grace of God, that a revelation is vouchfafed to the world. It is not owing to our previous choice, but to his fovereign pleasure, that we are placed under the advantages of this revelation.
The Spirit, who is an agent in our falvation, by renewing us to repentance, and by preferving us to eternal life, is wholly a divine gift. "By grace we are faved through faith; not of ourselves; it is the gift of God: for we are his workmanship, created in Chrift Jefus to good works."
We proceed to observe,
III. The plan of redemption, which God has laid, will ultimately redound to his glory. "The Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Ifrael."
In this scheme God has made a glorious difplay of his grace and mercy. "He hath predeftinated us to the adoption of children by Jefus Chrift, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praife of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." That God is good, we learn from his works of providence; but that he is gracious and merciful to pardon offenders, we learn only from his word, and efpe cially from the gofpel difpenfation. Here we fee the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness to us by Jefus Chrift. Here we fee him contriv ing the redemption of fallen men, and for this purpose adopting a method, which fills heaven with aftonifhment. Here we fee him fending down from the realms of glory his own divine fon, to affume our nature-to dwell among mortals-to work wonders before their eyes-to proclaim the offers, and ftate the terms of pardon and life to walk before them in the path of truth and righteousness, and return back to heaven by the way of the grave, there to act as an advocate for humble fouls, and there to prepare mansions for their reception, that they may dwell with him forever.
Good God; what condefcenfion is here? Why
didft thou take so fingular a method for the falvátion of fo unworthy a creature? Why this preference of apoftate man to the fallen angels? It is fo, Father, for so it seemed good in thy fight.
What confidence, my fellow finners, we may place in God's mercy. What affurance we have of his pardon on our humble fubmiffion to his Son. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he fent his only begotten Son into the world, that he might die for us, and that we might live through him. "Kifs ye the Son, left he be angry, and ye perish from the way."
In this great work God has glorified his holiness, truth and justice. He delights not in the death of the wicked: but he will not violate his truth, tarnish his holiness, nor bend the rectitude of his government for their falvation. When he fhews mercy, he will act like himself. He will not pardon finners without a public teftimony of the perfection of his law, the equity of his government, and the purity of his nature, left his fubjects, prefuming on his lenity, be tempted to rebel. He will difplay his own glorious character, that pardoned offenders may fear to offend again, and that all intelligent beings may behold, adore and revere him. When his beloved Son put himself in our place to bear our iniquities and expiate our guilt, it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief. Thus all may fee, how offenfive fin is to God; and how incompatible with the happiness of the creature. If God fpared not his own fon, when he made his foul an offering for our fins, furely he will not fpare thofe contemptuous finners, who, rejecting this wonderful facrifice, are doomed to fuffer for their own fins. "If fuch things were done in a green tree, what will be done in the dry?
In this difpenfation God has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence. No wifdom, but the divine, could devife a way, in which fin fhould be condemned, and the finner pardoned-in which God's juftice and holiness should be difplayed, and his grace and mercy exercised toward the guilty. Here we fee righteousness and grace united, and acting in concert. "Mercy and truth are met together; juftice and peace have kiffed each other. Truth fprings from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord gives grace and glory. His falvation is nigh to them that fear him, and glory dwells on the earth. He fpeaks peace to his people; but let them not turn again to folly."
God glorifies himself in true believers. grace is difplayed in arrefting their once guilty progrefs; in awakening their attention to their falvation; in renewing them to repentance; in forgiving their fins; in fanctifying them to his fervice, and in preferving them amidst a thousand dangers unto eternal life. In them the fovereignty of his grace, the riches of his mercy, the power of his Spirit, the truth of his word, the faithfulnefs of his promises, and the divine excellency of religion are clearly manifefted. They glorify him by works of holinefs, by faith in his promises, by a profeffion of his name, by conftancy in his fervice, and by zeal to promote his caufe, and to fpread the influence of his religion. He will be glorified in them, and they in him, when they fhall appear before the prefence of his glory with exceeding joy. Then the wonders of his grace, and the mysteries of his providence toward them will be unfolded. Then it will be feen, how all things have been working for their good, and the things which feemed to be against them, were in
tended for their falvation. Then it will be known, how immutable has been God's covenant with them, and how rich is his munificence in rewarding their poor service with an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
God will finally be glorified in them, who reject the gofpel. Thefe, when Chrift fhall be revealed from heaven, will be punished with everlasting destruction from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Then the guilt of the impenitent, and the equity of the judgment will be manifefted, every vain excufe will be filenced, and every mouth will be stopped. Then it will appear, to the conviction of all, that God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, bountiful in the rewards which he beftows, and just in the punishments which he executes. We may obferve, once more, fourthly, IV. That the prophet, contemplating the glorious work of redemption, calls for a general chorus of praise from the creation of God. "Sing,
O heavens, for the Lord hath done it; fhout ye lower parts of the earth; break forth into finging, ye mountains, O foreft, and every tree therein, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob."
What if we understand this apoftrophe to earth and skies, as an intimation, that they owe all their beauty and glory, all their benignity and usefulnefs to the work of redemption?
When man finned, he fell under a curfe, and the earth was curfed for his fake. It is the redemption, which has in any degree removed the curfe. Had not the Redeemer interpofed, the earth would have been defolate and barren, and the heavens would have withheld their friendly influence; either the human fucceffion would have ceafed from the earth, or have been continu