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vine love, as all the works of God have reference to this as their result and end, in which his design in all is manifested. This is every where set in this light in the Holy Scripture. “ God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."* God is LOVE. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Behold! What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”+

Thus the sacred oracles celebrate the work of re, demption as the highest and most remarkable instance of divine love, and direct us there, to behold it acted out in the highest degree, and to the greatest advantage, to be seen and admired by creatures ; as an inexhaustible and endless object of gratitude and praise.

The reason and propriety of this representation in divine revelation, and that the work of redemption is infi. nitely the greatest instance and display of divine benev. olence, will in some measure appear, if the following things be well considered.

1. Benevolence exercised in the bestowment of favour, is greater or less, according to the greater or less unworthiness and ill desert of those who are the objects of the benevolence. If those on whom good is bestou ed, be worthy or deserving, the granting that good or benefit, is really paying a debt, and is an act of justice. And though benevolence may be exercised in doing this, as it is contrary to benevolence not to give what is deserved ; yet the goodness exercised in this case is not so apparently disinterested ; nor does it require so great a degree of goodness, as it does to bestow favours on the unworthy and ill deserving. The latter is free grace, sovereign, disinterested goodness ; the former may not be so.

And the more unworthy and ill deserving they are to whom favour is shown, the greater is the degree of benevolence exercised in grantJohn iij. 16.

+ 1 John iii. 1, 4, 8, 9, 10.

which is insufficient to prompt to bestow a much greater benefit. Therefore the greater the benefit is, which is given, the greater is the exercise and manifestation of that goodness which wills and procures it. In the re. demption of man, the positive good procured and be. stowed is infinitely great, being

great and increasing in degree, and in duration endless. It is everlasting life, in the most happy and honourable circumstances possible. Nothing short of the infinite love of the omnipotent, all sufficient JEHOVAH, can give such infinite good to infi. nitely ill deserving rebels. In this view, infinite benev. olence is exercised and most conspicuously displayed in the redemption of man. Inspired with the view and sense of this, St. John exclaims, “Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him."

In the redemption of man au unbounded field is opened in which divine benevolence is displayed to the best advantage, and God “fulfils all the good pleasure of his goodness,” in bestowing infinite happiness and glory on the redeemed; unspeakably greater than man could have enjoyed, had he not sinned, and rendered himself infinitely unworthy of the least fa. vour; and infinitely more “ to the praise of his rich and glorious grace.”

4. The greater the difficulties and obstacles are, which must be removed or surmounted, in order to bestow a favour, and the greater the expense, cost and trouble, which are necessary, in order to procure it, the greater and more strong is the exercise of goodness in procuring and bestowing the benefit. This is so evident that no proof or illustration is necessary.

There were difficulties and impediments which must be removed, and such infinite expense and sufferings were necessary, in order to redeem man, which could not be effected by any thing short of infinite power, wisdom and goodness. Man had fallen under the curse of the righteous and perfect law of God. It was inconsistent with rectoral righteousness, and infinite goodness, to set aside, or disregard this law, in favour of re

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bellious man, so as to pardon and receive him to favour, without paying any regard to the execution of the curse threatened, in any sense or degree. It was of infinite importance that the law and moral government should be maintained, and the curse threatened, properly and fully executed. This put man out of the reach of divine infinite goodness, unless some expedient could be found, some way be devised, in which the law of God might be regarded and maintained, and the penalty of it executed, consistent with pardoning and she wing favour to man. This rendered it necessary that God himself, in the second person of the adorable Trinity, should assume human nature into a personal union, so as to form one person, who is both God and man; and that this person should, in the human nature, be made under the law, and support and honour it by obeving the precepts, and suffering the curse of it, in the room and stead of

In this way only could man be delivered from the curse of the law, and obtain complete redemption, consistent with divine truth, rectoral righteousness, wisdom and goodness. Had not all this been necessary in order to redeem man, and might he be saved consistent with the divine law, without such a Mediator, doing and suffering all this, the love and grace exercised in redeeming and saving him would have been infinitely less, and as nothing compared with that benevolence which is expressed in the incarnation, humiliation, death and sufferings of the Son of God, which are necessarily implied in this redemption. God the Father giving his Son, and the Son of God giving himself, to suffer an ignominious, cruel death, and be made a curse, that sinners, his enemies, might be redeemed from the curse, and have eternal life, is an infinitely greater gift, and higher exercise and expression of disinterested love or benevolence, than merely to save man from eternal destruction, and give him endless life, could the latter be done without the former.

This is the light in which the holy scripture sets this matter. There this is represented as the greatest, mosi remarkable and glorious instance and display of divine benevolence, that God has given his Son to die, and Christ has given himself unto death as a ransom, to de



liver sinners from hell, and procure eternal life for them. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."'* “God commendeth (displays in the most amiable, and brightest light) his LOVE towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”+ “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. 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. Herein is love ! Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.”

5. There is something yet farther necessary in order to the salvation of men. Though by the atonement which Christ has made by his death, a way is open for the pardon and salvation of sinners, consistent with rectoral righteousness, and the honour of the divine law ; yet man is so obstinate in his rebellion, and such an enemy to God, that he cannot be persuaded to embrace the gospel; but will dislike and oppose Christ and the way of salvation by him, unless his heart be renewed by the omnipotent influences of the holy Spirit. Christ has therefore obtained by his obedience and sufferings, the holy Spirit to be given unto men to recover them from their total depravity, and form their hearts to true holiness. This is an infinite gift. It is no less than God giving himself to men, in the third person of the adorable Trinity ; uniting himself to them, and dwelling in them, as the principle and author of all their holiness and happiness forever. Did man need no such gift and grace, the divine goodness and beneficence in his redemption would be unspeakably less, and would not be so gloriously displayed, as now they are. In order to redeem man, God not only delivers him from infinite wo, and gives him infinite happiness and glory, when man in himself is infinitely odious, guilty and ill deserving ; but, in order to this, gives himself repeatedly, and in different ways. He gave himself to die on the cross, a ransom for man, to be a propitiation for their sins. The Father gave the John ü. 16.

| Rom. v. 8. * 1 John üi. 16. iv. 9, 10,

Son, and the Son gave himself. He gives himself also in the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, in renewing and sanctifying the redeemed, and dwelling in them forever. The Mediator said, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth.”* And God, in a Trinity of Persons, gives himself to the redeemed as their infinite, everlasting portion and happiness. Thus divine benevolence is exhausted, and gives all away: Infinite goodness can give no more. God gives himself

, and all he has for the redemption of man ! This is, in the highest degree, an“ unspeakable gift."

6. This benevolence and goodness appears greater, and is more illustrious in the salvation of man, in that all is given freely, without money and without price, as man is infinitely unworthy of it ; and, as such, receives this redemption as a free gift, the whole being offered and given to every one who is willing to receive it. Men obtain an interest in this salvation, not by works of righteousness which they do ; not by any worthiness in them, or by any thing they offer, as the price of the divine favour; but by believing in the Mediator, receiv. ing the record which God has given concerning his Son, and accepting salvation, as it is freely offered and given, trusting wholly in Christ, and receiving all from him, as a free gift, to such who are not only wholly with. out any desert of the least favour ; but are infinitely odious and ill deserving. This is to be saved by faith, by which the free grace of God in the salvation of sinners is exercised and displayed to the highest degree, as is abundantly represented in divine revelation. St. Paul insists much upon this. He having proved from scripture that all men are sinners, consequently infinitely ill deserving, says, “ Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God, without the law, is manifested, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in

• John xiv. 16, 17.

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