« PreviousContinue »
is this great work of God that the doctrine speaks of, as may more fully appear hereafter.
The creation of heaven was in order to the work of redemption : It was to be an habitation for the redeemed : Matth. xxv. 34. “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world.” Even the angels were created to be employed in this work. And therefore the apostle calls them, “ ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation," Heb. i. 14. As to this lower world, it was doubtless created to be a stage upon which this great and wonderful work of redemption should be transacted: And therefore, as might be shown, in many respects, this lower world is wisely fitted, in the formation, for such a state of man as he is in since the fall, under a possibility of redemption ; so that when it is said that the work of redemption is carried on from the fall of man, to the end of the worļd, it is not meant that all that ever was done in order to redemption has been done since the fall. Nor,
2. Is it meant that there will be no remaining fruits of this work after the end of the world. The greatest fruits of all · will be after that. That glory and blessedness that will be the sum of all the fruits, will remain to all the saints after that.... The work of redemption is not an eternal work, i.e. it is not a work always a doing and never accomplished. But the fruits of this work are eternal fruits. The work has an issue. But in the issue the end will be obtained ; which end will nover have an end. As those things that were in order to this work before the beginning of the world, as God's electing love, and the covenant of redemption, never had a beginning ; so the fruits of this work, that shall be after the end of the world, never will have an end. And therefore,
3. When it is said in the doctrine, that this is a work that God is carrying on from the fall of man to the end of the world, what I mean is, that those things that belong to this work itself, and are parts of this scheme, are all this while accomplishing. There are things that are in order to it that are before the beginning of it, and fruits of it that are after it is finished.
All that Christ does in this great affair as mediator, in any of his offices, either of prophet, priest, or king; either when he was in this world, in his human nature, or before, or since ; and not only what Christ the mediator has done, but also wha' the Father, or the Holy Ghost, have done, as united or coi federated in this design of redeeming sinful men ; or, in o' word, all that is wrought in execution of the eternal coven. of redemption ; this is what I call the work of redemptio! the doctrine ; for it is all but one work, one design. The rious dispensations or works that belong to it, are but the eral parts of one scheme. It is but one design that is so to which all the offices of Christ do directly tend, and in all the persons of the Trinity do conspire, and all the dispensations that belong to it are united ; and the wheels are one machine, to answer one end, and prod effect.
II. When I say, this work is carried on from th: man to the end of the world ; in order to the full una
my meaning in it, I would desire two or three be observed.
1. That it is not meant, that nothing was done in a before the fall of man. There were many things ci der to this work of redemption before that. Some ti done before the world was created, yea from all ete persons of the Trinity were as it were confederats sign and a covenant of redemption ; in which Father had appointed the Son, and the Son had uns work; and all things to be accomplished in the stipulated and agreed. And besides these, theri done at the creation of the world, in order to thai man fell; for the world itself seems to have bu order to it. The work of creation was in o works of providence : So that if it be inquired, kinds of works is the greatest, the works of works of providence ? I answer, the works of p' cause God's works of providence are the end creation, as the building an house, or the forni machine, is for its use. But God's main wor'
But the work itself is so long a doing, even from the fall of man to the end of the world, it is all this while a carrying on. It was begun immediately upon the fall, and will continue to the end of the world, and then will be finished. The various dispensations of God that are in this space, do belong to the same work, and to the same design, and have all one issue ; and therefore are all to be reckoned but as several parts of onc work, as it were several successive motions of one machine, to bring about in the conclusion one great event.
And here also we must distinguish between the parts of redemption itself, and the parts of the work by which that redemption is wrought out. There is a difference between the parts of the benefits procured and bestowed, and the parts of the work of God by which those benefits were procured and bestowed. As, for example, there is a difference between the parts of the benefit that the children of Israel received, consisting in their redemption out of Egypt, and the parts of that work of God by which this was wrought. The redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, considered as the benefit which they enjoyed, consisted of two parts, viz. their deliverance from their former Egyptian bondage and misery, and their being brought into a more happy state, as the servants of God, and heirs of Canaan. But there are many more things which are parts of that work of God which is called his work of redemption of Israel out of Egypt. To this belong his calling of Moses, his sending him to Pharoah, and all the signs and wonders he wrought in Egypt, and his bringing such terrible judgments on the Egyptians, and many other things.
It is this work by which God effects redemption that we are speaking of. This work is carried on from the fall of man to the end of the world ; and it is so in two respects.
(1) With respect to the effect wrought on the souls of the redeemed ; which is common to all ages from the fall of man to the end of the world. This effect that I here speak of, is. the application of redemption with respect to the souls of particular persons, in converting, justifying, sanctifying, and glorifying of them. By these things the souls of particular per
sons are actually redeemed, and do receive the benefit of the work of redemption in its effect in their souls. And in this sense the work of redemption is carried on in all ages of the world, from the fall of man to the end of the world. The work of God in converting souls, opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, raising dead souls to life, and rescuing the miserable captivated souls out of the hands of Satan, was begunt soon after the fall of man; has been carried on in the world ever since to this day, and will be to the end of the world. God has always, ever since the first erecting of the church of the redeemed after the fall, had such a church in the world, Though oftentimes it has been reduced to a very narrow compass, and to low circumstances; yet it has never wholly failed.
And as God carries on the work of converting the souls of fallen men through all these ages, so he goes on to justify them, to blot out all their sins, and to accept them as righteous in his sight, through the righteousness of Christ, and adopt and receive them from being the children of Satan, to be his own children; so alsò he goes on to sanctity, or to carry on the work of his grace, which he has begun in them, and to comfort them with the consolations of his spirit, and to glorify them, to bestow upon them, when their bodies die, that eternal glory which is the fruit of the purchase of Christ. Wliat is said, Rom. viii. 30. “ Whom he did predestinate, them he 16 also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified ; 4 and whom he justified, them he also glorified :" I say this is applicable to all ages, from the fall, to the end of the world,
The way that the work of redemption, with respect to these effects of it on the souls-of the redeemed, is carried on from the fall to the end of the world, is bý repeating and continually working the same work over again, though in different persons, from age to age. But,
(2) The work of redemption with respect to the grand design in general, as it respects the universal subject and end, is carried on from the fall of man to the end of the world in a different manner, not merely by repeating or renewing the same effect in the different subjects of it, but by many sueVOL. I.