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on the cross, exercising his immense charity towards us, transacting all the work of our redemption, defeating all the enemies, and overthrowing all the obstacles of our salvation : this point enlarged on. 4. This consideration is most useful to render us very humble and sensible of our weakness, our vileness, and our wretchedness : for how low was that fall from which we could only be raised by such a depression of God's only Son ? how abominable the iniquity which demanded such a sacrifice! 6. But farther, while this contemplation breeds sober humility, it should also preserve us from base abjectness of mind; for it evidently demonstrates, that, according to God's infallible judgment, we are still very considerable ; that our souls are worthy of high regard : for if God had not greatly esteemed us, he would not have endured so much for our sakes. 6. Again, how can we reflect on this event, without extreme displeasure against, and hearty detestation of our sins, which brought such torture and disgrace on our blessed Redeemer ? 7. And what in reason can be more powerful in working penitential sorrow and remorse, than reflexion on such borrible effects which our sins produced ? 8. If ingenuity will not operate so far, and thereby melt us into contrition, yet surely this consideration must needs affect us with a religious fear. 9. But farther, how can meditation on this event do otherwise than greatly deter us from all wilful disobedience and commission of sin? for how can we determine to violate such engagements; thwart such an example of obedience; abuse such goodness; and disoblige such transcendent charity? 10. This consideration affords also very strong inducements to the practice of charity towards our neighbor; for how can we forbear to love those, towards whom our Saviour bore so tender an affection ? &c. 11. Farthermore, what can be more operative than this point towards breeding a disregard of this world, with all its deceitful vanities and mischievous pleasures ? This point enlarged on. 12. We are hence instructed and inclined cheer
fully to submit to God's will, and gladly to accept from his hand whatever he disposeth, however grievous and afflictive to our natural will. 13. The willing susception and the cheerful sustenance of the cross, is indeed the express condition, and the peculiar character of our Christianity. 14. Let it be to the Jews a scandal ; let it be folly to the Greeks ; let this doctrine be scandalous and distasteful to some persons tainted with prejudice ; let it be strange and incredible to others blinded by self-deceit; yet to us it must appear grateful and joyous, a faithful proposition worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, in this way of suffering for them. . Conclusion.
ON THE PASSION OF OUR BLESSED
PHILIPPIANS, CHAP. II.—VERSE 8.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and be
came obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
When, in consequence of the original apostacy from God, which did banish us from paradise, and by continued rebellions against him, inevitable to our corrupt and impotent nature, mankind had forfeited the amity of God, (the chief of all goods, the fountain of all happiness,) and had incurred his displeasure ; (the greatest of all evils, the foundation of all misery :)
When poor man having deserted his natural Lord and Protector, ‘other lords had got dominion over him, so that he was captivated by the foul, malicious, cruel spirits, and enslaved to his own vain mind, to vile lusts, to wild passions :
When, according to an eternal rule of justice, that sin deserveth punishment, and by an express law, wherein death was enacted to the transgressors of God's command, the root of our stock, and consequently all its branches, stood adjudged to utter destruction:
When, according to St. Paul's expressions, all the world was become guilty before God, (or, subjected to God's judgment:) all men (Jews and Gentiles) were under sin, under condemnation, under the curse; all men were concluded into disobedience, and shut up together (as close prisoners) under
sin; all men had sinned, and come short of the glory of God: death had passed over all, because all had sinned :
When for us, being plunged into so wretched a condition, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress could be obtained here below : (for what means could we have of recovering God's favor, who were apt perpetually to contract new debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores ? What capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or infirm ? How could we be reconciled unto heaven, who had an innate antipathy to God and goodness? [Sin, according to our natural state, and secluding evangelical grace, 'reigning in our mortal bodies, no good thing dwelling in us;' there being a predominant . law in our members, warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into cap tivity to the law of sin ;' a main ingredient of our old man, being a carnal mind,' which is enmity to God, and cannot submit to his law;' we being · alienated from the life of God by the blindness of our hearts,' and 'enemies in our own minds ! by wicked works :') How could we revive to any good hope, who were dead in trespasses and sins,' God having withdrawn his quickening spirit? How at least could we for one moment stand upright in God's sight, on the natural terms, excluding all sin, and exacting perfect obedience ?)
When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate case, then Almighty God, out of his infinite goodness, was pleased to look on us (as he sometime did on Jerusalem, • lying polluted in her blood) with an eye of pity and mercy, so as graciously to design a redemption for us out of all that woful distress; and no sooner by his incomprehensible wisdom did he forsee we should lose ourselves, than by his immense grace he did conclude to restore us.
But how could this bappy design well be compassed ? How, in consistence with the glory, with the justice, with the truth of God, could such enemies be reconciled, such offenders be pardoned, such wretches be saved? Would the omnipotent Majesty, so affronted, design to treat with his rebels immediately, without an intercessor or advocate? Would the sovereign Governor of the world suffer thus notoriously his right to be
violated, his authority to be slighted, his honor to be trampled on, without some notable vindication or satisfaction ? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, or ever permit a gross breach thereof to pass with impunity ? Would the immutable God of truth expose his veracity or his constancy to suspicion, by so reversing that peremptory sentence of death on sinners, that it should not in a sort eminently be accomplished ! Would the most righteous and most holy God let slip an opportunity so advantageous for demonstrating his perfect love of innocence, and abhorrence of iniquity ? Could we therefore well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation, or reinstated in freedom without a ransom, or exempted from condemnation without some punishment?
No: God was so pleased to prosecute his designs of goodness and mercy, as thereby nowise to impair or obscure, but rather to advance and illustrate the glories of his sovereign dignity, of his severe justice, of his immaculate holiness, of his unchangeable steadiness in word and purpose. He accordingly would be sued to for peace and mercy : nor would he grant them absolutely, without due compensations for the wrongs he had sustained; yet so, that his goodness did find us a Mediator, and furnish us with means to satisfy him. He would not condescend to a simple remission of our debts; yet so, that, saving his right and honor, he did stoop lower for an effectual abolition of them. He would make good his word, not to let our trespasses go unpunished; yet so, that by our punishment we might receive advantage. He would manifest his detestation of wickedness in a way more illustrious than if he had persecuted it down to hell, and irreversibly doomed it to endless torment.
But how might these things be effected? Where was there a Mediator proper and worthy to intercede for us? Who could presume to solicit and plead in our behalf? Who should dare to put himself between God and us, or offer to screen mankind from the divine wrath and vengeance? Who had so great an interest in the court of heaven, as to ingratiate such a brood of apostate enemies thereto? Who could assume the confidence to propose terms of reconciliation, or to agitate a new covenant, wherewith God might be satisfied, and