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wily fox, the stately horse, the majestic lion, the half-reasoning elephant? Have we marked the amazing difference of their inward dispositions, as well as of their outward forms, and the wonderful provision made for their support, and the preservation of their different species? Have the feathered fowl, and birds of every wing, been considered by us? Their beautiful figure, their rich plumage, their swift motions, and the sweet harmony of their diversified notes and artless music? Have we admired the pride of the peacock, the innocence of the dove, the affection of the stork, the rapacity of the vulture, and the strength and swiftness of the eagle? Have we marked with what regularity, foresight, and care, they build their nests, and provide for the safety and subsistence of their young?
17. Has man, that masterpiece of Divine workmanship, engaged our attention? Have we considered the wonderful structure of his body? The more astonishing formation of his mind? Have we observed his erect form? His exact proportions? His comely figure? His Divine face? His majestic appearance? Have we marked the number and variety of his senses and members? How suited to each other, and to his state and place upon the earth, and his rank among the creatures 1 Have we reflected upon their contrivance and usefulness, and upon the profit and pleasure arising from each in particular, and from all in general? Have we observed the multiplicity of parts employed in the structure of each member or sense, and their happy union in forming one perfect whole ?- Have we examined the eye or ear? The hand or foot? The head or heart?
18. Have we considered the provision made for the nutrition and growth of the wonderful machine and all its parts, so that the very hairs of our head, and our finger nails, both useful and necessary, do not want their proper nourishment? Have we reflected upon the various means provided for preparing, receiving, digesting, and extracting nourishment from our food, and throwing off the superfluous parts? Have we viewed the astonishing apparatus of veins and arteries, ministering to the circulation of the blood, and the life of the body?
19. Have we considered the nervous system, the chief mean of animal life and sensation? The wonderful structure of the brain, lodged in the golden bowl, (as Solomon seems to call the membrane that encloses it,) and the various and multiplied branchings of the silver cord, the spinal marrow, spread over all the body, and-rendering every part keenly sensible? And have we observed how the animal appetites and propensities strangely ensure the preservation of life, and propagation of the species?
20. Have we noticed a spirit in man? A soul in body? A mind in matter ?—an intelligent and free principle? A power that perceives, thinks, reasons, judges, approves, condemns, wills, desires, loves, hates, hopes, fears, rejoices, mourns ?—that pervades the earth, encompasses the heavens, measures the sun, ascends above the stars, rises from the creature to the Creater, beholds his glory, admires his beauty, feels his love, tastes his pleasures, imitates his perfections, and aspires after a conformity to him, and fellowship with him, through everlasting ages?
21. Have we reflected that there are minds that were never joined to matter,—spirits that never dwelt in flesh? ethereal beings, flames of fire, angels of light, pure and perfect intelligences? All life, all activity, all power? All eye, all ear, all sensibility? Whose knowledge is intuitive and certain, whose love is sincere and flaming, whose praise is cordial and ardent, and whose obedience is free and constant? Whose duty is unintermitted, whose loyalty is untainted, whose services are disinterested, and whose happiness is complete, established, and eternal? Have we remembered that there are innumerable ranks and orders of these beings, of which we have no knowledge, and of whose nature and state we can form no conception? "Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers?"
22. Have we taken a survey of these wonderful works, both above and below, both material and immaterial,—and have we considered that we know not one thousandth part of their number, magnitude, or minuteness, or of the contrivance manifested in the formation of the meanest of them, of a blade of grass, a grain of sand, a drop of water, or a particle of air or light? And after all, dare we pronounce that a mere creature, an angelic, or super-angelic being, was, and is, sufficient for the creation, preservation, and government of all these and other creatures? If so, the sacred Scriptures will reprove our rashness, and inform us that "he who built all things is God:" and that this God is Christ. For the apostle, in this passage, professedly speaks of him. Ver. 3, he says: "This person was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God." The apostle's argument is manifestly this: he that buildeth the house, hath more honour than the house he buildeth, or any part of it.
But Christ built the Jewish Church, yea, the whole creation, of which Moses was but a small, inconsiderable part:—
Therefore Christ is worthy of more honour than Moses: yea, is as much above him as the Creator of all things is above one of his creatures. Again: he that built all things is God: but Christ built all things: therefore Christ is God; yea, (in union with his Father,) "the everlasting God, Jehovah—the Creator of the ends of the earth, who fainteth not, neither is weary; and there is no searching of his understanding," Heb. iii, 4; Isa. xl, 28.
CHAPTER IX. That Jesus Christ is the Redeemer and Saviour of lost mankind.
1. As the inspired penmen represent the Word, that was in the beginning with God, as the Creator, Preserver, and Lord of all,—so it will readily be allowed that they point him out as the Redeemer and Saviour of fallen man. "Unto you is born, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost; looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
2. The foundation of this doctrine of our redemption and salvation by Christ Jesus, it is well known, is laid in the depravity and guilt of mankind. "All have sinned (says the apostle) and come short of the glory of God: the whole world is guilty before God;" and Jews and Gentiles, even all mankind, are " by nature children of wrath," Rom. iii, 19-23; Eph. ii, 3. According to the Scriptures, all have forfeited the everlasting life and happiness for which they were created, and have deserved death and everlasting destruction: for "the wages of sin is death," even such a death as stands opposed to that "eternal life which is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
3. Now it is the uniform doctrine, both of the Old and New Testa. ment, that the Lord Jesus hath ransomed our lives by laying down his own. "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many; he gave himself a ransom for all; he died for our sins according to the Scriptures; he died for all, when all were dead; tasted death for every man: the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree; was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and bore the chastisement of our peace; was made sin (a sin offering) for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," or might be justified through him. Hence we are said to be "redeemed, not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ," 1 Pet. i, 18; to be "bought with a price," and therefore not to be "our own," 1 Cor. vi, 20; "and to have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins."
4. But if Jesus Christ, whose life is thus represented to be laid down as the price of man's redemption from everlasting death and destruction to everlasting life and salvation: if Jesus Christ (I say) be but a mere man, it is certain his life must be of incomparably less value than this eternal salvation of all mankind, thus said to be procured by it. For however holy and excellent we may suppose him to be, yet his life could not be worth the lives of all men—especially his temporal life could not be worth the eternal lives of all men. His parting with a short, uncertain, and afflicted life, and coming under the power of death with regard to his body merely, and that only for two or three days, (his soul in the meantime neither dying nor suffering the loss either of its holiness or happiness;) and doing this in sure and certain hope of being raised again, and receiving, in exchange, after that short space of time, an eternal and most blessed life: this surely was no such great thing, as that it could be any proper consideration, or redemption price, on account of which Divine and infinite justice should deliver an innumerable multitude of rational and immortal beings, of exactly the same nature with this man thus dying for them, not only from temporal, but also from eternal death; and should put them in possession of glory and felicity greater beyond conception than that which they had forfeited, and lasting without end.
5. According to the apostle, one principal end of the death of Christ was to demonstrate "God's righteousness;" that is, the purity of his nature, implying his infinite hatred to sin; the authority of his law, which denounces vengeance against the sinner; and the equity of his government, or, in one word, his justice. "Justified freely (says he, Rom. iii, 24, &c,) by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [viz. the blood he hath shed, Eph. i, 7, the price he hath paid, 1 Cor. vi, 20,] whom God hath set forth a propitiation, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness, by [or on account of] the remission of past sins, through the forbearance of God, for a demonstration [I say] of his righteousness, in this present time, that he might be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." But surely, if satisfaction could be made for the injury done to the glory of God by all the sins of all mankind, and their salvation from eternal destruction into everlasting life and happiness, could be rendered consistent with the Divine attributes, (in consequence of their repentance,) upon such easy terms as the giving up one mere man to temporal death for two or three days, and then rewarding him with supreme dominion and glory at God's right hand for ever: whatever inference the intelligent creation of God might draw from hence in favour of his clemency, they could draw none in favour of his righteousness or justice. They could not learn from this to form more exalted views of this: but, on the contrary, their ideas of it would become more contracted; and they would be inclined to suppose, both that sin is no very great evil, and that'God is not much displeased with it; inasmuch as he would forgive the complicated and aggravated guilt of so many myriads of sinners, forbear to execute upon them the vengeance threatened in his holy and righteous law, and even raise them to glory and felicity inconceivable and eternal, merely because one mere man, like themselves, died for them. Surely to talk of God's righteousness being demonstrated by such a scheme as this,—to say that all this was done to save the honour of his justice, that he might be (and appear to be) just, while he is the merciful "Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus," would be highly absurd and ridiculous.
6. "If we be truly sensible of our sins, (says Bishop Pearson,) we must acknowledge that, in every one, we have offended God; and the atrociousness of every offence must needs increase proportionably to the dignity of the party offended, in respect of the offender: because the more worthy any person is, the more reverence is due unto him, and every injury tendeth to his dishonour: but between God and man there is an infinite disproportion, and, therefore, every offence committed against him must be esteemed as in the highest degree of injury." Hence we know (as the apostle hath assured us) "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins;" and we may very well doubt how the blood of him, who hath no other nature than that of a mere man, can take away the sins of other men; there appearing no such difference as will show a certainty in the one, and an impossibility in the other.
7. "But since we may be 'bought with a price,' well may we believe the blood of Christ sufficiently precious, when we are assured," that, through the union of the human nature with the Divine, "it is the blood of God, (as St. Paul calls it, Acts xx, 28,) nor can we question the efficacy of it in 'purging our conscience from dead works,' if we believe Christ' offered up himself through the eternal Spirit.'" For, "as the atrociousness of the offence beareth proportion to the person offended, so the value of reparation ariseth from the dignity of the person satisfying, because the satisfaction consisteth in a reparation of that honour which by the injury was eclipsed: and all honour doth increase proportionably as the person yielding it is honourable." Notwithstanding, therefore, "by every sin we have offended God, who is of infinite eminency, according unto which the injury is aggravated;" yet we may be "secure of our reconciliation with God, because the person who hath undertaken to make the reparation is of the same infinite dignity, so that the honour rendered by his obedience is proportionable to the offence, and that dishonour which arose from our disobedience."
8. This point is set in a clear light by Dr. Abbadie :—" If Jesus be God-man, the intimate union of the humanity with his divinity may well be conceived to render his life and blood infinitely precious. Of this we may assure ourselves by reasoning from the less to the greater. A clod of the valleys, for instance, is of no worth or dignity; we do not care how many blows it receives: it makes no difference whether it be preserved or destroyed. But if it be united to a spirit, the union will immediately confer a dignity upon it; so as to give a proportionate value to its actions, or sufferings, on the behalf of any one. Then suppose it exalted to a union with the Divine essence, and its intimate relation to God will render its vicarious obedience and suffering of infinite worth. Or thus: If the sufferings of a person of quality be of more value than those of a peasant; if those of a king's son, than those of a person of quality; and if those of the king himself than those of his own son: it follows, if we proceed in this gradation ad infinitum, and can find a person whose dignity has no bounds, his sufferings will be of infinite value. Such, according to our hypothesis, is Jesus Christ, for he is God "manifest in the flesh." In all his sufferings, and in the depth of his humiliation, he possessed the glories of the Godhead; which ennobled and dignified beyond conception, and beyond bounds, all that he did, and all that he underwent for the salvation of sinners.
9. "Such a Saviour, being the gift of the Divine Father to miserable men, must be a present of infinite value;" and as it could proceed from nothing but infinite mercy and love, so it renders our salvation consistent with infinite justice and purity. "But after all that can be said for the contrary sentiment, a man is but a man; and we should exalt the mercy (and justice) of God at a childish rate, were we to exclaim,' Unspeakable love! unbounded mercy! which gave (awful justice! tremendous holiness! which required) the temporal life of a mere man for the eternal salvation of all mankind.' Nor would an exclamation of this kind be much more pertinent on the Arian hypothesis." For, "is there any proportion—let common sense judge—between the temporal life of any mere creature (laid down for two or three days) and the eternal felicity of all the redeemed?"
10. And as it is not conceivable that the temporal life of a mere man, or a mere creature, could be an adequate ransom for the whole human race, innumerable as they are, so as to procure from Divine and infinite justice their forfeited everlasting life and happiness: as it is not conceivable that the blood of such a one, shed for them, should have so much more virtue than the blood of thousands and millions of bulls and goats, as to be able to effect what the blood of such creatures could not
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