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that what he did and suffered in that work, must have an intrinsic worth and excellency in it, out-balancing all the evil in the sins of mankind; that more honour and glory accrued unto the holiness and law of God by his obedience, than dishonour was cast on them by the disobedience of Adam and all his posterity.
4. The way whereby the church was to be recovered and saved was by such works and actings, as one should take on himself to perform in the way of an office committed unto him for that end. For whereas man could not recover, ransom, nor save himself, as we have proved, the whole must be wrought for him by another. The undertaking hereof by another, must depend on the infinite wisdom, counsel, and pleasure of God, with the will and consent of him who was to undertake it. So also did the constitution of the way and means in particular whereby this deliverance was to be wrought. Hereon it became his office to do the things which were required unto that end. But we have before proved apart by itself that no office unto this purpose could be discharged towards God, or the whole church, by any one who was a man only. I shall not therefore here farther insist upon it, although there be good argument in it unto our present purpose.
5. If man be recovered, he must be restored into the same state, condition, and dignity, wherein he was placed before the fall. To restore him with any diminution of honour and blessedness, was not suited unto divine wisdom and bounty. Yea, seeing it was the infinite grace, goodness, and mercy of God to restore him, it seems agreeable unto the glory of divine excellencies in their operations, that he should be brought into a better and more honourable condition than that which he had lost. But before the fall, man was not subject nor obedient unto any but unto God alone. Somewhat less he was in dignity than the angels, howbeit he owed them no obedience, they were his fellowservants. And as for all other things here below, they were made 'subject unto him, and put under his feet,' he himself being in subjection unto God alone. But if he were redeemed and restored by one who was a mere creature, he could not be restored unto this state and dignity. For on all grounds of right and equity, he must owe all service and
obedience unto him by whom he was redeemed, restored, and recovered, as the author of the state wherein he is. For when we are bought with a price, we are not our own,' as the apostle affirms; 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. We are therefore his who hath bought us, and him are we bound to serve in our souls and bodies which are his. Accordingly in the purchase of us, the Lord Christ became our absolute Lord, unto whom we owe all religious subjection of soul and conscience; Rom. xiv. 7-9. It would follow therefore that if we were redeemed and recovered by the interposition of a mere creature, if such a one were our Redeemer, Saviour, and Deliverer, into the service of a mere creature, that is, religious service and obedience, we should be recovered. And so they believe who affirm the Lord Christ to be a man and no more. But on this supposition we are so far from an advancement in state and dignity by our restoration, that we do not recover what we were first instated in. it belonged thereunto, that we should owe religious service and obedience unto him alone who was God by nature over all blessed for ever. And they bring all confusion into Christian religion, who make a mere creature the object of our faith, love, adoration, invocation, and all sacred worship. But in our present restoration we are made subject anew as unto religious service only unto God alone. Therefore the holy angels, the head of the creation, do openly disclaim any such service and veneration from us, because they are only the fellow-servants of them that have the testimony of Jesus; Rev. xix. 10. Nor hath God put the world to come,' the gospel state of the church into subjection unto angels or any other creature, but only unto the Son, who is Lord over his own house, even he that made all things, who is God; Heb. iii. 4-6. Wherefore we are restored into our primitive condition to be in spiritual subjection unto God alone. He therefore by whom we are restored, unto whom we owe all obedience and religious service, is, and ought to be God also. And as they utterly overthrow the gospel who affirm that all the obedience of it is due unto him who is a man and no more, as do all by whom the divine nature of Christ is denied; so they debase themselves beneath the dignity of the state of redemption, and cast dishonour on the mediation of Christ, who subject
themselves in any religious service to saints or angels, or any other creatures whatever.
On these suppositions, which are full of light and evidence, infinite wisdom did interpose itself, to glorify all the other concerned excellencies of the glory of God, in such a way as might solve all difficulties, and satisfy all the ends of God's glory, in the recovery and redemption of mankind. The case before it was as followeth.
Man by sin had cast the most inconceivable dishonour on the righteousness, holiness, goodness, and rule of God, and himself into the guilt of eternal ruin. In this state it became the wisdom and goodness of God, neither to suffer the whole race of mankind to come short eternally of that enjoyment of himself for which it was created, nor yet to deliver any one of them, without a retrieval of the eternal honour of his righteousness, holiness, and rule, from the diminution and waste that was made of it by sin. As this could no way be done, but by a full satisfaction unto justice and an obedience unto the law, bringing and yielding more honour unto the holiness and righteousness of God, than they could any way lose by the sin and disobedience of man; so this satisfaction must be made, and this obedience be yielded in and by the same nature that sinned or disobeyed, whereby alone the residue of mankind may be interested in the benefits and effects of that obedience, and satisfaction. Yet was it necessary hereunto, that the nature wherein all this was to be performed, though derived from the same common stock with that whereof in all, our persons we are partakers, should be absolutely free from the contagion and guilt, which with it, and by it are communicated unto our persons, from that common stock. Unless it were so, there could be no undertaking in it for others, it would not be able to answer for itself. But yet on all these suppositions, no undertaking, no performance of duty, in human nature could possibly yield that obedience unto God, or make that satisfaction for sin, whereon the deliverance of others might ensue, unto the glory of the holiness, righteousness, and rule of God.
In this state of things did infinite wisdom interpose itself, in that glorious ineffable contrivance of the person of Christ, or of the divine nature in the eternal Son of God,
and of ours in the same individual person. Otherwise this work could not be accomplished; at least all other ways are hidden from the eyes of all living, no created understanding being able to apprehend any other way whereby it might so have been unto the eternal glory of God. This therefore is such an effect of divine wisdom, as will be the object of holy adoration and admiration unto eternity; as unto this life, how little a portion is it we know of its excellency?
Other evidences of divine wisdom in the contrivance of the work of redemption, in and by the person of Christ, in effects evidencing a condecency thereunto.
THAT which remains of our present inquiry, is concerning those evidences of divine condecency or suitableness unto infinite wisdom and goodness, which we may gather from the nature of this work, and its effects, as expressed in divine revelation. Some few instances hereof I shall choose out from amongst many that might be insisted on.
1. Man was made to serve God in all things. In his person, in his soul and body, in all his faculties, powers, and senses, in all that was given unto him or intrusted with him, he was not his own, but every way a servant, in all that he was, in all that he had, in all that he did or was to do. This he was made for, this state and condition was necessary unto him as a creature. It could be no otherwise with any that was so, it was so with the angels who were greater in dignity and power than man. The very name of creature includes the condition of universal subjection and service unto the Creator. This condition in and by his sin, Adam designed to desert, and to free himself from. He would exalt himself out of the state of service and obedience, absolute and universal, into a condition of self-sufficiency of domination and rule. He would be as God, like unto God, that is, subject no more to him, be in no more dependence on him, but advance his own will above the
will of God. And there is somewhat of this in every sin; the sinner would advance his own will in opposition unto, and above the will of God. But what was the event hereof? Man by endeavouring to free himself from absolute subjection and universal service, to invade absolute dominion, fell into absolute and eternal ruin.
For our recovery out of this state and condition, considering how we cast ourselves into it, the way insisted on, was found out by divine wisdom, namely, the incarnation of the Son of God. For he was Lord of all, had absolute dominion over all, owed no service, no obedience for himself, being in the form of God, and equal unto him. From this state of absolute dominion, he descended into a condition of absolute service. As Adam sinned and fell by leaving that state of absolute service which was due unto him, proper unto his nature, inseparable from it, to attempt a state of absolute dominion, which was not his own, not due unto him, not consistent with his nature; so the Son of God, being made the second Adam, relieved us by descending from a state of absolute dominion, which was his own, due to his nature, to take on him a state of absolute service, which was not his own, nor due unto him. And this being inconsistent with his own divine nature, he performed it, by taking our nature on him, making it his own. He descended as much beneath himself in his self-humiliation, as Adam designed to ascend above himself in his pride and self-exaltation.
The consideration of the divine grace and wisdom herein, the apostle proposeth unto us, Phil. ii. 6-8. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' Adam being in the form, that is, the state and condition of a servant, did by robbery attempt to take upon him the form of God,' or to make himself equal unto him. The Lord Christ being in the form of God,' that is, his essential form of the same nature with him, accounted it no robbery to be in the state and condition of God, to be 'equal to him.' But being made in the fashion of a man,'