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heaven: if, with a fair inquiry, being just to your eternal interests, you have weighed what hath been before said, and are wondering at the immensity of ruin which sin hath introduced, surprised too with the conviction of your own helplessness; my doctrine shall drop upon you as the rain on a parched ground, "my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass, when I publish the name of the Lord" the rock of salvation, whose work is perfect. Upon a supposed conviction, now wrought in you, of your sinfulness, of the consequences of sin, and of your utter inability to remove them, I proceed to the
Third general proposition :
Christ is able to succour you, having taken away all those fearful circumstances, which were seen to be the result of sin: and, withal, he is willing to do
First, He is able to succour you: for he hath fully vindicated and restored God's injured glory.
Secondly, He hath obtained power to renew the hearts of men to their original purity.
Thirdly, He hath satisfied the demands of divine justice; and all this by his obedience, even unto death.
First, but you are ready to say, Who is he that is sufficient for these things? Who is the person so dignified, as by his single might to set out the glory of God upon earth in its native grandeur and splendour; by his own meritorious doings, to bring all that honour to the divine government, which it
would have received from the universal obedience, loyalty, and submission of the whole race of mankind? What is his rank, that he should have power to prevail with God to return, and creating anew the souls of men, again to communicate himself to them? Who is that wondrous one, that could undergo the vengeance and the punishment which the sins of men deserved, and amply satisfy the strict demands of justice? Who is he, thus mighty to save? Suffer me, ye highest angels and archangels, ye cherubim and seraphim; ye can only be his attendants. Your kindest endeavours had left us without hope. You presume only to stand at a distance, and adore the counsels of divine wisdom; while admiration overspreads you, and your spirits cry with solemn sentiment, "How deep thy knowledge and wisdom, O God! How unsearchable thy judgments! How past finding out thy ways!"
"The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil;" that is, to restore that original state which sin had overturned, to effect a reconciliation between the Creator and the creature, wherein the majesty and justice of God should remain unhurt, and man, brought to obedience and submission, should live. "God was manifest in the flesh," upon this important reconciliation. The word, which was in the beginning with God, and was God, by whom "all things were made, and without whom was not any thing made that was made, was made flesh, and dwelt among us." In that flesh which he had assumed, now God and man mysteriously united, he was amply qualified to restore that
glory to God upon earth, of which sin had spoiled him; to quicken the souls of men sunk under the dominion of sin, and to bear the utmost inflictions of justice. And to these ends, in that flesh, he suffered death upon the cross.
Consider him not now, as a man merely of your own nature, but as a man of the same nature with you, united to the Deity. The man thus dignified, free from all spot of sin, gave himself a willing victim to the divine glory, was made a spectacle to angels and men, was lifted up to shame, and resigned his breath upon a tree; and this, with every circumstance of reproach which could possibly make sin appear infamous, and put it to shame. And what infamy or shame could sin be brought to in the face of the world, equal with the sacrificing of the only innocent man that was ever born, and this man also avowed to be the Son of God, wherever his name should be heard, and that by a death most vile and slave-like? Surely herein sin suffered disgrace indeed; and "the glory of God's government was fully vindicated." As in human constitutions, when shaken by the insolence of rebellion, the execution of some capital rebel recovers the majesty and firmness of government, and makes rebellion shrink in the utmost corners of the land; so much more, in the offering up of Christ upon the cross, the honour of God's government is re-established, and, by reason of the innocence and dignity of the sacrifice, all the disgrace which man's sin and rebellion had brought upon it is wiped away. Possibly the evidence of this may not be so striking, but to enlightened and
humbled minds, at present; however, when the day of recompense shall be revealed, and every eye shall see the once despised Jesus, decked with majesty, and adorned with resplendent glory, sitting upon his throne to determine the everlasting condition of men, it will be impossible to question, that by the death of such a one, glory hath been given to "God in the highest.'
Secondly, He hath obtained power to renew the hearts of men to their original purity. God and man, since sin entered into the world, were at variance; and, like persons after differences, each of them keeps at distance from the other. God with+ holds himself from man, and will have no converse with him, till satisfaction be made for the dishonour sin hath done his majesty: man is helpless and also stubborn, neither able nor willing to renew communion with his Maker, although herein alone he can be happy. So that all communion is cut off between God and his creature. But now this great Reconciler, having vindicated and restored God's honour, hath prevailed with God to revisit, and dwell with the souls of men: and having purchased the Holy Ghost, by the kindly influences thereof can soften and prepare the hearts of men to receive him. For such was the merit of Christ's sacrifice, that while it restored glory to God, it again opened the communication between God and the spirits of men; that is, it obtained the gift of the Holy Ghost for the sanctifying men's hearts and lives, and so recovering them to a fitness for God. It pleased the Father, that in this Man should all fulness dwell; yea,
"all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." and is, "full of the Holy Ghost." received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost," he is able to shed it abroad in men's hearts, even that "living waters shall flow out of their bellies." He is made the channel, through whom the supply of the Spirit comes to us; and that grace so derived unto us, is able to cleanse and purify our hearts; even as the same Holy Spirit, of whom he was conceived, kept him in all respects a man like ourselves, free from all spot of sin. We are of ourselves insufficient to all good; but the Spirit, which dwelleth in him, and which by purchase he hath a right to bestow, can quicken our dead souls, furnish us with strength against all our enemies, mortify our rebellious pride, earthly desires, and carnal lustings, and restore us again to the perfect image of God. He sitteth over men as a refiner and purifier of silver, to breathe upon their hearts with his Spirit, and to kindle a fire within them, purging them as gold and silver, that their souls may be offered unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. And the grace which he gives must needs be sufficient to all the purposes of our soul's recovery; since "God worketh in us both to will and to do," even that "Holy Ghost which is shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Whereas then we are naturally without any spiritual strength, bowed down under sin, and unable to lift up ourselves, this Jesus is able to quicken and put life into us, furnishing us with the supply of the sanctifying Spirit, out of the fulness thereof,