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The harmony of the divine attributes dif
played, in the redemption and falvavation of finners by Jesus CHRIST.
SERMON preached at Dumfermline upon the
29th of September, 1723, immediately after the celebration of the Lord's supper.
By the Rev. Mr. RALPH ER SKIN E.
PSAL. Ixxxv. 10.
Mercy and truth are met together : Righteousness and
peace bave kissed each other.
Y friends, at a solemn marriage-fupper there
is usually a friendly company who meet together ; and when, at such an occasion, all things are managed with sobriety and decency, it is very joyful and pleasant to the parties concerned, to see the members of the meeting, with mutual kindness to one another, harmoniously gracing the solemnity : Even so at the marriage-supper of the lamb, I mean, the facrament of the Lord's supper, which we have been celebrating, there is a joyful company, not of men and women, for that would make but a poor earthly meeting ; nor yet of
saints and angels, for that would make but at best a mean creature-meeting; but it is a glorious delightful company of divine attributes and perfections, in the sweetest concord meeting together, and embracing one another. This wonderful conjunction of divine excellencies is the friendly company that meets together, to put honour upon this nuptial solemnity; and to see them thus harmonioudly embracing one another in the salvation of finners, is the sweetest light that the bride, the lamb's wife, shall ever see at the marriage-supper, whether it be at the lower or upper table. There is a great meeting in this house, but an infinitely greater in this text; a meeting of divine excellencies, to grace the folemnity of the marriage-supper of the lamb: Mercy and truth are met together, righteoufuess and peace have kissed each other. When God made heaven and earth out of nothing, he made them by a word, without any other ceremony; but, when he made man, there was some particular folemnity, a grand council, as it were, of the glorious Trinity called; Come, let us make man after our image. But now man having unmade himself, if God hath a mind for the praise of his own glorious grace to make hiin up again, by a new creation in Christ Jesus, there must be a more glorious folennity yet; not only a council of the adorable Trinity, but a grand meeting of all the attributes of God, to consult their own glory that was marr'd, and reconcile their own interests, and seemingly contradictory claims : For the fin of man had brought real confusion among all the creatures of God on earth, yea, and a seeming war among all the attributes of God in heaven, concerning the execution of the sentence of the law upon mankind, the transgreffor thereof; R3
fome of these attributes, such as Mercy, saying, if the fentence of death be executed upon them, how Thall I be glorified ? Others, such as Truth, saying, if the sentence be not executed, how shall I be glorified ? Is it to be expected that such opposites can meet together? Or, if they meet, that they will agree together cordially? Yea, tho' it be beyond the expectation of men and angels, yer, behold, it is here celebrated with a song ? Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and place Lave kised each other.
This Psalm consists of a prayer of faith, and an answer of peace. 11, The Church's prayer, from the beginning to the 8th verse, where they are praying for the removal of many tokens of God's dilpleasure they were under, notwithstanding their return out of the Babylonish captivity. 2dly, The answer of peace that is made to their
fiom ver. 8. and downward. We have here the psalmist listening and waiting for the answer ; I will bear what God twe Lord will speak; the answer itself in general is peace, He will speak peace to his people, &c. If he give not outward peace, yet he will fuggest inward peace, speaking that to their hearts by his spirit, which he had spoken to their ears by his word. Whatever other sort of peace and prosperity they enjoyed, when at length the children of the captivity, after a great deal of toil, had gained a fettlement in their own land, yet peace with God, and spiritual prosperity under the Messiah's kingdom, was the great thing here promised, and prophefied of; and that is a peace that lays the foul under the strongest obligation to keep at a ja fance from all sin, which is the greatest folly, and to teware of backsliding thereto. But let them not re
turn again to folly: For true peace with God brings in war with sin. But this is further explained in the main leading part thereof, namely, salvation and glory, ver. 9. Surely bis salvation is near to them that fear bim, that glory may dwell in our land. Now, whatever other salvation be here imported, Christ is the great salvation intended : When he is near in view, then the believer cries out, with old Simeon, Now mine eyes have seen thy salvation : And whatever other glory and honour be here imported, Christ is the chief glory here intended : When he goes away from a land, then I-chabod, the glory is departed ; but, where he abides, glory dwells for he is called, A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. But now, if we would know what sort of glory it is that appears when Christ is revealed, why it is even the glorious harmony of all the divine attributes illustriously Thining in him, who is both our salvation and our glory: Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace bave kissed each other. Now, tho' these words may be appiied to the happy meet. ing of graces in men, upon the revelation of Christ in the foul, which I may afterwards observe in the fequel, and in which sense some interpreters understand it; yet I take it mainly to import the happy meeting of perfections in God to be glorified in the finner's falvation by Jesus Christ, which is a gloss that no interpreter I have had occasion to consult does neglect or omit; and if any of them should miss it, I think they would miss the very ground-work and foundation of all other happy meetings : Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace bave killed each other,
In the words you may observe, iff, The members of the meeting. 2dly, The manner of the meeting: 3dly, The harmony of the meeting. 4thly, The Tirangeness of it.
Observe, I tay, 1. The members of the meeting mercy, truth, righteousness, peace. I hope I need not caution soine in this assembly, that they beware of imagining these various perfections of God, under the names of mercy, truth, righteousness and peace, as if they were really distinct and different things in God: Or, as if they were really different parties, making a formal consultation, in order to their agreement: For God is one, and cannot be divided; he is one infinite, eternal and unchangeable Being; there are not distinct and different things in his nature and effence, however his
perfections be thus represented to our weak, finite capacities, which cannot understand the perfections of God but in several parts, as it were. By mercy then, here, we are to understand God himself, as he is a merciful and gracious God: By truth we are to understand the fame God, as he is a true and faithful God: By righteousness we may understand his justice, or God himself, as he is a juft and rigbteous God; and, by peace, the fame God, as he is the God of peace, and a God reconciling the world to bimself. So that the whole comes to this ; it is the great and eternal God himself, contulting with himself, in a manner becoming his infinite and adorable perfections, how to glorify himself in all ' his glorious attributes, in the way of saving finners in and by Jesus Chrift.
2. The manner of the meeting. These excellencies and perfections of God meet together, as it were, in pairs; merey and truth, rigktecufness and