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them the displeasure of the Supreme Being, at tranfgreffion and guilt.
« From what hath been said, continues our Author, we may likewise see, how the voluntary sufferings and death of our Sa. viour, have an influence and efficacy, as the means of our obtaining forgiveness of fin : they have this efficacy, as they were the most conspicuous acts of our Lords's consummate merit, and by which it was compleated, and he was perfected. As the Apostle observeth, Heb. ii. 10.-" It became him by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, in bringing many fons and daughters to glory, to make the Captain of our salvation perfect through suffering; and being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation to all them who obey him.”
. It is our Saviour's consummate unequalled merit, which, by the Father's good pleasure and appointment, lieth at the foundation of all this scheme. And as the laying down bis life was that act which did the highest honour to the Father, and finished our Saviour's merit, it is therefore spoken of in Scripture, as our ransom, as the atonement for us, and in other such expressions; all which seem to signify, that this last act of the scene was that which was most of all considered; and upon which our Saviour's exaltation, as a Prince and a Saviour, followed,
«Our blefied Lord tells us, that he phed his blood for the remission of fin; that he gave his life a ransom for many'; and we are taught, that he offered himself a sacrifice for fin, that be is the propitiation for our sins ; and that we are waped froin cur sins ir bis blod; with many other such phrases; some of which are plainly figurative, and cannot be taken in a strictly proper sense, without great absurdity. But with respect to sacrifices, it seems to have been the original intention of them to do honour to God; they were, indeed, a part of religious worship. Sacrifices for penitent offenders, were offered as a solemn confeffion, on the part of the offenders, of their guilt; and perhaps as an external expression, and memorial, of what, in strictness of law, they deserved. Sacrifices were consumed and destroyed; this has given some persons an occasion to say, that the facrifice unverwent the destruction which the transgressor deserved. Whatever the Jews thought in this matter, which it is not easy for us to know with certainty; yet we are sure it bears no sort of application to our Saviour; who, fo far from perishing in his death, was, as the reward of his submitting to it, advanced to the highest and most important station in the kingdom of God: wherefore, the facrifices under the law could bear no resemblance to him in this respect. We are also sure that nothing
can be pleasing to God, or do him honour, but what is morally excellent and worthy. So that, tho' he was pleased with the sacrifices under the law, when they were offered with sincere hearts, and in obedience to him; yet we certainly know, that he could not be pleased with the blood of bullocks and of goats. That which rendered the death of our Lord so pleasing and meritorious in his fight, was its having been a most conspicuous act of obedience; the most honourable and worthy conclufion of a life in all respects perfect. As was said before, our Saviour was perfected by it. Thus obtained he power to forgive fin, and to be the Author of eternal falvation. Therefore, lo far is his death to be looked upon as a sacrifice for sin, as thereby he obtained power to pardon, to proclaim peace and reconciliation to the guilty. And that such illustrious merit may be considered under the notion of atonement, will appear plain from a very remarkable passage in the book of Numbers, chap. xxv. When Phineas the Priest instantly put to death an Ifraelite who had brought a Midianitish woman into his tent, in direct and most prefumptuous transgression of the law of God; I say, that when Phineas had put them both to death, this his zeal for the divine honour was so accepted of God, that he thus spoke to Moses; “ Phineas the fon of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the Priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, (while he was zealous for my fake among them) that I conlumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace, and he shall have it, and his feed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel ;” who all of them, we see, reaped the happy fruits of this man's distinguished zeal. How much more do we reap the fruits of our Lord's most perfect merit! whom God hath therefore crowned with authority to forgive us our fins; and to pronounce us, on the terms of faith and repentance, in favour with our Maker.
· The great thing to be attended to in this whole matter, is, that the greatest honour is done to the Father of all; and to righteousness and true holiness : now this honour certainly is the true intention of all sacrifices; as it also is the intention which the Authors of some schemes, with respect to our redemption by Christ, have professed to pursue : who yet, by their explanations, without warrant from the holy Scriptures, have laid Christianity, in their sense of that word, open to great objections, some of which seem unanswerable ; by a mistaken zcal for the laws and the justice of God, explaining things so as to make him appear most terrible ; as treating his offending creaIures, in all the strictness and rigour of law and justice; so that
penitent penitent pardonel finners are, indeed, under great obligations to their Mediator and Surety ; but, properly speaking, in the point of justificacion, meet with no clemency from their supreme Lord and Judge, who is represented as exacting to the utmost; they speak, accordingly, of penalties, of vindictive justice, of equivalent vicarious punishments, of proper satisfaction to juftice, and such other things, raiher after the manner of human governments, and human courts ; without properly attending to it, that this is not the way in which the Father of mercies proceeds with his frail offending creatures. Thus do they involve themselves in inextricable difficulties; ftill, however, profesling that it is only the honour of God, and of his laws, which is intended to be supported and illustrated. But it will be evident to all who seriously attend, that the frong figurative expressions of the New Testament, on which such human schemes of redemption are founded, were intended to be used in an allusive, and not at all a striatly literal sense; many of which, taken in such a sense, would lead us into the groffeft absurdity. It is hoped, that the true meaning and design of them hath been already declared in this Discourse, namely, that God chose to pardon penitent offenders by the mediation of our Saviour, as a most folemn testimony to the intellectual and moral creation, of his regard and love to the highest moral excellence and merit of our Saviour ; at the same time, as a standing memorial of his displeasure at transgression and fin; and that his counsel and design was, to impress on the minds of men this sense of these matters as deeply as possible.
• Thus, though we know from the light of nature, the goodness and clemency of God, and are aflured of them, yet the gift of the Son of God, to suffer and die for us, is an illuftration of that goodness and clemency, which wonderfully raises our sense of it, and giveth great gladness of heart; so, in like manner, though by the light of nature we know the excellence of moral rectitude and goodness, and the regard of the Father of all to it, with his displeasure at willful transgression; yet this illustration which we have of both, by the method of our salvation through Christ, may anfwer the worthiest end, by exciting in us fuch sentiments of these things, and by affecting our minds to such a degree, as we should not have otherwise known. Let it be attended to, laftly, that this particular end of the mediation, the suffering and death of our Saviour, is never to be considered as detached from the other great purposes which are served by it; such as, the confirmation and establishment of his religion; the giving us a most glorious and perfect example, in human nature, of every thing good and worthy; the doing honour to a state externally low and affli&cd; with such other things
as are to be taken into the account, in considering the design of this great transaction, and in illustrating the wisdom of it.
In the ninth Sermon, the Doctor considers what the fentiments of Angels concerning our present state may be supposed to be, and the motives which arise from hence, to conduct life wisely and virtuously. In the tenth, he enquires how far the cares of human life
may be supposed to cease in a future state ; and shews how this confideration ought to regulate and moderate them at present. In the eleventh, he shews that the present state has a plain reference to a future invisible one, unspeakably greater and more august; and that in both, the same glorious design is uniformly carried on. The subjects of the remaining Discourses of this volume, are
The infinite importance of the love of God ;-the great importance of not being enslaved by any desire;-our absolute dependence on God ;-what is imported in keeping the heart, and the best means of doing it.
The first Sermon of the third volume, we are told by the Editor, is one of a very full set upon the Christian life, all of which are excellent; but the number of them is so great, he says, that it is thought beft, in the present want of taste for such writings, to give but a few of them to the public. The subject of this Sermon is,-A good taste in the conduct of life, with the means of acquiring it. The serious Reader will peruse the whole Discourse with great satisfaction.
In the second Sermon, the Doctor treats of virtuous resolution, and the means of attaining it. In the third, he recommends integrity of character. In the fourth, he considers our relation to universal nature, and the sentiments and duties arising from it.
The fifth Sermon contains reflections on the happiness of the righteous, with some very judicious practical observations, a few of which we shall lay before our Readers.
· First we may see, says our Author, how admirably the chief end and supreme good of human nature is suited to the powers of the mind, and the desires which are planted in the heart. These, in their natural tendencies, reject and despise every thing little, and mean, and narrow, and pursue those objects which are the greatest and most unlimited. Human desire is, indeed, a valt, an unbounded thing; it is so in its nature; it was intended to be so. Let any man try himself, and with respect to that which is the object of his strongest affection, or, in other words, his chief good, he will find desire insaliable ; so that he never possesses so much but he would still have more.
The man of pleasure is still for more of it, or higher refinements in it; the man whose idol is greatness and power, is never so high, but that he would be yet higher; the sordidly covetous, who knows no God but mammon, never says it is enough. Look into the nobler pursuits of life; did ever man attain to such degrees of learning, that his defire after knowlege was perfectly fated ; or, when was the eye satisfied with feeing? This insatiability of human desire, when the object is unworthy, and no ways commensurate to it, is, indeed, a great and most fatal vice, and is often seen to betray men into great guilt, as well as bring them into ruin ; so that it is necessary, in all cases in which there can be excess, to restrain defire. But still, in fact, whatever is fixed upon by the heart of man as the chief good, and the object of the highest delight and joy, there it is in vain to speak of restraint : men are Itill itraining forward. And, indeed, this vast extent or compass of desire, when well directed, is so far from being culpable, that it is always approved by the reflecting mind; it speaks a certain great. ness of foul, which is, indeed, most pleasing. Whoever found fault with himself for vehemence of defire after moral excellency, after higher degrees of it than have been yet attained? who ever accounted moderation in this respect a virtue? who ever blamed himself for the strength of desire after the pure joys which are annexed to virtue, and greater measures than he was ever yet in poffeffion of? If the mind rests in such objects as good, and what make men truly happy, it seems impossible not to desire as much of that good and happiness, as men are capable of enjoying; and how far this capacity may reach, who can determine?
• But from this it is an obvious consequence, that nothing could ever be intended as the chief good of man, in the fruition of which excess is at all posible. And hence we evidently fee, that all temporal objects, all sensual delights, all the objects of covetous desire, are at once excluded. In these pursuits there is, confessedly by all, great, and culpable, and ruinous excess; they cannot then be the highest enjoyments of a Being who has desires, in the very nature of them, illimitable; who seems to be made for progress in perfection and happiness, to which imagination can fix no certain bounds. Whereas, when we turn our thoughts to knowlege, to moral excellence, to the vision of God, here, indeed, an unbounded prospect lies before us, and we can set no certain limits to our pollible attainments in the duration of an eternal age. In these obje£ts then our chief good must lie; there is a greatness, an infinity in them, suited to defires which know no bound. This is the voice of reason, it is the language of our own frame directing us. But how admira