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SERMON LXXXV.
The love of God to men, in the

incarnation of CHRIST.

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1 JOHN IV. 9.
In this was manifested the love of God towards ys, be-

cause that God sent his only begotten Son into the
world, that we might live through him.

THESE words contain a clear and evidents ERM.

demonftration of the love of God to us ; LXXXV.

" In this was manifested the love of GOD Preached şs towards us ;" that is, by this it plainly appears, in the that God had a mighty love for us, “ that he sent Lambeth.

chapel of “ his only begotten Son into the world, that we house on “ might live through him.” In which we may

Christmas consider this threefold evidence of God's love to 1691. mankind.

I. That he should be pleased to take our case into consideration, and to concern himself for our happiness.

II. That he should design so great a benefit to us, which is here exprest by life; “ that we might live so through him."

III. That he was pleased to use such a means for the obtaining and procuring of this benefit for us ; " he se sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we “ might live through him." Each of these fingly is Vol. VI, A 2

a great

SERM. a great evidence of God's love to us; much more LXXXV. *; all of them together. .

I. it is a great evidence of the love of God to mankind, that he was pleased to take our case into consideration, and to concern himself for our happiness. Nothing does inore commend an act of kindness, than if there be great condescension in it. We use to value a small favour, if it be done to us by one that is far above us, more than a far greater done to us by a mean and inconsiderable person. This made David to break put into such admiration, when he considered the ordinary providence of God towards mankind, “ LORD, what is man, that thou art mind“ ful of him! or the son of man, that thou shouldst “ consider him!” This is a wonderful condescension indeed, for God to be mindful of man. .

At the best we are but his creatures, and upon that very account at an infinite distance from him; so that were not he infinitely good, he would not be concerned for us, who are so infinitely beneath the consideration of his love and pity. Neither are we of the highest rank of creatures; we are much below the angels, as to the excellency and perfection of our beings; so that if God had not had a peculiar pity and regard to the sons of men, he might have placed his affection and care upon a much nobler order of creatures than we are, and so much the more miserable, because they fell from a higher step of happiness, I mean the loft angels; but yet for reasons best known to his infinite wifdom, God past by them, and was pleased to consider us. This the apostle to the He, brews takes notice of, as an argument of God's peculiar and extraordinary love to mankind, " that

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* he sent his Son, not to take upon him the natureS ERM.

LXXXV. “ of angels, but of the seed of Abraham.”

Now that he, who is so far above us, and after that we by wilful transgression had lost ourselves, had no obligation to take care of us, but what his own goodness laid upon him, that he should concern himself so much for us, and be so solicitous for our reco-, very, this is a great evidence of his kindness and good-will to us, and cannot be imagined to proceed from any other cause.

II: Another evidence of God's great love to us, is, that he was pleased to design so great a benefit for us. This the scripture expresseth to us by life; and it is usual in scripture to express the best and most desirable things by life; because as it is one of the greatest blessings, so it is the foundation of all other enjoyments: and therefore the apostle usech but this one word to express to us all the blessings and benefits of Christ's coming into the world; “ GOD “ sent his only-begotten Son into the word, that “ we might live through him.” · And this expression is very proper to our case; becaufe life signifies the reparation of all that which was lost by the fall of man. For man by his wilful degeneracy and apoftasy from God, is funk into a ftate of fin and misery, both which the scripture is wont to exprefs by death; In respect of our finful ftate we are spiritually dead; and in respect of the punishment and misery due to us for our sins, we are judicially dead, dead in law; “for the wages of sin “ is death.” Now God hath sent his Son into the world, that in both these respects “ we might live " through him.”

1. We

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SERM. “1. We were spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and LXXXV.

W fins, as the apostle speaks, Eph. ii. 1, 2. “You hath

" he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins, u wherein in times past ye walked according to the

course of this world.” Every wicked man, though « in a natural sense he be alive, yet in a moral sense he is dead. So the apostle speaking of those " who ¢ live in sinful lusts and pleasures, fays of them, " that they are dead while they live, I Tim. v. 6. What corrupt humours are to the body, that sin is to the foul, their disease and their death. Now GOD sent his Son to deliver us from this death, by renew. ing our nature, and mortifying our lufts; by restoring us to the life of grace and holiness, “ and destroying “ the body of sin in us, that henceforth we should et not ferve fin.” And that this is a great argument of the mighty love of God to us, the apostle tells us, Eph. ii 4, 5. “God who is rich in mercy, for his « great love wherewith he loved us, even when we “ were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” It is an argument of the richness of God's mercy, and of his great love to us to recover us out of this sad and deplorable case. It is a kindnefs' infinitely greater, than to redeem us from the mort wretched Navery, or to rescue us from the most dreadful and cruel temporal death; and yet we should value this as a favour and benefit, that could never be suficiently acknowledged: but GOD hath sent his Son to deliver us from a worse bondage, and a more dreadful kind of death ; so that well might the apostle afcribe this great deliverance of mankind from the flavery of our lusts, and the death of fin, to the boundless mercy and love of God to us, “ God who

i is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith hê S E RM,

LXXXV, “ loved us, hath quickened us together with Christ, “ even when we were dead in fins;" when our case was as defperate as could well be imagined; then was God pleafed to undertake this great cure, and to provide such a remedy, as cannot fail to be effectual for our recovery, if we will but make use of it. .

2. We were likewise judicially dead, dead in law, being condemned by the just sentence of it. So soon as ever we sinned, eternal death was by the sentence of God's law becomë our due portion and reward ; and this being our case, God in tender commiseration and pity to mankind, was pleased to send his Son into the world to interpose between the justice of God and the demerits of meñ; and by reversing the sentence that was gone out against us; and procuring a pardon for us, to rescue us from the misery of eternal death; and not only so, but upon the condition of faith and repentance, of obedience and a holy life; to bestow eternal life upon us; and by this means to restore us to a better condition than that from which we were fallen, and to advance us to a happiness greater than that of innocency.

And was not this great love, to design and provide so great a benefit and blessing for us, " to send his “ Son Jesus to bless us in turning away every one of " us from our iniquities ?” Our blessed Saviour, who came from the bosom of his Father, and knew his tender affection and compassion to mankind, speaks of this as a most wonderful and unparalléld expression of his love to us, John iii. 16. 6 God so loved the " world, that he gave his only begotten Son." " God so loved the world,” so greatly, so strangely,

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