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SERM. most heinous act ever committed by men,) is the death of XXVII. our Lor(i considerable.

5. But more immediately the quality and condition of

our Saviour's person do most commend to us, and advance

Psal. cxyi. the worth of his death: if, as the Psalmist faith, precious

l4[ in the Jig hi of the Lord is the death of his faints; if the

1 Pet. i. 19. spotless candour and unblemished integrity of a lamb do

1 Pet. ii. 22. make its blood precious, and qualify it for an acceptable JfiUjSi,.5'sacrifice 5 how valuable to God {hall be the death of a Heb. vii. person so perfectly holy and innocent; who did not so

2 'a?' much as know Jin; in whose mouth no guile was ever

found; who was holy, harmless, undefiled, removed (at infinite distance removed) from sinners; who needed not to offer sacrifices for his ownjins; whose death therefore for others was apt to be more available and acceptable! Again, if the life of a king be (as king David's people 2Sam.xviii. told him) worth ten thousand lives; if it be a most enora. . 17. moug crime an(j highest treason to imagine his death; how valuable must be the death of a person so incompaActs iii. ls.rably transcendent in dignity, of the Lord of glory, of the Prince of life! Ye denied the holy and the just One; yejlew j Cor. ii. 8. the Prince of life: They crucified the Lord of glory: so the Apostles do aggravate the business. But a farther height, a perfect immensity indeed, of worth and efficacy, must needs accrue to the death of our Saviour, from his being the Son of God; from his being God, (one and the fame in nature with his almighty and all-glorious 1 Jdhn i. 7. Father:) for it is the blood of Chri/i, the Son of God, which Afti»98'PBre>*'* us from all Jin; yea, God himself did, as St. Tit. ii. u. Paul faith in the Acts, purchase the Church with his own blood; it is the great God, and our Saviour Jefiis Chrifl, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all 1 John iii. iniquity: and, Hereby, faith St. John, perceive we the love 16, of God, because he laid down his life for us. That the im

mortal God should die, that the Most High should be debased to so low a condition, as it cannot be heard without wonder, so it could not be undertaken without huge reason, nor accomplished without mighty effect: well indeed might such a condescension serve to advance us from SERM. the basest slate to any pitch of honour and happiness; XXVII. well might one drop of that royal blood of heaven suffice to purchase many worlds, to ransom innumerable fives of men, to expiate an infinity of sins, however grievous and foul. But so much for the peculiar adjuncts and respects of our Lord's death.

3. Let us now consider the causes and principles whence it proceeded; which moved God to determine it, and our Lord to undertake it; they were in both acts most voluntary and free: of the Father it is said, It pleased id. liii. 10. the Lord to bruise him; and, Behold, faith our Lord in Heb. x! 7? the Psalm, / come to do thy will, 0 God; that is, as the Apostle to the Hebrews expoundeth it, to offer, not the blood of beasts in sacrifice, but my own body, according to thy will and appointment: and, This commandment,Johnx. Is. faith he in St. John, I received of my Father, lo lay down my life: and, T/ie cup, faith he again, which my Father John xviii. hath given me, jliall I not drink it? so on the Father's11' part, and on our Saviour's likewise, it was no less voluntary; for, None, faith he, taketh my life from me, (that John 1. is. is, it is not from any necessity or compulsion that I do part with it,) but I lay it down of myself, (with absolute choice and freedom;) / have power to lay it down, and /johnvi.si. have power to resume it: and, The bread, faith he, which /j^att""'' shall give, is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the Gal. ii. ao, world: The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for Tit' i% x. many. The yielding his flesh to death, the paying his life a ransom, were deeds of gift, perfectly free: and that both in regard to God the Father and the Son this performance was voluntary, St. Paul together thus expresseth; Who gave himself for our fins, that he might deliver Gal. i. ♦. us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: so this death issued from the joint wills of God and his Son. But as the volitions of every intelligent and wife agent do always proceed from some principle inclining, or are directed according to some impulsive cause moving to them, so divers principles and causes of these voluntary acts are declared in Scripture;

SERM. the chief of which are reducible to these two; one interXXVII. nally disposing God's goodness; the other externally inviting man's distress. The cafe stood thus: mankind lying in a fad and forlorn estate, oppressed by Satan, enslaved to fin, subject to a rigorous law, exposed to the severity of justice, tormented by the sense of guilt, fearful of divine wrath and due vengeance; in sliort, by the sentence of heaven and by the suffrage of conscience within, condemned to punishment unavoidable, and to intolerable misery; man, I say, lying in so desperately uncomfortable a condition, God's infinite goodness regarded his poor Aii ra-xay- creature, his bowels of compassion yearned toward him, a Luke!. »8. desire °f relieving sprang up in his will; thence was he moved to provide such a remedy, suitable and sufficient for his delivery; for the removing all those mischiefs and curing all those distempers: the main source of all this wonderful performance, (as of all other providential dispensations and works, ad extra,) was that most excellent perfection of God, which, in regard to this matter, is Tit. Hi. 4. sometime termed ygq;iTt\c, benignity, or bounty; implying Eph!Vi!V ^e great benefit and advantage we do thence receive; Heb.il. 9. sometimes grace, or favour, signifying the pure freeness in a4.' dispensing it, without any design of profit to himself, or 2 Cor. viii. any desert on our part, (By the grace of God he tqfted Eph. ii. 8, death for every man;) sometimes mercy, denoting our bad £,'.'■"-■ . deserts, or obnoxiousness to justice and punishment; someLuke i. 78. times pity, signifying the great need we had thereof, by Heb. ii! 17. reason of our extreme distress and misery. Commonly also it is, by the most obliging and endearing name styled love, and philanthropy, intimatirig the earnest regard and benevolence God had to us as his creatures, and as caiTim.ii.6.pable of being benefited and bettered by him; Herein, Rom v.*8. k'^1 ^t- Pavu> God commended his love toward us, in that Eph. ii. 4. we being yet sinners, Chriji died for us; and, God, faith 9 Io.' St. John, loved us, and sent his Son lo be a propitiation for iohn\\\.i6,us. an(j5 God, faith our Lord himself, so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Sonthat the world might le saved by him.

By the way it is worth observing, that there is distinguifhable a threefold love of God toward men, intimated SERM. in Scripture. 1. A general love to mankind,.antecedent XXVII. to the sending our Lord, and his performances, being' the ground of God's designing them; which may be called a love of pity, or mercy toward poor man lying under condemnation and distress; this is that QthavSguyxix To5 o-an^pof ij/xÆv 0eoO, philanthropy of God our Saviour, Tit. Hi. 4. ■ which appeared i?i saving us, (that is, in granting us the capacity and means of salvation,) not by works of righteousness, which we had done, but by his mercy; the love which he commended, in that while we were sinners Chrift Rom. v. 8. died for us. 2. A love, immediately consequent upon our Lord's performances and sufferings, and procured by them; whereby God is so far pleased with men, and reconciled to the world, that he dejireth all men'ssalvation, iTim.ii. A. and offereth to them terms and means thereof; ifi regardTlt" "' n* 10 which our Lord is said to be the Saviour of the world, and Redeemer of all men; of which love St. Paul speaketh, when he faith, that being enemies we were reconciled 1 Tim. ii.6. to God by the death of his Son; and that God was »»ro^,% 10 Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing»Cor. v. 19. theirsns; and that God having made peace by the blood Col. i. so. of his cross, did reconcile by him all things nnto himself, J^glJL' whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven; theRom.xi.oa. which may be called a love of reconciliation and favour;, Tim. ii. 4] or the grace of God, which came by Jesus Chrift.

3. A peculiar love of friendship and complacence, which God beareth toward all those who do sincerely turn and steadfastly adhere to him, repenting of their sins and embracing the Gospel, and persisting in obedience to his laws; such God is every where represented to affect with tenderest love, as his faithful servants, his good friends, and dear children; being especially the Saviour os\ Tim. iv. them: this distinction is observable for our better under-10' standing the passages of scripture concerning this matter; in which God is sometime represented as bearing a general love to all men, sometime as more especially loving the faithful and good men.

The like principles and impulsive causes are said to

SERM. move our Lord to undertake and undergo death for us; XXVII. jt was goodness and love toward us that inclined him Eph. v. a, thereto: Christ, faith St. Paul, loved us, and delivered up *•■ himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God: He loved

i John iii. the Church, and delivered up himself for it. He loved Jjohn xv us, and wajlied us from our fins in his Hood: Hereby we i3.) perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for

~ ' us: I live, faith St. Paul again, by the faith of the Son of

God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Such were the principles disposing, and causes in a sort

moving; to which we may add our sins, as the merito1 Cor. Xt.3. rious causes of our Saviour's death; He died for our fins; }t^bj*' "'He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for c. our iniquities. He died for us, not only as for men, not

Hotn.v.6 only as for wretched men, but as for unjust and sinful •»10'... men; as for enemies, and strangers to God; such as had

1 Pet. iii* .

is. grievously displeased God, had incurred heinous guilt, had

deserved, and were become obnoxious to severest punishment; so standing in need of reconcilement, propitiation, and redemption. Had we been innocent and guiltless, there had wanted sufficient cause, or just reason for his death; God would not have been angry, justice could have had no pretence, or hold; we should not have been liable to suffer ourlelves, nor could he have suffered for

Rom.vi.sa.us. Death is the debt, or wages due to fin; which he therefore paid, because we owed it, and could not dis

Isa. liii. 6, charge it: All we, as it is said in the Prophet, have gone

*> u* astray; we have turned every one lo his own way; and the Lord (therefore) hath laid on him the iniquity of us all: our sins were not only indirect or remote occasions of his death, but did procure it in way of desert: even as they would have been meritorious causes of our death, had he not undertaken for us, so were they the like causes of

a Cor. v. jjjg death, who died for us, and in our stead: who was

31. , ,

iTim.ii. 6. made fin (that is, a sinner, or a sacrifice) for us; who gave ^m.xh.. himself uvrihurpov, a ransom instead of us all; paying his I Cor. vi. blood a price for us, and redeeming us thereby from all Heb. u.ia. the penalties and inconveniencies we were liable to; buying Gal. iii. a-us from the curse, by becoming a curse for us; who had

Honi.iii.ii. a Pet. ii. 1. Eph. i. 7- Col. i. 14.

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