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4. That God's free grace is more gloriously demonstrated, in the redemption of the world through a price, than it would have been, if he had only freely and arbitrarily remitted to them their offences and delivered them from eternal death, without requiring any satisfaction.
And this will appear most clearly, if we consider but these Two things.
(I) Who the Person is, that is appointed our Surety and our Hansom.
Is it an angel? truly, if it were, this had been wonderful love, that God should part with so bright and glorious an attendant, send him down to earth, cruciate and torment him for the sins of such vile worms as we are. But, oh astonishment! when, not an angel, but the God of Angels: not a servant, but a Son, yea the Son of his Eternal Love and Delights, is, by the Father himself, appointed to such unspeakable miseries and dolours; and thrust under the sword of justice, when it was just falling upon us, only that he might ward off the blow, and save us from so great and inevitable a ruin, though it was to the death and ruin of his Only Son! Now judge, yourselves, whether it be not infinitely more expressive of the divine love, to save us by devoting his Own Son to be an execration and a sacrifice for us, than if he had only, out of his absolute prerogative, pardoned our sins, and, without more expence or difficulty, received us up into glory. This, indeed, had been grace; but it had been more thrifty and sparing, than that method, which God hath now designed for our salvation, through the blood and sufferings of Jesus Christ. And, therefore, the Scripture every where lays an accent and emphasis upon this: Rom. viii. 32. He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all: and, John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son to save it. God lay under no necessity of saving us at all, and much less lay he under any necessity of saving us in so chargeable a manner as by the death of Christ: but yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; to make his soul an offering for sin; and to cause to meet together upon him, all our iniquities and all his plagues and curses. And wherefore was this? not only that justice might be satisfied, but that mercy might also be satisfied; and free love and grace might be glorified in such a stupendous expression of it. The divine wisdom approves of this way of redemption, because divine love dictates it to be most advantageous to commend itself unto us: and that ever-adored design of a Mediator took place in God's eternal councils, that it might be a means, as well for the demonstration of mercy, as for the satisfaction of justice.
(2) That God himself furnished and enabled our Redeemer to pay down the whole of that price, which he exacted from him.
For the Son of God had not been passible, had he not become the Son of Man. He had not been wounded, nor buffeted, nor crucified, nor bled, nor died: he had not had any stock nor treasury of merits to have ransomed us; had he not taken upon him the form of a servant, had he not appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh. And, whence had he this, but only of God's providing? Heb. x. 5. A body hast thou prepared me. Now is it not as much free grace, to furnish our Surety with means and abilities to make satisfaction, as to forgive us without requiring any satisfaction at all? Yea, let me add, that free grace is much more glorious, inasmuch as the price with which our Redeemer is furnished, is more than sufficient to pay the debt.
And thus you see, that the intervention of a price is no derogation at all from the freeness of God's grace; yea, rather, this method of redeeming us mightily enhances his mercy, and makes it more rich and glorious. And therefore it is very observable, how the Scripture joins these two together, Free Grace and the Purchased Redemption, as if it would on purpose stop the mouths of those, who, by pleading the inconsistency of these, seek to undermine the greatest support of all our faith and hope, and the most dear and precious truth of the Gospel, I mean the satisfaction of Christ for our sins. See Rom. iii. 24. We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: and, Eph. i. 1. In him we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his gra£e. What can be more express, to reconcile the grace vouchsafed by God, with the price paid for it by Christ? it is free grace, that justifies us; but yet we are justified through redemption: we are redeemed through his blood; but yet this is likewise according to the riches of his grace. And indeed both are easily accommodated: it is of price and purchase, in respect of Christ; but it is of gift and free grace, in respect of us: free, in that God was pleased to accept a Surety for us; and much more free, in that this Surety was his Son.
And, so much, for the Third Inquiry.
iv. The Fourth is, What We Are Redeemed From, by that price, which Jesus Christ hath paid down for us.
This I shall briefly shew you, in these following particulars.
1. We are redeemed from the dread Wrath and Vengeance of God.
And what an inestimable mercy is this! Vengeance follows a sinner close at the heels, pursues him through all the threatenings of the Law, brandishes its flaming sword over his head, and is ready every moment to plunge it into his very heart. The poor guilty sinner trembles, under the direful expectation of that fiery indignation, which will for ever consume him : he flies, but knows not whither; is destitute of hope, as he is of help. Now, in this forlorn and desperate condition, for one that might shew unto him a City of Refuge, and guide his trembling steps, and his amazed soul into it! now, for a messenger of peace, an interpreter, one of a thousand, that might declare unto man his righteousness! It is done, O soul: Christ Jesus meets the avenger of blood in his pursuit of thee, offers himself to his sword, falls and dies under his hand; whilst thou fliest into thy refuge, and art free both from thy fears and dangers. We find the high-priest, under the Law, a notable type of Christ in this particular: for the slayer was to abide in the City of Refuge till the death of the high-priest, and then to be set at liberty: Numb. xxxv. 28: so, by the death of Jesus Christ our H'gh-Priest, we are set at liberty, and may' walk in safety, being secured and warranted from the wrath of the avenger. Indeed, the wrath and justice of God is the most dreadful and formidable enemy we can have; but, even this enemy, thy Saviour hath satisfied and reconciled: he hath bought out thy peace for thee; and now thou mayest safely treat with justice itself, as thy friend and patron. The divine wrath is pacified; and God is more contented and recompensed by what thy Redeemer hath suffered for thee, than if he had haled thee forth to suffer in thine own person. God infinitely more acquiesceth in the safferings of his Eternal Son, than he could have done in thine: for thine could have paid his justice but by small parcels at a time, and therefore must have endured eternally; but Christ Jesus paid down the whole sum and debt at once, so that justice could no longer be so if it did not perfectly free us who believe from any farther obligation to wrath and punishment. It is Jesus, saith the Apostle, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come: 1 Thes. i. 10. And therefore, 0 doubting and trembling Christian, be not so injurious to thy God, as to fear he will revenge those sins upon thee, for which thy Redeemer hath so fully satisfied: thou mayest go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God hath accepted thee: he is at peace with thee, and smiles upon thee. But, if thy conscience still lour, and speak nothing but thunders and threatenings, tell it that thou hast a PeaceMaker: the blood of Jesus, shed upon the cross, hath pacified God; and his blood, sprinkled upon thy conscience, will likewise atone and pacify it towards thee.
2. We are redeemed/row under the Slavery and Vassalage of the Devil.
He is that mighty tyrant, that hunts after our souls to destroy them; that great dragon, that casts out of his mouth whole floods of persecutions and temptations to overwhelm us. And, if his rage be so inveterate against us here on earth, how implacable, think you, would his malice be towards us in hell! how would he triumph in our eternal perdition, who is now so aborious and solicitous to procure it! But, thanks be unto God, who hath delivered us from the snare of the fowler; so that now, through the redemption purchased for us by Christ our Lord, we may safely defy his spite, and contemn all the poor and impotent effects of it.
His power is seen chiefly in three things; in tempting, in accusing, in tormenting. But, by the virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, and the price that he hath paid for our redemption, this threefold power is either wholly taken from him, or else much abated.
(1) His Tempting power is restrained and cut short.
He can tempt us no farther, than he hath a permission given him by that God, who hath promised, that we shall not be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, or that he will make a way for us to escape. We see what manacles are upon him, when he must first petition God before he could stretch forth his hand against Job, or touch any thing that he had. And, therefore, O Christian, be confident, that, if he cannot touch thy body or estate, much less, shall he touch thy soul and thy conscience by his horrid temptations and injections, without the special leave of God. And, in all his temptations, suppose tbem never so violent, if thou be but true to thyself, they shall all redound more to his shamcand disappointment, than to thine. If thou canst but resist them, and, with a holy scorn and disdain cast back his fiery darts in his face, and keep close to thy duty and allegiance, all his temptations shall but fall upon himself, and be reckoned as his sins, and only thy troubles.
(2) His Accusing power is rebuked.
Thus, when Satan comes with a vehement accusation against Joshua, Zech. iii. 2. The Lord rebuke thee, 0 Satan; even tht Lord, that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Our Redeemer will be our advocate: and though, according to the terms of the first Covenant of Works, which requires perfect and spotless obedience, his accusations will most of them be found true against us; yet, according to the Covenant of Grace, which requires faith and sincerity, they will be found malicious and impertinent: and our Redeemer will fetch us off with the loud applause of saints and angels.
(3) His Tormenting power shall be wholly abolished.
The great end and design of the Devil is, only that he might train us into that dark region, where himself hath the sole jurisdiction, there to satiate his revenge upon us in our eternal torments. But Christ, our Redeemer, hath destroyed this power of the Devil: he hath ransacked this dark shop, and broken in pieces all his horrid racks and instruments of cruelty; so that, unless we ourselves will, not a soul of us shall ever fall into the hands of that merciless executioner.
3. We are redeemedyhwj the Power of Sin.
And that, both from its reigning, and likewise from its condemning power.
(1) From its Reigning power.
It is true, that we cannot, in this life, be freed totally from its molestations. It is like the leprosy, that hath eaten so deep into the walls, that it can never be perfectly cleansed till the house itself be destroyed and demolished. But, yet, every true Christian is free from the dominion of it. It may tumultuate and rebel in the best; for we find a law in our members, warring against the law in our minds; many uproars, bandyings, and intestine dissentions: but, yet, it hath lost the sovereignty over them; and is now, not a commander, but a rebel.
(2) We are redeemed, likewise, from the Condemning power of sin.
The other freedom from sin is, by the Spirit of Christ, working mightily in us; but this is by the merits of Christ, effectually applied unto us: Rom. viii. 1. There is now no condemnation it