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how it could be effectuate? For, if one man fin against another, aman might determine; but, if a man fin against Jehovah, who fhall intreat for him? For when an infinite majefty is offended, who among finite creatures is able to fatisfy it, or, What can countervail the king's lofs? Wherewith then shall he come before the Lord, or bow himself before the most bigh God? Will thousands of rams do it, or ten thoufand rivers of oil, or the fruit of the body for the fin of the foul? No, no; facrifice and offering thou wouldft not; for it is impoffible that the blood of bulls or of goats should take away fin, Heb. x. 5. What then, will angels become furety for the fin of man? No, no; tho' they had a will, they have not power, they have but oil enough in their veffels for their own lamps. What then shall be done?« Why, might Peace fay, let us not ftand in a demur; we have infinite Wisdom here prefent with us at this meeting, let us hear her judgment concerning this peaceable propofal, if it be poffible that fuch a perfon can be found in whom we may harmoniously centre at laft. Then WISDOM fits down upon the privy-council bench, and, being full of eyes, does gravely determine this doubtful cafe with a happy iffue: It is expedient, says WisDOM, that one die for the people, that the whole nation of mankind perish not; but he must be fuch a righteous one, that can justify many; yea, he that will undertake this, must be finite, that he may die; and infinite, that he may conquer death, and fatisfy infinite juftice: But lo, there is none fuch to be found among all the creatures that ever God made, neither can fuch an one be found, uniefs the Son of God bimfelf, the fecond perfon of the glorious Trinity, fhall be pleafed, by an unspeakable mystery, to become flesh, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem VOL. II.
them that are under the law, that they may receive the adoption of fons, Gal. iv. 4. That fo when he, that hath no fin, fhall become fin for man; man, who hath no righteousness, may become the righteoufness of God through him, 2 Cor. v. laft: And thus MERCY may be magnified, TRUTH juftified, RIGHTEOUSNESS cleared, JUSTICE fatisfied, PEACE concluded, and all contented. WISDOM having determined how this propofal of peace might be effectuate, all parties hearkned, as it were, with pleasure, and willingly fubfcribed to the happy overture; and then heaven and earth confpired together in folemn thanksgiving, faying, Glory to God in the higheft, on earth peace, and good-will towards men. Thus the jarring attributes of God are now reconciled; and behold, the members of the meeting, that feemed to be at the greatest variance, are embracing one another in their arms; Mercy and truth are met together, &c.
The Second thing was, when and where did these bleffed parties meet together? When we speak of a remarkable meeting, it is ufual to enquire into the time and place of the meeting. Now, the place where, and the time when, as to this wonderful meeting, are two questions, which I put together; for they may both be answered at once, because of their near relation.
ift, Then, in general, the meeting-place, or the place of the meeting, is CHRIST; and the time of the meeting was, when Chrift put himself in our room, or fubftitute himself in the place of the finner, to answer the demands of all the members of the meeting, who had any objection against our falvation, or any thing to lay to our charge. Where then, and when did they meet together and
kifs each other? Why, it was even in Chrift, when he took our law-room, to pay our debt, and purchase our liberty in fuch a manner as mercy and peace might have their interefts advanced, without injury to truth and righteousness; that mercy might have vent to the credit of truth, and peace might be proclaimed to the honour of righteousness, and the finner faved to the fatisfaction of justice. They meet together and embrace each other in him as the furety, the furety of the better teftament, Heb. vii. 22. We were debtors to the mandatory and minatory part of the law, arraigned at the inftance of divine juftice to pay the debt; Chrift fubftitutes himself in our room and comes under the law to pay the whole debt. It is true, the debt was perfonal, and justice had a demand upon the perfon that finned, by virtue of the covenant of works; but that covenant never excluded a furety, tho' it provided none. The law promised life, upon our perfonal obedience; but, in cafe we fail, it revealed no furety to make out an obedience in our room. There behoved indeed to be a fecret reserve in the covenant of works, whereby the perfect obedience of another was not excluded: For, if the covenant of works had abfolutely excluded a furety in our room, then the covenant of grace had been excluded, and our falvation had been impoffible after our fall; but, tho' the covenant of works did not exclude a furety, yet that covenant did neither provide nor reveal a furety: This is done in the covenant of grace, which is Chrift as furety fulfilling for us the covenant of works, in all the articles of it. Now, is truth and faithfulness at any lofs here? No, the truth of the promise and threatning both, of the law of works, is fulfilled. On the one hand, the
promife of eternal life made to perfect obedience; which, tho' we forfeited in our own perfon, yet we recover in the perfon of Chrift; the promise of life upon the ground and condition of perfect obedience being fulfilled to us in him, who hath yielded that perfect obedience in our room: On the other hand, divine truth and faithfulness, in the threatning of the law, which was death, is glorified, in that it is fulfilled upon the furety; while we, who came under the fentence of death in the first Adam, undergo that death in the fecond. Again, is righteoufnefs and juftice at any lofs by this furety in our room? No, no; whether we look upon it as vindictive or retributive juftice, vindictive justice is difplayed in its utmost severity upon Chrift; Awake, O fword, against my shepherd, and the man that is my fellow: And fo the fword is drunk in his blood to infinite fatisfaction. Retributive justice is gloriously displayed alfo, in the finner's being rewarded, juftified, faved upon this ground. It is true, might JUSTICE fay, I could have demanded fatisfaction upon the finner himfelf in his own perfon; but, as I can fuftain no injury to my honour by fuch a furety as this, whom they call EMMANUEL, God-man, fo I find my honour and intereft, instead of being impaired, is advanced by this exchange of perfons: For, tho' I should damn the finner to all eternity, I'll never get fuch full and complete fatisfaction upon any finite creature, as 1 will get by one ftroke of my avenging fword upon that perfon of infinite dignity; and fo it pleafed the Lord to bruife him. Why then, they meet together and embrace one another in him, as a furety; and, if truth and righteoufnefs be both pleafed to the full, the parties cannot but all agree, and embrace each
other. Again they meet together and embrace one another in him, as a facrifice, a facrifice and offering of a sweet smelling favour unto God, Eph. v. 2. Why, be offered up himself by the eternal Spirit. O great! Even by his eternal Godhead; a valuable facrifice indeed! They meet together in him, as a propitiation, Rom. iii. 25. Whom God bath fet forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness, &c. Behold him righteous in fhewing mercy; here is the atonement, the propitiation, that very word which the feptuagint calls the mercy-feat in the old teftament; and it is the word that the poor publican made ufe of, when he was feeking mercy, faying, God be merciful to me a finner, ὁ Θεὸς ἱλάσθη, μοι. remembered this inaigrov, this mercy-feat and propitiation. It is not fimple mercy that he fought, but mercy through a propitiation; he looked to the blood of atonement, to the facrificed lamb of God, faying, Give me mercy for this; by that folemn propitiation, be thou propitious to me. Here it is, that mercy and juftice meet together. They meet together in him, as a ransom, Job xxxiii. 24. Deliver his foul from going down to the pit; I have found a ranfom. In a word they have met together, and kiffed one another in a crucified Chrift, whofe death was the payment of our debt, the punishment of our fin, the price of our redemption, and a purchase of our life, liberty and eternal falvation. Here is the meeting place then of these glorious perfections of God; here is the perfon in whom they centre, that they may be all glorified to the higheft: Mercy, truth, righteoufnels and peace, all are pleafed. Mercy is gratified, and conftitutes him to be the mercy-feat;