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end of this commission, or delegation, which he had from the Father, seems to be to subserve this
particular design of redemption; and therefore, when that design is fully accomplished, the commission will cease, and Christ will deliver it up to the Father, from whom he received it.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE WHOLE.
I proceed now to some improvement of the whole that has been said.
I. Hence we may learn how great a work is this of redemption. We have now, though in a very imperfect manner, considered it, in its whole progress, from its beginning after the fall to its consummation at the end of the world. We have seen how God has carried on this building, by a long succession of wonderful works, advancing it higher and higher from one age to another, till the top-stone is laid. And now let us consider how great this work is. Do men, when they behold some great edifice, admire its magnificence; how well may we admire the greatness of this building of God, which he builds up age after age! There are three things exhibited to us in what has been said, which especially show the greatness of the work of redemption.
1. The greatness of those particular cvents, and
dispensations of providence by which it is accomplished. How great are those things which God has done, which are but so many parts of this great work! What great things were done in the world to prepare the way for Christ's coming to purchase, and what great things were done in the actual purchase of redemption! What a wonderful thing was accomplished to put Christ in an immediate capacity for this purchase—his incarnation, that God should become man! And what great things were done in that purchase, that a person, who is the eternal Jehovah, should live upon earth for four or five and thirty years, in a mean, despised condition, thát he should spend his life in such labors and sufferings, and at last die upon the cross! And what great things have been done to accomplish the success of Christ's redemption ! what great things to put him into a capacity to accomplish this success! For this purpose he rose from the dead and ascend. ed into heaven, and all things were made subject to him. How many miracles have been wrought, what mighty revolutions have been brought about in the world already, and how much greater shall be brought about in order to it!
2. The number of those great events by which God carries on this work, shows the greatness of the work. Those mighty revolutions are so many as to fill up many ages.
The particular wonderful events by which the work of creation was carried on filled up six days; but the great dispensations by which the work of redemption is carried on, are so many that they fill up at least six or seven thousand years, as we have reason to conclude from the word of God. There were great things wrought
in this affair before the flood, and in the flood the world was once destroyed by water, and God's church was so wonderfu ly preserved from it in order to carry on this work. And after the flood, what great things did God work relating to the resettling of the world, to the building of Babel, the dispersion of the nations, the shortening of the days of man's life, the calling of Abraham, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and that long series of wonderful providences relating to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; and those wonders in Egypt and at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, and in Ca. naan in Joshua's time, and by a long succession of wonderful providences from age to age towards the nation of the Jews.
What great things were wrought by God, in so often overturning the world before Christ came, to make way for his coming! What great things were done also in Christ's time, and after that in overturning Satan's kingdom in the heathen empire, and in so preserving his church in the dark times of Popery, and in bringing about the Reformation! How many great and wonderful things will be effected in accomplishing the glorious times of the church, and at Christ's last coming on the day of judgment, in the destruction of the world, and in carrying the whole church into heaven!
3. The glorious issue of this whole work, in the perfect and eternal destruction of the wicked, and in the consummate glory of the righteous. And now let us once more take a view of this building, now all is finished and the top-stone laid. It appeared in a glorious height in the apostles' time, and much more glorious in the time of Constantine, and will appear much more glorious still after the fall of Antichrist; but at the consummation of all things, it appears in an immensely more glorious height than ever before. Now it appears in its greatest magnificence, as a complete lofty structure, whose top reaches to the heaven of heavens; a building worthy of the great God, the King of kings.
And from what has been said, we may infer that the work of redemption is the greatest of all God's works of which we have any notice, and it is the end of all his other works. It appears plainly from what has been said, that this is the principal of all God's works of providence, and that all are subordinate to the great work of redemption. We see that all the revolutious in the world are to sub. serve this grand design. This shows how much greater the work of redemption is than the work of creation; because it is the end of it, as the use of a house is the end of building it. But the work of redemption is the sum of all God's works of providence; all are subordinate to it: so the work of the new creation is more excellent than the old. So it ever is, that when one thing is removed by God to make way for another, the new one excels ihe old. Thus the temple excelled the tabernacle; the new covenant the old; the new dispensation of the Gospel the dispensation of Moses; the throne of David the throne of Saul; the priesthood of Christ the priesthood of Aaron; the new Jerusalem the old; and so the new creation far excels the old.
God has used the creation for no other purpose but to subserve the designs of this work. To answer this end, he has created and disposed of mankind, the angels, the earth, the highest heavens. God
created the world to provide a spouse and a kingdom for his Son; and the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, and the spiritual marriage of the spouse to him, is what the whole creation labors and travails in pain to bring to pass. This work of redemption is so much the greatest of all the works of God, that all others are to be regarded either as parts of it, or appendages to it, or are some way reducible to it; and so all the decrees of God some way or other belong to that eternal covenant of redemption which was between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world. Every decree of God is some way or other reducible to that covenant. And seeing this work of redemption is so great, we need not wonder that the angels desire to look into it. And we need not wonder that so much is made of it in Scripture—that it is so much insisted on in the histories, and prophecies, and songs of the Bible, for the work of redemption is the great subject of the whole-its doctrines, its promises, its types, its songs, its histories, and its prophecies.
II. Hence we may learn how God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all things. Such are the characters and titles we find often ascribed to him in Scripture. Isa. 41 : 4. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.” And particularly does the Scriptura ascribe such titles to God, where it speaks of providence as it relates to and is summed up in the great work of redemption. Isa. 44: 6, 7, and 48:9-12. Therefore, when Christ reveals the future great events of providence relating to his church and people to his disciple John, ke often reveals himself