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advantage to his doctrine of self-denial, and contempt of the world. The captain of our salvation, that he might draw off our affections from the world, and Mew us how little the things of it are to be valued, would himself have no share in it: Matth. viii. 20. The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man hath not where tolay his head. The mean circumítances of his condition were very eminently for the advantage of his defign; for had he not been stripped of all worldly accommodations, he could not have been so free from suspicion of a worldly interest and design ; nay, he could not have been so considerable ; he was really greater for his meanness. The very Heathen did account this true greatness, (as we find in Aristotle) not to admire the pleasures, and greatness, and pomp of the world. And that his meanness might be no disadvantage to him, those evidences that he gave of his divinity in the wonderful things that he did, rendered bim considerable, and gained more reverence and authority to his doctrine, than his meanness could bring contempt upon it.
Besides, the manner of his conversation was a very great advantage to him ; he was of a very sweet and conversable and obliging temper ; and by this means he did gain upon the people, and was acceptable to them ; and thus he did apply himself to them in the most human ways, to make way
for the entertainment of his doctrine. The miracles that he wrought, did confirm his doctrine beyond all exception, as being a divine testiinony, and setting a feal of God to the truth of it; yet because many were blinded with prejudice, and though they did see, yet would not see, Christ, the wisdom of God, did so order the business of his miracles, as to make them human ways of winning upon them, for they were generally such as were beneficial ; he healed all manner of diseases and maladies by this miraculous powe er , and so his miracles did not only tend to confirm his doctrine, as they were miracles, but to make way for entertainment of it, as they were benefits; this was a sensible demonstration to them, that he intend.
ed them good, because he did them good ; they would easily believe, that he, who healed their bodies, would not harm their souls. This for his life.
III. His death, which was the lowest step of his humiliation, and the consummation of his sufferings. Now the death of Christ did eminently contribute to this design of our redemption. The death of Christ did not only expiate the guilt of sin, and pacify conscience, by making plenary satisfaction to the divine justice ; but did eminently contribute to the killing of sin in us : Rom. vi. 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the bodry, of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we might not serve fin. Rom. viii. 3. God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for fin (that is, by being a sacrifice for sin) cordemned fin in the flesh. The death of Christ convinceth sin to be a great evil ; and doth condemn it, because the impartial justice of God did fo feverely punish it in his own Son, when he appeared in the person of a finner ; and this is the most powerful arguinent to us to crucify sin, that it crucified our Saviour. That so innocent and holy a person should suffer so cruel and ignominious a death" for our sins, should set us for ever against it, and make us hate it with a perfect hatred.
The circumstances of Christ's sufferings are with admirable wisdom fitted for the conquering of sin and satan. Sin came by the woman : The seed of the woman suffers for sin ; and by suffering, conquers it. Sin began in the garden ; and there our Saviour began his sufferings for fin. Sin came by the tree ; and Christ bears the curse of it in hanging upon the tree, and crucifies it by his cross.
And as he conquered sin, so he overcame satan by his own arts. The Devil found Christ in the likeness of a man, he judged him mortal, and his great design was to procure his death, and get him into his grave., Christ permits him to bring about his delign; he lets him enter into Judas ; he lets the Jews crucify, and put him into his grave, and roll a great ftone upon it : But here his divine wisdom appears,
in ruining the Devil by his own design, and snaring him in the works of his own hands, Heb. ii. 14. By death he destroys him that had the power of death; that is, the Devil.
I know the sufferings of Christ were, by the wise of the world, made the great objection against the wisdom of this dispensation ; the cross of Christ was to the Greeks foolishness; and yet the wiseft of them had determined otherwise in general, though not in this particular case. Plato (in the second book of his Commonwealth) saith, “ That if a man may be “ a perfect pattern of justice and righteousness, and “ be approved by God and men, he must be strip“ped of all the things of this world , he must be
poor and disgraced, and be accounted a wicked " and unjust man ; he must be whipped, and tor« mented, and crucified as a malefactor ;" which is, as it were, a prophetical description of our Saviour's fufferings. And Arrian, in his Epict. describing a man fit to reform the world, whom he calls the a. poftle, the messenger, the preacher, and minister of God, saith, " He must be without house and har« bour, and worldly accommodations ; muit be “ armed with such patience for the greatest suffer
ings, as if he were a stone, and devoid of sense « he must be a spectacle of misery, and contempt « to the world.” So that, by the acknowledgment of these two wise heathens, there was nothing in the sufferings of Christ that was unbecoming the wisdom of God, and improper to the end and design of Christ's coming into the world , besides, that they served a
further end, which they did not dream of, the fatis. fying of divine justice.
Secondly, His exaltation. The several parts of which, his resurrection, and ascension, and fitting at the right hand of God, were eminently subfervient to the perfecting and carrying on of this design.
The resurrection of Christ is the great confirmation of the truth of all that he delivered, Rom. 1. 4. declared to be the Son of God with power, opro lévtos vis Osă ev durduery by the resurrection from the dead. This great miracle of his resurrection from the dead,
did determine the controversy, and put it out of all doubt and queftion, that he was the Son of God. And then his afcenfion, and fitting at the right hand of God, this gives us the assurance of a blefied immortality, and is a demonstration of a life to come, and a pledge of everlasting glory and happiness. And can any thing tend more to the encouragement of obedience, and to make us dead to the pleasures and enjoyments of this life, than the assurance of eternal life and happiness?
And then the consequents of his exaltation, they do eminently conduce to our recovery.
The send ing of the Holy Ghost to lead us into all truth, to sanctify us, to aslift us, and to comfort us under the greatelt troubles and afflictions; and the powerful intercession of Chriít in our behalf, and his return to judgment ; the expectation whereof, is the great 'argument to repentance, and holiness of life: Acts xvii. 30, 31. And the times of this ignorance God winkede at, but now commandeth all men every-where to repent : Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he bath ordained ; whereof he hath given af surance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And thus I have endeavoured to prove, that the redemption of man by Jesus Christ, is a design of admirable wisdom.
The use I shall make of it, is to convince us of the unreasonableness of unbelief, and the folly and madness of impenitency.
First, The unreasonableness of unbelief. The gospel reveals to us the wise counsel and dispensation of God for our redemption ; and those who disbelieve the gospel, they reject the counsel of God against themselves, as it is said of the unbelieving Pharisees and Lawyers, Luke vii. 30. The gospel reveals to us a design so reasonable and full of wisdom, that they who can disbelieve it are desperate persons, devoted to ruin.
i Cor. i. 18. The cross of Christ is to them that perish, foolishness. 2 Cor. iv 3. 4. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lojt; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not, left the light of the glorious go
Spel Spel of Christ, who is the image of God, mould fine into them. The gospel carries so much light and evidence in it, that it cannot be hid from any but such whose eyes are blinded by the Devil and their lufts.
He that will duly weigh and consider things, and look narrowly into this wise dispensation of God, fhall find nothing to object against it ; nay, shall difcover in it the greatest motives and inducements to believe. We are apt to believe any thing that is reasonable, especially if it be for our advantage. Now this wise dispensation of God is not only reasonable in itself, but beneficial to us; it does at once highly gratify our understandings, and satisfy our interest; why should we not then believe and entertain it ?
I. The design of the gospel is reasonable, and gratifies our understandings. And in this respect, the gospel hath incomparable advantages above any other religion. The end of all religion is to advance piety and holiness, and real goodness among men; and the more any religion advanceth these, the more reasonable it is. Now the great incitements and arguments to piety, are the excellency and perfection of the divine nature ; fear of punishment, and hopes of pardon and reward. Now the gospel represents all these to the greatest advantage.
1. It represents the perfections of God to the greateft advantage, especially those which tend most to the promotion of piety, and the love of God in us; his justice and mercy.
(1.) His justice. The gospel represents it inflexible in its rights, and inexorable, and that will not in any case let fin go unpunished. The impartiality of the divine justice appears in this dispensation, that when God pardons the finner, yet he will punish fin so severely in his own Son, who was the surety. Now, what could more tend to discountenance fin, and convince us of the
evil of it? (2.) His mercy. This dispensation is a great demonftration of the mercy, and goodness, and love of God, in fending his Son to dy for finners, and