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tion, knows no diminution and increase, on account of the objects, as either many or few, who are ultimately benefited by him. To suppose that the design of God respecting a limited number, who shall be finally happy, can alter the nature of the sacrifice itself, or even the extent of its intrinsic efficacy, seems highly derogatory both to God and the Redeemer.
§ 17. It does not appear to me, that we are authorized by scripture to regard the sacrifice of Christ as our redemption itself, so much as that by which we have redemption; or, with which we are, or may be redeemed. It is the meritorious cause, the grand means, the inestimable price, and the divine foundation of our Redemption. And so are his incarnation, and his perfect obedience, as well as his death. It is that without which there was no remission, no justification, no eternal salvation. It is a foundation of infinite worth, and of unbounded extent, both in itself considered, and as the medium of moral government conducted by a merciful sovereign and an equitable ruler and judge.
§ 18. Redemption, properly speaking, and in scripture usage, is deliverance from something, which must needs be effected by some means. Thus Israel was redeemed from Egyp
tian bondage by miraculous power;
captive is released from confinement by price, exchange, or force : and the church of Christ is redeemed from all evil, guilt, sin, satan, and hell, by the acts of Christ, his federal engagement, incarnation, spotless obedience, his voluntary sufferings, bloodshedding, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, the power of his Spirit, and his mighty energy at the resurrection. The price, or meritorious cause, was his humiliation ; by virtue of which, in his exalted state, he actually redeems by his power. And all the members of his mystical body, from the beginning, were redeemed by divine power on the credit of that humiliation unto death of the promised Messiah. No sinner, therefore, can be properly said to be redeemed until he is personally delivered from some enemy or evil, by the interposition of an adequate price, and the exertion of an adequate power.
Price without power, is but a preparation, provision,
, or means, without any effect or saving benefit; and power without a price, is not worthy of justice or wisdom, the holiness of God's nature or the honour of his moral government.
19. Here it is proper to notice the design of God in the appointment of an atoning sacrifice. And for illustrating this important point, it appears to me of great use to recollect the
twofold character of God, that of an equitable governor, and that of an arbitrary dispenser of benefits; in other words, a Judge and a Sorereign.
In both characters God is supreme; having none above him, in whatever capacity he acts. The reader therefore should be aware, that I do not use the terms sovereign and sovereignty, as synonymous with supreme and supremacy. In all my discussions on these subjects, I consider sovereignty, when applied to the supreme Being, as expressive of the arbitrary, pleasure of a benefactor; because in no other capacity can he exercise arbitrary plea
He is supreme in the exercise of his justice, in judgments and punishments; but not arbitrary, or without a just cause, or demerit in the object. When he acts as supreme ruler and judge, his proceedings are founded in equity; but when he acts as a sovereign, his proceedings are founded in favour, dispenseel with wisdom.
$. 20. As it is evident from the whole tenor of scripture, and from the nature of the case, that God acts in these twofold characters towards his rational creatures; it follows, that it is worthy of him to have corresponding designs. Let us apply this to the mediation of Christ, and the price of Redemption. As a Governor, I humbly conceive, his design in
this great and glorious medium of happiness, was to lay an adequate foundation for every human subject of his government, on which he may hope for the favour of God; and on which he may seek remission of sin, justification, holiness, happiness,-in one word salvation, on the terms prescribed; terms worthy of God and our rational nature. But on the rejection or neglect of these terms, the sinner has no one to blame but himself, and the supreme ruler will appear clear and glorious when he judges and condemns him for neglecting so great salvation.
§ 21. But when we consider the design of God in the character of a Sovereign, we may regard the same ohject, the invaluable price of redemption, as an adequate foundation for actually redeeming from all evil those who are eventually saved; and for imparting to them the influence of the Spirit, whereby they comply with the terms proposed, and enjoy the promised blessings. As God does nothing without design, and without an adequate ground for it; and as forming a vital union with Christ, a spiritual renovation by the Holy Spirit, upholding the soul in the midst of temptations and formidable dangers, and finally investing soul and body with eternal life and glory, are the acts of his sovereign pleasure; his design,
I apprehend, in substituting the atoning sacrifice, was to lay a suitable basis for these acts.
22. Thus the atoning sacrifice is one, unchangeably the same. In whatever light we consider the divine character, compared with the actual state of mankind, it is an adequate basis of reconciliation, and of the divine proceedings towards them. Viewing them as morally free, and accountable agents, what can be desired by them more suitable to their wants? Through this medium they are encouraged, invited, requested, commanded with awful denunciations, to seek pardon and peace, grace and glory, by compliance with the most reasonable terms-by casting away the arms of rebellion, by penitential submission, by cordial belief in the divine testimony concerning Christ, by returning to their allegiance, and by resigning themselves to the direction and government of him who has all power in heaven and earth. “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” But, he who obeyeth not the voice of this prophet shall be condemned and cut off. “These mine enemies who would not that I should rule over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me.”
$ 28. But it is a humbling and awful fact, that man is not only “far gone from original