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of mankind are gathered into their society. Christ by the work of redemption, gathers in the elect of mankind to join the angels of heaven. Eph. i. 10. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him. Men are brought in to join with the angels in their work of praising God; to partake with them of their enjoyments. The angels greatly rejoice at this. They rejoice when but one
person is gathered in, as Christ teaches us, Luke xv. 10. Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. The heavenly society is made more completc by this accession of the saints to it; they contribute to ihe happiness of each other. The angels rejoice that others are added to join them and assist them in praising God. And thus the vacancy by the fall of angels is filled up.
(4.) It tends to make the angels to prize their happiness the more, when they see how much it costs to purchase the same happiness for man. Though they knew so much, yet they are not incapable of being taught more and more ibe worth of their own happiness. For when they saw how much it cost to purchase the same happiness for man, even the precious blood of the Son of God; this tended to give them a great sense of the infinite value of their happiness. They never saw such a testimony of the value of the eternal enjoyment of God before.
Thus we have shewn, how the wisdom of God appears in the work of redemption in the good ends attained thereby, with respect to God, men, and good angels.
But are there any good ends obtained with respect to bad angels, God's grand enemies ? Undoubtedly there are, as may appear from the few following considerations. Satan and his angels rebelled against God in heaven, and proudly presumed to try their strength with his. And when God by his almighty power overcame the strength of Satan, and sent him like lightning from heaven to hell with all his army; Satan still hoped to get the victory by subtilty. Though he could not overcome by power, yet lie loped to succeed by craft; and so by his subtilty to disappoint God of his end in creating this lower world.—God therefore has shewn his great wisdom in overthrowing Satan's design. He has disappointed the devices of the crafty, so that they cannot perform their enterprize; he has carried their counsel headlong.
1. Satan thought to have disappointed God of his glory, which he designed in creating this lower world; and to make mankind be for his own glory, in setting op himself god over them. Now Christ, by what he has done in the work of redemption, bas overthrown Satan; and utterly frustrated bim as to this end. God is exceedingly glorified in the elect, to the surprise of angels and devils. God by redemption has all the glory that he intended, and more than either men, angels, or devils imagined that God intended. God might have glorified his justice in the destruction of all mankind. But it was God's design in creating the world, to glorify his goodness and love; and not only to be glorified eventually, but to be served and glorified actually by men. Satan intended to frustrate God of this end; but, by the redemption of Jesus Christ his design is confounded.
2. Another design of the devil, was to gratify his envy in the utter destruction of mankind. But, by the redemption of Jesus Christ, this malicious design of Satan is crossed : because all the elect are brought to their designed happiness; which is much greater than ever Satan thought it was in God's heart to bestow on man. And though some of mankind are left to be miserable, yet that does not answer Satan's end; for this also is ordered for God's glory. No more are left miserable than God saw meet to glorify his justice upon.
Onė end why God suffered Satan to do what he did in procuring the fall of man, was that bis Son might be glorified in conquering that strong, subtle, and proud spirit, and triumphing over him. How glorious doth Christ Jesus appear in baffling and triumphing over this proud king of darkness, and all the haughty confederate rulers of hell! How glorious a sight is it to see the meek and patient Lamb of God leading that proud, malicious and mighty enemy in triumph ! What songs doth this cause in heaven! It was a glorious sight in Israel to see David carrying the head of Goliath in triumph to Jerusalem. It appeared glorious to the daughters of Israel, who came out with timbrels and with dances, and sang, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. But how much more glorious to see the son of David, the Son of God, carrying the head of the spiritual Goliath, the champion of the armies of hell, in triumph to the heavenly Jerusalem! It is with a principal view to this, that Christ is called, the Lord of hosts, or armies, and a man of war, Exod. xv. 3.' And Psalm xxiv. 8. Who is this king of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
In this Way of Salvation wonderful Glory redounds to God, as
the Effect of Divine Wisdom.
1. By this contrivance for our redemption, God's greatest dishonour is made an occasion of his greatest glory. Sin is a
thing by which God is greatly dishonoured; the nature of its principle is enmity against God, and contempt of him. And man, by his rebellion, has greatly dishonoured God. But this dishonour, by the contrivance for our redemption, is made an occasion of the greatest manifestation of God's glory that ever was. Sin, the greatest cvil, is made an occasion of the greatest good. It is the nature of a principle of sin that it seeks to dethrone God: but this is hereby made an occasion of the greatest manifestation of God's royal majesty and glory that ever was. By sin, man has slighted and despised God: but this is made an occasion of his appearing the more greatly honourable. Sin casts contempt upon the authority and law of God: but this, by the contrivance for our redemption, is made the occasion of the greatest bonour done to that same authority, and to that very law. It was a greater honour to the law of God that Christ was subject to it, and obeyed it, than if all mankind had obeyed it. It was a greater honour to God's authority that Christ shewed such great respect, and such entire subjection to it, than the perfect obedience of all the angels in heaven. Man by his sin shewed bis enmity against the holiness of God; but this is made an occasion of the greatest manifestation of God's holiness. The holiness of God never appeared to so great a degree, as when God executed vengeance upon his own dear Son.
2. So bas the wisdom of God contrived that those attributes are glorified in man's salvation, whose glory seemed to require his destruction. When man had fallen, several attributes of God seemed to require his destruction. The justice of God requires, that sin be punished as it deserves: but it deserves no less than eternal destruction. God proclaims it as a part of the glory of his nature, that he will in no wise clear the guilty, Exod. xxxiv. 7. The holiness of God seemed to require man's destruction; for God by bis holiness infinitely hates sin. This seemed to require therefore that God should manifest a proportionable hatred of the sinner; and that he should be for ever an enemy unto him. The truth of God seemed also to require man's destruction; for eternal death was what God had threatened for sin, one jot or tittle of which threatening cannot by any means pass away.
But yet so has God contrived, that those very attributes not only allow of man's redemption, and are not inconsistent with it, but they are glorified in it. Even vindictive justice is glorified in the death and sufferings of Christ. The holiness of God, of his holy hatred of sin, that seemed to require man's damnation, is seen in Christ's dying for sinners. So herein also is manifested and glorified the truth of God, in the threatenings of the law.
3. Yea, it is so ordered now that the glory of these attri
butes requires the salvation of those that believe. The justice
of God that required man's damnation, and seemed inconsistent ", with his salvation, now as much requires the salvation of those
that believe in Christ, as ever before it required their damnation. Salvation is an absolute debt to the believer from God, so that he may in justice demand it, on account of what bis surety has done. For Christ has satisfied justice fully for his sin; so that it is but a thing that may be challenged, that God should now release the believer from the punishment; it is but a piece of justice, that the creditor should relcase the debtor, when he has fully paid the debt. And again, the believer may demand eternal life, because it has been merited by Christ, by a merit of condignity. So is it contrived, that that justice that seemed to require man's destruction, now requires his salvation.
So the truth of God that seemed to require man's damnation, now requires his salvation. At the same time that the threatening of the law stands good, there is a promise of eternal life to many who have broken the law. They both stand good at the same time; and the truth of God requires that both should be fulfilled. How much soever they seemed to clash, yet so is the matter contrived in this way of salvation, that both are fulfilled and do not interfere one with another.
At the very time that God uttered the threatening, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die; and at the time that Adam had first eaten the forbidden fruit; there was then an existing promise, that many thousands of Adam's race should obtain eternal life. This promise was made to Jesus Christ, before the world was. What a difficulty and an inconsistence, did there seem to be here? But it was no difficulty to the wisdom of God, that the promise and the threatening should be both fully accomplished to the glory of God's truth in each of them. Psal. lxxxv. 10. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
4. Those very attributes which semed to require man's destruction, are more glorious in his salvation, than they would have been in his destruction. The revenging justice of God is a great deal more manifested in the death of Christ, than it would have been if all mankind had been sufferers to all eternity. If man had remained under the guilt and imputation of sin, the justice of God would not have had such a trial, as it had, when his own Son was under the imputation of sin. If all mankind had stood guilty, and justice had called for vengeance upon them, that would not have been such a trial of the inflexibleness and unchangeableness of the justice of God, as when his own Son, who was the object of his infinite
love, and in whom he infinitely delighted, stood with the imputation of guilt upon him.
This was the greatest trial that could be, to manifest whether God's justice was perfect and unchangeable, or not; whether God was so just that he would not upon any account abate of what justice required; and whether God would have any respect to persons in judgment.
So the majesty of God appears much more in the sufferings of Christ than it would have done in the eternal sufferings of all mankind. The majesty of a prince appears greater in the just punishment of great personages under the guilt of treason, than of inferior persons. The sufferings of Christ have this advantage over the eternal sufferings of the wicked, for impressing upon the minds of the spectators a sense of the dread majesty of God, and his infinite hatred of sin; viz. that the eternal sufferings of the wicked never will be seen actually accomplished, and finished; whereas they have seen that which is equivalent to those eternal sufferings actually fulfilled and finished in the sufferings of Christ. 5. Such is the wisdom of this way
of salvation, that the more any of the elect have dishonoured God, the more is God glorified in this redemption. Such wonders as these are accomplisbed by the wisdom of this way of salvation. Such things as these, if they had been proposed to any created intelligence, would have seemed strange and unaccountable paradoxes, till the counsels of divine wisdom concerning the matter were unfolded.
So sufficient is this way of salvation, that it is not in. consistent with any of God's attributes to save the chief of sinners. However great a sinner any one has been, yet God can, if he pleases, save without any injury to the glory of any one attribute. And not only so, but the more sinful any one has been, the more doth God glorify himself in his salvation. The more doth he glorify his power, that he can redeem one in whom sin so abounds, and of whom Satan has such strong possession.— The greater triumpb has Christ over bis grand adversary, in redeeming, and setting at liberty from his bondage those that were his greatest vassals. The more doth the sufficiency of Christ appear, in that it is sufficient for such vile wretches.
The more is the sovereignty, and boundless extent of the mercy of God manifested, in that it is sufficient to redeem those that are most undeserving. Rom. v. 20. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.