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mity of all sorts of sufferings. This hath been the pole-star of the church in all its storms; the guide, the comfort, supportment and encouragement of all those holy souls, who in their several generations, have in various degrees undergone persecution for righteousness' sake, and yet continue eth so to be unto them who are in the same condition.

And I must say, as I have done on some other occasions in the handling of this subject, that a discourse on this one instance of the use of Christ in religion, from the consideration of the person who suffered, and set us this example; of the principle from whence, and the end for which, he did it; of the variety of evils of all sorts he had to conflict withal; of his invincible patience under them all, and immoveableness of love and compassion unto mankind, even his persecutors; the dolorous afflictive circumstances of his sufferings from God and men; the blessed efficacious workings of his faith and trust in God unto the uttermost; with the glorious issue of the whole, and the influence of all these considerations unto the consolation and supportment of the church, would take up more room and time than what is allotted unto the whole of that, whereof it is here the least part. I shall leave the whole under the shade of that blessed promise, • If so be that we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together; for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us;' Rom. viii. 17, 18.

The last thing proposed concerning the person of Christ, was the use of it unto believers, in the whole of their relation unto God, and duty towards him. And the things belonging thereunto, may be reduced unto these general heads:

(1.) Their sanctification, which consisteth in these four things : [1.] The mortification of sin. [2.] The gradual renovation of our natures. [3.] Assistances in actual obedience. [4.] The same in temptations and trials.

(2.) Their justification, with its concomitants and consequents; as, [1.] Adoption. [2.] Peace. [3.] Consolation and joy in life and death. [4.] Spiritual gifts unto the edification of themselves and others. [5.] A blessed resurrection. [6.] Eternal glory.

There are other things which also belong hereunto: as their guidance in the course of their conversation in this world; direction unto usefulness in all states and conditions; patient waiting for the accomplishment of God's promises to the church; the communication of federal blessings unto their families; and the exercise of loving-kindness towards mankind in general; with sundry other concernments of the life of faith of the like importance; but they may be all reduced unto the general heads proposed.

What should have been spoken with reference unto these things, belongs unto these three heads :

1st. A declaration that all these things are wrought in, and communicated unto believers, according to their various natures, by an emanation of grace and power from the person of Jesus Christ, as the head of the church, as he who is exalted and made a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

2dly. A declaration of the way and manner how believers do live upon Christ in the exercise of faith, whereby, according to the promise and appointment of God, they derive from him the whole grace and mercy whereof in this world they are made partakers, and are established in the expectation of what they shall receive hereafter by his power. And that two things do hence ensue: (1st.) The necessity of universal evangelical obedience, seeing it is only in and by the duties of it, that faith is, or can be, kept in a due exercise unto the ends mentioned. (2dly.) That believers do hereby increase continually with the increase of God, and grow up into him who is the head, until they become the fulness of him who filleth all in all.

3dly. A conviction that a real interest in, and participaţion of, these things, cannot be obtained any other way, but by the actual exercise of faith on the person of Jesus Christ.

These things were necessary to be handled at large with reference unto the end proposed. But for sundry reasons, the whole of this labour is here declined. For some of the particulars mentioned, I have already insisted on in other discourses heretofore published, and that with respect unto the end here designed. And this argument cannot be handled as it doth deserve, unto full satisfaction, without an entire discourse concerning the life of faith, which my present design will not admit of.

CHAP. XVI.

An humble inquiry into, and prospect of, the infinite wisdom of God, in the

constitution of the person of Christ, and the way of salvation thereby. From the consideration of the things before insisted on, we may endeavour, according unto our measure, to take a view of, and humbly adore, the infinite wisdom of God, in the holy contrivance of this great 'mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. As it is a spiritual evangelical mystery, it is an effect of divine wisdom, in the redemption and salvation of the church, unto the eternal glory of God. And as it is a great mystery,' so it is the mystery of the 'mani. fold wisdom of God,'Eph. iii. 9, 10. that is, of infinite wisdom working in great variety of actings and operations, suited unto, and expressive of, its own infinite fulness : for herein were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' laid up, and laid out; Col. ii. 3. An argument this is, in some parts whereof divers of the ancient writers of the church have laboured, some occasionally, and some with express design. I shall insist only on those things which Scripture light leads us directly unto. The depths of divine wisdom in this glorious work, are hid from the eyes of all living. * God alone understandeth the way thereof; and he knoweth the place thereof;' as he speaks, Job xxviii. 21. 23. Yet is it so glorious in its effects, that destruction and death say, We have heard the fame of it with our ears ;' ver. 22. The fame and report of this divine wisdom reach even unto hell. Those who eternally perish, shall hear a fame of this wisdom in the glorious effects of it, towards the blessed souls above, though some of them would not believe it here in the light of the gospel, and none of them can understand it there, in their everlasting darkness. Hence the report which they have of this wisdom is an aggravation of their misery.

These depths we may admire and adore, but we cannot comprehend : ‘For who hath known the mind of the Lord herein, or with whom took he counsel ? Concerning the original causes of his counsels in this great mystery, we can only say, 'O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.' This alone is left unto us in the way of duty, that in the effects of them, we should contemplate on their excellency, so as to give glory to God, and live in a holy admiration of his wisdom and grace. For to give glory unto him, and admire him is our present duty, until he shall come eternally to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe;" 2 Thess. i. 10.

We can do no more but stand at the shore of this ocean, and adore its unsearchable depths. What is delivered from them by divine revelation we may receive as pearls of price, to enrich and adorn our souls. “For secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed, unto us, that we may do the words of his law;' Deut. xxix. 29. We shall not therefore in our inquiry into this great mystery, intrude ourselves into the things which we have not seen, but only endeavour a right understanding of what is revealed concerning it. For the end of all divine revelations is our knowledge of the things revealed, with our obedience thereon; and unto this end, things revealed do belong unto us.

Some things in general are to be premised unto our present inquiry.

1. We can have no view or due prospect of the wisdom of God in any of his works, much less in this of sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,' or the constitution of his person, and the work of redemption to be accomplished thereby, unless we consider also the interest of the other holy properties of the divine nature in them. Such are his holiness, his righteousness, his sovereign authority, his goodness, love, and grace.

There are three excellencies of the divine nature principally to be considered in all the external works of God. (1.) His goodness, which is the communicative property thereof. This is the eternal fountain and spring of all divine communications. Whatever is good in and unto any creature, is an emanation from divine goodness. He is good, and he doth good.' That which acts originally in the divine nature, unto the communication of itself in any blessed or gracious effects unto the creatures, is goodness.

(2.) Wisdom, which is the directive power or excellency of the divine nature. Hereby God guides, disposeth, orders,

and directs all things unto his own glory, in and by their own immediate proper ends; Prov. xvi. 4. Rev. iv. 11,

(3.) Power, which is the effective excellency of the divine nature, effecting and accomplishing what wisdom doth design and order,

Whereas wisdom therefore is that holy excellency or power of the Divine Being, wherein God designs, and whereby he effects the glory of all the other properties of his nature, we cannot trace the paths of it in any work of God, unless we know the interest and concernment of those other properties in that work. For that which wisdom principally designs, is the glorification of them. And unto this end the effective property of the divine nature, which is almighty power, always accompanies, or is subservient unto, the directive or infinite wisdom, which is requisite unto perfection in operation. What infinite goodness will communicate ad extra, what it will open the eternal fountain of the Divine Being and all-sufficiency to give forth; that infinite wisdom designs, contrives, and directs to the glory of God; and what wisdom so designs, infinite power effects. See Isa. xl. 13-15. 17. 28.

2. We can have no apprehensions of the interest of the other properties of the divine nature in this great mystery of godliness, whose glory was designed in infinite wisdom, without the consideration of that state and condition of our own wherein they are so concerned. That which was de signed unto the eternal glory of God in this great work of the incarnation of his Son, was the redemption of mankind, or the recovery and salvation of the church. What hath been disputed by some concerning it, without respect unto the sin of man, and the salvation of the church, is curiosity, and indeed presumptuous folly. The whole Scripture constantly assigneth this sole end of that effect of divine goodness and wisdom, yea, asserts it as the only foundation of the gospel ; John iii. 16. Wherefore unto a due contemplation of divine wisdom in it, it is necessary we should consider what is the nature of sin, especially of that first sin, wherein our original apostacy from God did consist; wha' was the condition of mankind thereon; what is the concernment of the holy God therein, on the account of the blessed properties of his nature; what way was suited unto

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VOL. XII.

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