« PreviousContinue »
tation of what is taken away by another, unless he does it of bis own accord, Well, says Christ, though I took it not away, yet I made restitution of the robbery and stealth that was committed; I engaged to do it in the council of peace, "Lo, I come: I delight to do thy will", &c. Again, (5.) We hare here the time when our glorious Immanuel made this reftitution of what he took not away. It was, Then I restored what, &c. when his enemies were destroying him; when they were robbing him of his name, and robbing him of his very life, be restored what was taken away by robbery from men. You will see how low our blefred Lord descended to make this restitution, and when it was ; it was, in the firft verle, when the waters of God's wrath were coming into bis soul, even then, says he, i restored that which I took not away. Now, from the words thus briefly opened, the doctrine that I take notice of is shortly this.
Doct. “ That it was the great design of the Son of God,
when he descended into a state of humiliation here, in this lower world, to make restitution both unto God and unto man, of what he never took away." For as there was a robbery committed upon God and upon man by sin and Satan; so our glorious Redeemer, he makes a restitution of the stolen goods, he restores both to God what was his due, and unto man what he had loft.
Now, in the prosecution of this doctrine, if time and strength would allow, the method that I propose is,
I. To premise two or three things for clearing of the way.
II. To inquire into the stolen goods, what it was that was taken away both from God and man.
III. I would make it appear, that our glorious Immanuel, be takes reftitution of what was taken away both from God and from man; he reftores unto God his due, and unto man his loss.
IV. I would fhew when it was that our Lord did this; for it is said here, I ben I refiored.
V. I would give the reasons why Chrift made this restitution, when he was under no manner of obligation to it, but his own free will. And then,
VI. Lafily, I would make some application of the whole.
I. The firft thing proposed is, to premifs two or three things for clearing of the way. For cleari:g of it you would i consider,
1. That when God made man, he made him a rich man : he bestowed all manner of goods upon him, that were necefsary to make him live comfortably here, and to make him eternally happy hereafter.
2. You would congder, that Satan, by this time, having fallen, like a star, from heaven to earth, when he lighted upon this world, upon this earth, he presently saw man standing and acting in the capacity of God's vic: roy, bearing his image, and having the whole creation in subjection to him. This filled the enemy with envy, and therefore he enters into a resolution, if it were possible, to commit a robbery upon man, and to strike at God's sovereignty through man's Gide; and accordingly,
3. Satar: prevailed upon our first parents, and beguiled them into an eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had discharged them to eat upon the pain of death; and thereby the paction betwixt God and man (I mean the covenant of works) was broken.
4. The covenant of works being broken, and man having entered in:o a rebellion against God with the devil, he justiy forfeited all the spiritual and temporal goods that God bestowed upon him, and likewise loft his title to a happy eternity, and became the enemy's vassal; and thus the enemy robbed him of all the goods that God bestowed upon him.
5. Lastly, The eternal Son of God having a delight in the fons of men, and beholding them in this miserable plight, he enters upon a ti solution that he will take on man's nature as a coat of mail, and that he will in man's nature be avenged upon that serpent that hath beguiled our first parents, and spoiled them of their patrimony. And accordingly, in the fulness of time, he comes, and is manifested to deftroy the works of the devil, and to recover all the stolen goods; he spoiled principalities and powers, and triumphed over them in his cross, and then divides a portion with the great, and the spoil with the strong; and, with a view to this, it is said in this text, Then I restored that which I look not away. And so I come to;
11. The second thing I propofod, and that was, to inquire a little into the robbery that was committed by fin and Satan, both . upon God and upon man.
And, first, To begin with the robbery that was committed upon God. It was the devil's great drift, by tempting man to find in God, to rob God of his glory. God made all things for h: gry, and for his pleasure they are and were created. [ uliole carth, before fin cntcred into it, was full of
his glory; and whenever Adam opened his eyes, and looked abroad through the creation, he saw the glory of God fparkling, as it were, in every creature he cast his eyes upon. Well, the enemy's design was to despoil and rob God of his glory. There is a question put, Mal. iii. 8. " Will a man rob God ?” will a creature adventure to rob his Creator? And yet this wickedness is perpetrate. God is invaded, and his glory is in a great measure taken away, I mean his declarative glory, for it is impossible his essential glory can be invaded.
I will tell you of several things relative to the glory of God, which were attempted to be taken away, and quite obscured and sullied by the sin of man.
1. There was an attempt made to rob God of the glory of his sovereignty, as the great Lord and Lawgiver of heaven and earth. Man, when he finned against God, and brake the law in compliance with the motion of the enemy, what was the language of the deed ? It was, “ We ourselves are lords, and will come no more unto thee;" we will make our own will a law : “Let the Almighty depart from us : for we desire not the knowledge of his way.”.
- 2. There was an attempt to rob him of the glory of his wife dom. The wisdom of God was impeached by the fin of man as a piece of folly, namely, in giving a law to man, that was not worthy to be observed. Sirs, depend upon it, every fin you are guilty of, charges God with folly, and exalts the will and wisdom of the creature, above the will and wisdom of God expressed in this holy law. And what a capital crime is it for poor men to charge God with foolishness !
3. By fin there is an attempt to rob him of the glory of his power, in regard the finner gives a defiance to the Almighty, and, upon the matter, says, he is not able to revenge his quarTel on us, the arm of his power is withered. That is the lane i guage of fin. And then,
4. There is a robbery upon God's holiness, which is one of the most orient and bright pearls of his crown. When the holy law is violated and tranigressed, the language of that action is, God is like ourselves, he approves of our ways. Again,
3. There was an attack upon his justice, and a denying his rectoral power and equity. God says, “ The soul that finneth shall die, that he will by no means acquit the guilty.” Well, but the language of sin is, “ God will not require it,” or he may be pleased or pacified with this or the other peily atonement.
Not to infilt: there was a despising of God's goodness. God gave man a great estate; he gave bim the whole earth, VOL. III.
and would have given him the heavens also, if he had conti nued in his integrity; but yet all that goodness of God was trampled under foot by the sin of man.
Also, there was a denial of the faithfulness of God in the threatening that was denounced against the sin of man, “ IR the day that thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die.” But the language of fin is, God is not true to his-word, he will not surely do it; said Satan, “ Thou shalt not surely die.” Thus you see there was an attempt made to rob God of the glory of all his perfections at once.
Secondly, Let us inquire a little into the goods that were stolen from man by sin and Satan. Here we may see a me. lancholy scene. The glory of the human nature was quite marred by fin. Man was made the top of the creation ; but by sin he was brought below the very beasis that perish, so that, « The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but my people know not me, saith the Lord ; and they do not consider" their obligations to me.
Sin, it robbed man of his light and light. You know what befel Samson when he was taken captive by his enemies, they put out his eyes; so when we fell into the enemies hands, they put out our eyes, and all mankind have been born blind fince that time. Again, fin hath robbed us of our very life, and laid us among the congregation of the dead. - All mankind are a dead and putrified company, “ dead in trespasses and lins," Eph. ii. 1.- And then, sin hath robbed man of his liberty unto any thing that is fpiritually good ; and ever since we have become captives to the devil, the world, and our lufts. Again, sin hach robbed us of our wisdom, and brought us to prefer folly to the wisdom of God. Every man by na. ture is playing the fool. Who but a fool would spend his money upon that which is not bread, and his labeur upon that which profiteth not?-Sin robbed us of our righteousness, and rendered us a company of guilty criminals before God, and brought us under the sentence of the broken law, condemned alrendy, John iji. 18.-Sin robbed us of our beauty, of the beautiful image of God, confifting in holiness and conformity to the great Creator, and it hath brought the hue of hell upon all mankind, lying among the pots. Again, fin hath robbed us of our health. Man was a healthy creature both in soul and body before the entry of lin; but an hath robbed us of .that, so that, “ from the crown of the bead to the sole of the foot, there is no sound part about us."-Sin hath robbed us of our peace, and let us at war with God, with ourselves, with one another, and at war with the whole creation.-Sin hath robbed us of our beautiful ornaments that God put upon WG
a our creation, and stript us naked, as it is said of Landicea, Rer. iii. 13.-Sin hath robbed us of our treasure, insomuch that we are become beggars, poor, and naked.-In short, fin hath robbed us of our God, to that we are become “ without God in the world." There is a robbery for you that cannot be paralleled! You see what was taken away from God and man, by the fin of man.-I night likewise tell you that fin robbed man of that paradise of pleasure in which God set him at his creation. No sooner had man finned through the insti. gation of Satan, that old ferpent, but he was turned out of the garden of Eden, Gen. iii. 24. and a flaming sword placed, that tarned every way, to keep him from having access to the tree of life in the midst of the garden. --Sin hath robbed us of hea. ven, and made us heirs of hell and wrath.-In short, an hath disordered and disjointed the whole creation. Whenever man linned, there came such a load upon the earth, through the curse of God, that ever since the whole creation hath been ctying in pain, seeking deliverance froin that dead weight that hath been lying upon it. So that, I say, by the fin of man there is a robbery committed, there are goods stolen from God and man, and the good creatures of God.
III. The third thing proposed was, to inake it appear that cir glorious Immanuel, he makes a restitution of what was taken away bath from God and from man. He restores unto God his due, and restores unto man his loss.
And, 1. Hé makes reltitution of glory to God, and that in the highest measure and degree, as was intimated by the angels, at the nativity of our Lord, Luke ii. 14. The first note of the song of the angels is, “ Glory to God in the highest," &c. It is just as if they had faid, Glory hath been taken away from God, by the fin of the first Adam and his posterity; but now there is a higher revenue of glory to be brought in to the crown of heaverí, than the whole creation in innocency could afford. Accordingly, our blessed Lord he declares, when his work was finished, after he had gone through his course of humiliation, he comes to his father, John xvii. 4. and he says, Now, Father, “ I have glorified thee on the earth.” Observe the phraseology, for there is something remarkable in it, “ I have glorified thee on the earth :” the Carth was the theatre of rebellion where God was affronted, his law violated, and his sovereignty contemned; but, says he, "Thave glorified thee on the earth,” where thou wat dilhonoured. I ought to go through all the perfections of God, that were leased by the lin of man, and tell how Christ re. Hores glory to every one of them.
All that were