« PreviousContinue »
6. This year it was agreed, that “ the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand,” that he should be successful in his undertaking, maugre all the opposition that either hell or earth should be capable to raise against him; for this end he enga. ged that his hand should be upon the man of his right hand, whom he had made strong for himself ; that he would make his enemies his footstool, and strike through kings in the day of his wrath, and plague all these that hated him. Many other things I might name, as transacted in this year of our redemption by ordination ; but if I should infiit here, I might anticipate all that was transacted in the following years, be cause whatever occurred in them was fixed upon and determined this first year of redemption. And therefore I proceed to a . Second year of the redeemed, and that is, the year of our redemption by purchase or impetration; under which period I comprehend the whole time that the Son of God sojourned in this lower world in our nature, till he afcended again into glory. This was the acceptable year of the Lord, which the Old Testament saints so much longed for ; this was the day which Abraham saw afar off, and was glad when he saw it. If it be asked, What were the transactions of this year? I answer, Great things were done this year, yea, wonderful without number. I shall only instance in a few."
1. This year the great God was incarnate : " The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Sirs, what think you of this piece of strange news, were your souls never affected with it? Whatever you may think of it, yet Paul, the great apoftle of the Gentiles, rehearses it as a matter of the highest won. der, i Tim. iii. 16:“ Without controversy, great is the myftery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh.” And Heaven thought it a matter of so great moment, that so soon as ever this year commenced, a messenger was dispatched from the throne
of glory to notify it unto the shepherds, saying, Luke ii. 10, .“ I bring you good tidings of great joy: for unto you is born
this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” And immediately a muititude of the heavenly host begin their song of praise, crying, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men." The morning stars sang together, and thouted for joy, crying, "Glory to God in the highest, when the foundation-stone of our redemption was laid. O Sirs, let heaven and earth, angels and men, wonder at what God hath done for us! The great Creator became a creature, the Ancient of days became an infant, and made of a woman; here is a mystery of wil.
'm, grace, and love, that may make us cry, " O the depth
of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!”
2. This year the great Lawgiver, whose will is a law to an. gels and men, voluntarily subjected himself to his own law, and that in the room and stead of rebels, who had violate his law, and contemned his authority : Gal. iv. 4. 5.“ In the fulness of time God sent forth his son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” O Sirs, had ever the law such a subject ! No, no ; here is the Creator made under the law given to the creature; hence ic was, that his obedience to the law reflected a glory and honour upon the law, which it never had before, and which the obedience of men and angels, though never fo perfect, could not have done : Is. xlii. 21. " The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake, for he shall magnify the law, and make it honourable."
3. This year God blessed for ever was made a curfe; and he who is of purer eyes than that he can behold iniquity, was made sin : Gal: ïïi. 13. “ He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” And, 2 Cor. v. 21. "He was made lin for us, who knew no fin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” O were not these itrange and remarkable events ! “Shall it not be said in Jacob and Israel, What hath God wrought !”.
4. This year everlasting righteousness was brought in for the justification of ungodly sinners. Sirs, immediately upon Adam's fall, by the breach of the first covenant, sin entered mto the world, and that moment that lin entered into the world, righteousness went quite out of the world, so that there was none righteous, no not one. . But this year Christ the Son cf God brought it in again into the world, by his obedience unto the death; " What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of Ginful flesh, for sin condemned fin in the flesh : that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." . 5. This year God actually laid the foundation of a throne of grace, in justice and judgement, and of the house of mercy, which shall be built up for ever. God intended to rear up a new house of mercy for miserable sinners, upon the ruins of the broken covenait of works; and Christ himself is the first stone of the building : 1f. xxviii. 16. “ Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, à stone, a tried stone, a precious cornertone; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded." Indeed this stone was rejected by the Jewish builders, but
God has made it the chief stone of the corner ; and another foundation no man can lay : “ This is the Lord's doing, and it is wondrous in our eyes.”
6. This year the vail of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, and the way to the holiest was opened by the blood of Jesus. Immediately upon the fall of man, the door of access to God and glory was shut, and bolted againit Adam and all his posterity ; this was signified by the cherubims with the flaming sword, turning every way to guard ouraccess unto the tree of life. But by the blood of Jesus, a new and living way is opened, which is consecrated for us; and by this new way we have entered with boldness. “I am the door (says Chrift): by me if any man enter in; he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
7. This year lin was finished, and transgression ended in a way of satisfaction, insomuch that the uttermost farthing of · debt, that we owed unto divine justice for fin, was paid down
in the red gold of a Redeemer's blood. This Christ teftified in his dying words; he cried out, It is finisbed; and thereupon bowed the head, and gave up the ghoit. And upon Christ's uttering of that word, fin was condemned in the flesh of the Son of God, and the hand-writing that was against us, even our debt; bond unto justice; was cancelled and torn, he having nailed it to his crois.
8. This year the covenant of grace, or the testament of Christ, was confirmed and made sure by his blood : Dan. ix. 27. “ He shall confirm the covenant with many.” The testa. ment is now of force since the Testator's death, as the apostle argues, Heb. ix. The death and blood of Jesus has given such a validity unto his latter will contained in this blefled Bible, that we may pursue for the goods of the testament with boldness at a throne of grace, and do it with full assurance of faith.
g. This year the sacrifice and oblation was made to cease, the Mosaic oeconomy was unhinged: all the shadows of the Jewish ceremonies did flee away, Chrilt the substance of them all being come.-Not to infilt upon particulars : This year the Prince of life was incarcerate for our debt, died and came under the power of death for a time. This year he was "justi. fied in the Spirit, taken from prison and from judgement," and fully discharged of our debt, which he had undertaken to pay. This year he was “ declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by his refurrection from the dead.” This year God was declared to be a God of peace, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead; and this year the foundation of a lively hope was laid for us, even the
hope of “an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” This year a whole elcct world was raised from the dead in their glorious representative ; he having drurik of the brook in the way, immediately he lifted up the head in his resurrection, and our heads were listed up in him. This year God went up with a shout (I mean God in our nature), yea God with the sound of a trumpet ; and “ when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and received gifts for men, even for the rebellious, that the Lord. God might dwell among them.” O Sirs, God is ascended in our nature, and fitting upon the throne of glory, swaying the sceptre of heaven; and he is wearing our nature in glory, as a. pledge that we shall follow him, for the human body was afsumed for the sake of the myftical. Thus you see what great events happened in the year of our redemption by purchase. O let songs be heard from this end of the earth, at the hearing of this joyful sound, even glory to the righteous.
I hirdly, A third year of the redeemed, is the year of exhibit redemption ; by which I understand, the year of a gospeldispensation among a people. This is sometimes called also a day in scripture : "O that thou hadft known, in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace !” says the Lord to Jerusalem. If it be asked, What are the great transactions of this year ? Answ. Great things are done for the redeemed this year also. Only before I proceed to particulars, I would have you to remember, that redemption in this situation of it, or considered in its revelation or exhibition, is a thing common to all the hearers of the gospel. Here we are to abstract from the secret decrees of election and reprobation, and to make open proclamation of redeeming grace and love in Christ to évery creature under heaven; we are to tell every man and woman sprung of Adam, this good news, " That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ;” that “the promise is unto you, and to your feed, and to all that are afar off, and to as many as the Lord our God shall call” by the sound of the gospel. O Sirs," secret things belong unto the Lord, but things that are revealed belong unto us, and to our children :" and therefore let alone this secret of election or reprobation; as pertaining to God, do not invade his property, but hearken un10 things revealed, things brought to light by the glorious gofpel; for this belongs unto you, and “ to you is the word of this falvation fent," and therefore intermeddle with it with the greatest freedom by faith ; it is no presumption for us
to claim what (God fays) “ belongs unto us, and to our children."
Now, this premised, I come to tell you of some great things that are done in this year of exhibit and revealed redemption, which you and I do at this moment enjoy, you in hearing, and I in preaching. The great things done in this period are so many, that I can only point at them.
1. then, This year the people that sat in darkness are made to see great light, and to them that fat in the regions of the shadow of death, light is made to fpring up. And O! is it not matter of praise, that this is the privilege of Scotland at this day? The time was, when the gross darkness of Pagan and Popish error and idolatry did overspread our land; but the day.spring from on high hath visited us, and brought life and immortality to light ; the temple of God is opened, and the ark of his testament may be seen, the vail is rent, the face of the covering is destroyed, I mean, as to the objective revelation, and the mysteries which were hid from ages and genera. tions are now made manifest. . 2. This year of exhibit redemption a throne of grace is reared, a court of grace erected, and liberty granted to every man that finds himself condemned in the court of conscience, in the court of the law or justice, to carry his cause by an appeal; which if he do, he is sure to find grace and mercy to help him in time of need. O Sirs, know your own privilege. Art thou saying within thy breast, If God mark mine iniquity, according to the tenor of his holy law, I cannot stand ? 0, I am condemned already, and the wrath of God is pursuing me? Well, I tell you for certainty, the court of grace stands open to you, and if you will carry your cause there, though it be never fo desperate, the cause is won ; for all the acts and interlocutors of this court are acts of grace, acts of indemnity and oblivion, for the name of him that fits on the throne is,
The Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and fin. 1, even I am he that blotteth out thine iniquities for minę own fake, and will not remember thy sins,
3. This year the batteries of heaven are reared up against the gates of hell. Error, ignorance, unbelief, Atheism, pride, profanity, security, and the like evils; they are the strong-holds of the devil's kingdom, whereby he secures finners in his service. Now, by the dispensation of the gospel, God's batteries are mounted against these, all the ordinances of the gospel, particularly the preaching of the word, is calculate for caiting these strong.holds to the ground. 2 Cor. x. 4. “ The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong-holds," &c.