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where the Apostle foretels, that there shall arise false teachers among them, who should privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And, with this, consider also that famous text, 1 John ii. 2. He is the propitiation for our sins : and, not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
If Christ, therefore, be a propitiation for all, hath tasted death for all, be a ransom for all; and many, even of those whom he hath bought and redeemed, shall yet bring upon themselves swift destruction, as these Scriptures expressly affirm; and if, on the other hand, the mere internal sufficiency of a price is not enough to constitute and denominate him the Redeemer of all, as common reason and language do abundantly testify: it remains, that his death was ordained and intended for the redemption of all; and that Christ, in offering up himself to his Father, had respect, not only to the elect, but to the reprobate; to those, who should finally perish, as well as to those, who should be saved. But, that he did not absolutely intend the salvation of all, appears as evidently, as sadly, by the event : and, therefore, he intended the salvability of all.
To this we have the testimony of another Scripture: John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Here Christ is propounded as an universal gift, applicable to all : and, in the next verse, it is added, that God sent his Son into the world....that the world through hin might be saved. It is frivolous. to object, that by the world, here, is meant, only the elect or believing world: for, besides that this is hugely dissonant to the scripture-phrase, which opposeth the world to the elect and believers, we find God declaring his intention in sending his Son, v. 18. He, that believeth on him, is not condemned: but he, that believeth not, is condemned already. The very same world, which Christ was sent to save, consists partly of believers, partly of unbelievers; part of it to be saved, and párt to be condemned : and, therefore, it cannot be restrained ouly to the elect world.
From all which it appears clearly, as clearly as the evidence of truth can make any thing appear, that Christ did absolutely intend to procuré, by his death, the salvability of all, but their salvation only conditionally. For our faith is required as a condition, not that God should give his Son to the whole world, nor that Christ should die for all the inhabitants of it; but only, that we might obtain eternal life by him, so given and so dying.
(2) The second argument is this: The Covenant of grace is propounded to all indefinitely and universally.
Mark xvi. 16. Whosoever believeth, shall be saved. And, under these general terms, it may be propounded unto all, even the most desperate and forlorn sinners on earth. But, if Christ had not died for all, as well for the reprobate as the elect, this tender could not be made to all, as our Saviour commands it to be, v. 15. Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. Neither would it be true doctrine, to preach the contents of this Gospel to every man in particular, viz. That, if thou believest, thou shalt be saved : for, were it possible that some of them should believe, yet they could not be saved, only for want of a propitiatory sacrifice; for, still, there would remain an impossibility of their salvation on the part of the vin. dictive justice of God, which had received no satisfaction for their sins, no payment of their debts: than which, nothing can be more absurd in divinity, and more repugnant to the nature of the Gospel-Covenant.
(3) It must needs be acknowledged, that Christ died for all men, in such a sense, as he is denied to have died for the fallen angels : then his death was not only a sufficient, but an intended ransom for all.
For the death of Christ had sufficient worth and value in it, to have redeemed and restored them; being an infinite price, through the infinite dignity of his person. But now, it is most certain, that Christ so died for all mankind, as he did not for the last and lost angels: otherwise, why should not this proposition be true concerning them, That, if they believe, they shall be saved ; which yet is most undoubtedly true, concerning the most impious persons on earth ? Whence is this, but only that Christ never offered himself a sacrifice for devils; never intended, by. his death, to procure salvability to them; and, therefore, they are left under an eternal necessity of a most wretched estate? Since, therefore, the internal sufficiency of the price reacheth unto all, both devils and men, but the conditional promise of the Gospel, not to devils but to all men; and, since, likewise, this promise was founded upon that propitiation : it is evident, that the death of Christ was not only a ransom sufficient, but intended for all.
(4) All are bound to the great duty of believing in Christ : therefore, he died for all.
The reason of the consequence is apparent. For what is it, to believe in Christ, but to rely upon his death and merits for our salvation? at least, if this be not the full notion of Justifying Faith, yet it cannot be excluded from the nature of it. But, now, this faith cannot justly be required from those, for whom Christ died not: else, God should command men to rely upon the death and merits of him, who died not, who merited nothing for them; which is infinitely abhorrent from the seriousness and gravity of the divine commands.
(5) All men in the world are obliged to return gratitude and obedience unto Christ, upon the account and consideration of his death : therefore, his death had a respect to all.
Consult 1 Cor. vi. 20. Ye are bought with a price : wherefore glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirits, which are God's. And 2 Cor. v. 15. He died for all, that they, which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him, who died for them.
(6) And, lastly, Christ challengeth unto himself supreme authority and dominion over all, as his due, by the right of his death.
Rom. xiv. 9, To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord, both of the dead and living. But, if Christ's authority over all, as Mediator, be founded on his death, it will follow, that, as his authority is over all, so his death was for all; otherwise, he must exercise his jurisdiction over those persons, oyer whom he hath no right nor title.
Thus I. have, at large, discussed these Two Doctrinal Propositions, That Christ was made a curse for us; and, That he hath redeemed us from the curse.
III. I shall now proceed to draw from them some PRACTICAL INFERENCES AND COROLLARIES.
i. Be exhorted TO ADMIRE AND ADORE THE INFINITE Love OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, TOWARDS FALLEN AND UNDONE MANKIND : in that he was pleased to substitute himself in our stead; and, when the hand of justice was lifted up against us, to thrust himself between us and the dread effects of the divine wrath ; receiving into his own bosom all the arrows of God's quiver, every one of them dipped in the poison of the curse.
This is Love, that infinitely exceeds the utmost stretch of our conceptions; and leaves all our expressions of it tired and languishing, under the infinite weight of the theme. We can scarce speak of it without inconsistencies: or, if there were no other, yet this, at least, is an inconsistency, to attempt the declaration of a love that is unspeakable. We find the Apostle, Eph. iii. 18. praying, that they may be able to comprehend, with all saints, all the dimensions of this love: what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth of it: and, presently, he seems to overthrow all again in the very next words (so hard a thing is it, congruously to express what is infinite) and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. And what doth this rhetorical contradiction imply, To take the measures and dimensions of what is infinite, and To know what passeth know. ledge; but only, that the love of Christ is a subject, that in. finitely surpasseth our capacities, and refuseth to be brought under our rules of speaking? But, yet, it is allowed our weakness, to adore what we cannot comprehend; and, where our conceptions glimmer, and our expressions falter, to eke them out with astonishment and wonder. And, indeed, it is a love full of wonders and miracles : a mysterious love, which we shall never comprehend, till it hath laid us in that bosom, where it was first kindled.
Yet, because we must not utterly silence what we cannot worthily express, (for that were to add ingratitude to weakness) suffer me to remark unto you some few particulars, which put a mighty accent and emphasis upon this love of Christ.
1. Consider the infinite Glory and Dignity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Glorious, in the very same degree with his Eternal Father : co-equal and co-essential with him: arrayed with light and majesty: controlling all the powers of heaven; who, with an awful reverence, bow at his dread commands, and, with a winged speed, fulfil his pleasure. Yea, the Apostle hath almost racked and tortured language for an expression of it: Heb. i. 3. He is the brightness of his Father's Glory, and the express image of his Person. Why! what is glory, but the lụstre of excellence? Brightness itself is but the streaming forth of glory. So that, to be the brightness of his Father's glory, is to be the glory of his glory. It was a high and excellent conception of that philosopher, who said, That light was but the shadow of God: if, then, God's shadow be so pure and radiant, how infinitely illustrious is his brightness; and the brightness of that, which is moșt illustrious in God, his glory?
And, yet, this bright and glorious God was pleased to eclipse his light, lay aside his rays, and immure himself in a house of clay. He, who was in the form of God, took upon him the form of a servant. He, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, thought it no shame to be made inferior to the angels, by becoming man; yea, and inferior to men, by becoming a curse for them.
And, certainly, if our love be commended and heightened by the great advantages we quit for the sake of others, how infinitely inexpressible must the love of Christ towards us be! Who, being the Ever-Blessed God by whose power all things were created and do subsist, dwelling in unapproachable light and glory, attended with legions of angels that he should be pleased to forsake his palace, discard his retinue, shrink up himself into a poor helpless infant, shrowd and veil all his godhead, but only what sometimes displayed itself in the miracles which he wrought, and scarce more in these than in his patient suffering—what could persuade him to so great an abasement, but only the greatness of his love? for love is of an assimilating and transforming nature: and, therefore, saith the Apostle, Heb. ii. 14. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also hiinself..... took part of the same ; that, through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil: And deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage.
2. Consider, as his infinite glory, so our Infinite Vileness and Wretchedness.
And this will likewise extol the exceeding riches of his love, that the Great and Glorious God should be made a curse for us; and so infinitely humble and abase himself, as to rake us off the dunghill, and advance us to sit with himself in heavenly places.
(1) We are vile, in our Original; being but kneaded together of a little coagulated mud and dirt: and,
(2) Loathsome, for our Deformity; wallowing in our blood and filth, and cast forth to the loathing of our persons.
But, yet, in this forlorn estate, when no eye pitied us, that eye, which is pity itself, had compassion upon us; and, when he saw us polluted in our blood, said unto us, Live. This, to the God of Love, was a time of love : and, so infinitely tender were