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is no condemnation to them that arc in Christ, Rom. vfii. 1. All the wrath of God to the last drop, was squeezed out into that bitter cup which Christ drank off, and wrung out the very dregs thereof.
Thirdly, This deliverance obtained for us by the death of Christ, is a special and distinguishing deliverance. Not common to all, but peculiar to some; and they by nature no better than those that are left under wrath. Yea, as to natural disposition, moral qualifications, and external endowments, of tentimes far inferior to them that perish. How often do we find a moral righteousness, an harmless innocency, a pretty ingenuity, a readiness, to all offices of love; in them that are notwithstanding left under the dominion of other lusts, and under the damning sentence of the law; whilst, on the other fide, proud, peevish, sensual, morose, and unpolished natures, are chosen to be the subjects of this salvation. "You fee your calling, brethren," i Cor. i. 26.
Fourthly, and lastly, It is a "wondersul salvation. It would weary the arm of an angel to write downfall the wonders that are in this salvation. That ever such a design should be laid, snch a project of grace contrived in the heart of God, who might have suffered the whole species to perish. That it should only concern man, and not the angels, by nature more excellent than us; that Christ should be pitched upon to go forth upon this glorious design. That he should effect it in such a way, by taking our nature and suffering the penalty of the law therein. That our deliverance should be wrought out and sinished when the Redeemer and his design seemed both to be lost and perished. These with many more are such wonders as will take up eternity itself to search, admire, and adore them.
Before I part from this first end of the death of Christ, give me leave to deduce two useful corollaries from it, and then proceed to a second.
Coroll. 1. Hath Christ by death delivered his people from the wrath to come? How ingrate and difingenuous a thing must it be then for thofe that have obtained such a deliverance as this, torefine and grudge at thofe light afflictions they stiff er for a moment uson Christ's account in this H'orld!
Alas! What are these sufferings, that we should grudge at them? Are they like those which the Redeemer suffered for our deliverance? Did ever any ot us endure for him what he endured for us? Or is there any thing you can suffer for Chris! in .this world, comparable to this -wrath to come, which you mult have endured, had he not, by the price of his own blood rescued you from it.
Reader', wilt thou but make the comparison in Compare, thine own thoughts, in the following particulars, and then pronounce when thou halt duly compared.
First,, What is the wrath of man to the wrath The Natures, of God? What is the arm of a creature to the anger of a Deity? Can man thunder with an arm
Secondly, What are the sufferings of the vile Suhjetls. body here, to the tortures of a foul and body' in t hell i The torments of the foul are the very soul
Thirdly, What are the troubles of a moment Duration. to that wrath, which, after millions of years arc gone, will still be called -wrath to come? Q what compare betwixt a point of hasty time, and the interminable duration of vast eternity?
Fourthly, What compare is there betwixt the Continuity. intermitting sorrows and sufferings of this life, and the continued uninterrupted -wrath to comei Our troubles here are not constant, there are gracious relaxations, lucid intervals here; but the wrath to come allows not a moment's ease or mitigation.
Fifthly, What light and easy troubles are those, Defigns. which, being put into the rank and order of adjuvant causes, work under the influence and blessing of the first cause, to the everlasting good of them that love God, compared with that -jurath to come, out of which no good effects or issues are possible to proceed to the souls on which it lies I
Sixthly, apd Lastly, How much more comfortAndcompa- able is it, to suffer in fellowship with Christ and nions. his saints for righteousness sake, than to suffer
with devils and reprobates for wickedness sake? Grudge not then, O ye that are delivered by Jtfus from wrath to come, at any thing ye do suffer, or shall suffer from Christ, or for Christ in this world.
Coroll. 2. If Jesus Christ hath delivered his people from the wrath to come, ho-w little comfort can any man take in his present enjoyments and accommodations in the -world, -whilst it remains a question -with him, -whether he be delivered from the 'wrath to come? It is well for the present, but will it be fo still \ Man is a prospecting creature, and it will not satisfy him that his present condition is comfortable, except he have some hope it shall be so hereafter. It can afford a man little content that all is easy and pleasant about him now, whilst such passages and terrible hints of wrath to come are given him by his own conscience daily. Oh, methinks such a thought as this, 'what if I am reserved for the wrath to come? should be to him, as the fingers appearing upon the phiister of the wall were to Belteshazzar, in the height of a frolic *. It is a custom with some of the Indians, when they have taken a prisoner (whom they intend not presently to eat) to bring him with great triumph into the village, where he dwelleth that hath taken him; and placing him in the house of one that was stain in the wars, as it were to re-celebrate his funerals, they give him his wives or listers to attend on him, and use at his pleasure; they apparel him gorgeoufly, and feed him with all the dainty meats that may be had; affording him all the pleasure that can be devised; when he hath pasted certain months in all these pleasures, and (like a capon) is made sat with delicate sare, they assemble themselves upon some festival day, and in great pomp bring him to the place of execution, where they kill and eat him.
Such are al! the pleasures and enjoyments of the wicked, which feed them for the day of staughter. How little stomach can a man have to thole dainties that understands the end and meaning of them! Give not sleep therefore to, thine eyes, reader, till thou hast got good evidence, that thou art of that number whom Jesus hath delivered from wrath to come. Till theu canst say, he is a Jesus to thee. This may be made out to thy satissaction three ways.
First, If Jesus have delivered thee from Jin, the cause of wrath, thou mayejl conclude he hath delivered thee from the wrath, the esJetland fruits of fin. Upon this account the sweet name of Jesus, was imposed upon him, Matth. i. 21. "Thou shaltcall his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." Whilst a man lies under the dominion and guilt of sin, he lies, exposed to wrath U come; and when he is delivered from the guilt and power of sin, he is certainly delivered from the danger of this coming wrath. Where sin is not imputed, wrath is not threatned.
Secondly, If thy foul do set an inestimable value on Jesus Chri/i, and be endeared to him upon the acesunt of that inexpresfible grace manifested in this deliverance, it is a good fign thy
* Sir R. Barkley, on the felicity of Man, p. 12, 13.
soul hath a soare in it. Mark what an epithet the saints give Christ upon this account, Col. i. 12, 13. "Giving thanks to the "Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, "and translated us into the kingdom of his [dear] Son." Christ is therefore dear, and dear beyond all compare, to his laved ones. 1 remember it is storied of the poor enthralled Grecians, that when f Titus Flaminius had restored their ancient liberties, and proclamation was to be made in the market-place by an herald; they 16 pressed to hear it, that the herald was in great danger of being stifled and pressed to death among the people; but wheil the proclamation was ended, there were heard such shouts and joyful acclamations, that the very birds of the air fell down astonished with the noise, while they continued to cry, Samp, %»mt, a Saviour, a Saviour ; and all the following night they continudancing and singing about his pavilion.
If such a deliverance so endeared them to Titus, how should the great deliverance fiom wrath to come, endear, all the redeemed to love their dear Jesus? This is the native effect of mercy on the soul that hath felt it.
Thirdly, To conclude, A disposition and readiness of mind to do, or endure any thing for Chrtjl's Jake, upon the account of his deliverance from the wrath to come; is a good evidence you are Jo delivered, Col. i. 10, 11. " That we may walk worthy of the Lord ". to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work." There is readiness to do for Christ. "Strengthened with all noighr, "according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long"suffering with joyfuluess." There is a chearful readiness 10 endure any thing for Christ. And how both these flow from the lease of this great deliverance from wrath, the 12th verse will inform you, which was but now cited. Oh then be serious and assiduous in the resolution of this grand cafe. Till this be.reiolved, nothing can be pleasant to thy soul.
End 2. As the typical blood was shed and sprinkled to deliver from danger, so it was shed to make atonement, Lev. iv. 20. "He shall expiate (we translate, atone) the sin." The word imports both. And the true meaning is, that by the blood of the bullock, all whose efficacy stood in its relation to the blood of Christ, signified and shadowed by it, the people, for whom it was shed, should be reconciled to God, by the expiation and remission of their sins. And what was shadowed in this typical blood, was really designed and accomplished by Jesus Christ, in the shedding of his blood.
f Plutarch, in vita T. Flaminii,
Reconciliation of the elect to God, is therefore another of thole beautiful births which Christ travailed for. So you sind it expressly, Rom. v. 10. "If when we were enemies, we were "reconciled to God by the death of his Son." This [if] is nos a word of doubting, but argumentation. The apostle supposes it is a known truth, or principle yielded by all Christians, that the death of Christ was to reconcile the elect to God. Aud again he affirms it with like clearness, Col. i. 20. "And having made "peace by the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things." And that this was a main and principal end designed both by the Father and Son in the humiliation of Christ, is plain from 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. "God was iu Christ reconciling the world "to himself." God filled the humanity with grace and authority. The spirit of God was in him to qualify him. The authority of God was in him by commission, to make all he did valid. The grace and love of God to mankind was in him, and one of the principal effects in which it was manifested, was this design < upon which he-came, viz. to reconcile the world to God. Upon which ground Christ is called the "propitiation for our "fins," 1 John ii. 2. "t Now reconciliation or atonement is ( "nothing else but the making up os the ancient friendship be*' twixt God and men which sin had dissolved, and so to reduce? "these enemies into a state of concord, and sweet agreement." And the means by which this blessed design was effectually compassed, was by the death ot Chrilt, which made compleat satifc saction to God, for the wiong he had done him. There was a breach made by sin betwixt God and angels, but that breach is Ptvef to be repaired or made up; since, as Christ took not on him their nature, lb he never intended to be a mediator of reconciliation betwixt God and them. That will be an eternal breach. But. that which Christ designed, as the end of his death, was to reconcile God and man. Not the whole species, but a certain number, whose names were given to Christ. Here I must briefly open, 1. How Christ's death reconciles. 2. Why this reconciliation is brought about b"% his death, rather than any other way. 3. What are the articles according to which it is made. And 4 What manner of reconciliation this is.
First, How Christ reconciles God and man by his death. And it must needs be by the satissaction his death made to the justice
£ Reconciliare nikil aliud ejl qnam amicitiam effenfone aliqua gravi diremptain resacire, etjic inimicoi in fristinam concerdiam redacere. B. DaYen ia Col. i. 20.
Vol. II. JR . .