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I. To touch 3 little at this question, Who are the members of this meeting? or, what are these attributes of God, which do thus harmoniously conspire together, proposing their various claims?
JI. I would enquire when and where it is that they meet together, and embrace one-another.
III. How, and after what manner it is that they meet together, and embrace one-another,
IV. Why, or for what reason it 'is that they have met together, thus harmoniously.
VT Mdke jpme application of the subject.
I. I would speak a little of the members of this meet? jng, or the attributes of God that thus harmoniously cen^ spire together. We need not ask at whose instance this meeting is called; it is at the instance, and by the order of Tf.rovab, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God; his sovereign will and pleasure reiolving, in a manner like himself, to concert with himself; neither need we ask, what is the occasion of the meeting? Why, man had sinned, and all mankind, by their sin, was involved under the curse of the law, and wrath of God; and yet God had resolved and decreed, for the glory of his grace and mercy, to save a world oi sinners, elect according to the foreknowledge oi God. And while Grace, Mercy, and Per.ce are upon this loving plot of saving siners, it was sit that Justice, Truth, and Pighteoulneis jhould be called intp the same council, to appear for their interest j since the proposal of such a salvation of sinners seems to encroach upon their honour, which re? quired the vengeance due to be executed upon the sinr.cr. Well, the meeting being called, compare these glorious persections, Mercy, Truth, Righieousness, and P^ace; Mercy and Peace, sull of pity; Truth and Justice, sull of sury; which made a seeming controversy in heaven. We may suppose Adam arraigned in the name of all mankind, and standing as a trembling pannel; yea, his very tongue chained up in silence, by reason of sin and guilt, sentenced to eternal death, and rea4y to have the sentence execute upon him, and all his posterity.
We may suppose next, the several members of the meeting opening the assembly, by putting in their several claims: and we may notice them in the order of the text.
1, Mercy, being sull of pity towards the miserable, comes walking along in the cool of the evening, and meekly craving leave to speak, notwithstanding that Truth and Justice be present at the meeting. It Is true, says Mercy, that man hath sinned, and just that man should die; but art not thou, O Lord, sull of pity and compassion, " The Lord, the Lord God, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin?" What though man hath sinned, and is all over besmeared with mire and blood, yet look upon him in love, and destroy not the work of thy own hand: he was made a child after thy own image, though now his garment be rent and all bloody: yet see, is not this thy son's coat? Joseph is gone, and wilt thou lose Benjamin also? Angels are gone, and shall men be lost also? Miriads of angels are sallen, and that irrecoverably, and shall man perish also? O spare him, is he not a little one, and his foul shall live, I see, might Mercy say, that Truth and Right teousness, or Justice, which have the poor linner in, their chains, are here present, ready to speak in this assembly, for their interest and honour, against the' criminal: but let it be marked in the mjnutes of this court, that Mercy craves to be magnisied, and must have honour at this meeting. Well, Mercy having spoken hermind,
2. Truth comes in, naked and with open mouth, in savours of God's Faithsulness, and in opposition to man's persidy and treachery, saying, I have heard what Mercy craves in savours of this criminal; but, Q thou faithsul and true God! the word is gone out of thymouth, and there is no revoking it: thou hast said to Adam, 'In the day thou eatest thou lhalt surely die:' and now he hath eaten, he hath sinned, and stiall he not die? Whatl is there yea and nay with God, who hath faithsulness for the girdle of his loins? Must not God's word of threatuing take essect; "Yea, heaven and earth ♦hall pass away, but s jot of his word (hall not sall to the
14 ground." ground."^ And theresore, whatever be the demand of Mercy, let it be marked in the records of this meeting, that Truth craves to be magnisied; and that its honour be not infringed in the least, by any claim or plea that Meecy hath brought in. Well, Truth having spoken, gives way to her sister Justice; and thereupon, I
3. RightEousnf.ss, or Justice, ppmes in and impleads against the rebel sinneT; Righteousness, I fay, bringing her scales in her hand, in which flie had tried him, and found him lighter than vanity itself; he is weighed in the balances, and found wanting; yea, not only wanting and destitute of all that persection and pbedience that the law required, but sull of all that rebellion which the law discharged, having sinned and cpme short pf the glory of God: and so is righteously subjected to the sanction of the law, and sentence of eternal death: and theresore, says Righteousness, O thou insinitely righteous and just Judge, Mercy can have no hearing in this court to the prejudice pf thy honour and glory, as a just and righteous God, as Truth hath pronounced the sentence of wrath and vengeance against sin; so, is thou be a just God, the insinite vengeance due to such an insinite evil must be execute to the full. This pannel is my prisoner, and loosed he shall not be till I get sull satissaction, and my soul -shall be drunk with blood: for, f* Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it, saith the Lord, And I will by no means clear the guilty." And therefore, let it be registrate in this court, that Righteousness craves to be magnisied, and Justice to be glorisied in a sull satissaction; and this is claimed and demanded in the name of the righteous and just Judge of the universe; and shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Here is the language of Justice. What then? O shall the demand of Mercy be utterly run down by these powersul opposing pleas of Truth and Righteousness? Is there no friend in this court to take Mercy's part? Yea, there is: and theresore,
4. Peace immediately steps in with an olive branch \n her hand, saying, "Fury is not in me ;.*' and may I
speak speak a word in behalf of forlorn mankind! may I offer a meek answer to the claim of Truth and Righteousness, which they have advanced in opposition to the demand of Mercy? For, " A soft answer turncth away wrath." Well, Peace being allowed a hearing, proposes a healing overture, saying, O thou God of peace! may not an atonement be mr.de, a reconciliation thought of betwixt thy majesty and thy creature? May not one be found out to Hand in the gap, and bear off this wrath, to become surety for this great debtor, to acquit and liberate this poor miserable prisoner and criminal? May not one be found out, that will make up the breach, by vindicating the honour of Truth, and satisfying the demands of Justice, and sd making way for the claim cf Mercy? And then all difserences may be peaceably composed, so as we may harmoniously agree, and kiss one-another. O! may not then a Peace-maker be found out, in whom we may sind all our demands satissied at once, without prejudging one-another? Why, is such an one can be found, surely his name mall be called, "Wondersul Counsellor, the Prince os Peace."
Well, the overture and proposal of Peace being recorded among the rest os the archives of the glorious Court 5 and it being such a peaceable overture, no member of the meeting could disprove it: but the great question then is, how it could be effectuate; for is one man sin against another, a man might determine it; but is a man sin against Jehovah, who shall intreat for him? for when an insinite Majesty is offended, who among sinite creatures is able to satisfy it? or,' What can countervail the King's loss?" Wherewith then shall he come besore the Lord, or bow himself besore the most high God? will thousands of rams do it, or ten thousand rivers of oil, or the fruit of the body for the sin of the foul?" No, no: " Sacrisice and offering thou wouldest not; for it is impossible that the blood of bulls or goats should take away sin," Heb. x. 5. What then, will angels become surety for the sin of man? No, no: though they had a will, they have not power; they have but oil enough in their vessels for their own lamps. What then shall be done? Why, might Peace fay, let us not Hand in a demur, we have insinite Wisdom here present with us at this meeting, let us hear her judgment concerning this peaceable proposal, is it be possible that such a person can be found, in whom we may harmoniously centre at last.
Then Wisdom sits down upon the privy councilbench, and being sull of eyes, doth gravely determine this doubtsul case with a happy issue. It is expedient, lays Wisdom, that one die for the people, that the whole ration of mankind perish not; but he must be such a righteous One, that can justisy many; yea, he that will undertake this, must be sinite, that he may die; and insinite, that he may conquer death, and satisfy insinite justice: but lo! there is none such to be found among a;l the creatures that ever God made; neither can such an one be found, unless the Son of God himself, the second Person of the. glorious Trinity, shall be pleased, by an unspeakable mystery, to become flesh, '* Made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that they may receive the adoption of sons," Gal. iv. 4. That so when he who hath no sin, shall become sin for man; man, who hath no righteousness, may become the righteousness of God thro' him, 2 Cor. v. 21. And thus Mercy may be magnisied, Truth justisied, Righteousness cleared, Justice satissied, Peace concluded; and all contented.
Wisdom having determined how this proposal of Peace might be effectuate, all parties hearkened, as it were, with pleasure, and willingly subscribed to the happy overture, and then heaven and earth conspired together, in solemn thanksgiving, saying, <, Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good-will towards men." —Thus the jarring attributes of God, are now reconciled, and behold the members of the meeting, that seemed to be at the greatest variance, are embracing one-arrother in their arms: "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other."