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258 The Duty and Reward of Bounty to the Poor. SERM. of his infinite mercy grant unto us all, through Jesus XXXI. Christ our Lord ; to whom for ever be all praise.
Amen. Heb. xiii. Now the God of peace, that brought again from
the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ : to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
UPON THE PASSION OF OUR BLESSED
Phil. ii. 8.
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
HEN, in consequence of the original apostasy SERM. from God, which did banish us from paradise, and XXXll. by continued rebellions against him, inevitable to Cyril. c.
Jul. viii. p. our corrupt and impotent nature, mankind had for- 278. ix. p. feited the amity of God, (the chief of all goods, the Joiniii. 36. fountain of all happiness,) and had incurred his dis-Col. pleasure; (the greatest of all evils, the foundation of all misery :)
When poor man having deserted his natural Lord Iren. iii. 33. and Protector, other lords had got dominion over isa. xxvi. him, so that he was captivated by the foul, malicious, fem. iii. 8. cruel spirits, and enslaved to his own vain mind, to vile lusts, to wild passions : When, according to an eternal rule of justice, that Geo. iv. 7.
ii. 17. sin deserveth punishment, and by an express law, wherein death was enacted to the transgressors of God's command, the root of our stock, and consequently all its branches, stood adjudged to utter de- Iren. v. 16. struction :
SERM. When, according to St. Paul's expressions, all the
11. world was become guilty before God, (or, subRom. iii. jected to God's judgment :) all men (Jews and Geni odnos su tiles) were under sin, under condemnation, under
lii.o the curse ; all men were concluded into disobe7:36, 18. dience, and shut up together (as close prisoners) Gal. iii. jo.“ Rom. xi. under sin ; ali men had sinned, and come short of 82. sis úti
the glory of God: death had passed over all, beRom. iii.cause all had sinned: 23. V. 12. When for us, being plunged into so wretched a
condition, no visible remedy did appear, no possible redress could be obtained here below : (for what means could we have of recovering God's favour, who were apt perpetually to contract new debts and guilts, but not able to discharge any old scores? What capacity of mind or will had we to entertain mercy, who were no less stubbornly perverse and obdurate in our crimes, than ignorant or infirm ?
How could we be reconciled unto Heaven, who had Rom. vi. an innate antipathy to God and goodness ? [Sin, 12, 14, 20. Rom. vii. according to our natural state, and secluding evan18, 5. Rom. vii. gelical grace, reigning in our mortal bodies, no 23.
good thing dwelling in us; there being a predomi
nant law in our members, warring against the law Rom. vi.6. of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to
me the law of sin ; a main ingredient of our old man
iv. being a carnal mind, which is enmity to God, and Rom. viii. cannot submit to his law; we being alienated from osx imotáo. the life of God by the blindness of our hearts, and Ephes. iv. enemies in our minds by wicked works :7 How Coloss. i. could we revive to any good hope, who were dead in
trespasses and sins, God having withdrawn his quickening Spirit? How at least could we for one moment stand upright in God's sight, upon the na
tural terms, excluding all sin, and exacting perfect SERM. obedience ?)
XXXII. When this, I say, was our forlorn and desperate Ephes. ii. 5. case, then Almighty God, out of his infinite go
le sood-13, U.) ness, was pleased to look upon us (as he sometime Psal. cxliii. did upon Jerusalem, lying polluted in her blood) Exod.
xxxiv. 7. with an eye of pity and mercy, so as graciously to Ezek. xvi. design a redemption for us out of all that woful dis-o. tress : and no sooner by his incomprehensible wisdom did he foresee we should lose ourselves, than by his immense grace he did conclude to restore us.
But how could this happy design well be com- Eph. i. 4, passed ? How, in consistence with the glory, witho; the justice, with the truth of God, could such ene-2 Tim. i. 9.
i Pet. . 20. mies be reconciled, such offenders be pardoned, such Rev. xiii. 8.
Rom. xvi. wretches be saved? Would the omnipotent Majesty, 25.
Tit. i. 2. so affronted, design to treat with his rebels immediately, without an intercessor or advocate? Would the sovereign Governor of the world suffer thus notoriously his right to be violated, his authority to be slighted, his honour to be trampled on, without some notable vindication or satisfaction ? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, or ever permit a gross breach thereof to pass with impunity? Would Athan. de the immutable God of truth expose his veracity or his cocar constancy to suspicion, by so reversing that peremptory sentence of death upon sinners, that it should not in a sort eminently be accomplished? Would the most righteous and most holy God let slip an opportunity so advantageous for demonstrating his perfect love of innocence, and abhorrence of iniquity ? Could we therefore well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation, or reinstated in freedom without a ran
SERM. som, or exempted from condemnation without some XXXII.
No: God was so pleased to prosecute his designs of goodness and mercy, as thereby nowise to impair or obscure, but rather to advance and illustrate the glories of his sovereign dignity, of his severe justice, of his immaculate holiness, of his unchangeable steadiness in word and purpose. He accordingly would be sued to for peace and mercy: nor would he grant them absolutely, without due compensations for the wrongs he had sustained; yet so, that his goodness did find us a Mediator, and furnish us with means to satisfy him. He would not condescend to a simple remission of our debts; yet so, that, saving his right and honour, he did stoop lower for an effectual abolition of them. He would make good his word, not to let our trespasses go unpunished; yet so, that by our punishment we might receive advantage. He would manifest his detestation of wickedness in a way more illustrious than if he had persecuted it down to hell, and irreversibly doomed it to endless torment.
But how might these things be effected? Where was there a Mediator proper and worthy to intercede for us? Who could presume to solicit and plead in our behalf? Who should dare to put himself between God and us, or offer to screen mankind from the divine wrath and vengeance? Who had so great an interest in the court of heaven, as to ingratiate such a brood of apostate enemies thereto ? Who could assume the confidence to propose terms of reconciliation, or to agitate a new covenant, wherewith God might be satisfied, and whereby we might be saved ? Where, in heaven or earth, could there be found a