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VII. THESE Services our Apostle styles, the n one of Şin, the other of Obedience : And I
will, as distinctly as I can, consider them in the Order, he has here mentioned them in, beginning with that of Sin.
This Division of Servants St. Paul seems to have borrowed from common Usage, as all such were of old ranged in that lowest Class of Life by Constraint or by Choice --were either Bond or Covenant-Servants, The former, to whom the Servants of Sin bear a manifest Allusion, anciently became so, and do still in many Parts of the World, by Conquest, by Purchase, by the Commission of such Crimes as are punished with the Loss of Liberty, by contracting Debts beyond People's Ability to discharge, or by Birth.
This was one early Effect of Man's Original Depravation ; by which the lawless Passions being enflamed and disdaining the Restraints of Justice and Moderation, they invaded each other's Persons as well as Properties, and the weaker became a Prey to the stronger : Though all were by Nature equal, and at first only the Servants of their common Creator, who by giving them Being
had from thence the fole Right to their Serm. Service.
As God made all Things for himself ,--for his Glory and Pleasures---and tỏ shew forth his Praise they are and were created ; so all inanimate Creatures are in their Kind obedient to the divine Hand, which formed them, tending invariably to the End whereunto they were ordained. The Sun, Moon and Stars observe their appointed Courses, and by their regular Viciffitudes, their Light and other Influences strongly display the glorious Power and Wisdom of their Maker: Fire and Hail, Snow and Vapours, Winds and Storms fulfil his Word. Neither are all living Creatures without Reason less observant of God's Will than all material Creatures without Life: They too inviolably pursue the Designs of his Providence, and adhere to those Laws, which have been set them.
And might not the same Submission have been fairly expected from Man? To whom the Lord of all Things had been much more beneficent, having created him in his own Image, in Righteousness and Holiness, --having given him fufficient Light to discern,
SERM, and not with-held sufficienţ Strength to VII. perform what he required of him. Obedi
ence doubtless might have been looked for without the Aflignment of any Reward for obeying; though to engage him the more chearfully and heartily in the Service of God, his gracious Master condescended to enter into Covenant with his Creature, and tie himself down by folemn Contract to continue that Light and Strength, which should te wanted towards his paying an acceptable Service, and to crown his dutiful Fidelity with eternal Life: And thus was Man at first by Compact, as well as Creation, the Servant of God.
But the ungrateful Wretch, having by the Instigation of the Tempter basely broken this Covenant, almost as soon as Life and all Good Things had been given him richly to enjoy, he deserted the best, and placed himself under the worst of Masters ----he became a willing Slave to Sin and Satan, in such an unhappy Manner, that all naturally descending from him are born in the same State of Captivity. For Adam is said (k), to have begotten a Son, not in the Image of God, but in his own corrupt Likeness,
(k) Gen. v. 3.
after his Image ; and it is the Condition of Serm. · Bond-Servants to bring their Offspring into VII.
the like sad Circumstances with themselves.
. HOWEVER, as the Breach of the Commandment appointed for his Trial, the Effect whereof was the Fall of Adam, was principally owing to the subtil Temptation of the Devil, though it must not be difsembled, that the easy Compliance of the first human Pair was inexcusable, yet as the Envy and Malice of the Apoftate Spirit had the chief Share in that fatal Transaction, what was denied to the Deceiver was vouchsafed to the Deceived ----God had a Reserve of Mercy for miserable Man,---he determined to look on the offending Inhabitant of Paradise with a reconciled Countenance, and to redeem the Slave from the Bondage, he had brought himself into.
A SCHEME was fixed upon, infinitely wise in the Contrivance, infinitely good in the Execution, infinitely full in the Extent ! The Ranfom was immediately settled, and though not actually paid till many Ages after, still the Virtue and Efficacy of it reached back to the Beginning. As soon as the new-formed. Creature had yielded
Serm. himself a voluntary Captive to the Enemy, VII. a Redeemer was promised to rescue him out
of the Snare of the Devil, and no less a Person than God's own eternal Son was to work this mighty Deliverance. In abundant Pity towards fallen Man, much Matter of Comfort was intermixed with the awful Sentence of Condemnation : Part of that pronounced on the Seducer in Disguise is said to run in these Words, I will put Enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed: It shall bruise thy Head, and thou shalt bruise bis Heel (1). This prophetick Threatening to the one was in Effect a Promife to the other, sufficient to prevent his despair of Mercy, and encourage him to depend on God for his Recovery: Which has been since remarkably compleated in Christ Jesus ; who, by taking human Nature upon him and condescending to be born of a pure Virgin, became in the most singular Manner that Seed of the Woman, which was to bruize the Serpent's Head. And until the Fullness of Time should come for God thus to send forth his Son, Sacrifices were introduced as a principal Part of Divine Worship, to be a sensible Evidence both of the Guilt and
(8) Gen. ii. 15.