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Article of our Religion, having told the Serm. Corinthians (b), that be delivered it unto II. them first of all, laid it as the grand Corner-stone of their spiritual Building, how that Christ died for our Sins, according to the Scriptures. For in Case he did not truly die for us, we must be yet in our Sins, they cannot but remain unatoned for, and the dreadful Vengeance of an angry God still hangs over us.
IF then, fo very much depends upon the Death of Christ, it must be of great Moment to us to acquire right Apprehensions of it. The Fact, indeed, is not contested, and is, perhaps, the only one in his whole Revelation, which is now acknowledged on all Hands. Had his Disciples ever strove to conceal it, his Enemies would have proclaimed it; the bitterest of them have in all Ages triumphed on this Head, boasting, that all his Projects were hereby blasted, and impiously denying, that be rose again the third Day, according to the fame Scriptures, which declare his Death (i).
What no Person disputes, it were Labour thrown away to undertake the formal Proof
SERM. of: That Christ Jefus yielded up the Ghost II. on the Cross, is an Event, which may fair
ly be taken for granted. But the End and the Effect of so extraordinary a Transaction are both of them variously represented. Some attribute too much to it, and some too little, ---those magnify the Merit of it to a Degree inconsistent even with the Divine Atributes, and these will not allow it to have any proper Merit at all, or at least not a Sufficiency of Meritoriousness to become a Ransom for the Sins of the whole World : And there are others likewise, who overstrain it as much on one side, as they contract it on the other; and whilst they profefs and contend, that our Saviour died for a few unconditionally, deny that he did fo on any Terms for all.
Though then the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction has been before touched upon in the preceding Dilcourle, I may yet be permitted the Liberty of giving it a particular and separate Consideration ; as it has met with the most vehement Opposition, and been attacked either in the Whole, or in Part, from all Quarters. But, I conceive, the Doctrine will be established on a very folid Basis, by shewing the Ranfone of our Saviour to be alicgether necessary, Jufficient, universal.
SERM. St. Paul represents the Deliverance wrought by the Son of God under the Notion of a Ransom ; which signifies either a Price paid down to a conqueror for the Redemption of à Captivé, or a valuable Consideration advanced to a Creditor for the Release of a Debtor, or a Satisfaction made to Justice for the Pardon of a Criminal. In all these Views Christ Jesus may be truly said to have given himself a Ransom for Mankind; who are to be regarded as Captives, Debtors, and Criminals: And he released them from Captivity, by becoming their Hostage, and yielding in one Nature to the Power of the Enemy, which he vanquished in another,---he discharged their Debt, by acting as their Security,---he obtained their Pardon by fuffering as their Substitute.
That Man is a Slave to Sin, and by Means thereof a Debtor and a Criminal in God's Account, is a certain, though a mortifying Truth. Every Sinner has evidently lost the Government of himself ;---his Reason is subverted, his Judgment is over-ruld, his superior Faculties are degraded, and the inferior ones have shamefully usurped their Seat, so that his blind Appetites and Paffions,
SERM. which were formed for Obedience, domi
neer, and each acts the Tyrant in his Turn,
AND where was the Man ever to be found (him excepted, who was infinitely more than Man) that stood clear of this most deplorable State? Our whole Species groans under the heavy Thraldom together : There is a vicious Byass to Iniquity ingrafted in our very Being ---it is born and grows up with us, and in numerous Instances causes us to offend ; nor is it in the Power of Nature always to withstand its Force. From this Spring have constantly issued the most impure Streams; and no otherwise can a satisfactory Reason be given, why Mofes declared, that before the Flood all Flesh had corrupted his Wey aspon the Earth (k),------why under the Law holy David complained, that the Childrei of Men were all gone afide, were altogether become filiby, there was none that did Good, 90
(k) Gen. vi. 12.
not one (1);---why under the Gospel one Serm. Apostle asserts, that in me, that is, in my II. Flesh, dwelleth no good Thing (m), and ano. ther, that if we say that we have not finned, we make God a Liar, and his Word is not in us (n).
For any one to deny, or doubt of the Foundation of these Testimonies, is as weighty an Argument, as can be produced, to prove the Reality of his wretched Bondage to Corruption; it being the fame Cause, which perverts the Will, and darkens the Understanding : And it is so far from being a Symptom of Health, when a Person is nor sensible of his Malady, that he is in the most imminent Danger, who is sick to the Degree of not knowing it. Yet how strenuously do some Men plead for the Sound ness of their natural Knowledge and Power, and maintain, that they can of themselves judge rightly and choose wisely in all Things pertaining to Happiness and Salvation.
But here seems to be the Fallacy of their. Reasonings on this Topic, that they blend and confound two very distinct Conceptions E
of (1) Ps, xiv. 2, 3. (m) Rom. vii. 18, fn) St. John i, 19.