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Now, as this last clause, as I termed it, is the amplification of the reason going before; so itself yieldeth amplifying reasons as a conclusion of the whole. For, 1. Add redemption unto mercy, and then things still are heightened and made greater. And it must be, because the text adds it, and because the nature of God, the holiness of his law, and the present state of the sinner that is to be saved, requireth that it should be so. God is justice as well as mercy; the law is holy and just; that man that is to be saved, is not only a sinner, but polluted. Now then, that mercy and justice may meet and kiss in the salvation of the sinner, there must be a redemption; that the sinner may be saved, and the law retain its sanction and authority, there must be a redemption; that the sinner may be purged as well as pardoned, there must be a redemption. And I say, so there is: “For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” Mercy is the original, the cause, and the manager of our redemption. Redemption is the manifestation; and the completing of that mercy. If there had been no mercy, there had been no redemption. Mercy had been defective as to us, or must have offered violence to the law and justice of God, and have saved us contrary to that word, “In the day thou eatest thou shalt die;” and “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them.” But now redemption coming in by mercy, the sin is done away, and the sinner saved in a way of righteousness. 2. By law as well as grace; that is, in a way of justice as well as in a way of mercy. Hence it saith, “We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” Through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,” and so to show the world the equity of his proceeding with sinners in the saving of their souls. As if God should say to all those who stumble at the salvation of sinners by grace, ‘Behold I act according to law and justice. For of grace I save them through a redemption; and therefore am faithful and just to my law, as well as free and liberal of my mercy.
Wherefore thus I declare I am righteous, faithful, and just in passing over or remitting sin. Nay, the matter so standeth now betwixt me and the sinful world, that I could not be just if I did not justify him that hath faith in the blood of Jesus; since by that blood my justice is appeased for all that this or that sinner has done against my law.’
This is the way that neither God, nor any child of his, need be ashamed of, before any that shall call in question the legality and justness of this procedure. For why may not God be merciful? And why may not God be just? And since he can be both merciful and just in the salvation of sinners, why may he not also save them from death and hell? Christ is God’s salvation; and to show that he is not ashamed of him, he hath presented him and the way of’ redemption by him, before the face of all people. Nor is the Son, who is become, with respect to the act of redemption, the author of eternal salvation, ashamed of this his doing. “I gave my back to the smiter,” saith he, “and my checks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” This he speaks, to show what were some of his sufferings when he engaged in the work of our redemption, and how heartily he did bear and go through them. For, says he, “the Lord God will help me, (that is, justify me in it;) therefore I shall not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like a flint, for I know that I shall not be ashamed.” And if God, and his Son Jesus Christ, are neither of them ashamed to own this way of salvation; why should the sinners concerned thereabout, be afraid thereupon to venture their soul? ‘I know,’ saith he, ‘I shall not be ashamed. I shall not, that is, when all things come to light, and every thing shall appear above board. When the heart and soul of this undertaking of mine shall be proclaimed upon the housetops, I know I shall not be ashamed.’
It was also upon this account that Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel; for he knew that it was a declaration of the highest act of wisdom that ever God did spread before the face of the sons of men. And of what wisdom is the gospel a declaration, but of that forgiveness of sins by grace, through the redemption that is by the blood of Jesus Christ? “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence.” And as Paul speaketh here as a minister, so he speaketh after the same manner also as he is a believer, saying, “I am not ashamed (of this gospel:) for I know whom I have believed, (or trusted with my soul,) and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Wherefore seeing that mercy is not presented to us alone, or singly, but as accompanying, and concerting with redemption; it is manifest enough that mercy standeth not alone, and consequently that it saveth none but in, by, and through a Redeemer. “He that believeth not” in Christ “shall be damned.” But what needs that, if mercy could save the soul without redemption that is by him?
If any says, ‘Christ is the mercy of God to us:’ I answer true, if you count him a Redeemer, a worker out of a redemption for us by his death and blood upon the cross. But otherwise he is none; I mean, if you make him a lawgiver; and a Savior only, as he has set an example to us to get to heaven by doing the commandments, or by treading in his steps. Yea, though you say his commandment is, That we believe in him. For take the work of redemption by his blood, from the curse, out of his hand, and then what concerning him is left for me to believe, but, as we said before, that he is a lawgiver, and as such, at best but a pattern to us to get to heaven, as here?
And whoso counteth him as such, is so far off from counting Christ the mercy of God to us, that they make him a contradictor of mercy, both in the fountain and all the streams of it. For to propound life eternal to us, through the observation of laws, is to set before us that which contradicteth grace and mercy, let the work be what it will.
Nor will it help at all to say, that they that do the law of Christ, or that take him for their law and example, shall be sure of mercy to pass by their shortness of attaining the perfection that is set before them. For all this might have been done, and not one drop of blood spilt for the redemption of man. Besides, this makes Christ’s death, as a Redeemer, an act unadvisedly undertaken; for what need he have died, if his doctrine and example had been sufficient, through that which they call mercy, to have brought the soul to glory? “If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” I will add, put man’s righteousness, God’s mercy, and Christ’s redemption, all together, and they will not save a man; though the two last alone will sufficiently do it; but this third as a piece, when put to that, does, instead of mending, make the rent worse. Besides, since man’s righteousness cannot be joined in justification with God’s mercy and Christ’s redemption, but through a disbelief of the sufficiency of them, should it be admitted as a cause, though but the least cause thereof; what would follow, but to make that cursed sin of unbelief a good inventor, and a necessary worker in the manner of the justification of a sinner? For, I say, unbelief is the cause of this hodgepodge in any; and the effects of it are showed in the ninth chapter of the epistle of Paul to the Romans, at the latter end thereof.
And there are three things that follow upon that opinion that denieth the absolute necessity of the shedding of the blood of Christ for the redemption of man, that mercy might be let out to him. (1.) It followeth from thence, .that there is no such attribute as absolute justice in God; justice to stand to his word, and to vindicate every tittle of his law. For let but this be granted, and the death of Christ must be brought in; or by justice the flood-gate of mercy still be shut against sinful man; or God must have mercy upon man, with the breach of his word. (2.) It also followeth from the premises, that Christ’s death was of pleasure only, and not of necessity also; contrary to the scripture, that makes his death the effect of both. Of pleasure, to show how willing God the Father was that Christ should die for man; of necessity, to show that man could not be saved without it: of pleasure, to show how justice did deal with him for our sin; of necessity, to show that mercy could not be communicated to us without it. (3.) There also followeth therefrom, that by the blood of Christ we have not redemption from law and justice, as to the condemning part of both; but that rather this title is given to it for honor and glory, to dignify it; as the name of God is also given to him; for they that affirm the one, are bold to affirm the other. For as by them is concluded, that there is no necessity why the blood of Christ should be counted the absolutely necessary price of our redemption from the curse of the law and severity of justice; so by them it is concluded, that it is not necessary to hold that Christ the Redeemer is naturally, and coeternally God, as the Father. But” Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” 3. Must there be redemption by blood added to mercy, if the soul be saved?
This shows us what a horrible thing the sin of man is. Sin, as to the nature of it, is little known in the world. Oh! it sticks so fast to us, as not to be severed from us by all the mercy of God, do but exclude redemption by the blood of Christ. I will say it over again. All the mercy of God cannot save a sinner, without respect to redemption from the curse of the law, by the death and blood of Christ. “Without shedding of blood is no remission. ”No remission; no pardon, or passing by of the least transgression, without it. Tears! Christ’s tears will not do it. Prayers! Christ’s prayers will not do it. A holy life! The holy life that Christ lived will not do it, as severed from his death and blood.
The word redemption, therefore, must be well understood, and close stuck to, and must not be allowed, as properly spoken, when we talk of deliverance from sin, the law, and God’s curse unless it be applied particularly to the death and blood of Christ. “We have redemption through his blood.” “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” “He has redeemed us to God by his blood.” “:For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” This is the redemption that is joined with mercy, yea, that is the fruit thereof; and it is that, without which sin cannot be removed out of the sight of God Moses, who was a better preacher of the law, and the sufficiency of the righteousness thereof, than any now can pretend to be, yet full well declared by all his bloody sacrifices, that the blood and death of Jesus Christ is of absolute necessity for the redemption of the soul. Besides, he tells us that the man that should flee to the city of refuge, from the avenger of blood, should not be at liberty from the law, unless he kept himself close in that city, until the death of the high priest. Mark the word. “Ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.” Wherefore, Christian man, know thou thy sin in the nature of it; and persuade thyself, that the removing of it from before the face of God, is by no less means than the death and blood of Christ.
But it is a poor shift that the enemies of the truth are put to, when to. defend their errors, they are forced to diminish sin, and to enlarge the borders of their fig-leaf garments, and to deny or east away, as much as in them lies, one of the attributes, the justice, of God. Indeed, they will say they abhor to do thus; and all erroneous persons will put the best face they can upon their bad matters; but the natural consequences of things amount to it; nor can they, when men stick close to their sides, avoid the charge. 4. Then here you see the reason of that free course that mercy hath among the sons of men; and why it doth, as has been showed before, what it doth.
Why justice is content. Blood hath answered the demands of justice. The law hath nothing to object against his salvation that believeth in Jesus Christ. Blood has set the door open for us with boldness to go to God for mercy, and for God to come with his abundant grace to us. “We have boldness, brethren, to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh.” This is the way that Moses desired to find, when God so largely spake to him of his mercy. “Thou hast said,” says Moses to God, “I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight. Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee,” etc. What if it should be applied thus? ‘Thou now talkest of mercy, but in thy words to us from the Mount, thou spakest fire and justice; and since thou hast delivered us so holy a law, and art resolved that the least tittle thereof shall by no means fall to the ground; by what means is it that mercy should come unto us?’ ‘Well,’ saith God, ‘I will show thee my way; I will put thee in a cleft of the rock,’ which was a figure of Christ: (for Christ says, “I am the way.”) This done, he proclaimed his name, and showed him how he could be gracious, and gave him the sign of his being merciful, a promise that his presence should go with him. The breaking, then, of the body of Jesus (the rending of the vail) was that, out of which came blood; that the way to God might be living, and not death, or sword, or flame, to the poor children of men. Out hence, therefore, bubbleth continually the tender mercy, the great mercy, the rich mercy, the abundant mercy, the multiplying mercy, and every other mercy of God to us for our present and everlasting good.
Not that God was sparing of his mercy, and would not part with it unless paid for it; for this way of redemption by blood was his contrivance, the fruit of his wisdom. So then, God was big with mercy for a sinful world; but to be continually extending mercy, since sin and justice, because of the sanction of the law, lay in the way as a turning flaming sword; there did lie the work. So it Was concluded, (that mercy might, in a way of justice, be let out to sinners,) Christ the Son of God, should die for the sin of man. By which means the outcries of the law and justice against us for our sins did cease, and mercy flowed from heaven like the waters of Noah, until it became a sea.
Through redemption by blood, therefore, is this great mystery expounded; that a just God can save the man that has broken that law, that God has said he will inflict the penalty for the breach thereof upon, and do his justice no wrong; not by a relaxation of the punishment, as the doltish wisdom of this world imagines; but by an inflicting of the exactest justice upon that nature that has offended.
If the question be asked, how a just God can save that man from death, that by sin has put him under the sentence of it; any fool can answer, ‘by a pardon.’ And if it be asked, but what will become of the threatening wherewith he threatened the offender? He that knows no mysteries can say, ‘Why, man must repent of his sin, and God of his threatening.’ But if it be asked, how God can execute his threatening to the utmost, and yet deliver the sinner by his mercy from it — the sinner that has deserved it — and yet be just to his law, faithful to his law, and one that will stand by every tittle of his law? this, to expound, is too high for a fool. Therefore, these men are for despising mysteries, and for counting mysteries in the gospel, follies.
But this key of heaven is no where but in the word of the Spirit; it is not seen in the law, nor in the reason or righteousness of the world. To punish the just for the unjust, and to make him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, seems unreasonable; so cross to the wisdom of man are the wards of this lock.
Wherefore, usually, when they come at this doctrine, they belch out their frumps, their taunts, their scoffs, and their scorns against it; and in opposition thereto, commend, exalt, cry up, and set on high, Socinianism, Mahometanism, man’s ragged righteousness, or any thing. But we will pass these things. 5. The knowledge of redemption, and the faith of redemption, are the only means of settling, composing, and upholding the soul of the thoroughly awakened, in the hope of enjoying a portion, in mercy for ever. What senseless, secure, besotted, and deluded men, conclude of themselves, and of the means of future happiness, is one thing; and what the thoroughly awakened soul concludes upon, is another. And I say, one thoroughly awakened about the nature of God, the nature of sin, and the worth of the soul, will find but little ease of mind, notwithstanding notions of mercy, until he comes and sees that he must be saved by mercy and justice both; and that, to be sure, he shall never do, until he is taught, that by the blood of Christ the law is, as to the curse that is in it against the sinner, taken out of the way.
These things, sin and justice, are too great to be played with by him that shall see them in the height of the law, and that shall feel them in their terror upon a trembling conscience. But when the soul shall see that a propitiation is made to justice by blood, then, and not till then, it sees sin taken away: and when it sees, by this means, sin taken away, then it can be bold to hope in the mercy of God. Yea, and it will be as hard to wring off him that is settled here, from this belief to another, as it would be to persuade him that stands upon sound ground to venture his life upon a shaking, bottomless quag. Oh! it is a pleasant thing for the wounded conscience to taste the sweetness of redeeming blood! This is like the best wine that goeth down sweetly: this carries with the last of it the very tang of eternal life. And know, that dead works, or works of death, wilt abide in the conscience, notwithstanding all talk and notions of mercy, until that be purged with blood, applied thereto by the Spirit and faith. This is one of the three that abide to witness on earth, that God hath given us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son; because he died for us, and rose again.
This, therefore, is that that will establish a man with that peace that will not be shaken; because by this, such a one seeth the justice of God is quieted; for peace is made by the blood of the cross — peace with God for sinners.
Yea, God himself, by the blood of the cross, has made it, “that by him, Christ, he might reconcile to himself all things, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Nor will a man that is truly spiritually wise, rest till he comes where God towards men doth rest; but that can only be there, where such means are offered for the taking away of sin, as are of a sweetsmelling savor to God. Now, this is the offering that Christ offered, namely, himself; for “Christ loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savor.” Therefore it is by it, the body of his flesh, through death, that we are presented holy, unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight. Wherefore, it must be true which was said before, namely, that the knowledge of redemption, and the faith of redemption, are the only means of settling, composing, and upholding the soul of the thoroughly awakened, in the hope of enjoying a portion in mercy for ever.
He that hath the Son of God, hath the Father, and hath life; because with him is the means of peace with the Father, and so of eternal life. But then, to have the Son, is to believe on him, and on the Father through him: on him, that he is the Savior by his blood; and on the Father through him, as believing that he, for his Son’s sufferings, is pacified with us, and of his grace hath forgiven us, through him, all trespasses. 6. The knowledge and faith of this redemption fortifieth the Christian against temptations. We that do believe, know what it is to be assaulted by the devil, and to have knotty objections cast into our minds by him. We also know what advantage the vile sin of unbelief will get upon us, if our knowledge and faith in this redemption be in the least, below the common faith of saints, defective. If we talk of mercy, he can talk of justice; if we talk of grace, he can talk of the law; and all his words, when God will suffer it, we shall find as sharp, and subject to stick in our minds, as bearded arrows are to stick in flesh. Besides, he can, and doth, and that often, work in our fancies and imaginations such apprehensions of God, that he shall seem to be to us one that cannot abide us, one that hates us, and that lieth in wait to destroy us. And now, if any body speaks to us of mercy, we think we might hope in that, had we nothing to trouble us but the guilt of actual sins. But we see our nature as full of the filth of sin, as the egg is of meat, or the toad of poison; which filth vilely recoileth against the commandments, flieth in the face of God, and contemneth all his judgments. This is felt; this is seen by the sinner, who cannot help it; nor can he be brought to that consideration as to say, ‘It is no more I.’ Now, what shall this man do? Shall he look to the commandment? There is death.
Shall he look to God? There is justice. Shall he look to himself? There is sin out of measure. Let him look, then, to one as dying, to the Lamb as it had been slain, and there let him see himself by this Lamb, as cursed, and dying a cursed death for his sin that doth so fright and so distress the soul.
Then let him turn again, and behold this Lamb alive and well, and highly exalted by this God, that but just before laid the curse of the law upon him; but let him be sure to reckon that he has died for his sins by the person of Christ, and it will follow, that this man is now acquitted, because Christ is still alive.
Say I these things as a man? Saith not the gospel the very same? (1.) As to Christ’s dying for us; as also that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ. (2.) And that we should so reckon as to this matter, because that God has transferred our sin from us to him.
First, Did not Christ die for us; and dying for us, are we not become dead to the law by the death of his body? Or will the law slay both him and us, and that for the same transgression? If this be concluded in the affirmative, what follows but that Christ, though he undertook, came short in doing for us. But he was raised up from the dead, and believing marrieth us to him as risen, and that stops the mouth of all. “I am crucified with Christ.” “Our old man was crucified with him;” and “we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” What then?
Secondly, Why, “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ.” ‘Aye,’ but says the soul, ‘How can I reckon thus, when sin is yet strong in me?’ I answer, read the words again.
He saith not, Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, in yourselves; but dead unto it through Jesus Christ. Not alive unto God in yourselves; but alive unto God through Jesus Christ. For Christ in his death and resurrection representeth me. As I died by him, I rose again by him, and live through the faith of the gospel in the presence of God by him. This must in the first place be allowed and believed, or no true peace can come near the soul, nor the soul be prepared to assoil the assaults of the adversary.
Let therefore thy faith, if thou wouldst be a warrior, O thou faint-hearted Christian, be well instructed in this. Then will thy faith do thee a twofold kindness. 1. It will conform thee unto the death and resurrection of Christ: and, 2. It will give thee advantage, when thou seest sin strong in thyself, yet to conclude that by Christ thou art dead thereto, and by him alive therefrom.
Nor can there but two objections be made against this. The first is, to question whether any are said to die and rise, by the death and resurrection of Christ? or, if it so may be said; yet whether thou art one of them? To the first, the scripture is full. To the second, thy faith must be strong. Let go faith here, and all falls flat to the ground; I mean as to comfort and consolation. Christ died for us, or in our stead; therefore by the word of God I am allowed so to reckon. Christ rose and revived, though he died for me; therefore I rose and revived by Christ; unless any does hold, that though he died in a common, yet he arose as considered but in a single capacity. Now then, if Satan comes and tells me of my sins, I answer, Christ has taken them upon himself. If he come and tell me of the death that is due to me for sin, by the curse of the holy law, I answer, I have already undergone that by Christ. If he ask me, how I know that the law will not lay hold of me also; I answer, Because Christ is risen from the dead. If he asks me, by what authority I take upon me thus to reason; I tell him, By the authority and allowance of the holy and most blessed gospel, which saith, “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” And to encourage thee thus to believe, and thus to hold, when thou art in an hour of temptation, this is the way to see mercy stand and smile upon thee; for mercy will smile upon him that shall thus believe.
This is the way to put faith and hope both to work against the devil; and to do this is very pleasing to God. This is the way to make that hell-hound retreat and leave off to assault. And this the way to find an answer to many scriptures, with which else thou wilt not know what to do, as with many of the types and shadows, yea, and with the moral law itself.
Besides, thus believing setteth thy soul against the fear of death, and judgment to come. For if Christ be raised from the dead, who died for our sins; and if Christ who died for our sins is entered into glory; I say again, if Christ who died for our sins has purchased us to himself, and is purposed that the fruit of this his purchase shall be, that we may behold his face in glory; then cast off slavish fear of death and judgment. “For Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” 7. The knowledge and faith of this redemption prepareth man to a holy life. By a holy life, I mean a life according to the moral law, flowing from a spirit of thankfulness to God, for giving his Son to be my Redeemer. This I call a holy life, because it is according to the rule of holiness, the law; and this I call a holy life, because it floweth from such a principle as giveth to God the heart, and life for the gift bestowed on us.
What pretenses soever there are to holiness, if it floweth not from thankfulness for mercy received, it floweth from a wrong principle, and so cannot be good. Hence, men were required of old, to serve the Lord with joyfulness, for the abundance of all things; and threatened, if they did not, that they should serve their enemies in hunger and in thirst, in nakedness and in the want of all things. But then, though there are many mercies that lay an obligation upon men to be holy, yet he that shall want the obligation that is begotten by the faith of redeeming mercy, wanteth the main principle of true holiness: nor will any other be found sufficiently to sanctify the heart to the causing of it to produce such a life; nor can such holiness be accepted, because it comes not forth in the name of Christ.
That that obliged David, was forgiving and redeeming mercy; and that that obliged Paul, was the love that Christ showed to him in dying for his sins, and in rising from the dead. Paul also beseecheth the Romans, by the redeeming, justifying, preserving, and electing mercy of God, that they present their body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, “which is,” saith he, “your reasonable service.” For we must be holy and without blame before him in love.
Hence, all along, they that are exhorted to holiness in the New Testament, are exhorted to it upon the supposition of the benefit of redemption which they have received by Jesus Christ: “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” “If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love,” etc. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth,” etc. “Wherefore, laying aside all malice and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings; as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that may grow thereby; if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” I will conclude this with that of Peter, to those to whom he wrote concerning this very thing: “As obedient children,” saith he, “not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts, in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
And I believe that those very men that are pleased to taunt at this kind of inference, would condemn a man were he laid under these obligations concerning things of this life, and yet did carry it as one not touched thereby. We will make an instance. Suppose a Socinian should, through his contracting a great debt, be forced to rot in prison, unless redeemed by silver and gold; and suppose a man, unto whom the Socinian was an enemy, should lay down the whole debt to the creditor, that this Socinian might be at liberty — might trade, and live comfortably in this world. And if, after this, this Socinian should taunt at them that should tell him he is engaged to this redeemer, ought to love and respect this redeemer, what would they say, but that this Socinian that was a debtor is an inconsiderate and stupified rascal? Why, this is the ease. Paul was a debtor to the law and justice of God; Jesus Christ, his Son, that Paul might not perish for ever, paid for him a price of redemption, to wit, his most precious blood. But what! shall Paul now, though redeemed from perpetual imprisonment in hell, be as one that never was beholden to Jesus Christ; or if others say he was, taunt at them for their so saying? No he scorns it. Though the love of Christ, in dying to pay a price of redemption, will not engage a Socinian, yet it will. engage a true Christian to think and believe that he ought to live to Jesus, that died for him and rose again.
I know it will be objected, that the Satisfactionists, (as the Quaking pen is pleased to call them,) show but little of this to the world; for their pride, covetousness, false dealing, and the like, since they profess, as I have said, shows them as little concerned,-to the full, as the Socinian under consideration.
I answer, it must be, that the name of Christ should be scandalized through some that profess him; and they must answer it at the tribunal of the great Judge; yet what I have said stands fast as a rock that cannot be moved. 8. The knowledge and faith of redemption is a very great encouragement to prayer. It is great encouragement for the poor even to go to a prince for what he wanteth, when he considereth that what he goeth to him for, is the price of redemption. All things that we want we must ask the Father for, in the name of Christ: we must ask it of him for the sake of his redeeming blood, for the sake of the merit of his passion. Thus David means, when he says, “For thy name’s sake do it;”. and Daniel when he saith here, “for the Lord’s sake.” For Jesus Christ is God’s great name; and to do for his sake, is to do for what worthiness is in him.
Unworthiness! The consideration of unworthiness, is a great stumbling block to the tempted when he goes to seek the Lord. But now, remembering the worthiness of Christ, and that he is now on the right hand of God, on purpose to plead that on the behalf of the petitioner, this is great encouragement.
The Jews, by God’s ordinance, when they went morning and evening by their priest to speak with God, were to offer a lamb for a burnt-offering; and it must be thus continually. Now, this lamb was a figure of the sacrificing of the body of Christ, which was to be offered for them in time to come; and in that it was to be continually, morning and evening, so repeated, what doth it signify, but that we should remember, (when going to God,) to go in the name and faith of the merits of Jesus Christ for what we are in need of? This will support, and this will encourage; for now we see that the thing desired (it being according to his will)is obtained for us by the sacrificing of. the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.
When Israel begged of Samuel that he would not cease to cry to the Lord their God for them, it is said he took a sucking lamb and offered it for a burnt-offering wholly unto the Lord; and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him. But why did he take a sucking lamb, and why did he offer it, and that wholly unto the Lord, as he cried, but to show to Israel, that he was not heard for his own, or for his righteousness’ sake, but for the sake of Christ, whose merits were prefigured by Samuel’s burning the lamb?
Also when David spake for himself to Saul, he put himself upon this: If, saith he, the Lord hath stirred thee up against me, let him accept a sacrifice, (a smell, or a sweet-smelling sacrifice,) a figure of the satisfactoriness of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
What is the meaning of all these passages, if not to show, that when we go to pray to God we should turn away our face from everything of ours, and look to God, only by the price of redemption paid for us by Jesus Christ; and plead that alone with him as the great prevailing argument, and that by, and for, the sake of which he giveth pardon and grace to help in time of need.
Wherefore, wouldst thou be a praying man, a man that would pray and prevail? Why, pray to God in the faith of the merits of Christ, and speed. 9. For this is the very cause why this is added in the text, namely, the plenteousness of redemption; it is, I say, that men should boise to partake by it, of the goodness and mercy of God. “Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.”
Mercy and redemption; mercy through a Redeemer; therefore “Let Israel hope.” It must also be noted, that this word redemption is as it were, the explicatory part of the text, for the helping of Israel to hope. As if he should say, ‘As there is with God mercy, so there is with him a way to his mercy; and that way is redemption, or a price paid for your sins. And that you should not be discouraged through the greatness of your sins; I tell you, there is with God plenty of this redemption, or a price paid to the full; to an over and above.’ It also is as if he had said, ‘Forget not this: for this is the key of all the rest, and the great support to the saints in prayer, or while they wait upon God. in any of his appointments to encourage them to hope.’ 10. And lastly, This also should teach the saints, when they sing or praise the .Lord, they should not sing of mercy only, but of mercy and judgment too. “I will sing of mercy and of judgment; unto thee, O Lord, will I sing:” that is, of mercy and judgment, or justice in the manifestation of it, as smiling upon our forgiveness. When Hannah sang of, and rejoiced in God’s salvation, she sang aloud of holiness, saying, “There is none holy as the Lord;” holy in keeping his word, though it cost the blood of his Son. This also is that that is called a helping of his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, and the performing of the mercy promised; “even the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies,” (by a Redeemer,) “might serve him without fear,” etc.
When you praise, therefore, remember Christ and his blood, and how justice and judgment took hold on him, that they might not take hold on thee; yea, how they, by taking hold on him, left a way to thee to escape.