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upon their first apostacy; but our guilty race is placed under a dispensation of grace, and made probationers, for a happy immortality after their first fall. The devils are irrecoverably lost for want of a Saviour, but the sinners from among men perish by the neglecting a Saviour. All the fallen angels, without exception, are remedilessly miserable; but only a part of mankind share in their doom. The angels stood every one for himself, but Adam was constituted our representative; our concerns were lodged in his hands, and we fell in him. Now what a surprising variety is here! here are some holy and happy beings, that were never otherwise; and some that are recovered to holiness and happiness, who had been deeply involved in guilt and misery: here are some rewarded for their own personal works of obedience; and some are saved by the righteousness of another; here are some that have access to God without a Mediator, and some through a Mediator. Some that have always gone on in an easy, natural tenor of uniform obedience; and some that have passed through various conflicts and temptations, and ascended to heaven from the field of battle; here are some shining in all the glory of native innocence, highly improved, but not new-created; and some repaired from their ruins, and formed anew. Here are some that perish without a dispensation of grace: some without the offer of a Saviour, and some for rejecting the offer. Here are some sinners abandoned for ever for the first offence; and some lost by abusing their time of trial and the means of their recovery. What various theatres are these, on which to display the glory of the divine perfections! what amazing wisdom to form so many different models of government, and so conduct and manage them all, as to answer the best ends! If there be any of the divine attributes that are most properly exercised upon sinless

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creatures that never fell, they meet with a proper object in the elect angels. If there be any perfections that cannot be displayed but upon the guilty, here are guilty men and angels, in the conduct toward whom they may shine in their full glory. If there be any of the divine attributes that may be represented in the most illustrious light, in the recovery of lost sinners through the obedience and sufferings of a Mediator, here are thousands saved in this way from among men, who will be the everlasting monuments of their amiable glories. If any of the divine perfections can receive more honour by punishing abandoned criminals immediately given up to remediless ruin, they receive that honour from the everlasting punishment of the fallen angels; or if any of them be displayed to greater advantage, by the punishment of the ungrateful abusers of the means of grace, and a time of trial, the impenitent and unbelieving sons of men are a proper object for them. To all which I may add, that here we have the divine perfections displayed in justification by works and by grace, in inflicting punishment upon the proper offender, and upon Jesus Christ as a surety: and whatever glory may be peculiar to one or other of these ways, or may result from them all conjunctly as one whole, or system of government, all that glory redounds to the divine perfections. Thus you see the method of salvation through Christ, considered as a part of the grand scheme of the divine government, tends to the illustration of the perfections of God: it is one link in the bright chain; and should it be broken or removed, the whole system and contexture would be shattered or left incomplete. Thus St. Paul tells us, that by the dispensations of grace towards the church, are made known, not only to men, but to principalities and powers (that is, to the angels) the manifold wisdom of God, his variegated and beautifully diversified wisdom.

Ephes. iii. 10. And oh! that our eyes may be enlightened to behold and admire it! However little this divine scheme be regarded in our blind and ungrateful world, the various ranks of angels cannot behold it with careless eyes: they stoop, and look, and pry into it, with a divine curiosity and an insatiable eagerness, through all eternity. But let us now proceed to a more particular survey of this scheme, considered absolutely in itself; and, in this view, we shall find the divine perfections are displayed more gloriously by it, than by any other; particularly-as to the degree-the harmony-the universality-the grace and benevolence and the wonderful and surprising manner of the display.

I. By this scheme the divine perfections are displayed in the highest degree possible. It appears that such and such attributes not only belong to God, but that they are in him in the highest perfection. Goodness had already displayed itself all the world over, in giving life, and breath, and all things to the sons of men, from age to age. But what are the blessings of the sun and rain, what are the productions of the earth, when compared to his only begotten Son, the man that was his fellow, whom he loved more than ten thousand worlds! This is an unspeakable gift; this the richest gift which even the infinite goodness of God could bestow: almighty love could do no more; this was its ne plus ultra. The creation and support of millions of worlds would not have displayed such a degree of love and goodness as this. God had displayed his holiness and justice, and his abhorrence of sin, by the variety of his judgments upon a guilty world; and he will display these attributes to all eternity by the more dread

* 1 Pet. i. 12. "Which things (that is, the things now preached to us by the gospel, the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow) the angels desire apakúyai, to bend and pry into" with eager eyes.

ful punishments of hell. But the subjects of these punishments are creatures of an inferior order; and they have provoked their gracious Sovereign, and most justly incurred his displeasure, by their own personal crimes. These he may therefore punish, and yet spare his Son, when he only becomes the surety of the guilty, and he is chargeable with no sin of his own, but only the imputed guilt of others. The dignity of his person, the greatness of the love of his Father to him, his personal innocence, and the benevolence of his design, plead for him, and seem to promise him an exemption, or at least the mitigation of his sufferings. This now is the greatest trial that can be made, whether divine justice be strictly inexorable, whether God can be prevailed upon by the strongest possible inducements to connive at sin, and dispense with his law. Had the doom of the whole created universe been suspended on it, it would not have been so great a trial. And what was the issue? St. Paul will tell you the amazing result, God spared not his own Son, his proper, peculiar Son, but delivered him up to death. Rom. viii. 32. When the honour of his justice and holiness were at stake, even the Father would not relent; but with his own mouth he issues out the dread commission, "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the Shepherd." Zech. xiii. 7. Now it even pleased the Father to bruise him, and put him to grief. Isa. liii. 10. And could there be a more astonishing display of justice. and the sacred honours of the divine government? Could a more striking proof be given of the infinite holiness of the divine nature, the malignity of sin, and his implacable hatred to it? No! all the punishments of hell can never

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give such an illustrious display of these perfections. I might show how sundry other attributes, particularly wisdom and veracity, are illustrated to the highest degree possible by this scheme; but my time denies me that pleasure.

II. The divine perfections are displayed in the most perfect harmony in this method of salvation: I mean such of them as seemed to jar, to cloud the glory of each other, or to be incapable of being illustrated at once, are now reconciled and mingle their beams, and, instead of obscuring, reflect a glory upon each other. The matter was so circumstanced, that it seemed really impossible to men and angels to display several divine perfections conjunctly. There seemed to be a necessity that one or other of them should be eclipsed; for if grace should be displayed in the

• How astonishing was the rigid justice of Brutus the Elder; who, in spite of all the passions of a father, passed sentence of death upon his own sons, for conspiring against the liberty of their country. While the amiable youths stood trembling and weeping before him, and hoping their tears would be the most powerful defence with a father; while the senate whisper for the moderation of the punishment, and that they might escape with banishment; while his fellow-consul is silent; while the multitude tremble and expect the decision with horror, the inexorable Brutus rises in all the stern majesty of justice, and with a steady voice, not interrupted with one sigh, turning to the lictors, who were the executioners, says to them, "To you, lictors, I deliver them; execute the law upon them." In this sentence he persisted inexorable, notwithstanding the weeping intercessions of the multitude, and the cries of the young men, calling upon their father by the most endearing names. The lictors seized them, stripped them naked, tied their hands behind them, beat them with rods, and then struck off their heads; the inexorable Brutus looking on the bloody spectacle with unaltered countenance. Thus the father was lost in the judge: the love of justice overcame all the fondness of the parent: private interest was swallowed up in a regard to the public good, and the honour and security of government. This, perhaps, is the most striking resemblance of the justice of the Deity that can be found in the history of mankind. But how far short does it fall! how trifling were the sufferings of these youths, compared to those of the Son of God! How insignificant the honour of the law and government for which they suffered, to that of the divine! How small the good of the public, in one case, to that in the other!-See Universal History, vol. xi. p. 360. Liv. 1. ii. c. 5.

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