And now, reader, if all my discourses of the method of Christ in purchasing the great salvation for us, and the way of the Spirit in applying it, and making it effectual to God's elect; thou hast two wonders before thine eyes, either of which may astonish thy soul, in the consideration of them, viz.
1. This admirable grace of God in preparing this great Salvation.
2. The desperate wickedness of man in rejecting this great Salvation.
First, Behold the riches of the goodness and mercy of God in preparing such a remedy as this for lost man. This is that which is justly called "The great mystery of godliness," 1 Tim. 3: 16. that mystery which the prophets inquired diligently after, yea, which the "angels desired to look into," 1 Pet. 1: 10, 12. In this glorious mystery of redemption, that "polutoikilos sofia", manifold wisdom of God, or that wisdom which has such curious and admirable variety in it, is illustriously displayed, Eph. 4: 10. Yea, the contrivance of our redemption, this way, is the most glorious display of divine love that ever was made, or can be made, in this world to the children of men; for so the apostle will be understood, when he saith, Rom. 5: 8. "Sonisesi tes heautou agapen", - God has set forth, or presented his love to man in the most engaging manner, in a way that commends it beyond all compare to the acceptation of men. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners," 1 Tim. 1: 15. It might be justly expected, that when this glorious mystery should come to be published by the gospel in the ears of sinners, all eyes should be withdrawn from all other objects, and fixed with admiration upon Christ, all hearts should be ravished with these glad tidings; and every man pressing to Christ with the greatest zeal and diligence. But behold, instead thereof,
Secondly, The desperate wickedness of the world, in rejecting the only remedy prepared for them. This was long since foretold by the prophet, Isa. 53: 3. "He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." His poor and mean appearance, which should endear him beyond all considerations to the souls of men, (since it was for their sakes, that he emptied himself of all his glory) yet this lays him under contempt, he is looked on as the very outcast of men, when his own love to man had emptied him of all his riches, the wickedness of men loaded him with contempt, and as it was prophesied of him, so it was, and at this day is sadly verified all the world over; for,
First, The Pagan world has no knowledge of him, they are lost in darkness. "God has suffered them to walk in their own ways," Acts 14: 16.
Secondly, The Mahometans which overspread so great a part of the world reject him, and instead of the blessed gospel, which they hiss at with abhorrence, embrace the blasphemous and ridiculous Alcoran, which they confidently affirm came down from God immediately in that Laylatto Hanzili (as they call it) the night of demission, calling all Christians, Cafirouna, i.e. Infidels.
Thirdly, The Jews reject him with abhorrence, and spit at his very name, and being blind-folded by the devil, they call Jesus Anathema, 1 Cor. 12: 3. And in a blind zeal for Moses, blaspheme him as an impostor. "He came to his own, and his own received him not," John 1: 11.
Fourthly, The far greater part of the Christianised world reject him; those that are called after his name, will not submit to his government. The nobles of the world think themselves dishonoured by submitting their necks to his yoke. The sensualists of the world will not deny their lusts, or forsake their pleasures, for all the treasures of righteousness, life and peace, which his blood has purchased. Worldlings of the earth prefer the dirt and dung of the world before him; and few there be among them that profess Christianity, who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. The only reason why they are called Christians is, because, by the advantageous cast of providence, they were born and educated in a nation where Christianity is professed and established by the laws of the country; and if the wind should turn, and the public authority think fit to establish another religion, they can shift their sail, and steer a contrary course.
But now, reader, let me tell thee, that if ever God send forth these two grim sergeants, his law, and thine own conscience, to arrest thee for thy sins, if thou find thyself dragged away by them towards that prison from whence none return, that are once clapt up therein, and that in this unspeakable distress Jesus Christ manifest himself to thy soul, and open thy heart to receive him, and become thy surety with God, pay all thy debts, and cancel all thy obligations, thou wilt love him at another rate than others do; his blood will run deeper in thine eves than it does in the shallow apprehensions of the world; he will be altogether lovely, and thou wilt account all things but dung and dross in comparison of the excellency of Jesus Christ thy Lord. To work thy heart to this frame, these things are written, which the Lord prosper upon thy soul, by the blessing of his good Spirit upon thee.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
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