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In this way of salvation God is greatly glorified.
God has greatly glorified himself in the work of creation and providence. All his works praise him, and his glory shines brightly from them all: but as some stars differ from others in glory, so the glory of God shines brighter in some of his works than in others. And amongst all these, the work of redemption is like the sun in his strength. The glory of the author is abundantly the most resplendent in this work.
I. Each attribute of God is glorified in the work of redemption. How God has exceedingly glorified his wisdom, may more fully appear before we have done with this subject. But more particularly,
1. God hath exceedingly glorified his power in this work.—It shows the great and inconceivable power of God to unite natures so infinitely different, as the divine and human nature, in one person. If God can make one who is truly God, and one that is truly man, the self-same person, what is it that he cannot do? This is a greater and more marvellous work than creation.
The power of God most gloriously appears in man’s being actually saved and redeemed in this way. In his being brought out of a state of sin and misery, into a conformity to God; and at last to the full and perfect enjoyment of God. This is a more glorious demonstration of divine power, than creating things out of nothing, upon two accounts. One is, the effect is greater and more excellent. To produce the new creature is a more glorious effect, than merely to produce a creature.—Making a holy creature, a creature in the spiritual image of God, in the image of the divine excellencies, and a partaker of the divine nature—is a greater effect than merely to give being. And therefore as the effect is greater, it is a more glorious manifestation of power.
And then, in this effect of the actual redemption of sinners, the term from which, is more distant from the term to which, than in the work of creation. The term from which, in the work of creation, is nothing, and the term to which, is being. But the term from which, in the work of redemption, is a state infinitely worse than nothing; and the term to which, a holy and a happy being, a state infinitely better than mere being. The terms in the production of the last, are much more remote from one another, than in the first.
And then the production of this last effect, is a more glorious manifestation of power, than the work of creation; because, though in creation, the terms are very distant—as nothing is very remote from being—yet there is no opposition. Nothing makes no opposition to the creating power of God.—But in redemption, the divine power meets with and overcomes great opposition. There is great opposition in a state of sin to a state of grace. Men’s lusts and corruptions are exceedingly opposite to grace and holiness; and greatly resist the production of the effect. But this opposition is completely overcome in actual redemption.
Besides, there is great opposition from Satan. The power of God is very glorious in this work, because it therein conquers the strongest and most powerful enemies. Power never appears more illustrious than in conquering. Jesus Christ, in this work, conquers and triumphs over thousands of devils, strong and mighty spirits, uniting all their strength against him. Luke xi. 21. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: but when a stronger than he shall overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoil.” Col. ii. 15. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in the cross.”
2. The justice of God is exceedingly glorified in this work. God is so strictly and immutably just, that he would not spare his beloved Son when he took upon him the guilt of men’s sins, and was substituted in the room 145of sinners. He would not abate him the least mite of that debt which justice demanded. Justice should take place, though it cost his infinitely dear Son his precious blood; and his enduring such extraordinary reproach, and pain, and death in its most dreadful form.
3. The holiness of God is also exceedingly glorious in this work. Never did God so manifest his hatred of sin as in the death and sufferings of his only-begotten Son. Hereby he showed himself unappeasable to sin, and that it was impossible for him to be at peace with it.
4. God hath also exceedingly glorified his truth in this way, both in his threatenings and promises. Herein is fulfilled the threatenings of the law, wherein God said, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 147147 Gen. ii. 17. ” And cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them. 148148 Col 3:10. ” God showed hereby, that not only heaven and earth should pass away, but, which is more, that the blood of him who is the eternal Jehovah should be spilt, rather than one jot or tittle of his word should fail, till all be fulfilled.
5. And lastly, God has exceedingly glorified his mercy and love in this work. The mercy of God was an attribute never seen before in its exercises, till it was seen in this work of redemption, or the fruits of it. The goodness of God appeared towards the angels in giving them being and blessedness. It appeared glorious towards man in his primitive state, a state of holiness and happiness. But now God hath shown that he can find in his heart to love sinners, who deserve his infinite hatred. And not only hath he shown that he can love them, but love them so as to give them more and do greater things for them than ever he did for the holy angels, that never sinned nor offended their Creator. He loved sinful men so as to give them a greater gift than ever he gave the angels; so as to give his own Son, and not only to give him to be their possession and enjoyment, but to give him to be their sacrifice. And herein he has done more for them, than if he had given them all the visible world; yea, more than if he had given them all the angels, and all heaven besides. God hath loved them so, that hereby he purchased for them deliverance from eternal misery, and the possession of immortal glory.
II. Each person of the Trinity is exceedingly glorified in this work. Herein the work of redemption is distinguished from all the other works of God. The attributes of God are glorious in his other works; but the three persons of the Trinity are distinctly glorified in no work as in this of redemption. In this work every distinct person has his distinct parts and offices assigned him. Each one has his particular and distinct concern in it, agreeable to their distinct, personal properties, relations, and economical offices. The redeemed have an equal concern with and dependence upon each person, in this affair, and owe equal honour and praise to each of them.
The Father appoints and provides the Redeemer, and accepts the price of redemption. The Son is the Redeemer and the price. He redeems by offering up himself. The Holy Ghost immediately communicates to us the thing purchased; yea, and he is the good purchased. The sum of what Christ purchased for us is holiness and happiness. But the Holy Ghost is the great principle both of all holiness and happiness. The Holy Ghost is the sum of all that Christ purchased for men. Gal. iii. 13, 14. “He was made a curse for us, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit, through faith.”
The blessedness of the redeemed consists in partaking of Christ’s fulness, which consists in partaking of that Spirit, which is given not by measure unto him. This is the oil that was poured upon the head of the church, which ran down to the members of his body; to the skirts of his garment. Thus we have an equal concern with and dependence upon each of the persons of the Trinity, distinctly; upon the Father, as he provides the Redeemer, and the person of whom the purchase is made;—the Son as the purchaser, and the price;?the Holy Ghost, as the good purchased.
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