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The subject improved and applied.
1. In this we may see how the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ appears in the work of redemption. It was because the Father had from eternity a design of exceedingly glorifying his Son, that he appointed him to be the person that should thus triumph over the evil in the world. The work of redemption is the most glorious of all God’s works that are made known to us. The glory of God most remarkably shines forth in it. And this is one thing wherein its glory eminently appears, that therein Christ appears so gloriously above Satan and all his instruments; above all guilt, all corruption, all affliction, above death, and above all evil. And more especially, because evil hath so exalted itself in the world, as we have heard; and exalted itself against Christ in particular.
Satan has ever had a peculiar enmity against the Son of God. Probably his first rebellion, which was his condemnation, was his proudly taking it in disdain, when God declared the decree in heaven, that his Son in man’s nature, should be the King of heaven; and that all the angels should worship him. However that was, yet it is certain that his strife has ever been especially against the Son of God. The enmity has always been between the seed of the woman, and the serpent. And therefore that war which the devil maintains against God, is represented by the devil and his angels fighting against Michael and his angels. 216216 Rev. xii. 7. This Michael is Christ. 217217 Dan. x. 21. and xii. 1
God had appointed his Son to be the heir of the world; but the devil has contested this matter with him, and has strove to set himself up as God of the world. And how exceedingly has the devil exalted himself against Christ! How did he oppose him as he dwelt among the Jews, in his tabernacle and temple! And how did he oppose him when on earth! And how has he opposed him since his ascension! What great and mighty works has Satan brought to pass in the world! how many Babels has he built up to heaven, in his opposition to the Son of God! How exceeding proud and haughty has he appeared in his opposition! How have he and his instruments, 217 and sin, affliction, and death, of which he is the father, raged against Christ? But yet Christ, in the work of redemption, appears infinitely above them all. In this work he triumphs over them, however they have dealt proudly; and they all appear under his feet. In this the glory of the Son of God, in the work of redemption, remarkably appears.
The beauty of good appears with the greatest advantage, when compared with its contrary evil. And the glory of that which is excellent, then especially shows itself, when it triumphs over its contrary, and appears vastly above it, in its greatest height. The glory of Christ, in this glorious exaltation over so great evil, that so exalted itself against him, the more remarkably appears, in that he is thus exalted out of so low a state. Though he appeared in the world as a little child; yet how does he triumph over the most gigantic enemies of God and men! He who was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” is a man of war, and triumphed over his enemies in all their power. He who was meek and lowly of heart, has triumphed over those proud foes. And he is exalted over them all, in that which appears most despicable, even his cross.
2. Here is matter of exceeding great encouragement for all sinful miserable creatures in the world of mankind, to come to Christ. For let them be as sinful as they will, and ever so miserable; Christ, in the work of redemption, is gloriously exalted above all their sin and misery.
How high soever their guilt has risen, though mountains have been heaping on mountains all the days of their lives, till the pile appears towering up to heaven, and above the very stars; yet Christ in the work of redemption appears gloriously exalted above all this height.—Though they are overwhelmed in a mighty deluge of woe and misery; a deluge that is not only above their heads, but above the heads of the highest mountains; and they do not see how it is possible that they should escape; yet they have no reason to be discouraged from looking to Christ for help; who in the work of redemption, appears gloriously above the deluge of evil. Though they see dreadful corruption in their hearts; though their lusts appear like giants, or like the raging waves of the sea; yet they need not despair of help; but may look to Christ, who appears in the work of redemption, gloriously above all this corruption.
If they apprehend themselves to be miserable captives of Satan; and find him too strong an adversary for them; and the devil is often tempting and buffeting them, and triumphing over them with great cruelty: if it seems to them that the devil has swallowed them up, and has got full possession of them, as the whale had of Jonah; yet there is encouragement for them to look again, as Jonah did, towards God’s holy temple, and to trust in Christ for deliverance from Satan, who appears so gloriously exalted above him in the work of redemption.
If they are ready to sink with darkness and sorrows, distress of conscience, or those frowns of God upon them; so that God’s waves and billows seem to pass over them; yet they have encouragement enough to look to Christ for deliverance. These waves and billows have before exalted themselves against Christ; and he appeared to be infinitely above them.—And if they are afraid of death; if it looks exceeding terrible, as an enemy that would swallow them up; yet let them look to Christ who has appeared so gloriously above death; and their fears will turn into joy and triumph.
3. What cause have they who have an interest in Christ, to glory in their Redeemer! They are often beset with many evils, and many mighty enemies surround them on every side, with open mouths ready to devour them: but world, over guilt, and over death. For as their Redeemer is mighty, and is so exalted above all evil; so shall they also be exalted in him. They are now, in a sense, so exalted; for nothing can hurt them. Christ carries them, as on eagle’s wings, nigh out of the reach of all evils, so that they cannot come near them, to do them any real harm. And, in a little time, they shall be carried so out of their reach, that they shall not be able even to molest them anymore for ever.
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