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greatest scholar living, and yet perish. But the right knowledge of Christ by the gospel will justify and save those that have it. By his knowledge, shall my righteous servant justify many." (Isa. liii. 11) It is a knowledge which makes perfect. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man." (Eph. iv. 13)

2. The noblest moral attainments which men can arrive at by the utmost improvement of natural reason alone *, of the most generous principles, of the precepts of the best philosophers, of the examples of the most eminent heroes,—will, none of it, suffice to bring a man to blessedness. The apostle would not have concluded better things than these to be but loss and dung,' if he might have been saved by them. But there is no other name under heaven, whereby salvation is to be had, but by the name of Christ. (Acts iv. 12) Thus the super-eminent excellency of the gospel of Christ doth appear, by comparing it with all other excellent things; the excellency of created innocency; the excellency of the law, whether moral or ceremonial; and the excellency of the highest rational or moral accomplish

ments.

We shall next demonstrate the excellency of the gospel, by considering it absolutely in itself. And here let us first take a view of the supernaturalness and sublimity of it. It is every where, in scripture, called "a mystery', the mystery of Christ, the mystery of the kingdom, a great mystery of godliness,” which signifieth τὸ ἀποῤῥητὸν, καὶ θαυμαστὸν, καὶ ἀγνοούμενον, as St. Chrysostom speaks ", 'some wonderful and unknown thing. The apostle calleth ithidden wisdom,' the 'deep things of God,' beyond the discovery of the noblest created reason in the world. That two natures should be in one person; that God himself should take flesh; that a pure virgin should be SeoToxos, the mother of God,' as the council of Ephesus styleth her; that he who blesseth all, should be made a curse himself; who is Lord over all, should become

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Absit ut sit in aliquo vera virtus, nisi fuerit justus: absit autem, ut justus vere sit, nisi vivat ex fide. Aug. cont. 2. Ep. Pelag. 1. 4. c. 3. 1 Mark iv. 11.

1 Cor. iv. 1. Eph. iii. 4, 6, 19. Col. iv. 3. 1 Tim. iii. 9, 16. 1 Cor. ii. 7, 10. Chrysost. in Rom. xi. 25.-Casaub, exercit, in Baron. 16. n. 43,—Abbot de verit. grat. Christi, p. 46.

a servant himself; that the Prince of life should die, and the Lord of glory be put to shame; that the sin should be punished, and the sinner pardoned; that the Son of David should be the Lord of David, and the Son of Mary the Saviour of Mary; and he who made the world, be born into the world four thousand years after the world was made; these were mysteries shut up in the bosom of God, undiscoverable by any created wisdom, till he himself was pleased to reveal them.

Again: let us here consider the sanctity of the gospel, as a great mystery of godliness. The whole design and contrivance thereof being, 1. To set forth the glorious righte ousness of a holy God, that neither his verity nor sanctity might be impaired by his clemency and mercy unto sinners. For though he spared them, that he might in them show the riches of his grace; yet he spared not his Son, but delivered him up for us all, that in him he might declare his righteousness. (Rom. iii. 25)

2. Another design of the gospel was to restore lapsed man unto that primitive holiness wherein he had been created; (Col. iii. 10)" for the grace of God which bringeth salvation, doth also teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from iniquity, (Tit. ii. 11, 14) and from our former vain conversation. (1 Pet. i. 18) And this the gospel doth not only by the precepts thereof as a rule of holiness, but by the grace thereof as a principle of holiness, helping us to do what we are commanded. "Efficit fides, quod lex jubet : lex imperat, fides impetrat," saith St. Austin": the law only commands, but faith ordains help to do what is commanded. The law was given to demonstrate our impotency; but grace was given to heal and to remove it.

Again; here offereth itself to our view the admirable contexture of justice and mercy, the unspeakable contrivance of redemption and salvation by the gospel. There seemeth to be a kind of conflict between the attributes of God, as St. Bernard hath observed; justice and truth resolved to punish

Aug. Ep. 89, 95. cont. 2. Ep. Pelag. 1. 3. c. 7.-de grat. et lib. arbit c. 14, 16, 17.-Prosper. cont. Collatorem, c. 3. • Serm. 1. in annuntiat. B. Mariæ.

sin, mercy and grace resolved to save sinners. No created wisdom could have found out a way to effect this, so to sever the sin from the sinner, that justice might satisfy itself upon the one, and mercy magnify itself upon the other. This could not be done, but by such a mediator and surety as might be both able and willing to suffer the wrath of God; and having so done, victoriously to rise up and triumph over hell and death. All this is found in the Lord Jesus. In him, man suffered; in him, God conquered. His sufferings, valid for satisfaction of justice, and impetration of favour, and by the infinite dignity of his person, made applicable to the persons of all that should believe: grace given unto them, that they may believe and consent to their own salvation. And thus all parties are satisfied, and all willing: God satisfied P, by the obedience of his Son, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;"-Christ satisfied, with the salvation of his body; "He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied":"--believers satisfied with their pardon and inheritance; "When I awake, I shall be satisfied with thine image." God willing to pardon sinners; Christ willing to redeem sinners; and sinners made willing by the Spirit of the Father and the Son, to enjoy the benefit of so great a redemption, and to obey the precepts of so holy a gospel. And thus "mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other." All the religions that ever were in the world, could never show so glorious temperament of exquisite justice, of most gratuitous mercy, of unsearchable wisdom, as is revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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4. Let us consider the necessity of the gospel, by the grace and righteousness whereof alone we are saved through faith in Christ. (Eph. ii. 8)

A thing may be necessary to an end, 1. By way of a temporary mutable sanction. So legal obedience was necessary unto life, by the first covenant made with Adam, "Do this, and live;” (Rom. x. 5) by which, since the fall, no man can be saved. 2. By way of a final perpetual decree, never to be altered. Such is the covenant of grace in the gospel, confirmed by an oath, to show the immutability thereof; for

P John xiii. 31, 32. 9 Matth. xii. 18. xvii. 5. 2 Pet. i. 17. iii. 11. • Psalm xvii. 15. xxxii. 1, 2.

t Psalm 1xxxv. 10.

r Isai.

Christ offered one sacrifice of sin for ever", upon rejection whereof there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins," saith our Saviour. (John viii. 4)

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Again; one thing may be necessary to another two ways, 1. Necessitate cause,' as that which giveth it its being, and foundeth a right unto it. So the payment of a price is necessary to a purchase, and foundeth that right which the purchaser hath thereunto. 2. Necessitate viæ,' without which I cannot come to the possession of the thing purchased. For though the price procure me the property, yet I must go the way which will bring me unto it, before I can be personally possessed of it.

The only cause of salvation is the free grace of God, and price of the blood of Christ, deriving a property thereunto upon us, as one by faith with the purchaser, by regeneration descending from him; by adoption, joint-heirs with him. But we cannot come to the actual possession of that inheritance, without running that race of evangelical holiness, which is the way thereunto.

From these things thus distinguished, we gather this conclusion; that although the gospel were not originally necessary unto blessedness by the law of primitive creation, another covenant having been made with Adam in order unto life; yet upon supposition of the fall of man and of the unchangeable sanction of God, whereby the covenant of grace is made perpetual, so the gospel is indispensably necessary unto salvation; called, in the scripture, the gospel of salvation', "the power of God unto salvation", "the grace of God which bringeth salvation," yea, by the name of salvation' itself. f

1. The sacrifice of Christ necessary, ' ad acquisitionem,' to the purchasing of blessedness for us; called by the apostle, @epitoinois owingías, dons, and (by an hypallage, as some think) ¿ñoλʊ-gwσews, a purchase of salvation, of glory, of redemption.' The blood of Christ was both a price of ransom, whereby we were redeemed out of misery; (he gave y Acts xv. 11. Eph. ii. 5. 28. b 1 Cor. vi. 17.

u Heb. vi. 18.

* Heb. x. 12, 25.

z 1 Cor. vi. 20. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19.
John i. 12, 13. 1 Cor. xv. 49. Rom. viii. 17.

e Tit. ii. 11.

a Gal. iii. 26,

c Eph. i. 13. f Acts xxviii. 28. Heb. ii. 3.

d Rom.

g 1 Thess.

i. 16.
v. 9. 2 Thess. ii. 14. Eph. i. 14. 1 Tim. ii. 6. Eph. i. 11.

his life a ransom' for many, (Matt. xx. 28) and a price of purchase of that eternal glory unto which, though it were his own, he could not ascend, so as to take possession thereof for us, (which was one principal business of his ascension, I go to prepare a place for you,' John xiv. 2) until first he had suffered as himself telleth us, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke xxiv. 26) For Christ, having a double right unto glory,—a natural right, as the Son of God,—and a purchased right, as the Saviour of the world,―reserveth the former unto himself, and bestoweth the latter upon the church.

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2. The gracious acts of divine love in justification and adoption necessary unto the 'jus ad rem,' or deriving a title upon us; for sonship hath a right accompanying it: “If sons, then heirs." (Gal. iv. 7) The inheritance itself is sometimes called by the name of Adoption.' (Rom. viii. 23. (Gal. iv. 5)

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3. Faith and repentance; which two evangelical graces Christ hath honoured in the business of salvation above others, because they are humbling graces; the one teaching us to judge and abhor ourselves,-the other, to go out of ourselves for righteousness: these necessary 'ad statum,' to that condition wherein we are capacitated to receive the conveyance of that inheritance, so purchased for us, and derived upon us. "Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts iii. 19) "He that believeth in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John iii. 15)

4. Evangelical obedience, necessary to the jus in re,' to the actual possession of this inheritance, as the only way which leads thereunto. For, "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. xii. 14) It is a 'gradus' and an inchoation of glory. Thus we see the absolute necessity of the gospel; wherein we find Christ meritoriously purchasing, God graciously conveying, repentance humbly disposing, faith comfortably receiving, and sincere obedience gradually conducting us unto eternal salvation.

In the next place, let us observe the all-sufficiency of the grace of the gospel unto the effecting of that blessedness,

Non ante Rex gloriæ à cœlestibus salutatus est, quam Rex Judæorum proscriptus in cruce. Tertul. de coron. mil. c. 14. i Dan. ix. 7, 9. Job k Phil. ii. 9.

xlii. 6. Ezek. xx. 24.

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