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of God for our fins. And fo, reparation being made, the enmity ceafes. Hence it is faid, Ifa. liii. 5. "The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his ftripes we are healed." That is, (as our English Annotators well explain it) he was chastised to procure our peace, by removal of our fins, that fet God and us afunder, the guilt thereof being discharged with the price of his blood.
Now this reconciliation is made and continued betwixt God and us, three ways; namely, by the oblation of Chrift, which was the price that procured it, and fo we were virtually or meritoriously reconciled. By the application of Christ and his benefits to us through faith, and fo we are actually reconciled. And by the virtual continuation of the facrifice of Chrift in heaven, by his potent and eternal interceffion, and fo our state of reconciliation is confirmed, and all future breaches prevented. But all depends, as you fee, upon the death of Chrift. For had not Chrift died, his death could never be applied to us, nor pleaded in heaven for us. How the death of Chrift meritorioufly procures our reconciliation, is evident from that fore-cited fcripture, Rom. v. 10. "When we were enemies, we were re"conciled to God by the death of his Son," (i. e.) Christ's death did meritoriously or virtually reconcile us to God, who, as to our ftate, were enemies long after that reconciliation was made. That the application of Chrift to us by faith, makes that virtual reconciliation to become actual, is plain enough from Eph. ii. 16, 17. "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the crofs, having fain the enmity thereby. And came and preached peace to you that were afar off, and to "them that were nigh. Now therefore (as it is added, verfe 19.) Ye are no more ftrangers and foreigners, but fellow-ci"tizens with the faints," &c. And that this ftate of friendfhip is ftill continued by Chrift's interceffion within the vail, fo that there can be no breaches made upon the state of our peace, notwithstanding all the daily provocations we give God by our fins, is the comfortable truth which the Apoftle plainly afferts, after he had given a neceffary caution to prevent the abuse of it, in 1 John ii. 1, 2. "My little children, these things I write un66 to you that ye fin not; and if any man fin, we have an Ad"vocate with the Father, Jefus Chrift the righteous; and he is "the propitiation," &c. Thus Chrift reconciles us to God by his death.
Secondly, And if you enquire why this reconciliation was made by the death of Chrift, rather than any other way, fatisfaction is at hand in these two anfwers.
First, That we can imagine no other way by which it could be compaffed. And,
Secondly, If God could have reconciled us as much by another way, yet he could not have obliged us so much by doing it in another way, as he hath by doing it this way. Surely, none but he that was God manifested in our flesh could offer a facrifice of fufficient value to make God amends for the wrong done him by one fin, much less for all the fins of the elect. And how God fhould (efpecially after a peremptory threatning of death for fin) re-admit us into favour without full fatisfac tion, cannot be imagined. He is indeed inclined to acts of mercy, but none muft fuppofe him to exercife one attribute in prejudice to another. That his justice must be eclipsed, whilst his mercy fhines. But allow the infinite wifdom could have found out another means of reconciling us as much, can you imagine, that in any other way he could oblige us as much, as he hath done by reconciling us to himself by the death of his own Son? It cannot be thought poffible. This therefore was the most effectual, juft, honourable, and obliging way to make up the peace betwixt him and us.
Thirdly, This reconciliation, purchased by the blood of Christ, is offered unto men by the Gospel, upon certain articles and conditions; upon the performance whereof, it actually becomes theirs; and without which, notwithstanding all that Chrift hath done and fuffered, the breach still continues betwixt them and God. And let no man think this a derogation from the freeness and riches of grace, for these things ferve fingularly to illustrate and commend the grace of God to finners.
As he confulted his own glory, in the terms on which he offers us our peace with him; fo it is his grace which brings up fouls to thofe terms of reconciliation. And furely he hath not fuspended the mercy of our reconciliation upon unreasonable or impoffible conditions. He hath not faid, if you will do as much for me, as you have done against me, I will be at peace with you But the two grand articles of peace with God, are repentance and faith. In the firft, we lay down arms againft God, and it is meet it fhould be fo, before he re-admits us into a state of peace and favour; in the other, we accept Chrift and pardon through him with a thankful heart, yielding up ourfelves to his government. Which is equally reasonable.
These are the terms on which we are actually reconciled to God." Let the wicked forfake his way, and the unrighteous
man his thoughts; and let him turn to the Lord, and he will
"have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." So Rom. v. 1. "Being juftified by faith, we "have peace with God." And furely it would not become the holy God to own, as his friend and favourite, a man that goes on perversely and impenitently in the way of fin; not so much as acknowledging, or once bewailing the wrong he hath done him, purpofing to do so no more; or to receive into amity one that flights and rejects the Lord Jefus, whofe precious blood was fhed to procure, and purchase peace and pardon for fin
But if there be any poor foul, that faith in his heart, it repents me for finning against God, and is fincerely willing to come to Chrift, upon gofpel-terms, he shall have peace. And that peace,
Fourthly, Is no common peace. The reconciliation which the Lord Jefus died to procure for broken-hearted believers, it is,
First, A firm well-bottomed reconciliation, putting the reconciled foul beyond all poffibility of coming under God's wrath any more. Ifa. liv. 1o. “Mountains may depart, and hills be ❝removed, but the covenant of this peace cannot be removed." Chrift is a furety, by way of caution, to prevent the new breaches, 2 John i. 2.
Secondly, This reconciliation with God, is the fountain out of which all our other comforts flow to us; this is plainly included in those words of Eliphaz to Job, chap. xxii. 21. Ac"quaint now thyfelf with him, and be at peace, thereby good "fhall come upon thee:" As trade flourishes, and riches come in when peace is made betwixt states and kingdoms; So all spiritual and temporal mercies flow into our bofoms, when once we are reconciled to God. What the comfort of fuch a peace will be in a day of straits and dangers, and what it will be valued at in a dying day, who but he that feels it can declare? And yet fuch an one cannot fully declare it, for it paffes all understanding, Phil. iv. 7. We fhall now make fome improvement of this, and pass on to the third end of the death of Christ.
Inf. 1. If Chrift died to reconcile God and man; how horrid an evil then is fin! And how terrible was that breach made betwixt God and the creature by it, which could no other way be made up but by the death of the Son of God! I remember I have read, that when a great chafm or breach was made in the earth by an earthquake, and the oracle was confulted how it might be closed; this answer was returned, That breach can never be closed, except fomething of great worth be thrown into it. Such a breach I was that which fin made, it could never be reconciled but by
the death of Jefus Chrift, the moft excellent thing in all the creation.
Infer. 2. How fad is the fate of all fuch as are not comprised in the articles of peace with God! The impenitent unbeliever is excepted. God is not reconciled to him: And if God be his enemy, how little avails it, who is his friend For, if God be a man's enemy, he hath an Almighty enemy in him, whofe very frown is deftruction, Deut. xxxii. 40, 41, 42. "I lift up my "hand to heaven and fay, I live for ever. if I whet my glit "tering fword, and my hand take hold on judgment, I will "render vengeance to my enemies, and I will reward them that " hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, (and my fword fhall devour flcfh) and that with the blood of the "flain and the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon "the enemy."
Yea, he is an unavoidable enemy. Fly to the utmost parts of the earth, there fhall his hand reach thee, as it is Pfal. cxxxix. 10. The wings of the morning cannot carry thee out of his reach. If God be your enemy, you have an immortal enemy, who lives for ever to avenge himself upon his adverfaries. And what wilt thou do when thou art in Saul's cafe, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15, 16. Alas, whither wilt thou turn? To whom wilt thou complain? But what wilt thou do, when thou fhalt ftand at the bar, and fee that God, who is thine enemy, upon the throne? Sad is their cafe indeed, who are not comprehended in the articles of peace with God.
Infer. 3. If Chrift died to reconcile us to God, give diligence to clear up to your own fouls, your intereft in this reconciliation. If Chrift thought it worth his blood to purchase it, it is worth your care and pains to clear it. And what can better evidence it, than your confcientious tenderness of fin, left you make new breaches. Ah, if reconciled, you will fay, as Ezra ix. 14. "And now our God, feeing thou haft given us fuch a delive
rance as this; should we again break thy commandments?" If reconciled to God, his friends will be your friends, and his enemies your enemies. If God be your friend, you will be diligent to please him, John xv. 19, 14. He that makes not peace with God, is an enemy to his own foul. And he that is at peace, but takes no pains to clear it, is an enemy to his own comfort. But I must pass from this to the third end of Christ's death.
End 3. You have feen two of those beautiful births of Chrift's travail, and lo, a third cometh, namely, The fanctification of his people. Typical blood was fhed, as you heard, to purify them
that were unclean; and fo was the blood of Chrift shed to purge away the fins of his people; fo fpeaks the apoftle expressly, Eph. v. 25, 26. "Chrift gave himself for the church, that he "might fanctify and cleanfe it." And fo he tells us himself, John xvii. 29. "And for their fakes I fanctify myfelf," (i. e ) confecrate or devote myfelf to death, "That they also might "be fanctified through the truth." Upon the account of this benefit received by the blood of Chrift, is that Doxology, which, in a lower ftrain, is now founded in the churches, but will be matter of the Lamb's fong in heaven, Rev. i. 5, 6. "To him "that loved us, and washed us from our fins, in his own "blood,——be glory and honour for ever." Now, there is a two-fold evil in fin, the guilt of it, and the pollution of it. Juftification properly cures the former, fanctification the latter; but both juftification, and fanctification, flow unto finners out of the death of Chrift. And though it is proper to fay the Spirit fanctifies, yet, it is certain, it was the blood of Chrift that procured for us the Spirit of fanctification. Had not Chrift died, the Spirit had never come down from heaven upon any fuch defign.
The pouring forth of Chrift's blood for us, obtained the pouring forth of the fpirit of holiness upon us. Therefore, the Spirit is faid to come in his name, and to take of his, and shew it unto us. Hence it is faid, 1 John v. 6. "He came both by "blood and by water:" By blood, washing away the guilt; by water, purifying from the filth of fin. Now this fruit of Chrift's death, even our fanctification, is a most incomparable mercy. For, do but confider a few particular excellencies of holiness.
First, Holiness is the image and glory of God. His image, Col. iii. 10. and his glory, Exod. xv. 11." Who is like unto "thee, O Lord, glorious in holinefs:" Now, when the guilt and filth of fin.is washed off, and the beauty of God put upon the foul in fanctification, O what a beautiful creature is the foul now! So lovely in the eyes of Chrift, even in its imperfect holinefs, that he faith, Cant. vi. 5. " Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” So we render it, but the * Hebrew word fignifies, "they have made me proud, or puf"fed me up." It is a beam of divine glory upon the creature, enamouring the very heart of Chrift.
Secondly, As it is the foul's highest beauty, fo it is the foul's belt evidence for heaven. "Bleffed are the pure in heart, for