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ed to the highest honor-made Lord of all things, and Judge of the world. And now we are to have access to God by him, as our Mediator, high Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate, who has made complete atonement for síns in the days of his abasement, and has now sufficient interest in the court of heaven, The gospel represents God the Holy-Ghost as being sent of the Father as prime agent, and by the Son as Mediator, in the character of an enlightener and sanctifier, in order to bring sinners effectually to see and be sensible of their sin, guilt, and ruin....to believe the gospel....to trust in Christ, and to return home to God through him : And it is his office to dwell in believers....to teach and lead them....to sanctify, quicken, strengthen, and comfort them, and to keep them through faith unto salvation. The Father is God by nature, and God by office : The Son is God by nature, and Mediator by office : The Spirit is God by nature, and Sanctifier by office. The Father, as Governor, Law-giver, Judge, and Avenger, has all power in heaven and earth, in and of himself....Mat. xi. 25. The Son, as Mediator, derives all his authority from the Father....Mat. xi. 27. The Holy Spirit acts as being sent by them both... by the Father, as supreme Governor, dealing with a sinful, guilty world, through a Mediator-by the Son, as Mediator, negociating a reconciliation between God and man.... John xiv. 16. The Father maintains the honor of the God-head, and of his government, and displays his grace, while he ordains that sin shall be punished, the sinner humbled, and brought back to God, and into a subjection to his will, and in that way be pardoned, and finally saved. Sin is punished, in the Son, as Mediator, standing in the room of the guilty : And the sinner is humbled, brought back to God, and into a subjection to his will, by the Holy Spirit ; and, in this way, is pardoned and saved : And thus the Son and the Spirit honor the Father, as supreme Governor, and all join in the same design to discountenance sin, humble the sinner, and glorify grace.-Thus far briefly of the doctrine of the trinity. Right apprehensions of God help us to understand the law, and right apprehensions of
the trinity, will help us to understand the gospel : Not how they are three persons, and yet but one God, the manner of which is not needful to be known; but the offices and characters they sustain, and the different parts they act in the great affair of saving sinners. God (says the text) so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life : i. e. God the Father, the great Governor of the world, whom we had offended by sin,
SO LOVED the world—i. e. with a love of benevolence. Esteem us he could not; for we were worthless and vile : To de. light in us it was impossible ; for we were altogether odious and abominable. But to have a good will towards us, or a will to do us good, this he might have, although we were sinful and guilty : Not, indeed, from any motive in us; for if we were viewed, and our temper and circumstances considered, there was not to be seen one motive to pity, no, not the least but every motive to indignation and wrath. However, from motives within himself, he might will to do us good, notwithstanding our sin and guilt. The self-moving goodness of lis nature did excite him, from the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, to design mercy towards a sinful, guilty, ruined world. God so loved the world.
The WORLD-i. e. all mankind....all the posterity of Adam; For what follows, is evidently true, of every individual;—That he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
So lovedmi. e. so inconceivably....so unspeakably,
That he gave his only begotten Son-i. e. of his mere, pure goodness, constituted him to be a Mediator....appointed him to be a Redeemer and Savior, to máke atonement for sin, and purchase divine favors, and so to open a way for sinners to return to God with safety, and for God to show mercy to them with honor. God so loved the world, i. e, all the race of Adam, that he gave his only begotten Son, immediately upon the apos, . cacy of mankind; for then was this seed of the woman promised, (Gen. iii. 15) that all, being, by nature, children of wrath, might
be prevented by divine goodness.' God saw all involved in sin, and guilt, and ruin, by Adam's first sin : And so he provi. ded a Savior for all ; that whosoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Should not PERISH.--He viewed all mankind, as sinful and guilty....lost, undone, and perishing, i. e. exposed to the wrath of God, and curse of the law....to all the miseries of this life....to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever : And he gave his only begotten Son to be a Savior ;
That whosoever BELIEVETH in him—i. e. that ventures upon his atonement....his worth and merits....his mediation and intercession, for divine acceptance ; so as to be thence emboldened to return home to God, upon the invitation of the gospel. That all such should not perish—but · Have EVERLASTING LIFE—i. e. the everlasting in-dwelling of the holy spirit, as a sanctifier and comforter, to be a never. failing spring of a new, a spiritual and divine life-everlasting union and communion with Christ, and the everlasting favor and enjoyment of God through him.
Thus we have, in these words, a brief view of the glorious gospel of the blessed God. And from them we may learn, (1.) That God, the great Governor of the world, considered mankind as being in a perishing condition, i. e. sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless, and undone. (2.) That it was merely from motives within himself, that he has done what he has for their recovery out of this state. (3.) That he has constituted his Son a Mediator, Redeemer, and Savior, that through him sinners might be saved. (4.) That he has appointed faith in Christ, to be the condition of salvation. Here, therefore, ! will endeavor to show,
I. Upon what grounds it was, that God, the great Governor of the world, did consider mankind as being in a perishing con. dition, i. e. sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless, and undone.
II. What were the motives which excited him to do what be has done for their recovery.
III. What necessity there was of a Mediator and Redeemer, and how the way to life has been opened by him whom God has provided.
IV. What is the true nature of saving faith in him: And so, by the whole, to explain the nature of the gospel, and of a genuine compliance therewith : And in the last place,
V. Will consider the promise of everlasting life to those who believe.
SECTION I. SHOWING THE REASONS WHY GOD DOES, IN THE GOSPEL, CON
SIDER MÄNKIND AS BEING IN A PERISHING CONDITION.
I. I am to show upon what grounds it was, that God, the great Governor of the world, did consider mankind as being in a perishing condition, i. e. sinful, guilty, justly condemned, helpless and undone. That he did consider mankind as being in a perishing condition, is evident, because he gave his only begotten Son, that they might not perish who should believe in him. If we were not in a perishing condition, his giving his Son to save us from perdition, had been needless : and his pretending great love and kindness in doing so, had been to aífront us to make as if we were undone creatures, when we were not ; and as if we were much beholden to him for his goodness, when we could have done well enough without it: And the more he pretends of his great love and kindness, the greater must the affront be. So that, however we look upon ourselves, it is certain that God, who sees all things as being what they are, did actually look upon us as in a perishing, lost, undone condition : And if he considered us as being in such a condition, it must have been because he looked upon us as sinful, guilty, justly condemned, and altogether helpless; for otherwise we were not in a perishing condition. If we could have helped ourselves a little, we should not have needed one to save us, but only to help us to save ourselves : but our salvat's 1, in scripture, is always attributed wholly to God ; and God every where takes all the glory to himself, as though, in very deed, he had deseryed it all....(Eph. i. 3—6, and ii. 1
-9); so that it is certain, God did look upon mankind as being in a perishing condition, sinful, guilty, justly condemned, and altogether helpless : and, considering us in such a condition, he entered upon his designs of mercy and grace ; and therefore he every where magnifies his love, and looks upon us as infinitely beholden to him, and under infinite obligations to ascribe to him all the glory and praise, even quite all : That no flesh should glory in his presence--but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord....I. Cor. i. 29, 31.
It is of great importance, therefore, that we come to look upon ourselves as being in such a perishing condition too; for otherwise it is impossible we should ever be in a disposition thankfully to accept gospel-grace, as it is offered unto us. We shall rather be offended, as thinking the gospel casts reproach upon human nature, in supposing us to be in such a forlorn condition as to stand in a perishing need of having so much done for us ;-as the Jews of old scorned it, when Christ told them, If they would become his disciples, they should know the truth, and the truth should make them free. They took it as an affront, and were ready to say, “ What! Just as if we were in bon“ dage! Indeed, no. We were fever in bondage to any man: “ We have Abraham to our father, and God is our Father; but " thou hast a devil”.... John viii. 31-48. They would not understand him....they were all in a rage : And so it is like to be with us, with regard to the methods which God has taken with us in the gospel, unless we look upon ourselves as he does ....so wretched and miserable....so poor, blind, and naked....SO helpless, lost, and undone. It is the want of this self-acquaintance, together with a fond notion of our being in a much better case than we are, that raises such a mighty cry against the doctrines of grace, through a proud, impenitent, guilty world.
And since God does thus look upon us to be in such a perishing condition, and upon this supposition enters on his designs of mercy and grace, here now, therefore, does the qı , tion recur, Upon what grounds is it that he considers us as being in such a perishing condition ?.... Grounds he must have, and good grounds