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SERM.VI. had been difcovered to us by the most aban doned Sinner, or notorious Liar. It is aftonishing therefore to find Perfons afferting, in exprefs Words, that it is not the Declaration of God, but the Fitness of the Thing declared, which is the proper Ground of our Affent, i. e. they will not believe the Deity affirming a Propofition, unless they have fuch a clear and distinct Percep tion of the Fitness of the Thing affirmed; as must induce their Belief, whether the Deity had affirmed it, or no. Modefter Men will be inclined to think, that all the Declarations of an infinitely wife Being imply a Fitness; a Fitness in the Nature of the Thing, but unperceived by us, whose Ideas do not reach the whole Compafs and Extent of Fitneffes and Unfitneffes. A Man of Juperior Sense may discover a Fitnefs, that escaped the Obfervation of one of lefs Penetration: An Angel may difcern a Fitness, which escapes a Man of the highest Reach of Thought: And the Deity muft perceive an Infinity of Fitnesses, which are undiscoverable by the most exalted Archangel. And here I would obferve, once for All, that moft of the Ob-. jections, which I have met with against
Scripture, proceed from hence; that Men SERM. VI. fet up for Free-Thinkers, in Cafes where they can be but Half-Thinkers, or even less than that. Particularly in this Cafe, we, who fee but fome fcattered Links of the univerfal Chain, fome disjointed Parts of the whole united Syftem, cannot perceive, what is best and most fitting for the Good of the Whole; and therefore ought to acquiefce in his Declaration, who certainly does. Our Conclufion is but the Sum total of our Reafoning; and as a Sum can never be justly caft up, when any one Particular is omitted; So neither can the Sum total of our Reasoning be juft and exact, when any one intermediate Idea, which ought to be taken into the Account,, is dropped or wanting. What may seem to us to have no Fitnefs, who view only fome detached Branches of God's univerfal Kingdom; might appear very reasonable, could we fee through the whole Contexture of Things. Juft as fome loofe difjointed Paffages from Scripture, appear odd and unpromifing by themfelves; and yet are very beautiful, and pertinent; the Thread, Connexion, and Dependency of one Thing on another, being confidered, Cc 3 Nothing
SERM. VI. Nothing can match the Ignorance and Infufficiency of those Perfons, except it be their great Self-Sufficiency, who vainly imagine, they have Compafs of Thought enough, to grafp all that is neceffary to a clear and determinate Refolution of the Point in Debate. I have often thought, in how ridiculous a Light we must appear, to intelligent Beings of a fuperior Rank, while we are thus meddling with Matters that are too high for us. A Set of Children, who should form Schemes to govern Europe, to adjust the interfering Interefts of contending Princes, and to direct their Sovereign in complicated Cafes, upon the most critical Emergencies; could not appear more abfurd to the ableft Statesmen; than we must do to them, when we fit in Judg ment upon God's Difpenfations, fcan the whole Plan of his Providence, and determine, what his infinite Wifdom ought to do. No, Let Angels and Archangels defire to look into, and contemplate, the Nature of our Redemption: Let Man be humbly content to enjoy the Benefits of it. When God thall unfold the whole Scheme of his Adminiftration; when he shall lay, before the whole Syftem of intelligent Be ings,
ings, the Harmony, Uniformity, and Con-SERM. VI..
2dly, Our Saviour was the only proper Perfon to fatisfy for our Sins, as he alone could merit the Forgiveness of them.
Now no created Being could merit. Because the higher Excellencies any Creature is ennobled with, the more he is indebted to the Giver of them; and his Services must be disproportioned to the Favours he has received. For fuch a Being to think, that any Thing he could do, could merit Forgiveness, and everlasting Happiness, for a World of Sinners, must have been the highest Presumption, if God had not appointed him: But, if God had appointed him, it was fo far from Merit, that it was his bounden Duty, in Return for the many unmerited Graces, which he had received. Our Saviour, who was God as well as Man, might merit. He could, out of his own Fund, discharge our Debts, or buy
SERM. VI. us with a Price. He had fomething of his
own to merit withal, which no mere Creature could have. He had Power to take up his Life, and he had Power to lay it down.
And though his Sufferings were the Sufferings of the Man; yet the offering up of his human Nature, was the Offering of the God, of the fecond Perfon in the bleffed Trinity. For as it is faid, We are redeemed, not with corruptible Things, but with the precious Blood of Chrift: So it is faid, that he by the eternal Spirit; or, as it might be rendered, by his eternal Spirit, offered himself up without Spot to God. And in feveral other Paflages, the Merit of his Sufferings is refolved into the Dignity of that Nature, which stamped a Value upon them Who being the Brightness of his Glory, and the exprefs Image of his Perfon, and upholding all Things by the Word of his Power, purged, or expiated, our Sins. In whom we have Redemption through his Blood, even the Forgiveness of Sins: Who is the Image of the invifible God, &c. Feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own Blood. And, though the God-head was impaffive; yet, the Perfon,