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SERM.VI. Nothing can match the Ignorance and Infufficiency of thofe Perfons, except it be their great Self-Sufficiency, who vainly. imagine, they have Compass 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 Interests 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 muft do to them, when we fit in Judgment 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 Administration; when he shall lay, before the whole Syftem of intelligent Be
ings, the Harmony, Uniformity, and Con-SERM. VI.. fiftency of his Providence, from first to laft; then we may expect greater Light. into thefe Affairs. In the mean Time, it is enough for us to know; that Scripture proves, and Reafon cannot difprove, the Neceffity of a Satisfaction,
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
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 bis 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 invisible 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,
who was God as well as Man, might fuffer: SERM. VI. Juft as, though the Soul is unperishable; yet Man, who is compounded of Soul and Body, is mortal...
Now, for the fecond Perfon of the Trinity to offer up, what was his own independently, what was clofely allied and endeared to him, by a perfonal Union, what derived a diftinguished Luftre from him; to offer it up unconstrained; must either conftitute Merit; or we do not know what does.
As one Being enriched with Knowledge, and ennobled with Virtue, is far more valuable, than the whole Mafs of dead and infenfate Matter: Thus one perfect Model of Virtue, without any Alloy of Vice, thus offered up by God blessed for ever, was of more Worth, than the whole World of finful Beings. And, whatever was deficient in the human Sacrifice, confidered abstractedly, and merely as human, might be fupplied by the Merits of the infinite Offerer fuperadded to it, and placed to our Account. What those Merits particularly were, we need not curioufly inquire. A Man may know the Matter of Fact, that he is ranfomed from Captivity and Slavery
SERM. VI. by a gracious Sovereign, without undertanding particularly, explicitly, and fully, the Kind, Manner, and Value of the Ranfom, that was laid down, and the Price, with which he was purchased.
It is enough we are informed, that a Divine Perfon interested himself in the Affair: And when a God interpofed, what he, an infinite Perfon, has done for us, cannot, in the Nature of Things, be wholly, and adequately comprehended by us: But what we have to do, in Confequence of his Tranfactions, for ourselves, must be clear and level to our Capacities. Thus God was in Chrift, reconciling the World to bimfelf.
Having fhewn, that there was a Neceffity fome Being should merit for us, and that our Saviour was the only Being that could merit; I now proceed to fhew, in what Senfe his Merits could be imputed to us, and our Iniquities laid upon him.
And it must be owned, that our Saviour's good Actions cannot be properly and strictly ours; nor our bad Actions his. And in this Senfe, perfonal Merit and Demerit cannot be transferred. But the Reward of his good Actions, (I fhall confider the Punishment