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bringing any under a natural necessity of sinning; and therefore there is not the least ground to charge him, with being the author of sin. We now proceed to shew how the holiness of God was glorified in the dispensations of his providence towards fallen man, and in the methods he took in order to his recovery.
1. The holiness of God was glorified, or he sanctified his great name, in the dispensations of his providence towards fallen man, before he gave him any hope of salvation. It cannot be supposed that this rebellion against, and apostacy from God, should not be highly resented by him; accordingly we read of his proceeding against the rebel as a judge, charging his crime upon him, and passing sentence pursuant to the demerit of his sin; and all the miseries that we are exposed to, either in this life, or that which is to come, are the result of the display of his holiness, as a sin-revenging Judge. As soon as ever our first parents sinned against him, he charged the guilt thereof on their consciences, and thereby filled them with a dread of his wrath: Hence proceeded an inclination to flee from his presence; and when they heard the voice of the Lord coming to call them to an account for what they had done, they were afraid.
This is God's usual method in dealing with sinful creatures: He first convinces them of sin by the law, and awakens the conscience, so that his terrors are set in array against it round about, before he speaks good and comfortable words by the gospel: And by this means he sanctifies his name, and thereby discovers his infinite hatred of all sin: but we shall principally consider,
2. How God glorifies his holiness in the method he has taken to deliver man from that guilt and misery, under which he had brought himself. The terms of reconciliation and salvation, were such as tended to secure the glory of his justice; and therefore he insisted on a satisfaction to be given, without making the least abatement of any part of the debt of punishment that was due for our sin; and accordingly he spared not his own Son, Rom. viii. 32. but delivered him over unto death, and obliged him to drink the bitterest part of that cup which was most formidable to nature, and which, had it been possible, he would fain have been excused from drinking; therefore he is represented, by one of the evangelists, as praying, that God the Father would take this cup from him, Mark xiv. 35, 36. and by another, that he would save him from this hour, John xii. 27. Nevertheless, he expresses the utmost resignation to the divine will; and being sensible that this was an expedient to glorify the holiness of God, he does, as it were, give a check to the voice of nature, and submits to bear the punishment he
came into the world to suffer, how terrible soever it might be ; and therefore says, Father glorify thy name, q. d. ver. 28. take what method is most expedient to demonstrate the glory of thy holiness let the whole debt be exacted on me, I am willing to pay the utmost farthing: Upon this God says, by a voice from heaven, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again; that is, in every step that has been, or shall be taken, in order to the bringing about the work of redemption, I have hallowed my name, and will do it hereafter. And, in this respect, God's holiness was glorified in finishing transgression, making an end of sin, bringing in everlasting righteousness, and also in the impetration of redemption, by our great Mediator and Surety.
3. God has sanctified his name in all the methods which he has taken in the application of redemption, in the various dispensations of his providence and grace towards his church and people; and in order hereunto, he has determined, that if his children forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments; if they break his statutes and keep not his commandments, he will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, Psal. lxxxix. 30, 32. And this is done to manifest the glory of his holiness: Though he is pleased to pardon their iniquity for the sake of Christ's righteousness; yet they shall know, by experience, that he hates it; and therefore, whatever be his designs of grace, with respect to his redeemed ones, as to the event thereof, they shall, notwithstanding, find that their sin shall not altogether go unpunished, though this punishment be not of the same kind with that which was suffered by Christ, from the hand of vindictive justice demanding satisfaction. Moreover, God has sanctified his name, in that he has connected sanctification with salvation; therefore he has said, Without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. xii. 14. He first makes his people holy, and then happy; every mercy that he bestows, is a motive or inducement to holiness; and all the ordinances and means of grace are made subservient to answer this end.
Here we may take occasion to observe the various methods, whereby God has sanctified his name, in all his dealings with his church, in the various ages thereof, both before and since our Saviour's incarnation;
(1.) Under the legal dispensation. The people, whom he chose out of all the nations of the earth, and called them by his name; among whom he designed to magnify his perfections in such a way, as argued them to be the peculiar objects of his regard above all others, as he designed to make them high in name, in praise, and in honour; these are styled an holy people, Deut. xxvi. 19. and elsewhere, holiness unto the Lord, Jer. ii. 3. and the wonderful things that he did for them in
destroying their enemies, when he brought them out of Egyptian bondage, gave them occasion to celebrate his name, as a God glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders, Exod. xv. 11. and the worship that he established among them was such, in which he expressly required holiness, both in heart and life; and when, at any time, they cast a reproach on his perfections, or defiled and debased his holy institutions, he testified his displeasure against them in the highest degree: Of this we have various instances in the judgments which he has executed on particular persons for not performing what he had commanded, with the greatest exactness, in those things which related to his worship: Thus when Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire, they were devoured, before the Lord, by fire from heaven, Lev. x. 1, 2. And, when David was bringing the ark of God to Jerusalem, we read, that Uzzah put forth his hand to take hold of it to prevent its falling, when shaken by the oxen, which he, doubtless, did with a good design, and it is therefore called an error, rather than a presumptuous sin; yet it is said, that the anger of the Lord was kindled against him, so that he smote him that he died by it, 2 Sam. vi. 6, 7. this being contrary to an express law which God had given, that the sons of Kohath should bear the ark, but they should not touch it, or any holy thing that was covered, lest they die, Numb. iv. 15. And elsewhere we read, that some of the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, were smitten, so that fifty thousand, and threescore and ten of them died, 1 Sam. vi. 19. inasmuch as God had forbidden that any should indulge their curiosity, so far as to look on the holy things on pain of death, Numb. iv. 20. And he also threatened the children of Israel with death, if any of them who were not appointed to minister in holy things, came nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, so as to perform that service which they were not sanctified or called to, since this was reckoned no other than an instance of profaneness in them. And if Aaron himself, whose office was to go into the holiest of all to perform the yearly service, in which he was to make atonement for the sins of the whole congregation, presumed to do this, at any other time but that day which God had appointed, he was to be punished with death, Lev. xvi. 2.
And, when any thing was brought into the worship of God, contrary to what he had instituted, which was reckoned no other than a profaning it, God hallowed his own name, by pouring forth his wrath on those who gave occasion to, or complied with it. Thus when Jeroboam, set up calves in Bethel and Dan, made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi, ordained feasts like those which God had appointed; and, in many other instances, corrupted his wor
ship, whereby the people, who complied with him herein, were led aside from God, it is said, This became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth, 1 Kings xii. 29-33. compared with chap. xiii. 34. And when Ahaz erected an altar, according to the pattern of that which he saw at Damascus, and sacrificed to the gods of the people, from whom he had took the pattern thereof, this brought ruin on him and his kingdom, 2 Kings xvi. 10. compared with 2 Chron. xxviii. 23. And when Uzziah usurped the priest's office, by offering incense in the temple, God immediately testified his displeasure against him, by smiting him with leprosy; whereby he was separated from the congregation of the Lord, and rendered unfit to govern his people to the day of his death, 2 Chron. xxvi. 16, 20, 21. And when holy men, in any instance, have not sanctified his name in the eyes of the people, God has highly resented it: Thus when Moses and Aaron spake unadvisedly with their lips, upon which account they are said not to sanctify the name of God at the waters of Meribah, he tells them, that therefore they should not bring the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, but should die in the wilderness, Numb. xx. 12.
And, as we have many instances of the judgments of God on particular persons, for not sanctifying his name; so we have a public and visible display of his holiness, in his dealings with the whole nation of Israel, after their many revolts from him, when they served other gods, and not only corrupted, but laid aside his institutions, and were guilty of those vile abominations, which were inconsistent with the least pretensions to holiness; God sanctified his own name, not only by reproving them by the prophets, but sending those many judgments which were the forerunners of that desolation, which they had reason to expect, and then by delivering them into the hand of those who carried them captive, Israel into Assyria, and Judah into Babylon. This leads us to consider,
(3.) How God has, and still continues to sanctify his name, under the gospel-dispensation. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Saviour of his church, has, in his whole administration, set forth the glory of God's holiness. This ap
[1.] In that he came into the world, with a commission from his Father, to engage in the work of our redemption; and accordingly he is said to have been sanctified and sent into it for this very purpose, John x. 36. And, when he entered on his public ministry, he produced his commission, and gave undeniable proofs that he was the Messiah, the person whom God the Father had sealed, and set over his house to manage this great affair. Every miracle which he wrought, was a divine
testimony for the confirmation of this truth, that the gospeldispensation took its rise from Christ our great Mediator, and was a glorious display of the holiness of God; and the world could not have the least ground to think they were imposed on, when they concluded that this Jesus was he that was to come into the world (according to the predictions of all the holy prophets that went before him) to erect that dispensation in which his own and his Father's glory were eminently to shine forth, and thereby the name of God was to be hallowed in a greater degree than it had ever been before.
[2.] God sanctifies his own name under the gospel-dispensation, in raising Christ from the dead, after he had finished the work which he came into the world about; in which respect it may be said of him, that for, or after the suffering of death, he was crowned with glory and honour, Heb. ii. 9. and put into a capacity of applying the redemption which he had purchased, so that God the Father glorified the Son, that the Son also might glorify him, John xvii. 1. That this was not done till he had made a full satisfaction to the justice of God, and thereby glorified his holiness to the utmost, has been already considered; after this he entered upon his glory; and from that time the gospel-dispensation might, by way of eminency, be said to begin, upon which occasion we may apply the words of the Psalmist, Sing unto the Lord ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness,' Psal. xxx. 4.
[3.] God sanctified or hallowed his name in the method which he took in his dealings with the Jewish nation, after Christ's ascension into heaven, which made way for the establishment of the gospel-church, and was in itself an awful display of his holiness. It must be supposed, that the treatment, which our Saviour met with from that nation, who might be said herein to fill up the measure of their iniquities to the utmost, would be followed with some terrible displays of divine vengeance; and thus it was, as appeared by the utter ruin of their civil and religious liberties, which were the immediate consequence thereof; and this is a visible proof of the truth of the Christian religion, and a very awful instance of God's being sanctified in them.
[4.] The holiness of God farther appears in the methods which he took to propagate his gospel through the world, which was not to be done by might or power, nor by those methods of secular policy, whereby civil states are advanced; but by his Spirit, whereby they who were called, were sufficiently qualified for this important work; who preached the gospel to all nations, according to the commission that was given them, confirmed it by miracles, and were instrumental in gathering a people out of the world, that yielded themselves