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ter the fall of man. And who can conceive of the triumph of
And now how are all the former things passed away, and
IMPROVEMENT OF THE WHOLE.
I PROCEED now to enter upon, some improvement of the whole that has been said from this doctrine..
İ. Hence we may learn how.great a work this work of redeinption is. We have now had it in a very imperfect manner set forth before us, in the whole progress of it, from its first beginning after the fall, to the end of the world, when it is finished. We have seen how God has carried on this , building from the first foundation of it, by a long succession of wonderful works, advancing it higher and higher from one age to another, till the top stone is laid at the end of the world. And now let us consider how great a work this is. Do men, when they behold some great palaces or churches, sometimes admire their magnificence, and are almost astonished to consider how great a piece of work it was to build such an house? Then how well may we admire the greatness of this building of God, which he builds up age after
age, by a series of such great things which he brings to pass ? There are three things that have been exhibited to us in what has been said, which do especially show the greatness of the work of redemption.
1. The greatness of those particular events, and dispensations of providence, by which it is accomplished. How great are those things which God has done, which are but so many parts of this great work! What great things were done in the world to prepare the way for Christ's coming to purchase, and what great things were done in the purchase of redemption! What a wonderful thing was that which was accomplished to put Christ in an immediate capacity for this purchase, viz. his incarnation, that God should become man! And what great things were done in that pur. chase, that a person who is the eternal Jehovah, should live upon earth for four or five and thirty years together, in a mean despised condition, and that he should spend his life in such labors and sufferings, and that at last he should die upon the cross! And what great things have beeụ
done to accomplish the success of Christ's redemption What great things to put ħim into a capacity to accomplish this success! For this purpose he rose from the dead, and ascended up into heaven, and all things were made subject to him. How many miracles have been wrought, what mighty řevolutions have been brought to pass in the world already, and how inuch greater shall be brought to pass, in order to it!
2. The number of those great events by which God carries on this work, shows the greatness of the work. Those mighty revolutions are so many as to fill up many ages. The particular wonderful events by which the work of creation was carried on filled up six days : But the great dispensations by which the work of redemption is carried on, are so many, that they fill up six or seven thousand years at least, as we have reason to conclude from the word of God...... There were great things wrought in this affair before the flood, and in the flood the world was once destroyed by water, and God's church was so wonderfully preserved from the flood in order to carry on this work. And after the flood, what great thingsdid God work relating to the resettling of the world, to the building of Babel, the dispersing of the nations, the shortening of the days of man's life, the calling of Abraham, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and that long series of wonderful providences relating to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and those wonders in Egypt, and at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, and in Canaan in Joshua's time, and by a long succession of wonderful providences from age to age, towards the nation of the Jews !
What great things were wrought by God, in so often overturning the world before Christ came, to make way for his coming! What great things were done also in Christ's time, and then after that in overturning Satan's kingdom in the Heathen empire, and in so preserving his church in the dark times of Popery, and in bringing about a Reformation! How many great and wonderful things will be effected in accomplishing the glorious times of the church, and at Christ's last coming on the day of judgment, in the destruction of the world, and in carrying the whole church into heaven.
3. The glorious issue of this whole affair, in the perfect and eternal destruction of the wicked, and iš the consummate glory of the righteous. And now let us once more takė a view of this building, now all is finished and the top stone laid. It appear'ed in a glórious height in the apostles' time, and much möré glorious' in the time of Constantine, and will appear much more glorious still after the fall of Antichrist; but at the consummation of all things, it appears in an immensely more glorious height than ever before; Now it appears in its greatest magnificence, as a complete lofty structűre, whose top reaches to the heaven of heavens ; a building worthy of the great God, the King of kings.
And from what has been said, one may argue that the work of redemption is the greatest of all'God's works of which we have any notice, and it is the end of all his other works. It appears plainly from what has been said, that this work is the principal of all God's works of providence, and that all other works of providence are reducible hither ; they are all subordinate to the great affair of redemption. We see that all the révolutions in the world are to subserve this grand design ; so that the work of redemption is, as it were, the sum of God's works of providence.
This shows us how much greater the work of redemption is, than the work of creation : For I have several times observed, that the work of providence is greater than the work of creation, because it is the end of it'; as the use of an house is the end of the building of the house. Bat the work of redemption, as I have just said, is the sum of all God's work's of providence ; all are subordinate to it : So the work of the new creation is more excellent than the old. So it ever is, that when one thing is removed by God to make way for'another, the new one excels the old. Thus the temple excelled the tabernacle ; the new covenant, the old ; the new dispensa tion of the gospel, the dispensation of Moses; the throne of David, the throne of Saul; the priesthood of Christ, the priesthood of Aaron ; the new Jérusalem, the old.;. and so the new création far excels the old.VOL. II.
God has used the creation which he has made, for no other purpose but to subserve the designs of this affair. To answer this end, he hath created and disposed of mankind, to this the angels, to this the earth, to this the highest heavens. God created the world to provide a spouse and a kingdom for his Son : And the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, and the spiritual marriage of the spouse to him, is what the whole creation labors and travails in pain to bring to pass. This work of redemption is so much the greatest of all the works of God, that all other works are to be looked upon either as parts of it, or appendages to it, or are some way reducible to it ; and so all the decrees of God do some way or other belong to that eternal covenant of redemption which was between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world. Every decree of God is some way or other reducible to that covenant..
And seeing this work of redemption is so great a work, hence we need not wonder that the angels desire to look into it. And we need not wonder that so much is made of it in scripture, and that it is so much insisted on in the histories, and prophecies, and songs of the Bible ; for the work of redemption is the great subject of the whole, of its doctrines, its promises, its types, its songs, its histories, and its prophecies.
II. Hence we may learn how God is the Alpha and Omer
characters and titles we find often ascribed to God in scripture,
So God eminently appears as the first and the last, by