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- Bates, W. – Harmony Of Divine Attributes in Man’s Redemption
The Harmony Of the Divine Attributes in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man’s Redemption
BY WILLIAM BATES, D. D.
P H I L A D E L P H I A :
PRESBYTERIAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION.
This is a Presbyterian book. Chapters Fall of Man, Man’s natural state was mutable. Moral impotence of Man. Wisdom of God in Redemption. Causes of Unbelief. Freeness of Divine Mercy in Redemption. Justice of God in Redemption. Holiness of God. Example of Christ and Gift of the Holy Spirit. Power and Truth of God in Redemption.
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Description: This is a Presbyterian book. Chapters Fall of Man, Man\'s natural state was mutable. Moral impotence of Man. Wisdom of God in Redemption. Causes of Unbelief. Freeness of Divine Mercy in Redemption. Justice of God in Redemption. Holiness of God. Example of Christ and Gift of the Holy Spirit. Power and Truth of God in Redemption.
CHAP. I. — The Introduction. — A short view of man’s primitive state. His conformity to God; natural, moral, and in happiness and dominion over the creatures. The moral resemblance, as it refers to all the faculties. The happiness of man, with respect to his.sensitive and spiritual nature. Of all sublunary creatures he alone is capable of a law. What the law of nature contains.
God entered into a covenant with man. The reasons of that dispensation. The terms of the covenant were becoming God and man. The special clause in the covenant concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The reasons of the prohibition.”
CHAP. II.— The Fall of Man.—.Man’s natural state was mutable.
The devil, moved by hatred and envy, attempts to seduce him.
The temptation was suitable to man’s compounded nature. The woman being deceived, persuades her husband. I. The quality of the first sin; many were combined in it. II. It was perfectly voluntary. Man had power to stand. The devil could only allure, not compel him. His understanding and will the causes of his fall. III. The punishment was of the same date with his sin. He forfeited his righteousness and felicity. The loss of original righteousness, as it signifies the purity and liberty of the soul. The torment of conscience that was consequent to sin. A whole army of evils enters with it into the world. – - 32
CHAP. III. — The Corruption of Human Nature. — I. All mankind is involved in Adam’s guilt, and is under the penal consequences that follow upon it. Adam, the natural and moyil principle of mankind. An hereditary corruption is transmitted to all that are propagated from him. The account the scripture gives of the conveyance of it. It is an innate habit. It is universal. Corrupt nature contains the seeds of all sins, though they do not shoot forth together. It is voluntary and culpable. II. The permission of the fall is suitable to the wisdom, holiness, and goodness of God. The imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity is consistent with God’s justice. —— 43
CHAP. IV. — The Moral Impotence of Man, — The impossibility of man’s recovery by his natural power. I. Man cannot regain his primitive holiness. The understanding and will, the superior faculties, are depraved. The mind is ignorant and insensible of our corruption. The will is more depraved than the mind; it embraces only sensual good; carnal objects are wounding to the conscience and unsatisfying to the affections; yet the will eagerly, pursues them. The moral impotence, that ariseth from a perverse disposition of the will, is culpable. Neither the beauty nor the reward of holiness can prevail upon the unrenewed will.
II. Guilty man cannot recover the favour of God. He is unable to make satisfaction to justice. He is incapable of real repentance, which might qualify him for pardon.
CHAP. V. — The Wisdom of God in Redemption. — Of the divine wisdom ill the contrivance of man’s redemption. Understanding agents pritpound an end, and choose means for the obtaining; of it. I. The end of God is of the highest consequence, his own glory and man’s recovery. The difficulty of accomplishing it.
II. The means are proportionable. The divine wisdom glorified in taking occasion from the sin and fall of man to bring glory to God, and to raise man to a more excellent state. It appears in ordaining such a Mediator, as was fit to reconcile God to man, and man to God. It is discovered in the designation of the second pers<m to be our Saviour; and making the remedy to have a proportion to the cause of our ruin. It is visible in the manner whereby our redemption is accomplished; and in the ordaining of such contemptible means to produce such glorious efllscts; and laying the design of the gospel, so as to provide for the comfort and promote the holiness of man.
CHAP. VI. — Practical Inferences. — I. A superlative degree of praise and thanktulness due to God for the revelation of the gospel. It is not discovered by the creation; it is above the reach of natural reason; the heathen world is entirely ignorant of it. It is pure grace that distinguishes one nation from another, in sending the gospel. II. Evangelical knowledge deserves our most serious study. The gospel exceeds all contemplative and practical sciences; contemplative, in the greatness of its object, and the certainty of its principle; practical, in the excellency of its end, and the eflScacy of the means.
CHAP. VII. — The Causes and Unreasonableness of Unbelief. — The simple speculation of the gospel not sufficient without a real belief, and cordial acceptance. I. The reasons why the Jews and Gentiles conspired in the contempt of it. II. How just it is to resign up the understanding to revelation. God knows his own nature and will, and cannot deceive us. We must believe the things that are clearly revealed, though we do not understand the manner of their existence; although they are attended with seeming contradictions. No article of faith is really repugnant to reason. We must distinguish between things incomprehensible and inconceivable, between corrupt and right reason. How reason is subservient to faith. Humility and holiness qualify for the belief of the gospel-mysteries. A naked belief of super natural truths is unprofitable for salvation. An effectual assent that prevails upon the will and renders the whole man obsequious, is due to the quality of the gospel-revelation.
CHAP. VIII. — The Freeness of the Divine Mercy in Redemption.
The mercy of God is represented with peculiar advantages above the other attributes. It is eminently glorified in our redemption, in respect of its freenesss and greatness. The freeness of it amplified from the consideration, I. of the original, and, II. of the object of it. God is perfectly happy in himself, and needs not the creature to preserve or heighten his felicity. The glorious reward conferred upon our Saviour dolh not prejudice the freeness of his love to man. There was no tie upon God to save man.
The object of mercy is man in his lapsed state. It is illustrate by the consideration of what he is in jiimself. No motives of love are in him; he is a rebel impotent and obstinate. The freeness of mercy set forth by comparing him with the fallen angels who are left in perfect, irremediable misery. Their first state, fall, and punishment. The reasons why the wisdom of God made no provisions for their recovery.
CHAP. IX, — The Greatness of the Divine Mercy in Redemption. —
The greatness of redeeming love discovered by considering, I.
The evils from which we are freed — the servitude of sin, the tyranny of Satan, the bondage of the law, the empire of death.
The measure t)f love is proportionable to the degrees of our misery. No possible remedy for us in nature. Our deliverance is complete. II. The divine love is magnified in the means by which our redemption is accomplished; they are the incarnation and suflJerings of the Son of God. Love is manifested in the incarnation, upon account of the essential condition of the nature assumed, and its servile state: Christ took our nature after it had lost its innocency. The most evident proof of God’s love is in the sufferings of Christ. The description of them with respect to his soul and body. The sufferings of his soul set forth from the causes of his grief, the disposition of Christ, and the design of God in afflicting him. The sorrows of his forsaken state: all comforting influences were suspended, but without prejudice to the personal union, or the perfection of his grace, or the love of his Father towards him. The death of the cross considered, with respect to the ignoming and torment that concurred in it. The love of the Father and of Christ amplitied upon the account of his enduring it. 135
CHAP. X. — Divine Mercy is Magnified in the Excellency of the State to which Man is advanced. He is enriched with higher prerogatives, under a better covenant, entitled to a more glorious reward than Adam at first enjoyed. The human nature is personally united to the Son of God. Believers are spiritually united to Christ. The gospel is a better covenant than that of the law.
It admits of repentance and reconciliation after sin. It accepts of sincerity instead of perfection. It affords supernatural assistance to believers, whereby they shall be victorious over all opposition in their way to heaven. The difference between the grace of the Creator and that of the Redeemer. The stability of the New-Covenant is built on the love of God which is unchangeable, and the operations of his Spirit that are efl!ectual. The mutability and weakness of the human will, and the strength of temptations, shall not frustrate the merciful design of God in regard of his elect. The glorious reward of the gospel exceeds the primitive felicity of Adam, in the place of it, the highest heaven. Adam’s life was attended with innocent infirmities, from which the glorified life is entirely exempt. The felicity of heaven exceeds the first, in the manner, degrees, and continuance of the fruition..-_… 155
CHAP. XI. — Practical Inferences. — I. Redeeming love deserves our highest admiration and humble acknowledgments. The illustration of it by several considerations. God is infinitely amiable in himself, yet his love is transient to the creature. It is admirable in creating and preserving man, more in redeeming hira and that by the death of his Son. II. The discovery of God’s love in our redemption is the strongest persuasive to repentance.
The law is ineffectual to produce real repentance. The common benefits of providence are insufficient to cause faith and repentance in the guilty creature. The clear discovery of pardoning mercy in the gospel alone can remove our fears, and induce us to return to God. III. The transcendent love of God should kindle in us a reciprocal love to him. His excellencies and ordinary bounty to mankind cannot prevail upon us to love him: his love to us in Christ alone conquers our hatred. Our love to him must be sincere and superlative. IV. The despising of saving mercy is the highest provocation; it makes the condemnation of men most just, certain, and heavy. —— 171
CHAP. XII. — The Justice of God in Redemption. — Divine justice concurs with mercy in the work of our redemption. I. The reasons why we are redeemed by the satisfaction of justice are specified; to declare God’s hatred of sin, to vindicate the honour of the law, to prevent the secure commission of sin. These ends are obtained in the death of Christ. II. The reality of the satisfaction made to divine justice considered. The requisites in order to it. The appointment of God, who in this transaction is to be considered not as a judge, that is minister of the law, but as governor. His right of jurisdiction to relax the law as to the execution of it. His will declared to accept of the compensation made. The consent of our Redeemer was necessary.
He must be perfectly holy. He must be God and man. – 183
CHAP. XIII. — The Justice of God in Redemption. — Divine justice is declared and glorified in the death of Christ. The threefold account the scripture gives of it, as a punishment inflicted for sin, as a price to redeem us from hell, as a sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Man was capitally guilty; Christ, with the allowance of God, interposes as his surety. His death was inflicted on him by the supreme Judge; the impulsive cause of it was sin. His sufferings were equivalent to the sentence of the law; the effect of them is our freedom. An answer to the objection, that it is a violation of justice to transfer the punishment from the guilty to the innocent. The death of Christ is the price that redeems from hell. This singular effect of his death distinguishes it from the death of the martyrs. An answer to the objections —
how could God receive this price, since he gave his Son to that death which redeems us? and how our Redeemer, supposing him God, can make satisfaction to himself? The death of Christ represented as a sacrifice. The expiatory sacrifices under the law were substituted in the place of guilty men. The effects of them answerable to their threefold respect to God, sin and men; the atonement of anger, the expiation of sin, and freedom from punishment. All sorts of placatory sacrifices are referred to Christ, and the effects of them in a sublime and perfect manner.
No prejudice to the freeness and greatness of God’s love, that Christ by his death reconciled him to men.
CHAP. XlV.—The Justice of God in Redemption.— U\. The completeness of Christ’s satisfaction proved from the causes and effects of it. The causes are the quality of his person and degrees of his sufferings. The effects are his resurrection, ascension, intercession at God’s right hand, and his exercising the supreme power in heaven and earth. The excellent benefits which God reconciled bestows on men, are the effects and evidences of his complete satisfaction. They are pardon of sin, grace, and glor}^ That repentance and faith are required in order to the partaking of the benefits purchased by Christ’s death, doth not lessen the merit of his sufferings; that afflictions and death are inflicted on believers doth not derogate from their ail-sufficiency. -._- 214
CHAP. XV.— Practical Inferences.— I. In the death of Christ there is the clearest discovery of the evil of sin. II. The strictness of divine justice is most visible in it. III. The consideration of the ends of Christ’s death takes off the scandal of the cross, and changes the offence into admiration. IV. The satisfaction of justice by Christ’s sufferings affords the strongest assurance that God is ready to pardon sinners. V. The absolute necessity of complying with the terms of the gospel for justification.
There are but two ways of appearing before the supreme Judge; either in innocence, or by the righteousness of Christ. The causes why men reject Christ are, a legal temper that is natural to them, and the predominant love of sin. The unavoidable misery of all that will not submit to our Saviour.
CHAP. XYL— The Holiness of God in Redemption.-Of all the divine perfections, holiness is peculiarly admirable. The honour of it is secured in our redemption. I. In the bitter sufferings of Christ, God declared himself unappeasable to sin, though appeasable to sinners. II. The privileges purchased by Christ, are conveyed upon terms honourable to holiness. Pardon of sin, adoption, the inheritance of glory, are annexed to special qualifications in those who receive them. III. The Redeemer is made a quickening principle to inspire us with new life. In order to our sanctification, he hath given us the most perfect rule of holiness, he exhibited a complete pattern of it, he purchased and conveys the Spirit of holiness to us, he presents the strongest motives to persuade us to be holy. The perfect laws of Christ are considered, as they enjoin an absolute separation from all evil, and command the practice of all substantial goodness. Some particular precepts, which the gospel especially enforces, with the reasons of them, are considered.
CHAP. XVII.— The Perfection of the Laws of Christ.— The perfection of Christ’s laws appears by comparing them with the precepts of Moses. The temple service was managed with pomp suitable to the disposition of the Jews, and the dispensation of the law; the Christian service is pure and spiritual; the Levitical ceremonies and ornaments are excluded from it, not only as unnecessary, but inconsistent with its spirituality. The obligation to the rituals of Moses is abolished, to introduce real righteousness. The indulgences of polygamy and divorce is taken Christ, and marriage restored to its primitive piirity.
He cleared the law from the darkening glosses of the Pharit>ees, and enforced it by new obligations. The law of Christ exceeds the rules which the highest masters of morality in the scht)ol of nature ever prescribed. Philosophy is defective as to piety, and in several things contrary to it. Philosophers delivered unworthy conceptions of God. Philosophy doth not enjoin the love of God, which is the first and great command of the natural law.
Philosophers lay down the servile maxim, to comply with the common idolatry. They arrogated to themselves the praise of their virtue and happiness. Philosophy doth not propound the glory of God for the supreme end of all human actions. Philosophy is defective as to the duties respecting ourselves and others.
It allows the first sinlul motions of the lower appetites. The Stoics renounce the passions. Philosophy insufficient to form the soul to patience and content under afflictions, and to support in the hour of death. A reflection upon some immoral maxims of the several sects of philosophers. 266
CHAP. XVIII.—The Example of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. — Examples have a special efficacy above precepts to form us to holiness. The example of Christ is most proper to that end, being absolutely perfect, and accommodated to our present Slate. Some virtues are necessary to our condition as creatures, or to our condition in the world, of which the Deity is incapable; and these eminently appear in the life of Christ; they are humility, obedience, and love in suffering for us. His life contains all our duties, or motives to perform them. Jesus Christ purchased the Spirit of holiness by his sufferings, and confers it since his exaltation. The sanctifying Spirit is the concomitant of evangelical mercy. The supernatural declarations of the law on mount Sinai, and the natural discovery of the divine goodness in the works of creation and providence, were not accompanied with the renewing efficacy of the Spirit. The lower operations of the Spirit alone were in the heathens. The philosophical change differs from the spiritual and divine. Socrates and Seneca considered. Our Saviour presents the strongest inducements to persuade us to be holy. They are proper to work upon fear, hope, and love. The greatness of those objects, and their truth, are clearly manifest in the gospel.
CHAP. XIX. — Practical Inferences. — I. The completeness of our recovery by Jesus Christ; he frees us from the power as well as guilt of sin. Sin is the disease and wound of the soul; the mere pardon of it cannot make us happy. Srinctification equals, if not excels, justification; it qualifies us for the enjoyment of God. n. Saving grace doth not encourage the practice of sin.
The promises of pardon and heaven are conditional. To abuse the mercy of the gospel is dishonourable to God and pernicious to man. HI. The excellency of the Christian religicm discovered from its design and effect. The design is to purge men from sin, and conform them to God’s holiness according to their capacity; this gives it the most visible pre-eminence above other religions. The admirable effect of the gospel in the primitive Christians. An earnest exhortation to live according to the purity of the gospel, and the great obligations our Saviour hath laid on us.
CHAP. XX. — The Power of God in Redemption. — The divine power is admirably glorified in the creation of the world, in respect of the greatness of the effect and the manner of its production. It is as evident in our redemption. The principal effects of it are considered. I. ‘I’he incarnation of the Son of God is a work fully responsible to omnipotence. II. Our Redeemer’s supernatural conception by the Holy Ghost. III. The divine power was eminently declared in the miracles Jesus Christ wrought in the course of his ministry. His miracles were the evidence of his celestial calling; they were necessary for the conviction of the world: their nature considered. IV. The divine power was glorified in making the death of Christ victorious over all our spiritual enemies. V The resurrection of Christ the effect of glorious power. The reasons of it from the quality of his person, and the nature of his office, that he might dispense the blessings he had purchased for believers! His resurrection is the foundation of faith. It hath a threefold reference, to his person as the Son of God, to his death as an all-sufficient sacrifice, to his promise of raising believers at the last-day. – - 327
CHAP. XXL— The Power of God in Redemption.— YL The divine power was glorified in the conversion of the world to Christianity. Notwithstanding the imaginary infirmity in Christ crucified, yet to the called he was the power of God. The numerous and great difficulties that obstructed the receiving of the gospel.
What the state of the world was at the first preaching it. Ignorance was universal, idolatry and the depravation of manners, were the consequences of it. Idolatry was fortified by custom, antiquity, and external pomp. The depravation of manners was extreme. The principal account of it from their disbelieving a future state, and their attributing to their gods those passions and vices that were pleasing to the flesh. The aversion of the vulgar heathens was strengthened by those in veneration among them. The philosophers, priests, and princes, vehemently opposed the gospel; an account of their enmity against it. The consideration of the means by which the gospel was conveyed, discovers that omnipotency alone made it successful. The persons employed were a few fishermen, without authority and power to force men to obedience, and without art or eloquence to insinuate the belief of their doctrine. The great, sudden, and lasting change in the world, by the preaching of the gospel, is a certain argument of the divine power that animated those weak appearances. Idolatry was abolished. A miraculous change followed in the lives of men. Christians gave a divorce to all the sinful delights of sense; and embraced, for the honour of Christ, those things that nature most abhors. A short view of the suflferings and courage of the martyrs; Their patience was inspired from heaven. Christianity was victorious over all opposition. VII. The divine power will be gloriously manifested in the complete salvation uf the church at the last day. Saviour shall then finish his mediatory office. Death, the Insl enem)’, shall be destroyed. The bodies of the saints shall be raised and conformed to the glorious body of Christ.
CHAP. XXII. — Practical Inferences. — The extraordinary working of the divine power is a convincing proof of the verity of the Christian relis^ion. The internal excellencies of it are clear marks of its divinity, to the purified mind. The external operations of God’s power were requisite to convince men in their corrupt state, that the doctrine of the gospel came from God.
The miraculous owning of Christ by the whole Divinity from heaven. The resurrection of Christ the most important article of the gospel, and the demonstration of all the rest. How valuable the testimony of the apostles is concerning it; that it was impossible they should deceive or be deceived. The quality of the witnesses considered. There cannot be the least reasonable suspicion of them. It is utterly incredible, that any human, temporal respects moved them to feign the resurrection ol Christ.
The nature of the testimony considered. It was of a matter of fact, and verified to all their senses. The uniformity of it assures us there was no corruption in the witnesses, and that it was no illusion. They sealed the truth of it with their blood. ‘I’he miracles the apostles did in the name of Christ, a strong demonstration that he was raised to a glorious life. That power was continued in the church for a time. The conclusion, bow reasonable it is to give an entire assent to the truth of Christianity It is desperate infidelity not to believe it; and the highest madness to pretend to believe it; and to live in disobedience to it. 365
CHAP. XXIII. — The Truth of God in Redemption. — The honour of God’s truth, with respect to the legal threatening, was preserved in the death of Christ. The divine truth, with respect to the promises and types of Christ under the law, was justified in his coming and the accomplishment of our redemption by him.
I. Some special predictions considered, that respect the time of his coming. The particular circumstances that represent the Messiah, are verified in Jesus Christ. The consequences of the Messiah’s coming, foretold by the prophets, are all come to pass.
II. The types of the law are complete in Christ. A particular consideration of the manna, the rock, and the brazen serpent, as they referred to him. The paschal lamb considered. A short parallel between Melchizedec and Christ. The divinity of the gospel proved, by comparing the ancient figures with the present truth, and predictions with the events. The happine.ss of Christians above the Jews, in a clear revelation of our Saviour to them. From the accomplishment of prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ, our faith should be confirmed in the promise of his second. – 376