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Father and by himself, and de- | in the sight of God, and submit.signed to make an atonement for ting to the authority of the Lord the sins of men ; that whosoev- Jesus Christ, and returning to er believeth in him should not God through him. perish, but have eternal life. Of Here, then, is exhibited an course, believing, in the scrip- ample. ground for faith in the tural sense of the terms, that Son of God-a sufficient warrant God hath raised the Lord Jesus for any and every one, to whom from the dead, implies a firm be- the gospel is published, to belief of the principal things im- lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ. ported or signified, declared and He is presented to view as havo proved, by his resurrection ; ing made a complete atonement particularly, that God owned and for sin and wrought a perfect approved him in the character in righteousness; so that God can which he professed to act--that be just and justify all who beas he professed to be, so he in lieve in him ; and of which he fact is the Christ, the Son of the hath given the most unexcepliving God that whatever he tionable evidence by raising him said, is divinely true that he from the dead. He, therefore, hath answered the end, for which now commandeth all men every he obeyed and suffered that he where to repent to believe on hath wrought a complete right- his Son Jesus Christ-to be reeousness for the justification of conciled to him. And the faith all who believe, and made a full required essentially consists in atonement for all their sins, to believing this fact, that God hath the acceptance and entire satis- raised Christ from the dead, with faction of God the Father--that a hearty concurrence in its plain he is the end of the law for right- and obvious import, according eousness to every one that believ- to the scripture account of it. eth-that God is ready and wil- Where, or on what account, ling, for his sake, to pardon and then, is there any difficulty in save all who come unto him by the way of any one's believing to Jesus Christ. And believing the saving of his soul ? Certainthese truths with the heart im- ly, there is none, on account of plies believing them with a heart any deficiency in the revealed corresponding, consenting and object of faith ; nor on account agreeing to them. Hence, be- of any defect in the ground or lieving with the heart the resur- warrant for such faith ; but simrection of Christ, implies, or is ply, in the blindness and perinseparably connected with, be verseness of the sinner's heart. lieving the great truths import- Christ spake of himself as the ed in his resurrection, with pen- antitype of the serpent which itent acknowledgment of sin- Moses lifted up. What if God, with cordial approbation of God's when he ordered Moses to make character and law-renouncing and place on a pole the brazen all dependence on any thing dis- serpent, and declared that every tinct from the righteousness of bitten Israelite, when he looked Christ for acceptance with God, on it, should live, had perfectly and trusting only in the virtue of known, that they would hold the that divine righteousness, as am- idea of obtaining a cure in that ply sufficient for our justification / way, in such scorn and con
tempt, that no one would, of his Perhaps it will be said, The own accord, or unless secretly record which we are required to influenced by his Spirit, ever believe is this, viz. “ That God cast his eyes upon the serpent of hath given to us eternal life ; and brass? Would that have made this life is in his Son." Very any alteration as to the ground true. Therefore the apostle imand warrant, which there really mediately adds, “ He that hath was, for any and every one of the Son hath life ; and he that them to look upon it in expecta- hath not the Son of God hath tion of receiving a cure? None not life.” So it might be said, at all.
The record which God gave
the What if, in that case, God Israelites was, that he had prohad determined effectually to in- vided them a remedy for the bite cline a number of them to be of the fiery serpents; and this hold the serpent and live, and to remedy was in the serpent of leave the rest to take their own brass. Therefore, he that beway, and abide the consequen-held the serpent of brass lived ; ces? Would that have made any but if any beheld it not they died. alteration as to the reality of a God's providing them a remedy sufficient warrant for every one in the brazen serpent did not to behold and live ? None at all. make them personally partakers Further: what if God had plain- of a cure, unless they beheld it: ly revealed his determination ef- And his giving us eternal life in fectually to dispose some to look his Son don't make us personaland live, and told them explicit- ly partakers of eternal life, unly that a number of them would less we believe on his Son, or derive no benefit from the bra- receive him by faith. zen serpent, but would die of their wounds by the fiery ser- 1. What an infinite mercy is pents, through their own folly | it, that Christ has been lifted up and perverseness? Would that on the cross, and is now exalted have altered the case, as to the in heaven, that whosoever beground and warrant for every | lieveth in him should not perish, one to look on the serpent of but have eternal life ? brass in full confidence of a cure? Was it not a great mercy to Evidently, not at all. So in the the bitten Israelites, that such a case before us. Neither the in- remedy was provided for them, disposition of sinful men to be as the brazen serpent proved ? lieve on the Son of God, to look May we not well presume that unto him and be saved ; nor they esteemed it so ? And had God's purpose to remove the every Israelite been stung by the indisposition of some, and to in- fiery serpents, and seen no way cline their hearts to believe, and to avoid that death which the to leave others to their own cho- mortal poison would soon prosen way ; nor the revelation of duce, unless some powerful remthis his purpose ;-neither of edy, of which they were ignothese makes any alteration, as to rant, was speedily applied, how the reality of sufficient ground great and general may we preand good warrant for every one sume the joy would have been, to whom the gospel is revealed, upon the erection of the serpent to believe and be saved.
of brass, at the sight of which
they were informed by God, thatness and salvation proposed to they should live?
them. Wherefore, let all take But we are all infected with warning, and flee for refuge to the more dreadful poison of sin. lay hold on the hope set before This would have inevitably issu- us. ed in our death, our eternal mis
PAREPIDEMOS. ery, if Christ had not been lifted up. But now, whosoever believ. eth in him will not perish, but shall have eternal life. The con- Thoughts on Genesis iii. 24. pection between seeing the serpent of brass and living, was not
“ So he drove out the man ; more certain than is the con- and he placed, at the east of the nection between believing on garden of Eden, Cherubims, and Christ and enjoying eternal life. a flaming sword which turned How great then, how infinite, is every way, to keep the way of the mercy displayed towards us! the tree of life.” How great the cause for joy and praise to God!
HE direct, literal meaning 2. What folly and madnessi and aggravated wickedness is its drove Adam with his wife out to make lightof Christ-to slight of the garden of Eden, in which and neglect him—to refuse to he had placed them before their come unto him for life! How fall, and set at the east of the foolish and wicked would it have garden a guard of angels with a been for the bitten Israelites, to flaming sword which turned ev. have slighted the remedy provi-ery way, to render it impossible ded for them, and to have refus- for them to return into the gared or neglected to look on the den, and obtain access to the tree brazen serpent ? Thus, and more of life. so, is it for us, to slight and neg
This transaction of the Deity lect the crucified Saviour, or to was very significant and expres. expect salvation by him without sive, and doubtless recorded for believing on him. For we have our instruction. And to contri. no more reason to expect salva- bute a little towards explaining tion by Christ without believing its import, it may be observed, on him, than the bitten Israel- 1. God's transactions, with ites had, to expect a cure by the Adam, when he put him in the brazen serpent without looking garden, contained, at least, an upon it.
implicit promise of life upon 3. If sinners perish from un- condition of perfect obedience. der the light of the gospel, how Gen. ii. 16, 17. " And the Lord evident will it be, that their per- God commanded the man, saydition will be owing to their own ing, Ofevery tree of the garden voluntary neglect or contempt thou mayest freely eat; but of of the sovereign remedy which the tree of the knowledge of good God hath provided and revealed?) and evil thou shalt not eat of it : That they will perish through for in the day that thou eatest their own fault, committed after thereof thou shalt surely die.” they were in a state of condem- By these words death was prenation and had a way of forgive- 1 sented to Adam's view, as the
penalty of his disobedience, in | he put forth his hand, and take case he should transgress the also of the tree of life, and eat divine command by eating of the and live for ever," appear in forbidden fruit. And from this, their connection, to suggest at if nothing more was or had been least so much as this, viz. that, said, he might justly infer, that from what had been said respectin case he did not eat of the for. ing that tree, Adam would probe bidden tree, but was perfectly ably think he could lay claim to obedient, he should not die, but eternal life ; provided he took should surely live. For if he and eat of its fruit.
Again, In was liable to die in case he did Rev. ii. 7. Christ says, “ To him not transgress, he was liable to that overcometh will I give to the same evil in case he was obe- eat of the tree of life, which is dient, as he would be in case he in the midst of the paradise of proved disobedient. And upon God.” These words are indisthis supposition, there was no putably a promise to those who penalty annexed to disobedience are faithful unto death, and prove -no evil threatened to which he victorious in the Christian course was not liable, though he should and warfare, of the confirmed, prove perfectly obedient. It is everlasting enjoyment of the life, clear, then, that a sure promise glory and happiness of the heaof life if he should not trans- venly state. The paradise of gress, was implied in the ex. God is the place where the repress threatening of death as deemed church will dwell and the penalty of disobedience. reign with Christ in happiness
2. There were two trees in and glory for ever. This glorithe garden particularly distin- ous place is called paradise, in guished from the rest, viz. The allusion to the earthly paradise, tree of life, and the tree of know- the garden of delight, which God ledge of good and evil
. Gen.ii.9. formed for the place of man's The tree of the knowledge of abode in his original state of ingood and evil might perhaps be nocence and rectitude. In the so called, because it was design- heavenly paradise Christ answers ed to be the medium of trial and to the tree of life in the earthly. proof, whereby it would appear He is the life of Christians the whether man was good or evil, author, purchaser and giver of obedient or disobedient. And it. From him their life is dethe tree of life, on the other rived, and in union with him onhand, was probably so called, ly do they possess and enjoy it, because it was to man the ap- with a sure and irreversible conpointed pledge or token of life | firmation. To eat of the tree of so long as he should have access life is to eat of the fruit which to it and eat of its fruit, or ra- that tree produces. Hence the ther, of confirmation in endless promise,
that professing Chrislife and happiness, upon his eat- tians, in consequence of overing of its fruit when he should coming, shall eat of the tree of have finished his probationary life which is in the midst of the course of obedience. This ap- paradise of God, is a promise pears probable from several pas- that they, in consequence of finsages of scripture. God's words ishing successfully their Chrisin Gen. iii. 22. “And now, lest I tian course and warfare, shall in
heaven partake of and enjoy all that he had no ground of hope, the benefits of Christ's redemp- but of mere free grace, through tion, the eternal life with all the the mediation of a substitute, of honors, joys and delights which which God had just before givhe hath obtained for them, and en some intimations, by includof which, as their forerunner and ing in the sentence which he head, he hath taken possession, pronounced upon the serpent, a with an irreversible confirma- declaration that the Seed of the tion in the enjoyment thereof woman should bruise his head ; forever. Now it does not appear, and also, by making to Adam that there would be any propri- and his wife coats of skins and ety in expressing this confirma-clothing them-of skins, most tion in the endless life and hap- probably, taken from animals piness of heaven, by the figura- then offered in sacrifice to pretive or metaphorical language of figure the atonement, through eating of the tree of life, which which the promised Seed would is in the midst of the paradise of | in due time furnish a covering God, if the tree of life, in the to their spiritual nakedness. If midst of the garden of Eden, another way of life, than that had not been the appointed to proposed to Adam when first ken and sacramental pledge of placed in the garden, had not confirmation in endless holiness been thus provided and in some and happiness to Adam, upon measure revealed to him, it aphis admission to eat of it in con- pears as though, when driven sequence of finishing success out of the garden and totally fully his probationary course of barred from access to the tree obedience.
of life, he would have had no The same idea of the tree of ground to expect anything life in the earthly paradise, as short of suffering, in its full exbeing the appointed symbol or tent, the death intended in the sacramental pledge of confirma- original threatening. tion in endless life and happiness, 4. As Adam was driven out in consequence of finished obe- of the garden by God, and bardience, is again suggested in red from all access to the tree Rev. xxii. 14. “ Blessed are they of life, whilst his posterity were that do his commandments, that included in him as the head or they may have right to the tree root of the whole species, his of life, and may enter in through expulsion, &c. showed, that the the gates into the city.” Hence, way of life revealed in the first
3. Adam's expulsion from the covenant, was as effectually bargarden, and the guard set to ren- red to all his posterity, as to him. der it utterly impracticable for self. Nevertheless, him to take and eat of the tree 5. As before his expulsion, of life, showed, in a very strik- another way of life, by free ing and forcible manner, that it grace, through a Mediator and had become uiterly iinpossible atonement, had been, though obfor him to obtain a confirmed ti- scurely, intimated to him, he tle to life by the first covenant, might consistently view his posor according to its tenor in the terity as coming into actual exway pointed out in it, viz. by his istence, under a possibility of own cbedience ; and therefore eternal life in the same way, in