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This leads to a question, Why, say you, who may expect a share of this engagement of Christ? Des he engage in behalf of us all? I answer, in such a manner as concerns all that hear me, that he engaged in behalf of all that were given him of the Father; and that none of all that hear this gospel may look upon themselves as fhut out, he expresses it thus, John vi. 37: All that the Father bath given me mall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. And consequently he engages in behalf of all that shall not exclude themselves from the benefit of this glorious engagement by their final unbelief, in rejecting this Christ, and refusing to be saved on these terms, which Christ engaged to fulfil. And so the door is open to you all, to put in for a full share of all that Christ hath engaged to do; especially if you think that your own personal bonds and engagements, vows, promises and covenants, are not so good and sufficient as Christ's personal engagement in your stead: Think you so, my friends ? O then, here is a good bargain for you ; you that have no money to pay your debt, no grace to perform your duty, no strength to secure your safety, O here is a Christ engaging to God for your debt, your duty and your safety : 0 let your heart say with application, Amen, it is a good bargain for me ; and if so God hath beforehand said Amen, so let it be. In a word, the sum of Christ's engagement that he came under in his approach to God, was to fulfil God's law, to vindicate his holiness, to satisfy his justice, to bear his wrath in our stead, and to be made fin for us, and so to be made a curse for us, I Cor. v. last. Gal. iii. 13. He engaged to be made a sacrifice, a ransom, a propiciation for us, and to be all that the glory of
God's perfections in the matter of our salvation required. Thus he engaged himself to approach to God.
Secondly, What approach did he make to God under these engagements? In short, (1.) it was a near approach, by God's own allowance and appointment. See the context, I will cause him to draw near, and be shall approach to me. We behoved to have stood at an infinite distance from God to all eternity, had not Christ been allowed to come near in our stead. But behold, he made a near approach under the shadow of lawful authority ; his Father authorised him therein, and caused him to approach: God the Father is the primary cause of our salvation. This commandment, says Christ, have I received of my Father, John x. 15. It is his Father's will that he came to do, Psal. xl. 8. And how near Christ approaches to God in our stead, under this authority, allowance, and command, who can tell among men or angels ? For he came so near, as to lay his hand upon God; yea, to take God and all his glorious perfections, all his seemingly jarring attributes in his arms, as it were, and reconcile them one to another, and bind them together with the band of infinite amity and harmony to the highest glory of each of them, in the matter of our salvation : And hence, upon this · near approach, it was said, mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kised each other. Therefore, (2.) It was a bold approach by God's own assistance, as well as 'near by his allowance. This is evident also in the text, I will cause him to draw near; and who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? faith the Lord. It was a bold and couragious approach indeed; but it was by his Fa
ther's help and assistance. Ifa. 1. 7. The Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded; yea, therefore have 1 jet my face like a flint. It was such a bold adventure, as none could have made but himself. And yet, (3.) it was an bumble approach : For tho' he was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet he humbled himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, Philip. ii. 8. He became his Father's humble servant in the work of our redemption; Behold my fervant whom I uphold. He served him in a state of humiliation, from the time of his incarnation to the time of his exaltation. He was meek and lowly, while he offered his humble service to God for our fake, and his humble service to us for God's fake, stooping down to wash our feet, to wash our hearts, to wash our consciences, to wash our souls in his own blood, saying, If I wash thee not, thou haft no part in me. His approach to God was an humble and reverential approach, with holy filial fear and regard of his Father ; therefore it is said, Heb. v. 7. that in the days of bis ftißh, be offered up prayers and supplications, with Jirong crying and tears, to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that be feared. How humbly did he cry to his Father in the garden, when he said, Father, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done : Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this bour ; but for this caufe came I to this hour ; Father, glorify thy name. It was in the saddest, earnest, and deepest humility, that he approached to his Father in this work. (4.) It was a folemn approach. Who is this that engaged his heart to approach to me? It is I, says Christ; and he fays, it with a solemnity, L. I come, Pfal. xl. 7. Lo I come, in the voluine of thy book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God. Lo I come, as if he had said, let heaven and earth be witnesses to this approach of mine ; let God and all the creatures of God attest it, for I am not alhamed of this work which the Father hath given me to do. Lo I come. Other characters of this approach may fall in upon the next general head; Therefore I go to the next particular here premised, which will also further illustrate the nature of this approach.
Thirdly, Under what consideration are we to view the God to whom he approached? Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto ME? What ME? It is to me, says Jebovah. And here we would consider the God to whom he approached in our stead, in these following respects.” (1.) He engaged to approach unto God as an absolute "God. Christ the second person of the adorable Trinity personally considered, engaged in our name to approach to God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost essentially confidered, to approach to the throne of infinite majesty. We have to do with a God in Christ, in all our approaches; and may not approach to a God out of Christ, otherwise we would be confounded : But Christ had to do with a God by himself. Christ is mediator þetwixt God and man, but there was no mediator betwixt God and Christ: Christ must approach, as well as he could, to God himself immediately, that we thro' his mediation might have access to God. It was a saying of Luther's, Nolo Deum abfolutum, Lord deliver me from an absolute God, a God out of Christ, for as he is terrible to finners, fo, in himself considered, he Vol. II.
dwells in light to which no man can approach, i Tim, vi. 16. But this inaccessible being is the God to whom Christ did approach. . (2.) He engaged to approach unto God as a commanding God, command. ing perfect obedience according to the tenor of the covenant of works, commanding perfect obedience in man's own person as the condition of life ; And now, seeing, in the covenant of grace, a change of persons is allowed, but no change of the terms or conditions, but that our holy God will still be a commanding God, Christ accepts of the terms, and engages to fulfil the condition of life, be the command what it will. Lo, I come to do thy will. Father, what is thy command ? I come to thee as a commanding God, a law-giver, to obey thy law; yea, thy law is within my heart; or, as it is in the Hebrew, it is in the midst of my bowels. None that had any blemish was to approach or come near unto God, Lev. xxi. 21. If there had been any blemish in the person or righteousness of Christ, he could not have approached to an infinitely holy and commanding God; and his coming to. God under this consideration, is just his coming under the law, or under the command in our stead. (3.) He engaged to approach unto God as a threatning God, threatning death and wrath to the transgressors of his command, and saying, as Lev. x. 3. I will be fančtified by all that approach or come nigh unto me; I will either be fanctified by them, or sanctified upon them : And thus he had God to deal with, not only as a commander and law-giver requiring obedience, but as a judge requiring satisfaction when the law is broken. He approaches to God, not only as God of infinite holiness, whose command must be obeyed ;