by William Bates
The Harmony of the Divine Attributes in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man's Redemption
THE subject of the ensuing discourses is of that inestimable excellency and importance, that it deserves our deepest reflections and care to consider and apply it: it is the great mystery of godliness, the design of eternal wisdom, the chiefest of all God's works, that contains the glorious wonders of his mercy and power, wherein he renders himself most worthy of our supreme veneration and affection. Our most raised thoughts are infinitely beneath its dignity. Though the light of the gospel hath clearly revealed so much of it, as is requisite to be known in our earthly state, yet the sublimer parts are still secret, and reserved for a full discovery, by the brightness of our Saviour's appearance. Now if the excellency of things excites our spirits to be attentive in searching into their nature, this divine object should awaken all our powers, and arrest our minds, in the serious steady contemplation of it, being alone capable to satisfy their immortal appetite.
The importance of it is correspondent to its excellency; for it is no less than the recovery of us from extreme and eternal misery, and the restoring of us to the enjoyment of the blessed God; a felicity without comparison or end. If we have any regard to salvation, (and who would be so unhappy as to neglect it for unconcerning frivolous vanity?) it will be delightful to know the means by which we may obtain it; and to employ the flying moments of our short time, in those things that are profitable for our last end, that we may not lose temporal and eternal life together.
Many of the ancient and modern divines have written of this noble argument, from whom I have received benefit in the following composure; but none, as I know, hath considered all the parts together, and presented them in one view. There still remains a rich abundance for the perpetual exercise of our spirits. The eternal word alone was able to perfect all things by once speaking. Human words are but an echo that answers the voice of God, and cannot fully express its power, nor pass so immediately through the sense to the heart, but they must be repeated. May these discourses be effectual to inflame us with the most ardent love to our Saviour, who ransomed us with the invaluable price of his own blood; and to persuade us to live for heaven, the purchase of that sacred treasure, I shall for ever acknowledge the divine grace, and obtain my utmost aim.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. A view of man's primitive state
II. The fall
III. All mankind involved in the fall.
IV. Man's inability to recover himself.
V. The display of divine WISDOM in redemption
VI. Practical inferences.
VII. Practical inferences continued.
VIII. The display of divine MERCY in redemption.
IX. The subject continued.
X. The subject concluded.
XI. Practical inferences.
XII. The display of divine JUSTICE in redemption.
XIII. The subject continued.
XIV. The subject concluded.
XV. Practical inferences.
XVI. The display of divine HOLINESS in redemption.
XVII. The subject continued.
XVIII. The subject concluded. XIX. Practical inferences.
XX. The display of divine POWER in redemption, in the incarnation of Christ
XXI. The subject continued.
XXII. Inference. The operation of divine power is a convincing proof of the truth of the Christian religion
XXIII. The display of God's TRUTH in redemption.