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ful anxiety of his mind conflicting with human infirmity, the bias of animal nature, and the passions drawing contrary to duty; a fear of maintaining a becoming temper under his trials, a deep concern for his friends, and the opposition his religion was to encounter in the world. They also allow, that he experienced a dininusion of the sensible consolations of his Father's love; yet do not admit that this was the Father's act, “but arose purely from his extreme grief and fear, which would not suffer him, for a time, to attend to such contemplations." It has already been shown that the sufferings of Jesus were unalterably determined by his Fathur, ad that they were very great; when he, then, endured thim, it must have been in pursuance of the Father's will. To whom must we attribute the execution of his couns 's? Who can superintend this, and see it faithfully done? Him. self alone is competent for it. In doing this he sometimes employs instruments, sometimes not. In either case, the work is equally his, as all instruments only work under his direction and control. 6 My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Isaiah xlvi. 10. The designs of such instruments may sometimes run counter to his; in which case, their's will prove abor. tive and his will be executed. « There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Prov. xix. 21.
The Scriptures often ascribe them to God, as the punishment of our sins. 66 The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief ” Isaiah liji. 6, 10. This chapter contains a prophetic description of the sufferings of Christ, which, in these two verses are ascribed to God. In verse 6th the word signifies to cause to light upon, or meet upon. In no sense could God do this but in the sense of punishment. It could not be by infecting or corrupting his soul, nor causing him to commit sin; “ for he did no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” ver. 9. The Apostle expresses the same truth, 2 Cor. v. 21. “For he hath made him to be sin forus,'&c. “ Wounding and bruising him for our sins," conveys the same idea, i. e. punishment for sin. These sufferings were not, in themselves, pleasing to God, but the satisfaction which his justice was to receive from them, and the honour which was to accrue to all his divine perfections, were highly delightful to him. That sense of his Father's displeasure which he felt in his soul, must have been his immediate work. His address to him, when, in an agony, he drank the bitter cup, proves undeni. ably that he received that cup from his hand; if not why should he have applied to him to remove it? But it was his Father's will that he should drink it, and for that end he delivered it to him, so that he behoved to drink it. One drop must not be left, because not one jot or tittle could pass from the law. But the Father himself declares it; and how striking are his words! “ Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the Shepherd,” &c. Zech. xiii. 7. This could never be « giving up spotless innocence to be treated like sin itself.” That the inhuman crucifiers of the Lord of glory, and the powers of darkness could do so, admits of no doubt; but how shocking is the thought, which imputes such conduct to the righteous judge of all the earth! Could he even have stood an indifferent spectator of the barbarous cruelties which were committed upon his own Son, without interposing to prevent them, if he had been guilty neither by transgression nor imputation? It would be equally an im. peachment of the justice of God, to suppose him cap, able of the one or the other. He delivered him into the hands of sinful men, because he had engaged him as the surety of his people, to bear the punishment of their sins. “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” Rom. viii. 32. In this light Christ viewed his sufferings from men, as is evident from his reply to Pilate. “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." That desertion so sensibly felt by Jesus, and which must have been a very considerable part of his punishment, was only from the Father. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He was not, indeed, depriva ed of divine support, but subjected to a total suspense of the sense of his Father's love. This, added to the sense of his displeasure, was the bitter composition in his cup; which made him exclaim, “ Now is my soul troubled: And what shall I say?"
I SHALL now proceed to the other branch of this head which was, To prove that the sufferings of Christ were strictly legal, substitutionary, and expiatory of sin.
1. The sufferings of Jesus were strictly legal because he endured them in consequence of his entering into our relation to the law, and its curse.
The moral law is the unalterable rule of righteousness, founded in the moral perfections of Jehovah, and delivered to man, as a rule of moral conduct, sanctioned with a threatening of death, in case of disobedience. It was delivered to Adam, as a public head, in a covenant form, as a condition of life to him and his natural offspring. He violated his engagements, in consequence of which the covenant form of the law was set aside. His violation of it, however, rendered him and his posterity obnoxious to the punishment contained in the penal
sanction. The law, though broken, and divested of its covenant form, remains an unalterable rule of righte. ousness, which every sinner is bound to obey perfectly, under pain of eternal condemnation. Gal. iii. 10.- Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” But the sinnar is also under a legal sentence of condemnation. “ Bythe offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnarion.” Rom. v. 18. Thus it is that all men are under the law, their mouths are stopped, and they are guilty before God. But as the law was first given as a condition of life, no sinner can possess that life, unless the law is perfectly fulfilled; nor can he escape the execution of the sentence, unless atonement is made for sin.
In order to eff at this, Christ took our relation to the law and its sanction. “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." Gal. iv. 4, 5. “ Christ hath re. deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Gal. iij. 13. It is very plain here, that the sinner's being under the law, and Christ's being mude under it, mean the same relation to it, and the same cbligation to do what it requires; for this is the very thing ihat secures the sinner's deliverance from it. The same thing holds in respect to the curse. This placed Christ in a peculiar relation to their sin: what the law enjoined on them it enjoined on him, and what it demanded of them it demanded of him. “ The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” 1 Cor. xv. 56. Were it not the law, sin could have no power to condemn the sinner, and were it not sin, death could have no power; but sin gives death its dreadful sting.
From this relation to the law which Christ has assumed, it will be very evident, that he must occupy the place of a Surety.Mediator between God and sinners. He is the “ Surety of a better testament.” Heb. vii. 22. And the Mediator of the New Testament. Heb. ix. 15. He is no where called the Surety of sinners, which has led some to deny that he holds any such relation to them; but this is necessarily included in his being Sure. ty of a better testament; which implies his engagement to execute that dispensation of God to men, by which he will have them saved; a very material part of which consists in what he is bound to do, by virtue of his relation to the law. “ He is, therefore, the Mediator, by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions," &c. When Christ is considered as a Surety, the punishment due to our sin takes the denomination of a debt, which he, by his suretiship, obliges himself to pay. The law is the hand-writing by which we are bound; this he has subscribed, and by paying the debt, has cancelled.
We ought to beware of thinking that the law was capable of any relaxation, either in favour of sinners or their Surety. As God is infinitely holy, and has sanctioned the law with threatenings, it is certainly proper that he should pay particular regard to the law and its sanction; that men may see that they are amenable to him. The sanction must be a declaration of truth, the truth of an inseparable connection between sin and punishment; otherwise it ceases to be a sanction, and the subject of the law cannot know whether he shall be accountable or not. If God may relax the law one degree, he may add another, or any number, and so dispense with it altogether; and even receive into his favour the most conteinptuous transgressor. Were God