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death: the effusion of their blood could not reasonably satisfy a man's conscience, sensible of guilt, and fearful of God's displeasure, that by it God was fully appeased : they must therefore refer unto a better facrifice, more fuf- Heb.ix. 23. ficient in itself, more acceptable to God, in virtue of, in respect to which sin might be thoroughly expiated, God's vengeance removed, man's mind comforted and contented, The high-priest's solemn entrance, once a year, into the Heb. ix. 7. holy of holies, not without blood, to atone for his own and the people's ignorances, did imply, that our great High-Priest should make a bloody atonement for the fins of mankind, and passing through the veil of mortal felh, should enter into the true sancta sanctorum of heaven, Heb. x. 24. there to appear in the presence of God for us. The Paf- Exod. xii. chal lamb especially, in its substance, (as a lamb, meek and gentle;) in its quality, without blemish or spot, (holy and innocent;) in its manner of preparation and dressing, (being killed by all the assembly, having its blood sprinkled upon the doors of every house; being roasted with fire; having bitter herbs for its sauce;) with other observable circumstances, was a most appofite emblem of Christ our Passover, who not only by his death did fig. nify and mind us of, but really effect, our deliverance from the mystical Egypt, our state of spiritual bondage. So did ancient types exhibit; and plain predictions also did express the same death and suffering of our Saviour; Those things, faith St. Peter, which God before had shewed Aas iii. 16. by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath fo fulfilled: not one prophet only, but all (either plainly, or covertly; either directly, or by consequence) have fhewed it: it is our negligence or stupidity, if we do not discern it; O fools, and Now of heart, faith our Sa- Luke xxiv. viour, to believe all that the prophets have spoken! ought 39
ugni vid. Luke not Chris (according to their predi&tions) to have suffered xviii. 31.
D : Acts xxvi. these things, and so to enter into his glory? That David, A. an illustrious representative of the Meffias, doth often, as Vid. Pfal.
xxii. cix. belonging to himself, describe mortal agonies and suffer- &c. Iuii. ing, not applicable xata aétiv, in direct historical meaning, to his own perfon, and therefore in reason, according to
a higher and truer sense, to be understood of the Meffias; that Daniel expressly foretells both the thing and the time, that and when the Messias should be cut off; that Isaiah in several places doth insinuate, and in the famous fifty-third chapter of Isaiah doth clearly describe, the manner and kind of our Saviour's paffion, is so evident, that the Jews themselves have acknowledged there must be one Messias to suffer, as another to triumph and reign
in glory; being so gross as not to apprehend the confiftLuke xxii. ency between antecedent suffering and consequent glory;
(between a night of darkness and sorrow, and a day of light and joy breaking out from it ;) not to distinguish between an external pomp in this, and an eternal majesty
in the future state. But to us God's so forward care, by 1 Pet. i. 11. the Spirit of Christ in his Prophets, a pojeceptúpeo Joy, as St.
Peter speaks, to forewitness (to testify beforehand) the sufferings of our Saviour, and the glories succeeding, doth imply with what attention we should regard, with what firmness of faith embrace this article.
4. We may consider also that this death was executed by God's especial providence directing and difpofing it; though not without man's a&tive concurrence. The treacherous disposition and covetous appetite of Judas; the envious humour and blind zeal of the priests; the wanton fickleness and wild rudeness of the people; the
fearful and selfish temper of the governor, were but inftruAas iv. 28. ments, by which God's own hand did inflict this fore
lille ø, chastisement upon his own Son for us; it was the Lord Acts xiii. that laid upon him the iniquities of us all ; by God be 27. i Cor. ii. 9. was stricken, Smitten, and afflicted. The Jews with their Acts iii. 1?. rulers proceeded rashly and ignorantly, but God advisedly Luke xxiii.
* did accomplish it, (as St. Peter in the Aets :) he did not Rom. viii.
spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us : he sufpended his bowels of pity, (as it were,) he withdrew his face of kindness from him, out of mercy and benignity to us; he used him feverely, that he might deal favourably with us. Yet did man also actively concur herein; all mankind (by their representatives, as it were) was involved, as in the guilt for which, so in the guilt by which
he suffered: there was a general conspiracy pra&ised of Jew and Gentile against the life of their Saviour; Of a Ads iv. 27. truth, faith St. Peter, against thy holy child, whom thou has anointed, were gathered together both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and with the people of If- . rael. In the Jews, man's horrid ingratitude, in the Gentiles, his wretched infirmity did appear; which by their active efficacy did fignify the meritorious influence they had ; that it was man's iniquity and infirmity which did caufe our Saviour's death: which thus, as a work of divine Providence, (the most admirable work ever done by Providence,) as an act of human pravity, (the most heinous act ever committed by man,) is considerable.
5. But immediately the quality and condition of our Saviour's perfon do most commend and advance the worth of his death; If, as the Psalmist fings, precious in Pl.cxvi.15. the fight of the Lord is the death of his faints ; if the spot- John i less candour, the unblemished integrity of a lamb, do 2 Cor. v. 21,
i Pet. ii. 22. make its blood precious, render it a fit and acceptable fa.' crifice; how valuable shall the death of a person so holy and innocent, who did not so much as know fin, in whose Heb. vii.26, mouth no guile was ever found, who was removed (at infinite distance) from finners! If the life of a king be, as 2Sam.xviii. David's people told him, worth ten thousand lives, and R. xxi. 17. it be high treason to imagine his death; how considerable muft the death be of a person so transcendent in dignity, the Lord of glory, the Prince of life! Ye denied the Holy Aas iii. 14, and the Just One ; ye New the Prince of life: They crucifieds the Lord of glory: so the Apostles aggravate the business. But' an infinity of worth and efficacy must needs accrue to the death of our Saviour, from his being the Son of God, from his being God. That the immortal God should die, the Most High so debased, as it cannot be heard without wonder, so it could not be done without huge reason and mighty effect: well might one drop of that royal blood of heaven fuffice to purchase many worlds, to ransom in. numerable lives of men, to expiate an infinity of fins. · 111. But let us consider the causes moving to it, and the ends designed thereby; together with the effects con
sequent thereupon, (those in nature being either the fame, or joined with the ends thereof.) The determining it by
God, the undertaking of it by our Saviour, were acts most Ila. liii. 10. absolutely free and voluntary. On the Father's part: It Pl. xl. 7, 9. pleased the Lord to bruise him, faith the Prophet; Behold,
I come to do thy will ; (that is, to offer, not the blood of Heb. x. 7. beasts in facrifice, but my own body, according to thy
will, as it is expounded in the Epistle to the Hebrews :) John X. 18. This command, faith our Saviour, I received of my Father, John xviii, viz. to lay down my life: and, The cup which my Father
1. hath given me to drink, Mall I not drink it? On our SaJohn s. 18. viour's part: None, faith he, taketh my life from me, it
is by no neceffity or compulfion;) but I lay it down of my
felf: I have power to lay it down, and have power to reJohn vi. 51. fume it : and, The bread which I shall give is my flesh, Matt. xxi, which I will give for the life of the world : The Son of 28. man came to give his life a ransom for many. The yieldGal. i. 4. ing of his flesh to death was a gift absolutely free; Who
gave himself for our fins, according to the will of God and our Father.
Thus did this death proceed from the joint wills of God and his Son: yet as the volitions of every wise and understanding agent are in a manner determined or directed by some cause, (and grounded upon some reason,) so the causes and reasons of these voluntary acts in Scripture are declared to have been several. The main impulsive causes were two, (one internally disposing, the other externally inviting,) God's goodness, and man's diftress. Mankind lying in a fad and forlorn estate; enslaved to fin, oppressed by Satan, subject to a rigorous law, exposed to the severity of justice, tormented by the sense of guilt, fearful of divine wrath and vengeance; in short, condemned by the fentence of heaven, and by the suffrage of his own conscience, to punishment unavoidable, to misery intolerable; he, I say, lying in so desperately uncomfortable a condition, God's infinite goodness regarded his poor creature; his bowels of compassion yearned toward him; thence was he moved to provide such a remedy fufficient and suitable to his delivery, for the curing all those distempers, the re
moving all those mischiefs. The main spring of all this wonderful performance (as of all other providential dispensations and actions ad extra) was that most excellent perfection of God; which in respect to this matter is fometimes termed xensórns, benignity, or bounty, implying Tit. iii. 4. the great benefit we receive thence;) sometimes favour or Rom.iii.24. grace, (fignifying the pure freeness in dispensing it, with-2.Cor. Ville out any desert on our part; By the grace of God, he tasted Heb. ii. 9. death for every man;) sometimes love and philanthropy, John iii. 16.
Tit. iii. 4, (intimating the regard God had to us as his creatures, s. and as capable of being benefited and bettered by him; Herein God commends his love toward us, in that we be- Rom. V. 8. ing yet finners Chrif died for us : Christ loved us, and de- Eph. V. 2. livered up himself an offering and facrifice to God;) some. times mercy, (connoting our bad deserts, our obnoxiousness to justice and punishment;) sometimes pity, (fignifying the need we had thereof, our misery and distress. Such were the impulsive causes, difpofing and occafioning: to which we may add our fins as the meritorious 1 Cor. xv.3. cause; He died for our fins; He was wounded for our trans greffons, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our Ifa. liii., 6.
mi Rom, v. 8, peace was upon him : he died for us, not as men only, not ., &c. as miserable, but as finners : had we been guiltless, there had wanted sufficient cause and just reason of his death : God would not have been angry, juftice could have had no prétence or hold; we should not have suffered ourselves, nor could he have suffered for us : Death is the debt (the Rom.vi. 28. wages) due to hn; which he therefore paid, because we owed and could not discharge it; All we like sheep have Ifa. lii. 6. gone astray ; we have turned every one to his own way, and (therefore) the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us
As for the ends aimed at, and the effects produced hereby, they are in the Scripture account and expression reckoned various ; principally these. . .
1. The illustrations of God's glory, (by demonstrating. and displaying his most excellent attributes and perfec. tions; Whom God, faith St. Paul, hath set forth. a propi- Rom.ij.25. fiation, εις ένδειξιν της δικαιοσύνης αυτού, for a demon/tration