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value, and by the agreement between the Father and the Son, it procures a title to us for happiness, and so it merits. The satisfaction of Christ is to free us from misery, and the merit of Christ is to purchase happiness for us.
The word purchase, as it is used with respect to the purchase of Christ, is taken either more strictly, or more largely. It is oftentimes used more strictly, to signify only the merit of Christ; and sometimes more largely, to signify both his satisfaction and merit. Indeed most of the words which are used in this affair have various significations. Thus sometimes divines use merit in this affair for the whole price that Christ offered, both satisfactory, and also positively meritorious. And so the word satisfaction is sometimes used, not only for his propitiation, but also for his meritorious obedience. For in some sense, not only suffering the penalty, but positively obeying, is needful to satisfy the law. The reason of this various use of these terms seems to be, that satisfaction and merit do not differ so much really as relatively. They both consist in paying a valuable price, a price of infinite value ; but only that price, as it respects a debt to be paid, is called satisfaction ; and as it respects a positive good to be obtained, is called merit. The difference between paying a debt and making a positive purchase is more relative than it is essential. He who lays down a price to pay a debt, does in some sense make a purchase : he purchases liberty from the obligation. And he who lays down a price to purchase a good, does as it were make satisfaction: he satisfies the conditional demands of him to whom he pays it. This may suffice concerning what is meant by the purchase of Christ.
I now proceed to some general observations concerning those things by which this purchase was made.—And here,
1. I would observe, that whatever in Christ had the nature of satisfaction, it was by virtue of the suffering or humiliation that was in it. But whatever had the nature of merit, it was by virtue of the obedience or righteousness there was in it. The satisfaction of Christ consists in his answering the demands of the law on man, which were consequent on the breach of the law. These were answered by suffering the penalty of the law. The merit of Christ consists in what he did to answer the demands of the law, which were prior to man's breach of the law, or to fulfil what the law demanded before man sinned, which was obedience.
The satisfaction or propitiation of Christ consists either in his suffering evil, or his being subject to abasement. For Christ did not only make satisfaction by proper suffering, but by whatever had the nature of humiliation, and abasement of circumstances. Thus Christ made satisfaction for sin, by continuing under the power of death, while he lay buried n the grave, though neither his body nor soul properly endured any suffering after he was dead. Whatever Christ was subject to that was the judicial fruit of sin, had the nature of satisfaction for sin. But not only proper suffering, but all abasement and depression of the state and circumstances of mankind below its primitive honor and dignity, such as his body remaining under death, and body and soul remaining separate, and other things that might be mentioned, are the judicial fruits of sin. And all that Christ did in his state of humiliation, that had the nature of obedience or moral virtue or goodness in it, in one respect or another had the nature of merit in it, and was part of the price with which he purchased happiness for the elect.
2. I would observe, that both Christ's satisfaction for sin, and also his meriting happiness by his righteousness, were carried on through the whole time of his humiliation Christ's satisfaction for sin was not only by his last sufferings, though it was principally by them ; but all his sufferings, and all the humiliation that he was subject to, from the first moment of his incarnation to his resurrection, were propitiatory or satisfactory. Christ's satisfaction was chiefly by his death, because his sufferings and humiliation in that was greatest. But all his other sufferings, and all his other humiliation, all along had the nature of satisfaction. So had the mean circumstances in which he was born. His being born in such a low condition, was to make satisfaction for sin. His being born of a poor virgin, in a stable, and his being laid in a manger; his taking the human nature upon him in its low state, and under those infirmities brought upon it by the fall; his being born in the form of sinful flesh, had the nature of satisfaction. And so all his sufferings in his infancy and childhood, and all that labor, and conteinpt, and reproach, and temptation, and difficulty of any kind, or that he suffered through the whole course of his life, was of a propitiatory and satisfactory nature.
And so his purchase of happiness by his righteousness was also carried on through the whole time of his humiliation till his resurrection; not only in that obedience he performed through the course of his life, but also in the obedience he performed in laying down his life.
3. It was by the same things that Christ hath satisfied God's justice, and also purchased eternal happiness. This satisfaction and purchase of Christ were not only both carried on through the whole time of Christ's humiliation, but they were both carried on by the same things. He did not make satisfaction by some things that he did, and then work out a righteousness by other different things; but in the same acts by which he wrought out righteousness, he also made satisfaction, but only taken in a different relation. One and the same act of Christ, considered with respect to the obedience there was in it, was part of his righteousness, and purchased heaven: but considered with respect to the self-denial, and difficulty, and humiliation, with which he performed it, had the nature of satisfaction for sin, and procured our pardon. Thus his going about doing good, preaching the gospel, and teaching his disciples, was a part of his righteousness, and purchase of heaven, as it was done in obedience to the Father; and the same was a part of his satisfaction, as he did it with great labor, trouble, and weariness, and under great temptation, exposing himself hereby to reproach and contempt. So his laying down his life had the nature of satisfaction to God's offended justice, considered as his bearing our punishment in our stead : but considered as an act of obedience to God, who had given him this command, that he should lay down his life for sinners, it was a part of his righteousness, and purchase of heaven, and as much the principal part of his righteousness as it was the principal part of his satisfaction. And so to instance in his circumcision, what he suffered in that, had the nature of satisfaction: the blood that was shed in his circumcision was propitiatory blood; but as it was a conformity to the law of Moses, it was part of his meritorious righteousness. Though it was not properly the act of his human nature, he being an infant; yet it being what the human nature was the subject of, and being the act of that person, it was accepted as an act of his obedience as our mediator. . And so even his being born in such a low condition had the nature of satisfaction, by reason of the humiliation that was in it, and also of righteousness, as it was the act of his person in obedience to the Father, and what the human nature was the subject of, and what the will of the human nature did acquiesce in, though there was no act of the will of the human nature prior to it.
These things may suffice to have observed in the general, concerning the purchase Christ made of redemption.
I now proceed to speak more particularly of those things which Christ did, and was the subject of, during the time of his humiliation, whereby this pur. chase was made.-—And the nature of the purchase of Christ, as it has been explained, leads us to consider these things under a twofold view, viz.
1. With respect to his righteousness, which appeared in them.
2. With respect to the sufferings and humiliation that he was subject to in them in our stead.
I. I will consider the things that passed during the time of Christ's humiliation, with respect to the obedience and righteousness that he exercised in them. And this is subject to a threefold distribution. I shall therefore consider his obedience.
1. With respect to the laws which he obeyed. 2. With respect to the different stages of his life in which he performed it. 3 With respect to the virtues he exercised in his obedience.
I. The first distribution of the acts of Christ's righteousness is with respect to the laws which he obeyed in that righteousness which he performed. But here it must be observed in general, that all the precepts which Christ obeyed may be reduced to one law, and that is that which the apostle calls the law of works, Rom. iii. 27. Every command that Christ obeyed may be reduced to that great and everlasting law of God that is contained in the covenant of works, that eternal rule of right which God had established between himself and mankind. Christ came into the world to fulfil and answer the covenant of works; that is, the covenant that is to stand forever as a rule of judgment; and that is the covenant that we had broken, and that was the covenant that must be fulfilled.
This law of works indeed includes all the laws of God which ever have been given to mankind; for it is a general rule of the law of works, and indeed of the law of nature, that God is to be obeyed, and that he must be submitted to in whatever positive precept he is pleased to give us. It is a rule of the law of works, that men should obey their earthly parents; and it is certainly as much a rule of the same law, that we should obey our heavenly Father : and so the law of works requires obedience to all positive commands of God. It required Adam's obedience to that positive command, not to eat of the forbidden fruit; and it required obedience of the Jews to all the positive commands of their institution. When God commanded Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh, the law of works required him to obey: and so it required Christ's obedience to all the positive commands which God gave him.
But, more particularly, the commands of God which Christ obeyed, were of three kinds; they were either such as he was subject to merely as man, or such as he was subject to as he was a Jew, or such as he was subject to purely as Mediator.
1 He obeyed those commands which he was subject to merely as man • and they were the commands of the moral law, which was the same with that which was given at Mount Sinai, written in two tables of stone, which are obligatory on mankind of all nations and all ages of the world.
2. He obeyed all those laws he was subject to as he was a Jew. Thus he was subject to the ceremonial law, and was conformed to it. He was conformed to it in his being circumcised the eighth day; and he strictly obeyed it in going up to Jerusalem to the temple three times a year; at least after he was come to the age of twelve years, which seems to have been the age when the males began to go up to the temple. And so Christ constantly attended the service of the temple, and of the synagogues.
To this head of his obedience to the law that he was subject to as a Jew, may be reduced his submission to John's baptism. For it was a special command to the Jews, to go forth to John the Baptist, and be baptized of him; and therefore Christ being a Jew, was subject to this command ; and therefore, when he came to be baptized of John, and John objected, that he had more need to come to him to be baptized of him, he gives this reason for it, that it was needful that he should do it, that he might fulfil all righteousness. See Matt. iii. 13, 14, 15.
3. Another law that Christ was subject to was the mediatorial law, which contained those commands of God to which he was subject not merely as man, nor yet as a Jew, but which related purely to his mediatorial office. Such were the commands which the Father gave him, to teach such doctrines, to preach the gospel, to work such miracles, to call such disciples, to appoint such ordinances, and finally to lay down his life : for he did all these things in obedience to commands he had received of the Father, as he often tells us. And these commands he was not subject to merely as man; for they did not belong to other men; nor yet was he subject to them as a Jew; for they were no part of the Mosaic law; but they were commands that he had received of the Father, that purely respected the work he was to do in the world in his mediatorial office.
And it is to be observed, that Christ's righteousness, by which he merited heaven for himself and all who believe in him, consists principally in his obedience to this mediatorial law; for in fulfilling this law consisted his chief work and business in the world. The history of the evangelists is chiefly taken up in giving an account of his obedience to this law, and this part of his obedience was that which was attended with the greatest difficulty of all; and therefore his obedience in it was most meritorious. What Christ had to do in the world, by virtue of his being mediator, was infinitely more difficult than what he had to do merely as a man, or as a Jew. To his obedience to this mediatorial law belongs his going through his last sufferings, beginning with his agony in the garden, and ending with his resurrection.
As the obedience of the first Adam, wherein his righteousness would have consisted, if he had stood, would have mainly consisted, not in his obedience to the moral law, to which he was subject merely as man, but in his obedience to that special law that he was subject to as moral head and surety of mankind, even the command of abstaining from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; so the obedience of the second Adam, wherein his righteousness consists, lies mainly, not in his obedience to the law that he was subject to merely as man, but to that special law which he was subject to in his office as mediator and surety for man.
Before I proceed to the next distribution of Christ's righteousness, I would observe three things concerning Christ's obedience to these laws.
1. He performed that obedience to them which was in every respect perfect. It was universal as to the kinds of laws that he was subject to; he obeyed each of these three laws; and it was universal with respect to every individual precept contained in these laws, and it was perfect as to each command. It was perfect as to positive transgressions avoided, for he never transgressed in one instance; he was guilty of no sin of commission. And it was perfect with respect to the work commanded; he perfected the whole work that each command required, and never was guilty of any sin of omission. And it was perfect with respect to the principle from which he obeyed. His heart was perfect, his principles were wholly right, there was no corruption in his heart. And it was perfect with respect to the ends he acted for, for he never had any by-ends, but aimed perfectly at such ends as the law of God required. And it was perfect with respect to the manner of performance; every circumstance of each act was perfectly conformed to the command. And it was perfect with respect to the degree of the performance; he acted wholly up to the rule. And it was perfect with respect to the constancy of obedience; he did not only perfectly obey sometimes, but constantly, without any interruption. And it was perfect with respect to perseverance; he held out in perfect obedience to the very end, through all the changes he passed, and all the trials that were before him.
The meritoriousness of Christ's obedience depends on the perfection of it. If it had failed in any instance of perfection, it could not have been meritorious : for imperfect obedience is not accepted as any obedience at all in the sight of the law of works, which was that law that Christ was subject to; for that is not accepted as an obedience to a law that does not answer that law.
2. The next thing I would observe of Christ's obedience is that it was performed through the greatest trials and temptations that ever any obedience was. His obedience was attended with the greatest difficulties, and most extreme abasement and sufferings that ever any obedience was, which was another thing that rendered it more meritorious and thankworthy. To obey another when his commands are easy, is not so worthy, as it is to obey when it cannot be done without great difficulty
3. He performed this obedience with infinite respect to God, and the honor of his law. The obedience he performed was with infinitely greater love to God, and regard to his authority, than the angels perform their obedience with. The angels perform their obedience with that love which is perfect, with sinless perfection; but Christ did not do so, but he performed his obedience with much greater love than the angels do theirs, even infinite love; for though the human nature of Christ was not capable of love absolutely infinite, yet Christ's obedience that was performed in that human nature, is not to be looked upon as merely the obedience of the human nature, but the obedience of his person as God-man; and there was infinite love of the person of Christ manifest in that obedience. And this, together with the infinite dignity of the person that obeyed, rendered his obedience infinitely meritorious.
II. The second distribution of the acts of Christ's obedience, is with respect to the different parts of his life, wherein they were performed. And in this respect they may be divided into those which were performed in private life and those which were performed in his public ministry.
1st. Those acts he performed during his private life. He was perfectly obedient in his childhood. He infinitely differed from other children, who, as soon as they begin to act, begin to sin and rebel. He was subject to his earthly parents, though he was Lord of all, Luke ü. 51. He was found about his