ページの画像
PDF
ePub

unto wis, his free and unmerited love to them; and which is so fully and strongly expressed therein.

II. With respect to Satan; the concern lie had therein, in putting it 'into the heart of Judas, to betray his Lord and Master'; and in stirring up the chicf priests and elders of the Jews to conspire to take away his life; and so strongly to move for it, and insist upon it with the Roman Governor: this arose from that old enmity that was between him and the woman's seed; in which he betrayed great ignorance of the way of man's salvation, or else acted in great contradiction to himself, and to his own scheme.

iv. With respect to men; these acted from different motives, and with different views: Judas from a spirit of covetousness, to gain a small sum of money from the Jews; they, from envy and malice to the Person of Christ, delivered hiin to Pilate, and moved to have him crucified; and he, against his own conscience, and the remonstrance of his wife, passed sentence of death, on him and delivered hiin to be crucified, to get, and continue an interest in the affections of the Jews, and retain the good-will and favour of his prince, the Roman emperor.

v. But the true causes and reasons why it was the pleasure of God, and the will of Christ, from their great love to men, that he should suffer for them, were their sins and transgressions; to make satisfaction for them, and save them froin them; it was not for any sin of his own, for he never committed any, but fór the sins of others; he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our sins; he was stricken for the transgressions of his people; he died for their sins, according to the scriptures, Isai. liii. 5, 8.

III. The effects of the sufferings and death of Christ, are many.

1. The redemption of his people from sin, from Satan, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come; which is through liis blood, his sufferings, and death: he gave his flesh for the life of the world of his elect; and gave his life a ransom for them; and being made perfect through sufferings became the author of salvation to them, Heb. i. 10. 1.9.

11. Reconciliation; which is by the death of Christ; and peace, which is made by his blood; even a complete atonement for sin; which is obtained through Christ's being a propitiation for it, which he is, through his blood; that is, his sufferings and death, Rom. v. 10. Col. i 20.

iu. Pardon of sin; which is a branch of redemption, through the blood of Christ, which was shed for the remission of sin; and without shedding of blood there is no remission, Matt. xxvi. 28 Heb. ix. 22.

iv. Justification, which is sometimes ascribed to the blood of Christ; that is, to his sufferings and death; the consequences of which is, deliverance, and security from wrath to come, Rom. v. 9.

v. In short, the complete salvation of all God's elect: Christ came to gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad, by dying for them; to

[ocr errors]

seek and to save that which was lost; even to save all his people from their sins, by finishing transgression, making an end of sin, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness; and by obtaining an entire conquest over all enemies, sin, Satan, death, and hell.

vi. In all which the glory of God is great ; the glory of his mercy, grace, and goodness; the glory of his wisdom, truth, and faithfulness; the glory of his pow. er, and the glory of his justice and holiness.

IV. The properties of Christ's death and sufferings.

1. They were real; and not imaginary, or in appearance only: as he really became incarnate, so he really suffered and died; which was confirmed by the testimony of the centurion, and the soldiers that guarded hiin, by his hands, feet, and side being pierced, and the prints of these being seen after his resurrection.

11. They were voluntary; he willingly agreed in council and covenant to undergo them; he came readily into the world, in the time appointed for that purpose; and was earnestly desirous of, and even straitened until they were accomplished; he freely surrendered himself into the hands of his enemies; and chearfully laid down his life, and resigned his breath.

III. They were necessary: he ought to suffer; he could not be excused from suffering; because of the decrees of God; the covenant and agreement he entered into with his Father; the prophecies concerning them; and the types and figures of them. Besides, the redemption and salvation of his people could not be procured in any other way.

iv. They were efficacious, or effectual to the purposes for which they were endured; as redemption, reconciliation, &c. which efficacy they had from the dignity of his Person, as the Son of God; hence his blood cleansed from all sin; and his righteousness justified from all; and it is unto all, and upon all them that believe, to the justification of them; and his sacrifice is a sweet-smelling savour with God; and a full and proper atonement for the sins of men. For,

v. They are expiatory and satisfactory. The sufferings of saints are by way of fatherly chastizement; but they have no efficacy to expiate sin, or make atonement for it. But Christ's sufferings, thiough the infiniteness of his Person, are a complete atonement for all the sins of his people; by his sacrifice and death he has put away sin for ever, and perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

OF THE BURIAL OR CHRIST. The last degree of Christ's humiliation, and which it ended in, is his burial, or his being laid in the grave; where he continued under the dominion of death for a time. This is one of the articles of the christian faith, that he was buried

[blocks in formation]

- according to the Scriptures, 1 Cor. xv. 4. Wherefore it will be proper to observe,

I. That Christ was to be buried, according to scripture prophecies and types. 1. Scripture-prophecies; which are the following.

1. Psal. xvi, 10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, or body in the grave. The whole Psalm is concerning Christ, and this verse particularly is applied to him, and strongly argued to belong to him, and not to David, by two apostles, Peter and Paul, Acts ii. 25–31. and xiii. 34–37. Indeed, they produce it in proof of Christ's resurrection; but it is, at the same time a proof of his burial in the grave, from whence he was raised. Some understand it, of his descent into hell; as it is expressed in some creeds, that of the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian creeds, though foisted into them in later times; and which the papists interpret of the local descent of the soul of Christ into hell, as it sig. nifies the place of the damned, at least into an apartment of it, they call limbus patrum; whither they say he went, to complete his sufferings; to preach the gospel to the old testament saints ; to fetch their souls from thence, and to triumph over Satan. But it is certain, that the soul of Christ, upon its separation from his body, went not to hell, but to heaven, being committed by him into the hands of his Father: nor needed he to go thither to complete his sufferings, which ended on the cross, when he said, it is finished: nor to preach the gospel, which belongs to the present life, and not to the state of the dead; and which had been preached to the old testament-saints in their life-time: nor to fetch their souls from thence, which were in heaven; as not only Enoch and Elijah, both in soul and body; but the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and all the rest of the saints: nor to triumph over the devil and his angels, that he did when on the cross, Col. ii. 15. The passages of scripture which all this is chiefly grounded upon, and brought for the confirmation of, are 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20, and iv. 6. which are misunderstood, and wrongly applied; for the words are to bę understood, not of Christ's going down into the prison of hell, after his death, and preaching to the spirits there; but of his preaching by his Spirit, to the disobedient ones, who lived in the times of Noah; whose spirits, for their dis. obedience to it, were, in the apostle's time, in the prison of hell. In like manner the dead, to whom the gospel is said to be preached, in chap. iv. 6. are those that were then dead when the apostle wrote, but were alive when the gospel was preached unto them. Nor are the words in the sixteenth Psalm, and with which the article in the creed is allowed by some to agree, to be understood of the soul-sufferings of Christ; the anguish and distress of his mind, under a sense of wrath, and under divine desertion; which have been spoke of in the preceding chapter: though Calvin, and many that follow him, so interpret the phrases, both in the Psalm and in the Creed: but these were what he endured in the garden and on the cross, before his death, and not after it. By hell, is meant the grave; and so the word is used in many places, Gen. xlii. 38. 1 Sam. ii. 6. Isai. xxxviij. 18. And by soul, is meant the dead body of Christ; as the word nephesh sometimes signifies; see Lev.xxi. 1. and then the sense is, that God would not leave his dead body in the grave, at least not so long as to see corruption, to putrify and corrupt, as bodies begin to do, usually, on the fourth day of their being laid in the grave, John xi. 39. but Christ was to be, and was raised, on the third day, which prevented that. Now this prophecy manifestly implies that Christ's dead body should be laid in the grave, though it should not be left there; and though it should not lie there so long as to be corrupted, or that any worm or maggot should have power over him, as the Jews express it.

2. Another passage is in Psalm xxii. 15. Thou hast brought me into the dust of death; not only to death, but to dust after death; to lie in the dusty grave according to the threatening ; To dust thou shalt return, Gen. ii. 19. and to which the body does return when laid in the grave; and the soul to God that gave it, Eccles. xii. 7. So Kimchi interprets the passage; “I am ready to be put

into the grave, which is the dust of death.”

3. Some take the words in Isai. xi. 10. to be a prophecy of Christ's burial; And his rest shall be glorious ; that the passage belongs to the Messiah, is clear fromí verse 1, 2, and following; and from the quotation and application of it to the times of Christ, Rom. xv. 12. And the vulgate Latin version of the words is, His grave shall be glorious: and the grave, as it is a resting-place to the saints, so it was to Christ; where his flesh rested in hope of the resurrection of the dead, Psal xvi. 9. Ard though his being buried was an instance of his humiliation, and a proof of the low estate into which he was brought; yet it was, in sotne sense, glorious, inasmuch as he was honourably interred in the grave

of a rich man; as the next prophecy suggests.

4. In the passage in Isai. liii. 9. and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; in which words there is some difficulty: could they be transposed thus, he made his grave with the rich, and he was with the wicked be his death, facts would exactly answer to it; for he died between two thieves, and so was with the wicked in his death; and he was buried in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, and so had his grave with the rich; but it might be using too much freedom with the text to transpose it at pleasure. The general sense of the words may be this, that after his death both rich men and wicked men were concerned in his burial, and were about his grave; Joseph and Nicodemus, two rich men, in taking down from the cross his body, and laying it in the tomb, enwrapped by them in linen with spices; and wicked soldiers were employed in guarding the sepulchre: or the first clause may respect the intention of the Jews, he or it, the Jewish people and nation, gave, appointed' and intended that his grave should be with the wicked, that he should be interred in the common burrying-place for malefactors; and the latter clause may respect he will of God, but he made it, that is, God in his providence ordered it, that it should be with the rich in his death; that he should be burried in a rich man's grave when dead. Aben Ezra says the word nipa translated in his death, signifies a structure over a grave, a sepulchral monument; and so the sense may be, that though his grave was put under the care and watch of the wicked soldiers, yet he had a famous monument eracted at the charge of a rich man, where he was laid.

II. There was a scripture type of his burial, and which our Lord himself takes notice of; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, sa shall the son of man be :hree days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Matt. xii. 40. that is, as Jonas was as it were buried so long in the belly of the whale, so Christ should lie a like time under the earth, called the heart of it, as elsewhere the lower parts of it, into which Christ descended, that is, the grave, Eph. iv. 9.

II. As Christ should be buried according to prophecy and type, so in fact he was buried, as all the evangelists relate, though with different circumstances, yet not contradictory; what is omitted by one is supplied by another; and from the whole we learn, - 1. That the body being begged of Pilate by Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, it was taken down from the cross, and was wrapped or wound about in fine clean linen, as was the manner of the Jews; see John xi. 44. when he was bound hand and foot like a prisoner; and which may denote the dominion death had over him; for when the apostle says, death hath na more dominion over to him, Rom. vi. 9. it supposes that it once had; as it had when he was bound with grave.clothes and was laid in the grave, until he was loosed from the pains or cords of death, and declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead: the fine clean linen, in which he was wrapped, may be an emblem of his innocence, purity and holiness; who notwithstanding all appearances and charges, was holy, harmless, and as a lamb without spot and blemish; and likewise of his pure and spotless righteousness, now wrought out and brought in by his active and passive obedience completely finished, called fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints, Rev. xix. 8. and in which his dead members, his people, who are in themselves dead in law, and dead in sin, being enwrapped, or having his righteousness imputed to theni, it is unto justification to life. — 2. Nicodemus, another rich man, brought a mixture of myrıh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight; which spices, along with the linen clothes, were wound about the body of Christ; which may denote the savouriness and acceptableness of the righteousness of Christ to God, and to sensible sinners; all whose garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia, as those bis sepulchral garments did, Psal. xlv. 8. so the smell of the church's garinents, which she has fiom Christ, is like the smell of Lebanon, of like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; as the smell of Jacob in his brother's garments was to Isaac, Cant. iv. 11. Gen. xxvii. 27. also the savouriness of Christ's death and sacrifice, how agreeable to God, being satisfactory to his justice, and so of a sweet smelling savour to him, Eph. v. 2. and the savour of a crucified Christ diffused through the preaching of the gospel, which is like a box of ointment poured forth, and emits such a sweet savour as attracts the love and affections of souls

[ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »