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lasting, that its torments be eternal; and both these, I say, attend and follow the punishment of the law, on the account of its relation to the persons punished; for,
1. The worm is from the inbeing, and everlasting abiding of a man's own sin; that tormenting anguish of conscience, which shall perplex the damned to eternity, attends their punishment merely from their own sin inherent; this Christ could not undergo. The worm attends not sin imputed, but sin inherent; especially not sin imputed to him who underwent it willingly. It being the cruciating vexation of men's own thoughts, kindled by the wrath of God against themselves, about their own sin.
2. That this worm never dies, that this fire can never be quenched, but abides for ever, is also from the relation of punishment to a finite creature that is no more. Eternity is not absolutely in the curse of the law, but as a finite creature is cursed thereby. If a sinner could at once admit upon himself that which is equal in divine justice to his offence, and so make satisfaction, there might be an end of his punishment in time. But a finite, and every way limited creature, having sinned his eternity in this world, against an eternal and infinite God, must abide by it for ever. This was Christ free from; the dignity of his person was such, as that he could fully satisfy divine justice, in a limited season; after which, God in justice loosed the pains of death, for it was impossible he should be detained thereby, Acts ii. 24. and that because he was able to swallow up death into victory.
2. Punishment, as it relates to the persons punished, may be also considered in respect of the effects which it produceth in them which are not in the punishment absolutely considered, and these are generally two.
1. Repining against God, and blaspheming of him; as in that type of hell; Isa. viii. 20. This is evil, or sin in itself, which punishment is not. It is from the righteous God, who will do no iniquity. This proceeds from men's hatred of God. They hate him in this world, when he doth them good, and blesses them with many mercies; how much more will their hatred be increased, when they shall be cut off from all favour or mercy whatever, and never enjoy one drop of refreshment from him. They hate him, his justice, yea, his
blessedness, and all his perfections. Hence they murmur, repine, and blaspheme him. Now this must needs be infinitely remote from him, who in love to his Father, and his Father's glory, underwent this punishment. He was loved of the Father, and loved him, and willingly drank of this cup, which poisons the souls of sinners with wrath and revenge.
2. Despair in themselves; their hopes being cut off to eternity, there remaining no more sacrifice for sin, they are their own tormentors with everlastingly perplexing despair. But this our Saviour was most remote from; and that because he believed he should have a glorious issue of the trial he underwent; Heb. xii. 2. Isa. 1. 8.
But as to the punishment that is threatened in the law, in itself considered, Christ underwent the same that the law threatened, and which we should have undergone. For,
1. The law threatened death; Gen. iii. 15. Ezek. xviii. 4. and he tasted death for us; Heb. ii. 9. Psal. xxii. 7, 8. The punishment of the law is the curse; Deut. xxvii. 29. and he was made a curse; Gal. iii. 13. The law threatened loss of the love and the favour of God, and he lost it; Psal. xxii. 1.
To say that the death threatened by the law was one, and that Christ underwent another, that eternal, this temporal, and so also of the curse, and desertion threatened (besides what shall be said afterward) would render the whole business of our salvation unintelligible, as being revealed in terms equivocal, no where explained.
2. There is not the least intimation in the whole book of God, of any change of the punishment, in reference to the surety from what it was, or should have been, in respect of the sinner. God made all our iniquities to meet on him ;' that is (as hath been declared), the punishment due to them. Was it the same punishment or another? Did we deserve one punishment, and Christ undergo another? Was it the sentence of the law, that was executed on him, or was it some other thing, that he was obnoxious to? It is said, that he was made under the law;' Gal. iv. 4. that sin was 'condemned in his flesh;' Rom. viii. 3. that God spared him not;' Rom. viii. 31. that he 'tasted death;' that he was made a curse;' all relating to the law: that he suffered more or less there is no mention.
It is strange to me, that we should deserve one punishment, and he who is punished for us, undergo another; yet both of them be constantly described by the same names and titles. If God laid the punishment of our sins on Christ, certainly it was the punishment that was due to them; mention is every where made of a commutation of persons, the just suffering for the unjust, the sponsor for the offender, his name as a surety being taken into the obligation, and the whole debt required of him; but of a change of punishment, there is no mention at all. And there is this desperate consequence that will be made readily, upon a supposal that any less than the curse of the law and death, in the na◄ ture of it eternal, was inflicted on Christ, namely, that God indeed is not such a sore revenger of sin, as in the Scripture he is proposed to be; but can pass it by in the way of compositions on much easier terms.
3. The punishment due to us, that is in the 'curse of the law,' consists, as was said, of two parts.
1. Loss, or separation from God.
2. Sense, from the infliction of the evil threatened; and both these did our Saviour undergo.
For the first, it is expressed of him, Psal. xxii. 1. and he actually complains of it himself, Matt. xxvii. 46. and of this cry for a while, he says, 'O my God, I cry in the day-time and thou hearest not;' Psal. xxii. 2. until he gives out that grievous complaint, ver. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd;' which cry he pressed so long with strong cries and supplications, until he was heard and delivered from what he feared;' Heb. v. 7. They who would invent evasions for this express complaint of our Saviour, that he was deserted and forsaken, as that he spake it in reference to his church, or of his own, being left to the power and malice of the Jews, do indeed little less than blaspheme him; and say he was not forsaken of God, when himself complains that he was. Forsaken, I say, not by the disjunction of his personal union; but as to the communication of effects of love and favour, which is the desertion that the damned lie under in hell. And for his being forsaken, or given up to the hands of men, was that it which he complained of? Was it whereof he was afraid? Which he was troubled at?
he sweat blood under the consideration of? and had
need of an angel to comfort and support him? Was he so much in courage and resolution below those many thousands who joyfully suffered the same things for him? If he was only forsaken to the power of the Jews; it must be so. Let men take heed how they give occasion of blaspheming the holy and blessed name of the Son of God.
Vaninus, that grand Atheist, who was burned for atheism at Tholouse in France, all the way as he went to the stake did nothing but insult over the friars that attended him; telling them, that their Saviour when he was led to death did sweat and tremble, and was in an agony. But he upon the account of reason, whereunto he sacrificed his life, went with boldness and cheerfulness. God visibly confuted his blasphemy, and at the stake he not only trembled and quaked, but roared with horror. But let men take heed how they justify the atheistical thoughts of men, in asserting our blessed Redeemer to have been cast into that miserable and deplorable condition, merely with the consideration of a temporary death, which perhaps the thieves that were crucified with him did not so much tremble at.
2. For 'pæna sensus:' from what hath been spoken it is sufficiently manifest what he underwent on this account. To what hath been delivered before, of his being bruised, afflicted, broken' of God from Isa. liii. although he was taken from 'prison, and judgment,' or everlasting condemnation; ver. 8. add but this one consideration of what is affirmed of him, that he 'tasted death for us,' Heb. ii. 9. and this will be cleared. What death was it he tasted? The death that had the curse attending it; Gal. iii. 13. He was made a curse; and what death that was himself declares,
b Vidi ego dum plaustro per ora vulgi traducitur, illudentem Theologo e Franciscanis, cujus cura mollire ferocitatem animi obstinati. Lucilius ferocitate contumax, dum in patibulum traditus, monachi solatium aspernatus objectam crucem aversatur, Christoque illudit in hæc eadem verba; illi in extremis præ timore imbellis sudor, ego imperterritus morior. Falso sane imperterritum se dixit sceletus homo, quem vidimus dejectum animo, philosophia uti pessime, cujus se mentiebatur professorem. Erat illi in extremis aspectus ferox et horridus, inquieta mens, anxium quodcunque loquebatur: et quanquam philosophicè mori se clamabat identidem, finiisse ut brutum nemo negaverit. Antequam rogo subderetur ignis: jussus sacrilegam linguam cultro submittere, negat, neque exerit, nisi forcipum vi apprehensam carnifex ferro abscindit: non alias vociferatio horridior: diceres mugire ictum bovem, &c. Hic Lucilit Vanini finis, cui quanta constantia fuerit, probat belluinus in morte clamor. Vidi ego in custodia, vidi in patibulo, videram antequam subiret vincula: flagitiosus in libertate, et voluptatum sectator avidus, in carcere Catholicus, in extremis omni philosophiæ præsidio destitutus, amens moritur. Gramon. Histor. Gal. lib. 3. ad An. 1619.
Matt. xxv. 41. where, calling men accursed, he cries 'go into everlasting fire' you that are obnoxious to the law, go to the punishment of hell; yea, and that curse which he underwent, Gal. iii. 13. is opposed to the blessing of Abraham, ver. 14. or the blessing promised him, which was doubtless life eternal.
And to make it yet more clear, it was by death, that he delivered us from death; Heb. ii. 14, 15. and if he died only a temporal death, he delivered us only from temporal death, as a punishment. But he shews us what death he delivered us from, and consequently what death he underwent for us, John viii. 51. He shall never see death; that is, eternal death, for every believer shall see death temporal.
On these considerations it is evident, that the sufferings of Christ in relation to the law, were the very same that were threatened to sinners, and which we should have undergone, had not our surety undertaken the work for us. Neither was there any difference in reference to God the judge, and the sentence of the law, but only this, that the same person who offended, did not suffer: and that those consequences of the punishment inflicted, which attend the offenders' own suffering, could have no place in him; but this being not the main of my present design, I.shall no farther insist on it.
Only I marvel, that any should think to implead this truth of Christ's suffering the same that we did, by saying that Christ's obligation to punishment was 'sponsionis propriæ,' ours 'violatæ legis. As though it were the manner how Christ came to be obnoxious to punishment, and not what punishment he underwent, that is asserted when we say, that he underwent the same that we should have done. But as to say, that Christ became obnoxious to punishment the same way that we do, or did, that is, by sin of his own, is blasphemy: so to say he did not upon his own voluntary undertaking undergo the same, is little less. It is true, Christ was made sin for us, had our sin imputed to him, not his own; was obliged to answer for our fault, not his own; but he was obliged to answer what we should have done : but hereof elsewhere.