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(that the second Adam might make a reparation for the fall of the first, and in that From Matth. very nature left to itself, and unassisted by any foreign aid, vanquish the enemy that xx. 10. to the had given it so grievous a foil before) the Divine perfections lay by, as it were, and 15. to the end, forbore to engage: They withdrew their influence for that time, and, suspending their Luke xix. 45. operation, left him to encounter as man, though much more perfect than any other John xii. 19. to
Putting all these dismal and distracting things together then, the apprehension of a cruel and ignominious death, the sense of the guilt and heinous nature of sin, the prospect of God's wrath, the combination of devils, and the suspension of the Divine power and protection, we need not much wonder that we find our Blessed Saviour in the garden complaining, that "his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;" or on the cross, crying out, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" That we find him, in the midst of his agony, "sweating out blood" in great abundance; deprecating death with more vehemence than some heathen sages, and many Christian mar tyrs did; and when his spirits were thus depressed, his human nature quite exhausted, and no relief from the Divine afforded him; that an angel should be sent " from heaven to revive and strengthen him." For when the Divinity, which resided in him, had either suspended, or substracted its influence, he, who, in respect of his manhood, (a)" was made a little while inferior to the angels," and, in respect of his sufferings, was now in a more distressed condition than ever man knew, being left to his human nature alone, could not but stand in need of the comfort and consolation of an angel.
All this while the Divine nature of Christ (though it did not think fit to exert itself) (b) was inseparably united to the human; nor can we conceive why it should not still continue, even after death, in the same manner united, since no power has any force against Omnipotence, nor could any finite agent work any alteration in that union. To understand the nature of this union, we must observe, (c) that in the person of Christ, after the assumption of our nature, there were two different substantial unions; one of the two parts of his humanity, his soul and body, whereby he was truly man; and the other of his Divine and human nature, whereby he was both God and man in one person; and that, though at his death the constituent parts of him as man, i. e. his human soul and body were parted, and so continued for some time, yet the union of his two natures still remained; * death made no alteration in that, nor were his soul and body ever separated from the Godhead, but as the Divine nature still subsisted, they still continued in conjunction with it: Upon which account, as we are taught to believe that God redeemed us with his blood, so has it been the constant language of the church, that God died for us; which in no sense could be true, unless our Blessed Saviour's soul and body, in the instant of separation, and until their conjunction again, were united to the Deity. And therefore, when we hear him crying upon the cross, (d) " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" he means the same thing as when he calls upon us to (e) "behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." For from the words we can infer no more than this,-that he was then bereft of such joys and comforts as he expected from the Deity, to assuage and mitigate the acerbity of the torments he was under. The truth is, what seems to solve all difficulties best,
(a) Heb. ii. 7.
(b) Pearson on the Creed, Art. iv. (c) Ibid.
The words of St Austin are very full and excellent to this purpose. "Ex quo verbum caro factum est, ut habitaret in nobis, et susceptus est à verbo ho mo, i. e. totus homo, anima et caro: Quid fecit passio, quid fecit mors, nisi corpus ab anima separavit? Animam vero à verbo non separavit. Si enim mortuus
est Dominus,-sine dubio caro ipsius expiravit, ani.
(e) Lam. i, 12,
end, Mark xi.
to the end, and
&c. or 5442.
A. M. 4037. is the ancient notion of the Godhead's being quiescent, and not exerting its power and Ann. Dom. efficacy in such instances where the humanity is known to have suffered. In this manVulg. Ar. 33, ner it confessedly withdrew at his death; otherwise we cannot see how he could have died at all; and in this manner, by parity of reason, it might continue its quiescence during the whole space of his interment, and until its power and operation were requisite in order to effect his resurrection.
&c. or 31.
As our Blessed Saviour then was both God and man in one person, and the efficacy and mystery of man's redemption consisted in this union; (a) it was necessary that there should be a clear and undoubted demonstration given of the reality of both these natures. But since the distinguishing marks of human nature lies chiefly in the soul, there had not been that demonstration given of our Saviour's perfect humanity, unless he had discovered, in his conduct, an exact resemblance to us in all the natural passions and inclinations of our souls. Now in this soul of ours there is a twofold principle, sense and reason. Sense catches at the present; pursues ease and safety; and industriously consults the preservation and advantage of the body; whereas reason enlarges our prospect; takes into consideration distant and future objects; and persuades the foregoing of some satisfactions, the running of some hazards, and enduring of some difficulties in the discharge of our duty, and the expectation of a greater good in reversion. Under the former of these are comprehended all our natural passions, which are the secret springs that move us to what we do; under the latter are the understanding and judgment, which direct, and regulate, and bound, and overrule these passions. But still both these are constituent parts, and as necessary to make a perfect soul as the rational soul and human body are to make one perfect man; and from hence it follows, that the weakness and corruption of our nature (as it stands depraved by sin) does not consist in our being tenderly touched with the fear of present evil, or the desire of present good, but only in suffering these fears and desires to prevail and take place against the dictates of reason and duty.
Aversion to pain and conflict, to sorrow and death, and whatever is shocking and frightful to human nature, are affections interwoven with our original frame and constitution. Adam, in his state of innocence, felt them; and therefore it is no just reflection upon the second Adam, that he, in like manner, felt them too. Infirmities indeed these aversions may be called, in comparison of those perfections which belong to God and unbodied spirits; but then they are such infirmities as all who partake of bodies must have, and which, if our Saviour had been destitute of, he could not have been truly man.
Now if Christ, as man, could not be altogether indifferent and unconcerned at such severe trials as the imposition of the burden of our sins, the infliction of pain and torment, his approaching conflict with the powers of darkness, and the utter subduction of all Divine aid and assistance, must necessarily bring upon him; then surely it could not misbecome him to use all possible means for declining them, and consequently to express his concern by praying against them, but with this modest reserve and limitation, (b) "Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done." For it was no disparagement, either of his obedience to God or love to mankind, that he had an aversion to death, and pain, and sufferings, but in truth an higher commendation to both, since, notwithstanding so tender a sense of what he was to suffer, he offered himself to undergo whatever God, for their benefit and salvation, should think proper to lay upon him. So that the more passionate his wishes were for a release, the more meritorious was his submission; and the stronger his aversions were, the more was the resignation of his own will, and consequently the more acceptable was his compliance with that of his heavenly Father.
(a) Stanhope's Sermons on several occasions.
(b) Luke xxii. 42.
xx. 10. to the
Luke xix. 45.
His heavenly Father, no doubt, could (a) have exempted mankind from punish- From Matth. ment, without an equivalent compensation for their guilt. As an All-wise Being he end, Mark xi. could have invented many methods of salvation, without the sacrifice of his Beloved 15. to the end, Son; and as a Supreme Lawgiver, he might have extended mercy to whom, and upon to the end, and what terms he thought fit: But then, as he was the Supreme Lawgiver and Governor John xil. 19. tỏ of the world, it was consistent with his justice, and his infinite wisdom, we may say, he end. required it of him, to vindicate the authority of his laws, and to see sin punished, in such an examplary manner, as to deter, if possible, his subjects from it for the future.
Now this was the state and condition of mankind when God's infinite wisdom contrived the scheme of their redemption. They had alienated themselves from him; were under sin, under condemnation, under the curse of the law, under the sentence of death. In this condition, however, they were not to be left to perish; God's infinite goodness would not permit that: But then, how to accomplish their recovery, and preserve his attributes inviolate, this was the difficulty. For how, in consistence with the glory, and justice, and sanctity of God, could such enemies be reconciled, and such offenders pardoned? Would omnipotent Majesty think of any treaty, without an Advocate and Intercessor? Would the Sovereign Ruler of the world suffer his honour to be slighted without a proper vindication? Would the great Patron of justice relax the terms of it, and permit wickedness to pass unpunished? Would the God of truth reverse his decree, and stop the sentence of death from falling upon sinners? Or would the God of righteousness omit any opportunity of expressing the love he bore to innocence and abhorrence to iniquity? How then could we well be cleared from our guilt without an expiation; or reinstated in freedom without a ransom; or exempted from condemnation without some vicarious punishment *? No, God was pleased so to prosecute his designs of goodness and mercy, as not in the least to impair and obscure, but rather advance and illustrate the glories of his sovereign dignity, of his severe justice, of his immaculate holiness and immutability, both in word and purpose.
He was willing to listen to a treaty, but from the mouth of no mediator but such as was of equal dignity with himself. He was willing to remit the punishment due to our sins, but not without a sacrifice that would make full atonement for them. He was willing to give us back our lives again, but not without a substitution of another life equivalent to them all. But now how could these things be done? Where could we find a Mediator proper and worthy to intercede for us, and to negociate a new covenant, whereby God might be satisfied and we saved? Who could offer for us a sacrifice, of value sufficient to atone for sins so vastly numerous, and all committed against infinite Majesty? Or who could undertake for the everlasting redemption of all the souls since the first creation, and lay down a competent price for them? Nothing on earth, nothing in heaven was found able to do this.
Man, the most innocent and upright man, could by no means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him. Angels have obligations enough of their own to discharge, and cannot be solvent for any more than the debt of their own gratitude and praise. The brightest of that heavenly host cannot, over and above this, make compensation for one human sin; but for the sins of the whole world united, there was no propitiation to be found, until the Son of God offered himself, and was accepted by the Father. Our humanity he assumed, to enable him to suffer and interest us in what he did; but the Divinity which he had with the Father from the beginning, this he brought with him, to derive an infinite value upon his sufferings, and to make the ransom and
(a) Stanhope's Sermons on several occasions.
*[Vicarious suffering would have been a more proper expression, because the very notion of punishment implies consciousness of guilt.]
A. M. 4037, oblation which he paid down for us, a full satisfaction for sins innumerable and infinitely &c. or 5442. heinous.
Vulg. Er. 33,
In the expiation of these sins, we own that the punishment which our Saviour sub&c. or 31. mitted to was but temporal, whereas that to which sinners are obnoxious is eternal; but for that several good reasons may be alleged. The author to the Hebrews, in his comparison between the Levitical and Christian dispensations, tells us, that (a) “ such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and who needeth not daily (as the high priests under the law) to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people;" so that what qualified him to offer a sacrifice for the sins of mankind was his perfect innocence; for had he been, in any degree, a sinner himself, he must have suffered for his own offences, and consequently been incapable of effecting an expiation for ours.
(b) Now, if our Blesssed Saviour was entirely innocent and holy, it was impossible that he should suffer the same punishments which, by the just decree of God, are due to wilful and impenitent sinners. (c) He could not do it in his body; for that could only die by what he suffered on the cross: And he could not do it in his soul; for how could that soul, which knew no sin, be under a remorse of conscience for any thing that he had done? How could he (d)" who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross," lie under any sense of God's unchangeable displeasure? Or he, who knew that (e)" his soul should not be left in hades, nor his body see corruption," be seized with an absolute despair of any better state, or an uneasy apprehension of no release from what he was to suffer? The punishments of the damned are without end, and without hope: But everlasting misery and despair could never be consistent with the condition of one who had not deserved them, and whose innocence secured and preserved him from them. These are the consequences of sin and rebellion against God; but the sufferings of Jesus were the greatest proof of an entire obedience in the most difficult instance of submission, and so far from incurring the Divine displeasure, that, for this very cause, (f)" God hath highly exalted him."
But though, from the nature and reason of the thing, it appears, that our Lord neither did, nor could suffer such punishments, in kind and measure, as were due to sinners; yet it must be observed, that he underwent such things as bore some analogy to what sinners are to suffer, and what he would not have suffered had he not been punished for our transgressions.
(g) For whereas sinners lie under the sentence of condemnation, and are sure to find a public exemplary judgment; so was our Saviour solemnly condemned and sentenced as a malefactor, a seditious person, a perverter of the nation, a rebel against Cæsar, and a blasphemer against GOD. Whereas sinners will be exposed to shame and ignominy, at the great day of judgment, before men and angels; so our Lord suffered a very shameful and ignominious death, and that attended with all the mockeries, affronts, and obloquies, that the malice of his enemies could cast upon him. And whereas sinners are obnoxious to very grievous torments both of body and soul, and these inflicted by the hand of an enraged God; so, in his person, our Lord suffered a death, painful to such a degree, as to make the most exquisite tortures be called cruciatus from the cross; and, in his mind, such a load of grief and anguish, as might well justify the mournful complaint of the prophet, (h)" All ye that pass by, behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me, in the day of his fierce anger.'
Now, from this fair resemblance between what our Lord actually suffered, and what
sinners had deserved to suffer, there seems to be sufficient ground to say, that he bore From Matth. the punishment of our iniquities, and suffered in our stead; though what he underwent end, Mark xi. was not, in every point, the same that we (had it not been for his interposition) must 15 to the end, have been obliged to suffer.
xx. 10. to the
Luke xix. 45. to the end, and
(a) All that was requisite indeed in his sufferings was, that the injuries and affronts John xii. 19. to offered to the Divine justice, by the provocation of wicked men, should receive a suffi- the end, cient compensation; that the honour of God and his laws should be vindicated; and sin made as terrible, and full of discouragement, as it could possibly be, though no such method of mercy had ever been devised. Now all these ends were fully satisfied by the Son of God condescending to suffer in our stead; and if there was any thing wanting in the duration or extremity of his sufferings, that was abundantly made up by the dignity of the person," who through the eternal Spirit," ie the Divine united to our human nature, (b)" offered himself without spot to God," and in virtue of that union exalted the value of his oblation to an infinite degree, and paid a ransom to offended justice of more worth than an hundred thousand worlds.
But how great soever the benefit was which accrued to mankind from the death of our Saviour Christ, there is no apologizing for those that were the bloody instruments of it, and least of all for Judas. For, besides the aggravation of his being a disciple, a friend, a constant companion, one that had been taught and sustained by him, and not only an hearer of his doctrine, and an eye-witness of his miracles, but, in virtue of the commission received from him, a preacher of the gospel, and a worker of miracles himself; besides all this, I say, it is evident, that his wickedness was not the effect of a sudden surprise, or want of recollection, but the work of deliberation, and long contrivance, and solemn debate: For he consulted with the high priests and elders concerning the time, the place, and every circumstance, for the most convenient execution of his villany. After such consultation, he continued his attendance upon his master, that, under the disguise of friendship, and by much laboured hypocrisy, he might better carry on his design to destroy him; and as his design was advancing to maturity, he had all along had broad hints and monitions given him, that his plot was discovered, and many warnings of the sin and danger he was running into, but none of these altered his purpose. So that, in this act of his, there is a complication of ingratitude and perfidy, hypocrisy and malice, and a settled inflexible resolution to do wickedly, beyond the power of advice and warning, and the most awful menaces to controul it: And this might be some reason why his repentance met not with success, as it is evident it did not, from our Lord's calling him (c) " the son of perdition," and declaring, that (d)" it had been better for him if he had never been born."
(e) The evangelists indeed tell us, (ƒ) that he repented himself; but then it is evident, that by repenting is not everywhere intended a change of heart and life; nor the whole of that which repentance strictly signifies, when made the condition of pardon and salvation, but only some part and imperfect degree of it. Judas found that matters were grown to so desperate an height, that there was no probable appearance of his Master's escaping the malice of the Jews; and recollected, very likely, the predictions of our Lord concerning the dreadful vengeance which should overtake the person that betrayed him to death. These, and probably many other dreadful reflections, working together with all that confusion which fear and guilt are known to create in mens minds, seem to have made up that concern which the text hath expressed by repenting himself; a concern resulting from a principle of self-preservation, in the most carnal sense of the word: But we find not in him any due sense of the villany of the fact, nor any condemning himself, as the basest, the most ungrateful, the most abandoned wretch
(a) Stanhope on the Epistles and Gospels, vol. ii. (d) Matth. xxvi. 24.
(b) Heb. ix. 14. (e) Stankope on the Epistles and Gospels, vol. ii.
(c) John xvii. 12. (ƒ) Matth. xxvii. 3.