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sins, though never so many, horrid, and vile, he must take as his own; and so he did: witness his own acknowledgment at the law's bar: “ For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not. able to look up,” &c. Psal. xl. 12. The numberless numbers of the elect's iniquities were by God imputed and charged to his account; and he, the immaculate spotless Lamb of God, takes them as his own; according to Isa. liii. 8; and i Pet. ii. 24; “ Who his own self bore our sins, in his own body, on the tree,” &c. They who deny a change of persons between Christ and God's elect, do but bewray their own unskilfulness in this greatest of mysteries; and, -under pretence of opposing Antinomianism, sufficiently demonstrate themselves to be the worst and most pernicious Antinomians now in London. For most certain it is, and God will make such men know it sooner or later, that in the same sense wherein Christ was made a sinner at the bar of God's law, the elect of God stand justified at the throne of grace. As the Lord Jesus Christ could be no other way made, or proved, a sinner, but by God's imputing to him the iniquities of the elect, to which he himself agreed and consented; so elect sinners can no other way be partakers of a spotless justifying righteousness, but by God's imputing that of his own Son to them. As all the guilt and defilement which by sin came on God's elect was imputed to, and charged on, the Son of God; so all thạt mediatorial righteousness, both
active and passive, which Christ performed and fulfilled to answer the law's demand, was and is imputed to and charged on the elect, in effectual calling, for their free and full justification from all charge of sin: and he, or they, who have the face to deny this, do sufficiently prevent any others studying arguments to prove them heterodox and unsound in this fundamental dectrine of justification; wherein they who are made partakers of the anointing of the Spirit of Christ cannot but see, and stand convinced, that the whole current of sacred scriptures and of orthodox Protestant divines, both non and conformists, are full drive against them.
Fourthly, The death of Christ is sweet and delightful to the true believer. Three things there are which bespeak it so to be.
First, In that Christ's dying the accursed death to which the elect were liable was the consummating act of the execution of God's law upon him, and in him upon all the elect of God. It was Luther's observation and saying upon the Son of God's being put to death, that the two greatest potentates on carth were, on the cross, striving for victory, viz. the law of God, and the sinless Son of God.
The law falls on Christ, as the greatest of transgressors, as he stood charged with all the most horrid abominations that the eye of God's omnisciency foresaw the elect should ever fall into.
The law knows, or shews, no mercy, though
Christ be the Son of God, and the law-maker too; yet satisfaction must be given : which gives occasion here to remind the reader of the old maxim, Law-makers must be no law-breakers. I am certain that maxim was never yet more truly verified and made good in any case than it was in this of Christ, bearing and undergoing the penalty of his own righteous and just law. The law cries out against Christ, in whose person all the sins of God's elect did meet, Here's a transgressor, a sinner, the greatest that ever appeared at God's bar; and that on the account of the innumerable rebellions and transgressions of all the many millions of God's elect, which lay upon him, though he was never touched with the least stain of corruption in his assumed nature; neither was the least deviation from the rectitude of the law ever found in his practice and life; yet he is the party who is to satisfy justice for all those debts he hath taken on him to discharge. And, seeing that the principal part of the debt which he took on him to pay, viz. actual conformity to the righteous demands of the law, is undeniably found in him, and that there remains now nothing to discharge and clear off, of what he hath undertaken as a surety, but to undergo a bodily death, to answer the accessory debt whereto the elect became obnoxious by Adain's first rebellion, let him die that shameful, iynominious, and cursed death of the cross.'
Thus the law sentenced and condemned him as 2. dalefactor, and the blackest criminal that ever held up hand at the bar of any court of judicature, either human or divine.
The law having passed on him, he was delivered up to justice, to the end the curse of the law might be inflicted on him. His executioner, in this doleful tragedy, must be his own dear and tender Father, who loved him from everlasting, and will to endless eternity love him as he loves himself. Yet, notwithstanding, die he must, and that by having the sword of his Father's vindictive justice sheathed in his very bowels, till his very soul was poured forth like water. “Awake, Osword ! against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow,” Zech. xiii. 7, &c. “ Because he hath poured out his soul unto death,” &c. Isa. liii. 12. “ I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is melted like wax in the midst of my bowels,” Psal. xxii. 14. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” &c. Rom. viii. 32.
Here is an argument of the Father's love to elect sinners which can never be overthrown: “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John iii. 16. “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his onlybegotten Son into the world, that we might live throun, i him," i John iv. 9.
Loe is also a clear discovery what little reason the poorest and weakest believer hath to question
or doubt of Christ's love to him or her. What! step in between thee and hell, and not love thee! To take all thy guilt and filth of sin upon himself, and for the same to be made a curse, that thou, poor undone sinner, mightest be made the righteousness of God in him, and not love thee! When the incensed justice of God was up in arms against thee, and just ready to fall on thee; for Christ, his own Son, to step in between thee and that fatal stroke, which, had it fallen on thee, would have completed thy misery, and have put thee beyond the reach of all possibility of ever being saved. I say for Christ to step in between thee and that fatal stroke, and to suffer the sword that would have killed thee to be lodged in his own bowels, was as strong and convincing an argument that he loved thee, as any that can be made use of by God himself. Never was there greater and more endearing love in one party towards another than the love wherewith God the Father, and Christ his Son, loved the elect: neither can God, angels, or men, lay down stronger and more convincing arguments to prove or confirm it so to be, than God the Father's readiness and willingness to -sacrifice his own, and only Son, whom he loved equally with himself; and the Son's willingness to lay down his life; and not only so, but consenting to be made a curse for the elect. O matchless and astonishing love! Who ever knew, or heard of the like, except itself? “ I am the good Shepherd; 'the good Shepherd giveth his life for