Page images

To conclude: Thus, we see the grounds of the necessity there was for a mediator and redeemer, to make satisfaction for sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness; and so open an honourable way for mercy to come out after a rebellious, guilty world; and a way in which sinners may, with safety, return to God.



I proceed now to consider, 2. What has been done to make satisfaction for sin, and to answer the demands of the preceptive part of the law; and wherein the sufficiency of the same consists. And,

In the first place, what has been done has been already hinted; and it may be summed up in a few words. It compre-, hends all that Christ has done and suffered, in his life and at his death. For us he was born ; for us he lived; for us he died. He did all on our account, being thereunto appointed by his Father. But because his obedience and sufferings were most eminent and remarkable, when, according to the command he had received of his Father, he laid down his life for us, and offered himself a sacrifice for our sins; and because, with a view to this, he became flesh, and dwelt among us, there.” fore the scriptures do more frequently attribute our redemption to what was done then. Hence, we are said to be redeemed by his blood. 1 Peter i. 18, 19. To be justifted by his blood. Rom. v. 9. And all spiritual blessings are frequently represented as the fruits and effects of his death. Gal. iii. 13, 14. The sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed out this as the great atonement. And to this the penmen of the New Testament seem, in a special manner, to have their eyes, as the great propitiation for sin. Thus the first Adam was to have yielded a perfect obedience to the divine law in every thing; but that special prohibition, touching the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was in a peculiar manner to try him, that it might be seen whether he would be in subjection to

God in every thing. So, in the garden and upon the cross, our Saviour's spirit of obedience was tried and discovered, and his obedience was perfected and his sufferings completed; and so here, in a more eminent manner, the law was honoured, and justice satisfied; and so the door of mercy opened for a sinful, guilty world. But, Secondly. As to the sufficiency of what has been done to answer the ends proposed, let these things be considered : (1.) That the person undertaking, as mediator and redeemer, was of sufficient dignity and worth. (2.) That he was sufficiently authorized to act in such a capacity. (3.) That what he has done is perfectly suited, in its own nature, to answer all the ends proposed. (1.) Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and man, as to his person, was fit for the mediatorial office and work. He was of sufficient dignity and worth ; being, by nature, God : equal with the Father; the brightness of his glory ; the express image of his person. Phil. ii. Heb. i. He was God, (John i. 1.) as well as man, (ver. 14.) And therefore his blood was considered and valued as being the blood of God. (Acts xx. 28.) And hence it is called precious blood, (1 Peter i. 18, 19.) As to his person, he was equal with God the Father in point of worth and dignity: and it was as much for him to obey and die in the room of a guilty world, as it would have been for God the Father himself. In point of dignity and worth, there was none superior to him. He was upon a level with God the Father. He was his equal and fellow. Zech. xiii. 7. Awake, O sword, against the man that is my FELLow. He was as glorious, as honourable, as lovely. He was therefore fit for the office; able to answer all the ends of God, the Governor of the world; of his holiness and justice, law and government, and perfectly to secure the divine honour, viewed in every point of light. The infinite dignity of his nature, as God, made him capable of an obedience of infinite moral excellence, and capable of making a full satisfaction for the infinite evil of sin. He could magnify the law, and make it honourable in a more illustrious manner than all the angels in heaven and men on earth put together; by how

much he was more excellent than they all. If the Son of God obey and die, it is enough : God and his law are for eversecure. Thus, his being, by nature, Go D, rendered him of sufficient dignity for the office and work of a mediator. Heb. ix. 14. . . And this it was, also, which made him capable of undertaking. As he was God, he was under no obligations, on his own account, to obey a law made for a creature; and he had an absolute right to himself. Every person, that is a mere creature, is under natural obligations to perfect obedience on his own account; nor is he his own to dispose of. But the Son of God was above a mere creature; he was a divine person, and, previous to his undertaking, was under no obligation to obedience; he had an original right to himself, and was not, by nature, under the law; he was, therefore, at his own disposal, and at full liberty to undertake in our room. He had power to assume human nature, and be made under the law for us, and obey for us, and suffer for us; for he might do what he would with his own. John x. 17, 18. The sufficiency of Christ being thus originally founded in his divinity; hence, this is the first thing the apostle to the Hebrews insists upon, in order to explain, clear up, and confirm the safety of the way of salvation through his blood. Heb. i. To clear up and confirm the safety of the way of salvation, through the blood of Christ, is evidently the scope and design of that epistle, as is manifest from the ten first chapters; particularly see chapter x. ver. 19–22. And in order to show the safety of this way, he insists upon the excellency of his person, and the nature of his office; his being called, appointed, and authorized, and his actually going through the work of our redemption; which, together with some occasional exhortations, digressions, &c. is the substance of this discourse, from chap. i. ver. 1. to chap. x. ver, 23. Thus, as God, he was of infinite dignity and worth; as Go D, he was at liberty to undertake. He had an estate, (if I may so speak,) of his own, and could pav the debt of another with what was his own, and purchase for us an inheritance. And I may add, that, as he was the Son of God, the second person in the trinity, there was a suitableness that he, rather than either of the other persons, should be appointed to this work. The Father sustains the character of Supreme Lord and Governor : asserts the rights of the Godhead: maintains the honour of his law and government. The Son becomes mediator between God and man, to open a door for God to show merey to man consistently with his honour, and for man to return to God with safety. The Holy Spirit is the sanctifier, to work in sinmers to will and to do, and recover and bring them to repent and return to God, through Jesus Christ. Thus the gospel teaches us to believe. Eph. ii. 18. He also was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and for our sakes, was made under the law, to the end that, in our nature, he might fulfil all righteousness, and bear the curse. As he was one with the father, he was fit to be intrusted with his father's honour. As he was Immanuel, God with us, he was fit to be intrusted with our salvation. As he was God-man, he was fit to be a mediator between God and man. His humanity rendered him capable to appear in the form of a servant, and to become obedient unto death: and his divinity rendered his obedience and suffering sufficient to answer the ends designed. This is he of whom the text speaks, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. He gave him: he appointed him to the work: he put him into the office: he anointed him, and then he laid on him the iniquities of us all, and set him forth to be a propitiation. Which brings me to consider, (2.) That he was sufficiently authorized to be a mediator between God and man : to take the place of sinners, and to obey and die in the room of a guilty world. God, the supreme Governor of the world, had sufficient power and authority to appoint the first Adam to be a representative for his posterity, to act in their room; and, by the same authority, he has appointed his Son, the second Adam, to be a second public head. Rom. v. 12–19. By divine constitution, the first Adam was made a publie person; and, by the divine constitution, the se— cond Adam is made such too : both receive all their authority to act in that capacity from the constitution of God. The calling, appointment, and authority of Christ, to take upon him this office and work of a mediator and high priest, is par

ticularly treated of in the fifth Chapter to the Hebrews. He was called of God, as was Aaron, (ver. 4.) He took not this high office upon himself, but was invested with it by his Father, (ver. 5.) He was called of God an high priest, after the order of Melchizedec, (ver. 10.) His Father proposed the office and the work, and he willingly undertook. Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. Heb. x. 7. God so loved the world, that he GAve his only begotten Son. John iii. 16. And hence Christ says, He did not come of himself, but was sent of his Father. John vii. 28, 29. And that he did not come to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him. John vi. 38. And his Father acknowledges him as such by a voice from heaven, Mat. xvii. 5. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Without such a divine constitution, the death of Christ could have been of no benefit to mankind. As if an innocent man should offer to die in the room of a condemned criminal, and should actually lay down his life, yet it could be of no benefit to the poor criminal, unless the civil government had authorized him so to do, i.e. unless, by some act, they had declared that his life should be accepted, in the eye of the law, instead of the criminal's. The application is easy. Thus Christ was called and put into his mediatorial office, and authorized to the work by God, the supreme Governor of the world. And hence in allusion to the Jewish custom of anointing men, when advanced to some high office and important trust; (so Aaron was anointed priest, and David was anointed king.) in allusion, I say, to this, he is called Christ, which is, by interpretation, the A No1 NTED. Thus, as to his personal dignity, he was sufficient to undertake; and thus was he authorized to do so. And, (3.) What he has done is perfectly suited, in its own nature, to answer all the ends proposed. That is, to secure the honour of God; the honour of his holiness, justice, and truth; his law, government, and sacred authority; and so open a door for the free and honourable exercise of his mercy and grace towards a sinful, guilty world, and a way in which sinners might return to God with divine acceptance. God, the supreme

Governor of the world, knew upon what grounds there was vo L. I. 47

« PreviousContinue »