« PreviousContinue »
of the mysteries of Divine revelation, might attend to it, might point it out to the people as the foundation of the whole system of revealed truth,—and on it might build themselves, and the people committed to their charge. This was accordingly done with great diligence, in particular, by the Apostles Peter and Paul. Upon this Stone are seven eyes ;—to wit, the eyes of God, who beholds it with complacency, and protects it with care ;f and also the eyes of the church, which regards it with cordial and entire confidence, agreeably to the following invitation; “ Look unto me, and be
ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”: But that this Stone might be distinguished from all other stones, it was necessary that it should be divinely engraved with “ the engravings thereof,”—its own peculiar engravings. By this we understand “the name of God” impressed upon him as with a seal, h-that is, the splendour of the Divine Majesty shining forth in him and his works ; i and also those dreadful sufferings by which it became God to make perfect the Captain of our salvation.j It was by means of those sufferings that the iniquity of the whole earth was taken away, and the world reconciled to God in one day, namely, the day on which his sacrifice was completed, and, so to speak, the last farthing of his satisfaction paid.k Let us then take an accurate survey of this Stone with the engravings thereof, to wit, Christ and his sufferings. We shall speak, first, of the sufferings themselves, and then of the chief Judge in Judea, under whom the principal part of them befell him.
e i Pet. ii. 4-6. 1 Cor. iii. 10.
8 Is. xlv. 22. i John i. 14. * Heb. X. 14.
nution when viewed simply in relation to the puni ment, it is, however, to be considered as an aggravat when viewed in relation to the offence. But perso dignity is available in a Surety, who makes satisfacti not for his own transgressions, but for the transgressi of others.
ix. But what hath Christ suffered ? In one w he has suffered the wrath of God, which was kind against the sins of the whole human race; for " “ wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
godliness and unrighteousness of men”.That wi signifies a most holy detestation of sin, together v the just punishment of it; and accordingly“ wrath " the revelation of the righteous judgment of God," joined together by the Apostle. *
X. God, who is holy, cannot but hate sin, and sinner. “ Thou art not a God that hath pleasure “ wickedness—thou hatest all workers of iniquit Now the natural consequence of this hatred is pun ment; for the hatred is most just, and is essentia him who has the right and the power to punish. He the Psalmist deduces the following conclusions : “] " shall not dwell with thee; the foolish shall not st “ in thy sight; thou shalt destroy them that speak 1 " ing.”?
xi. There is in sin a wanton indignity and dispar ment to the Divine majesty and glory; for who sins, acts as if there were no God whom he is boun revere, a or as if he were a God to himself, and the preme governor of his own actions.b
of his own actions. b And what is but wantonly to insult the majesty and glory of G
w Rom. i. 18.
Ps. v. 4, 5.
* Rom. ii. 5.
But the glory of God is justly dear to himself; and he can no more suffer an indignity done to it to pass wholly unpunished, than he can become “ altogether “ such a one as the sinner;" for so himself hath taught us to reason.
XI. To this concern for his own glory, violated by the sinner, God has given a very significant appellation, namely, jealousy :* which alludes to an honourable husband, who is greatly enraged at the least approaches to the violation of conjugal fidelity. “ Jealousy " is the rage of a man.”d Now the necessary consequence of that jealousy, by which God' secures the vindication of his own glory, than which nothing is dearer to him, is the punishment of sin. Hence the following expressions—“ a jealous God, visiting iniquity”; e « Не “ is a holy God, he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins.”
xiu. Nay, further, even when he “forgives iniquity, “ transgression, and sin, he will by no means clear the " guilty.”: But in that eminent act of his mercy, he demands also some demonstration of his justice. It is deserving of notice, that this sentiment is repeatedly inculcated in those passages, where the great clemency of God towards sinners is celebrated either by himself, or by his servants. Thus believers are apprized, that they must not expect, or even desire, the pardon of their sins, without some manifestation of the Divine severity against them. Now God gives a twofold display of his severity. 1st, By chastising sin in believers themselves, at the same time that he forgives the Of this we read in Jeremiah, j “ I will correct thee “ measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly un “ nished.” 2dly, He displays it chiefly by punish in the Surety, the sin which he forgives to believe for he neither forgives, nor can forgive, but in a m ner consistent with righteousness.
e Ps. 1. 21.
d Prov. vi. 34. e Exod. xx. 5.
Josh. xxiv. 19. & Exod. xxxiv. 7. * Num. xiv. 18. Jer. XXX. 11. xlvi. 28.
XIV. “ It therefore BECAME him, for whom “ all things, and by whom are all things, in bring “ many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of t] “ salvation perfect through sufferings.”k It was requ by the go agerov, that is, by what is proper and bec ing on the part of the Deity, that whilst he forg sins, he should one day manifest his justice in dema ing the blood of the Surety. The same truth is aç clearly taught by the Apostle in the following passa “ Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation thro « faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness" he might be just, and the justifier of him that “ lieveth in Jesus.”? And truly never was God's indignation against the sins of mankind more brig demonstrated, than when it pleased him, whilst he gives them to us, to punish them so severely in his loved Son. Thus it appears that Christ sustained wrath of God kindled against the sins of men.
xv. When did Christ suffer ? He suffered / the beginning of his life, and principally towards end of it. Sin rendered man obnoxious to misery thro the whole course of his life, and made him worth experience, withoutintermission, the bitterness of his transgression, and the galling scourge of the Supi Judge; in conformity to the sentence pronounced upon man immediately after the commission of his crime: “ Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt " thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”m Christ, therefore, by becoming our Surety, voluntarily subjected himself to a whole life of abasement and sorrow, always bearing “ the form of a servant,"n and appearing “ in “ the likeness of sinful flesh.”. And since all those sufferings proceeded from the curse of God against sin, and were undergone by our Lord in virtue of his surety-undertaking for sin, it follows that they all jointly concurred, and were collected, so to speak, into one sum, to make up a perfect satisfaction.
i Ps. xcix. 8. * Heb. ii. 10.
i Ch. xlvi. 28. 1 Rom. iii. 25, 26.
XVI. Christ may be considered as undergoing his sufferings, at four periods. 1st, At the commencement of his life; where we find his emptying of himself by assuming the form of a servant, the meanness of his birth, and his circumcision on the eighth day ;-in which we are to consider not only the pain with which that rite was attended, but also the obligation arising from it to fulfil the whole law, and the prelude it exhibited of Christ's being at last cut off out of the land of the living for the salvation of his mystical body,—as in circumcision a small part of the skin was cut off for the preservation of the whole man. To these add, the
persecution of Herod, the flight into Egypt, the murder of the infants of Bethlehem, and the consequent lamentation of so many sorrowful mothers. 2dly, In his private life; which he spent with his relations in obscurity, being regarded as a carpenter, and the son of a carpenter. Sdly, In his public life, from the thirtieth year of his age, during which he had to maintain a per
* Gen, iü. 17.
Philip. ii. 7.
• Rom. viii. 3.