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And this is the second consideration of the death of Christ,-it was a sacrifice. What is the peculiar influence of his death as a sacrifice into the satisfaction he hath made shall be declared afterward.
From what hath been spoken, a brief description of the sacrifice of Christ, as to all the concernments of it, may be taken :
1. The person designing, appointing, and instituting this sacrifice, is God the Father, as in grace contriving the great work of the salvation of the elect. “A body did he prepare him;" and therein “he came to do his will," Heb. x. 5, 7, in that which he did, which the sacrifices of old could not do. He came to fulfil the will of God, his appointment and ordinance, being his servant therein, made Bpayu, less than the Father, that he might be obedient to death. God the Father sent him when he made his soul an offering.
2. He to whom it was offered was God, God essentially considered, with his glorious property of justice, which was to be atoned: “He gave himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour,” Eph. v. 2; that is, to atone him, being provoked, as we shall see afterward.
3. The person offering was Christ, the mediator, God and man: "He offered himself to God," Heb. ix. 14. And because he did it who was God and man, and as God and man, God is said to “redeem his church with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28.
4. The matter of the sacrifice was his whole human nature, body and soul, called “himself," as I have showed in sundry particulars.
5. The immediate efficient cause of his offering, and the destruction of that which he offered unto God, as before described, was his own will: “Lo, I come,” saith he, "to do thy will,” Heb. x. 7; and, “No man,” saith he, "taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again,” John x. 18. What men and devils did to him, or what he suffered from the curse of the law, comes under another consideration,-as his death was a penalty; as it was a sacrifice, his own will was all the cause immediately effecting it.
6. The fire that was to set this holocaust on a flame was the Holy Spirit: Heb. ix. 14, “Through the Eternal Spirit.” That the fire which came down from heaven and was always kept alive upon the altar was a type of the Holy Ghost might easily be demonstrated. I have done it elsewhere. Now, the Holy Spirit did this in Christ; he was offered through the Eternal Spirit, as others were by fire.
7. The Scripture speaks nothing of the altar on which Christ was offered; some assign the cross. That of our Saviour is abundantly sufficient to evince the folly thereof, Matt. xxiii. 18, 19. If the cross was the altar, it was greater than Christ, and sanctified him; which is blasphemy. Besides, Christ himself is said to be an altar, Heb. xiii. 10; and he is said to sanctify himself to be an offering or a
sacrifice, John xvii. 19. So that, indeed, the deity of Christ, that supported, bore up, and sanctified the human nature as offered, was the altar, and the cross was but an instrument of the cruelty of man, that taketh place in the death of Christ as it was a penalty, but hath no place in it as a sacrifice.
That this sacrifice of Christ was a sacrifice of propitiation, as made by blood, as answering the typical sacrifices of old, and that the end and effect of it was atonement or reconciliation, shall elsewhere be more fully manifested; the discovery of it, also, will in part be made by what in the ensuing discourse shall be spoken about reconciliation itself.
Of the death of Christ as it was a punishment, and the satisfaction made
So is the death of Christ revealed as a price and a sacrifice. What are the proper effects of it under these considerations shall be afterward declared.
III. The third consideration of it is its being a PENALTY or a punishment. To clear this I shall demonstrate four things:-1. What punishment, properly so called, is; 2. That Christ's death was a punishment, or that in his death he did undergo punishment; 3. What that was that Christ underwent, or the material cause of that punishment; 4. Wherein the formality of its being a punishment did consist, or whence that dispensation had its equity.
For the FIRST, I shall give, 1. The definition of it, or the description of its general nature; 2. The ends of it are to be considered.
1. For the first, that usual general description seemeth to be comprehensive of the whole nature of punishment; it is “malum passionis quod infligitur ob malum actionis,”—an evil of suffering inflicted for doing evil. Or, more largely to describe it, it is an effect of justice in him who hath sovereign power and right to order and dispose of offenders, whereby he that doth contrary to the rule of his actions is recompensed with that which is evil to himself, according to the demerit of his fault."
(1.) It is an effect of justice. Hence God's punishing is often called an inflicting of anger; as Rom. iii. 5, "Is God unrighteous, ó éripépwe only opráv, who inflicteth anger?” Anger is put for the justice of God, Rom. i. 18, " The anger (or wrath) of God is revealed
1 “Si non reddit faciendo quod debet reddet patiendo quod debet."-Aug. lib. iii. de Lib. Arbit.
9 Vid. Diat. de Just. Vindic., translated, vol. 2. Δίκη τιμωρίας απαίτησις παρά των spondıxnxów.—Hier. VOL. XII.
from heaven," etc.; that is, his vindictive justice against sin is ma: nifested by its effects. And again, the cause [is put] for the effects
-anger for the effect of it in punishment; and therefore we have translated the word “vengeance,” Rom. iii. 5, which denotes the punishment itself.
(2.) It is of him who hath sovereign power and judiciary right to dispose of the offenders: and this is either immediate in God himself, as in the case whereof we speak,,he is the “only lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy," James iv. 12,-or it is by him delegated to men for the use of human society; so Christ tells Pilate, he could have no power over him (whom he considered as a malefactor) unless it were given him from above, John xix. 11, though that is spoken in reference to that peculiar dispensation.
(3.) The nature of it consists in this, that it be evil to him on whom it is inflicted, either by the immission of that which is corrupting, vexing, and destroying, or the subtraction of that which is cheering, useful, good, and desirable, in what kind soever; and therefore did the ancients call the punishment "fraus,” because when it came upon men, they had deceived and cut short themselves of some good that otherwise they might have enjoyed. So the historian: “Cæteræ multitudini diem statuit, ante quam liceret sine fraude ab armis discedere;” that is, that they might go away freely without punishment.? And so is that expression explained by Ulpian, Dig. lib. xx.: “ Capitalem fraudem admittere est tale aliquid delinquere, propter quod capite puniendus sit."
The schoolmen have two rules that pass amongst them without control:—First, that " Omne peccatum est adeo voluntarium, ut si non sit voluntarium non est peccatum." It is so of the nature of
' sin that it be voluntary, that if any thing be not voluntary, it is not sin. The other is, “ Est ex natura pænæ ut sit involuntaria." It is so of the nature of punishment that it be against the will of him that is punished, that if it be not so, it is not punishment.
Neither of which rules is true, yea, the latter is undoubtedly false.
For the former, every sin is thus far, indeed, voluntary, that what is done contrary to the express will of him that doth it is not his sin; but that the actual will or willing of the sinner is required to make any thing his sin is false,—in the case of original sin manifestly. Wherefore John gives us another definition of sin than theirs is, that it is “ dictum, factum, concupitum, contra legem,”_namely, that it is åvouía, "a transgression of the law." Have it the actual consent of the will or no, it it be a transgression of the law, an inconformity to the law, it is sin.
For the latter, it is true, indeed, that for the most part it falls out that every one that is to be punished is unwilling to undergo it
, and 1 Sallust. Bell. Catilin. cap. xxxvi.
there is an improper nolleity (if I may so speak) in nature unto the subtracting of any good from it, or the immission of any evil upon it; yet as to the perfection of the nature of punishment, there is no more required than what was laid down in general before, that there be "malum passionis ob malum actionis,”—a suffering of evil for doing of evil, whether men will or no: yea, men may be willing to it, as the soldiers of Cæsar, after their defeat at Dyrrachium, came to him and desired that they might be punished "more antiquo," being ashamed of their flight. But whatever really or personally is evil to a man for his evil, is punishment. Though chiefly among the Latins "punishment” relates to things real, capital revenges had another name.
Punishments were chiefly pecuniary, as Servius on that of Virgil, Æn. i. 140: “ Post mihi non simili poena commissa luetis.' Luetis, persolvetis, et hic sermo a pecunia descendit, antiquorum enim pænæ omnes pecuniariæ fuerunt.” And "supplicium” is of the same importance. Punishments were called “supplicia," because with the mulcts of men they sacrificed and made their supplications to God: whence the word is sometimes used for that worship, as in Sallustius; describing the old Romans, he says they were “in suppliciis deorum magnifici,” Bell. Cat. cap. ix.
(4.) There is the procuring cause of it, which is doing evil, contrary to the law and rule whereby the offender ought to walk and regulate his actings and proceedings. "Omnis pæna, si justa est, peccati pæna est," says Augustine; indeed, not only " si justa est," but
si pæna est." Taking it properly, offence must precede punishment. And whatever evil befalls any that is not procured by offence is not properly punishment, but hath some other name and nature, The name "pæna" is used for any thing that is vexatious or troublesome, any toil or labour; as in the tragedian, speaking of one who tired himself with travel in hunting, “Quid te ipse pænis gravibus infestus gravas:" but improperly is it thus used. This Abraham evinceth in his plea with God, Gen. xviii. 25, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” It is God as the judge of all the earth of whom he speaks; that is, of him that hath the supreme power of disposing of offenders; and of his justice inflicting, which, as I said, was the cause of punishment. It is that whereby God doth right. And he gives the procuring cause of all punishment,—the wickedness of men: “That be far from thee, to slay the righteous with the wicked.” And therefore that place of
1 “Quanta fortitudine dimicaverint, testimonio est, quod adverso semel apud Dyrrashium prælio, pænam in se ultro depoposcerunt."-Sueton. in Jul. Cæs. cap. lxviii. More patrio decimari voluerunt."- Appianus.
Senec. Hippol. act. i
Job, chap. ix. 22," This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked,” is not to be understood absolutely, but according to the subject of the dispute in hand between him and Bildad. Bildad says, chap. viii. 20, that “God will not cast away a perfect man;" that is, he will not afflict a godly man to death. He grants that a godly man may be afflicted, which Eliphaz' companion seemed to deny; yet, says he, he will not cast him away,--that is, leave him without relief from that affliction, even in this life. To this Job's answer is, “ This is one thing,"—that is, “One thing I am resolved on,"_"and therefore I said it," and will abide by it, “He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.” Not only wicked men are destroyed and cut off in this life, but perfect men also; but yet in this very destruction, as there is a difference in the persons, one being perfect, the other wicked, so there is in God's dealing with them, one being afflicted to the door of heaven, the other cursed into hell. But for punishment, properly so called, the cause is sin, or the offence of the person punished; and therefore in the Hebrew, the same words (many of them) signify both sin and punishment, so near and indissoluble is their relation! Προσήκει δήπουθεν ως χρέα κληρονομίας diadézeolai tñs Tompías pov xóhaor, Plut. de Sera Numin. Vindicta.
(5.) The measure of any penalty is the demerit of the offence; it is a rendering to men, as for their works, so according to them :
“ Nec vincet ratio hoc, tantundem ut peccet idemque,
Ne scutica dignum horribili sectere flagello.”ı
There is a twofold rule of this proportion of sin and punishment, the one constitutive, the other declarative. The rule constitutive of the proportion of penalty for sin is the infinitely wise, holy, and righteous will of God; the rule declarative of it is the law.
For the first, it is his judgment “that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” Rom. i. 32. This the apostle fully declares, chap. ii. 5–11. The day of punishing he calls “The day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God;" that is, what his judgment is concerning the demerit of sin. The world shall then know what in justice he requires for the due vengeance of it, and this according to his will. Verse 6, he will, in his righteous judgment, render to every one according to his deeds.
And here it is to be observed, that though there be an exceeding great variation in sin in respect of degrees, so that some seem as
1 Hor. Sat. lib. i. 3, 115-119. Vid. Catonis Orat. apud Sallust. Bell. Catilin. cap. lii.