Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

are considerable therein: 1. How it was typically prefigured; 2. How it was done, or in what act of God the doing of it doth consist.

1. This was eminently represented in the great anniversary sacrifice, of which I have spoken formerly, especially in that part which concerns the goat, drotoutaños, on which the lot fell to be sent away. That that goat was a sacrifice is evident from Lev. xvi. 5, where both the kids of the goats (afterward said to be two goats) are said to be" a sin-offering." How this was dealt withal, see verse 21: "Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” Now, in what sense could the sins of the people be put upon the head of the goat?

(1.) This was not merely a representation, as it were a show or pageant, to set forth the taking away of iniquity, but sins were really, as to that typical institution, laid on the head of the goat; whence he became a "piaculum," an åvádsua, and he that touched him was defiled : so verse 26, the man that carried out the goat was unclean until he was legally purified; and that because the sin of the

people was on the head of the goat which he so carried away.

(2.) The proper pravity, malice, and filth of sin could not be laid on the goat. Neither the nature of the thing nor the subject will bear it: for neither is sin, which is a privation, an irregularity, an obliquity, such a thing as that it can be translated from one to another, although it hath an infectious and a contagious quality to diffuse itself,—that is, to beget something of the like nature in others; nor was the goat a subject wherein any such pernicious or depraved habit might reside, which belongs only to intelligent creatures, which have a moral rule to walk by.

(3.) It must be the punishment of sin that is here intended, which was, in the type, laid on the head of the goat; and therefore it was sent away into a land not inhabited, a land of separation, a wilderness, there to perish, as all the Jewish doctors agree,—that is, to undergo the punishment that was inflicted on it. That in such sacrifices for sin there was a real imputation of sin unto punishment shall afterward be farther cleared.

Unto this transaction doth the prophet allude in this expression, "He laid on," or "put on him.” As the high priest confessed all the sins, iniquities, and transgressions of the people, and laid them on the head of the scape-goat, which he bare, undergoing the utmost punishment he was capable of, and that punishment which, in the general kind and nature, is the punishment due to sin,--an evil and violent death; so did God lay all the sins, all the punishment due to them, really upon one that was fit, able, and appointed to bear it, which he suffered under to the utmost that the justice of God required on that account. He then took a view of all our sins, and iniquities. He knew what was past and what was to come, knowing all our thoughts afar off. Not the least error of our minds, darkness of our understandings, perverseness of our wills, carnality of our affections, sin of our nature or lives, escaped him. All were yourà και τετραχηλισμένα . rai rispaxnaoouéva before him. This is set out by the variety of expressions used in this matter in the type : “All the iniquities, all the transgressions, and all the sins.” And so by every word whereby we express sin in this 53d of Isaiah,—"going astray, turning aside, iniquity, transgression, sin," and the like. God, I say, made them all to meet on Christ, in the punishment due to them.

2. What is the act of God whereby he casts our sins on Christ.

I have elsewhere considered how God in this business is to be looked on. I said now in the entrance of this discourse, that punishment is an effect of justice in him who had power to dispose of the offender as such. To this two things are required:

(1.) That he have in his hand power to dispose of all the concernments of the offence [offender] and sinners, as the governor of him and them all. This is in God. He is by nature the king and governor of all the world, our lawgiver, James iv. 12. Having made rational creatures and required obedience at their hands, it is essentially belonging to him to be their governor, and not only to have the sovereign disposal of them, as he hath the supreme dominion over them, with the legal dispose of them, in answer to the moral subjection to him and the obedience he requires of them.

(2.) That as he be a king, and have supreme government, so he be a judge to put in execution his justice. Thus, “God is judge himself,” Ps. 1. 6; he is “the judge of all the earth,” Gen. xviii. 25; P& xciv. 2; Ps. lxxv. 7; Isa. xxxiii. 22, as in innumerable other places. Now, as God is thus the great governor and judge, he pursues the constitutive principle of punishment, his own righteous and holy will, proportioning penalties to the demerit of sin.

Thus, in the laying our sins on Christ, there was a twofold act of God,-one as a governor, the other as a judge properly:

[1.] The first is “innovatio obligationis,” the “innovation of the obligation,” wherein we were detained and bound over to punishment; whereas in the tenor of the law, as to its obligation unto punish ment, there was none originally but the name of the offender,—"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," and "Cursed is every one that continueth not,” and “The soul that sinneth it shall die," -God now puts in the name of the surety, of Jesus Christ, that he might become responsible for our sins, and undergo the punishment that we were obliged to. Christ was und vójov yevójevov, he was made under the law; that is, he was put into subjection to the

1 Vide of the Death of Christ, the Price he Paid, and the Purchase he Made, vol . 3 Vid. Diatrib. de Justit. Divin. translated, vol. 2.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

obligation of it unto punishment. God put his name into the obligation, and so the law came to have its advantage against him, who otherwise was most free from the charge of it. Then was Christ "made sin," when, by being put into the obligation of the law, he became liable to the punishment of it. He was the “ mediator of the new covenant,” Heb. xii. 24, the “mediator between God and men,” 1 Tim. ii. 5; so a mediator as to "give himself a ransom” for them for whom he was a mediator, verse 6. And the "surety of the covenant” is he also, Heb. vii. 22; such a surety as paid that which he never took, made satisfaction for those sins which he never did.

[2.] The second act of God, as a judge, is “inflictio pænæ.” Christ being now made obnoxious, and that by his own consent, the justice of God finding him in the law, layeth the weight of all on him. “He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' Well, then, it will be well with him; surely it shall be well with the innocent; no evil shall befall him. Nay but saith he, verse 10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Yea, but what was the reason of this? why was this the will of God? why did this seem good to the just “Judge of all the earth ?” The reason is in the very next words, “ His soul was made an offering for sin;" which before is expressed, “He bare our griefs, he was wounded for our transgressions.” Being made liable to them, he was punished for them.

By that which is said, it is evident from this first expression, or the assignation of an action to God in reference to him, that this death of Christ was a punishment, he who had power to do it bringing in him (on his own voluntary offer) into the obligation to punishment, and inflicting punishment on him accordingly.

The second expression, whereby the same thing is farther evinced, is on the part of him that was punished, and this (occurs] in verse 4, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;" or, which is more evident, verse 11, “He shall bear their iniquities."

For the right understanding of the words, I shall give a few brief previous observations, that may give light to the matter we treat of. And the first is,

1. That as this whole thing was done in the justice of God, as hath been declared, so it was done by the counsel and appointment of God. The apostles confess the death of Christ to have proceeded thence, Acts iv. 28, ii. 23. Now, as laying of our sins on Christ, being designed our mediator, and undertaking the work, was an act of God as the governor of all and the righteous judge, so this of the determinate counsel and fore-appointment, or the eternal designation, of Christ to his office, is an act of sovereign power and dominion in God, whereby he doth as he pleaseth, according to the counsel of his will. As he would make the world in his sovereign good pleaVOL. XII.

29

a

sure when he might have otherwise done, Rev. iv. 11, so he would determine that Christ should bear our iniquities when he might otherwise have disposed of them, Rom. xi. 33–37.

2. In respect of us, this pre-appointment of God was an act of grace,—that is, a sovereign act of his good pleasure,—whence all good things, all fruits of love whatever, to us do flow. Therefore it is called love, John iii. 16; and so in the fruit of it is it expressed, Rom. viii. 32; and on this John often insists in his Gospel and First Epistle, 1 John iv. 9–11. His aim on his own part was the declaration of his righteousness, Rom. iii. 25, and to make way for the

praise of his glorious grace," Eph. i. 6; on our part, that we might have all those good things which are the fruits of the most intense love.

3. That Christ himself was willing to undergo this burden and undertake this work. And this, as it is consistent with his death being a punishment, so it is of necessity to make good the other considerations of it, namely, that it should be a price and a sacrifice; for no man gives a price, and therein parts with that which is precious to him, unwillingly, nor is a sacrifice acceptable that comes not from a free and willing mind. That he was thus willing himself professeth, both in the undertaking and carrying of it on. In the undertaking: Heb. x. 7, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” It is the expression of one breaking out with a ready joy to do the thing proposed to him.

So the church of old looked on him as one that came freely and cheerfully: Cant. ii. 8, 9, “ The voice of my beloved ! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.” The church looked on Christ as yet at a distance from the actual performance of the work he had undertaken, and so herself kept off from that clear and close communion which she longed after; and hence she says of him that he “stood behind the wall,” that he “looked forth at the windows,” and “showed himself through the lattice." There was a wall yet hindering the actual exhibition of Christ; the “fulness of time” was not come; the purpose of God was not yet to bring forth: but yet, in the meantime, Christ looked on the church through the window of the promise and the lattice of the Levitical ceremonies.

And what discovery do they make of him in the view they take in the broad light of the promises and the many glimpses of the ceremonial types? They see him “coming leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills,”-coming speedily, with a great deal of

a joy and willingness.

So of himself he declares what his mind was from old, from everlasting: Prov. viï. 30, 31, “Rejoicing always before him,"—that is,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

before God his Father. But in what did he rejoice? “In the babitable part of his earth; and his delights were with the sons of men.” When this joy of his was he tells you, verses 22–30. He rejoiced before God his Father in the sons of men before they were created; that is, in the work he had to do for them.

His will was also in the carrying of it on unto accomplishment; be must be doing his Father's business, his will who sent him: Luke xii. 50, TIWC ouveyouar! He was pained as a woman in travail to

, Πώς συνέχομαι! be delivered, to come to be baptized in his own blood. And when he was giving himself up to the utmost of it, he professes his readiness to it, John xviii. 11; when Peter, who once before would have advised him to spare himself, now, seeing his counsel was not followed, would have rescued him with his sword. As for his advice he was called Satan, so for his proffered assistance he is now rebuked; and the reason of it is given, “Shall I not drink of the cup?" It is true, that it might appear that his death was not a price and a sacrifice only, but a punishment also, wherein there was an immission of every thing that was evil to the suffering nature and a subtraction of that which was good, he discovered that averseness to the drinking of the cup which the truth of the human nature absolutely required (and which the amazing bitterness of the cup overpowered him withal); yet still his will conquered and prevailed in all, Matt. xxvi. 53, 54.

4. Christ's love was also in it; “his delights were with the sons of men,” his love towards them carried him out to the work. And Paul proves it by the instance of himself, Gal. ii. 20,“Who loved me;" and John applies the same to all believers, Rev. i. 5, 6, “Unto him that loved us," etc. And thus was this great work undertaken.

These things being premised, let us look again to the words under consideration:

1. For the word he bare our griefs, verse 4, it is nie, a word of as large and as many various acceptations as any, if not absolutely the most extensive in the whole Hebrew tongue. It hath usually assigned unto it by the lexicographer eight or nine several significations; and to make it evident that it is of various acceptations, it is used in the collections of Calasius) eight hundred and eighteen times in the Old Testament, whereof not a third part is answered in any language by one and the same word. With those senses of it that are metaphorical we have not any thing to do. That which is the first or most proper sense of it, and what is most frequently used, is to “carry” or “bear,” and by which it is here translated, as in very many other places.

Socinus would have it here be as much as “ abstulit," " he took away.” So saith he, "God took away our sin in Christ, when by him he declared and confirmed the way whereby pardon and remission

a

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »