Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the only-begotten and eternal Son of God, God of God, very God of very God, was conceived and born, and suffered, and that the truth of these propositions relied upon the communion of properties, grounded upon the hypostatical union: so while the Creed in the same manner proceedeth speaking of the same person, that he was buried and descended into hell, it sheweth that neither his body, in respect of which he was buried, nor his soul, in respect of which he was generally conceived to descend into heli, had lost that union.

Again, as we believe that God redeemed us by his own blood, so also it hath been the constant language of the Church, that God died for us; which cannot be true, except the soul and body in the instant of separation, were united to the Deity.

Indeed, being all the gifts of God are without repentance, nor doth he ever subtract his grace from any without their abuse of it, and a sinful demerit in themselves; we cannot imagine the grace of'union should be taken from Christ, who never offended, and that in the highest act of obedience, and the greatest satisfaction to the will of God.

It is true, Christ cried upon the cross with a loud voice, saying, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. xxvii. 46.) But if that dereliction should signify a so. lution of the former union of his naturęs, the separation had been made not at his death, but in his life:* whereas indeed those words infer no more, than that he was bereft of such joys and comforts from the Deity, as should assuage and mitigate the acerbity of his present torments.

It remaineth therefore, that when our Saviour yielded up the ghost, he suffered only an external violence; and what was subject to such corporal force did yield unto those dolorous impressions. Being then such is the imbecility and frailty of our nature, that life cannot long subsist in exquisite torments; the disposition of his body failed the soul, and the soul deserted his body. But being po power hath any force against Omnipotence, nor could any corporal or finite agent work upon the union made with the Word, therefore that did still remain entire both to the soul and to the body. The Word was once indeed without either soul or body; but after it was made flesh, it was never parted either from the one or from the other.t

Sed utique confiteris etiam August. in Ioan. Tract. 47. 9. 12. illud quod babet eadem fides, in eum “Όλον τον άνθρωπος του Θεού, διά Christum te credere qui crucifxus est της προς εαυτόν ανακράσεως εις την θείet sepultus. Ergo etiam sepultum αν φύσιν μετασκευάσαντος, εν τω καιρώ Christum esse non negas, et tamen της κατά το πάθος οικονομίας ου θατέρου sola care sepulta est. Si enim erat μέρους το άπαξ εγκραθεν ανεχώρησεν ibi anima, non erat mortuus; si autem duetape nta yao to Deoở Tà xaplouara: vera mors erat, ut ejus vera sit resur- αλλά την μεν ψυχήν του σώματος ή rectio, sine anima fuerat in sepulcro: Osórns érovows déçevčev, ¿avri)v év et tamen sepultus est Christus. Ergo duporspois uévovoav ždeige. S. Greg, Chris us erat etiam sine anima caro, Nyss. Orat. 1. de Resur. quia non est scpulta nisi caro.' S. + This is the conclusion of St. Au

carnem.

Thus Christ did really and truly die, according to the condition of death to which the nature of man is subject: but although he was more than man, yet he died no more than man can die; a separation was made between his soul and body, but no disunion of them and his Deity. They were disjoined one from another, but not from him that took them both together; rather by virtue of that remaining conjunction they were again united after their separation. And this I conceive sufficient for the third and last part of our explication.

The necessity of this part of the Article is evident, in that the death of Christ is the most intimate and essential part of the mediatorship, and that which most intrinsically concerns every office and function of the Mediator, as he was Prophet, Priest, and King.

First, It was necessary, as to the prophetical office, that Christ should die, to the end that the truth of all the doctrine which he delivered might be confirmed by his death. He was “ the true and faithful witness,(Rev. iii. 14.) " who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” (1 Tim. vi. 13.) “ This is he that came by water and blood; and there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood.” (1 John v. 6. 8.) He preached unto us a new" and better Covenant, which was established upon better promises,” (Heb. viii. 6.) and that was to be ratified with his blood; which is therefore called by Christ himself the "blood of the New Testament,” (Matt. xxvi. 28. Luke xxii. 20. Heb. x. 29.) or, “everlasting Covenant:"? (Heb. xiii. 20.) for that Covenant was also a Testament; and “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Heb. ix. 16.) Beside, Christ, as a Prophet, taught us not only by word, but by example: and though every action of his life who came to fulfil the Law, be most worthy of our imitation; yet the most eminent example was in his death, in which he taught us much variety of Christian virtues. What an example was that gustin : ‘Ex quo Verbum caro fa- sensus est: non enim quæ a Verbo ctum est, ut habitaret in nobis, et sus non erat separata, a seipsa potait seceptus est a Verbo homo, id est totus parari.' T'ract, in Ioan. 47. 9.9. homo, anima et caro; quid fecit * Έπει διπλούν μεν το ανθρώπινον passio, quid fecit mors, nisi corpus ab σύγκραμα, απλή δε και μονοειδής ή της anima separavit? Animam vero a θειότητος φύσις, εν τω καιρώ της του Verbo non separavit. Si enim mor- objarog årò rñs Yuxñs dialettews, tuus est Dominus-sine dubio caro συνδιασχίζεται το συνθέτω το αδιαίρεipsius exspiravit animam: ad tempus τον, αλλά το έμπαλιν γίνεται τη γάρ exiguum anima deseruit carnem, sed ενότητι της θείας φύσεως, της κατά το redeunte anima' resurrecturam. A ίσον εν αμφοτέροις ούσης, πάλιν πρός Vero autem animam separatam esse άλληλα τα διεστώτα συμφύεται, S. non dico.

Latronis animæ dixit, Greg. Nyss. Orat. 1. de Resur. Tam hodie mecum eris in Paradiso. Fidelem velox iricorruptæ carnis vivificatio latronis animam non deserebat et de- fuit, ut major ibi esset soporis similiscrebat suam? Absit: sed illius ut tudo quam mortis; quoniam Deitas, Dominus custodivit, suam vero inse- quæ ab utraque suscepti hominis parabiliter habuit. Si autem dixe- substantia non recessit, quod poterimus, quia ipsa so anima posuit, et state divisit, potestate conjunxit.' iterum ipsa se sumpsit, ab:cidission. Leo Serm. 1. de Resur, c, 2.

of faith in God, to lay down his life, that he might take it again;". (John X. 17.) in the bitterness of his torments to “commend his spirit into the hands of his Father;" (Luke xxiii. 46.) and “ for the joy that was set before him, to endure the cross, and despise the shame!" (Heb. xii. 2.) What a pattern of meekness, patience, and humility, for the Son of man to come, “not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many;" (Matt. xx. 28.) to be “ led like a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before the shearer, not to open his mouth;" (Acts viii. 32.) to “endure the contradictions of sinners against himself," (Heb. xii. 3.) and to“ humble himself unto death, even the death of the cross !” (Phil. ii. 8.) What a precedent of obedience for the Son of God" to learn obedience by the things that he suffered;" (Heb. v. 8.) to be “ made under the Law,(Gal. iv. 4.) and, though he never broke the Law, to “ become obedient unto death;" (Phil. ii. 8.) to go with cheerfulness to the cross upon this resolution, “ As my Father gave me commandment, even so I do!” (John xiv. 31.) What exemplar of charity, to “ die for us while we were yet sinners,” (Rom. v. 8.) and enemies, when " greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his life for his friends ;” (John xv. 13.) to pray upon the cross for them that crucified him, and to apologize for such as barbarously slew him, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do !" (Luke xxiii. 34.) Thus Christ did “ suffer for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps," (1 Pet. ii. 21.) that as he “suffered for us, in the flesh, we should arm ourselves likewise with the same mind. For he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lasts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Pet. iv. 1, 2.) And so his death was necessary for the confirmation and completion of his prophetical office.

Secondly, it was necessary that Christ should die, and by his death perform the sacerdotal office. “For every highpriest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Heb. v. 1.) But Christ had no other sacrifice to offer for our sins than himself. “ For it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take aways sins;” (Heb. x. 4.) and therefore when “sacrifice and offering God would not, then said be, Lo, I come to do thy will, o God;" (Ibid. 8, 9.) then did Christ determine to offer up himself for us. And because the sacrifices of old were to be slain, and generally “ without shedding of blood there is no remission;" (Heb ix. 22.) therefore if he will offer sacrifice for sin, he must of necessity die, and so “make his soul an offering for sin." (Isa. liii. 10.) If Christ be our passover, he must be sacrificed for us. We were sold under sin, and he who will redeem us must give his life for our redemption: for we could not be

“ redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but only with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. i. 18, 19.) We all had sinned, and so offended the justice of God, and by an act of that justice the sentence of death passed upon us; it was necessary therefore that Christ our surety should die, to satisfy the justice of God, both for that iniquity, as the propitiation for our sins, and for that penalty, as he who was to bear our griefs. God was offended with us; and he must die who was to reconcile him to us. “ For when we were enemies (saith St. Paul), we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." (Rom. v. 10.) We“ were sometimes alienated, and enemies in our mind by our wicked works; yet now bath he reconciled us in the body of his flesh through death.” (Col. i. 21.) Thus the death of Christ was necessary towards the great act of his priesthood, as the oblation, propitiation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world : and not only for the act itself, but also for our assurance of the power and efficacy of it (“' for if the blood of bulls and goats sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge our consciences from dead works?” Heb. ix. 13, 14.), and of the happiness flowing from it (for “ he that spared not his own Son, but delivered bim up for us all, how sball he not with him also freely give us all things ?” Rom. viii. 32.). Upon this assurance, founded on his death, we have the freedom and " boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” (Heb. x. 19, 20.) Neither was the death of Christ necessary only in respect of us immediately for whom he died, but in reference to the Priest himself who died, both in regard of the qualification of himself, and consummation of his office. For “ in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful High-priest, and having suffered, being tempted, might be able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. ii. 17, 18.) so that passing through all the previous torments, and at last through the pains of death, having suffered all which man can suffer, and much more, he became, as an experimental Priest, most sensible of our infirmities, most compassionate of our miseries, most willing and ready to support us under, and to deliver us out of, our temptations. Thus being qualified by his utmost suffering, he was also fitted to perfect his offering. For as “the high-priest once every year” for the atonement of the sins of the people

went” into the Holy of Holies, “ not without blood;" so

Christ being come a High-priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, by his own blood entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb. ix. 7. 11, 12.)

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

And this is the grand necessity of the death of Christ in respect of his sacerdotal office.

Thirdly, There was a necessity that Christ should die in reference to his regal office. “O king, live for ever," (Dan. ii. 4. iii. 9.) is either the loyal or the flattering vote for temporal princes; either the expression of our desires, or the suggestion of their own: whereas our Christ never shewed more sovereign power than in his death, dever obtained more than by his death. It was not for nothing that Pilate suddenly wrote, and resolutely maintained what he had written, " This is the King of the Jews.(Matt. xxvii. 37.) That title on the cross did signify no less than that his regal power was active even there : for “ having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it;" (Col. ii. 15.) and " through his death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Heb. ii. 14.) Nor was his death only necessary for the present execution, but also for the assecution of farther power and dominion, as the means and way to obtain it. The “ Spirit of Christ in the prophets of old “testified-beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1 Pet. i. 11.) “He shall drink of the brook in the way, (saith the prophet David, Psal. cx. 7.) therefore shall he lift up his head." "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phil. ii. 8,9.)

For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived, that be might be the Lord of the dead and living.” (Rom. xiv. 9.) : Thus it is necessary to believe and profess our faith in Christ who died: for by his blood and the virtue of his death was our redemption wrought, as by the price which was paid, as by the atonement which was made, as by the full satisfaction which was given, that God might be reconciled to us, who before was offended with us, as by the ratification of the Covenant made between us, and the acquisition of full power to make it good unto us.

After which exposition thus premised, every Christian is conceived to express thus much, when he makes profession of faith in Christ Jesus which was dead: I do really and truly assent unto this, as a most infallible and fundamental truth; That the only-begotten and eternal Son of God, for the work ing out of our redemption, did in our nature, which he took upon him, really and truly die, so as, by the force and violence of those torments which he felt, his soul was actually separated from his body; and although neither his soul mor body was separated from his Divinity, yet the body bereft of bis soal was left without the least vitality. And thus I believe in Jesus Christ that was crucified and DEAD.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »