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right or by force; for he had life in himself, and in his own power, and had conquered the prince of death.
6. That the time of our Redeemer's being under the power of death was only till the third day. For ho rose the third day after his death: which was the time he had often prefixed, and he kept within it. He was buried in the evening of the sixth day of the week, and rose in the morning of the first day of the following week; so that ho lay in the grave about thirty-six or thirty-eight hours. IIe lay so long to show that he was really and truly dead, and no longer, that ho might not see corruption.
If it should be asked, What were the reasons and ends of this amazing humiliation of the Son of God ?
I answer, That Christ humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
1. That ho might satisfy divine justice in the room and stead of an elect world. When man by sin rebelled against his rightful Lord, incensed justice called aloud for vengeance upon the attrocious offender; and had its rigorous demands been answered, all tho race of mankind had perished in the depths of death and damnation for ever. But Christ, by the whole scene of his humiliation, has so fully answered all its demands of his chosen, that it can crave no more. For he by his obedience and satisfaction, as tho Surety of unjust sinners, has so perfectly paid all their debt, that justice is completely atoned and pacified. Hence our Redeemer drew his last breath on tho cross with these words, 'It is finished.'
2. To confirm and seal his testament. He had bequeathed many great and glorious legacies to his chosen; all which had failed for ever, if by his death ho had not ratified and confirmed this his testament, ' For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead : otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth,' Heb. ix. 16, 17. Wherefore, that our Lord's testament might in that respect be made good, he sealed it with his heart's blood : * This cup,' says he, is the new testament in my blood,' i. e. tho new testament, which is ratified by my blood.
3. To conquer and subdue the devil. This malicious and subtil enemy of mankind had by his craft and power brought the whole race of Adam in subjection to his empire, reigning over and leading them captive at his pleasure. But our Lord through death destroyed him that had the power of death. It is true, the crucifying of Jesus was the devil's plot; for he put Judas upon betraying him, the Jews upon accusing him, Pilate upon condemning him, and the soldiers upon executing him. But our Lord outshot him in his own
bow, and snared and took him in his own hands. Thus the devil, by plotting and pushing on the death of the Son of God, to prevent •his own ruin, procured and promoted it.
4. To finish transgression, and put an end to sin, yea, to take away sin with all its direful effects, Rom. viii. 3. ' For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh. For when an elect world lay sunk under the guilt of sin, captives under the power of it, vile under the pollution of it, undone under the weight of it, and most miserable under the baneful effects of it, Jesus humbled himself to the death on purpose to rescue and deliver them from all this. • We have redemption through his blood,' says Paul, even the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace.' And says another apostle,
. · The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.'
5. To deliver his people from the curse of a broken law, and the wrath of God. 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,' Gal. iii. 13. 'Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come,' 1 Thess. i. 10. When all the curses of the law were marching forth, as it were in battle-array, against the children of Adam, and the dreadful wrath of an Almighty God was ready to pour in upon them, then did our Lord step in, and, by his deeply debased birth, life, and death, divert the furious storm from his chosen, so that not one curse, or the least drop of wrath, shall ever fall to their share.
6. Lastly, That in due time he might bring all his people to the complete possession of immortal glory. When he saw them wallowing and sinking in the depths of sin and iniquity; when he saw them exposed to eternal death and damnation by reason of sin, and when he took a view of them as absolutely unable to do any thing towards their own relief and deliverance, his soul pitied them, and his bowels of compassion yearned upon them; so that in their stead he satisfied divine justice, subdued their enemies, abolished sin and death, rescued them from hell and wrath, and prepared for them eternal life and glory,
I shall conclude with a few inferences.
1. Here see the love of Christ in its most distinguishing glory. For the deeper he debased and the lower he humbled himself, the higher did he raise, and the more clearly did he manifest his love. What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the greatness of this love! It is love without a precedent or parallel. It passeth knowledge.
2. Here see the awful and tremendous severity of divine justice,
which no less could satisfy than tho Son of God's humbling himself, and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Its resentment against sin swelled so high, that nothing could appease it, or move it to let go the criminal offenders, till the Son of God fell an expiatory sacrifice to it. And when the time of its acting this bloody tragedy upon our Redeemer came on, it would not forego nor abate one tittle of its demands. It would not spare him in one article of suffering which it could exact of him.
3. See here tho prodigious evil of sin. Though the generality of men look upon it with a very light and easy eye; though they account it a very small matter to break in upon the divine law, and to transgress the bounds which the great God has fixed therein f yet whoever duly reflects upon the deep humiliation and sorrowful sufferings of Christ, will entertain quite other thoughts about it. Of all evils sin is infinitely tho worst. Though a holy and just God has given many severe and terrible testimonies of his displeasure against sin, yet none of them appear with such an amazing awe as that which appears in the humiliation, death, and sufferings of his dear Son.
4. Let this look the pride of our hearts out of countenance; and let us think nothing too mean or low for us, whereby the glory of God and the good of others may be advanced. For Christ humbled himself deeper and lower than any ever did or can do, to procure the favour of God to sinners, to magnify the divine law and make it honourable; and therein hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps.
5. Let this teach you highly to prize the salvation purchased by Christ, and offered to sinners in the gospel. Say not of the sufferings of Christ, by your slighting the redemption thereby procured, What needs all this waste? Surely sin must be of a more malignant nature, the justice of God more exact and rigorous, souls more precious, and salvation and mercy more difficult to obtain, than is ordinarily imagined. Take a view of Christ in his amazing humiliation and heavy sufferings, and see if ye can entertain those thoughts.
6. Let impenitent sinners and rejecters of Christ tremble. Was this done in the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? If Christ, when he became a sinner only by imputation was exposed to such heavy sufferings as would have sunk millions of men and angels, what shall be the fate of those who spurn at his love, reject the offers of his grace and mercy, and refuse to accept of his salvation? What can they expect, but that the wrath of God shall come upon them to the uttermost, and they shall undergo the sorest punishment that incensed and insulted justice can inflict?
7. Accept of Jesus Christ as he offers himself in the gospel. Flo is willing to receive sinners, nay, the very worst and most abandoned of them, or ho had not swimmed through a sea of blood to catch them. O! be not despisers, but cheerful and willing receivers, of him who has written his love and good will to yon in characters of blood.
8. Revenge the death of Christ on your lusts and idols. Give no quarter to, nor suffer them to live, that were the cause of his most humiliating and ignominious death. To cherish any sin or lust, is a high indignity done to the Son of God, and as it were a crucifying him afresh. O! then fly from every sin, account it your enemy, and Christ's enemy; and shew your love to the Redeemer, who humbled himself so deeply for you, by doing whatsoever he commands you, and avoiding all appearance of evil.
, 9. Lastly, Grudge not to part with any thing for Christ. IIe left the bosom of his Father, laid aside the robes of his glory, and exposed himself to the severest hardships and most intolerable sufferings, that you might not perish for ever! and will ye refuse any thing for his sake? We have no reason to shift his cross, or decline to take on his yoke, when ho suffered on the accursed cross to procure your deliverance from everlasting wrath and burnings.
OF CHRIST'S EXALTATION.
Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11.-Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and
given him a name which is above every name : that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Having spoke to the several parts of our blessed Redeemer's state of humiliation, I come now to treat of the several branches of his exaltation, or that high dignity and glory to which he is exalted, as the reward of his suffering even unto death. This bright Sun set as it were in a cloud, but he rose again, surrounded with the brightest rays of the most exalted glory and splendour. This exaltation is hold forth very expressly in the text, which, as it is opposed to his death, includes his resurrection, or releasement from the grave. God has not only exalted him, but super-exalted him above the earth in his ascension. The name above every name which is given him, is the same in effect with his sitting at the right
hand of God. The bowing of the knee is that acknowledgement of this power, dignity, and authority of Christ, by angels, men, and devils; the great evidence of which shall be at the last day, Rom. xiv. 10, 11. 'We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.' For it is written, 'As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'
In discoursing further from this subject, I shall consider the several steps of our Lord's exaltation, as they are laid down from the scriptures in our Catechism, viz. ' his rising from the dead on the third day, his ascending up into heaven, his sitting at the righthand of God the Father, and his coming to judge the world at the last day.'
I. The first step of his exaltation was his resurrection, his rising out of the grave. Concerning this, consider the following things.
1. The nature of it. His resurrection was not the re-uniting of his divine to his human nature, for death had not separated that union, as I have formerly shewn; but his re-uniting his soul to his body, taking that life again which he had before laid down, John x. 17. And it was the very same body for substance which was crucified; it was the very same body that fell under death that rose again. It had been laid in the grave mangled and macerated with blows, stripes, and wounds; but in his resurrection the deformity thereby occasioned was removed, and nothing but the prints of the nails remained ; as appears from John xx. 25, 27.
2. The truth of his resurrection. Christ truly rose again. This truth was attested by the soldiers who guarded the sepulchre, as ye will find, Matth. xxviii. 11—15. though the elders took care to smother the effect thereof. His friends bore the most ample testimony to it; such as the women who came to anoint his dead body, his disciples and many others. To these, he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, Acts i. 3. And we are told, 1 Cor. xv. 6. that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.' The evangelists are unanimous in this matter. This truth is also manifest from the person's being God, who could not be confined in a grave, and the many miracles wrought to confirm it, evincing him to be alive, and reigning in glory.
3. The necessity of his resurrection. It was necessary he should rise from the dead.
(1.) That the scripture might be fulfilled, 1 Cor. xv. 4. which cannot be broken. See Psal. xvi. 10. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (the state of the dead); neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption. This passage is expressly applied to the resurrection of Christ, Acts ii. 31. and xiii. 35. And it was prophesied