John Owen on Substitutionary Atonement and the Lord’s Supper

7 03 2012

Below is an excerpt from Owen’s Sacramental Discourse #8.  Here he puts an interesting twist on the notion of representation.  In some understandings of the Lord’s Supper, the sacrifice of Christ is represented to God.  Owen on the other hand sees the sacrifice of Christ as represented to us, to soothe our consciences and lead us to worship.  One final note, for Owen “representation” means really and truly present by faith.  Thus for Owen, taking communion makes the substitutionary atonement of Christ really and truly present to us by faith.  Think about that next time you take the Lord’s Supper!

Consider truly and really this great substitution of Jesus Christ (the just suffering for the unjust) in our stead, in our room, – undergoing what we should have undergone.  The Lord help us to admire the infinite holiness, righteousness, and truth, that is in it.  We are not able to comprehend these things in it (Christ’s substitution); but if God enables us to exercise faith upon it, we shall admire it.  Whence is it that the Son of God should be substituted in our place?  Pray remember that we are now representing (in the Supper) this infinite effect of divine wisdom in substituting Jesus Christ in our room, to undergo the wrath and curse of God for us.

Owen, Sacramental Discourse 8





John Owen: Grace, a necessary preparation for glory

20 12 2011

I had a decent introduction to Owen last year, reading three of his major works.  So I decided two weeks ago to go ahead and order his complete works, which arrived in the mail last week.  So far I have read three books from this set: On the Divine Original of the Scriptures (Vol XVI); Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity (Vol II); and Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ (Vol I).  I will be using his commentary on Hebrews to finish out our Hebrews Bible study, so I’m looking forward to that as well.  Many say that Owen is difficult to read, I find him easier the farther along I get in him.  Let me simply say, he is worth the time.  Take the time to digest the quote below, and see if you can really understand the root of what the man is saying.  In a nutshell, the believer hopes to be with Christ in heaven because the believer has had  an experience of the glory of Christ, by faith, in this life on earth.  Those who have not had an experience of the glory of Christ on this earth, have no content for their hope for heaven.  Tease that out a bit and see where you land.  Enjoy!

No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight   hereafter, who does not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay, persons not disposed hereby unto it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend; they only deceive their own souls in supposing that so they do. Most men will say with confidence, living and dying, that they desire to be with Christ, and to behold his glory; but they can give no reason why they should desire any such thing, – only they think it somewhat that is better than to be in that evil condition which otherwise they must be cast into for ever, when they can be here no more. If a man pretend himself to be enamoured on, or greatly to desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented unto him, he does but dote on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it by faith whilst they are here in this world, are nothing but
self-deceiving imaginations.

So do the Papists delude themselves. Their carnal affections are excited by their outward senses to delight in images of Christ, – in his sufferings, his resurrection, and glory above. Hereon they satisfy themselves that they behold the glory of Christ himself and that with love and great delight. But whereas there is not the least true representation made of the Lord Christ or his glory in these things, – that being confined absolutely unto the gospel alone, and this way of attempting it being laid under a severe interdict, – they do but sport themselves with their own deceivings.

The apostle tells us concerning himself and other believers, when the Lord Christ was present and conversed with them in the days of his flesh, that they “saw his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” John 1: 14. And we may inquire, what was this glory of Christ which they so saw, and by what means they obtained a prospect of it. For, – l. It was not the glory of his outward condition, as we behold the glory and grandeur of the kings and potentates of the earth; for he made himself of no reputation, but being in the form of a servant, he walked in the condition of a man of low degree. The secular grandeur of his pretended Vicar makes no representation of that glory of his which his disciples saw. He kept no court, nor house of entertainment, nor (though he made all things) had of his own where to lay his head. Nor, – 2. Was it with respect to the outward form of the flesh which he was made, wherein he took our nature on him, as we see the glory of a comely or beautiful person; – for he had therein neither form nor comeliness that he should be desired, “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men,” Isa. 52: 14; 53: 2, 3. All things appeared in him as became “a man of sorrows.” Nor, – 3. Was it absolutely the eternal essential glory of his divine nature that is intended; for this no man can see in this world. What we shall attain in a view thereof
hereafter we know not. But, – 4. It was his glory, as he was “full of grace and truth.” They saw the glory of his person and his office in the administration of grace and truth. And how or by what means did they see this glory of Christ? It was by faith, and no otherwise; for this privilege was granted unto them only who ”received him,” and believed on his name, John 1: 12. This was that glory which the Baptist saw, when, upon his coming unto him he said unto all that were presents “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” verses 29-33.

Wherefore let no man deceive himself; he that has no sight of the
glory of Christ here, shall never have any of it hereafter unto his
advantage. It is not, therefore, unto edification to discourse of
beholding the glory of Christ in heaven by vision, until we go
through a trial whether we see anything of it in this world by faith
or no.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ (Owen’s Works vol I pg 288-289)





John Owen: What will Christ not do for us?

20 12 2011

a remarkable passage from Owen’s The Glory of Christ

Unto whom we retake ourselves for relief in any case, we have regard to nothing but their will and their power. If they have both, we are sure of relief. And what shall we fear in the will of Christ as unto this end? What will he not do for us? He who thus emptied and humbled himself, who so infinitely condescended from the prerogative of his glory in his being and self sufficiency, in the susception of our nature for the discharge of the office of a mediator on our behalf, – will he not relieve us in all our distresses? will he not do all for us we stand in need of, that we may be eternally saved? will he not be a sanctuary unto us? Nor have we hereon any ground to fear his power; for, by this infinite condescension to be a suffering man, he lost nothing of his power as God omnipotent, – nothing of his infinite wisdom or glorious grace. He could still do all that he could do as God from eternity. If there be any thing, therefore, in a coalescence of infinite power with infinite condescension, to constitute a sanctuary for distressed sinners, it is all in Christ Jesus.  And if we see him not glorious herein, it is because there is no light of faith in us.

This, then, is the rest wherewith we may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshment. Herein is he “a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Hereon he says, “I have satiated the weary soul, and have refreshed every sorrowful soul.” Under this consideration it is that, in all evangelical promises and invitations for coming to him, he is proposed unto distressed sinners as their only sanctuary.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ (Owen’s Works Vol IV pg 331)





Rob Sturdy: Help me read the Bible! (John Owen)

20 12 2011

Owen, unlike Calvin and Luther who we have featured in previous entries for this series, was not widely known for his exegetical work but rather for his systematic treatment of various matters of theology such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, the atonement, sanctification, and spiritual disciplines.  And though Owen’s work is largely on these issues, rather than an exposition of the scriptures, nevertheless Owen’s love for the scriptures shines through in all of his work.  For example, consider the following passage from Owen’s most famous work The Death of Death in the Death of Christ:

His oblation, or “offering himself up to God for us without spot, to purge our consciences from dead works,” Heb. ix. 14; “for he loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Rev. i. 5. “He loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it,” Eph. v. 25, 26; taking the cup of wrath at his Father’s hands due to us, and drinking it off, “but not for himself,” Dan. ix. 26: for, “for our sakes he sanctified himself,” John xvii. 19, that is, to be an offering, an oblation for sin; for “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,” Rom. v. 6 (Owen’s Works vol X The Death of Death in the Death of Christ pg 175)

Note the  number of references to scripture in that one excerpt!  And that is only half the paragraph!  In the full paragraph Owen will cite directly or allude to scripture no less than seventeen times.  Though Owen focused his intellect mainly on doctrine, he did devote a considerable amount of time and attention to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he wrote a massive five volume commentary consisting of more than 2500 pages in small type font.

So, having given a reasonably sufficient introduction for our purposes we now look to John Owen for some helpful tips on how to read the Bible.

  1. Read the Bible seriously:  In his introduction to the The Death of Death in the Death of Christ Owen writes “If thou intendest to go any farther, I would entreat thee to stay here a little.  If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or a title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatres, to go out aagain, thou has had thy entertainment; farewell!” (Owen’s Works vol X pg 149).  What was Owen saying?  To put it simply, Owen believed that study of divine things was a matter of serious business.  If you didn’t have the time to take it seriously, you might as well not do it at all.  Study of scripture  requires time and both mental and emotional effort.  Here we can learn a great deal from Owen towards our own devotional lives.  How seriously do we take the study of scripture?  How much time do we devote to it?  Do we wrestle with the meaning of the words?  Do our hearts wrestle with the implications therein?  Is our devotion a fifteen minute “shot in the arm” or a serious, sit down, intense effort?
  2. Approach the Bible as an inexhaustible resource:  In his introduction to his commentary on Hebrews Owen writes concering the scriptures “I found the excellency of the writing to be such; the depths of the mysteries contained in it to be so great; the compass of the truth asserted, unfolded, and explained, so extensive and diffused through the whole body of Christian religion; the usefulness of the things delivered in it so important and indispensably necessary; as that I was quickly satisfied that the wisdom, grace, and truth, treasured in this sacred storehouse, are so far from exhausted and fully drawn forth by the endeavores of any or all that are gone before us” (Owen’s Works vol 17 pg 6).  What might Owen be saying here?  After studying every resource on the Epistle to the Hebrews that he could get his hands on, he concluded that the Epistle itself remained an inexhaustible resource of wisdom, grace, and truth.  Therefore, when we approach the Bible we need to keep in mind that no matter how many times we have read a certain passage, no matter how familiar we are with its themes we will never exhaust the riches it has in store for us.  If the Bible becomes too familiar, I will suggest the problem is not with the Bible but rather with the reader, who has failed to keep Owen’s first instruction which is to read it seriously.
  3. Understand the purpose of the Scriptures:  For Owen, the sole purpose of the Scriptures was to display the glory of Christ for our joy and edification.  Therefore, when we come to the study of Scripture we should first (1) look for the glory of Christ to be displayed in every passage and (2) expect for the glory of Christ to make us glad.  First, on the looking for the glory of Christ in every passage Owen says the following: “We can see nothing of it (the glory of Christ), know nothing of it, but what is proposed unto us in the Scripture” (Owen’s works vol 1 pg 409).  This is a very important statement.  The Bible is not principally a rule book as so many make it out to be.  Nor even is it a road map to salvation.  Rather, the Scriptures are a vehicle that reveals the glory of Christ.  It is the glory of Christ, revealed in the Scriptures which draws the heart of the reader to Christ and thus to salvation.  If we read the Scriptures in such a way as to look for something other than the glory of Christ, Owen would argue we are using the Scriptures in the wrong way.  When we come to Scripture let us then always look for Christ and how his glory has been revealed.  Secondly, what effect should we expect for this to have upon our soul?  He writes “in this present beholding fo the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminently acted.  And from this exercise of faith doth love unto Christ principally, fi not solely, arise and spring.  If, therefore, we desire to have faith in its vigour or love in its power, giving race, complacency, and satisfaction unto our own souls, we are to seek for them in the diligent discharge of this duty-elsewhere they will not be found” (Owen’s Works vol I pg 291).  In other words, the principal factor in our spiritual growth in joy, faith, hope, peace, perseverance etc., rests not in anything other than beholding the glory of Christ and taking delight in it.  Which means if nothing else, reading the Bible should be a joyful experience by which something of immeasurable beauty, namely the glory of Christ, is put on display for us.

 





Rob Sturdy: The Knowledge of God in the Christological Thought of John Owen

20 12 2011

The essay below is about the knowledge of God in the Christological thought of John Owen.  Thanks again to Colin Burch for graciously reviewing this essay!   Footnotes and bibliography are at the bottom of the paper in case you want to chase anything down.

How do we know God?  Can we have an experience of God?  Can we be in relationship with him?  These questions will no doubt be familiar to the philosopher and theologian.  But perhaps that vocation most intimately familiar with such questions is the pastor, whose responsibility it is to provide adequate and honest responses to such questions.  The 17th-century Puritan, John Owen, was a man who at one point or another found himself occupying each of the roles of philosopher, theologian, and pastor.  Yet it was the last decade of his life, which he devoted to the pastoral ministry, that he engaged the above questions with the most depth and attention.  Owen concluded that knowledge of God depended upon an infinite condescension of God towards his creatures.  This condescension in the theology of John Owen took the form of a covenant, whereby man learns who God is by virtue of his covenant relationship with God.

Owen notes that two things are necessary for a proper revelation of God to a finite creature in the context of a covenant.  First, that “all the properties of the divine nature…be expressed in it, and manifested to us,” and second that “there be, therein, the nearest approach of the divine nature made unto us, whereof it is capable, andwhich we can receive (emphasis mine).”[1]  As will be shown, a simple covenant between God and man is insufficient for the type of revelation which Owen describes in the above quote.  For a full and proper revelation of God, Owen believes that God himself must draw as near as possible, so near in fact, that he must become a man himself.  This happens in the person of Christ, whereby the divine Son of God assumes the human nature unto himself.  Christ being fully God is the nearest manifestation of God imaginable.  Christ being fully man is the nearest manifestation of God which is nevertheless fit for the human capacity.  Owen believed that it was the rational, human mind of Christ which ultimately accommodated the knowledge of God to the capacity of human comprehension.  This paper will argue that it is only through the mediation of the human mind of Christ that full communion with God is possible.  This will be done by examining the transcendence of God, his condescension in entering into covenant relationship, and the full manifestation of his glory through the Triune God’s covenant with the person of Christ. Read the rest of this entry »





John Owen: “The Promise Stands Invincible”

20 12 2011

The following is a letter published in vol. I of Owen’s works.   It is remarkable on numerous fronts, which I shall let you discover for yourself.  I will point out though, that these great men of the 17th century had a remarkable experience of God the closer they drew to death.  I would point you to Richard Baxter’s “Dying Thoughts,” as well as John Owen’s preface to “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” both of which were written while the two men were close to death.  You’ll notice that what comes across in these writings is not a fixation on death, but rather a fixation on Christ.  That’s what makes them so comforting.

Dear Sir,

Although I am not able to write one word myself, yet I am very desirous to speak one more word to you in this world, and do it by the hand of my wife. The continuance of your entire kindness is not only greatly valued by me, but will be a refreshment to me, as it is, even in my dying hour.

I am going to Him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, — which is the whole ground of all my consolation. The passage is very wearisome, through strong pains of various sorts, which are all issued in an intermittent fever.

All things were provided to carry me to London today, according to the advice of my physicians. But we are all disappointed by my utter disability to undertake the journey.

I am leaving the ship of the church in a storm. But while the great Pilot is in it, the loss of a poor under-rower will be inconsiderable. Live, and pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond. The promise stands invincible, that He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

Remember your dying friend with all fervency. I rest upon it that you do so, and am yours entirely,

John Owen





John Owen: The work of the Trinity in Redemption

20 12 2011

The following is taken from John Owen’s classic The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. I have lifted this text from the CCEL library, however if this peaks your interest in the slightest I would recommend purchasing this versionbecause it has a remarkable introduction to Owen and the book written by J.I. Packer. Owen is difficult to read and his theological discourse is on a level that few are accustomed to operating at these days. Nevertheless, he is worth your time and worth the headache you may receive by trying to hack through his stilted latin grammar. I will put up three posts in the following days from Owen. One on the work of the Father in redemption, one on the work of the Son in redemption, and finally one on the work of the Spirit in redemption.  Below is only a portion of Owen’s chapter on the Father’s work in redemption.  This section is on the covenant the Father makes with the Son, which is a particularly enriching aspect of Owen’s theology. 

The third act of this sending is his entering into covenant and compact with his Son concerning the work to be undertaken, and the issue or event thereof; of which there be two parts:—

First, His promise to protect and assist him in the accomplishment and perfect fulfilling of the whole business and dispensation about which he was employed, or which he was to undertake. The Father engaged himself, that for his part, upon his Son’s undertaking this great work of redemption, he would not be wanting in any assistance in trials, strength against oppositions, encouragement against temptations, and strong consolation in the midst of terrors, which might be any way necessary or requisite to carry him on through all difficulties to the end of so great an employment; — upon which he undertakes this heavy burden, so full of misery and trouble: for the Father 169before this engagement requires no less of him than that he should “become a Saviour, and be afflicted in all the affliction of his people,” Isa. lxiii. 8, 9: yea, that although he were “the fellow of the Lord of hosts,” yet he should endure the “sword” that was drawn against him as the “shepherd” of the sheep, Zech. xiii. 7; “treading the winepress alone, until he became red in his apparel,” Isa. lxiii. 2, 3: yea, to be “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; to be bruised and put to grief; to make his soul an offering for sin, and to bear the iniquity of many,” Isa. liii.; to be destitute of comfort so far as to cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Ps. xxii. 1. No wonder, then, if upon this undertaking the Lord promised to make “his mouth like a sharp sword, to hide him in the shadow of his hand, to make him a polished shaft, and to hide him in his quiver, to make him his servant in whom he would be glorified,” Isa. xlix. 2, 3; that though “the kings of the earth should set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against him, yet he would laugh them to scorn, and set him as king upon his holy hill of Zion,” Ps. ii. 2, 4, 6; though the “builders did reject him,” yet he should “become the head of the corner,” to the amazement and astonishment of all the world, Ps. cxviii. 22, 23; Matt. xxi. 42, Mark xii. 10, Luke xx. 17, Acts iv. 11, 12, 1 Pet. ii. 4; yea, he would “lay him for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation,” Isa. xxviii. 16, that “whosoever should fall upon him should be broken, but upon whomsoever he should fall he should grind him to powder,” Matt. xxi. 44. Hence arose that confidence of our Saviour in his greatest and utmost trials, being assured, by virtue of his Father’s engagement in this covenant, upon a treaty with him about the redemption of man, that he would never leave him nor forsake him. “I gave,” saith he, “my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting,” Isa. l. 6. But with what confidence, blessed Saviour, didst thou undergo all this shame and sorrow! Why, “The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know; that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that condemn me? Lo! they shall all wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up,” verses 7–9. With this assurance he was brought as a “lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth,” Isa. liii. 7: for “when he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously,” 1 Pet. ii. 23. So that the ground of our Saviour’s confidence and assurance in this 170great undertaking, and a strong motive to exercise his graces received in the utmost endurings, was this engagement of his Father upon this compact of assistance and protection.

Secondly, [His promise] of success, or a good issue out of all his sufferings, and a happy accomplishment and attainment of the end of his great undertaking. Now, of all the rest this chiefly is to be considered, as directly conducing to the business proposed, which yet would not have been so clear without the former considerations; for whatsoever it was that God promised his Son should be fulfilled and attained by him, that certainly was it at which the Son aimed in the whole undertaking, and designed it as the end of the work that was committed to him, and which alone he could and did claim upon the accomplishment of his Father’s will. What this was, and the promises whereby it is at large set forth, ye have Isa. xlix.: “Thou shalt be my servant,” saith the Lord, “to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth. Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful.” And he will certainly accomplish this engagement: “I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim,” verses 6–12. By all which expressions the Lord evidently and clearly engageth himself to his Son, that he should gather to himself a glorious church of believers from among Jews and Gentiles, through all the world, that should be brought unto him, and certainly fed in full pasture, and refreshed by the springs of water, all the spiritual springs of living water which flow from God in Christ for their everlasting salvation. This, then, our Saviour certainly aimed at, as being the promise upon which he undertook the work, — the gathering of the sons of God together, their bringing unto God, and passing to eternal salvation; which being well considered, it will utterly overthrow the general ransom or universal redemption, as afterward will appear. In the 53d chapter of the same prophecy, the Lord is more express and punctual in these promises to his Son, assuring him that when he “made his soul an offering for sin, he should see his seed, and prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his 171hand; that he should see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; by his knowledge he should justify many; that, he should divide a portion with the great, and the spoil with the strong,” verses 10–12. He was, you see, to see his seed by covenant, and to raise up a spiritual seed unto God, a faithful people, to be prolonged and preserved throughout all generations; which, how well it consists with their persuasion who in terms have affirmed “that the death of Christ might have had its full and utmost effect and yet none be saved,” I cannot see, though some have boldly affirmed it, and all the assertors of universal redemption do tacitly grant, when they come to the assigning of the proper ends and effects of the death of Christ. “The pleasure of the Lord,” also, was to “prosper in his hand;” which what it was he declares, Heb. ii. 10, even “bringing of many sons unto glory;” for “God sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we live through him,” 1 John iv. 9; as we shall afterward more abundantly declare. But the promises of God made unto him in their agreement, and so, consequently, his own aim and intention, may be seen in nothing more manifestly than in the request that our Saviour makes upon the accomplishment of the work about which he was sent; which certainly was neither for more nor less than God had engaged himself to him for. “I have,” saith he, “glorified thee on earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” John xvii. 4. And now, what doth he require after the manifestation of his eternal glory, of which for a season he had emptied himself, verse 5? Clearly a full confluence of the love of God and fruits of that love upon all his elect, in faith, sanctification, and glory. God gave them unto him, and he sanctified himself to be a sacrifice for their sake, praying for their sanctification, verses 17–19; their preservation in peace, or communion one with another, and union with God, verses 20, 21, “I pray not for these alone” (that is, his apostles), “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us;” and lastly, their glory, verse 24, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” All which several postulata are no doubt grounded upon the fore-cited promises which by his Father were made unto him. And in this, not one word concerning all and every one, but expressly the contrary, verse 9. Let this, then, be diligently observed, that the promise of God unto his Son, and the request of the Son unto his Father, are directed to this peculiar end of bringing sons unto God. And this is the first act, consisting of these three particulars.

2. The second is of laying upon him the punishment of sins, everywhere ascribed unto the Father: “Awake; O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of 172hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” Zech. xiii. 7. What here is set down imperatively, by way of command, is in the gospel indicatively expounded. “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad,” Matt. xxvi. 31. “He was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;” yea, “the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all;” yea, “it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and to put him to grief,” Isa. liii. 4, 6, 10. “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Cor. v. 21. The adjunct in both places is put for the subject, as the opposition between his being made sin and our being made righteousness declareth. “Him who knew no sin,” — that is, who deserved no punishment, — “him hath he made to be sin,” or laid the punishment due to sin upon him. Or perhaps, in the latter place, sin may be taken for an offering or sacrifice for the expiation of sin, ἁμαρτία answering in this place to the word חַטָּאת in the Old Testament, which signifieth both sin and the sacrifice for it. And this the Lord did; for as for Herod, Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, when they were gathered together, they did nothing but “what his hand and counsel had determined before to be done,” Acts iv. 27, 28. Whence the great shakings of our Saviour were in his close conflict with his Father’s wrath, and that burden which by himself he immediately imposed on him. When there was no hand or instrument outwardly appearing to put him to any suffering or cruciating torment, then he “began to be sorrowful, even unto death” Matt. xxvi. 37, 38; to wit, when he was in the garden with his three choice apostles, before the traitor or any of his accomplices appeared, then was he “sore amazed, and very heavy,” Mark xiv. 33. That was the time, “in the days of his flesh, when he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,” Heb. v. 7; which how he performed the evangelist describeth, Luke xxii. 43, 44: “There appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. But being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Surely it was a close and strong trial, and that immediately from his Father, he now underwent; for how meekly and cheerfully doth he submit, without any regret or trouble of spirit, to all the cruelty of men and violence offered to his body, until this conflict being renewed again, he cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And this, by the way, will be worth our observation that we may know with whom our Saviour chiefly had to do, and what was that which he underwent for sinners; which also will give some light to the grand query concerning the persons of them for whom he undertook all this. His sufferings were far from consisting in mere corporal perpessions and afflictions, with such impressions upon his 173soul and spirit as were the effects and issues only of them. It was no more nor less than the curse of the law of God which he underwent for us: for he freed us from the curse “by being made a curse,” Gal. iii. 13; which contained all the punishment that was due to sin, either in the severity of God’s justice, or according to the exigence of that law which required obedience. That the execration of the law should be only temporal death, as the law was considered to be the instrument of the Jewish polity, and serving that economy or dispensation, is true; but that it should be no more, as it is the universal rule of obedience, and the bond of the covenant between God and man, is a foolish dream. Nay, but in dying for us Christ did not only aim at our good, but also directly died in our stead. The punishment due to our sin and the chastisement of our peace was upon him; which that it was the pains of hell, in their nature and being, in their weight and pressure, though not in tendence and continuance (it being impossible that he should be detained by death), who can deny and not be injurious to the justice of God, which will inevitably inflict those pains to eternity upon sinners? It is true, indeed, there is a relaxation of the law in respect of the persons suffering, God admitting of commutation; as in the old law, when in their sacrifices the life of the beast was accepted (in respect to the carnal part of the ordinances) for the life of the man. This is fully revealed, and we believe it; but for any change of the punishment, in respect of the nature of it, where is the least intimation of any alteration? We conclude, then, this second act of God, in laying the punishment on him for us, with that of the prophet, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” Isa. liii. 6: and add thereunto this observation, that it seems strange to me that Christ should undergo the pains of hell in their stead who lay in the pains of hell before he underwent those pains, and shall continue in them to eternity; for “their worm dieth not, neither is their fire quenched.” To which I may add this dilemma to our Universalists:— God imposed his wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in his sight: “If the Lord should mark iniquities, who should stand?” Ps. cxxx. 3. We might all go to cast all that we have “to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty,” Isa. ii. 20, 21. If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, 174why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of all their sins? You will say, “Because of their unbelief; they will not believe.” But this unbelief, is it a sin or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which he died from partaking of the fruit of his death? If he did not, then did he not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will.

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