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SERM. his death; for otherwise it had not been miraculous, XXVII. it had not been a pledge of our resurrection. But I will not further needlessly insist upon explicating, or confirming a point so clear, and never misunderstood, or questioned, except by some wild and presumptuous heretics.
Our Saviour's death then was a true, real, and proper death, suitable to that frail, passible, and mortal nature, which he vouchsafed to undergo for Rom. viii.3. us; to the condition of sinful flesh, in the likeness whereof he did appear; severing his soul and body, and remitting them to their original sources; his passion was indeed ultimum supplicium, an extreme capital punishment, the highest, in the last result, which in this world either the fiercest injustice or Matt. x. 28. the severest justice could inflict: for, to kill the body is, as our Lord himself taught, the utmost limit of all human power and malice; the most and worst that man can do; they have not reρioσóreрóv Ti, any thing beyond that which they can attempt upon us; and so far did they proceed with our Lord. Such was the nature of his death; such indeed as was requisite for the accomplishment of the ends and effects designed thereby.
Luke xii. 4.
2. Let us now consider those peculiar adjuncts and respects of our Lord's death, (together with his whole passion, whereof his death was the chief part and final completion,) the which do commend it to our regard, and amplify the worth thereof; such are, 1. Its being a result of God's eternal resolution and decree. 2. Its being a matter of free consent and compact between God the Father and his only Son. 3. Its being anciently prefigured and predicted. 4. Its being executed by God's hand and providence guiding and
governing it; and by man's action concurring. 5. Its SERM. being the death of a person so holy and innocent, so high and excellent, of God's Son, of God the Son.
1. It was a result of God's eternal counsel and decree; it was no casual event, no expedient suddenly devised, or slipt from providence, but a welllaid design, from all eternity contrived by divine wisdom, resolved upon by divine goodness. As God did (by the incomprehensible perfection of his nature) from thence foresee our lapse and misery, so he did as soon determine our remedy and means of salvation. As the whole of that mysterious dispensation concerning Christ, so especially did this main part thereof proceed κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων, (C- Ephes. iii. cording to an eternal purpose, as St. Paul speaketh; for our Saviour was a Lamb slain (in designa- Rev. xiii. 8. tion irrevocable slain) from the foundation of the world; as it is said in the Revelation: and, We, 1 Pet. i. 19. saith St. Peter, were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, poeуwoμévov μèv, foreordained indeed before the foundation of the world: and our Saviour went, as he telleth us himself, to suffer, Kaтà To wp- Luke xxii. oμévov, according to what was determined: and, It acts ii. 23 was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, saith St. Peter, that he was delivered up into those wicked hands that slew him; nor did the conspiracy of Herod and Pilate, with the nation and people of the Jews, effect any thing about it, beyond ὅσα ἡ χεὶρ, καὶ ἡ βουλὴ Θεοῦ προώρισε γενέσθαι, Acts ir. 28. whatever the hand and counsel of God (or God's effectual purpose) had predetermined to come to pass. Such an especial care and providence of God, concerning this matter, so expressly and so
SERM. frequently recommended to our observation, do argue the very great moment and high worth thereof. What God declareth himself to have had so early and earnest a care of, must be matter of highest consideration and importance.
2. It was a matter of free consent and compact between God and his Son. God did freely and graciously (out of merciful regard to our welfare) proffer, that if he would please to undertake to redeem his (lost and enslaved) creature, an honourable and comfortable success to his enterprise; that he would accept his performances, and that the design should prosper in his hand he did willingly embrace the proposal, and applied himself to the performance : Isa. liii. 9, When thou shalt make thy soul an offering for sin, thou shalt see thy seed, and prolong thy days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in thy hand: thou shalt see of the travail of thy soul, and shalt be satisfied; that, in the prophet's language, Heb.x. 7,8. was God's proposition: and, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; that was our Saviour's reply in correspondence and consent thereto. God, in consideration of what our Lord would obediently suffer, did, Luke xxii. as our Saviour telleth us, diarileoba Baoiλeíav, covenant to him a kingdom; committing a sovereign authority, assigning an universal dominion to him; Heb. ii. 9. in virtue of which transaction it was that Jesus, for the suffering of death, was crowned with glory and Isa. liii. 12. honour; that because he poured out his soul unto death, God divided him a portion with the great; Phil. ii. 8,9, that he being obedient to the death, God exalted Rom. xiv.9. him, and gave him a name above all names. In this regard are God's elect and faithful people said to be given unto him as a retribution to him, who
I Cor. vi.
gave himself for them; (Thine they were, saith SERM. our Lord to his Father, and thou gavest them me ;) hence are we said to be bought with a price; hence John xvii. 6. is the church purchased by his blood: there was Gal. iii. 13. therefore a covenant and bargain driven between 20. God and his Son concerning this affair; and of Pet. i. 19. huge consideration surely must that affair be, wherein such persons do so deeply interest themselves, trafficking, and, as it were, standing upon terms with one another.
Acts xx. 28.
Luke xi. 51.
3. That the great excellency and efficacy of our Saviour's death and passion might appear, it was by manifold types foreshadowed, and in divers prophecies foretold. Indeed most of the famous passages of providence (especially the signal afflictions of eminent persons representing our Saviour) do seem to have been prefigurations of, or preludes to, his passion. The blood of the righteous protomartyr Abel, shed Gen. iv. 10. by an envious brother, for acceptable obedience performed by him to God's will, and crying to heaven, might prefigure that blood, which cried also, although with another voice, speaking better things than the Heb.xii.24, blood of Abel; not sad complaints, and suits for vengeance, but sweet entreaties and intercessions for mercy. Isaac, the only son, the son of promise, his Heb. xi. 7, oblation in purpose, or death in parable, as the Apostle to the Hebrews speaketh, did plainly represent our Saviour, the promised seed, his being really offered, and afterward miraculously restored to life. Joseph's being sold, and put into slavery by his envious brethren, being slanderously accused, and shut in prison, (whose feet they hurt with fetters; the iron Psal.cv. 18. entered into his soul;) and this by God's disposal in order to his exaltation; and that he might be a
SERM. means of preserving life, and preparing a convenient XXVII. habitation for the children of Israel, doth well reGen. xlv.5. semble him, who by suffering entered into his glory; who thereby being perfected, became author of John xiv. 2. salvation to his brethren, all true Israelites; who
26. Heb. v. 9.
went to prepare mansions of rest and light, a heavenly Goshen, for them. David's persecutions foregoing his royal dignity and prosperous state; which Psal xviii. he expresseth in such strains as these; The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; the sorrows of hell compassed me about, and the snares of death prevented me; how they may-adumbrate the more real extremities of our Lord's afflictions, previous to his glorious exaltation, I leave you to consider; as also the rest of such passages, having a mysterious importance accommodable to this purpose. However, all the sacrifices of old, instituted by God, we may with fuller confidence affirm to have been chiefly preparatory unto and prefigurative of this most true Heb. ix. 23. and perfect sacrifice; by virtue whereof indeed those inodeiyuara, and σkiai, umbratic representations (or insinuations) did obtain their substance, validity, and effect if they did not signify this in design, they Heb. ix. 22. could signify nothing in effect; for as without shedding of blood there was no remission, (God's anger would not be appeased, nor his justice satisfied withLevit. xii. out it; it being blood, which, according to God's prescription, did make atonement for the soul,) as
the appointment of those sacrifices did speak and sigHeb. x. 4. nify; so it was impossible that the blood of bulls ix. 9,15.x and goats should take away sin; that those legal
gifts and sacrifices should perfect the conscience of him that did the service; that is, should entirely as