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mystery of God manifested in the flesh, and justified in the Spirit;" the unsearchableness of that love, which appoiited God to be man, the Creator of the world to be despised as a worm, for the salvation of such rebels as might justly have been left under chains of darkness, and reserved to the same inevitable destruction with the devils which fell before them, Secondly, To have always before our eyes the great hatefulness of siu, which no sacrifice could have expiated but the blood of God himself; and the great severity and inexorableness of God's justice against it, which no satisfaction could pacify, no obedience compensate, but the suffering and exinanition of himself. O what a condition shall that man be in, who must stand, or rather everlastingly sink and be crushed, ụnto the weight of that wrath against sin, which amazed and made heavy unto death the soul of Christ himself! which made him who had the strength of the Deity to support him, the fulness of the Spirit to sanctify and prepare him, the message of an angel to comfort him, the relation of a beloved Son to refresh him, the voice of his father from Heaven testifying unto him that he was heard in that he feared, the assurance of an ensuing glory, and victory to encourage him (none of which shall be allowed the wicked in Hell, who shall not only be the vessels of his vengeance, but, which will be as grievous as that, the everlasting objects of his hatred and destestation), which made, I say, even the Son of God himself, notwithstanding all these abatements, to pray with strong cries, and bloody drops, and woful conflicts of the soul against the cup of his Father's wrath, and to shrink and decline that very work, for which only he came into the world! Thirdly, To praise God for that great honour, which he hath conferred upon our nature in the flesh of bis Son, which, in bim, is anointed with more grace and glory, and filled with more vast and unmatchable perfection, than all the angels in Heaven are together capable of. For though, for a little while, he was made lower than the angels for the purpose of his suffering, yet he iş “now sat down on the right hand of Majesty on high; angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him *.” And for the infinite mercy which he hath showed to our souls, bodies, and persons in the sacrifice of his Son; in our reconciliation and favour with him; in the justificatiou of our persons from the guilt of sin; in the sanctification of our nature from the corruption of sin; in the inheritance reserved in Heaven for us; in the communion and fellowship we have with Christ in his merits, power, privileges, and heavenly likeness. “Now,” saith the apostle, we are sons; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is 5."
* Heb. ii. 6, 9.
1 Pet. vi. 22.
Heb. i. 4, 13.
From these things which have been spoken of the personal qualifications of our High-priest, it will be easy to find out the third particular enquired into, touching the acts or offices of Christ's priesthood; or rather touching the parts of the same action ; for it is all but one? Two acts there are, wherein the execution of this office doth consist. The first, An act of oblation of himself once for all, as an adequate sacrifice, and full compensation for the sins of the whole world. Our debt unto God was twofold: as we were his creatures, so we owed unto him a debt of active obedience, in doing the duties of the whole law; and as we are his prisoners, so we owed unto him a debt of passive obedience, in suffering, willingly and thoroughly, the curses of the law. And under this law Christ was made to redeem us by his fulfilling all that righteousness, who were under the precepts and penalties of the law ourselves. Therefore the apostle saith, “ He was sin for us;" that is, a sacrifice for sin, to meet and intercept that wrath, which was breaking out upon usb. Herein was the great mercy of God seen to us, that he would not punish sinners, though he would not spare sin. If he should have resolved to have judged sinners, we must have perished in our own persons; but being pleased to deal with sin only “in abstracto,' and to spare the sinner, he was contented to accept of a sacrifice, which (under the relation and title of a sacrifice) stood in his sight like the body of sin alone by itself: in which respect he is likewise said to be made a curse for us.' Now that which together with these things giveth the complete and ultimate formality of a sacrifice unto the death of Christ, was his own willingness thereunto in that he offered himself. And therefore he is called “the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world,” because he was dumb, and opened not his mouth, —but was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ's death, in regard of God the Father, was a necessary death; for he had before determined' that it should be done d. “ Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer e." -“The Son of man must be lifted upf," and therefore he is said to be “a Lamb, slain from the beginning of the world,” in regard of God's decree and pre-ordination. But this gave it not the formality of a sacrifice : for God the Father was not the priest; and it is the action of the priest, which giveth the being of a sacrifice to that which is offered. Again ; Christ's death in regard of men was violent; they slew him with wicked hands, and “killed the Prince of life." And, in this sense, it was no sacrifice neither; for they were not priests, but butchers of Christ. Thirdly, His death in regard of himself was voluntaryh. “I lay down my life; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again i.” And this oblation, and willing obedience, or rendering himself to God, is that which gives being to a sacrifice. He was delivered by God;; he was delivered by Judask and the Jews'; and he was yielded and given up by himselfm: in regard of God, it was justice and mercy"; in regard of man, it was murder and crueltyo; in regard of Christ, it was obedience and humility , and that voluntary act of his that which made it a sacrifice. “He gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savourq." His death' did not grow out of
yl John iii. 2. · Aug. Enchirid. c. 41. et Danæi Comment. de Mendacio, c. 15. et Ep. 120.-Greg. Nazian. Orat. 2. de filio.-Chrysost. in 2. Cor. 5. • Heb. ix. 14, 26. b 2 Cor. v. 21. c Gal. iii. 13.
• Hostia si ad aras reluctata fuisset, invito Deo offerri putabant. Macrob. Saturn. lib. 3. cap.5.-Imd non nisi volentem et velut annuentem mactabant. Plut. Sympos. lib. 8. cap. 8. Παραφυλάττουσιν ισχυρώς το μη σφάτίειν πριν έπινεύσαι κατασπενδόμενον. . c Phil. ii. 8. d Acts iv. 28. • Luke xxiv. 46. John iii. 14. & Acts ii. 23, ii. 15. b Quia voluit quando voluit. Aug. dc Trin. 1. 4. cap. 13.-Passiones animi et corporis dispensationis voluntate sine uila necessitate suscepit. lib. 83. Quæst. cap. 80.–Spiritum cum verbo sponte dimisit, prævento carnificis officio. Tert. Apol. cap. 21. i John x. 17, 18. j Acts ii. 23. k De traditione Christi facta à Patre et à Filio, à Juda et Judæis, vide (ex Augustino) Lumb. 3. Sent. Dist. 20. C. D. I Matt. xxvi. 2. Acts jii. 13. Gal. ij. 20. Eph. v. 25. John iii, 16, 17. Rom. iii. 23. • Acts vii. 52. p Phil. ii. 8. 9 Eph. v. 2. Non conditionis ne
the condition of his nature, neither was it inflicted on bim by reason of an excess of strength in those that executed it (for he was the Lord of glory); but only out of mercy towards men, out of obedience towards God, and out of power in himself. For omnis Christi infirmitas fuit ex potestate:' by his power he assumed those infirmities, which the economy and dispensation of his priesthood on the earth required ; and by the same power, he laid them aside again, when the service was ended. And this, I say, was that which made it a sacrifice. As martyrdom, when men lay down their lives for the profession of the truth and the service of the church, is called a sacrifice
If it be here objected, that Christ's death was against his own will, for he exceedingly feared it, and prayed earnestly against it, as a thing contrary to his will,"_To this I answer, That all this doth not hinder but commend his willingness and obedience. Consider him in private as a man, of the same natural affections, desires, and abhorrences with other men; and consider the cup as it was ' calix amaritudinis,' a very bitter cup; and so he most justly feared and declined it, as knowing that it would be a most woful and a heavy combat which he was entering upon. But consider him in his public relation, as a mediator, a surety, a merciful and faithful High-priest; and so he most willingly and obediently submitted unto it. And this willingness, ' ratione officii,' was much the greater, because fratione naturæ,' his will could not but shrink from it. It is easy to be willing in such a service, as is suitable to our natural condition and affections; but when nature shall necessarily shrink, sweat, startle, and stand amazed at a service, then not to repent, nor decline, nor fling off the burden, but, with submission of heart, to lie down under it,—this is, of all other, the greatest obedience? It was the voice of nature, and the presentation of the just and implanted desires of the flesh, to say “ Transeat,” Let it pass from ine. It was the retractation of mercy
cessitate, sed miserationis voluntate. Aug. in Psal. 78.-Vid. Parker de Descensu, lib. 3. num. 116. · Phil. ii. 17. • Heb. v. 7. u Matt. xxvi. 39. * See Hooker, lib. 5, num. 48. Field, of the Church, lib. 5. cap. 18. Between these divers desires, no Repugnancy, but a Subordination.-Filius Dei, qui dixit et facta sunt; mandavit et creata sunt omnia : secundum hoc quod Filius hominis temperat sententiam, &c. Hier. Ep. 702. lib. 2. advers. Pelagium.
and duty to say, “ Glorify thyself:” whatever my nature desires, whatever my will declines, whatever becomes of me, yet still glorify thyself and save thy church. If it cannot otherwise be, than by my drinking this bitter cup, “ Thy will be done.”
The second act in the work of Christ's priesthood, is the act of application or virtual continuation of this sacrifice to the end of the world, and that is in the intercession of Christ; unto which there is pre-required a power and prevalency over all his enemies, to break through the guilt of sin, the curse of the law, and the chains of death, with which it was impossible that he should be held. The vision which Moses had of the burning bush, was an excellent resemblance of the sacrifice of Christ. The bush noted the sacrifice; the fire, the suffering; the continuance and prevailing of the bush against the fire, the victory of Christ, and breaking through all those sufferings which would utterly have devoured any other man. And this power of Christ was showed in his resurrection, wherein “ he was declared to be the Son of God with power";" and in his ascension, when “ he led all his enemies captive ?;” and" in his sitting at the right hand of God,” far above all principalities and powers a. All which did make way to the presenting of his sacrifice before the mercy-seat, which is the consummation thereof; and without which he had not been a priest. “We have such a High-priest,” saith the apostle, "as is set down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens: for if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests which offer gifts according to the law b.” It was the same continued action, whereby the priest did offer withoút the Holy place, and did then bring the blood into the Holiest of alle. For the reason why it was shed, was, to present it to the mercy-seat, and to show it unto the Lord there. So Christ's act or office was not ended, nor fit to denominate him a complete priest, till he did enter with blood, and present his offering, in the Holiest of all, not made with hands d. And therefore he had not been a priest, if he should have continued on the earth : for there was
* Eph. i. 19, 20.
b Heb. viii. 14.
y Rom. i. 4. e Heb. xiii. 11.
2 Eph. iv. 8.