תמונות בעמוד

γειλε. .

27. xxvi. 22.

SERM. and represent; plain predi&tions also did express the same
XXVII. death and suffering of our Lord : Those things, saith St.
Acts iii. 18. Peter, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all
Ilqoxuríz- his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath fo fulfilled ;

not one prophet only, not some few; but all, saith he,
(that is, either plainly or covertly, either dire&ly or by
consequence,) have foreshewed (or foretold) it: it is our
negligence, or stupidity, if we do not discern it in them;

as our Lord intimated, when he thus fpake to his disciLuke xxiv. ples : 0 fools, and Now of heart to believe all that the xvii. 31. prophets have spoken! ought not Chrif (ought he not, acActs xiii. cording to their presignifications and predictions) to have

suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? That
David, an illustrious representative of the Messias, doth

often describe as belonging to himself, mortal agonies and Psal. xxii. sufferings, not well applicable xatd af&rv, or in direct histo109, &c.

rical meaning, to his own person, and therefore in reason,
according to a more high and perfect sense, to be under-
stood of the Messias himself; that Daniel plainly fore-
telleth, that in a certain time the Meffias should be cut off;
that Isaiah doth in several places infinuate, and in the
famous 53d chapter of his prophecy doth clearly describe,
the manner and kind of our Saviour's passion, is so evi-
dent, that even those of the Jewish doctors, who have
been most earnest opposers of our Lord, have been forced
to acknowledge, that there is to be as well one Messias
to fuffer, as another to prosper, and reign in glory; being
so gross as not to apprehend, or so perverse as not to ac-

knowledge, the consistency between antecedent suffering Luke xxii. and consequent glory; between a night of darkness and

sorrow, and a day of light and joy breaking out from it;
not being able or willing to distinguish between an ex-
ternal pomp in this world, and an external majesty in the
future state. But unto us God's so forward care, by the

Spirit of Christ in his prophets, wspojeceptúpeo far, to fore-wit1 Pet. i. 11. ness (as St. Peter speaketh, or to testify before hand) the

sufferings of our Saviour, and the glories succeeding, doth
imply, with what diligence of attention we should regard,
with what firmness of faith we should embrace, with what


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xii. 27

Rom. viii.

satisfaction of heart we should entertain this great and SERM. admirable dispensation.

XXVII. 4. We may consider, that this death was compaffed by God's especial providence directing and disposing it, although not without the active concurrence of men: the treacherous disposition and covetous appetite of Judas ; the envious humour and blind zeal of the scribes and priests; the wanton fickleness and wild rudeness of the people; the fearful and selfish temper of the governor, were but instruments, whereby God's own hund did inflict Afts iv. 28. this fore chastisement upon his Son for us : it was the Ifa. liii. 6, Lord that laid upon him the iniquities of us all; by God *. he was stricken, Smitten, and afflicted; Pilate, it is said, had no power to do what he did, but what was given him John xix. from above; the Jews with their rulers proceeded rafhly 1 Cor. ii. 8. and ignorantly; otherwise, as St. Paul affirmeth, they A&ts iii. 17. would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but God advisedly, as St. Peter told them, did accomplish it; He did 32. not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us : he, as it were, suspended his bowels of pity toward him, he withdrew his face of kindness from him, out of compassion and benignity toward us; he used him feverely, that he might deal favourably with us.

Yet did man actively concur therein; all mankind in a fort, by its representatives, was involved, as principally in the guilt for which, so in the guilt by which he suffered; there was a general conspiracy of Jew and Gentile practised against the life of their common Saviour. Of a truth, Acts iv. 27. faith St. Peter, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, were gathered together both Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and with the people of Israel : in the Jews the horrid ingratitude of men, in the Gentiles their wretched infirmity did appear; the which, by their active efficacy toward our Lord's death, did signify the meritorious influence they also had upon it; that it was our iniquity and corruption which did cause it : so as a work of divine Providence, (the most admirable work ever accomplished by Providence,) as an act of human pravity, (the

15. lxxij. 14.

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Ifa. liii. 9.

SERM. moft heinous act ever committed by men,) is the death of

our Lord confiderable.

5. But more immediately the quality and condition of

our Saviour's person do most commend to us, and advance Psal. cxvi. the worth of his death: if, as the Psalmist faith, precious

in the hght of the Lord is the death of his saints ; if the 1 Pet

. i. 19. fpotless candour and unblemished integrity of a lamb do 1 Pet. ii. 22. make its blood precious, and qualify it for an acceptable 1 John iii

. 5. facrifice; how valuable to God shall be the death of a Heb. vii. person so perfectly holy and innocent; who did not so 26, 27.

much as know fin; in whose mouth no guile was ever
found ; who was holy, harmless, undefiled, removed (at in-
finite distance removed) from finners ; who needed not to
offer sacrifices for his own fins; whose death therefore for
others was apt to be more available and acceptable!

Again, if the life of a king be (as king David's people 2 Sam.xviii. told him) worth ten thousand lives; if it be a most enor3. xxi. 17.

mous crime and highest treason to imagine his death;
how valuable must be the death of a person so incompa-
rably transcendent in dignity, of the Lord of glory, of the

Prince of life! Ye denied the holy and the just One; ye sew 1 Cor. ii. 8. the Prince of life: They crucified the Lord of glory : fo

the Apostles do aggravate the business. But a farther
height, a perfect immensity indeed, of worth and efficacy,
must needs accrue to the death of our Saviour, from his
being the Son of God; from his being God, (one and

the same in nature with his almighty and all-glorious 1 John i. 7. Father:) for it is the blood of Christ, the Son of God, which Aets xx. 28. purgeth us from all fin; yea, God himself did, as St. Tit. ii. 14. Paul faith in the Acts, purchase the Church with his own

blood'; it is the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ,

who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all 1 John iii. iniquity : and, Hereby, faith St. John, perceive we the love

of God, because he laid down his life for us. That the im-
mortal God should die, that the Most High should be
debased to fo low a condition, as it cannot be heard with-
out wonder, so it could not be undertaken without huge
reason, nor accomplished without mighty effect : well in-

AEts iji. 15.

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Pf. xl. 7, 9.
Heb. X. 7.


deed might such a condescenfion serve to advance us from SERM. the baseft ftate to any pitch of honour and happiness; XXVII. well might one drop of that royal blood of heaven fuffice to purchase many worlds, to ransom innumerable lives of men, to expiate an infinity of sins, however grievous and foul. But so much for the peculiar adjuncts and respects of our Lord's death.

3. Let us now consider the causes and principles whence it proceeded; which moved God to determine it, and our Lord to undertake it; they were in both acts most voluntary and free: of the Father it is faid, It pleased Ifa. liii. 10. the Lord to bruise him; and, Behold, faith our Lord in the Psalm, I come to do thy will, O God; that is, as the Apostle to the Hebrews expoundeth it, to offer, not the blood of beasts in sacrifice, but my own body, according to thy will and appointment: and, This commandment, John x. 18. faith he in St. John, I received of my Father, to lay down my life: and, The cup, faith he again, which my Father John xviii. hath given me, shall I not drink it? so on the Father's part, and on our Saviour's likewise, it was no less voluntary; for, None, faith he, taketh my life from me, (that John 1. 18. is, it is not from any necessity or compulsion that I do part with it,) but I lay it down of myself, (with absolute choice and freedom ;) I have power to lay it down, and I John vi. 51. have power to resume it: and, The bread, faith he, which 1 Matt. xxi. shall give, is my flesh, which I fall give for the life of the Gal

. ii. 20, world : The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for Tit

. ii. 14. many. The yielding his flesh to death, the paying his life a ransom, were deeds of gift, perfectly free : and that both in regard to God the Father and the Son this performance was voluntary, St. Paul together thus exprefleth; Who gave himself for our fns, that he might deliver Gal. i. 4. us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father : so this death issued from the joint wills of God and his Son. But as the volitions of

every intelligent and wise agent do always proceed from some principle inclining, or are directed according to fome impulsive cause moving to them, so divers principles and causes of these voluntary acts are declared in Scripture;


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ελέους. . Luke i. 78.

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SERM. the chief of which are reducible to these two; one inter-
XXVII. nally disposing God's goodness; the other externally in-

viting man's distress. The case stood thus: mankind lying
in a sad and forlorn estate, oppressed by Satan, enslaved to
fin, subject to a rigorous law, exposed to the severity of
justice, tormented by the sense of guilt, fearful of divine
wrath and due vengeance; in short, by the sentence of
heaven and by the suffrage of conscience within, con-
demned to punishment unavoidable, and to intolerable
misery; man, I say, lying in so desperately uncomfortable

a condition, God's infinite goodness regarded his poor Asà opháy- creature, his bowels of compasion yearned toward him, a

defire of relieving sprang up in his will; thence was he
moved to provide such a remedy, suitable and sufficient
for his delivery; for the removing all those mischiefs and
curing all those distempers: the main source of all this
wonderful performance, (as of all other providential dis-
pensations and works, ad extra,) was that most excellent

perfection of God, which, in regard to this matter, is Tit. iii. 4. sometime termed xensórns, benignity, or bounty; implying Eph. ii. 7.

the great benefit and advantage we do thence receive; Heb. ii. 9. sometimes grace, or favour, fignifying the pure freeness in

dispenfing it, without any design of profit to himself, or

any defert on our part, (By the grace of God he tasted Eph. ii. 8, death for every man;) sometimes mercy, denoting our bad

deserts, or obnoxiousness to justice and punishment; some
Luke i. 78. times pity, fignifying the great need we had thereof, by
Eph. ii. 4: reason of our extreme distress and misery. Commonly
Heb. ii, 17.

also it is, by the most obliging and endearing name styled
love, and philanthropy, intimating the earnest regard and

benevolence God had to us as his creatures, and as ca-
1 Tim. ii. 6. pable of being benefited and bettered by him ; Herein,
Tit. iii. 4. faith St. Paul, God commended his love toward us, in that
Eph. ii
. 4. we being yet firiners, Chris died for us; and, God, faith

St. John, loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for
John ii. 16, us ; and, God, faith our Lord himself, so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Sonthat the world might
le saved by him.

By the way it is worth observing, that there is diftin

Rom. ii. 4.

Rom. iii.
2 Cor. viii.

5. i. 7. Tit. iii. 5.

Rom. v. 8.

i John iy. 9, 10.


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