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sure him of pardon and impunity, or raise in him a SERM strong and clear hope of God's favour: the lives of XXVII. beasts were not in value answerable, nor could fitly be subrogated instead of men's souls, which had offended, and thence were liable to death; the effusion of their blood could not reasonably satisfy a man's conscience, sensible of guilt and fearful of God's displeasure, that by it God was fully appeased; they must therefore refer unto a кpeittwv Ovoía, a more Heb. ix. 23. excellent sacrifice; one more sufficient in itself, and more acceptable to God; in virtue of which, and in regard thereto, sin might be thoroughly expiated, God's wrath might be propitiated, divine vengeance might be removed, the mind of man therefore might be comforted and contented. The high priest's entrance once a year into the holy of holies, not with- Heb. ix, 7. out blood to atone for his own and the people's ignorances, (or miscarriages,) did imply, that our great High Priest should make one bloody atonement for the offences of mankind, and, passing through the veil of mortal flesh, should enter into the true sanctum sanctorum of heaven, there to appear in the presence of God for us; exhibiting the virtue of his meritorious passion, together with his effectual intercession for mercy toward us. Especially the paschal lamb, in its substance, (as a lamb, meek and gentle,) in its quality, (as without blemish and spot, pure and innocent,) in its manner of preparation and dressing, (being killed by all the assembly, having its blood sprinkled upon the doors of every house, being roasted with fire, having bitter herbs for its sauce,) with other observable circumstances about it, was a most apposite emblem of Christ our passover; 1 Cor. v. 7. who not only by his death did signify, and mind us
SERM. of, but did really achieve our deliverance from the XXVII. mystical Egypt, our state of spiritual bondage. So did ancient types exhibit and represent; plain predictions also did express the same death and sufActs iii. 18. fering of our Lord: Those things, saith St. Peter, Προκατήγο γειλε. which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled; not one prophet only, not some few; but all, saith he, (that is, either plainly or covertly, either directly 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, Luke xxiv. when he thus spake to his disciples: O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have 27. xxvi. spoken! ought not Christ (ought he not, according
xviii. 31. Acts xiii.
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 sufferings, not well applicable Psal. xxii. Kaтà λéğı, or in direct historical meaning, to his own person, and therefore in reason, according to a more high and perfect sense, to be understood of the Messias himself; that Daniel plainly foretelleth, that in a certain time the Messias should be cut off; that Isaiah doth in several places insinuate, and in the famous 53rd chapter of his prophecy doth clearly describe, the manner and kind of our Saviour's passion, is so evident, 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 suffer, as another to prosper, and reign in glory; being so gross as not to apprehend, or so perverse as not to acknowledge, the con
sistency between antecedent suffering and consequent SERM. glory; between a night of darkness and sorrow, and XXVII. a day of night and joy breaking out from it; not Luke xxii. being able or willing to distinguish between an external 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, πрo- 1 Pet. i. 11. μapríρeobas to forewitness (as St. Peter speaketh, or to testify beforehand) 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 satisfaction of heart we should entertain this great and admirable dispensation.
4. We may consider, that this death was compassed 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 hand did inflict this Acts iv. 28. sore chastisement upon his Son for us: it was the Isa. 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, John xix. but what was given him from above; the Jews with their rulers proceeded rashly and ignorantly; otherwise, as St. Paul affirmeth, they would not have 1 Cor. ii. 8. crucified the Lord of glory; but God advisedly, as xiii. 27. St. Peter told them, did accomplish it; He did not Rom. viii. spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us: he, as it were, suspended his bowels of pity toward
Acts iii. 17
SERM. him, he withdrew his face of kindness from him, XXVII. out of compassion and benignity toward us; he used him severely, that he might deal favourably with us.
Yet did man actively concur therein; all mankind in a sort, 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 Acts iv. 27. common Saviour. Of a truth, saith 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 most heinous act ever committed by men,) is the death of our Lord considerable.
5. But more immediately the quality and condition of our Saviour's person do most commend to us, and advance the worth of his death: if, as the Psal. cxvi. Psalmist saith, precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints; if the spotless candour and 2 Cor. v. 21, unblemished integrity of a lamb do make its blood
15. lxxii. 14.
I Pet. ii. 22.
Heb. vii. 26, 27.
1John iii. precious, and qualify it for an acceptable sacrifice; Isa. liii. 9. how valuable to God shall be the death of a person so perfectly holy and innocent; who did not so much as know sin; in whose mouth no guile was ever found; who was holy, harmless, undefiled, removed (at infinite distance removed) from sinners; who
3. xxi. 17.
needed not to offer sacrifices for his own sins; SERM. 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 told him) worth ten thou-2Sam. xviii. sand lives; if it be a most enormous crime and highest treason to imagine his death; how valuable must be the death of a person so incomparably transcendent in dignity, of the Lord of glory, of the Prince of life! Ye denied the holy and the Acts iii. 15. just one; ye slew the Prince of life: They cruci-1 Cor. ii. 8. fied the Lord of glory: so the apostles do aggravate the business. But a further 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 Father:) for it is the blood of Christ, the of God, which purgeth us from all sin; God himself did, as St. Paul saith in the Acts, Acts xx. 28. purchase the church with his own blood; it is the Tit. ii. 14. great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity: and, Hereby, saith St. John, perceive 1 John iii. we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. That the immortal God should die, that the Most High should be debased to so low a condition, as it cannot be heard without wonder, so it could not be undertaken without huge reason, nor accomplished without mighty effect: well indeed might such a condescension serve to advance us from the basest state to any pitch of honour and happiness; well might one drop of that royal blood of heaven suffice to purchase many worlds, to ransom innumerable lives of men, to expiate an infinity of sins,
Son 1 John i. 7.
Rev. i. 5, 6.