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his own body on the tree; that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness : by whose stripes ye were healed. 1 John iii. 5, He was manifested, to take away our sins. Rev. i. 5, Unto him, that loved
US, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God.
In every one of these passages, as well as many others, it is evident beyond all debate, that Christ stood in the place of mankind; bore their sins; and healed them by the stripes, which he suffered: that our iniquities were laid on him; that he washed our sins away; became a curse for us; was wounded for our transgressions; made reconciliation for iniquity; and was cut off, not for himself, but for mankind. The same doctrine is taught with equal precision in many other forms of expression; but, I presume, it is unnecessary to add any thing further on this part of the subject.
4thly. I argue the same doctrine from those passages, in which we are said to be forgiven, or saved, for his sake, or in his name.
Acts iv. 12, Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts xiii. 38, Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness
1 John ii. 12, I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. i Cor. vi. 11,
ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus. Eph. iv. 32, Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Now, it is plain, that we cannot be forgiven, washed, justified, or saved, for the sake of Christ, unless Christ was, in some sense or other, a substitute for us ; stood in our place; did something, which we had failed to do; made amends for faults, which we had committed; or in other words, made that atonement for sin, which God was pleased to accept. Of the very same import are those passages of the Old Testament, in which sin is said to be forgiven, and blessings to be bestowed, upon mankind by God, for his name's sake, or for his own sake. In Exod. xxiii. 21, God, speaking of his own Angel, says, beware of him, and obey his voice; and provoke him not ; for
he will not pardon your transgressions : for my name is in him. The Jews, of ancient times, considered the name of God, mentioned in a great number of passages in the Old Testament, as being no other, than one appellation of the Messiah ; and construed those passages, in which the forgiveness of sin was promised for the sake of the Name of God, in some, and probably in all instances, as intending, and really, though figuratively, expressing, forgiveness for the sake of the Messiah. Thus, when in Isaiah xlviii
. 9, God says, For my name's sake will I defer mine anger; and in the 11th verse, for mine own sake will I do it; when the Psalmist says, Ps. xxv. 11, For thy Name's sake pardon mine iniquity; and Pš. cix. 21, Do thou for me, O God, the Lord, for thy Name's sake ; and Ps. cxliii. 11, Quicken me for thy name's Vol. II
be full ;
sake; and when the Church says, Ps. lxxix. 9, Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy Name's sake : the phraseology is exactly equivalent to what it would be, if for the sake of Christ had been substituted in each of these cases. This, however, is not mentioned as being necessary to the proof of the doctrine in hand; but as evidence, that the same views of it are given us in both Testaments.
On the same ground we are required to offer up our prayers to God in the Name of Christ. In John xvi. 23, our Saviour says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name : ask, and ye shall receive ; that your joy may and again, At that day ye shall ask in my name : and in John xiv. 13, 14, And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father
be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. See, also, John xv. 16. St. Paul also, (Colossians iïi. 17) And whatsoever ye do in word, or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ; giving thanks to God and the Father by him. The direction, given to us to offer up our prayers and thanksgivings in the name of Christ, and the promise, that in this case, and in this only, we shall be heard, teaches us in the strongest manner, that our prayers are acceptable to God for his sake, and not our own ; and that in offering them we are to rely, wholly, for acceptance, and for blessings of every kind, on what he has done, and not on what we have ourselves done. Of course, the audience and acceptance which are granted, and the blessings which are given to us, are granted, and given, for the sake of Christ, and not for our own sakes. But no reason can be alleged, why blessings should be given to us for the sake of Christ, unless he has interfered in some manner, or other, in our behalf, and done something for us, which has made it pleasing, and proper, in the sight of God, to give us blessings on this account, which, otherwise, he would not have thought it proper to give. If God will not give us blessings on our own account, it is undoubtedly, because we have done something, which renders it improper for him thus to give them. Otherwise, the same benevolence, which feeds the sparrow and the raven, would certainly be ready to bless us. We, therefore, by our sins have forfeited our title to all blessings, and even to the privilege of asking for them. If God will give us blessings on account of Christ, it is certain, that Christ has done something for us, which has removed this impropriety, and which God accepts on our behalf, notwithstanding the forfeiture. In other words, he has made it consistent with the honour of the divine character and government, that the benevolence, which we had forfeited, should be renewedly exercised towards us.
5thly. I argue the same doctrine from the Sacrifices, under the law of Moses.
St. Paul tells us, that the ancient tabernacle was a FIGURE for the time present. In the service, performed in it, victims were continually offered, under the name of sin-offerings; and by them an atonement was made for the sins, and for the souls, of the people. On this subject, the passages, which declare the doctrine, here specified, are found almost every where in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers; and cannot need to be repeated, at this time. But we know, from the same Apostle, that it is not possible for the blood of bulls, and of goats, to take away sin. Yet this blood is said, in thirty or forty passages, to be the means of making an atonement for those who offered it. In what manner was this true? St. Paul himself has taught us that it was true, in the typical, or figurative, sense, only. All these sacrifices, as he has taught us expressly in the 9th and 10th chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews, were only types of the sacrifice of Christ; and the atonement, professedly made by them, was only a type of the real atonement, made by him. Particularly, the ceremonial of the sacrifice, on the great day of expiation, when the high priest made an atonement for himself, his family, the priests, and the whole congregation of Israel, was a remarkable and most lively type of the death and resurrection of Christ. On this day, the 10th day of the 7th month, annually, two goats were selected for an offering to God. One of these was killed, and his blood sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat, and upon the horns of the altar. This was called making an atonement for the holy place, and reconciling the holy place, the tabernacle, and the altar unto God; as having been polluted, during the preceding year, by the imperfect and impure services of sinful beings. On the head of the living goat the high priest laid both his hands, and confessed over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel; and sent him away, by a fit man into the wilderness. Of this goat it was said, that he should bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited. This religious service cannot, I think, need any explanation.
1 shall now proceed to consider,
1st. That, in my own view, all the sufferings of Christ were in. cluded in the atonement, which he made for sin.
Christ was perfectly holy. No part of his sufferings, therefore, can have been inflicted, or undergone, for his own sake. He was always beloved of God; and whatever he thought, spoke, or did, was ever well-pleasing in his sight. When, therefore, we are told, that it pleased Jehovah to bruise him, it was not as a punishment; for he never merited punishment; not a wanton, causeless infliction; for God cannot be the author of such an infliction. It was only as a substitute for mankind, that he was afflicted in any case, or in any degree; or because he had laid on him the iniquities of us
all. I understand all such general expressions as these : Ought not Christ to have suffered ; it behoved Christ to suffer ; Christ must needs have suffered; Christ suffered for us; Who being rich, became poor, that ye through him might become rich; as directly in
, dicating, that all his sufferings were parts of his atonement. 2dly. The death of Christ, together with its preceding and at
, iendant agonies, especially constituted his atonement.
This must, I think, have been already made evident from many passages, quoted, under the third head of discourse, as proofs of the Existence of an atonement for sin. I shall, however, add to these, several others, which must, it would seem, place the point, now in question, beyond a doubt.
In the text it is said, that Christ is set forth as a propitiation, through faith in his blood. But if the blood of Christ was not the means of his becoming a propitiation, it is difficult to conceive in what sense his blood can be the object of our faith, any more than the blood of Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, or any other Martyr to the truth of God. But if we walk in the light, says St. John—the blood of his Son Jesus Christ cleanselh us from all sin. Ephesians i. 7, In whom we have redemption through his blood; the forgiveness of sins ; according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians ii. 13, But now in Christ Jesus ye, who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 1 Peter i. 18, 19, Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot. Rev. i. 5, Who washed us from our sins in his blood. Rev. v. 9, Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. Rom. v. 9, Being justified by his blood. In these passages it is directly asserted, that mankind are washed, cleansed, justiñed, forgiven, redeemed, and made nigh unto God, by the blood of Christ. He, who admits the Existence of an Atonement, cannot, with these declarations in view, hesitate to admit also, that it was accomplished by his blood, that is, by his death and its connected sufferings. The views of Christ himself concerning this subject cannot easily be mistaken, if we remember, that he said, that he came to give his life a ransom for many ; that the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep; I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. And the bread ihat I will give, is my flesh; which I will give for the life of the world. John vi. 51.
3dly. The peculiar agonies, which preceded, and attended, the death of Christ, and in which the atonement, made by him for sin, peculiarly consisted, were chiefly distresses of mind, and not of body. This I think evident from many considerations.
1st. There is no reason, so far as I can see, to suppose that the bodily sufferings of Christ were more severe, or even so severe, as those which have been experienced by many others.
The death of the cross, was undoubtedly a very distressing death. But it was probably less distressing, than that, experienced by
many of the Martyrs. Some of these were roasted by a slow fire. Some were dislocated on the rack, and suffered to expire under long continued tortures. Some had their flesh taken off, piece by piece, in a very gradual manner, with red hot pincers. Others expired under various other kinds of exquisite sufferings, devised by the utmost ingenuity of man, and protracted with the utmost cruelty. Multitudes of these Martyrs, however, have sustained all their distresses without a complaint, and expired without a groan.
Multitudes also, both of Martyrs and others, have died on the cross itself ; and, for aught that appears, with bodily anguish, not inferior to that, which Christ endured. Yet of these, it would seem, numbers have died in the same peaceful manner. Even the thieves, who were crucified together with our Saviour, seem to have died without any complaint.
Yet Christ uttered a very bitter complaint on the cross; and complained, also, in a similar manner, in the garden of Gethsemane. Whence arose these complaints ? Not from his want of resignation to the will of God; for no other person was ever so resigned: not from the want of fortitude ; for no other person ever possessed it in an equal degree. The very complaints, which he utters, do not appear to have any respect to his bodily sufferings, but to have originated entirely from a different cause; and that cause purely mental; as I shall have occasion further onward to explain.
2dly. Christ is expressly said to have made his Soul an offering for sin.
Isaiah liji. 19, When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. In the margin, "When his soul shall make an offering for sin.” In Lowth, “ If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice." But if his soul was indeed the sin-offering, then the sufferings which he underwent as an atonement for sin, were peculiarly the sufferings of his soul; or mental sufferings. Accordingly, they are called the travail of his soul.*
3dly. The complaints of Christ in the 22d, 40th, 69th, and 80th Psalms, appear to indicate, that his sufferings were chiefly sufferings of mind.
Such, at least, is the impression, made on my mind by reading these passages of Scripture ; an impression, resulting, not so much from detached parts, as from the whole strain, of the composition. To this mode of examining the subject I shall refer those, who hear me, for their own satisfaction.
4thly. The agony, which Christ underwent in the garden of Gethsemane, exhibits the same truth.
Christ, in this garden, had his sufferings in full view. The prospect was so terrible, that it forced from him sweat, as it were great drops of blood
falling to the ground. At the same time, he prayed earnestly thrice, that, if it were possible, this cup might pass from
• He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. Ibid.