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ens, which we know is Death; but can neither be the Object of a personal Vengeance, nor suffer the Horrors of a personal Guilt, as it is impossible an innocent Person should ; and thus Christ died for our Sins, but could neither suffer the Wrath of God, nor feel the Horrors and Despair of Sinners. This does not belong to the Sacrifice, bụt to the Sinner himself; the Sacrifice can never be the Object of God's Wrath and Displeasure ; for then it could not make a Propitiation and Attonement, which nothing can do, but that which pleases 3, and it sounds to me like a Contradiction, that what is the Object of God's Wrath Thould be an acceptable Sacrifice, :
To be the Object of God's Wrath is to suffer his Anger, his fiercest Anger and Displeasure; if then Christ suffered the Wrath of God, God was very angry with him; but I would fain know for what Reason? Had Christ done any thing to displease him? He was perfectly Innocent and Holy, always obedient to his Will, and therefore God could not be angry with him upon his own personal Account; but he stood in the Place of Sinners, and therefore that Anger which was due co Sinners, was transferred on him. But though Punishment may, can Anger also be transferred, which is always personal? But what is meant by Christ's standing in the Place of Sinners? Is ic any thing more, than that he died a Sacrifice for Sin? And was this a Reason for God to be angry with him? Was not this by his Father's Appointment, and in Obedience to his Will? And is the most perfect Act of Obedienee and Submission a Reason of Anger? But was God's giving his Son a Sacrifice for Sinners, an Expression of God's Anger and Displeasure, or of his Love to Sinners? And if God in great Love and Compassion
to Sinners, gave his Son to die for them, how does this Son of his Love become the Object of his Wrath and Displeasure by dying for them ? This, I confess, would be a very considerable Objection to me against believing the Death of Christ to be a true and proper Sacrifice for Sin, could I not believe this, without owning that he suffered the Wrath and Vengeance of God; but this is not only contrary to the Scripture Account of Christ's Death, but contradicts the true Notion of an expiatory Sacrifice.
But it is time now to consider the blefied Effects and Fruits of Christ's Death, or for what Reasons he died ; which will more fully explain this great Mystery to us.
The Conquest of Death by the Death and
Resurrection of Christ.
T HE first thing here to be consider'd is
Christ's abolishing Death by his Death and Resurrection from the Dead in human Nature ; for both these, as I shall shew yoù, were necessary to obtain a perfect Victory for us over Death, and to give us a new Right to imınortal Life. This Account our Saviour himself gives us of it. That he is the Bread of God, which came down from Heaven, and giveth Life unto the World. I am the Bread of Life. Your Fathers did eat Manna in the Wilderness, and are dead.
This is the Bread, which cometh down from Heaven that a Man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living Bread, which came down from Heaven, if any Man 'eat of this Bread, be pall live for ever ; and the Bread which I'will give is my Flesh, which I will give for the Life of the World, John vi. 33, 48, 49, 50, 51. That his giving his Fless, signifies his dying for us, no Man doubts; and by giving bis Flesh, by dying for us,' he gives Life to the World. For the fame Reason he tells us, that he is that good Shepherd, that layech down his Life for the Sheep ; who came, that they might have Life, and might have it more abundantly, John X. 10, 11. Thus he tells Mariba, I am the Resurrection and the Life ; be that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet hall be live, and be that liveth and believeth in me, mall never die, John xi. 25, 26. All which is resolved into his Conquest over Death, that he died, and rose again from the Dead, to give Life to the World: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my Life that I may take it again. No Man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of my felf; I have power to lay it dozen, and I have Power to take it up again : This Commandment bave I received of my Father, John X. 17, 18. This was the Covenant between Christ and his Father, that he should lay down his Life a Sao crifice for Sin, conquer Death by his ResurreEtion from the Dead, and thereby give Life to the World. "The fame Account the Apostle to the Hebrews. gives us of Christ's becoming Man and dying for us. Forasmuch then as the Children are Partakers of Flesh and Blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through Death he might destroy him who had the Power of Death, that is,
the Devil ; and deliver them, who through fear of Death were all their Life time subje&t to Bondage, Heb. ii. 14, 15. that is, he died to conquer Death, to destroy the Power and Kingdom of the Devil, whose Dominion is in the Regions of Death ; who by tempting our first Parents brought Sin and Death into the World, and whose Kingdom was to be destroyed, together with the Power and Dominion of Death, which is the Foundation and Strength of his Kingdom, by that Seed of the Woman, that should break the Serpent's Head. Thus St. Paul tells us, that Chrift" hath given us the Victory over Death; has conquered Death in his own Person, by rising again from the Dead, and will at the last Day raise all his faithful Disciples into immortal Life. O Death! where is thy Sling? O Grave! where is thy Victory? The Sting of Death is Sin, it is that which kills, and the Strength of Sin is the Law, that final Sentence God pronounced against Adam, and all his Posterity in him, Dust thou art, and to Dust thou shalt return. But thanks be to God, who bath given us the Via Etory, by our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57.
This is acknowledged by all who believe, that Christ raised himself from the Dead by his own Power, that he has conquered Death in his own Person, and as a Reward of it has received Power and Authority from his Father to raise his Disciples from the Dead, and to bestow immortal Life on them : But there are very few, that seem to me to understand the true Mystery of Christ's conquering Death by Death, or of his dying to conquer Death ; and yet, without this, we can never rightly understand the true Nature of Christ's Death, the Reason and Necessity of it, nor how much we owe to the Love of our Saviour in dying for us. Now I have already observed to you, that all Mankind being under the Sentence of Death, he who will be the Saviour of Mankind must raise them again from the Dead; for no Man is saved and delivered from the Curse of the Law, while he is in the State, and under the Power and Dominion of Death. Man consists of Soul and Body, and therefore a naked Soul in a State of Separation, is not a compleat and perfect Man, nor can enjoy the compleat and perfect Happiness of a Man; and therefore is not compleatly saved, till Soul and Body be re-united. The not observing this, is the Reason, why some Men so little understand the true Nature and End of Christ's Death. The most they are concerned for, is to provea future State of Rewards and Punishments, where good Men shall be happy, and the Wicked misea rable ; this is all the wisest Philosophers ever thought of, and this is all that most Christians seem concerned about; which must needs give them very obscure Notions, both of the Death and the Resurrection of Christ. But though the Souls of good Men are certainly in a State of Happiness, when separated from their Bodies, yet this is no where in Scripture called immortal Life; they are in a State of Death ftill; for Death is the separation of Soul and Body ; but our Immortality commences with our Resurrection, and it is abolishing Death, which brings Life and Immortality to Light. This Christ hath done, and this the Saviour of Mankind must do, if he will be a compleat Saviour. But then the Question is, why Christ must die himself, to conquer Death ? For could he not as well have raised us from the Dead without dying himself? Yes, without doubt, he had Power to raise the Dead without dying himself; for he rai. sed the Dead before he died himself, and had he