Gambar halaman

world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” In this passage we see most clearly that all the power and authority to which Christ is advanced is subsequent to his resurrection.

The origin and extent of the power of Christ are also most distinctly expressed, Phil. ii. 8. 11.“ He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is - Lord, to the glory of God the Faiher.”

To the same purpose also, 1 Peter i. 20,21. “ Who (Christ) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times, for you, who by bim do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” I should think it: hardly possible to read this single passage with aitention, and not see that the writer of it cousidered Christ as a being distinct from God, and subordinate to hiin : that all his glory was subsequent to his resurrection; and also that, though he was foreordained before the foundation of the world, he was not manifested, or brought into being, ull these last times, or those of the gospel.


There are some other passages in the New Testament, which are similar to those which I have quoted above, and may serve to illustrate them. John xvi. 15. “ All things that the Father bath are mine." xvii. 10. “ All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.” i Cor. viii. 6.“ To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by bim." .

That there is nothing in any of the passages which I have now quoted, that implies any proper divinity in Christ, is sufficiently evident, even without the addition of such expressions as directly assert the contrary; as when the apostle Paul says, that 6 to us there is one God, even the Father;" and our Saviour calls his Father the only true God. To signify that the authority of Christ is not underived, like that of God; and at the same time to inform us from whence it does proceed, the apostle says, that “it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell.” In the very same language our Saviour speaks of his disciples, “ Fear not, little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”


The death of Christ being an event of the greatest consequence to the end of his coming into the world, and being, at the same time, the great stumbling-block both to the Jews and the Gentiles, who could not easily reconcile theinselves to the notion of a suffering

Saviour, .

Saviour, it is no wonder that the writers of the New Testament speak much of it, and represent it in a great variety of lights, and especially such as would appear the most favourable to the Christian converts. Ju this case we naturally expect bold comparisons and allusions, especially considering how much more figurative is the style of the books of scripture, and indeed of all oriental writings, than ours. But in whatever lights the sacred writers represent the death of Christ, there is resemblance enough sufficiently to justify the representation, at the same time that this event being compared to so many things, and things of such different natures, proves that the resemblance in all of them is only in certain respects, and that they differ considerably in others..

For example, the death of Christ is compared to a sacrifice in general, because he gave up his life in the cause of virtue and of God, and more especially a sacrifice for sin, because his death and resurrection were necessary to the confirmation of that gospel by which sinners are brought to repentance, and thereby recon. ciled to God. It is called a curse, because he died in a state of suspension, which was by the Jews appropri. ated to those persons who were considered as reprobated by God; and it is called a passover, because it may be considered as a sign of our deliverance from the power of sin, as the passover among the Jews was a sign of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage. It is also called a ransom, because we are delivered by the gospel from sin and misery. On the same account, he

[ocr errors]

is said by his death, to bear, or take away, our sins, since his gospel delivers us from the power of sin, and consequently from the punishment due to it.

These are all bold but significant figures of speech, the death of Christ really corresponding to them all to a certain degree ; but they differ so very widely from one another, that no one thing can correspond to any of them throughout; for then it must exclude all, or at least most of the rest. The same thing, for instance, could not be a curse and a sacrifice; because every thing accursed was considered as an abomination in the sight of God, and could never be brought to the altar; and the killing of the paschal lamb was a thing essentially different from a sacrifice for sin:

These observations appear to me to be a sufficient guide to the interpretation of all the language of the New Testament respecting the death of Christ, without supposing that it had any proper influence upon God, so as to render him propitious to his offending creatures, or that it made it consistent with the divine justice to forgive the sins of mankind; which is contrary to a thousand plain and express declarations of scripture, which represent God as being essentially, and of himself, merciful and gracious, without the Jeast reference to any other being or agent whatever, and as forgiving freely, and gratuitously, upon our repentance and amendment, without any other atone. njent or satisfaction. I shall therefore content myself with reciting a few of the passages in which the death of Christ is represented in these several lights.



sins, and when he ofi says, ix. 22. no remission.' pretty frequentl not more than at books of the New is 1 John ii. 1. 66 sins.” But if the was the establishme world is reformed, ir Being is rendered pro to represent his death great purpose ! Besid law of Moses are never place of the sinuer; by approach the divine pf

without some offering, universal custom of the vereigns and great men, clean (which not only things absolutely indiffet to render a man) could y or temple service, with occasion.

This idea may explai

Eph. V. 2. “ Christ also has loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, of a sweet-smelling savour.” Heb. vii, 27. “ Who needed not daily to offer sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people. For this he did once, when he offered up himself.” With the same idea he says, ix. 22. “And without shedding blood there is no remission.” This view of the death of Christ occurs pretty frequently in this epistle to the Hebrews, but not more than about half a dozen times in all the other books of the New Testament; the principal of which is 1 John ii. 1. “ And he is the propitiation for our sins.” But if the great object of the death of Christ was the establishment of that religion by which the world is reformed, in consequence of which the Divine Being is rendered propitious to them, how natural is it to represent his death as a sacrifice to God, for that great purpose! Besides, sacrifices for sin under the law of Moses are never considered as standing in the place of the sinuer ; but as the people were never to approach the divine presence, upon any occasion, without some offering, agreeable to the standing and universal custom of the East, with respect to all sovereigns and great men, so no person after being unclean (which not only moral guilt, but a number of things absolutely indifferent to morality were supposed to render a man) could be introduced to the tabernacle or temple service, without an offering proper to the occasion. This idea may explain 2 Cor. v. 21. 6 He made


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »