« Prev Chapter XXVI. Of the matter of the punishment… Next »

Chapter XXVI.

Of the matter of the punishment that Christ underwent, or what he suffered.

Having despatched this digression, I return again to the consideration of the death of Christ as it was a punishment, which shall now be pursued unto its issue.

The third thing proposed to consideration on this account, was the matter of this punishment that Christ underwent, which is commonly expressed by the name of his “death.”

Death is a name comprehensive of all evil, of what nature or of what kind soever, — all that was threatened, all that was ever inflicted on man. Though much of it falls within the compass of this life, and short of death, yet it is evil purely on the account of its relation to death and its tendency thereunto; which when it is taken away, it is no more generally and absolutely evil, but in some regard only.

The death of Christ, as comprehending his punishment, may be considered two ways: 1. In itself; 2. In reference to the law.

On the first head I shall only consider the general evident concomitants of it as they lie in the story, which are all set down as aggravations of the punishment he underwent; on the latter I shall give an account of the whole in reference to the law:—

1. Of death natural, which in its whole nature is penal (as hath been elsewhere evinced), there are four aggravations, whereunto all others may be referred: as, — (1.) That it be violent or bloody; (2.) That it be ignominious or shameful; (3.) That it be lingering and painful; (4.) That it be legal and accursed. And all these to the height met in the death of Christ.

(1.) It was violent and bloody: hence he is said to be, — [1.] Slain, Acts ii. 23, Ἀνείλετε, “Ye have slain;” [2.] Killed, Acts iii. 15, Ἀπεκτείνατε, “Ye have killed;” [3.] Put to death, John xviii. 31, 32; [4.] Cut off, Dan. ix. 26.

The death of Christ and the blood of Christ are on this account 486in the Scripture the same. His death was by the effusion of his blood, and what is done by his death is still said to be done by his blood. And though he willingly gave up himself to God therein as he was a sacrifice, yet he was taken by violence and nailed to the cross as it was a punishment; and the dissolution of his body and soul was by a means no less violent than if he had been most unwilling thereunto.

(2.) It was ignominious and shameful.488488   Σκελοκοπία, seu crucifragium ut crux ipsa, servorum quasi peculiare supplicium fuit.” — Lipsias. “Sublimes extra ordinem aliquæ statuebantur cruces; si exempla edenda forent in famosa persona, et ob atrox facinus, aut si hoc supplicio veniret afficiendus ille, cujus odium erat apud omnes flagrantissimum.” — Salmas. de Cruce. Which seems to be the case in the cross of Christ, between those of the thieves. Bene addit crucem, nam servorum non civium crucis erat supplicium.” — Nannius, in Terent. And. Act. 3, 5, 15. ― “Noli minitari scio crucem Futuram mihi sepulchrum: ibi enim mei majores sunt siti, Pater, avus, proavus, abavus.” Servus apud Plaut. Mil. Glor. ii. 4, 19.
   Vid. Trach. Histor. lib. ii. 27; Vulcat. in Avid. Cassio, cap. iv.; Capitolin. in Macrin. cap. xii.; Luc. Florus, lib. iii. cap. xix.
Such was the death of the cross, — the death of slaves, malefactors, robbers, pests of the earth and burdens of human society, like those crucified with him. Hence he is said to be “obedient unto death, the death of the cross,” Phil. ii. 8, that shameful and ignominious death. And when he “endured the cross,” he “despised the shame” also, Heb. xii. 2. To be brought forth and scourged as a malefactor amongst malefactors in the eye of the world, made a scorn and a by-word, men wagging the head and making mouths at him in derision, when he was full of torture, bleeding to death, is no small aggravation of it. Hence the most frequent expression of his death is by the cross, or crucifying.

(3.) It was lingering. It was the voice of cruelty itself concerning one who was condemned to die, “Sentiat se mori,’ — “Let him so die that he may feel himself dying;” and of one who, to escape torture, killed himself, “Evasit,’ — “He escaped me.” Sudden death, though violent, is an escape from torture. Such was this of Christ. From his agony in the garden, when he began to die (all the powers of hell being then let loose upon him), until the giving up of the ghost, it was from the evening of one day to the evening of another; from his scourging by Pilate, after which he was under continual pain and suffering in his soul and in his body, to his death, it was six hours; and all this while was he under exquisite tortures, as, on very many considerations, might easily be made manifest.

(4.) It was legal, and so an accursed death. There was process against him by witness and judgment. Though they were, indeed, all false and unjust, yet to the eye of the world his death was legal, and consequently accursed: Gal. iii. 13, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,” — that is, because of the doom of the law, whose sentence is called a curse, Deut. xxi. 23. Such was that of Christ, Isa. liii. 4.

4872. As all these aggravations attended his death as it was death itself, so there was a universality in all the concernments of it as it was a legal punishment. Briefly to give some instances:—

(1.) There was a universality of efficient causes, whether principal or instrumental. The first great division of causes efficient is into the Creator and the creatures; and both here concurred:—

[1.] The Creator, God himself, laid it upon him. He was not only “delivered by his determinate counsel,” Acts ii. 22, 23, iv. 27, 28, not spared by him, but given up to death, Rom. viii. 32; but “it pleased him to bruise him, and to put him to grief,” Isa. liii. 10, as also to “forsake him,” Ps. xxii. 1: so acting in his punishment, by the immission of that which is evil and the subtraction of that which is good, so putting the cup into his hand which he was to drink, and mixing the wine thereof for him, as shall afterward be declared.

[2.] Of creatures, one general division is into intelligent and brute or irrational; and both these also, in their several ways, concurred to his punishment, as they were to do by the sentence and curse of the law.

Intelligent creatures are distinguished into spiritual and invisible, and visible and corporeal also:—

1st. Of the first sort are angels and devils; which agree in the same nature, differing only in qualities and states or conditions. Of all beings, the angels seem to have had no hand in the death of Christ: for, being not judge, as was God; nor opposite to God, as is Satan; nor under the curse of the law, as is mankind and the residue of the creatures, — though they had inestimable benefit by the death of Christ, yet neither by demerit nor efficacy, as is revealed, did they add to his punishment. Only, whereas it was their duty to have preserved him, being innocent, and in his way, from violence and fury, their assistance was withheld.

But from that sort of spiritual invisible creatures he suffered in the attempts of the devil.

Christ looked on him at a distance, in his approach to set upon him. “The prince of this world,” saith he, “cometh,” John xiv. 30. He saw him coming, with all his malice, fury, and violence, to set upon him, to ruin him if it were possible. And that he had a close combat with him on the cross is evident from the conquest that Christ there made of him, Col. ii. 15, which was not done without wounds and blood; when he brake the serpent’s head, the serpent bruised his heel, Gen. iii. 15.

2dly. As for men, the second rank of intellectual creatures, they had their influence into this punishment of Christ, in all their distributions that on any account they were cast into:—

(1st.) In respect of country or nation, and the privileges thereon attending. The whole world on this account is divided into Jews and Gentiles; and both these had their efficiency in this business: 488Ps. ii. 1, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” Heathen and people, Gentiles and Jews, are all in it, as the place is interpreted by the apostles, Acts iv. 25, 26. And to make this the more eminent, the great representatives of the two people conspired in it, the sanhedrim of the Jews and the body of the people in the metropolitical city on the one hand, and the Romans for the Gentiles, who then were “rerum domini,” and governed οἰκουμένην, as Luke tells us, Luke ii. 1. The whole on both hands is expressed Matt. xx. 18, 10.

(2dly.) As to order, men are distinguished into rulers and those under authority, and both sorts herein concurred.

Rulers are either civil or ecclesiastical; both which (notwithstanding all their divisions) conspired in the death of Christ.

As for civil rulers, as it was foretold, Ps. ii. 2, Ps. xxii. 12, so it was accomplished, Acts iv. 25, 26. The story is known of the concurrence of Herod and Pilate in the thing; — the one, ruler of the place where he lived and conversed; the other, of the place where he was taken and crucified.

As for ecclesiastical rulers, what was done by the priests and all the council of the elders is known; the matter of fact need not be insisted on. Indeed, they were the great contrivers and malicious plotters of his death, using all ways and means for the accomplishing of it, Acts iii. 17; in particular, Annas, the usurper of the priesthood, seems to have had a great hand in the business, and therefore to him was he first carried.

As for those under authority, besides what we have in the story, Peter tells the body of the people, Acts ii. 23, that “they took him, and with wicked hands crucified and slew him;” and chap. iii. 15, that they “killed the Prince of life.” So Zech. xii. 10, not only the “house of David,” the rulers, but the “inhabitants of Jerusalem,” the people, are said to “pierce him;” and thence “they which pierced him” is a periphrasis of the Jews. Rev. i. 7, after “Every eye shall see him,” there is a distribution into “They which pierced him,” that is, the Jews, and “All kindreds of the earth,” that is, the Gentiles. The very rabble were stirred up to cry, “Crucify him, crucify him,” and did it accordingly, Matt. xxvii. 20; and they all consented as one man in the cry, verse 22, and that with violence and clamour, verse 23. Abjects made mouths at him, Ps. xxxv. 15, xxii. 7.

(3dly.) Distinguish man in relation to himself, either upon a natural or moral account, as his kindred and relations, or strangers, and they will appear to be all engaged; but this is so comprised in the former distinction of Jews and Gentiles that it need not be insisted on.

On a moral account, as they were either his friends or his enemies, he suffered from both.

His friends, all his disciples, forsook him and fled, Matt. xxvi. 56. 489The worst of them betrayed him, verses 14, 15, and the best of them denied him, verse 70; and so “there was none to help,” Ps. xxii. 11.

And if it were thus with him in the house of his friends, what may be expected from his enemies? Their malice and conspiracy, their implacableness and cruelty, their plotting and accomplishment of their designs, take up so great a part of the history of his crucifying that I shall not need insist on particular instances.

Yea, mankind was engaged as distinguished into sexes. Of men of all sorts you have heard already; and the tempting, ensnaring, captious question of the maid to Peter manifests that amongst his persecutors there were of that sex also, Matt. xxvi. 69.

Of men’s distinction by their employments, of soldiers, lawyers, citizens, divines, all concurring to this work, I shall not add any thing to what hath been spoken.

Thus the first order of creatures, those that are intellectual, were universally, at least with a distributive universality, engaged in the suffering of the Lord Jesus; and the reason of this general engagement was, because the curse that was come upon them for sin had filled them all with enmity one against another:— First, Fallen men and angels were engaged into an everlasting enmity on the first entrance of sin, Gen. iii. 15. Secondly, Men one towards another were filled with malice, and envy, and hatred, Tit. iii. 3.

The Jews and Gentiles were engaged, by way of visible representation of the enmity which was come on all mankind, John iv. 9, Eph. ii. 14–17; and therefore he who was to undergo the whole curse of the law was to have the rage and fury of them all executed on him. As I said before, all their persecution of him concerned not his death as it was a sacrifice, as he made his soul an offering for sin; but as it was a punishment, the utmost of their enmity was to be executed towards him.

The residue of the creatures concurred thus far to his sufferings as to manifest themselves at that time to be visibly under the curse and indignation that was upon him, and so withdrew themselves, as it were, from yielding him the least assistance. To instance in general, heaven and earth lost their glory, and that in them which is useful and comfortable to the children of men, without which all the other conveniencies and advantages are as a thing of naught. The glory of heaven is its light, Ps. xix. 1, 2; and the glory of the earth is its stability. He hath fixed the earth that it shall not be moved.

Now, both these were lost at once. The heavens were darkened when it might be expected, in an ordinary course, that the sun should have shone in its full beauty, Matt. xxvii. 45, Luke xxiii. 44, 45; and the earth lost its stability, and shook or trembled, and the rocks rent, and the graves opened, Matt. xxvii. 51, 52; — all evidences 490of that displeasure against sin which God was then putting in execution to the utmost, Rom. i. 18.

Thus, first, in his suffering there was universality of efficient causes.

(2.) There was a universality in respect of the subjects wherein he suffered. He suffered, — [1.] In his person; [2.] In his name; [3.] In his friends; [4.] In his goods; as the curse of the law extended to all, and that universally in all these:—

[1.] In his person or his human nature. In his person he suffered, in the two essential, constituent parts of it, his body and his soul:— 1st. His body. In general, as to its integral parts, his body was “broken,” 1 Cor. xi. 24, or crucified; his blood was “shed,” Matt. xxvi. 28, or poured out. 2dly. His soul. His “soul was made an offering for sin,” Isa. liii. 10; and his “soul was heavy unto death,” Matt. xxvi. 37, 38.

1st. In particular, his body suffered in all its concernments, — namely, all his senses and all its parts or members.

In all its senses; as, to instance, —

(1st.) In his feeling. He was full of pain, which made him, as he says, cry for disquietness; and this is comprised in every one of those expressions which say he was broken, pierced, and lived so long on the cross in the midst of most exquisite torture, until, being full of pain, he “cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost,” Matt. xxvii. 50.

(2dly.) His tasting. When he fainted with loss of blood and grew thirsty, “they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall,” Matt. xxvii. 34, John xix. 29, Matt. xxvii. 48, not to stupify his senses, but to increase his torment.

(3dly.) His seeing, though not so much in the natural organ of it as in its use. He saw his mother and disciples standing by full of grief, sorrow, and confusion; which exceedingly increased his anguish and perplexity, John xix. 25, 26. And he saw his enemies full of rage and horror standing round about him, Ps. xxii. 12, 16. He saw them passing by and wagging the head in scorn, Matt. xxvii. 39, Ps. xxii. 7, 8.

(4thly.) His ears were filled with the reproach and blasphemy of which he grievously complains, Ps. xxii. 7, 8; which also is expressed in its accomplishment, Matt. xxvii. 39–44, Luke xxiii. 36, 37. They reproached him with God, and his ministry, and his profession; as did also one of the thieves that were crucified with him. And, —

(5thly.) They crucified him in a noisome place, a place of stink and loathsomeness, a place where they cast the dead bodies of men, from whose bones it got the name of “Golgotha,” — a place of dead men’s skulls, Matt. xxvii. 33.

He suffered in all the parts of his body, especially those which are most tender and full of sense:—

(1st.) For his head, they platted a crown of thorns, and put it on 491him; and, to increase his pain, smote it on (that the thorns might pierce him the deeper) with their staves, Matt. xxvii. 29, 30, as the Jews had stricken him before, chap. xxvi. 67, 68, John xix. 2, 3.

(2dly.) His face they spat upon, buffeted, smote, and plucked off his hair, Isa. l. 6, Matt. xxvi. 67, 68.

(3dly.) His back was torn with whips and scourges, Matt. xxvii. 26, John xix. 1, ἐμαστίγωσε there “they made long their furrows.”

(4thly.) His hands, and feet, and side, were pierced with nails and spear, Ps. xxii. 16.

(5thly.) To express the residue of his body, and the condition of it when he hung on the cross so long, by the soreness of his hands and his feet, says he, “All my bones are out of joint,” Ps. xxii. 14, and also verses 16, 17.

Thus was it with his body.

2dly. The like also is expressed of his soul; for, —

(1st.) On his mind was darkness, — not in it, but on it, — as to his apprehension of the love and presence of God. Hence was his cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Ps. xxii. 1, Matt. xxvii. 46. Though his faith was, upon the whole of the matter, prevalent and victorious, Isa. i. 7–9, yet he had many sore conflicts with the sense and apprehension of God’s wrath for sin, and that desertion he was then under as to any cheering influences of his love and presence.

(2dly.) For the rest of his faculties, he was not only under the pressure of the most perplexing, grievous, and burdensome passions that human nature is obnoxious unto, as, — [1st.] Heaviness, “His soul was heavy unto death,” Matt. xxvi. 37, 38; [2dly.] Grief, “[No sorrow like to his,” Lam. i. 12; [3dly.] Fear, Heb. v. 7; — but was also pressed into a condition beyond what we have words to express, or names of passions or affections to set it forth by. Hence he is said to be “in an agony,” Luke xxii. 44; to be “amazed,” Mark xiv. 33; with the like expressions, intimating a condition miserable and distressed beyond what we are able to comprehend or express.

[2.] In his name, his repute, or credit, he suffered also. He was numbered amongst transgressors, Isa. liii. 12, Ps. xxii.; counted a malefactor, and crucified amongst them; a seducer, a blasphemer, a seditious person, a false prophet; and was cruelly mocked and derided on the cross as an impostor, that saved others but could not save himself, that pretended to be the Messiah, the King of Israel, but could not come down from the cross; laid in the balance with Barabbas, a rogue and a murderer, and rejected for him, Matt. xxvii..

[3.] In his friends. The Shepherd was smitten, and the sheep scattered, Zech. xiii. 7, — all his friends distressed, scattered, glad to flee for their lives, or to save themselves by doing the things that were worse than death.

492[4.] In his goods, even all that he had: “They parted his garments, and cast lots for his vesture,” Ps. xxii. 18.

Thus did he not in any thing go free, that the curse of the law in all things might be executed on him. The law curses a man in all his concernments, with the immission and infliction of every thing that is evil, and the subtraction of every thing that is good; that is, with “pœna sensus et pœna damni,” as they are called.

In reference to the law, I say that Christ underwent that very punishment that was threatened in the law and was due to sinners; the same that we should have undergone, had not our surety done it for us. To clear this briefly, observe that the punishment of the law may be considered two ways:—

1. Absolutely in its own nature, as it lies in the law and the threatening thereof. This in general is called “death,” Gen. ii. 17, Ezek. xviii. 4, Rom. v. 12; and by way of aggravation, because of its comprising the death of body and soul, “death unto death,” 2 Cor. ii. 16; and “the second death,” Rev. xx. 14; and “the curse,” Deut. xxvii. to xxix., Matt. xxv. 41; and “wrath,” 1 Thess. i. 10 (hence we are said to be “delivered from the wrath to come”); and “wrath,” or “the day of wrath,” Rom. ii. 5, and in innumerable other places: all which are set out, in many metaphorical expressions, by those things which are to the nature of man most dreadful; as of “a lake with fire and brimstone,” of “Tophet, whose pile is much wood,” and the like.

Of this punishment in general there are two parts:—

(1.) Loss, or separation from God, expressed in these words, “Depart from me,” Matt. vii. 23; “Depart, ye cursed,” chap. xxv. 41; as also, 2 Thess. i. 9.

(2.) Sense or pain; whence it is called “fire,” as 2 Thess. i. 8; “torments,” etc., Luke xvi. 23. All this we say Christ underwent, as shall be farther manifested.

2. Punishment of the law may be considered relatively to its subject, or the persons punished, and that in two regards:—

(1.) In reference to its own attendancies and necessary consequents, as it falls upon the persons to be punished; and these are two:—

[1.] That it be a “worm that dieth not,” Mark ix. 44, Isa. lxvi. 24.

[2.] That it be a “fire not to be quenched,” — that it be everlasting, that its torments be eternal.

And both these, I say, attend and follow the punishment of the law, on the account of its relation to the persons punished, for, —

1st. The worm is from the in-being and everlasting abiding of a man’s own sin. That tormenting anguish of conscience which shall perplex the damned to eternity attends their punishment merely from their own sin inherent. This Christ could not undergo. The worm attends not sir, imputed, but sin inherent, especially not sin 493imputed to him who underwent it willingly, it being the cruciating vexation of men’s own thoughts, kindled by the wrath of God against themselves about their own sin.

2dly. That this worm never dies, that this fire can never be quenched, but abides for ever, is also from the relation of punishment to a finite creature that is no more. Eternity is not absolutely in the curse of the law, but as a finite creature is cursed thereby. If a sinner could at once admit upon himself that which is equal in divine justice to his offence, and so make satisfaction, there might be an end of his punishment in time; but a finite and every way limited creature, having sinned his eternity in this world against an eternal and infinite God, must abide by it for ever. This was Christ free from. The dignity of his person was such as that he could fully satisfy divine justice in a limited season; after which God in justice loosed the pains of death, for it was impossible he should be detained thereby, Acts ii. 24, and that because he was able to “swallow up death in victory.”

(2.) Punishment, as it relates to the persons punished, may be also considered in respect of the effects which it produceth in them which are not in the punishment absolutely considered; and these are generally two:—

[1.] Repining against God and blaspheming of him, as in that type of hell, Isa. viii. 21, 22. This is evil or sin in itself, which punishment is not. It is from the righteous God, who will do no iniquity. This proceeds from men’s hatred of God. They hate him in this world, when he doth them good and blesses them with many mercies; how much more will their hatred be increased when they shall be cut off from all favour or mercy whatever, and never enjoy one drop of refreshment from him! They hate him, his justice, yea, his blessedness, and all his perfections. Hence they murmur, repine, and blaspheme him. Now, this must needs be infinitely remote from him who, in love to his Father, and for his Father’s glory, underwent this punishment. He was loved of the Father, and loved him, and willingly drank off this cup, which poisons the souls of sinners with wrath and revenge.

[2.] Despair in themselves. Their hopes being cut off to eternity, there remaining no more sacrifice for sin, they are their own tormentors with everlastingly perplexing despair. But this our Saviour was most remote from, and that because he believed he should have a glorious issue of the trial he underwent, Heb. xii. 2, Isa. l. 7–9.

But as to the punishment that is threatened in the law, in itself considered, Christ underwent the same that the law threatened, and which we should have undergone; for, —

1. The law threatened death, Gen. ii. 17, Ezek. xviii. 4; and he tasted death for us, Heb. ii. 9, Ps. xxii. 15. The punishment of 494the law is the curse, Deut. xxvii.–xxix.; and he was made a curse, Gal. iii. 13. The law threatened loss of the love and the favour of God, and he lost it, Ps. xxii. 1.

To say that the death threatened by the law was one, and that Christ underwent another, that eternal, this temperal, and so also of the curse and desertion threatened (besides what shall be said afterward), would render the whole business of our salvation unintelligible, as being revealed in terms equivocal, nowhere explained.

2. There is not the least intimation in the whole book of God of any change of the punishment in reference to the Surety from what it was or should have been in respect of the sinner. God “made all our iniquities to meet on him;” that is, as hath been declared, the punishment due to them. Was it the same punishment, or another? Did we deserve one punishment, and Christ undergo another? Was it the sentence of the law that was executed on him, or was it some other thing that he was obnoxious to? It is said that he was “made under the law,” Gal. iv. 4; that “sin was condemned in his flesh,” Rom. viii. 3; that “God spared him not,” verse 32; that he “tasted death,” Heb. ii. 9; that he was “made a curse,” Gal. iii. 13; — all relating to the law. That he suffered more or less there is no mention.

It is strange to me that we should deserve one punishment, and he who is punished for us should undergo another, yet both of them be constantly described by the same names and titles. If God laid the punishment of our sins on Christ, certainly it was the punishment that was due to them. Mention is everywhere made of a commutation of persons, the just suffering for the unjust, the sponsor for the offender, his name as a surety being taken into the obligation, and the whole debt required, of him; but of a change of punishment there is no mention at all. And there is this desperate consequence, that will be made readily, upon a supposal that any thing less than the curse of the law or death, in the nature of it eternal, was inflicted on Christ, — namely, that God indeed is not such a sore revenger of sin as in the Scripture he is proposed to be, but can pass it by in the way of composition on much easier terms.

3. The punishment due to us, that is in the “curse of the law,” consists, as was said, of two parts:— (1.) Loss, or separation from God; (2.) Sense, from the infliction of the evil threatened. And both these did our Saviour undergo.

(1.) For the first, it is expressed of him, Ps. xxii. 1; and he actually complains of it himself, Matt. xxvii. 46: and of this cry for a while he says, “O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not,” Ps. xxii. 2, until he gives out that grievous complaint, verse 15, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd;” which cry he pressed so long with strong cries and supplications, until he was heard and delivered from what he feared, Heb. v. 7. They who would invent 495evasions for this express complaint of our Saviour that he was deserted and forsaken, as that he spake it in reference to his church, or of his own being left to the power and malice of the Jews, do indeed little less than blaspheme him, and say he was not forsaken of God, when himself complains that he was; — forsaken, I say, not by the disjunction of his personal union, but as to the communication of effects of love and favour; which is the desertion that the damned lie under in hell. And as for his being forsaken or given up to the hands of men, was that it which he complained of? was that it whereof he was afraid, which he was troubled at, which he sweat blood under the consideration of, and had need of an angel to comfort and support him? Was he so much in courage and resolution below those many thousands who joyfully suffered the same things for him? If he was only forsaken to the power of the Jews, it must be so. Let men take heed how they give occasion of blaspheming the holy and blessed name of the Son of God.

Vaninus, that great atheist, who was burned for atheism at Toulouse in France, all the way as he went to the stake did nothing but insult over the friars that attended him, telling them that their Saviour when he was led to death did sweat and tremble, and was in an agony; but that he, upon the account of reason, whereunto he sacrificed his life, went with boldness and cheerfulness. God visibly confuted his blasphemy, and at the stake he not only trembled and quaked, but roared with horror.489489   “Vidi ego dum plaustro per ora vulgi traducitur, illudentem theologo e Franciscanis, cujus cura mollire ferocitatem animi obstinati. Lucilius ferocitate contumax, dum in patibulum traditus, monachi solarium aspernatus objectam crucem aversatur, Christoque illudit in hæc eadem verba: ‘Illi in extremis præ timore imbellis sudor, ego imperterritus morior.’ Falso sane imperterritum se dixit scelestus homo, quem vidimus dejectum animo, philosophia uti pessime, cujus se mentiebatur professorem. Erat illi in extremis aspectus ferox et horridus, inquieta mens, anxium quodcunque loquebatur; et quanquam philosophice mori se clamabat identidem, finiisse ut brutum nemo negaverit. Antequam rogosubderetur ignis; jussus sacrilegam linguam cultro submittere, negat, neque exerit, nisi forcipum vi apprehensam carnifex ferro abscindit: non alias vociferatio horridior: diceres mugire ictum bovem, etc. Hic Lucilii Vanini finis, cui quanta constantia fuerit, probat belluinus in morte clamour. Vidi ego in custodia, vidi in patibulo, videram antequam subiret vincula: flagitiosus in libertate, et voluptatum sectator avidus, in carcere Catholicus, in extremis onmi philosophize præsidio destitutus, amens moritur.” — Gramon. Hist. Gal. lib. iii. ad anno 1619. But let men take heed how they justify the atheistical thoughts of men, in asserting our blessed Redeemer to have been cast into that miserable and deplorable condition merely with the consideration of a temporary death, which perhaps the thieves that were crucified with him did not so much tremble at.

(2.) For “pœna sensus.” From what hath been spoken, it is sufficiently manifest what he underwent on this account. To what hath been delivered before, of his being “bruised, afflicted, broken of God,” from Isa. liii. — although he was “taken from prison and from judgment,” verse 8, or everlasting condemnation, — add but this one consideration 496of what is affirmed of him, that “he tasted death for us,” Heb. ii. 9, and this will be cleared. What death was it he tasted? The death that had the curse attending it: Gal. iii. 13, “He was made a curse.” And what death that was himself declares, Matt. xxv. 41, where, calling men accursed, he cries, “Depart into everlasting fire;” — “Ye that are obnoxious to the law, go to the punishment of hell.” Yea, and that curse which he underwent, Gal. iii. 13, is opposed to the blessing of Abraham, verse 14, or the blessing promised him; which was doubtless life eternal.

And to make it yet more clear, it was By death that he delivered us from death, Heb. ii. 14, 15; and if he died only a temporal death, he delivered us only from temporal death as a punishment. But he shows us what death he delivered us from, and consequently what death he underwent for us, John viii. 51, “He shall never see death;” that is, eternal death, for every believer shall see death temporal.

On these considerations, it is evident that the sufferings of Christ in relation to the law were the very same that were threatened to sinners, and which we should have undergone had not our Surety undertaken the work for us. Neither was there any difference in reference to God the judge and the sentence of the law, but only this, that the same persons who offended did not suffer, and that those consequences of the punishment inflicted which attend the offenders’ own suffering could have no place in him. But this being not the main of my present design, I shall not farther insist on it.

Only I marvel that any should think to implead this truth of Christ’s suffering the same that we did, by saying that Christ’s obligation to punishment was “sponsionis propriæ,” ours “violatæ legis;” as though it were the manner how Christ came to be obnoxious to punishment, and not what punishment he underwent, that is asserted when we say that he underwent the same that, we should have done. But as to say that Christ became obnoxious to punishment the same way that we do or did, that is, by sin of his own, is blasphemy; so to say he did not, upon his own voluntary undertaking, undergo the same is little less. It is true, Christ was made sin for us, — had our sin imputed to him, not his own, was obliged to answer for our fault, not his own; but he was obliged to answer what we should have done. But hereof elsewhere.


« Prev Chapter XXVI. Of the matter of the punishment… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |