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bered with the transgressors," or with the rebellious, by those who were inimical to the independence, ori political salvationi, which he atehieved, yet his name will ever be dear to every true American. Yes, and it may be said, ins: a certain sense "he suffered the just for the unjust ; for he suffered as much for those of his countrymen who at heart were inimical to him, and secretly strove to thwart all his plans, being citizens of the United States, as he did for those who were workers: together with him in the glorious cause; and the Iwdependence of the United States was finally gained as much for those who were inimical to Americắn liberty, being citizens, as it was for himself. All this suffering was for us, the sons of freedom and liberty, for his country, and in many respects for his ener mies! And if there had been a traitor, like Arnold, or if there had been a Fudas in his own family, it is possible he might have been massacred or suffered an ignominious death, as the leader of rebellion Bat even had this also been the case, it might' have been truly said that he'suffered and died for us or if he had been slain in the field of battle, his name would have been enrolled with WARREN, 'MONTGOMERY, and other Americas Herbes who bled for us. All this, so far as it goes, is direct ly in point. 'iwis.
Once more. The following similitude coming nearer i to the case under consideration, will throw further light upon the subject.
A father has a numerous family of children, all of whom, except their elder brother, have revolted from him, and have eaten of forbidden and poisonous fruit, which has so deranged the state of their minds that they have lost the true knowledge of their father, have formed very erroneous ideas of his character, have become alienated from his happy life through ig. porancë, not knowing their father's love and affection towards them, and are seeking happiness in the indulgence of their carnal appetites and passions. The father remains the same, and posesses every parental tie and feeling towards his chil. dren, notwithstanding their falsé notions respecting their father's eharacter. He foresaw all the consequences of their disobedience, even before they revolted from him, and as they were not irreparable, he, for wise purposes, suffered them to revolt ; knowing that he had a sure antidote within himself for this poisonous food, and by delivering them from their lapsed state, he should be able to make such displays of his love and goodness towards his children as would ever after establish them in a just and permanent faith respecting his character,
so that they never would again revolt from his precepts and government. All this he makes known to his only begotten son, (who had not gone astray) and after explaining to him the dangers and the hardships of the undertaking, constituted him his sole agent to communicate the bread of life to his lapsed brethren ; the bread of life being the only antidote to the knowledge of good and evil, the poisonous fruit of which, through disobedience, they had eaten. The first-born voluntarily undertakes the arduous work of doing his father's will. He went, and after passing through many sorrows, enduring many scenes of suffering, which were the fruits of depraved minds, he came off victorious, and brought home his wandering brethren, as trophies of his victory, to his father's house.
In all this it is very easy to discover the nature of the sufferings of the first-born, or what would be a proper application to be made of them in this case. Did he receive stripes? they were in consequence of the ignorance, prejudices, malice and envy of his guilty brethren. And although they were healed directly by the breed of life, yet they were healed, indirectly, by, or through those stripes.
Is not the American Independence often spoken of as costing much blood ?-as being achieved by the blood of our fathers and brethren ; meaning the blood of the slain and wounded in the field of battle? But who ever supposed that the blood of our bravest men, when spilt, had any more efficacy than water spilt on the ground ? None! Nor did even the unparalleled sufferings of the American army, although they were almost beyond description, have any more effect, in an abstract point of view, towards gaining our independence ; for every one knows that every officer and soldier that fell, instead of strengthening, weakened the American forces; and so with the other sufferings. Yet those sufferings were immediately connected with that power, which, under God, performed the glorious deed.
So in the other similitude : It was the bread of life, which was communicated through the agency of the first-born, and not his sufferings, that effected the deliverance of his brethren. The bread of life restored them from all the evil effects of the poisonous fruit. His sufferings, abstractedly considered, did them no good ; neither ought we to view them as a penalty inflicted by the father in consequence of the disobedience of his other children ; but his sufferings all come from a different source ; that is, from the envy and ingratitude of his guilty
brethren. Yet his sufferings were immediately connected with, and held a conspicuous place in the arduous work.
By recurring to the scriptures, it will be clearly seen that the above similitudes are directly to the point in question.
Christ is the "first born of every creature," the "head of every man,” the “only begotten of the father," who went not astray. He came to do the will of him that sent him, to seek and to save that which was lost. He is the "bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. But the bread which he gives he declares to be his flesh, and his blood is drink indeed." Yet Christ himself adds. “It is the spirit that quickeneth : the flesh profiteth nothing : the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."'* Hence it is evident that it is that divine instruction which proceeded from the lips of Jesus, and not his death, which alone is able to quicken into life a soul that is dead in trespasses and sins. How is it conceivable that the literal ficsh or blood of Jesus should have any more efficacy to put away sin, than the flesh or blood of the sacrifices under the law ? And the apostle saith "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin
It will be readily granted that Christ, as an offering, was the great antitype, in whum all the types under the law concentrated, and in this sense we may consider his death as the closing and most solemn scene of the legal dispensation ; but still all that pertained to his body, literally, as an offering or sacrifice, is nothing more than what pertains to the letter that killeth ;"I that is, as it respects an expiation made by his death and suf. ferings, body or blood. We are not insensible that the apostle saith, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin ;'S but it is believed that a careful attention to this subject will convince any rational unprejudiced mind, that whenever the blood of Christ is spoken of as cleansing from sin, it is used figuratively: it means the "blood of the everlasting covenant ;"T that is, the life and strength of t at covenant.
Christ, in a spiritual seuse, is the covenant of God to his people ; and as blood, in a natural sense, is the life and strength of the animal, so the blood of Christ, in a spiritual sense, is the life and strength of the covenant of God. See Isaiah xlii. 6, 7. “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thec for a covenant of * St. John vi, 33, 51, 55,
63 1 Heb. x, 4. II. Cor. 111, 6. 1. Juhn, 1, 7. THeb. XIII, 20.
the people, for a light of the Gentiles ; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." This covenant contains every spiritual blessing where with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath blessed us "according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love."* For therein is immortality and eternal lite brought to light through the gospel of the Son of God.
It is not our present design to attempt an elucidation of Go-l's holy and gracious covenant, but if our present views of the subject are correct, then it is evident that the death and suf. ferings of Christ, in themselves considered, have all that rela. tion or connexion with our salvation, according to the magni. tude of the abject, as the fatigue and sweat of a man who voluntarily labors in the field to procure bread for his children, have with the life and health of his children. In the first place, the life of his children is the gift of God : Secondly, That life is prolonged, and rendered comfortable and happy by the means of the labor in the field : Thirdly, Fatigue and sweat are the natural effects of labor. Thus God said to Adam, “ In the
sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ;”ť meaning that he į should be obliged to till the ground to procure that necessary
article. So in the other case ; Our existence is the gift of God. Secondly, That existence is rendered happy by the grace of God given us in him who is made unto us wisdom, righteousDess, sanctification and redemption I and to bring us to the knowledge of this grace was Christ's errand into the world. Thirdly, His sufferings and death were the natural consequences, considering the state that mankind were in, of his com. ing into the world on such an errand. Hence it may be said that we are healed by his stripes in the same sense that Adam ate bread in, or by the sweat of his face.
There is another circumstance respecting the death of Christ which ought not to pass unnoticed ; that is, as it respects the magnitude of his sufferings. This is a subject upon which but very little has appeared in print. It has been generally understood, however, by those who consider the violation of the obligations of the creature to love and obey God, infinitely criminal, that the holy and righteous law of God incurred an infinite penalty, and of course demanded an infinite punishmeat, or required an infinite sacrifice as a substitute, none of
Eph. 1, 3, 4. Gen. !!], 19. 1. Cor. 1, 30.
which could be abated; hence it has been believed that the sufferings of Christ were equal in magnitude to the infinite, or endless misery of all those who will finally be saved by the merits of that all-sufficient sacrifice. It is no more than reasonable to suppose that the advocates of this system have ever dis; covered some difficulty on this subject; hence there seems to have been a studied reserve as to expressing it in plain and positive terms. For but very few have ever been willing to state, in so many words, that God did absolutely die ! or even , suffer! and, short of this idea, it has been difficult to see how there could have been an infinite sacrifice, or an infinite suffering in the death of Christ ; for if Deity himself did not suffer, then the suffering was no more than human and even if all hu. man nature suffered in him, the suffering being short, was very far from being infinite. This point, therefore, has rather been attempted to be supported by implication and allusions, than by any positive proof. We frequently meet with “Our dying God," "Our bleeding God," “ Maker died," &c. in hymns composed for public devotion, alluding to the death of Christ, but in connection with such other words, that nothing short of the Deity could be meant. This undoubtedly has been supposed to be necessary in order to keep up the idea of an infinite sacrifice ; as it is very evident that the sufferings of Christ were but very short, as to time. But should we be disposed to admit the possibility of the incomprehensible idea of an infi. nite suffering in a few hours ! it may be asked what is gained by it? We cannot conceive of a greater suffering than infinite; and if Christ endured such a scene of suffering, has there been any less suffering in the system of God in consequence of the sufferings of Christ? Is it not most reasonable to suppose that the same being who could look with infinite complacency on the sufferings of Christ, admitting them to be equal to what the endless misery of all the saved of the Lord would have been, had it not been for those sufferings, could have looked with equal complacency on the endless misery of all mankind? What glory will it reflect on the Divine character to say that a part, or even all of mankind, are emancipated from endless misery by an adequate suffering in him “who knew no sin?” And if the justice of God could accept of a suffering in any degree less than the endless misery of all those which strict justice requires, even on the ground of a penalty, is it necessary to suppose that the sufferings of Christ were any greater than what the suffer. ings of any other man, in the same circumstances would have