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It was impossible in the nature of things for Christ. to make an atonement for sin without being united to human nature, or becoming a man. Hence the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." Had Christ always remained separate from human nature, he equld not have redeemed us by his blood. Divinity cannot bleed. Deity cannot suffer. If it were not impossible in the nature of things for the Divinity to make atonement aside from human nature; yet the construction of things in the covenant of redemption, was such, as rendered it impossible for Christ to make an atonement, except he should be born of a woman, and take on him the seed of Abraham. In order that the Messiah might come into the world and fulfil his commission, which we may with great propriety consider a transcript of the everlasting covenant, it was absolutely necessary that he be a man, divinity clothed with humanity. It was not only necessary that Christ should be a man. but that as a man he should do the will of his Father perfectly in every scene to the end of life. Although Christ must be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; yet he knew that he should rise again, and ascend to heaven, and take pos session of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. To make an atonement, and to take possession of the glory of heaven, it was necessary that Christ fulfil his commission, by finishing the work which the Father had given him to do. Therefore, "It became him. for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."* And Paul teaches the necessity of Christ's being clothed in human nature, in the following words: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the peo
* Heb. ii, 10:
ple." Hence Christ, in order to make reconciliation or atonement, which is the same, for the sins of the people, must be made like unto his brethren.
The reason why things were so constructed in the covenant of redemption, can be imputed to nothing aside from the will of God.
It was necessary that Christ should do the will of him who sent him; it was necessary, therefore, that he should be put into a situation to do it. Hence Paul to the Hebrews observes the following things, concerning the true Saviour. "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: then said I, Lo, I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will O God-Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering for sin, thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, (which were offered by the law.) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” He taketh away the first, that is, burnt-offerings and sacrifices, that he may establish the second, that is, doing the will of God Dr. Watts' version of the 40th Psalm, is well expressed to illusrate the subject under considration, especially the following lines:
Thus saith the Lord, Your work is vain,
The seventh verse of this Psalm is paraphrased by the celebrated Saurin thus, "Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not accept, but a body hast thou provided me, in which I may render thee a more acceptable service. God prepared the body for serviceThen said Christ, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God!”
That Christ might do the will of him who sent him. it was necessary that he should appear in the flesh. He therefore said to his Father, “A body hast thou prepared me." Messiah, before he came into this world, was well acquainted with the contents of his commission, and therefore ,said, “In the volume of the book it is written of me,” &c. in reference, no doubt, to what is written in Genesis iji, 15; And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: It shall bruise thy bead, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
As it was the will of God that the serpent's head should be bruised, by the Seed of the woman, Christ was willing to come into the world; and, in the capacity of the woman's Seed, to do the work appointed him; and this he was willing to do, though he knew that he could not escape the bruise upon his heel.
Christ could see from bis commission, which was taken from the records of the counsel of peace, what he had to do and to suffer every day of his life. He said therefore to his sorrowful mother, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my
Father's business?" To do this business was the delight and the joy of his heart. Hence he said to his disciples, • My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
It was the will of him who was sent, as well as of him who sent him, that the works of the devil should be destroyed. Christ, therefore, readily entered upon the work, which the Father had given him to do. Christ was always acquainted with the decrees of God concerning him: he knew what was written of
him; and he knew that the Son of man must go as it was written of him. He knew that he should be betrayed by Judas, that he should be condemned by the Jewish council for blasphemy, and by them be deliv, ered up to the Gentiles to be crucified.
Christ knew that he must suffer, and he knew that he should suffer in a good cause.
He knew that his sufferings would arise from the agency of Satan; because God had said to the serpent, “Thou shalt bruise his heel.” And by these bruises we are healed; that is, salvation comes to a lost world, through the bruise which Corist received upon his heel from the imine! diate agency of the old serpent. And as our griefs and sorrows are removed through this channel, it is therefore said of Christ, that he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, sinitten of God, and afflicted.” Dr. Louth's translation of this passage, gives us a just idea of its true sense, which is as follows: “Yet we thought him judicially stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” This is evidently a prediction of what the council of the Jews would think of Christ, when they should condemn him, as if he were guilty of some capital crime. They treated him as judicially smitten of God, that is, justly condemned; because, say they, he is guilty of blasphemy. We have a law, say they, and by our law he ought to die; because he made himself the Son of God. Hence those who were condemned for a capital crime, among the Jews, and executed by hanging, were viewed by them, as accursed of God; for Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Christ was not executed according to a Jewish law, for their law required that for blasphemy a man should be stored. But as Christ was delivered up to the Romans to be executed, and seeing they executed him for no fault, they might as consistently crucify bim as put him to death in any other way; and by this means the decree was fulfilled, that Christ
should die by being lifted up from the earth. And by crucifixion he was lifted up, and by crucifixion he was hung upon a tree.
And as salvation comes to sinners through the crosș of Christ; Paul knowing therefore the treatment which he had received, in the accomplishment of the decree concerning him, said, he was made a curse for us; for "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
The treatment which Christ did receive from his murderers, is expressed in prophetic language by the Prophet Isaiah thus; "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." But in the 5th verse of this chapter, (Isaiah liii,) the prophet speaks plainly what was endured by Christ for our redemption. Dr. Lowth's translation is as follows; "But he was wounded for our transgressions; was smitten for our iniquities; the chastisement by which our peace is effected, was laid upon him; and by his bruises wẹ are healed." By this we clearly see, that our redemp-. tion is procured by the accomplishment of the first prediction concerning Christ; namely, that he should receive a bruise upon his heel, while he should be employed in the work of doing the will of Him who sent him.
Christ said to his Father, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy law is within my heart. This law of God does not mean the moral law. He was, however, perfectly conformed to it. But, doing forever what is required in this law, would not make an atonement for sin. To love God with all the heart, &c. and our neighbour as ourselves, are the two great commands, on which hang all the law and the proph ets: But Christ could have loved God perfectly, could have done every thing contained in these two great commands, without leaving the blessed abodes of the upper world. It was not necessary that Christ should be in this world, in order to do the things required by