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making an atonement for their sins by his death, virtually losing their obligation to it, and procuring for them eternal redemption. Herein also they are delivered from the bondage before described. The fear of death being taken away, the bondage that ensues thereon vanished.
$6. Obs. 1. All sinners are subject to death as it is penal. The first sentence reached them all, Gen. ii, 17. And thence they are said to be children of wrath, Ephes. ii, 3; obnoxious to death, to be inflicted in a way of wrath and revenge for sin; this passed upon all, inasmuch as all have sinned, Rom. v, 12. This all men see and know; but all do not sufficiently consider what is contained in the sentence of death, and very few seriously inquire how it may be avoided. Most men look on death as the common lot and condition of mankind, as though it belonged to the natural condition of the children, and not the moral; and were a consequent of their being, and not the demerit of their sin. They consider not, that although the principles of our nature are in themselves subject to dissolution, yet if we had kept the law of our creation it had been prevented by the power of God, engaged to continue life during our obedience, life and obedience are to be commensurate, until temporal obedience ended in life eternal. Death is penal, and its being common to all, hinders not but that it is the punishment of every one. All mankind is condemned as soon as born; life is a reprieve, a suspension of execution, and if during that time a pardon be not effectually sued out, the sentence will be executed according to the severity of justice. Under this law men are now born, this yoke have they pulled on themselves by their apostasy from God: neither is to any purpose to repine against it, or to conflict with it; there is but one way of deliverance.
87. Obs. 2. Fear of death, as it is. penal, is inseparable from sin before the sinner be delivered by the death of Christ; they were “in fear of death.” There is a fear of death that is natural, and which is but na
a ture's dislike of its own dissolution; and this hath various degrees, occasioned by the differences of men's natural constitutions, and other accidental occasions: so that some seem to fear death too much, while others fear it too little. But this difference is from occasions foreign and accidental; there is in all naturally the same horror of it, which is a guiltless infirmity like our weariness and sickness, inseparably annexed to the condition of mortality. But sinners in their natural state fear death as a punishment, an issue of the curse, as under the power of Satan, as a dreadful entrance into eternal ruin. There are indeed a thousand ways whereby this fear is for a season stifled in the minds of men; some live in brutish ignorance, never receiving any full conviction of sin, judgment, or eternity. Some put off the thoughts of their future state, resolving to shut their eyes and rush into it, when they can no longer avoid it. Fear presents itself as the forerunner of death, but they avoid the encounter, and leave themselves to its merciless power. Some please themselves with vain hopes of deliverance, though they know not how, nor why, they should be partakers of it. But let men forego these helpless shists, and suffer their innate light to be excited with means of conviction, and they will quickly find what a judgment is formed in their souls concerning death. They will soon conclude, that “it is the judgment of God, that they who commit sin are worthy of death,” Rom. i, 32; and ihen, that their own consciences accuse and condemn them, Rom. ii, 14, 15. Whence, unavoidably, fear and dreadful terror will seize
$8. Obs. 3. Fear of death, as penal, renders the minds of men obnoxious to bondage; which is a state of trouble that men dislike and cannot avoid. It is a penal disquietude arising from a sense of future misery: fain would men quit themselves of it, but are not able; there is a chain of God” in it not to be broken; men may gall themselves with it, and if it be taken from them without a lawful release, it is to their farther misery. And this is in some measure or other the portion of every one that is convinced of sin, before they are freed by the gospel. Some have disputed what degrees of it are necessary before believing? In answer to which we may observe; that which is necessary for any one to attain to, is his duty; but this bondage can be the duty of no man, because it is involuntary. It will follow conviction of sin, but it is no man's duty; rather, it is such an effect of the law, as every one is to free himself from as soon as possible in a right manner.
$9. Obs. 4. That the Lord Christ, out of his inexpressible love, willingly submitted to every condition of the children to be saved, and to every thing in every condition, sin only excepted. They being of flesh and blood which must be attended with many infirmities, and exposed to all sorts of temptations and miseries, he himself would also partake of the same. He rejoiced to do the will of God, in taking the body prepared for him, because “the children were partakers of flesh and blood.” Though he was in the form of God, yet that mind, that love, that affection towards us was in him, that to be like us, and thereby to save us, he emptied himself, took on him the form of a servant, our form, and became like unto us, Phil. ii, 5-8. He would be like us, that he might make us like himself; he would take our flesh, that he might give us of his spirit. He would join himself to us, that we might be. joined to him, and become one spirit with him.
$10. Obs. 5. It was only in flesh and blood, the substance and essence of human nature, and not in our personal infirmities that the Lord Christ was made like unto us. He took to himself the nature of all men and not the person of any man. We have not only human nature in common, but we have, every one of us, particular infirmities and weaknesses, as existing in our sinful persons. Such are the sicknesses and pains of our bodies from inward distempers, and the disorders of the passions of our minds. Of these the Lord Christ did not partake; it was not needful, nay,it was not possible that he should do so; not needful, because he could provide for their cure without them; not possible, for they can have no place in a nature innocent and holy. And therefore he took our nature, not by an immediate new creation out of nothing, or of the dust of the earth like Adam; for if so, though he might have been like us, yet he would have been no kin to us, and so could not have been our God to whom the right of redemption belonged; nor by natural generation, which would have rendered our nature in him obnoxious to the sin and punishment of Adam, but by a miraculous conception of a virgin, whereby he had truly our nature, yet not subject, on itsown account to any one of those evils, whereunto it is liable as propagated from Adam in an ordinary course. And thus, though he was joined to our nature, yet he was holy, harmless, and undefiled, in that nature, and separate from sinners, Heb. vii, 25. So that although our nature suffered more in his person, than it was capable in the person of any mere man, yet, not being debased by any sinful imperfection, it was always excellent, beautiful and glorious.
$11. Obs. 6. That the first and principal end of our Lord's assuming human nature was not to reign in it, but to suffer and die in it. He was indeed from of old designed for a kingdom, but he was first to suffery and so “to enter into his glory," Luke xxiv, 26. And he speaks of his coming into the world, to suffer, to die, to bear witness to the truth, as if that had been the only work that he was incarnate for. A kingdom was to follow, but suffering and dying was the principal work he came about. He had glory with his Father before the world was, John xvii, 5, and therein a joint rule with him over all the works of his hands. He need not have been made partaker of flesh and blood to have been a king, for he was the king immor tal, invisible, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the only potentate from everlasting. But he could not have died if he had not been partaker of our nature. And therefore when the people would have taken him by force, and have made him king, he hid himself from them, John vi, 15.' But he hid not himself when they came to take him by force, and put him to death; but affirmed, that “for that hour," or business, he came into the world, John xviii, 4, 5_11. And this farther sets forth his love and condescension; he saw the work that was proposed to him; how he was to be exposed to miseries, afflictions, and persecutions, and at length to make his soul an offering for sin; yet because it was all for the salvation of the children, he was contented with it, and even delighted in it. And how then ought we to be contented with any difficulties, sorrows, and afflictions which for his sake we may be exposed to, when he on purpose took our nature, that for our sakes he might be subject to incomparably more than we are called to?