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sinners out of Christ, whereof there are various degrees answerable to their convictions. For the apostle treats not here of men being servants to sin, which is voluntary; but of their sense of the guilt of sin, which is wrought in them even whether they will or no; and the yoke of which they would by any means cast off, though by none are they able to do it; for,
They are said to continue in this state "all their lives.” Not that they were always perplexed with a sense of this bondage, but that they could never be utterly freed from it. For the apostle doth not say, that they were thus in bondage all their days, but that they were obnoxious and subject to it. They had no way to free or deliver themselves from it, but that at any time they might righteously be brought under its power; and the more they cast off the thoughts of it, the more they increased their danger. This was the state of the children, whose deliverance was undertaken by the captain of their salvation.
33. (II.) We have a double inference with respect to that supposition, “He also himself likewise partook of the “same," and "delivered them.” The word (Trepandys.ws) likewise, in like manner, denotes a similitude that is consistent with a specifical identity. And therefore Chrysostom from hencè urges the Marcionites and Valentinians, who denied the reality of the human nature of Christ, seeing that he partook of it in like manner with us, that is, truly and really. But the word by force of its composition doth intimate some disparity and difference. He took part of human nature really as we do, and almost in the like manner with us.
I say almost, for there were two differences between his manner of being partaker of human nature and ours. First, in that we subsist singly in that nature; but he took his portion in this nature into subsistance with himself in the person of the Son of God. Secondly, this nature in us is attended with many infirmities, that follow the individual persons who are partakers of it; in him it was free from them all.' And this the apostles also intimates in the word(uelcoxe) partook, changing his expression from (nexoswenne) that whereby he declared the common interest of the children in the same nature, which is every way equal and alike. The whole is, that he took to himself his own portion in his own manner. But he not only took the children's nature, he also “delivered them” from the evils they had incurred. See below $5. And,
$4. (III.) His death was the means of delivering them from death; “That through death he might deliver them.” There doth not any thing in the text appear to intimate, that the captain of salvation by death of one kind, should deliver the children from that of another. Neither will the apostle's discourse well bear such a supposition. For if he might have freed the children by any way and means, but only by undergoing that which was due from them for sin, whence could arise that indispensable necessity which he pleads for, by so many considerations, of his being “made like unto them?” Sceing he might without a participation of their nature, which the apostle urgeth, have done any other thing for their good and benefit except suffering what was due to them? And if it be said, that without this participation of their nature he could not die, which it was necessary he should do; I desire to know why it was necessary? If the death which he was to undergo, was not that death to which they for whom he died were obnoxious, how could it be any ways more beneficial to them, than what he might have done for them, although he had not died? The death of Christ is here placed in the midst, as the end
of one thing, and the means or cause of another; the end of his own incarnation, and the means of the children's deliverance.
$5. (IV.) There yet remains in the verses the effects of the death of Christ; “that he might destroy him who had the power of death, and deliver,” &c. wherein we must briefly consider, who it is that had the power of death, wherein that power of his consist ed, how he was destroyed, how by the death of Christ, and what was the happy deliverance for the children of God.
1. He that “had the power of death” is (o dueßoros) the devil; the great enemy of our salvation; the great calumniator and false accuser; the firebrand of the creation; the head and captain of all apostasy from God, and of all desertion from his righteous law: the old serpent, who first falsely accused God to man, and continues to accuse men falsely to God.
2. His “power over death” is variously apprehended. All however consent, that the devil had no absolute or sovereign power over death; nor any (ež8616) or authority about it, de jure, in his own right, or on grant, so as to act lawfully about it, according to his own will; nor any judging or determining power, as to the guilt of death, which is peculiar to God, the supreme rector and judge of all, Gen. ii, 17; Deut. xxxii, 39; Rev. i, 18. But wherein this power of Satan doth positively consist, they are not agreed. Some place it in his temptations to sin, which bind to death; some in the execution of the sentence of death. There cannot well, however, be any doubt, but that the whole interest of Satan, in reference to death, is intended in this expression. He was the means of bringing it into the world; then sin and death being thus entered, and all mankind being guilty of the one, and obnoxious to
the other, Satan became thereby to be their prince, as being the prince and author of that state and condition whereunto they are brought; he is therefore called “the prince of this world,” John xii, 32. Now God having passed the sentence of death against sin, it was in the power of Satan to terrify and affright the consciences of men with the expectation and dread of it; so bringing them into bondage. And many God gives up to him to be agitated and terrified, as it were, at his pleasure. And to this we may add, that God hath ordained him to be the executioner of the sentence of death upon stubborn sinners to all eternity; partly for the aggravation of their punishment, when they shall always see, and without relief bewail their folly in hearkening to his allurements, and partly to punish himself in his woful employment. And for these several reasons is Satan said to have “the power of death.” Let us next inquire,
3. How he was destroyed. “That by death (nalep790) "he might destroy him,” &c. This word is almost peculiar to Paul; and what he usually intends by it, is, to make a thing or person to cease as to its present condition, or to be void as to its former power and efficacy; but implies not to remove, to annihilate, or to destroy the essence or being of it. Hence it is not here applied to the nature or being of the devil, but to his power over death; as it is elsewhere declared, John xii, 32, “Now is the judgment of this world, now is the prince of this world cast out.” That which is here called the “destroying the devil,” is there called the "casting out the prince of this world.” It is the casting him out of his power from his princedom and rule, Col. ii, 15. Having spoiled principalities and powers he made an open shew of them, triumphing over them in his cross; as conquerors used to do,
When they slew not the persons of their enemies, they deprived them of their rule, and led them captives. In short, the destruction here intended of him that had the power of death, is the dissolution, evacuation, and removing that power which he had in and over death, with all the effects and consequences of it.
4. This destruction of Satan was effected by the death of Christ; which of all others seemed the most unlikely way, but, indeed, was not only the best, but the only way whereby it could be accomplished. The power of Satan, before mentioned, was all founded in sin, or the sinner's obligation and obnoxiousness to death, was that which gave him all his power. The taking away then of that obligation must needs be the dissolution of his power. The foundation being removed, all that is built upon it must needs fall to the ground. Now this, in reference to the children for whom he died, was done in the death of the Messiah; virtually, in his death itself; actually, in its application to them. When the sinner ceaseth to be obnoxious to death, the power of Satan ceaseth also. And this is the happy case of every one who hath an interest in the death of Christ: for “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” Rom. viii, 1. And this because he died for their sins, and took that death upon himself which was due to them; which being thereby conquered, and their obligation thereunto ceasing, the power of Satan is dissolved with it.
5. And hence it lastly appears, what was the delivcry procured for the children by this dissolution of Satan's power. It respects both what they feared, and what ensued on their fear; that is, death and bondage. They were obnoxious to death on the guilt of sin as penal, as under the curse, as attended with hell or everlasting misery This he delivers the children from, by