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that mansion in hell hath been left void, without any inhabitants : but these opinions are not capable of any sufficient proof.
I shall, therefore, give you that interpretation and judgment, which carries with it the strongest current, both of Scripture and Reason. The word Hades, which we translate Hell, is very often, by the Septuagint, in the Old Testament, used to signify the Grave, or the state of the dead: so, in Gen. xliv. 31, we translate it the Grave ; but it is the same word, that is used for Hell in the text : and thus the word is used in other places of Scripture, as also in other authors, to signify the place and state of the dead and of separate souls. And, for the leaving of the soul of Christ in Hades, or in Hell, we must know, that it is a thing not unusual in Scripture, to call a man that is dead by the name of soul : so, the Septuagint translate that place in Leviticus, ch. xxi. 11. They shall not be defiled with dead souls, meaning dead carcases: neither shall they go in to any dead souls: the word is dead bodies. But, not to detain you any longer on this speculation, though of great use for the right understanding of this excellent place of Scripture: if we take Hell for the Grave, we must take the Soul for the Body, Thou wilt not leave my body in the grave; but, if, by Hell, be here understood the state of death, that is, the state of separation of soul and body, the interpretation will be more easy and natural: Thou wilt not leave my soul in a state of separation from the body; but wilt certainly unite them together again, and raise me up before I shall feel corruption.
Thus I have given you the interpretation of the prophecy of David, which, upon the account of God's truth and veracity, was to take effect in the Resurrection of our Saviour; and, therefore, it being foretold that he should not see corruption, the faithfulness of God was obliged, within that time, inviolably
to raise him up.
And that is the Second Reason, why it was impossible that Christ should be holden of death, because it was foretold of him, that his soul should not rest in hell; that is, either his body in
grave, or his soul in a state of separation from his body.
iii. Another argument is this: It was impossible that Christ could be holden by death, UPON THE ACCOUNT OF GOD'S JUSTICE,
For justice, as it doth oblige to inflict punishment upon the guilty, so also to absolve and acquit the innocent. Now, though Christ knew no sin; yet was he made sin for us : that is, our sins
were imputed to and charged upon him; and, so, through a voluntary susception and undertaking of them, he became guilty of them, Hereupon, divine justice seized upon him, as being our Surety; and demanded satisfaction from him for our offences. Now no other satisfaction would be acceptable unto God nor commensurate to our sins, but the bearing of an infinite load of wrath and vengeance; which, if it had been laid upon us, must have been prolonged to an eternity of sufferings; for, because we are finite creatures, we cannot bear infinite degrees of wrath at once; and, therefore, we must have lain under those infinite degrees of wrath to an infinite duration : but, Christ being God, he could bear the load of infinite degrees of wrath at once upon him: in that one bitter draught, the whole cup of that fury and wrath of God, which we should have been everlastingly drinking off by little drops, Christ drank off at once. Now it is the nature and constitution of all laws, that, when a person, by undergoing the penalty which those laws require, hath made satisfaction for the offence committed, the person satisfying ought to be protected as innocent: it could not therefore consist with the justice of God, that, when Christ had satisfied his utmost demands, that any of the punishment due to our sins, for which he satisfied, should have lạin upon him longer; for that would have been no other than punishing without an offence. Now nothing is clearer in Scripture, than that death is a punishment inflicted upon us for sin : so says the Apostle ; The wages of sin is death : Rom. vi. 23 : and, in another place; by sin, death entered into the world, and death passed upon all, because all have sinned: ch. v. 12. From all which it follows, that, as Christ, taking upon him our sins, became thereby liable to death ; so, having satisfied for our sins, and thereby freed himself from the guilt that he lay under by imputation, he was no longer liable unto death, which is one part of the punishment he underwent: so that it could not have been agreeable to Infinite Justice, that Christ should have been holden of death, who, by his undergoing of death, hath sustained the whole load of God's infinite wrath and displeasure, and fully satisfied for all those sins that were imputed to him; and therefore ought, in justice, to be acquitted from all penalties, and consequently from death.
iv. It was impossible that Christ should be holden of deatha IN RESPECT OF HIS OFFICE OF MEDIATORSHIP.
For, having as our Mediator undertaken the desperate service of bringing sinful and fallen man to life and happiness, he must of necessity not only die, but rise again from the dead; without which, his death, and whatever else he did or suffered for us, would have been of no avail.
There are two things requisite, before any real or eternal benefit can become ours :
A meritorious Purchase, procuring the thing itself for us.
An effectual Application of that benefit to us. The purchase of mercy was made by the Death of Christ, by which a full price was paid down to the justice of God: but the effectual application of mercy is by the Life and Resurrection of Christ. Wherefore, if Christ had only died, and not risen again; if he had not overcome death within its own empire, and triumphed over the grave in its own territories; it would have been to his disappointment, and not at all to our salvation. The loss of Christ's life would not have procured life for us, unless, as he laid it down with freedom, so he had again restored it with power : our hope of salvation otherwise would have been buried in the same grave with himself; but what he died to procure, he lives to confer,
It was ignorance of Christ's resurrection from the dead, that so staggered the two disciples going to Emmaus; Luke xxiv. 16, 19, 20, 21. They tell Christ himself a sad story of one Jesus of Nazareth, that was condemned and crucified; “ who, while he lived among us, by his word and works testified himself to be the true' Messiah: we little thought of his dying; and, when he told us of his Death, he likewise foretold us of his Resurrection the third day; and, behold, the third day is already come, and yet is there no appearance of this Jesus. Verily, we trusted that it had been he, which should have redeemed Israel : but now our hopes grow faint, and languish in us; for, certainly, there can be no redemption for Israel by him, who cannot redeem himself from death."
Nothing in the world did so much prejudice the Gospel, and hinder its taking place in the hearts of Heathens in the primitive times, as the cross and death of Christ : for, believing that he was lifted up upon the cross, but not believing that he was raised up from the dead, they assented to their natural reason, which herein taught them, that it was folly to expect life from him, who could not either preserve or restore his own. It is true, it was folly thus to hope, but that his life applies what his death
deserved; and our salvation begun on the cross, is perfected on the throne : and therefore the Apostle tells us, that our faith in a erucified Saviour, and our obedience to him, is all vain, if he had not risen again from the dead : 1 Cor. xv. 17: for, unless he had risen froin the dead, he could not have acquitted us from the guilt of sin, because he could not have been justified himself, We are justified by the righteousness of Christ, as the Apostle speaks, in his Epistle to the Romans; Rom. iv, 25, which righteousness he wrought out for us, both by his perfect obedience to the Law and by his submission to the punishment of the Law: but, yet, this righteousness could not have availed to our justification, had he' not, after the fulfilling of it, risen again from the dead; because he himself had not been justified, much less could we have been justified by one who could not have justified himself. And therefore we read, Great is the mystery of godliness: God manifested in the flesh, in his Incarnation; justified in the Spirit, by his Resurrection; seen of angels, in his Ascension : 1 Tim. iii. 16: had he not been raised and quiekened by the Spirit, that is, by the glorious power of his divine nature, he had not been declared just, nor could he have justified us; for this declaration, that Christ was just, was made upon the resurrection of his body from the dead; by which he was set free from all those penalties due to our sins, that were imputed to him. If, therefore, the justification and salvation of sinners was a design laid by the infinite wisdom of God, it must needs follow, that it was impossible for Christ to be kept under death, because that would have obstructed their justification and salvation; and so would have brought a disappointment upon the infinite wisdom of God, which was impossible to be done : and therefore, consequently, Christ could not be helden of death.
II. The APPLICATION of this great truth shall be briefly in these following Inferences,
i. If it was impossible for Christ not to have risen from the dead, it IS EVIDENT, THEN, THAT CHRIST IS THE TRUE MESSIAH.
For, bad he been an impostor or false prophet, it would have been so far from an impossibility that he should not have been raised, that it would have been a very impossibility for him to have risen again: for, neither eould he have raised himself, being a mere man; neither would God have raised him, being a mere impostor and cheat. When, therefore, the Jews called for &
sign from Christ to prove him to be the true Messiah, he gives them the sign of his resurrection: Mat. xii. 38, 39, 40. Master, say they, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : For, as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So, again, when they tempted him at another time, for a sign of his being the Messiah, he still instances in his powerful resurrection from the deaa: John ii. 18, 19. The Jews answered and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. So that, still, he made his Death and Resurrection to be the infallible proof of his being the true Messiah.
ii. If it were necessary that Christ should rise from the dead, and if he did do so, THEN, CERTAINLY, SIN IS CONQUERED.
For the sting of death, and that envenomed weapon whereby it wounds
yea kills the sinner, is sin; and, so long as death had this sting in it, it could not have been conquered by any sinner. It is sin, that gives death its power to hold fast all those, who come within its reach: which since it could not do with Christ, it is evident sin is subdued by Christ; who was in its arins and grasp, but yet came safe out from it, taking away the sting and weapon of death with him.
üi. If the resurrection of Christ be thus necessary, and hath been thus effectually accomplished, we may comfortably from thence conclude THE NECESSITY OF OUR OWN RESURRECTION.
For, the Head being raised, the Members shall not always sleep in the dust. Christ's mystical body shall certainly be raised, as well as bis natural body; and every Member of it shall be made for ever glorious, with a glorious and triumphant Head.
And *, from each of these considerations, what abundant
* From this place to the end is added from the Appendix, where it is printed, with a direction that it should " be inserted at the end of the Sermon on the Resurrection.” It seems to have been added to the original Sermon for a Sacramental occasion; and is taken, for the most part, nearly word for word, from the Author's Discourse on the Two Sacraments. See pp. 435, 436. of vol ii. of this edition. EDITOR.