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good which they might receive, should be through him. Christ's having laid a foundation for "peace through the blood of the cross" makes it proper, not only, that, in all things, he should have the pre-eminence, but that all good things which might be granted to men, should come to them, through his name, and for his sake.
It is just as impossible for us to do any thing, as a ground, or meritorious cause of our salvation, as it would be for us to bruise the head of the serpent. But in no sense can we conquer Satan, only through "him, who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Atonement consists in Christ's destroying the works of the devil, or in crushing the rebellion which he had raised among men. He did not crush the rebellion, by suffering the evil which rebels deserve. Atonement, therefore, consists not in suffering in the place of rebels, but in subduing the rebel army, by conquering the leader of it. Consequently, there could be no salvation for sinners, let Christ suffer ever so much for them, unless the leader of the rebellion be destroyed.
To suppose that atonement consists in suffering what rebels deserve to suffer, aside from destroying the leader of the rebellion, is to make it consist, in buying the rebels out of the hands of Satan.
Sinners of mankind are Satan's captives; and unless he be subdued and brought under the feet of some mighty conqueror, he will not let his captives go without infinite suffering. Now if Christ have no way to redeem those captives only by suffering in their room and stead, then, he must be a captive to Satan. But for Christ to redeem sinners from the captivity of Satan, it is not necessary that he himself should go into captivity. The head of the serpent being bruised, Christ the Conqueror can now lead captivity captive, without a treaty with the prince of darkness. Now, out of regard to him, who has de
stroyed the prince of this world, God can be just, and have mercy on whom he will have mercy.
Christ having answered the purpose of his mission, having crushed the head of the serpent, and made an atonement for sin, all the praise and all the glory belong to him. And all those who shall have deserted the service of Satan, and submitted to Christ and his government, will eternally be delighted in the employment of praising their glorious Deliverer. The redeemed of the Lord will delight in celebrating Christ, because he has delivered them from the power and dominion of sin, and from the captivity "of that wicked one.”
In heaven the saints will have a clear understanding of the reason why Christ is to be praised, and to have all the glory of their salvation. It will not be because he had suffered the wrath and curse of God which was their just due; but because he had answered the purpose of his mission into the world, by destroying the works of the devil. This glorious mission Christ accomplished in human nature. Being "made in the likeness of man, and found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should coniess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."*
Having accomplished the work which the Father gave him to do, Christ has rendered his name infinitely precious in the eyes of God, and of all the heavenly hosts. Hence, the propriety, that when we ask any favour of God, we should present the petition in the name of Jesus Christ. The door of salvation being opened by the blood of Jesus, to him, indeed,
* Phil. ii, 7.
belongs all the glory. Christ, knowing the worth and excellence of his own name, said to his disciples, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." The reason why there is so much weight and worthiness in the name of Christ, is, not because he has borne the weight of his Father's wrath, but because he has done his Father's work.
The gift of salvation is through the blood of Christ, and the reason is, because it was shed in bruising the serpent's head. This triumph over "that wicked one," opens the door of salvation to, fallen man; and all the praise of man's salvation belongs to this mighty Conqueror.
David conquered Goliath alone, and therefore all the praise belongs to David. And to the Antitype of David belongs all the praise of our salvation; for he has conquered the symbolical Goliath, and triumphed gloriously over all the powers of darkness. This is the essence of atonement. This is the only ground of hope.
But if mankind could not be redeemed from sin, and delivered from the captivity of Satan, unless Christ should suffer all the dreadful evils adequate to eternal damnation; then, as it seems to my short view of things, Satan would be extremely gratified; and this being the case, he would by no means feel himself completely conquered: a degree, at least, of triumph, would ever remain in his mind.
The Scheme of Substitution, or Christ's suffering in the room and stead of sinners, all the evil which they deserve, evidently affords occasion to the proud spirit of "Abaddon, the angel of the bottomless pit," to boast and triumph. But the scheme of redemption, as represented in the doctrinal part of this work, exhibits Satan with his head bruised to death, and under the feet of Messiah. It exhibits Christ as a glorious Conqueror, speaking in righteousness, and mighty to
John xvi, 23.
"This is he who cometh from Edom with garments deeply died from Bozrah, who is magnificent, in his apparel; marching on in the greatness of his strength."
The six first verses of the chapter, from which the text is taken, prefixed to this discourse, Bp. Lowth has explained as follows: The Prophet, (or rather the church he represents) sees the great Deliverer, long promised and expected, making his appearance, after having crushed his enemies, like grapes in the winepress. The comparison suggests a tremendous idea of Omnipotence, which its unhappy objects can no more resist, than the grapes can resist the treader. Indeed, there is so much pathos, energy and sublimity, in this remarkable passage, as hardly any thing can be conceived to exceed. The period to which it refers is probably the same with that predicted in the 19th chapter of the Revelations, some parts of which, (13, &c.) are expressed in the same terms with this, and are generally understood of the fall of Antichrist and his followers, of which the destruction of Babylon. Edom or Bozrah, may be considered as an emblem." This exposition is doubtless a just one. And between it and that of the celebrated Faber, there is no disagreement. Let it be then, that Messiah will, at the predicted period, appear, and overthrow Antichrist and his associates, "at Megiddo in Palestine." Still these authors, I believe, will allow that a founda tion was ultimately laid for the overthrow of Antichrist in the destruction of Apollyon, the mystical Antichrist, through "the blood of the" everlasting "covenant."
When the Seed of the woman had bruised the head of the serpent, the way was prepared for Messiah to overthrow Antichrist and his followers; together with all who shall in any way justify the cause of Antichrist, from the beginning to the end of time. He will not only triumph over the Gog and Magog mentioned by the Prophet Ezekiel, but he will overthrow
Apocalyptical Gog and Magog. "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of which is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."*
V. It is evident from what we have heard, that salvation is of grace.
This perfectly agrees with the Bible representation of the method of salvation. All the inspired writers either expressly or implicitly celebrate salvation by grace. The Lord is my strength and my song," says Moses, "and he is become my salvation." The general tenor of the Psalms is a celebration of God, as the God of salvation. And says Job, speaking of God, "He also shall be my salvation;" for an hypocrite shall not come before him. And, "Behold," says Isaiah, "God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
Christ proclaims himself the Saviour; and he promises salvation to all those who come to him; and the only way to him, is that which proclaims salvation by mere grace.
Christ said to the Jews, "Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come unto me, except the Father who hath sent me, draw him." We must be taught of God, we must hear and learn of the Father, or we cannot come to Christ. The power which
Rev. xx, 7-11.
† John vi, 44.