The true Ground of all the Doctrines of the Gospel discovered. Why Adam could make no Atonement for his sins. Why, and how Jesus Christ alone could make this Atonement. Whence the Shedding of Blood for the Remission of Sins. What Wrath and Anger it is, that is quenched and atoned by the Blood of Christ. Of the last Sufferings of Christ. Why, and how we must eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Jesus Christ.
We have now, worthy reader, so far cleared the way, that we have nothing to do, but to rejoice in the most open illustration, and full proof of all the great doctrines of the gospel, and to see all the objections, which Deists, Arians, and Socinians have brought against the first articles of our faith, dashed to pieces: for as soon as we but begin to know, that the holy, triune Deity from eternity to eternity manifests itself in nature, by the triune birth of fire, light and spirit, and that all angels and men must have been created out of this nature; there is not a doctrine in scripture concerning the creation, fall, and redemption of man, but becomes the most plainly intelligible, and all the mysteries of our redemption are proved and confirmed to us, by all that is visible and perceptible in all nature and creature.
Here we have the plain foundation of the whole economy of all religion from the beginning to the end of time, why the incarnation of the Son of God, who is the light of the world, must have before it the fiery dispensation of the Father delivered from Mount Sinai; and after it, the pouring out, or proceeding forth of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh; it is because the triune life of the fallen race must be restored according to the triune manifestation of the holy Deity in nature.
Here we know what the love, and what the anger of God is, what heaven and hell, an angel and a devil, a lost and a redeemed soul are. The love, and goodness, and blessing of God known, found, and enjoyed by any creature, is nothing else but the Holy Trinity of God known, found, and enjoyed in the blissful, glorious, triune life of fire, light and spirit, where Father, Son, and Holy Ghost perpetually communicate their own nameless, numberless, boundless powers, riches and glories to the created image of their own nature. The hell in nature, and the hellish life in the creature, the wrath of God in nature and creature, is nothing else but the triune, holy life broken and destroyed in some order of creatures, it is only the fire of heaven separated from its heavenly Light and Spirit. This is that eternal anger, and wrath, and vengeance, that must be atoned, satisfied, and removed, that eternal fire that must be quenched, that eternal darkness that must be changed into light, or there is no possibility in nature, that the soul of fallen man should ever see the kingdom of God: and here all the doctrines of the Socinians are quite torn up by the roots. For in this ground appeareth the absolute necessity of the incarnation, life, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God. Here lieth the full proof, that through all nature there could no redeemer of man be found, but only in the second person of the adorable Trinity become man. For as the Light and Spirit of eternal life, is the Light and Spirit of the Son and Holy Ghost manifested in heaven, so the Light of eternal life could never come again into the fallen soul, but from him alone, who is the Light of heaven.
He must be again in the soul, as he was in it when it was first breathed forth from the Holy Trinity, he must be manifested in the soul, as he is in heaven, or it can never have the life of heaven in it.
The Socinians therefore, or others, who think they pay a just deference to the wisdom and omnipotence of God, when they suppose there was no absolute necessity for the incarnation of the Son of God; but that God, if he had so pleased, could as well have saved man some other way, show as great ignorance both of God and nature, as if they should have said, that when God makes a blind man to see by opening or giving him eyes, there was no necessity in the thing itself, that sight should be given in that particular way, but that God, if he had so pleased, could have made him become a seeing man in this world without eyes, or light of this world.
For if the Son of God is the Light of heaven, and man only wants to be redeemed, because he has lost the Light of heaven; is it not absolutely impossible for him to be redeemed any other way, or by any other thing, than by a birth of this Son of God in him. Is not this particularity the one only thing that can raise fallen man, as seeing eyes are the one only thing that can take away blindness from the man?
If Adam had been able to undo himself all that he had done, if he could have gone back into that state from whence he was fallen, if he could have raised up again in himself that birth of the Holy Trinity, in which he was created, no savior had been wanted for him; but because he could not do anything of this, but must be that which he had made himself to be, therefore the wrath of nature, or the wrath of God, manifested in nature, abode upon him, and this wrath must of all necessity be appeased, atoned, and satisfied, that is, it must be kindled into light and love, before he could again find, and enjoy the God of nature, as a God of light and love.
Could Adam himself have done all that which I have just now mentioned, then his own actions had atoned and satisfied the divine wrath, and had reconciled him to God: for nothing lost him the love of God, but that which separated him from God; and nothing did, or ever can separate him from God, but the loss of that inner triune life, in which alone the Holy Trinity of divine love can dwell. If therefore Adam could have raised again in himself that triune life, then his sin, and the wrath of God upon him, had been only transitory; but because he did that, which according to all the possibilities of nature, was unalterable; therefore he became a prisoner of an eternal wrath, and heir of an everlasting, painful life, till the love of God, who is greater than nature, should do that for him and in him, which he could by no powers of nature do for himself, nor the highest of creatures do for him. 3. And here we see in the plainest light, that there was no anger in God himself towards the fallen creature, because it was purely and solely the infinite love of God towards him, that did, and alone could raise him out of his fallen state: all scripture, as well as nature, obliges us to think thus of God. Thus it is the whole tenor of scripture, that “God so loved the world, that he sent his only-begotten Son into it, that the world, through him, might be saved”: is not this saying more than if it had been said, that there was no anger in God himself towards fallen man? Is he not expressly declared to be infinitely flowing forth in love towards him? Could God be more infinite in love, or more infinitely distant from all possibility of anger towards man, when he first created him, than when he thus redeemed him?
God out of pure and free love gave his Son to be the life of the world, first, as an inspoken and ingrafted Word of life, as the bruiser of the serpent given to all mankind in their father Adam. This Word of life, and bruiser of the serpent, was the extinguisher of that wrath of God that lay upon fallen man. Now, will the scriptures, which tell us that the love of God sent his Son into the world, to redeem man from that hellish wrath that had seized him, allow us to say, that it was to extinguish a wrath that was got into God himself, or that the bruiser of the serpent was to bruise, suppress, or remove something that sin had raised in the Holy Trinity itself? No surely, but to bruise, alter, and overcome an evil in nature and the creature, that was become man’s separation from the enjoyment of the God of love, whose love still existed in its own state, and still followed him, and gave his only Son to make him capable of it. Do not the holy scriptures continually teach us, that the holy Jesus became incarnate to destroy the works of the devil, to overcome death and hell that had taken man captive?
And is not this sufficiently telling us, what that wrath was, and where it existed, which must be atoned, satisfied, and extinguished, before man could again be alive unto God, or reconciled unto him, so as to have the triune life of light and love in him? It was a wrath of death, a wrath of hell, a wrath of sin, and which only the precious, powerful blood of Christ could change into a life of joy and love: and when this wrath of death and hell are removed from human nature, there neither is, nor can be any other wrath of God abiding on it. Are not the devils and all lost souls justly said to be under the eternal wrath of God, and yet no wrath but that which exists in hell, and in their own hellish nature. 4. They therefore, who suppose the wrath and anger of God upon fallen man, to be a state of mind in God himself, to be a political kind of just indignation, a point of honorable resentment, which the sovereign Deity, as governor of the world, ought not to recede from, but must have a sufficient satisfaction done to his offended authority, before he can, consistently with his sovereign honor, receive the sinner into his favor, hold the doctrine of the necessity of Christ’s atoning life and death in a mistaken sense. That many good souls may hold his doctrine in this simplicity of belief, without any more hurt to themselves, than others have held the reality of Christ’s flesh and blood in the sacrament under the notion of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine, I make no manner of doubt: but when books are written to impose and require this belief of others, as the only saving faith in the life and death of Christ, it is then an error that ceases to be innocent: for neither reason nor scripture will allow us to bring wrath into God himself, as a temper of his mind, who is only infinite, unalterable, overflowing love, as unchangeable in love, as he is in power and goodness. The wrath that was awakened at the fall of man, that then seized upon him, as its captive, was only a plague, or evil, or curse that sin had brought forth in nature and creature: it was only the beginning of hell: it was such a wrath as God himself pitied man’s lying under it; it was such a wrath as God himself furnished man with a power of overcoming and extinguishing, and therefore it was not a wrath that was according to the mind, will, and liking, or wisdom of God; and therefore it was not a wrath that was in God himself, or which was exercised by his sovereign wisdom over his disobedient creatures: it was not such a wrath, as when sovereign princes are angry at offenders, and will not cease from their resentment, until some political satisfaction, or valuable amends be made to their slighted authority. No, no; it was such a wrath as God himself hated, as he hates sin and hell, a wrath that the God of all nature and creature so willed to be removed and extinguished, that seeing nothing less could do it, he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that all mankind might be saved and delivered from it. For seeing the wrath that was awakened and brought forth by the fall, and which wanted to be appeased, atoned, and quenched, was the wrath of eternal death, and eternal hell, that had taken man captive; therefore God spared not the precious, powerful, efficacious blood of the holy Jesus, because that alone could extinguish this eternal wrath of death and hell, and re-kindle heaven and eternal life again in the soul. And thus all that the scriptures speak of the necessity and powerful atonement of the life and death of Christ, all that they say of the infinite love of God towards fallen man, and all that they say of the eternal wrath and vengeance to which man was become a prey, have the most solid foundation, and are all of them proved to be consistent, harmonious truths of the greatest certainty, according to the plain letter of scripture. 5. It is the foundation of the Law and the gospel, that without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins; and that the precious blood of Christ could alone do this, could alone reconcile us to God, and deliver us from the wrath to come. How, and why blood, and only the blood of Jesus Christ could do this, will appear as follows: Adam was created with a twofold respect, to be himself a glorious, living, eternal image of the holy, triune God, and to be a father of a new world of like beings, all descended from himself: when Adam fell, he lost both these conditions of his created state; the holy image of God was extinguished, his soul lost the Light and Spirit of heaven, and his body became earthly, bestial, corruptible flesh and blood, and he could only be a father of a posterity partly diabolical, and partly bestial.
Now, if the first purpose of God was to stand, and to take effect; if Adam was still to be the father of a race that were to become sons of God, then there was an absolute necessity that all that Adam had done in and to himself, and his posterity, by the fall, should be undone again; the serpent and the beast, that is, the serpentine life, and the bestial life in human nature, must both of them be overcome, and driven out of it. This was the one only, possible salvation for Adam, and every individual of his posterity.
Adam had killed that which was to have been immortal in him, he had raised that into a life which never should have been alive in him, and therefore that which was to be undone and altered both in himself and his posterity, was this, it was to part with a life that he had raised up into being, and to get another life, which he had quite extinguished.
And here appears the true, infallible ground of all the sacrifice, and all the blood-shedding that is necessary to redeem and reconcile man to God. ‘Tis because the earthly, fleshly, bestial, corruptible life under the elements of this world, is a life raised and brought into man by the fall, is not that life which God created, but is an impurity in the sight of God, and therefore cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven; ‘tis a life, or body of sin, brought forth by sin, and the habitation of sin, and therefore it is a life that must be given up, its blood must be poured out, before man can be released from his sins: this is the one only ground of all the shedding of blood in religion.
Had not a life foreign to the kingdom of God, and utterly incapable of it, been introduced by the fall, there had been no possible room for the death of any creature, or the pouring out any blood, as serviceable and instrumental to the raising fallen man. 6. But now, this bestial, animal life which is thus to be given up, and its blood poured out, is but the half, and lesser half of that which is required to deliver man from all that the fall has brought upon him. For the heavenly life, the birth of the Light and Holy Spirit of God which Adam had quite extinguished, was to be kindled or regenerated again; also his first, glorious, immortal body was to be regained, before he could become an inhabitant of the kingdom of heaven: but for all this Adam had no power. See here again the true and dreadful state of the fall, it was the fall into such a life, as must be slain and sacrificed before the fallen soul could come to God; and yet this death and sacrifice of the body, which was thus absolutely necessary, was the most dreadful thing that could happen to man, because his own death, come when it would, would only remove him from the light of this world into the eternal darkness, and hellish state of fallen angels: and here we find the true reason, why man’s own death, though a sacrifice necessary to be made, had yet nothing of atonement or satisfaction in it; it was because it left the eternal wrath of nature, and the hell that was therein, unquenched and unextinguished in the soul, and therefore made no reconcilement to God, no restoration to the creature of its first state and life in God, but left the soul in its dark, wrathful separation from the kingdom of light and love.
But here the amazing infinity of divine love appeared, such a mystery of love as will be the universal song of praise to all eternity. Here God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, took human nature upon him, became a suffering, dying man, that there might be found a man, whose sufferings, blood and death had power to extinguish the wrath and hell that sin had brought forth, and to be a fountain of the first heavenly life to the whole race of mankind.
It was human nature that was fallen, that had lost its first heavenly life, and got a bestial, diabolical life in the stead of it. Now if this human nature was to be restored, there was but one possible way, it must go back to the state from whence it came, it must put off all that it had put on, it must regain all that it had lost: but the human nature that fell, could do nothing of this, and yet all this must be done in and by that human nature which is fallen, or it could never, to all eternity, come out of the state of its fall; for it could not possibly come out of the state of its fall, but by putting off all that, which the fall had brought upon it. And thus stood man, as to all the powers of nature and creature, in an utter impossibility of salvation, and had only a short life of this world betwixt him and hell. 7. But let us now change scene, and behold the wonders of a new creation, where all things are called out of the curse and death of sin, and created again to life in Christ Jesus; where all mankind are chosen and appointed to the recovery of their first glorious life, by a new birth from a second Adam, who, as an universal redeemer, takes the place of the first fallen father of mankind, and so gives life and immortality, and heaven to all that lost them in Adam.
God, according to the riches of his love, raised man out of the loins of Adam, in whose mysterious person, the whole humanity, and the Word of God was personally united; that same Word which had been inspoken into Adam at his fall, as a secret bruiser of the serpent, and real beginning of his salvation; so that in this second Adam, God and man was one person. And in this union of the divine and human nature lies the foundation and possibility of our recovery. For thus the holy Jesus became qualified to be the second Adam, or universal regenerator of all that are born of Adam the first. For being himself that Deity, which as a spark or seed of life was given to Adam, thus all that were born of Adam had also a birth from him, and so stood under him, as their common father and regenerator of a heavenly life in them. And it was this first inspoken Word of life which was given to Adam, that makes all mankind to be the spiritual children of the second Adam, though he was not born into the world till so many years after the fall. For seeing the same Word that became their perfect redeemer in the fullness of time, was in them from the beginning, as a beginning of their redemption, therefore he stood related to all mankind as a fountain and deriver of an heavenly life into them, in the same universal manner as Adam was the fountain and deriver of a miserable mortality into them.
And seeing also this great and glorious redeemer had in himself the whole humanity, both as it was before and after the fall, viz., in his inward man the perfection of the first Adam, and in his outward the weakness and mortality of the fallen nature; and seeing he had all this, as the undoer of all that Adam had done, as the overcomer of death, as the former and raiser of our heavenly life, therefore it was, that all his conquests over this world, sin, death, and hell, were not the conquests of a single person that terminated in himself, but had their real effect and efficacious merit through all human nature, because he was the appointed father and regenerator of the whole human nature, and as such, had that same relation to it all as Adam had: and therefore as Adam’s fall, sin and death, did not, could not terminate in himself, because he was our appointed father, from whom we must have such a state and condition of life as he had; so the righteousness, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ into the kingdom of heaven did not terminate in himself, but became ours, because he is our appointed second Adam, from whom we are to derive such a state and condition of life as he had; and therefore all that are born again of him, are certainly born into his state of victory and triumph over the world, sin, death and hell. 8. Now here is opened to us the true reason of the whole process of our savior’s incarnation, passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven: it was because fallen man was to go through all these stages as necessary parts of his return to God; and therefore, if man was to go out of his fallen state, there must be a son of this fallen man, who, as a head and fountain of the whole race, could do all this, could go back through all these gates, and so make it possible for all the individuals of human nature, as being born of him, to inherit his conquering nature, and follow him through all these passages to eternal life. And thus we see, in the strongest and clearest light, both why and how the holy Jesus is become our great redeemer.
Had he failed in any of these things, had he not been all that he was, and did all that he did, he could not have made one full, perfect, sufficient atonement and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, that is, he could not have been and done that, which in the nature of the thing was absolutely necessary, and fully sufficient to take the whole human race out of the bondage and captivity of their fallen state. Thus, had he not really had the divine nature in his person, he could not have begun to be our second Adam from the time of the fall, nor could we have stood related to him as children, that had received a new birth from him. Neither could he have made a beginning of a divine life in our fallen nature, but that he was that God who could make our nature begin again where it had failed in our first father. Without this divinity in his person, the perfection of his humanity would have been as helpless to us as the perfection of an angel.
Again, had he not been man, and in human nature overcome sin and temptation, he could have been no savior of fallen man, because nothing that he had done had been done in and to the fallen nature. Adam might as well have derived sin into the angels by his fall, as Christ had derived righteousness into us by his life, if he had not stood both in our nature, and as the common father and regenerator of it; therefore his incarnation was necessary to deliver us from our sins, and accordingly the scripture saith, “he was manifest in the flesh to destroy the works of the devil.”
Again, if Christ had not renounced this life, as heartily and thoroughly as Adam chose it, and declared absolutely for another kingdom in another world; if he had not sacrificed the life he took up in and from this world, he could not have been our redeemer, and therefore the scripture continually ascribes atonement, satisfaction, redemption, and remission of sins to his sufferings and death. Again, had not our Lord entered into that state of eternal death which fallen man was eternally to inherit; had he not broken from it as its conqueror, and rose again from the dead, he could not have delivered us from the effects of our sins, and therefore the apostle saith, “If Christ be not risen, ye are yet in your sins.” But I must enlarge a little upon the nature and merits of our savior’s last sufferings. It is plain from scripture that that death, which our blessed Lord died on the cross, was absolutely necessary for our salvation; that he, as our savior, was to taste death for every man — that as the captain of our salvation, he was to be made perfect through sufferings — that there was no entrance for fallen man into paradise till Christ had overcome death and hell, or that first and second death which stood between us and it.
Now the absolute necessity of our savior’s doing and suffering all this, plainly appears, as soon as we consider him as the second Adam, who, as such, is to undo all the evil that the first Adam had done in human nature; and therefore must enter into every state that belonged to this fallen nature, restoring in every state that which was lost, quickening that which was extinguished, and overcoming in every state that by which man was overcome. And therefore as eternal death was as certainly brought forth in our souls, as temporal death in our bodies, as this death was a state that belonged to fallen man, therefore our Lord was obliged to taste this dreadful death, to enter into the realities of it, that he might carry our nature victoriously through it. And as fallen man was to have entered into this eternal death at his giving up the ghost in this world, so the second Adam, as reversing all that the first had done, was to stand in this second death upon the cross, and die from it into that paradise out of which Adam the first died into this world.
Now when the time drew near that our blessed Lord was to enter upon his last great sufferings, viz., the realities of that second death through which he was to pass, then it was that all the anguishing terrors of a lost soul began to open themselves in him; then all that eternal death which Adam had brought into his soul, when it lost the Light and Spirit of heaven, began to be awakened, and stirring in the second Adam, who was come to stand in the last state of the fallen soul, to be encompassed with that eternal death and sensibility of hell, which must have been the everlasting state of fallen man.
The beginning of our Lord’s entrance into the terrible jaws of this second death, may be justly dated from those affecting words, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, tarry ye here with me and watch.”
See here the Lord of life reduced to such distress as to beg the prayers, watching, and assistance of his poor disciples! A plain proof that it was not the sufferings of this world, but a state of dreadful dereliction that was coming upon him. O holy redeemer, that I knew how to describe the anguishing terrors of thy soul, when thou wast entering into eternal death, that no other son of man might fall into it.
The progress of these terrors are plainly shown us in our Lord’s agony in the garden, when the reality of this eternal death so broke in upon him, so awakened and stirred itself in him, as to force great drops of blood to sweat from his body. This was that bitter cup which made him withdraw himself, prostrate himself, and thrice repeat an earnest prayer, that if it were possible, it might pass from him, but at the same time heartily prayed to drink it according to the divine will.
This was that cup he was drinking from the sixth to the ninth hour on the cross, nailed to the terrors of a twofold death, when he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
We are not to suppose that our Lord’s agony was the terrors of a person that was going to be murdered, or the fears of that death which men could inflict upon him; for he had told his disciples, not to fear them that could only kill the body, and therefore we may be sure he had no such fears himself. No, his agony was his entrance into the last, eternal terrors of the lost soul, into the real horrors of that dreadful, eternal death, which man unredeemed must have died into when he left this world. We are therefore not to consider our Lord’s death upon the cross, as only the death of that mortal body which was nailed to it, but we are to look upon him with wounded hearts, as fixed and fastened in the state of that twofold death, which was due to the fallen nature, out of which he could not come till he could say, “It is finished; Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
In that instant he gave up the ghost of this earthly life; and as a proof of his having overcome all the bars and chains of death and hell, he rent the rocks, opened the graves, and brought the dead to life, and triumphantly entered into that long shut up paradise, out of which Adam died, and in which he promised the thief, he should that day be with him.
When therefore thou beholdest the crucifix, which finely represents to thy senses the savior of the world hanging on the cross, let not thy thoughts stay on any sufferings, or death, that the malice of men can cause; for he hung there in greater distress than any human power can inflict, forsaken of God, feeling, bearing, and overcoming the pains and darkness of that eternal death which the fallen soul of Adam had brought into it. For as Adam by his fall, or death in paradise, had nothing left in his soul, but the nature, properties and life of hell, all which must have awakened in him in their full strength, as soon as he had lost the flesh, and blood, and light of this world, as this eternal death was a state that belonged to man by the fall, so there was an absolute necessity that the savior of man should enter into all these awakened realities of the last eternal death, and come victoriously out of them, or man had never been redeemed from them. For the fallen nature could no way possibly be saved, but by its own coming victoriously out of every part of its fallen state; and therefore all this was to be done by that son of man, from whom we had a power of deriving into us his victorious nature.
Lastly, if our blessed Lord was not ascended into heaven, and set on the right hand of God, he could not deliver us from our sins; and therefore the scripture ascribes to him, as ascended, a perpetual priesthood in heaven: “If any man sin,” saith St. John, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins.”
All these things therefore are so many equally essential parts of our savior’s character, and he is the one atonement, the full satisfaction for sin, the savior and deliverer from the bondage, power, and effects of sin. And to ascribe our deliverance from sin, or the remission of our sins more to the life and actions, than to the death of Christ, or to his death more than to his resurrection and ascension, is directly contrary to the plain letter and tenor of the scripture, which speaks of all these things as jointly qualifying our Lord to be the all-sufficient redeemer of mankind; and when speaking separately of any of them, ascribes the same power, efficacy, and redeeming virtue to one as to the other.
And all this is very plain from the nature of the thing; for since all these things are necessary parts or stages of our return to God, every one of them must have the same necessary share in delivering us from our sinful state; and therefore what our savior did, as living, dying, rising from the dead, and ascending into heaven, are things that he did as equally necessary, and equally efficacious to our full deliverance from all the power, effects, and consequences of our sins.
And here we may see, in the plainest light, how Christ is said to bear our iniquities, to be made sin for us, and how his sufferings have delivered us from the guilt and sufferings due to our sins, and how we are saved by him. It is not by an arbitrary, discretionary pleasure of God, accepting the sufferings of an innocent person, as a sufficient amends or satisfaction for the sins of criminals. This is by no means the true ground of this matter. In this view we neither think rightly of our savior, nor rightly of God’s receiving us to salvation through him. God is reconciled to us through Jesus Christ in no other sense than as we are new born, new created in Christ Jesus. This is the only merit we have from him. Jesus Christ was made sin for us, he bore our iniquities, he saved us, not by giving the merit of his innocent unjust sufferings as a full payment for our demerits, but he saved us because he made himself one of us, became a member of our nature, and such a member of our nature, as had power to heal, remove, and overcome all the evils that were brought into our nature by the fall. He bore our iniquities and saved us, because he stood in our nature as our common father, as one that had the same relation to all mankind as Adam had, and from whom we can derive all the conquering power of his nature, and so are enabled to come out of our guilt and iniquities by having his nature derived into us. This is the whole of what is meant by having our guilty condition transferred upon him, and his merit transferred upon us: our guilt is transferred upon him in no other sense than as he took upon him the state and condition of our fallen nature, to bear all its troubles, undergo all its sufferings, till he had healed and overcome all the effects of sin. His merit or righteousness is imputed or derived into us in no other sense, than as we receive from him a birth, a nature, a power to become the sons of God. Hence it appears, what vain disputes the world has had upon this subject, and how this edifying, glorious part of religion has been perplexed and lost in the fictions and difficulties of scholastic learning.
Some people have much puzzled themselves and others with this question, how it is consistent with the goodness and equity of God to permit, or accept the sufferings of an innocent person as a satisfaction for the guilt and punishment of criminal offenders? But this question can only be put by those, who have not yet known the most fundamental doctrine of the gospel salvation; for according to the gospel, the question should proceed thus, How it is consistent with the goodness and equity of God, to raise such an innocent, mysterious person out of the loins of fallen man, as was able to remove all the evil and disorder that was brought into the fallen nature? This is the only question that is according to the true ground of our redemption, and at once disperses all those difficulties which are the mere products of human invention. The short of the matter is this:
Man considered as created, or fallen, or redeemed, is that which he is, because of his state in nature; he can have no goodness in him when created, but because he is brought into such a participation of a goodness that there is in nature; he can have no evil in him when fallen, but because he is fallen from his good state in nature; he can no way be redeemed, but by being brought into his first state of perfection in nature; and therefore, this is an eternal, immutable truth, that he can be redeemed by the God of nature, only according to the possibilities of nature: and here lies the true ground, the whole reason of all that our savior was, and did, and suffered on our account: it was because in and through all nature there could be no other relief found for us: it was because nothing less than such a process of such a mysterious person could have power to undo all the evils that were done in and to the human nature; and therefore it is not only consistent with the goodness and equity of God to bring such a mysterious person into the world, but is the most infinite instance of his most infinite love to all mankind, that can possibly be conceived and adored by us. To proceed: 9. By the fall of our first father we have lost our first, glorious bodies, that eternal, celestial flesh and blood which had as truly the nature of paradise and heaven in it, as our present bodies have the nature, mortality and corruption of this world in them: if therefore we are to be redeemed, there is an absolute necessity that our souls be clothed again with this first paradisaical, or heavenly flesh and blood, or we can never enter into the kingdom of God. Now, this is the reason, why the scriptures speak so particularly, so frequently, and so emphatically of the powerful blood of Christ, of the great benefit it is to us, of its redeeming, quickening, life-giving virtue; it is because our first life, or heavenly flesh and blood is born again in us, or derived again into us from this blood of Christ.
Our blessed Lord, who died for us, had not only that outward flesh and blood, which he received from the virgin Mary, and which died upon the cross, but he had also an holy humanity of heavenly flesh and blood veiled under it, which was appointed by God to quicken, generate, and bring forth from itself, such an holy offspring of immortal flesh and blood, as Adam the first should have brought forth before his fall.
If our Lord Christ had not had a heavenly humanity, consisting of such flesh and blood as is not of this world, he had not been so perfect as Adam was, nor could our birth from him, raise us to that perfection, which we had lost, nor could his blood be said to purchase, ransom, redeem, and restore us; because, as it is heavenly flesh and blood that we have lost, so we can only have it ransomed and restored to us, by that blood which is of the same heavenly and immortal nature with that which we have quite lost.
Our common faith, therefore, obliges us to hold, that our Lord had the perfection of the first Adam’s flesh and blood united with, and veiled under that fallen nature, which he took upon him from the blessed virgin Mary. Had he not taken our fallen nature upon him, nothing that he had done, could have been of any advantage to us, or brought any ransom or redemption to our fallen nature; and had he not taken our nature as it was before the fall, he could not have been our second Adam, or a restorer to us of that nature, which we should have had from Adam if he had not fallen.
Now, what our common faith thus fully teaches, concerning a heavenly, as well as earthly humanity, which our Lord had, is also plainly signified to us by several clear texts of scripture; as where he saith of himself, “I am from above, ye are from beneath,” again, “I am not of this world,” and further, “No one ascends into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, who is in heaven”: these and other texts of the like nature, which plainly speak of something in our blessed Lord, which can neither be understood of his divinity, nor of that flesh and blood which he received from the virgin Mary, has forced some scholastic divines to hold the pre-existence of our savior’s soul, which is an opinion utterly inconsistent with our redemption; for it is as necessary that our Lord should have a soul as well as a body derived from Adam, in order to be the redeemer of Adam’s offspring: but all these texts, which a learning, merely literal, has thus mistaken, do only prove this great, necessary, and edifying truth, that our blessed Lord had a heavenly humanity, which clothed itself with the flesh and blood of this world in the womb of the virgin; and from that heavenly humanity, or life-giving blood it is, that our first heavenly, immortal flesh and blood is generated and formed in us again; and therefore his blood is truly the atonement, the ransom, the redemption, the life of the world; because it brings forth, and generates from itself the paradisaical, immortal flesh and blood, as certainly, as really, as the blood of fallen Adam brings forth and generates from itself the sinful, vile, corruptible flesh and blood of this life.
Would you further know, what blood this is, that has this atoning, life-giving quality in it? It is that blood which is to be received in the holy sacrament. Would you know, why it quickens, raises and restores the inward man that died in paradise? The answer is from Christ himself, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him, that is, he is born of my flesh and blood.” Would you know, why the apostle saith, “that he hath purchased us by his blood,” Acts 20:28. “That we have redemption through his blood,” Ephesians 1:7. Why he prays, “the God of peace — through the blood of the everlasting covenant, to make us perfect in every good work to do his will”; ‘tis because the holy Jesus saith, “except we drink his blood, we have no life in us,” and therefore the drinking his blood, is the same thing as receiving a life of heavenly flesh and blood from him: and all this is only saying, that our savior, the second Adam, must do that for us and in us, which the first Adam should have done; his blood must be that to us by way of descent, or birth from him, which the blood of our first father, if he had not fallen, would have been to us; and as this blood of an immortal life is lost by the fall, so he from whom we receive it again by a secondary way, is justly and truly said, to purchase, to redeem, and ransom us by his blood.
Now, there is but one redeeming, sanctifying, life-giving blood of Christ, and it is that which gave and shed itself under the veil of that outward flesh and blood that was sacrificed upon the cross; it is that holy and heavenly flesh and blood which is to be received in the holy sacrament; it is that holy, immortal flesh and blood which Adam had before the fall, of which blood, if we had drank, that is, if we had been born of it, we had not wanted a savior, but had had such flesh and blood as could have entered into the kingdom of heaven; had we received this holy, immortal flesh and blood from Adam before his fall, it had been called our being born of his flesh and blood; but because we receive that same flesh and blood from Jesus Christ, our second Adam, by our faith, our hunger and desire of it; therefore it is justly called our eating and drinking his flesh and blood.
And here we have another strong scripture proof, that our savior had heavenly flesh and blood veiled under that which he received from the virgin Mary. For does not the holy sacrament undeniably prove to us, that he had a heavenly flesh entirely different from that which was seen nailed to the cross, and which was to be a heavenly, substantial food to us; that he had a blood entirely different from that which was seen to run out of his mortal body, which blood we are to drink of, and live for ever?
Now, that flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of God, is a scripture truth; and yet it must be affirmed to be a truth according to the same scriptures, that flesh and blood can, and must enter into the kingdom of God, or else, neither Adam, nor any of his posterity could enter in thither; therefore, it is a scripture truth, that there is a flesh and blood that has the nature, the likeness, and qualities of heaven in it, that is as wholly different from the flesh and blood of this world, as heaven is different from the earth. For if the flesh and blood that we now have, cannot possibly enter into the kingdom of heaven, and yet we must be flesh and blood, for ever in heaven; then it follows, that there is a real flesh and blood that has nothing of this world in it, that neither arises from it, nor is nourished by it, but will subsist eternally, when this world is dissolved and gone. Now, if this flesh and blood is lost by the fall of our first father, and if the blood which we derive from him is the cause, the seat, and principle of our mortal, corruptible, impure life; if from the blood of this first father, all our unholiness, impurity and misery is derived into us, then we may clearly understand what is meant by our being redeemed by the blood of Christ, and why the scriptures speak so much of his atoning, quickening, life-giving, cleansing, sanctifying blood; it is because it is to us the reverse of the blood of Adam, it is the cause, the seat, the principle of our holiness and purity of life; it is that from which we derive an immortal, holy flesh and blood in the same reality from this second Adam, as we inherit a corrupt, impure, and earthly flesh and blood from our first Adam: and therefore that which would have been done to us by our birth, if we had been born of the holy blood of Adam unfallen, that we are to understand to be done to us, in and by the holy blood of Christ.
For the blood of Christ is that to us in the way of redemption, which the blood of our first father should have been to us in the order of creation; for the redemption has no other end, but to raise us from our fall, to do that for us, which we should have had by the condition of our creation, if our father had kept his state of glory and immortality; and this is a certain truth, that there would have been no eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of Christ in the Christian scheme of redemption, but that the flesh and blood which we should have had from Adam, must of all necessity be had, before we can enter into the kingdom of heaven. 10. Here therefore is plainly discovered to us, the true nature, necessity and benefit of the holy sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; both why, and how, and for what end, we must of all necessity, eat the flesh, and drink the blood of Christ. No figurative meaning of the words is here to be sought for, we must eat Christ’s flesh, and drink his blood in the same reality, as he took upon him the real flesh and blood of the blessed virgin: we can have no real relation to Christ, can be no true members of his mystical body, but by being real partakers of that same kind of flesh and blood, which was truly his, and was his, for this very end, that through him, the same might be brought forth in us: all this is strictly true of the holy sacrament, according to the plain letter of the expression; which sacrament was thus instituted, that the great service of the church might continually show us, that the whole of our redemption consisted in the receiving the birth, spirit, life and nature of Jesus Christ into us, in being born of him, and clothed with a heavenly flesh and blood from him, just as the whole of our fall consists in our being born of Adam’s sinful nature and spirit, and in having a vile, corrupt and impure flesh and blood from him.
But what flesh and blood are we to eat and drink? Not such as we have already, not such as any offspring of Adam hath, not such as can have its life and death by, and from the elements of this world; and therefore, not that outward, visible, mortal flesh and blood of Christ, which he took from the virgin Mary, and was seen on the cross, but a heavenly, immortal flesh and blood, which came down from heaven, which hath the nature, qualities, and life of heaven in it, according to which our Lord said of himself, that he was a “Son of Man come down from heaven,” that “he was not of this world,” that “he was from above,” etc., that very flesh and blood which we should have received from Adam, if we had kept his first glorious and immortal nature. For as the flesh and blood which we lost by his fall, was the flesh and blood of eternal life, so it is in the holy sacrament, that we may eat, and live for ever: this is the adorable height and depth of this divine mystery, which brings heaven and immortality again into us, and gives us power to become sons of God. Woe be to those who come to it with the mouths of beasts, and the minds of serpents! who, with impenitent hearts, devoted to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, for worldly ends, outward appearances, and secular conformity, boldly meddle with those mysteries that are only to be approached by those that are of a pure heart, and who worship God in spirit and truth. Justly may it be said of such, that they eat and drink damnation to themselves, not discerning, that is, not regarding, not reverencing, not humbly adoring the mysteries of the Lord’s body.
If you ask how the eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ, is the receiving that flesh and blood of eternal life, which we should have had from Adam himself, it is for this plain reason, because the same kind of flesh and blood is in Christ, that was in Adam, and is in Christ as it was in Adam, for this very end, that it might be derived into all his offspring: so that we come to the sacrament of the blessed body and blood of Christ, because he is our second Adam, from whom we must now receive that eternal, celestial flesh and blood which we should have had from our first father; and therefore it is, that the apostle saith, the “first Adam was made a living soul,” that is, had a life in himself, which could have brought forth an eternal ever-living offspring; but having brought forth a dead race, the last Adam, as the restorer of the life that was lost, was made a quickening spirit, because quickening again that life which Adam as a living soul, should have brought forth.
And thus we have the plain and full truth of the most mysterious part of this holy sacrament, delivered from the tedious strife of words, and that thickness of darkness which learned contenders on all sides have brought into it. The letter and spirit of scripture are here both preserved, and the mystery appears so amiable, so intelligible, and so beneficial, as must needs raise a true and earnest devotion in everyone that is capable of hungering and thirsting after eternal life. And this true and sound knowledge of the holy sacrament could never have been lost, if this scripture truth had not been overlooked; namely, that Christ is our second Adam, that he is to do that for us, which Adam should have done; that we are to have that life from him, as a quickening spirit, which we should have had from Adam as a living soul; and that our redemption is only doing a second time, or in a second way, that which should have been done by the first order of our creation: this plain doctrine attended to, would sufficiently show us, that the flesh and blood of eternal life, which we are to receive from Christ, must be that flesh and blood of eternal life which we lost in Adam. Now, if we had received this immortal flesh and blood by our descent from Adam, we must in the strictness of the expression have been said to partake of the flesh and blood of Adam; so seeing we now receive it from Christ, we must in the same strictness of expression, be said to be real partakers of the flesh and blood of Christ, because he hath the same heavenly flesh and blood which Adam had, and for the same end that Adam had it; namely, that it may come by and through him into us. And thus is this great sacrament, which is a continual part of our Christian worship, a continual communication to us of all the benefits of our second Adam; for in and by the body and blood of Christ, to which the divine nature is united, we receive all that life, immortality, and redemption, which Christ, as living, suffering, dying, rising from the dead, and ascending into heaven, brought to human nature; so that this great mystery is that, in which all the blessings of our redemption and new life in Christ are centered. And they that hold a sacrament short of this reality of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, cannot be said to hold that sacrament of eternal life, which was instituted by our blessed Lord and savior.