1 SECTION. Two Branches of what Christ did in his own person, On the Crosse, to reconcile the Saints. 1. By way of sacrifice, and taking on him their enmities. 2. Of representation, [in one body] in himselfe.
THat which is proper (as was said) to this PART, is, What hath beene done in Christs own person. The particulars hereof are two, which I find in the text, (to the materialls of which I confine my selfe, and shall take them in that order in which they lye:) 1. By way of sa∣crifice, having taken on him before God the enmities of both against each other, and so offering up his flesh as a sa∣crifice for both. The 2. By a voluntary assuming and ga∣thering the persons of all the Elect into one BODY in him∣selfe: he representing and sustaining their persons, and so [in one body] reconciling them unto God.
Both are expressely and distinctly mentioned: The first in these words, Having abolisht the enmity (namely, between them) in his flesh: which flesh, taking on him their enmities, was made a sacrifice on the Crosse, therefore v. 16. By the Crosse is added. The second in these words, That he might reconcile both to God in one body: and though both these were performed at once, and by one individuall act, yet that act is to be lookt at, as having these two distinct con∣siderations concurring in it. And the first in order of na∣ture, making way for the second, as in opening the con∣nexion of v. 15, and 16. I have already shewed; I must handle them therefore each apart.
How Christs offering himselfe up as a sacrifice to God, and his standing as a common person in our stead before God, should abolish all our enmities against God himselfe,Page 27 and reconcile us unto him, This is ordinarily and generally apprehended, and were proper to speake of, if our recon∣ciliation to God himselfe had beene the theme set out to be treated of: But how these very same acts and transactions of Christ should together therewith conduce to our reconcilia∣tion one with another, this onely is genuine at this time, and to be eyed as the direct and proper levell of what doth en∣sue: although even this is so involved with that other, that this cannot be explicated without supposing and glancing thereat: this but to set and keepe the Readers eye steady upon the single marke aymed at.
1. Branch. Two things to explicate the first Branch. 1. That Christs offering himselfe was intended as a sacrifice for Enmities betweene the Saints, as well as against God.
TWo things are distinctly to be spoken unto for the clearing of these things.
1. That the offering up Christs flesh on the Crosse, was intended as a sacrifice, as well for our reconciliation mu∣tuall, as for reconciliation with God.
2. How according to the analogy of the ends, use, and intent of sacrifices of old, the offering up of Christs flesh should be intended and directed as a sacrifice, to take away these our owne enmities, and make peace and friendship amongst our selves.
For the first, which is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 of this point, That as a sa∣crifice it was so intended, the whole frame and contexture of these words doth evince it.
1. When he sayes v. 15. That he hath abolisht the enmity in his flesh, he doth undeniably intend that enmity which Page 28 was betweene these twaine, the Jew and Gentile (this hath beene proved afore:) and therefore he is found par∣ticularly to instance in the rites of the ceremoniall Law, (which by a metonymie he calls the enmity,) as the outward occasion of that bitter enmity in each others hearts.
Now then 2. That this enmity was taken away by his flesh as a sacrifice;
First, The laying together the phrases of the Text, evin∣ceth it; as when he sayes, He hath abolisht this enmity in his flesh. 1. In saying the enmity in his flesh, it necessarily im∣ports his having taken that enmity in or upon his owne flesh, to answer for it in their stead. Even as well, as when in the 16. verse, he is said to have slaine the enmity (namely, against God) in himselfe; thereby is intended, that he tooke that enmity on himselfe; undertaking to pacify and allay, and by being himselfe slaine, to slay it. 2. In saying in the time past, that he hath abolisht it, in his flesh, this notes out a vir∣tuall act perfectly done and past, (as in him:) by vertue of which it is to be destroyed actually in us after. Unto which 3. adde that in the 16. v. there is an additionall word [By the Crosse] put in, which 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or in common, is to be referrd to the abolishing of this enmity in his flesh, v. 15. and reconciling us mutually; as well as to the slaying of the en∣mity against God mentioned, v. 16. as that which equally and alike shewes the way, how, we are to understand that in his flesh, he hath perfectly abolisht both these enmities; name∣ly, by taking on his flesh that enmity, and offering it up upon the Crosse as a sacrifice for it. For to say, by the Crosse, or by the sacrifice of himselfe on the Crosse, is all one: so as what the one verse wants, the other supplies: In his flesh, sayes the 15. v. By the Crosse, sayes the 16. and (which will warrant this) we have elswhere both put together, 1 Coloss. 20, 22. By the bloud of his Crosse, in the body of his flesh, through death.
Page 29 2. The paralleling this place with that of the 2 Coloss. argues this: The enmity here instanced in, by a metonymie is the rites of the ceremoniall Law: which he is sayd to have made voyd or weake. Thus expressely v. 15. Having a∣bolisht in his flesh the enmity, the Law of Commandements in Ordinances: Now the abolishing thereof is in that second to the Colossians expressely said to have beene by the sacrifice of His Flesh on the Crosse: or which is all one, That, by His being nayled to the Crosse, He nayled it to His Crosse, Coloss. 2. 14. Blotting out the hand-writing of Ordinances that was against us, and tooke it out of the way, NAYLING IT TO HIS CROSSE, which fully accords with this Text, He abolisht it in his Flesh by the Crosse.
Lastly, (for a winding up of this) The parallel which the Apostle observeth in his Discourse betweene his effect∣ing our Peace and Reconciliation with God, and this our Peace and Reconciliation one with another, will induce to it: He being first alike in common termed our peace. v. 14. in respect to either. Then to demonstrate each apart, a double enmity (as I observed at first) is distinctly and apart mentioned by him. The one v. 15. the other v. 16. Of the one he sayes, he hath abolisht: of the other, hee hath slaine it: of the one he sayes, he hath abolisht it in His Flesh: of the other, in himselfe (as the Greeke hath it v. 16.) And so those words by the Crosse are common to each: As those first words, [He is our Peace] were to all that followed. And so as the Parallel hath hitherto run along in these particulars, so it holds on, that looke How in this, or by what way He slew the enmity betwixt God and us, on the Crosse, by the same way he abolisht the enmity betweene the Jew and Gentile, or the people of God mutually: But he slew the enmity betweene God and us, on the Crosse by taking those our enmities against God on Himselfe, and they being found on him, he was slaine and sacrificed for them on the Page 30 Crosse, and thereby slew them and reconciled us to God: In like manner then it is to be understood, that HE first tooke all our enmities against one another on His Flesh [in His Flesh] sayes the Text: (and it was the generall intent of Sacrifices to be offred up, for what was layd upon them or reckoned to them.) And so, our enmities being there all found in His Flesh, that Flesh was offred up for them, and so they were all dissolved and abolisht and made weak, as the Text speaks of them, in his being dissolved or made weake (as the 2 Cor. 13. and Phil. 3. speakes in like manner of him.)
So then as there was a double enmity, and a double slaying which the Apostle mentions; so there must be in this one Sa∣crifice a double consideration in the intention thereof: It is a Sacrifice serving at once, to slay & abolish both the one and the other: he being in common alike and indifferently termed, Our peace, as in relation unto either; there being nothing also done for us by Christ, but the like was first done on Himselfe.
The second thing to explicate the first Branch. That one end or Use of Sacrifices, both among Jewes and Gentiles, was to ratifie peace betweene Man and Man, as truly as betweene God and Man: and that Christs Sacrifice holds an Analogie herein to other Sacrifices.
THis being cleared, I come to the second, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, namely to demonstrate how according to the Ana∣logy of the ends, and use of sacrificing of old in the sha∣dow, Christs Sacrifice was likewise intended and directed to make peace betweene Man and Man, Jew and Gentile, as truly and as genuinely as betweene God and Man. For the illu∣stration Page 31 of this, we must know and consider, that of old Feuds or enmities betweene Man and Man, were re∣moved and put to an end, by Sacrifice: and also leagues of amity and friendship even betweene Man and Man, were antiently ratified and confirmed, and Reconciliation esta∣blished by Sacrifices: and as by Sacrifices so likewise AFTER Sacrifices, or over and beside Sacrifices, by eating and feasting together, and this both among Jewes and Gentiles (of which latter, namely, that by eating together, friendship was sealed,* we shall have further use anon to confirme and explicate this very Notion in hand.) I say leagues of peace and friendship were used to be ratifyed by Sacrifices solemnly afore God: so to make such Covenants, a matter of Religion (to bind the stronglier:) and not to be meer∣ly the obligations of humane faith and honesty: even by this, that men did finde them ratifyed in the presence of a Deity; which they worshipt as their God, by so solemne and Religious and Action; which did withall invocate from God a curse upon the infringers of that peace and friendship made thereby. This to have beene their use, I am to cleare.
We may consider that though all Sacrifices were offred up afore and unto God, yet not all onely by way of expiation, or atonement made unto God, or as expressions of thankful∣nesse unto him: but some were Sacrifices of pacification, and faederall in their intention, betweene Man and Man, being offred up before God as a witnesse and avenger. This to have been one use of Sacrifices is evident both among Jewes, and likewise Gentiles (who were in their Sacrifices and the rites thereof imitators of the Jews.)
1. The Jewes. Jer. 34. from v. 8. &c. we reade, That Zedekiah the King made a solemne Covenant with the people, and they with their servants to let them goe free according to Gods Law in that behalf made Exod. 21. 1. and Page 32Deut. 15. 12. and this Sacrificiall Covenant was solemnely performed in Gods House, and before God, as v. 15. and 18. The rites of it were, They cut a Calfe in twaine, and passed betweene the parts of the Calfe, even the Princes and all the people, v. 19. in token that it was one common Sacrifice between All those parties, Masters and Servants, and the joint act of each, which being thus solemne, afore God, carried with it an implicit or tacit execration, That if either brake this Covenant in this manner confirmed, then let God so deale with them, as this Calfe sacrificed was dealt withall: and therefore these having broken this Covenant, v. 11. (which breach of Faith was the occasion of this part of Jeremies message to them) God threatens to bring the curse invocated and signified by that rite, upon them, and to reta∣liate the like unto them v. 18. I will GIVE the men that have transgressed MY COVENANT so he calls it, because the mat∣ter of it was his command, and it had been ratified before him, as it followes:) which have not performed the words of the COVENANT which they had made BEFORE ME, when they cut the Calfe in twain, and passed betweene the parts thereof. That, therefore [I will give,] it is verbum similitudi∣nis (as 'tis often used:) whose meaning is, I will make them as that Calfe, I will answerably deale with them: and so it is explained; I will give them into the hands of them that seeke their life, and expose them to the Sword of the slayer, to slay at his pleasure, as you have done this beast, which you Sacrificed: and their dead bodies shall be for meate to the fowls of Heaven, &c.
The like intendment of Sacrifices with the same rite, and like imprecation to confirm Leagues and Covenants, & end feuds, was in use among the Heathen, as might be evi∣denced by many Quotations, which I have met withall. To instance in one out of Livy which is most punctuall Page 33 to the thing in hand, and parallel to the former out of Je∣remy. They cut a beast in two,*The midst and the head with the bowells were placed at the right hand of the way: and the hinder parts on the left hand, and both the Armies (that made the league,) passed betweene this divided Sacrifice. And as the same rites with the former are expressed in this, so the same imprecation is recorded at the making of this Covenant, and by Sacrifice confirmed, recorded by the same Author, when these two Nations, Albanes and Romanes, made this league: Si prius defexit,*Tu illum Jupiter sic ferito, ut ego hunc porcum hodie feriam: Let God strike him that breakes it, as I strike this Swine, sayd the Sacrificer.
The Holy Ghost speakes in like language, Psal. 50. 5. My people that have made a Covenant with me by Sacrifice.
To bring all this home to the point in hand: There being to be a perpetuall League and Covenant of Peace to be strucken between Jew and Gentile, and all other the elect of God, who should be at variance in any Age; and Christ having interposed himselfe as a Mediatour for us to God, he did with all undertake to be an Arbiter betweene them, (and us all) among Our selves, for all Our differences also: and he offred up his Flesh as one common Sacrifice upon the Crosse, at once to be expiatory, to God, to blot out the sinnes and enmities of ours against God Himselfe: So also pacificatory betweene Man and Man, Jew and Gen∣tile, and all other the elect: and therein answering to, and Page 34 fulfilling one true end and intendment of Sacrifices, as well as in the other of making atonement to God. And the Text you see having said first, that hee is made our Peace, in making both One, vers. 14. and then pointing us to his Flesh, as (in) which he bore their enmities, vers. 15. and then carrying us to the Crosse, vers. 16. it evidently (as was said,) argues, That Hee was made our Peace, by being thus made a pacificatory Sacrifice, for both. And surely (if there were no other reason to confirme it,) all Sacri∣fices in all their ends and uses having beene but shadowes of this, and His Flesh and the Sacrificing it being the sub¦tance, this eminent Sacrifice of his must needs be sup∣posed (as such,) to have the Perfection, Use and Effica∣cy, that all other Sacrifices could any way be supposed subservient unto, or it had not beene the complete per∣fection of them; Especially there being this need of having His Sacrifice directed to this end, as well as to that other, there falling out so great animosities among those that were members of Him; which as it call'd for a Sacri∣fice to bee offred up to allay and destroy them: so CHRIST in Sacrificing Himselfe would not leave out, or lose this part of His Glory and Perfection in this respect.
Hence accordingly, as here He is termed our Peace; so elsewhere the Covenant of the People, and both in the like latitude of sense and meaning. When here He is cal∣led our Peace, the meaning extends not onely to His being our Peace betweene God and us; but betweene our selves also: so when Hee is called the Covenant of the People, it intends not onely His being a Covenant unto God for us, but a Covenant afore God OF US; or (as there 'tis expressed) of the People of God, namely among themselves. Hee is twice so called, and with much evidence, as to this sense: Isai. 4 2. 6. I will give thee for a Covenant of the People,Page 35 that is, (sayes Sanctius,) to the Jew, and for a light of the Geatiles: and thus a Covenant of both. And Ch. 49. 8. For a Covenant of the People to establish the Earth, that is, to this end, to settle in peace the whole Earth, both Jew and Gentile; so then a Covenant of the People (as you see) even in this very respect: Peace on Earth, among men, as well as good will toward men from God in Heaven, being the foote of that Song was sung at His Birth, and the sum of what is here said; He is our Peace.