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the sheep,” Jolin x. 11. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend,” John xv. 13. “ But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” “ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for
1 John iii. 16. And, as the just and righteous law of God did not spare the sinless Son of God, when arraigned at his bar, as a surety for sinners; so neither did the Son of God flinch or shrink in the contest, till he had vanquished and overcome the condemning power of the law; leaving it and all the other enemies of his elect, nailed to the cross; having, by his death on the cross, put to death the damnatory sentence of God's righteous law against God's elect; and spoiled all principalities and infernal powers of that accusing power they had by sin obtained against God's chosen ; yea, having rifled hell itself, with death and the grave, those destroying and devouring enemies of mankind, so as that nothing was left in the way to obstruct or hinder the elect's safe arrival in heavenly glory; and all this by the virtue and merit of that satisfaction he gave to the justice of his father, by obeying the law, both actively and passively, in the assumed nature. On this account it is that there remains, now, no condemnation in force against that man or woman who believes in the Son of God.
The moral law is indeed a law or rule of holy walk to all believers; and as a looking glass, to
discover to unbelievers the spots and defects which abound in their hearts and lives while in a state of nature; and to shew the elect the continual need they stand in of the blood and righteousness of Christ the mediator, till they come to the end of
But, to condemn or sentence any true believer in Jesus to damnation or eternal death, the moral law hath no power : “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” &c. Rom. viii, 1. “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,” Gal. iii. 13. And can this be any other than sweet to true believers ; especially to such as have lain so long in the law's prison, till the irons thereof have reached even to the very soul?
Secondly, The death of Christ is most sweet and delightful to the true believer, in that, in Christ's death, all the sins and iniquities of the believer were arraigned and put to death: so as he shall never, never be arraigned or condemned for them, either here or hereafter.
There were two things in sin by which the elect of God were held captive.:
1. The guilt of sin, which lays them open to condemnation and the wrath to come,: From this the active and passive obedience of Christ set them for ever free, as hath been already observed.
2. The defiling power of indwelling sin. This also is slain and put to death in the death of Christ; ' and by virtue hereof it is that every believer in
Jesus is made to die to sin in heart and life, through the powerful efficiency of the Holy Ghost inwardly applying to the soul of the believer the efficacy of the Mediator's death. “ For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh; God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, Rom. viii. 3. “ For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Cor. v. 21. • Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” i Pet. ii. 24.
Let this caution be observed and improved by every true believer, viz. that not the being of indwelling sin, but its condemning and reigning power, are condemned and put to death in the death of Christ; so as that the indwelling sin which yet remains in a justified believer shall never either lay him open to condemnation, or keep him under its captivating power as before regeneration it did. “ He will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea,” &c. Micah vii. 19. “ For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” Rom. vi. 14. « For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil," i John iii. 8.
“ He that is born of God doth not commit sin.” ver. 9.
Thirdly, The death of Christ is most sweet to a true believer, in that the curse, which sin put into
bodily death, is by Christ's death taken away. Tis sin that brings the curse of eternal death; so witnesseth the Holy Ghost: " The sting of death is sin,” &c. 1 Cor. xv. 56. This Christ, the surety of the believer, bore, that the curse in death might be turned into a blessing to all the members of Christ, viz. all who savingly believe in him.
There are some, whose names I am unwilling to mention, who tell men that bodily death is a part of the curse due to sin; and that the believer, as well as the unbeliever, must undergo and bear it as such, namely, the curse which is due to the believer for sin.
From them I do, and shall for ever, dissent; and that for the two reasons here following.
1. Because death puts an end to all the believer's sinning and sorrowing; which occasioned holy Mr. Dod's saying, “ That death was the greatest friend to a true believer's grace that is in the world: for,' saith he, that which praying, hearing, sacraments, &c. do but help to weaken, viz, sin in the heart and life of the believer; death, with one stroke, cuts off; and at the same time, and with the same 'blow, puts an end to all the believers sorrows and afflictions.? · And, if this be a curse to a believer, for my part, I do not understand what it is to be blessed.
Though death in itself, be a curse to the first Adam and his children, as it is the wages of sin, Rom. vi. 23; yet, to them who are in Christ, that curse is turned into a blessing: so saith the
Holy Ghost, whose testiinony goes beyond all other testimonies in 'natters of faith. See Rev. xiv. 18. “ And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.". And of such it is also said, “ And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes : and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall 'there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.”. Rev. xxi. 4.
2. Because death not only perfects the grace of a true believer, but it is also an inlet to the kingdom of glory. On these two accounts it is, I doubt not, that the day of death is preferable before the day of one's birth: “ A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one's birth,” Eccles. vii. 1. On the same accounts, I do not question, Paul did prefer to die rather than to continue in the body; as he himself tells us : “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Phil. i. 21. Herewith also concurs 1 Cor. iii. 22; “ Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephes, or the world, or life, or death, or thing's present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.” In this enumeration of particulars of second causes, wherein the members of Christ are said to be interested, I understand the same thing to be intended which is held forth in that general assertion, “And we know