« AnteriorContinuar »
He doth not name it simply death: but he expresseth that the Son of God was wrapped in the sorrows of death, which proceeded from the wrath and curse of God, which is the original of death For how small a matter had it been, carelessly as it were, in sport to come forth to suffer death? But this was a true proof of his infinite mercy, not to shun that death which he so sore trembled at. And without doubt the same is the apostle's meaning to teach, in the epistle to the Hebrews, where he writeth : that Christ was heard of his own fear. Some translate it reverence or pity, but how unfitly, both the matter itself, and the very manner of speaking proveth. Christ therefore, praying with tears and mighty cries, is heard of his own fear : not to be free from death, but not to be swallowed up of death as a sinner; because in that place he had put our person upon him.”
“ This is our meaning: that he suffered the grievousness of God's rigour, for that he being stricken and tormented with the hand of God, did feel all the tokens of God when he is angry and punisheth. Whereupon Hilariy argueth thus, that by this going down we have obtained this, that death is slain. And in other places he agreeth with our judgment, as where he saith: the cross, death, and hellare our life. Again, the Son of God is in the hell, but man is carried up to heaven. But why do I allege the testimony of a private man, when the apostle affirmeth the same, mentioning this for a fruit of his victory, that they were delivered which were by fear of death all their life long subject to bondage?” “So by fighting hand in hand with the power of the deyil, with the horror of death, with the pains of hell, it came to pass, that he both had the victory of them, and triumphed over them, that we now in death should no more fear those things, which our Prince hath swallowed up."
Inst. B. 2. ch. 16. sec. 10 and 11.
“They have recourse to another cavil, that though Christ feared death, yet he feared not the curse and wrath of God from which he knew himself to be safe. But let the godly readers weigh how honourable this is for Christ, that he was more tender and more fearful than the most part of the very dregs of men.
Thieves and other evil doers do obstinately hasten to death ; many do with haughty courage despise it: some others do mildly suffer it. But what constancy or stout courage were* it for the Son of God to be astonished, and in a manner struck dead with the fear of it? For even that which among the common sort might be accounted miraculous, is reported of him, that for vehemency of grief, even drops of blood did fall from his face. Neither did he this to make a show to the eyes of others, but when in a secret corner, whither he was gone out of company, he groaned unto his Father. And this puts it out of all doubt, that it was needful that he should have angels to come down from heaven to relieve him with an unwonted manner of comforting. How shameful a tenderness, as I said, should this have been, to be so far tormented for fear of common death, as to melt in bloody sweat, and not to be able to be comforted, but by sight of angels? What? doth not that prayer thrice repeated, (Matt. xxvi. 29.) • Father, if it be possible, let this cup depart from me,' proceeding from an incredible bitterness of heart, shew that Christ had a more cruel and harder battle than with common death."
« This is our wisdom, well to understand how dear our salvation did cost the Son of God. Now if a man should ask me if Christ went down to hell, when he prayed to escape that death; I answer, that then was the beginning of it: whereby may be gathered, how grievous and terrible torments he suffered when he knew himself to stand to be arraigned for our cause before the judgment-seat of God.” Inst.B.2. ch. 16. sec. 12.
The doctrine that Christ locally descended to the souls of the fathers, confined in some subterraneous region, called Limbus, or purgatory, is explicitly condemned, by Calvin.
Inst. B. 2. ch. 16. sec. 12.
The answer to the 44th question of the Heidelbergh Catechism says that these words, “he descended into hell," were added, “ that in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and
I wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, but especially on the cross, hath delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell."
Witsius says, “although the article of Christ's descent to bell is found, in so many words, neither in the holy scriptures, nor in the most ancient Creeds; yet in some sense, it is religiously believed and asserted by us."
Witsii Exercitationes sacræ in Symbolum, Exer. 18. cap. 8.
“When, therefore, we profess to believe that Christ descended to hell ;. we think that article has reference partly to his body, and partly to his soul.”
Ibid cap. 9
respects the body, it denotes his burial, or the retention of his body in the se. pulchre, and in the state of death.” Cap. 10. « But we have also signified that it can be applied to the soul : not however because it is written in Psalm xvi. 10th, thou wilt not leave my soul in hell :' for it is not necessary to understand that passage as referring to that part of man which we call soul or mind. The Hebrew word v D ), which the Psalmist uses, sometimes signifies the animal, or the irrational, Gen. i. 20, 21. or the rational part.” “ What therefore prevents, that if we do not, with the venerable Beza, in his first edition of the New Testament, translate it, we at least expound it, 'non derelinques cadaver meum in sepulchro. For that by NEPHES is sometimes.denoted the mortal body, and by Scheol the sepulchre, I think is abundantly supported by what has been already said. Nevertheless, we profess to believe, that the soul also descended to hell: not how. ever in that sense, in which it pleases the Romanists, after some of the ancients, to teach, as if the soul of Christ, after separated from the body by death, truly, properly and locally had visited certain subterraneous places; whether of Tartarus, that he might show to those whom eternal punishments detain, and even to the Devil himself, the potency of his reign and the triumph regained from transgression; or of I know not what Limbus, which is said to be situated on the margin of Tartarus, that he might announce to the spirits of the fathers, salvation procured by himself, and bring them back thence with him, to be borne to heaven.” Cap. 13 et 14. This descent, says the same learnod writer, into hell, is a figurative description of the pains of soul, which Christ endured before death. See the whole of Exercitatio XVIII.
OF EFFECTUAL CALLING. *
OTHERS. There are two kinds of call. “Effectual calling is the work ing. The first is an universal of God's almighty power and calling, by
outward grace, whereby (out of his free preaching of the word," which and special love to his elect, renders even reprobates inex- and from nothing in them mocusable. The second is a spe- ving him thereunto,) he doth, cial calling, given to the elect, in his accepted time, invite and which is a manifestation of their draw them to Jesus Christ, by election, which consists in “the his word and Spirit ; savingly inward enlightening of his Spi- enlightening their minds, rerit,” by which “he maketh the newing and powerfully deterword preached to be settled in mining their wills, so as they their hearts."
(although in themselves dead Inst. B. 3. ch. 24. sec. I and 8. in sin) are hereby made willing
and able freely to answer his « That general calling is call, and to accept and embrace common to the wicked; but the grace offered and conveyed this special calling bringeth therein.” with it the spirit of regenera
“ All the elect, and they only tion, which is the earnest and are effectually called; although seal of the inheritance to come, others may be, and often are,
* The expression, "effectual calling," has become almost obsolete, in the vocabulary of modern theology. The reason is obvious. The idea which was formerly expressed by it, is deemed Arminian heresy. Since men are not affected by the fall, in any thing but the will, and since that will is only to be changed by the creation of a new and holy volition, there can be no propriety in speaking of this creation, as of a calling, inviting, and effectually persuading the sinnėr. Dr. Hopkins' System contains one chap. ter on regeneration,” and another on “divine illumination;" in both of which, he attempts to prove, that the scriptural “ enlightening of the mind," consists in the bestoyment of " 2 HEART to know God.”
OF EFFECTUAL CALLING.
OTHERS. Regeneration is an act of Effectual calling consists in God, in which, by his almighty God's creating in the heart of energy he produces “the ex- the sinner, by his own immediercise of a new heart.” In this ate energy, a willingness to be act, of which God is the agent, saved. man is passive; and is “ the Emmons, f. 368. and Wila *subject on which, or in which, liams' 4th Sermon. the effect is wrought.” The “ It appears, from what has effect wrought, is a holy voli- been said, that men need no sution, and in exercising this, pernatural divine assistance; in which is conversion, or turning order to make them able to about from sin to God, man is obey all the commands of God. active. The effect of regene- If men needed any supernatural, ration may be called, in general, divine assistance, in order to love, or universal, disinterested make them able to obey any of benevolence.
the divine' commands, they Hop. Syst. Part 2.ch. 4. sec: would be unable to obey those 2, 3.
commands so long as that ne
cessary assistance was with "The subject of this operation, holden: which would be the in which this change and effect same as for God to require is wrought, is the will of the more of them than they are able heart ; that is, the moral and to do. But this he never does. not the natural powers and fa- Men, therefore; need no superculties of the soul. As moral natural; divine assistance, in depravity is wholly in the will order to make them able to or heart, the source and seat of obey all the commands of Goda. all moral actions, the divine So long as they are upheld in operation directly respects the being, they are able, without heart; and consists in changing any aid or assistance whatever, and renewing that. The un- to do all that God requires." derstanding or intellect, con- Mass. Miss. Mag. Vol. 3. The sidered as distinct from the will, 367,