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of which can, without blasphemy, be affirmed of God. Though Christ, as Mediator, is indeed to be considered as surety, in a lax sense, for God, that is, as a witness for him ; yet this is by no means to be regarded as proper suretiship: nor is it at all different in its nature from what the prophets and apostles did in the testimony which they gave to him. Besides, when he is represented in our text as a Surety, it is evident from the apostle's design in the context, which was to point out the transcendent excellence of his priesthood above that of the priests under the Old Testament ;—it is evident, I say, that his suretiship, which is therein mentioned, relates to the execution of his priestly office ; which, like that of the Levitical priests, was for the people to God, and not for God to the people. Now his suretiship for God to us, were we to suppose such a suretiship, instead of relating to his priestly, would relate only to his kingly office; for it is only considered as King, that all power is given to him, and consequently the power of seeing that all the promises of the covenant of grace
be fulfilled to his people. Job, when he was appealing to God, said,
Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee," chap. xvii. 3. And the holy psalmist prayed thus: “Be surety for thy servant for good; let not the proud oppress me," Psal. cxix. 122.
In both of these passages, it is plain, that the suretiship mentioned is not for God, but to him. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, did not become surety for God; but,
2. He was constituted surety for sinners to God. If the first Adam failed in yielding perfect obedience, as the condition of life in the covenant of works, when he had sufficient ability to perform it ; sinners, doubtless, cannot be expected to yield it now, when their ability is gone. It was necessary, therefore, in making another covenant with them in Christ, or with him in their name, that he should sist himself as their Surety, and be responsible to God for them. Now, that he actually became surety for sinners, for poor, and wretched, and miserable sinners, is evident from the infallible testimony of God. “ The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
“ He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities," Isa. liii. 5, 6.
- 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. “When we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly,” Rom. v. 6. "It is plain, then, that Jesus was a Surety for sinners. But,
3. He did not become Surety for all sinners. He was substituted as a Surety only in the room of those whom the Father gave to him, and whom he received as his spiritual seed, the objects of his peculiar love. These were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and in the estimation of law, were considered as one with him. They were one with him in covenant, and one in law. That it was not for the world in general, but for those who were given him out of the world, that Jesus was made a Surety, is evident from many passages of Scripture. I shall only quote two. " As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep," John x. 15.
or For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham,” Heb. ii. 16. Instead of saying, that he took on him the seed of Adam, he represents him as having taken on him only the seed of Abraham ; to intimate that it was only a part of Adam's posterity whom he represented, and for whom he became Surety.
II. I proceed now to the second general head,—To inquire what it was for which our Divine Redeemer became a Surety. Suretiship among men, though it be intended sometimes to secure the performing of a bond or deed, is frequently designed also to secure the payment of a debt. “ Be not thou one of them,” says Solomon, “that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.” Our great High Priest became Surety to; his eternal Father for the debt which his people whom he represented were owing to his law and his justice. With infinite willingness he engaged to clear the boundless sum, which his
elect, the principal debtors, had been originally bound to pay; and his gracious Father with equal willingness accepted him as a Surety, and expected the complete payment of the whole only from Him. " The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake ; he will magnify the law and make it honourable,” Isa. xlii. 21.
1. The Lord Jesus, considered as a Surety, engaged to pay their debt of perfect obedience to the law as a covenant of works for them. He did not become bound as their Surety to yield for his people that obedience which they were, and still are, bound to perform to the law as an eternal rule of duty, for this obligation can never be transferred to a surety : the true believer, notwithstanding his personal interest in the surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ, still continues under the firmest obligations to perform all the duties of holiness; nay, his obligations to advance in holiness of heart and life are strengthened by redeeming grace. But Jesus engaged as a Surety to perform for his people that perfect obedience to the law, under the form of a covenant, which they were originally bound to yield as the condition of eternal life. “Moses describeth the righteousness of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them,” Rom. x. 5. “ If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments," Matt. xix. 17. This, according to the tenor of the first covenant, was the unalterable condition of life; and Christ Jesus engaged as a Surety to fulfil it in the room of his spiritual seed.
“I delight to do thy will, O my God ; yea, thy law is within my heart.” “Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Though they were utterly unable to yield this obedience to the law for life, because they were dead in sin, and so were without strength ; yet the holy and righteous law did not lose its right to require it, and to denounce a dreadful curse upon every one who failed in performing it. They, indeed, lost their ability to yield this perfect obedience ; but the immutable justice of God continued still to demand it as a debt which they owed and ought to pay. Now Jesus, as their blessed Surety, transferred this obligation from them upon himself, and became) bound to clear the debt in their name. By this substitution of himself in the room of the elect, he became a debtor to do the whole law, as a covenant of works. This he owned by submitting to circumcision, according to these words of the apostle Paul, “I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law,” Gal. v. 3. As Christ assumed human nature only, and not a human person ; and as the human nature, from the first moment of its existence, subsisted in union with the Divine nature in his adorable person ; it had already a title to,-nay, it was actually possessed of eternal life, in consequence of that union; so that it had no need by its perfect obedience to merit life for itself. The perfect obedience, then, which Jesus performed to the law as a covenant of works, was not a debt which he owed for himself, but which, in the character of Surety, he voluntarily engaged to pay for his spiritual seed. If any shall still insist that he obeyed the law under this form for himself, and therefore, that his obedience cannot be imputed to believers, they must by the same mode of reasoning admit, that the execution of the curse which he endured was also for himself ; which would be horrible blasphemy. I shall only observe further under this particular, that as they whom Jesus represented in the eternal covenant were, as well as others, constituted hired servants to God in the loins of the first Adam, and failed to perform their service, he, in becoming Surety for their debt of perfect obedience, transferred upon himself their state of servitude. The apostle Paul informs us, “that he took upon him the form of a servant, —and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” Phil. ii. 7, 8.
2. The Lord Jesus, as Surety for the elect of God, engaged also to pay their debt of punishment, which they had contracted by sin. By transgressing the precepts of the holy law, not only in Adam their federal representative, but times without number in their own persons, they incurred the execution of its dreadful penalty.
By failing to perform that perfect obedience which it required, and which they owed to it, as a debt the most just and reasonable, they contracted new debt, a debt of endless punishment; of that tremendous punishment which it denounces against every soul that transgresseth it. Having violated their obligations to obedience, they laid themselves under a firm obligation to suffer eternal punishment, for the satisfaction of sin-avenging justice. It is highly reasonable, that, when men refuse to be bound by their obligations to do the one, they should fall under an obligation to endure the other. Since then the objects of redeeming love have, as sinners, contracted a debt of infinite punishment, a debt which they could never have been able to clear, the Lord Jesus graciously condescended to present himself as a Surety for this debt also. In the greatness of his love and pity, he became Surety for their debt of punishment; obliging himself to lay down his life for their's, which had been forfeited to vindictive justice. Hence, in a forecited passage he informs us, that he laid down his life for the sheep, John x. 15. ; and in the 18th verse he says,
I lay it down of myself, I have power to lay it down,” &c. Since the elect of God deserved to lie under the curse of the law, and to endure the full execution of it, both on their souls and their bodies through all eternity, Jesus engaged to be made a curse for them, and to endure the execution of it in their stead. Hence we read, that he was made a curse for us, and that he suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God. Seeing they deserved to have the condemning sentence executed on their bodies, He, as their Surety, consented that it should be executed upon his body. We accordingly read, that “his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men;" that he was nailed to the accursed tree; that “he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our ini. quities.” As the sentence passed upon them was also to be executed on their souls, He consented that it should be executed fully on his holy soul. Having engaged as a