(Owen, Trinity. part 10)

sufferings of Christ, is, as far as I can understand, to subvert the
whole gospel.
  Moreover, as was said, this has been variously exemplified among the
nations of the world; whose acting in such cases, because they
excellently shadow out the general notion of the death of Christ for
others, for sinners, and are appealed unto directly by the apostle to
this purpose, Rom. 5: 7, 8, I shall in a few instances reflect upon.
  Not to insist on the voluntary surrogations of private persons, one
into the room of another, mutually to undergo dangers and death for
one another, as before mentioned, I shall only remember some public
transactions, in reference unto communities, in nations, cities, or
armies. Nothing is more celebrated amongst the ancients than this,
that when they supposed themselves in danger, from the anger and
displeasure of their gods, by reason of any guilt or crimes among
them, some one person should either devote himself or be devoted by
the people, to die for them; and therein to be made, as it wets, an
expiatory sacrifice. For where sin is the cause, and God is the object
respected; the making of satisfaction by undergoing punishment, and
expiating of sin by a propitiatory sacrifice, are but various
expressions of the same thing. Now, those who so devoted themselves,
as was said, to die in the stead of others, or to expiate their sins,
and turn away the anger of God they feared, by their death, designed
two things in what they did. First, That the evils which were
impendent on the people, and feared, might fall on themselves, so that
the people might go free. Secondly, That all good things which
themselves desired, might be conferred on the people. Which things
have a notable shadow in them of the great expiatory sacrifice,
concerning which we treat, and expound the expressions wherein it is
declared. The instance of the Decii is known; of whom the poet, -
      "Plebeiae Deciornm animae, plebeian fuerunt
      Nomina; pro totis legionibus Hi tamen, et pro
      Omnibus auxiliis, atque omni plebe Latina,
      Sufficiunt Diis infernis."
  The two Decii, father and son, in imminent dangers of the people,
devoted themselves, at several times, unto death and destruction. And
says he, "Sufficiunt Diis infernis,- "they satisfied for the whole
people; adding the reason whence so it might be: -
      "Pluris denim Decii quam qui servntur ab illis." Juv., Sat.
      vii. 254-8
They were more to be valued than all that were saved by them. And the
great historian does excellently describe both the actions and
expectations of the one and the other in what they did. The father,
when the Roman army, commanded by himself and Titus Manlius, was near
a total ruin by the Latins, called for the public priest, and caused
him, with the usual solemn ceremonies, to devote him to death for the
deliverance and safety of the army; after which, making his requests
to his gods, ("dii quorum est potestas nostrorum hostiumque,") "the
gods that had power over them and their adversaries," as he supposed,
he cast himself into death by the swords of the enemy. "Conspectus ab
utraque acie aliquanto augustior humano visu, sicut coelo missus
piaculum omnis deorum irae, qui pestam ab suis aversam in hostes
ferret;" - "He was looked on by both armies as one more august than a
man, as one sent from heaven, to be a piacular sacrifice, to appease
the anger of the gods, and to transfer destruction from their own army
to the enemies," Liv., Hist. viii. 9. His son, in like manner, in a
great and dangerous battle against the Gauls and Samnites, wherein he
commanded in chief, devoting himself, as his father had done, added
unto the former solemn deprecations': - "Prae se agere sese formidinem
ac fugam, caedemque ac cruorem, coelestum, inferorum iras," lib. x.
28; - "That he carried away before him, from those for whom he devoted
himself, 'fear and flight, slaughter and blood, the anger of the
celestial and infernal gods.'" And as they did, in this devoting of
themselves, design "averruncare malum, deum iras, lustrare populum,
aut exercitum, piaculum fieri," or |G: peripsema, anathema,
apokatharma|, - "expiare crimina, scelus, raetum," "or to remove all
evil from others, by taking it on themselves in their stead; so also
they thought they might, and intended in what they did, to covenant
and contract for the good things they desired. So did these Decii; and
so is Menoeceus reported to have done, when he devoted himself for the
city of Thebes, in danger to be destroyed by the Argives. So Papinius
Statius introduces him treating with his gods: -
      "Armorum superi, tuque o qui funere tanto
      Indulges mihi, Phoebe, mori, date gaudia Thebis,
      Quae pepigi, et toto quae sanguine prodigus emi." - [Theb.
      x. 757.]
He reckoned that he had not only repelled all death and danger from
Thebes, by his own, but that he had purchased joy, in peace and
liberty, for the people.
  And where there was none in public calamities that did voluntarily
devote themselves, the people were wont to take some obnoxious person,
to make him execrable, and to lay on him, according to their
superstition, all the wrath of their gods, and so give him up to
destruction. Such the apostle alludes unto, Rom. 9: 3; 1 Cor. 4: 9,
13. So the Massilians were wont to expiate their city by taking a
person devoted, imprecating on his head all the evil that the city was
obnoxious unto, casting him into the sea with these words, |G:
Peripsema hemoon genou| - "Be thou our expiatory sacrifice." To which
purpose were the solemn words that many used in their expiatory
sacrifices, as Herodotus [lib ii. 39] testifies of the Egyptians,
bringing their offerings. Says he, |G: Katapeontai de, tade legontes,
teisi kefaleisin, ei ti melloi e sfisi toisi thuousi, e Aiguptooi tei
sunapasei kakon genesthai es kefalen tauten trapesthai| - "They laid
these imprecations on their heads, that if any evil were happening
towards the sacrificer, or all Egypt, let it be all turned and laid on
this devoted head."
  And the persons whom they thus dealt withal, and made execrate, were
commonly of the vilest of the people, or such as had rendered
themselves detestable by their own crimes; whence was the complaint of
the mother of Menaeceus upon her son's devoting himself: -
      "Lustralemne feris, ego te puer inclyte Thebis,
      Devotumque caput, ilis seu mater alebam?" - [Statius, Theb.
      x. 788, 789.]
  I have recounted these instances to evince the common intention,
sense, and understanding of that expression, of one dying for another,
and to manifest by examples what is the sense of mankind about any
one's being devoted and substituted in the room of others, to deliver
them from death and danger; the consideration whereof, added to the
constant use of the words mentioned in the Scripture, is sufficient to
found and confirm this conclusion: -
  "That whereas it is frequently affirmed in the Scripture, that
'Christ died for us, and for our sins,' etc., to deny that he died and
suffered in our stead, undergoing the death whereunto we were
obnoxcious, and the punishment due to our sins, is, - if we respect in
what we say or believe the constant use of those words in the
Scripture, the nature of the thing itself concerning which they are
used, the uncontrolled use of that expression in all sorts of writers
in expressing the same thing, with the instances and examples of its
meaning and intention among the nations of the world, - to deny that
he died for us at all."
  Neither will his dying for our good or advantage only, in what way
or sense soever, answer or make good or true the assertion of his
dying for us and our sins. And this is evident in the death of the
apostles and martyrs. They all died for our good; our advantage and
benefit was one end of their sufferings, in the will and appointment
of God: and yet it cannot be said that they died for us, or our sins.
  And if Christ died only for our good, though in a more effectual
manner than they did, yet this alters not the kind of his dying for
us; nor can he thence be said, properly, according to the only due
sense of that expression, so to do.
  I shall, in this brief and hasty discourse, add only one
consideration more about the death of Christ, to confirm the truth
pleaded for; it and that is, that he is said, in dying for sinners,
"to bear their sins.". Isa. 53: 11, "He shall bear their iniquities;"
verse 12, "He bare the sin of many;" explained, verse 5, "He was
wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the
chastisement of our peace was upon him." 1 Pet. 2: 24, "Who his own
self bare our sins in his own body on the tree," etc.
  This expression is purely sacred. It occurs not directly in other
authors, though the sense of it in other words do frequently. They
call it "luere peccata;" that is, "delictorum supplicium ferre," - "to
bear the punishment of sins." The meaning, therefore, of this phrase
of speech is to be taken from the Scripture alone, and principally
from the Old Testament, where it is originally used; and from whence
it is transferred into the New Testament, in the same sense, and no
other. Let us consider some of the places: -
  Isa. 53: 11, |H: awonotam hu yisbol|. The same word, |H: saval|, is
used verse 4, |H: umach'oveinu svalam|, - "And our griefs, he has
borne them." The word signifies, properly, to bear a weight or a
burden, as a man bears it on his shoulders, - "bajulo, porto." And it
is never used with respect unto sin, but openly and plainly it
signifies the undergoing of the punishment due unto it. So it occurs
directly to our purpose, Lam. 5: 7 |H: avoteinu chat'u einam anachnu
awonoteihem savalnu| - "Our fathes have sinned, and are not; and we
have borne their iniquities;" the punishment due to their sins. And
why a new sense should be forged for these words when they are spoken
concerning Christ, who can give a just reason?
  Again; |H: nasa|  is used to the same purpose, |H: wehu chet-rabim
nasa| Isa. 53: 12, "And he bare the sin of many. |H: nasa| is often
used with respect unto sin; sometimes with reference unto God's acting
about it, and sometimes with reference unto men's concerns in it. In
the first way, or when it denotes an act of God, it signifies to lift
up, to take away or pardon sin; and leaves the word |H: awon|,
wherewith it is joined under its first signification, of iniquity, or
the guilt of sin, with respect unto punishment ensuing as its
consequent; for God pardoning the guilt of sin, the removal of the
punishment does necessarily ensue, guilt containing an obligation unto
punishment. In the latter way, as it respects men or sinners, it
constantly denotes the bearing of the punishment of sin, and gives
that sense unto |H: awon|, with respect unto the guilt of sin as its
cause. And hence arises the ambiguity of these words of Cain, Gen. 4:
13, |H: gadol awoni minso|. If |H: nasa| denotes an act of God, if the
words be spoken with reference, in the first p]ace, to any acting of
his towards Cain, |H: awon| retains the sense of iniquity, and the
words are rightly rendered, "My sin is greater than to be forgiven."
If it respect Cain himself firstly, |H: awon| assumes the
signification of punishment, and the words are to be rendered, "My
punishment is greater than I can bear," or "is to be borne by me."
  This, I say, is the constant sense of this expression, nor can any
instance to the contrary be produced. Some may be mentioned in the
confirmation of it. Numb. 19: 33, "Your children shall wander in the
wilderness forty years," |H: wenasu et-znuteichem| "and shall bear
your whoredoms." Verse 34, |H: tisu et-awonoteichem arba'im shanah| -
"Ye shall bear your iniquities forty years;" that is, the punishment
due to your whoredoms and iniquities, according to God's providential
dealings with them at that time. Lev. 19: 8, "He that eateth it |H:
awono yisa| shall bear his iniquity. How? |H: nichretah hanefesh hahi|
- "That soul shall be cut off." To be cut off for sin by the
punishment of it, and for its guilt, is to bear iniquity. So chap. 20:
16-18, for a man to bear his iniquity, and to be killed, slain, or put
to death for it, are the same.
  Ezek. 18: 20, |H: hanefesh hachotet hi tamoet ben lo-yisa ba'awon
ha'av| - "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear
the sin of the father." To bear sin, and to die for sin, are the same.
More instances might be added, all uniformly speaking the same sense
of the words.
  And as this sense is sufficiently, indeed invincibly, established by
the invariable use of that expression in the Scripture so the manner
whereby it is affirmed that the Lord Christ bare our iniquities, sets
it absolutely free from all danger by opposition. For he bare our
iniquities when |H: wa'adonai hifnia bo et awon kulanu| - "the LORD
made to meet on him, or laid on him; the iniquity of us all," Isa. 53:
6; which words the LXX render, |G: Kai Kurios paredooken auton tais
hamartiais hemoon| - "The LORD gave him up, or delivered him unto our
sins;" that is, to be punished for them, for other sense the words can
have none. "He made him in sin for us," 2 Cor. 5: 21. So "he bare our
sins," Isa. 53: 12. How? "In his own body on the tree," 1 Pet. 2: 24;
that when he was, and in his being stricken, smitten, afflicted,
wounded bruised, slain, so was the chastisement of our peace upon him.
  Wherefore, to deny that the Lord Christ, in his death and suffering
for us, underwent the punishment due to our sins, what we had
deserved, that we might be delivered, as it everts the great
foundation of the gospel, so, by an open perverting of the plain words
of the scripture, because not suited in their sense and importance to
the sin imaginations of men, it gives no small countenance to
infidelity and atheism.

(conclusion, owen, trinity)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01: owent-10.txt