Acts ii. 24

Robert Hawker

"Having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."—Acts ii. 24.

My soul! thou hast been in contemplation to the tomb of Jesus this morning, and seen the place where the Lord lay; now sit down, and ponder over what this blessed scripture saith, that "the pains of death were loosened, because it was not possible for Jesus to be detained a prisoner by it. "And if there were no other scripture, but this one, in proof of Christ's godhead, this in itself would be unanswerable; for it could be nothing but the godhead of his person which made it impossible. It was this which, from the union of the manhood with the godhead, preserved his soul from sin, and his body from corruption; for though the human nature that Christ took was subject to all the sinless infirmities of nature, and to feel hunger, weariness, and the like, to the full, being part of the curse on the fall, which he came to bear and do away; yet was he not left to the infirmities of what we, in our fallen state, are exposed to, and often sink under. Sweet thought, to look. to the tomb of Jesus with! Here, as oft as we contemplate the spot, we may say: here Christ hath lain down, to teach his followers to lie down. But here Christ could not be detained; his holy body was not subject to corruption. "Thou wilt not leave his soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." But may it not be added also, on another account, that the pains of death could not hold Christ; forasmuch as God's justice being fully satisfied by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all, there could be no detention of the prisoner when the debt was paid? The Lord Jesus did not, for he needed not, go down to hell for the purpose of receiving there the punishment our sins deserve, and which, by suffering in our stead and room, he did away: his sufferings were fully commensurate upon earth: and it is not the place, but the degree and nature of punishment, that makes an equivalent on the score of paying. His capability of suffering, and the extremity of what he endured during his agony in the garden, and on the cross, (not to mention a whole life of sorrows, in being all along acquainted with grief) these were the full Cup of trembling which Jesus drank, and completely adequate it was, or he would not have said upon the cross, "it is finished!" Neither was it necessary that the Redeemer should long endure the sufferings due to sin, as the sinner's surety. Here also his capability of sustaining much, in a little space, plainly proves, that when all the vials of divine wrath were poured out upon his sacred head; being once completely emptied, they could not again be filled. Though had not Jesus died," the just for the unjust, to bring us to God," the second death (which, out of Christ, is the sinner's due) must be an eternal death, because the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, are only fitted' for, and capable of receiving misery by portions, which never being fully poured out, are consequently never finished. But not so with Him who stood the sinner's surety. He could, and did receive at once, in life and death, the whole of the punishment due to sin: and therefore he it is of whom the Holy Ghost speaks, "All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me," Psalm xlii. 7. Precious Lord! while I think of these things, and my whole soul is going forth in sorrow at the contemplation of those sufferings of thine for' my salvation, grant me to feel at the same time the blessedness of thy redemption, and my interest in it, since "by thy stripes I am healed."



Robert Hawker

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