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may no longer rule over us and that we may of " fer up ourfelves to him a Sacrifice of Thankfgiving. Tbe 44th Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. Q. W HY is added, That he descended into Hell?
A. “That I may be strengthened under my greatest Tryals and Temptations, and reap intire • Comfort in the Confideration, that my Lord Jesus “Chrift by the inexpreffible Agonies, Pains, Terrors s and Sorrows, into which he was plunged during his " whole Paffion, but especially when he was cruci« fied, delivered me from the Agonies and Torments *6 of Hell.”
Q. What do you learn out of these Questions?
Ā. How Christ has suffered for poor Sinners; how he has been crucified, buried, descended into Hell, i. e. how he hath suffered under the inexpressible Agonies, Pains and Terrors of Hell ; and allo, how he has obeyed his Father, to the End, that by his Sufferings as a Propitiatory Sacrifice, he might redeema eur Bodies and Souls from eternal Damnation,
Q. What axe. the States and Condition of our Redeemer ?
A. They are two-fold; namely, his State of Hu miliation, and his State of Exaltation, Phil. ii. 8. And being furmed and fasbioned as a Man, he humbled bimself, and became obedientunto Death, even the Death of the Cross; wherefore God hath bighly exalted him, and given him a Naine above every Name.
Ri What-betongs to the State of Humiliation? 1. ist, That he has been crucified: 2dły, Died. 3dly, buried. And“4tbiły, Descended into Hell.
Q. How many 7 imes has he suffered?
Ā. He was in a State of suffering during all the Time he lived upon the Earth, from the Time he was born, cipecially in his Death, 1 Pet. iii. 18. For
Chrift hath once fuffered
for Sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
Q. Should not the least suffering of Christ, yea, a Drop of Blood, bave been enough to save us?
A. No, he must undergo Death itself; 1/, Because the Justification of God requires Death, Rom. i. 32. and Rom. vi. 23. The Wages of Sin are Death. 2dly, That the Truth of God should appear, who has predicted his Death, Ifa. liii. 8. How he was cut off out of the Land of the Living, and therefore he is crucified and Jain, Aets ii. 23.
Q. Why did he fuffer under the Judge Pontius Pilate.
1. To fhew by that, that he was the true Meffias, who must suffer when the Sceptre was departed from Judah, Gen. xlix. 10. The Jews being then under the Government of the Romans, their Conquerors.
Q: Why must he be crucified?
A. Because the Death of the Cross was cursed by God, Deut. xxi. 23. For he tbat is hanged is accursed of God. And Gal. iii. 13. Cbrift hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us ; for it is turitten, curfed is every one who bangeth on ja tree; as it was necessary the Nature which bath finned, should suffer that Curse.
Q. In what Nature must he suffer?
1. Only in his human Nature, both in Body and Mind.
Q. How can you proue it, that Chrift bath only fuffered in his human nature,
A. It is teftified by the holy. Scripture, 1 Pet. iii. 18. Being put to Death in the Flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. And also, I. Pet. iv. I. Christ hath fuffered in the Flih.
Q. Hath he alfo fuffered.in his Mind?
A. Yes, this was foretold, Ija. liii. 10. When thou fall make his Saul
, an offering for Sin; he shall see bis Seed. Also, Verfe.11, And which.is fulfilled, Matt.
xxvi. 38, Then said he unto them, My Soul is exceeding forrowful unto Death.
Q. What hath he suffered in his Body?
Ā. Various Pains and Sorrows, such as whipping Strokes, Wounds, and at last the Death of the Cross, Ifa. liii. 3.
Q. How afted his Godhead in this?
A. By the Power of his Divinity only was he able to bear the great Weight of the Wrath of God in his human Nature, and to be delivered from the fale.
Q. Did not his Godhead suffer?
A. By no Means; his Godhead could not fuffer, which is immutable and all-powerful, always, ra maining the Blessed and only. Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, i Tim. vi. 15. His
Godnead fupported him to bear the Wrath of God, fanctifying his Sufferings by the infinite Dignity with which he bore them, so as to be thereby a sufficient Ransom for our Redemption, Afts xx. 28. God bas purchased his Church with his own Blood.
Q. For whom hath Chrif suffered?
A. The Catechist alledgeth, that he hath borno the Wrath of God for the Sins of all Mankind.
Q. Doth the Catechift mean hereby, that he hath borne the Wrath of God for every individual ?
A. No. But that he hath borne the Wrath of God for the same Şins to which, by the Fall of Adam, all Mankind are subject; not that he has suffered for every individual, but for the Elvet only, out of all Mankind, as we see by John vi. 38. Matt
. i. 21. Joha xvii. 9. John x. 27, 28. Acts xx. 28, &c. And as already is demonstrated in the 20th Question; besides, Experience teacheth us, that not every one is delivered from the Wrath of God, or sanctified or converted as the End of Christ's Death in redeeming his People, Fohn xvii. and Eph. v. And St. Paul testifies, that he for whom he is made Redemption and Juftification, for them also is he made Sanctification, I Cor. i. 30.
And fince it evidently appears, that such Operations, as, the End of Christ's Suffering, are not to be seen in every one, consequently it must follow, that Christ has not borne the Wrath of God for all Mankind. Farther, if we should be of that Opinion, certainly it must follow, that Christ has fhed his Blood in vain, because every one is not justified and sanctified; and it would be the greatest Absurdity to affert fo, because his Ransom is too precious to be paid for one only Soul in vain.
How do you apprehend then the Scripture Passage, by which our Adversaries defend that Chrift has died
A. The Word, Au, is taken sometimes for one limited Generality of the Elect, to which the Ge-: nerality of the Reprobates is opposed, Rom. v. 18. 2 Cor. v. 14. Sometimes it signifies as much as all sorts
of Men, Jews and Heathen, Tit. ii. 11. Even also the · Word, World, is of the same Signification, John i. 29. i John ii. 2.
Q. But must not every one believe that Christ has died for him?
Å. No. Faith is a Duty required of us in the Covenant of Grace, and supposed an internal Calling and Conversion by the Spirit of God; which Faith therefore cannot be in the wicked and ungodly Pera fons, as long as they continue in their Sins, and at least in such who never have heard of Christ.
Q. Is it the Wrath of God alone which Chrif hath borne for his Eleft?
A. No. 'He hath been alfo obedient to the Law; of God, coming as well to minister, as to give his Life a Ransom for many, Matt. xx. 28.
Q. Why hath Christ suffered so much, and demeaned himself unto perfeet Obedience to the Law of God? :...
1. To redeem his people from all temporal and eternal Punishment; and to acquire for us the Grace of God, Justification, Sanctification, and a blessed Immortality.
Q. What is the meaning of Christ's having descended into Hell?
1. By this are meant not only the inexpressible Agonies, Pains, Terrors and Sorrows, into which he was plunged during lis whole Paffion, especially when he was crucified; but also his submitting to the State of Death, of which Solomon speaks, Eat xi: 7. His Body being buried, and his Soul being departed from his Body, returning to God, until his Juftification was declared by his Resurrection from the Dead.
Q. Why do you call those Sufferings; a descending inte Hell?
A. if, Because we find them revealed to us by those Expreffions in the holy Scripture, Pf. xviii. 5. The Sorrows of Hell encompoffed me. And Pf. cxvi. 3. The Pains of Hell got hold upon me. He having experienced an Extract, as it were, of the torrid Wrath of God, wherein the Misery of Hell consists.
Q. Did the Body of Christ remain upon the Cross?
A. No; it was begged of Pilate, by one of his
Q. Why was he buried ?
Q. What Benefits do we receive by the Sacrifice of
A. Unto this the Catechift has answered, Question 43, and signified, That by the Sacrifice of Chrift
, the Bonds of Sin are broken, our San&ification made perfect; or Righteousness is given us, by Virtue of which, we may have free and welcome Access to God; the Merit of which we may plead for obtaining all the Blessings of Time and Eternity; and that by his Sufferings we have an Example how our outward Man, i.e. our corrupt Nature, must be crucified, die, and be buried, that our carnal Appetites may no longer rule over us, i Pet. iv. 1, 2. Rom. vi. 6. But that we give ourselves to him as a Sacrifice of Thankfriving, Rom. xii. 1.