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Thomas Manton (1620-1677) on Christ Suffering the Tantundem, Not the Idem of the Law’s Punishment

May 20, 2009

Manton:

2. It carries a full respect to the punishment appointed for sin. Certain we are that he ‘ bore the curse of the law,’ Gal. iii. 13. Now the curse of the law, actively taken, is nothing but the sentence of the law, or rather of God the judge, condemning the transgressors of it to such punishment as the law appointed; passively taken, it is the punish ment itself. And the final and great curse is that described, Mat. xxv. 41. To be banished from the presence of the Lord, and cast into extreme torment. There is a double punishment–paena damni et sensus, the loss and the pain. The loss consists in our separation from God, from the comfortable happy fruition of him in glory: ‘depart, ye cursed.’ The pain in eternal torments is set forth by the worm and by the fire, Mark ix. 44. Now Christ being our surety, Heb. vii. 22, and giving himself ‘a ransom for all,’ 1 Tim. ii.6 antilutron, the word implies a substitution or surrogation of one person in the room of another; he was to suffer what we were to suffer; if not the idem, every way the same, yet the tantundem, that which was sufficient to Christ’s ends, that which was to carry a full resemblance with our punishment. It is one part of the punishment of sin to be forsaken of God, and many say the punishment of loss is greatest; he was there fore to suffer so much of it as his holy person was capable of; some thing that answers to the paena damni in his desertion, and to the paena sensus in his agonies and pains: Isa. liii. 4, ‘ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.’

It is true the accidentals of punishment Christ suffered not. As [1.] To the place, he was not in hell. It was not necessary that Christ should descend into the hell of the damned. One that is bound as a surety for another needs not go into prison provided that he pay the debt. All that justice requires is, that he satisfy the debt. In deed, if he doth not, nor cannot satisfy the debt, he must to prison. So here the justice of God must be satisfied, the holiness of God and hatred to sin sufficiently demonstrated, but Christ need not to go into the place of torments.

[2.] For the time of continuance. The damned must bear the wrath of God to all eternity, because they can never satisfy the justice of God, therefore they must lie by it world without end. As one that pays a thousand pounds by a penny a week, is a long time in paying; a rich man lays it down in cumulo, in a heap of gold all at once. Christ hath made an infinite satisfaction in a finite time; he bore the wrath of God in a few hours, which would overwhelm the creature. Christ did not suffer the eternity of wrath, but only the extremity of it, intensive, not extensive. The eternity of the punishment ariseth from the weakness of the creature, who cannot overcome this evil, and get out of it.

[3.] There is another thing unavoidably attending the pains of the second death in reprobates, and that is desperation, an utter hopeless ness of any good, yea, a certain expectation of continual torment, Heb. x. 27. The gates of hell are made fast on them by an irresistible decree; and the gulf is fixed between the place of the damned, and the place of the blessed, so that there is no coming from the one to the other, Luke xvi. 26. Now this despair is not an essential part of the law’s curse, but only a consequent, occasioned by the sinner’s view of his remediless and woeful condition. But this neither did nor could possibly befall the Lord Jesus, who was able by his divine power both to suffer and satisfy, to undergo and overcome, and therefore expected a good issue in his conflict : Ps. xvi. 9, 10, ‘My flesh shall rest in hope; for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thine holy one to see corruption,’ was spoken as from Christ, Acts ii. 27. A shallow stream would drown a little child, whereas a grown man may hope to escape out of a far deeper place, yea, a skillful swimmer out of the ocean. Christ passed through that sea of wrath which would have drowned all the world, and came safe to shore.

Thomas Manton, “And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried witli a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mat. XXVII. 46, Sermon IX, in The Works of Thomas Manton, 2:272-273.

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