« PreviousContinue »
brought pardon and peace unto us. For Die was upon tim, here is that exemplary punishment, in which God's wrath against sin is discovered, which is well adapted to deter Others from it. Thus Jer. xxx. 14. the punishment of a'cruel one, and Prov, vii. 22. the exemplary punishment of a fool, and Ezek. v. 16. so shall it be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction (example) and an astonishment
VIII. But we certainly take too much upon us, when we presume to examine the equity of the divine government; by the standard of our reason : when the fact is plain, we are always to vindicate God against the sophistry of our foolisti reasonings. That man is certainly the author of a monstrous, horrible, and detestable heresy, and discovers & profane arrogance, who like Socinus, is not ashamed to write as follows: As for my part, indeed, though such a thing should be found not once, but frequently, in the sacred records, I would not on that account believe it to be so. But modesty should teach us rather to say ; • That truly for my part, though my red- .
sory, which I know is blind and foolish, and apt to be cla• morous against God, should a thousand times gain-say it; I • would not therefore presume to call in question, what I • find but once in the sacred records; or, by seeking some other . interpretation, would I force on the words of scripture, any .
meaning more consonant to my reason.' When therefore we shall have proved from holy writ, that the Lord Christ tras made satisfaction to the justice of God, and consequently, that there is no injustice in it: according to the maxim, which dature itself dictates, that all the ways of God are righteousness and truth.
***** IX. No Christian questions that Christ fulfilled all righteousness. The multitude of the Jews, Mark vii. 87. testified' concerning him, he hath donis all things well. And he declared this truly, as he did everything else, concerning yhit. self, ufur, I do those things that please him," John' viä: 29 And hence he boldly appealed to his enemies, v. 46. which of
you convinceth me of sín Pa Nay, even to his Father kimo. self, Psal: xcix. 5. “O God, thou knowest my foolishness, and boy sins are not hid from thee ?*' for I suppose this Psalm contains a prayer of the Lord Christ, as appears from several parts of it being often quoted in the New Testament. And these words, I think, contain a protestation of the Lord Jesus to his Father of his own innocence ; of which Theodorus in Catena, has given no improper paraphrase : " whether have been guilty of any fault against them, thou thyself knowest, and art my witness, T have done nothing. But I think the
meading may be more fully expressed thus : it is true my God, I have taken guilt upon me, and am made a curse; but thou knowest all my sins, even to the slightest offence, for which I suffer; that in all there is not the least fault of mine, .by which I have violated thy law, so as to restore what I have taken. The truth of tbis protestation the Father attests, when Isa. liii. 2. he calls Christ his righteous servant, and justified him in the Spirit, 1 Tim. iii. 16. declaring that as man he was innocent of every crime falsely laid to his charge ; on the contrary, he honoured his Father by his perfect obedience; and as Mediator so diligently executed his office, that be was deficient in nothing
X. It is also allowed that the most holy obedience of Christ was for our good : because therein we bave, 1st. A confirmation of his heavenly doctrine; the works of his most perfect. holiness, no less than his miracles, being a demonstration that he was a preacher of divine truth sent down from heaven. 2dly. A living law and most perfect pattern of holiness, worthy both of God and of the children of God, of which we had an exact delineation in the written law; but its shining forth in its lively image and native light in Christ and his actions, is fitted to stir up every man to love it, who beholds itwith a spiritual eye. Mankind wanted this even to discern the unspotted image of the divine holiness in one of their brethren; which at length they obtained in Christ, who “ left us an example that we should follow his steps," 1 Pet. ii. 21. 3diy. A pointing out of the way to heaven: Christ teaching us not only by his words, but his actions, that “ without holiness Do one shall see the Lord," Heb. xii, 14.
XI. But we must proceed a step further, and affirm, that the obedience of Christ was accomplished by him in our room, in order thereby to obtain for us a right to eternal life. The law, which God will have secured inviolable, admits none to glory, but on condition of perfect obedience, which none was ever possessed of but Christ, who bestows it freely on his own people. This is what the apostle declares, Rom. v. 16. “ but the free gift of Jesus Christ is of many offences unto justification :* though we want those works, for which the reward may be due: nay, though for so many sins, we may have deserved an eternal cur:e; nevertheless there is something suf. ficient, not only for abolishing many offences, but likewise to be the meritorious cause of righteousness; namely, the obedience of one; and it becomes ours by gratuitous gift. More clearly still, verse 19. “ for as by one man's disobedience mauy were made [constituted) sinners, so by the obedience of one
shall many be made [constituted] righteous." The former one man was Adam, the root and federal head of mankind. By his disobedience, all mankind, as belonging to bim, were involved in the guilt of the curse: and as he sustained the person of all, what he did amiss, is accounted as done by all. The other is the one man Christ, who neither sinned in, and with Adam, nor had the dominion of sin and death passed up on hiin, and who is worthy to be both lord and bead, a second Adam, and the origin and source of the inberitance to be de volved on his brethren. He is possessed of an obedience, even to the whole law of God, which enjoined him to have a perfect love for the glory of his father, and for the salvation of his brethren. By that obedience the collective body of those who belong to him are constituted righteous ; that is, are judged to have a right to eternal life, no less than if every one had performed that obedience in his own person.
XII. Nor should it be thought strange, that the obedience of Christ is sufficient to acquire to all a right to eternal life, even though it became him as man to yield obedience for himself. For we are bere to consider the dignity of the person obeying; who being man in such a manner, as at the same time to be the eternal and infinite God, he is much more excellent than all the elect, taken together: and therefore his obedience is deservedly esteemed of such value as may be imputed to all, for obtaining a right to a blessed immortality. And although the divinity, in the abstract, did not obey, yet he who did is God; and thus the divinity of the person contributes very much to the dignity of the obedience. It is certain, that as man, he owed obedience for himself, but since he became man on our account, he also performed that obedience in our room. Moreover, as man he was not necessarily under the law, as prescribing the condition of happiness; because if we set aside the consideration of the suretiship undertaken for as, he would have enjoyed all manner of happiness, froth the first moment of his incarnation, on account of the union of the humanity with the Godhead, as we have more fully shewr, chap. m. 8 XIII, XIV.
XIII. It would likewise be false to infer from this, that • if Christ performed obedience for us, we ourselves are un
der no necessity of obeyimg ; because no demand can be made on the principal debtor, for what the Surety has per• formed in his room. Our obedience may be considered, either as it is the duty of the rational creature, with respect to his sovereign Lord; or as it is a condition of acquiring a right to eternal offe: in the latter respect Christ accomplished it
for us, and therefore under that relation, it neither is, nor can be required of us, as if for want of perfect obedience, we could be excluded from eternal life. But in the former respect, we by all means owe obedience, and the obligation to it rather increased than diminished by this instance of Christ's love. For what more proper than by this to shew our gratitude, and declare, not so much by words as actions, that we acknowledge him for our Lord, who has purchased us for himself? And in fine, that as adopted sons, we decline no obedience to our heavenly Father, whom his natural Son, and of the same substance with himself, so cheerfully obeyed.
XIV. But besides, Christ satisfied the vindictive justice of God, not only for our good, but also, in our room, by erduring those most dreadful sufferings, both in soul and body, which we had deserved, and from which he by undergoing them, did so deliver us, that they could not with the wrath and curse of God, as the proper punishment of our sin, be inflicted on us. If there is any point in our divinity accurate ly proved, and solidly defended against the exceptions of the Socinians, by illustrious persons in the church, it is certainly this ; which I choose not to repeat, desiring the reader to fetch the arguments from a Grotius, a Junius, a Turretine, a Hoornbeck, an Essenius, and the like renowned heroes ; which will baffle all the efforts of the adversaries properly to answer.
What sufferings of Christ are satisfactory. 1. Bur it is really to be lamented, that in these our days, a new question should be started among the orthodox: namely, which of the sufferings of Christ ought to be deemed satisfactory in our room. There is one in particular, who seems to acknowledge none of the sufferings of Christ to be satisfactory for us, but those which Christ underwent during the three hours of the solar darkness, while he was upon the cross, and before he expired; excluding from the number of satisfactory sufferings, that agony and horror which he endured in the garden of * Olivet the night in which he was apprehended, and that blood which he shed before, and when he was crucified, and after he expired on the cross. He had
This was the garden of Gethsemane, which lay at the foot of the mount of Olives.
not, says he, commenced his satisfactory actions, when by a word he levelled his enemies with the ground, cured Mal. chus, and promised paradise to the thief: no expiation was yet made when an angel came to strengthen him. Nay, he affirms, that Christ did not suffer corporal death as our Surety, and in our room; and that consequently it belongs not to the satisfaction which he made to the justice of God, if indeed he then fully satisfied God when he died. But in case Christ should seem to have suffered all these things in vain, the learned person concludes, that they were done in order to satisfy the veracity of God, which had foretold that thus it should be, and to full the types by which they were prefigured in the Old Testament; distinguishing, moreover, between convincing and compensating punishments, between warlike sufferings and judiciary. He calls those compensating and judiciary, which Christ endured during the three hours of darkness; the others only convincing and warlike sufferings; having this tendency, that Christ might learn to become a merciful High Priest.
II. But it will be worth while to trace the hypothesis of this very learned person from the foundation ; which he has done hiinself very accurately, in a letter to a friend, published after the first and second editions of my work. For he maintains, lst. That when God threatened man, if he sinned, with death, he meant that death which our first parents incurred on the very day they sinned, and which Christ the Surety underwent in the room and stead of some; and which the damned themselves, who are without a Surety, shall suffer and be forced to undergo for themselves. But that is the death of the whole man; because the subject of it is man, made up of soul and body united; and consists, not only in the privation of the sense of God's favour, and of communion with him, and of a joyful delight in the enjoyment of him; but it is also attended with all the torture and racking pain which the almighty wrath of God can inflict. 2dly. Our first parents underwent that death immediately upon their sin : for in the cool of the same day in which they sinned, when drawing towards the evening, they heard the voice of the Lord continually walking in the garden. It was not that articulate voice which Adam was before accustomed to hear, and was afterwards pleased with its sound: but such as was heard at Sinai, Exod. xix. 16, 17. and described Psal. xxix. and lxxvii. 18, 19. The voice of thunder and lightning, a token of God's powerful wrath, which the guilty creature could neither bear nor avoid, which made Adam and Eve hide themselves in the