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give himself up to death. But from this assertion of Armi. nius and the Remonstrants, it was possible, that Christ, after having paid the ransom, should see no seed, be a king without any kingdom of grace, an everlasting Father without any children, a bridegroom without a bride, a head without a body. All which are most abominable.
acerca XIV. Arminius, however, defeuds his opinion by three arguments. The first is this: God has fully right to impart those benefits to whom he thinks proper, and on what conditions he is pleased to prescribe. Whence it follows, that Christ has not merited the bestowing those benefits actually upon any one; for this is the tendency of these words of Arminius. I answer, 1st. We deny that God may not impart those benefits which Christ has merited to those for whom he died.
died. God might indeed appoint the persons Christ was to die for: but this appointment being once settled, God is not at liberty not to give that grace and glory which was purchased by the death of Christ to those for whom he died. 2dly. Arminius is further mistaken, when he says that God had a full right to impart those benefits on what conditions he pleased to prescribe, supposing that the performance of these conditions, namely faith and repentance, or the grace necessary to the performance of them, was not among those blessings which Christ had merited for us by his passion. For, it was agreed in that covenant between the Father and the Son, by which Christ gave himself up to death, that all adult persons should, in the way of faith and repentance, come to the saving enjoyment of the other blessings of it: nor can any other conditions be now settled by agreement. Besides, it was also fixed that the Father should, from the consideration of Christ's merit, grant the Spirit of grace for faith and repentance, to those for whom Christ had died, as we
have already seen Arminius himself orthodoxly reckoning the Spirit of grace among the effects of the sacerdotal office of Christ. For, seeing God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, Eph. i, 8. that is, through and for the merits of Christ, and the gift of faith is one of the most excellent of these blessings, Phil. i. 29. that likewise must certainly come to us on account of his merits. Sdly. Nor is it agreeable to scripture language, to say, that faith and repentance are requisite coriditions, before any effects of Christ's death are communicated to a person. Certainly they are not required previous to our regeneration and vivification from the death of sin, and our deliverance from this present evil world, which are reckoned among the effects of Christ's death by Paul, Eph. ii. 5. and Gal. i. 4. We may therefore say, if you will, that these are
, conditions requisite for applying to our consciences that conso
lation purchased by the death of Christ, yet, in such a manner, as it is from the merit of Christ, that the grace, that is powerfully and abundantly effectual to perform those conditions, must flow. XV. Arminius' second argument is this : « If the actual
“ remission of sins, &c. be the effect of Christ's death, we must then allow, that, according to the very rigour of God's justice and law, both an eternal life and an immunity from punishment, are due to the elect, and that therefore they are entitled to ask those benefits of God, in right of the payment and purchase made; without God's having any right to require of them faith in Christ and conversion to God.” I answer, 1st. We are wholly of opinion, that one who is renewed may come boldly to the throne of grace, and ask for those blessings at God's band, in right of the payment and purchase made by Christ. For, why should we not venture to ask of God that he would perform for us what he was pleased to make himself a debtor to his Son and to his merits ? This is the stågensia, or boldness of our, faith, to expect the crown of righteousness from God, as a merciful and gracious giver, in respect of our unworthiness, but as a just Judge, in respect to the merits of Christ, 2 Tim. iv. 8. 2dly. It is an invidious reflection of Arminius, to say, s without God's having any right to require of us faith in Christ, and conversion to himself." For it is impossible for any who approach to, and ask those blessings from God, not to perform those duties. For how can any ask those benefits of God in the name of Christ, and without conversion to the Father and the Son ? Sdly. But to speak plainly. If we admit of Christ's satisfaction, and of the ratification of the covenant of grace,
and New Testament, then God can by no right require faith and conversion from the elect, as conditions of the covenant of grace, in the sense of Arminius and the Remonstrants; name, ly, 1st. To be performed by us, without grace workiog them in us supernaturally, effectually, and invincibly. edly. As, by some gracious appointment of God, coming in the place of that perfect obedience to the law, which the covenant of works required. For, in this manner Arminius explains these things; that, instead of perfect obedience, which the covenant of works required, the act of faith succeeds in the covenant of grace; to be, in God's gracious account, imputed to us for righteousness, that is, to be our claim of right to ask eternal life. But the nature of the covenant of grace cdmits of no such conditions, however framed, on which to build a right to life eternal, either from the justice, or the gracious estimation of God. And thus far' Arminius concludes well, if the Mediator has so satisfied for us, as if we ourselves had by him paid our debts, no cotidia
tion can, by any right; be required of us, which, in any respect, can be reckoned instead of payment. The whole glory of our right to eternal life, must be purely ascribed to the alone merit of our Lord, and on bo pretence be transferred to any one of dur acts.
XVI. There is still one argument, which Arminius imagines to be very coat . “The righteousness, says he wrought out
, by Christ, is not ours as wrought out, but as imputed to us by faith." I answer, 1st. What does Arminius infer from this Does he conclude that besides the satisfaction of Christ, faith is also necessary to salvation ? And what then? Therefore Christ did not obtain for us the actual remission of sins. We deny the consequence. For, faith is not considered as impetrating but as applying the impetrated remission. And as the presup. posed object of saving faith is remission, already impetrated for all the efect by Christ, it must certainly be the proper effect of the death of Christ.edly. This righteousness of Christ, was teally his, as it was wrought out by him, and it is ours, as it was wrdught out for us : therefore, in a sound sense, even ours before faith, being the meritorious cause of that grace which is effectual to produce faith in us. It is ours, I say, in respect of right, because both in the decree of God the Father, and the purpose of the Son, it was wrought out for us, and in the
tka appointed time to be certainly applied to us. Though it was not yet outs by possession, as to our aetual translation from a state of wrath, to a state of grace, and our acknowledgment and sense of so great a benefit vouchsafed unto us: * The dis tinction between active and passive justification is well known. The former is that sentence of God, by which he declares his having received satisfaction from Christ, and pronounces that all the elect are made free from guilt and obligation to punishment, even before their faith, so far as never to exact of them any payment. The latter is the acknowledgment and sense of that most sweet sentence, intimated to the conscience by the Holy Spirit, and fiducially apprehended by each of the elect. The one precedes faith, at least as to that general article which We just proposed; the other follows it. And thus we have
. defended the value and efficacy of Christ's satisfaction against the cavils of Arminius.
* Others distinguish the justification of the elect, into that which is decretive, vistual, and actual. The first is God's eternal purpose to justify singers in time, by the righteousness of Christ; but God's eternal purpose to justify the elect is one thing, and the execution of it another. There was also a virtual justification upon Christ's having made satisfaction; and justification is actual when the elect sinnet is enabled to believe in the Son of God, and by faith is united to bim. See Book III, chap. vü. S. 57, &c.
Of the Necessity of Christ's Satisfaction, 1. HAVING explained from scripture the value and efficacy of the satisfaction of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God, and for the consolation of the elect, it will not be unseasonable to treat of the necessity of this satisfaction ; seeing what we bave shewy, § XXI, from the apology of the Remonstrants, naturally leads to this. And here we choose not to state the controversy in the manner, we observe, the otherwise great Chamierus has done in his Pancratia ; namely, “whether God could not, by an act of his absolute power, grant remission of sin, without any satisfaction." We are not willing to enter into any dispute about the absolute power of God; since the consideration of that seems not to suit this present controversy. For this debate is not to be explained, and finally determined from the attribute of the power of God, but from those of his holiness, justice, and the like. Some, when they consider the power of God alone, affirm every thing about it: not reflecting, that God can do nothing but consistently with his justice, holiness, veracity, wisdom, immutability, in a word, with all his other perfections. The lawyer Papinian f. lib. xxvüi. Tit. vii. Leg. 15. has said well concerning a good man; that we are to believe, that he "neither does, nor can do, any thing prejudicial to piety, reputation, modesty, and in general, that is contrary to good manners." This certainly ought much more to be affirmed of the Great God; that whatever is not a display of, or what. ever throws a slur on any perfection or on the glory of God, cannot be the work of God. Origen has judiciously pleaded this cause against Celsus, lib. üi. p. 154. According to us God, indeed can do all things, consistently with his Deity, wisdom, and goodness. But Celsus (not understanding how God may be said to do all things) affirms, he cannot will any thing unjust, granting he can do what is so, but not will it. But we say, that as what is capable of imparting its natural sweetness to other things, cannot imbitter ariy thing, because that would be contrary to its nature; nor as what paturally enlightens, can as such darken: so neither can God act unjustly. For the power of acting unjustly is contrary to his very Deity, and to every power that can be ascribed to God." And therefore e we think it very unbecoming, on every question about the most sacred right of God, to appeal to his absolute power. We would ra.
ther state the controversy thus : namely, whether God's requiring Christ to give him satisfaction before he restore sinners to his favour, was owing to the mere good pleasure of the divine will; or whether the essential holiness, the justice, and the like perfections of God, which he cannot possibly part with, re- . quired a satisfaction to be made? We judge the last of these to be more true and safe.
II. In the preceding book, chap. v. 8 XIX. seq. we proved at large, that the very nature and immutable right of God, could not let sin go unpunished : which we may now lay down as a foundation. At present, we will subjoin other arguments more nearly relating to the satisfaction of Christ itself.
III. And first we may certainly form no contemptible argument from the event, and a posteriori. For as God does not needlessly multiply beings; what probable reason can be assigned why without any necessity, he should make his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased, a curse for us ? Let us insist a little on this thought. The infinite wisdom of God contrived the admirable union of the human nature with one of the divine persons: so that God himself might be said to obey, to suffer, to die; in a word, to make satisfaction ; that person was holy, harmless, and undefiled, the man of God's delight, bis only begotten and only beloved Son. Hin the most affectionate Father exposed to the greatest reproaches, to the most cruel sufferings, and to an accursed death, as a ransom for the redemption of sinners. These sufferings were a long time before predicted in various obscure ways, and also prefigured by the whole train of sacrifices appointed by Moses. He permitted the world after so many other crimes, to be stained with the guilt of deicide (from the view of which the very sun shrunk back and withdrew his rays,) a crime, indeed, truly inexpiable, and in the guilt of which the whole Jewish nation is involved. Would not all this, to speak with reverence, seem a kind of solemn farce, if God. by a single breath, could dispel all our sins as a cloud ? Is it not contrary to the goodness, the wisdom, and the holiness of God, without any necessity, and to speak so, in a mere arbitrary way to proceed in this manner? If he could have reached his end in a direct and compendious way, why did he take such a wide and perplexed compass ?
IV. I would not have any reply here, that God acted in this manner, in order to manifest that his infinite right or authority over the creature was such, that he might inflict the most grievous torments even on the innocent. If God could claim that right and authority if he pleased; yet surely, be scarce, if ever, has made use of it. And if at any time he has, it was in suffering of a far more gentle, and mild nature, than what Christ