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Jesus our Lord underwent. In a word, if, for the display of that right, he might at times inflict such grievous torments, yet he would withhold his hand from his most beloved and only Son in whom he so clearly testified that he was well pleased.
V. To insist upon it, that the whole of this affair was otherwise ordered by the arbitrary will of God, for confirming the saving doctrine of Christ, by this exemplary martyrdom, is had many other means, of a far more easy nature, by which he contrary both to reasod, scripture, and experience. For could confirm the doctrine of salvation, than by the dreadful passion of his beloved Son. And the scripture shews us, that
. this was done by Christ's miracles accompanying his most effectual preaching: and the native demonstration of the trath, shewed the divinity of his doctrine. By these things be approved himself to John's disciples, Matt. xi. 5. and even to the whole multitude, Luke vü. 16. and John vi, 14. and lastly, we gather both from scripture and experience, that the cross of Christ was “ unto the Jews' a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, 1 Cor. i. 28.
VI. Nor are we to say, it was necessary we should be taught in so laborious a manner, or even by the very example of the Son of God, that it is through many tribulations we are to enter into the kingdom of heaven. For if nothing else was intended, we might have been sufficiently taught all this by the examples of other martyrs. And then further, there is scarce one in a thousand of those who are saved, who, in the way to saivation, secluding the curse of God, have been called to suffer so many dreadful and great indignities as Christ did. Why then were we all to be taught, by the example of the Son of God, that the gate of heaven is, on no other terms open, but by passing through those hard sufferings? Unless we say, that satisfaction was made to the justice of God by the sufferings of Christ, and that in no other way satisfaction could be made thereto; there can no other just, holy, and wise reason, and worthy of God, be ever assigned for them. Certainly, for my own part, I never remember to have heard of any."
satisfaction was necessary on ae
, count of the justice of God, but that he exacted it on ascount of some other perfections, namely, to declare his power and will to punish sin, which he might suffer to go unpunished : 1 answer, such power and will are scarcely to be called perfections in God; seeing Christ, Matt. v. 45, & reckons God's mercy, longsuffering, and bounty towards men, even the unjust, among his perfections. Which would certainly be most laudable, if God could, at pleasure, let sin go unpunished, and if that impunity
VII. If any affirm, that no
- was no ways inconsistent with his most holy nature. Nay, if God can, consistent with his highest glory, not punish sin, it might be queried whether he can consistent with this inflict punishment at all; because, in that case, be seems to afflict the sinner without a reason, and ill-treat the work of his hands. But to do any thing without a reason, can on do account be for the honour of God
VIII. Perhaps, some will judge it the safest course not to intrude into the depths of the unsearchable wisdom, and infinite power of God,
and to say, God indeed was pleased for wise and good reasons, though known to himself alone, on no other terms, to set us at liberty, but by the satisfaction of his Son: but yet could, in a far different way bring us to salvation, nay, and redeem us by a word or sign. And indeed, the great Augustine formerly spoke in this strain, de ngone Christiano : “God could have done all things, had he so willed: but did not, and that for wise reasons, though unknown and incomprehensible to us: but though he had done otherwise, yet he would equally have displeased your folly." And again, de Trinitute, lib. 18. c. 12, “Let us maintain, that this method, by which God sees proper to deliver us, by a mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, is perfectly good and for the honour of God: but also let us acknowledge that God was at no loss for his power; but yet pone was more adapted to deliver us from our misery, neither was any necessary. I am certainly much pleased with that extreme modesty by which we dare not determine any thing rashly concerning the reasons and ends of the actions of God; and judge inconsiderately about his ways, because there is chat in them, the reasons whereof our ignorance cannot unfold; nay, which seems, to our presumptuous folly, to be against reason. But when we are able to know and give such reasons for the divine copduct, as tend to set the glory of his adorable justice, wisdom, holiness, and goodness in the clearest light; it is no longer modesty, but rather tends to darken the glory of the perfections of God, not to acknowledge them; which is the case here. The reasno
why God, willing to save elect sinners, chose to do it by the satisfaction of his Son, is because in bis wisdom, he saw no other way, by which satisfaction could be made to his essential holiness and justice. And by affirming this, we deron gate nothing from the power of God, who doubtless cannot but act agreeably to his holiness and justice: and we admirably proclaim his wisdom, which found a means, which appeared impossible to every created understanding, whereby satisfaction might be inade to his justice; and the sinner, consistently with his holiness, be saved, In order the more clearly to illustrate, and, at the same time, the more firmly to establish all this, let us
attentively consider, what the scripture declares concerning the impulsive and final cause of giving Christ.
IX. The sacred writers on several occasions inculcate, that God's not sparing his own proper Son, but giving him to us, and delivering bim up to death for us, was the effect of his una speakable love to mankind, John iii. 16. Rom. v. 8. 1 John iv, 10. But if we could be saved any other way, than by the sufferings of the Son of God, the love of God would not shine with such lustre in that method. For love is truly great, and inexpressible to the last degree, when implacable justice having demanded the punishment
of mankind, God's love to man, and free purpose of salvation, have nevertheless prevailed, by finding out for that end, in the treasures of divine wisdom, an amazing method of reconciling justice with mercy, but it was such as could have no effect, without giving up the most be loved Son to the most cruel torments for us. But if, without any prejudice to justice, our salvation could be procured many other ways than this, and even by a single word or nod, what ardency of love was there in bis giving the Son ? It wopld certainly have been an instance of a very singular and potable mercy to have forgiven our sins. But to have effected this by the death of his son, when without any urgent necessity, with equal advantage he could have scattered our sins, some other more compendious way, by, a nod or sign, as some affirm, why is that urged by Christ and his apostles as an argument of such inconceivable love?
X. The apostle declares, that the end of Christ's satiske tion was " a declaration of the righteousness of God," Rom.
: ü. 25. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (propitiatory mercy-seat) through faith in his blood, so trong His Omavosins ábrs to declare his righteousness. God set forth his Son both to himself delighting in him, Isa. xli. 1. as having appointed him, in his eternal counsel, to be the Mediator, and viewing him as thus appointed; and to us, placing him in open view, and setting him on a throne of grace and glory, in the sight of all. He set him forth as a propitiation (propitiatory mercy-seat); where the apostle alludes to the cover laid upon the ark of the covenant, called unaorigion the propitiatory mercy-seut: signifying that by which God was reconciled to men, in which he dwells and rests, and from which he gives gracious answers. Moreover, it is not called the propitiatory mercy-seat, unless it be sprinkled with blood, to be applied to us by faith. That is, Christ reconciled us to the Father only by sufferings. In the tabernacle was a mercy-seat in the blood of the guat, that is, sprinkled with the blood of the goat, Lev, xÝi. 15. So that here nothing did avail but the blood of him who is set forth to be a propitiation, unless we would here translate inasagivo an atonement; an appellation given to Christ, because he is the sacrifice to be offered for sin: which coming in the room of the guilty, was to bear their punishment, and not only merit their freedom from punishment, but reconcile God, who before was offended, satisfaction being made to vindictive justice by this vicarious punishment. But, to what purpose was all this? “To declare the righteousness of God, did súv srdgson for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." God had so passed by, and not punished the sins of believers in former times, that notwithstanding these, he called them to enter upon the heavenly inheritance. But it was necessary to shew, that this was done without any injury to the justice of God. Now it is evident, that no satisfaction was made to divine justice, either by the repentance of believers, or the typical pomp of sacrifices, or by the blood sprinkled on the golden mercy-seat. It was therefore necessary, that the righteousness of God should be manifested in the propitiation and blood of Christ; by which was plainly shewn that God, agreeably to his justice, suffers not the sins of any to go unpunished. But if God, without injury to his justice, without any difficulty and trouble, and without a satisfaction, can pardon sins, the whole appears to have been an empty shew, and by no means worthy of God, without any necessity to appear with such terrible majesty in the most cruel death of his most beloved Son. Which being so borrid to think of, we conclude from this discourse of Paul, that it was not possible but God must punish sin, unless he intended to set forth Christ as a propitiation, and so declare his righteousness: because not to punish sin without a propitiatory atonement, would be a disapprobation of divine justice. For, when justice is not manifested, it is dissapproved of; especially in this grand work of our salvation. For so God himself speaks, Isa. lvi. 1. “My salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.” 51XI. Some perhaps will say, that the righteousness of God here means, as in other places, his veracity and constancy in performing his promises; the apostle only intending, that God therefore set forth his Son to be a propitiation, in order to fulfil his prophecies and promises, and thus shewed himself just, that is, faithful But it is quite other ise, for the righteousness of God here denotes that rectitude by which, according to his law, by inflicting condign punishment, he discovers the demerit of sin, and his hatred to it, and how unbecoming it is for him to have fellowship with the sinner at the expence of his own glory. And that this is the meaning is plain, because the apostle