CERTAIN EFFICACY OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST By John Brine

01- The Certain Efficacy of the Death of Christ Asserted

{Links To The Sections of The Book} 

Efficacy: 02- THE PREFACE
Efficacy: 03- THE INTRODUCTION
Efficacy: 04 [Part One] - Chapter One
Efficacy: 12 [Part Two] - Chapter One
Efficacy: 19 [Part Three] - Chapter One
Efficacy: 26 [Part Four] - Chapter One
Efficacy: 32- POSTSCRIPT.
Efficacy: 33- FOOTNOTES
 
Created By Leroy Rhodes
LeroyRhodes@Comcast.net
2006
 THE CERTAIN EFFICACY OF THE
DEATH OF CHRIST, ASSERTED:
OR,
  The NECESSITY, REALITY, and PERFECTION, of his Satisfaction are
pleaded for: The Objections of the SOCINIANS and ARMINIANS are
answered: The Moral Law proved to be in full Force: And the
inconditional Nature of the new Covenant is demonstrated; in
Answer to a Book, called,
THE RUIN AND RECOVERY OF MANKIND;
  The Mistakes of the Author, on various Subjects are
Discovered and Corrected, viz
The Annihilation of Infants.
The Imputation of Original Sin to Men.
The Charge of Sin on Christ.
The Imputation of his Righteousness to his People.
 
  ALSOat the King’s Arms in Little- Britain. London 1743.

02- THE PREFACE

I apprehend, that every intelligent Reader will allow, that the various Subjects treated of in the following Sheets, are of the greatest Importance: Because the Glory of God in all his Perfections, the Honour of Christ, and the eternal Happiness of his People, are intimately concerned in them. Doctrines of such Moment require the most impartial Examination, in order to form a Judgment about them: If an Enquiry, deliberate and serious, calm and unbiass’d, is necessary in any Doctrinal Points, it is evidently so in each of these Particulars, wherein, I hope I have not been negligent.

But I am not insensible of the Meanness, and on many Accounts, the Unfitness of him who has ventured in this public Manner to deliver his Thoughts of these evangelical Mysteries, to undertake the Defence of the Doctrines of the true Grace of God, of the real Satisfaction of Christ, and of the Efficacy of the gracious Influences of the divine Spirit, in Opposition to the Misrepresentations which the Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, gives of those heavenly Truths. It would have been very pleasing to me, if any Person furnished with Abilities suitable to a more copious Defence of there momentous Doctrines, had undertaken it, and thereby prevented a feebler one. The Author of which being fully persuaded of their real Excellency and singular Weight, he cannot but wish to see them in the best Manner defended.

  As I greatly desired this, I waited a considerable Time, with Expectation of seeing so necessary a Piece of Service perform’d; but have been disappointed, herein, Thinking it highly needful, that something should be offered in Vindication of that Faith which was once delivered to the Saints, in Answer to the Book above mentioned, and no Person, that I knew of, of superior Abilities undertaking this task, I could not but interpret it, as a Call upon me in Providence, to set about a Labour, which I know, as it requires, it also deserves a much abler Hand. If any thing I have advanced in Favour of what appears to me to be the Doctrine of Scripture, may in the least Measure, convince Opposers, settle wavering Minds, and establish those Truths of Christ, which have formerly been own’d and contended for, as such, by the Church of God, it will give me a peculiar Pleasure. To which I think, I may subjoin, that such is my religious Regard to the Principles, I undertake to defend, that it would be a Satisfaction to me, to see this Work, which I present to the pious and impartial Reader sink in his Esteem, by the Publication of a learned and judicious Defence of those Principles.

  Till then, it may be this Performance, such as it is, will not be wholly useless; but it may afford some Assistance to the common Reader, at least, in his Enquiries about the sublime and glorious Doctrines of the Grace of God, of the Merit and Satisfaction of Christ, and concerning the Work of the holy Spirit on the Souls of Men in Regeneration. Perhaps some may think, that since Deism and Infidelity greatly spread, in this unhappy Age, it is very unseasonable to oppose a Writer, who appears an Advocate for the Christian Religion, and endeavours to set any Scriptural Doctrines in an easy and unexceptionable Light, tho’ be may be mistaken in some particular Things, especially, when it is his professed Design to compose the Differences which subsist among the Friends of Revelation, to the great Disadvantage of that Revelation, may not this Cause its Enemies to sneer and triumph? In answer to which I observe, I. We are under an indispensable Obligation, not only to vindicate the holy Scripture from those Objections, which bold and daring Men are pleased to frame against it; but also to contend for the glorious Truths therein express’d, by whom soever they are misrepresented, or corrupted, or oppos’d. It seems to me a Conduct not the most. consistent, to maintain the Credibility of the Bible, and decline or censure an Attempt to defend and support its Doctrines. 2. If one Christian Writer takes the Liberty to oppose the Sentiments of other Christians, why may not they be allowed to offer to public View, the Reasons which induce them to embrace and adhere to those Principles? Surely this can’t be thought in the least unreasonable. 3. As for the Improvement, that Deists and Infidels may make of the different Sentiments of Christians, to the Prejudice of the Christian Revelation or Religion, unless I am very much mistaken, far greater Advantage is given them, by a Connivance at the Errors and Mistakes of such who profess to maintain a Veneration for the sacred Pages: For many of the Deists have Penetration sufficient to discover, that the most peculiar and mysterious Doctrines, which one Set of Christians contend for, are really contained in the holy Scriptures, tho’ other Christians may think differently, and therefore they take the impious Freedom to disbelieve Revelation, and deny its Authority. 4. An Attempt to reconcile Christians, whose Sentiments are opposite, concerning the momentous Doctrines of a Sinner’s Justification before God, and of the Operations of the holy Spirit in Regeneration, will ever prove fruitless, and greatly prejudicial to Truth: For no Concessions can be made to those who think, that Christ’s Righteousness alone, is not the Matter of our Acceptance with God, without great Detriment to the good old Protestant Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Opposition to Works. Nor may any Concessions be made to those, who apprehend, that the Will of Man is actively concern’d in Regeneration, consistent with this most important Truth, that the Saints are the Workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus unto good Works. Of this Opinion was the great Dr. Owen, (who was a very competent Judge in the, Case) as appears by the Advice he gives to Ministers, with which I shall close my Preface.

  Hold fast the Form of wholesome Words and sound Doctrine, know that there are other Ways of Peace, and Accommodation with Dissenters, than by letting go the least Particle of Truth. When Men should accommodate their own Hearts to Love and Peace they must not double with their Souls, and accommodate the Truth of the Gospel to other Men’s Imaginations. Perhaps some will suggest great Things of going a middle Way in Divinity between Dissenters: But what is the Issue for the most Part of such Proposals? After they have by their middle Ways raised no less Contention, than was before, between the Extremes, (yea when Things before were in some good Measure allayed,) the Accommodators themselves, through an ambitious Desire, to make good, and defend their own Expedients, are insensibly carried over to the Party and Extreme, to whom they thought to make, a Condescension unto; and by endeavouring to blanck their Opinions to make them seem probable, they are engaged to the Defence of their Consequences, before they are aware. Amyraldus, whom I look upon, as one of the greatest Wits of these Days, will at present go a middle Way between the Churches of France, and the Arminians: What hath been the Issue? Among the Churches, Divisions, Tumult, Disorder; among the Professors and Ministers, Revilings, Evilsurmisings; to the whole Body of the People, Scandals and Offences; and in respect of himself, Evidence of his daily approaching nearer to the Arminian Party, until as one of them faith of him he is not far from (their) Kingdom of Heaven.f1 But is this all? Nay but Grotius, Episcopius, Curcaellaus, etc. (quanta Nomina ) with others, must go a middle Way to accommodate with the Socinians, and all that will not follow are rigid Men, that by any Means will defend the Opinions they are fallen upon. The same Plea is made by others for Accommodation with the Papists; and still Moderation, the middle Way, Condescension are cry’d up. I can freely say, that I know not that Man in England, who is willing to go farther in Forbearance, Love, and Communion with all that fear God, and hold the Foundation than I am, but that this is to be done, upon other Grounds, Principles and Ways, by other Means and Expedients, than by a Condescension from the Exactness of the least Apex of Gospel Truth, or by an Accommodation of Doctrines by loose and general Terms, I have elsewhere sufficiently declared. Let no Man deceive you with vain

Pretences; hold fast the Truth as it is in Jesus, part not with one IOTA, and contend for it, when called thereunto. The Preface to his Book against Biddle, p. 55, 56.

 

03- THE INTRODUCTION

  THE Author of a Book which bears the Title of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, is of Opinion, That GOD hath chosen a certain Number of Men to everlasting Life; and that they shall infallibly be saved thro’ the Merits and Righteousness of CHRIST. It is not to be doubted, but that the unalterable Love of GOD to the Elect, and their final Happiness, as a certain Effect thereof, are Truths which appear to this Writer with the brightest Evidence. Since he is also of Opinion, that Men universally are interested in CHRIST’S Death; that all are brought into a salvable State; or, that thro’ the superabundant Merit of our Saviour, a conditional Provision of Salvation is made for every Man without Exception. The Gentleman discovers a very great Satisfaction in this Scheme, (if it will bear that Name, and he likes it should be so called) because, as he apprehends, peculiar Advantages attend it far beyond the Calvinistical and Arminian Schemes, neither of which, as he conceives, are clearly and fully consistent with the Scriptures. As this Scheme secures the eternal Salvation of the whole Number of the Elect, it also provides for the Happiness of All; and therefore the Author thinks, that the Calvinist may be fully satisfied with it, and the Arminian likewise. The Calvinist may, because it expresses the Whole of his Sentiments concerning the everlasting Security of GOD’s Chosen and the Arminian has no just Reason to be dissatisfied with it; because, according to this Opinion, GOD in his immense Goodness really wills, and has provided conditionally for the Felicity of ALL. Those for whom Happiness is in a conditional Manner designed, suffer nothing by the effectual Provision which is made for the Elect: And on the other Hand, such as are chosen to eternal Life, are not brought into a State of the least Uncertainty by GOD’s Intention to save Some who never may be, nay, it is certain, who never will be saved.

  The ingenious Author suspects, that those who disapprove of this Scheme, are ill-natured, and love not their Neighbour as themselves. The Reasoning in his Book would have lost Nothing of its Beauty and Force, if he had spared this Reflection. I humbly hope we want not Compassion to our Fellow-Creatures, but we would not be led by Pity to Men into any Principles that are dishonourable to the divine Perfections, eversive of CHRIST’S Satisfaction, and which in Reality leave them under an Impossibility of Salvation, notwithstanding GOD intended their Happiness; all which necessarily follow upon his Sentiments, as may hereafter appear.

  This Work will consist of four Parts: In the First I shall endeavour to prove the limited Extent of the Death of CHRIST, and the certain Salvation of all those for whom he died. In the Second, the Objections which are usually urged by the Arminians, and others, will be answered. In the Third shall attempt to prove the Impossibility of the Salvation of the Non-Elect, upon the Supposition of no other than a conditional Provision of Salvation being made for them. In the Fourth Part shall attend to what he delivers on the Subjects of the Imputation of original Sin to Men, the Charge of Sin on CHRIST, and the Imputation of his Righteousness to his People.

 

04 [Part One] - Chapter One

{Part One - Chapter One}

  Contains the First Argument to Prove the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death IN this first Part I propose to enter upon the Consideration of the Extent of the Death of CHRIST; whether he died for all Mankind, or a Part of the human Nature only. This is a Question of very great Moment, and is a Point which has been much contested. Some affirm, That he died for all Men; as well for those who are damned, as for such who are eternally saved. Others deny it; and (for very weighty Reasons as they think) conceive he expired on the Cross for none but those who enjoy eternal Felicity. In my Apprehension the Truth lies on this Side of the Question: For the Support of my Opinion, I shall in this Chapter present the Reader with an Account of the Nature and Effects of divine Love, of which CHRIST’s Death is such an amazing Instance, that ever hath, and eternally will, fill Angels and Saints with the greatest Admiration and Astonishment. Divine Goodness was the impulsive Cause of the Sufferings of the Redeemer, in order to the Salvation of Sinners.

  I. The Love of GOD the Father, is abundantly display’d in this wonderful Transaction (Joh 3:16.). From the many strong Expressions concerning the Love of GOD, which induced him to put his Son to Death for Men, it may reasonably be concluded, that all those for whom he died, were the Objects of his Favour, taken in its most comprehensive Sense. If no greater Instance of divine Goodness ever was, is, or wilt be, given to Men, than that of CHRIST, as a Sacrifice for them, then more intense, immutable, and inseparable Love GOD bears to None, than to such, for whom CHRIST became an atoning Sacrifice. Now I cannot conceive, that a Decree to eternally punish, and the Execution of that Decree, can consist with an Interest in the rich, inconceivable, and inseparable Love of GOD; if it may, then a certain Conclusion of being happy, cannot be drawn from an undoubted Evidence of an Interest in the good Will and Favour of GOD. For according to this Supposition, a Person who is beloved of GOD, may eternally perish, or suffer his awful Vengeance, than which, nothing seems more absurd to me. With respect to the Nature and Properties of the Love of GOD, we may observe as follows:

  1. It is infinite : No Tongue can fully express it, or any Mind comprehend it, it passes Knowledge (Eph 3:19.). The most extensive Ideas that a finite Understanding can frame about Divine Love, are infinitely below its true Nature. The Heaven is not so far above the Earth, as the Goodness of GOD is beyond the most raised Conceptions we are able to form of it; it is an Ocean which swells higher than all the Mountains of Opposition, in such as are the Objects of it; and it is a Fountain from which flows all necessary Good to those who are interested in it. Since therefore all Men have not an Interest in this rich and super-abounding Grace of GOD, all Men are not the Subjects of Redemption by CHRIST.

  2. The Love of GOD is immutable ; divine Favour is subject to no Vicissitude; GOD is without any Shadow of turning (Jas 1:7.). The Mercy of the Lord will be to everlasting upon such, towards whom it acted in Favour of, from everlasting (Ps 103:17.). Those to whom GOD was gracious in his eternal Counsels, and for whom he provided a Ransom (Job 33:24.), he cannot execute his Vengeance upon, without a Change in his Affection, and an Alteration in his Purposes. If therefore all Men are not saved, but some fall under the Infliction of divine Penalty, all Men were not the Objects of that Love which gave CHRIST as a Sacrifice for Sin; and of Consequence, not interested in his Death. The Redemption he has wrought, or obtained, by his Blood, is not of larger Compass, than is that Love, as an Effect of which, he was constituted a Redeemer and Saviour.

  3. The Favour and Love of GOD is inseparable . This most delightful and important Doctrine the Apostle clearly asserts, and largely treats of (Ro 8:32,35-36,37-38,39.): What Love of GOD that is, from which there can be no Separation, is easily to be collected from the Scope and Design of the Place; it is that good Will and Favour of GOD which determined him to give his Son for Sinners. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, How shall he not with him also freely give us all Things? From hence it evidently appears, That the Love which it was the Intention of the inspired Writer to prove a Separation from, is impossible, is that which was the impulsive Cause of CHRIST’S Death. This affords us an irrefragable Argument that he died for Some only, and not for Men universally. In order to invalidate its Force, it must be demonstrated, that the Love of GOD which is inseparable, was not the Cause of CHRIST’S Death; or that those for whom he suffered, are not the Objects of it; or else, that tho’ Men are interested in the inseparable Love of GOD, they may eternally perish.

  II. The certain Effects of divine Love which gave CHRIST to die for miserable Sinners, I cannot but apprehend are so many weighty Objections against the unlimited Extent of his Death.

  1. Election to Salvation results from it : Those who are the Objects of divine Favour, are not included in the Decree of Reprobation; they are not appointed to Wrath, but to obtain Salvation by Jesus Christ. There is a certain Connection between the Love of GOD, and an Ordination to Life, as between Cause and Effect; hence, says the Apostle, We are bound to give Thanks always to God for you Brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the Beginning chosen you to Salvation (2Th 2:13.). And therefore, Redemption which springs from the same Cause as Election doth, is of no larger Compass than is that gracious Decree: For this Reason; it is only in the Name of the Elect, that this remarkable Challenge, with a View to the Death of CHRIST, as the Foundation of it is expressed, Who shall lay any Thing to the Charge of God’s Elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died (Ro 8:1; 16:27.).

  2. Adoption is an Effect of the same Love: Such who are the Objects of divine Goodness, Grace, and Favour, enjoy the Dignity and Privileges of Sons: Behold what Manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God (1Jo 3:1.). If Filiation is not connected with the rich Grace of GOD, or doth not spring from it, as a certain Effect thereof, to what Purpose are those Words expressed? Adoption is to the Praise of the Glory of that Grace, according to the Riches of which we have Redemption through Christ’s Blood (Eph 2:6-7.). And therefore, that Blood was shed for those, and those only, who are dignified with the Relation of Sons to GOD; which, we know is not true of all Men.

  3. Vocation is a Fruit of that Love which delivered CHRIST to Death for Sinners: Such to whom GOD appointed him to be a SAVIOUR, to them he was gracious in his eternal Counsels, or loved with an everlasting Love; and those whom he loves with an everlasting Love, he draws with Loving Kindness (Jer 31:3). In his appointed Time he quickens all such to whom he bears an infinite Affection. It is evident from what has been before observed, that all for whom CHRIST died, are the Objects of the infinite, immutable, and inseparable Love of GOD; and therefore, they who are quickened by divine Grace, and only they, are interested in a dying SAVIOUR.

  4. Eternal Life springs from that Love which was the impulsive Cause of CHRIST’S Death: The Happiness of Heaven is an eminent Gift of divine Grace; but great as it is, the Goodness of GOD shines with as bright a Lustre in the Gift of CHRIST for us, as in the Communication of all that Blessedness to us. That was such an Act of Favour, as is not to be exceeded by any Instance of Kindness whatever; since Heaven is the Fruit of GOD’s good Pleasure (Lu 12:32), i.e. of his rich Grace and Goodness as the Gift of CHRIST was, it is, and will be, bestowed on all those for whom he was given. The Reason is evident: Two Effects arising from the same Cause, are equally and certainly produced by it; the one, as well as the other. Each of the Things we have mentioned, the Apostle includes when he thus reasons, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all Things (Ro 8:32.)? All Men receive not all Things; and therefore, CHRIST died for some Men only.

  II. The happy Subjects of Redemption are Objects of the most intense Love, of the Author of that Redemption: A greater Instance of Compassion to Sinners is nor, or can be, given by a SAVIOUR, than dying for them. This is constantly represented as the highest Act of Friendship, good Will, and Favour. If therefore, we will form our Judgment of the Affection of CHRIST to sinful Men, from the most amazing Proof he has given of it, we shall find ourselves obliged to allow, that greater Love he bears to None, than to Such on whole Account he endured the Ignominy, Reproach, and Cruelty of the Cross. When the Church expresses her warmest Sense of CHRIST’S Love to her, she instances in his Sufferings for her; Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins, in his own Blood; which the Apostle also doth, Who loved me, and gave himself for me (Re 1:5.). Can it be thought, that such as were in Hell, were interested in this most intense Love of the Redeemer; or, that Judas had the same Share in the tender Affection of a SAVIOUR, as Peter? May it be imagined, that the unparalleled Compassion of CHRIST which determined him to die for Sinners, will not induce him to communicate to them whatever is necessary to their Salvation, especially as that was the End he intended in dying for them? Surely not! An Opinion more derogatory to the Glory of the Love of CHRIST, than is this, that he withholds from many for whom he suffered; that which is absolutely requisite to the Knowledge of himself as a SAVIOUR, which he certainly doth; if he died for all Men (for many enjoy not an external Revelation) will not loon be invented. Strange! It is beyond all Imagination that CHRIST should so love Multitudes, as to die for them, to whom a Discovery of his having so done, is not in Providence afforded. With Regard to the Nature of the Love of CHRIST, the same might be observed of it, as has been of the Father’s: That it is immense, invariable, and inseparable. He is the same Yesterday, and To-day, and for ever (Heb 13:8.). His Affection to Sinners is infinitely above any Change. That which might be thought to extinguish the Flame of Love in his Breast towards them, if any thing could, he full knew when first he loved them; i.e. their own Unworthiness. Since therefore, notwithstanding that, he resolved to love them, and died to render them happy, that will not diminish his Affection to them, or separate them from his Favour. If therefore he shall sentence any of those to the Regions of Darkness, and Horror, for ever, for whom he suffered, they are such whom he ever loved, and eternally will love; even as intensely as those whom he fills with pure Delights, by shedding the Rays of his Glory around, upon, and in them, in Heaven. When it shall be proved that CHRIST did not love those for whom he died, or that his Love is mutable, may cool, be extinguished, that Fury and Hatred may take Place thereof in his Heart; then, and not till then, (which never will be) may the Doctrine of the universal Extent of his Death be established.

  III. Those Persons for whom CHRIST died, are the Objects of the Love of the holy Spirit. Such as are interested in the good Will of the Father, and Son, have an Interest in the special Grace and Love of the Spirit; for as the Trinity of Persons are undivided in their Essence, their Affection and Love is equal, and extended to the very same Objects. Now, as it hath been proved, (and as I hope beyond all just Exception) that those who are the Purchase of CHRIST’s Blood, have a peculiar Interest in the Love of the Father, and Son, it is reasonable to conclude, that they are infinitely beloved of the holy Spirit; and if so, as the Father appointed the Son a SAVIOUR to them, and the Son graciously condescended to take that Capacity upon him, and acting in that Character, hath redeemed them from all Iniquity: The holy Spirit who bears the same Affection to them, as the other divine Persons do, and unites with them in the kind Design of their Salvation, will not fail to regenerate, sanctify, and preserve them, to a future State of Bliss. Hence therefore we may conclude, that those in whom the. Spirit of GOD implants not Grace, and a divine Life as a Meetness for Heaven, are not the Objects of redeeming Love, or interested in the Death of CHRIST. The Doctrine of universal Redemption, is inconsistent with a peculiar and special Work of Grace on the Hearts of some Men, in order to their final Happiness. Such to whom CHRIST is a Redeemer, the Spirit is a Sanctifier. He is not a Sanctifier to all Men; neither is CHRIST a Redeemer to all. I close this Chapter with observing, That the Opinion of universal Redemption infinitely derogates from the Love of the Father, Son, and Spirit, represents it as mutable, like that of a Creature, and therefore that Opinion cannot be true.

05- CHAPTER 2

  Contains a Second Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death

  THE End of CHRIST’S Death hath always been acknowledged a principal Point in the present Controversy. According to the Apprehensions Men have of the Design of his Sufferings, are their Sentiments of the Extent of his Death: That he died for All, without Exception, as the Arminians conceive, or that his Death is limited to Some, as the Calvinists think; and therefore, our most serious, diligent, and impartial Enquiry, is here absolutely necessary, if we would discover, embrace, and adhere to Truth in this important Article of Faith. The End of CHRIST’S Death may be considered, as it bears Respect to GOD the Father, to himself, and to Men.

  I. GOD had in View his own Glory, as the ultimate End in delivering up his Son to Death. 1st., The Praise of his glorious Grace: he took this most surprising Step, that his free, Sovereign, and immutable Love, might be display’d in the fullest Manner. 2dly, In this extraordinary Transaction, he had a Regard to the Honour of his Law, which we have dreadfully violated, and are subject to the Condemnation of, on that Account. 3dly, The Glory and Vindication of his Justice was one End proposed in this Affair, or that he might appear to be just and righteous in saving Sinners.

  II. The End with Respect to CHRIST himself, was twofold, I. That he might have the Satisfaction and Pleasure of seeing those for whom he died, completely happy for ever. 2. That he might receive Glory and Praise from them, on Account of that Salvation he effected by his Sufferings and Death for them,

  III. The End respecting those for whom he suffered, is now to be attended to. This was either to put Men into a salvable State, that is to say, to procure a Possibility of their Salvation on certain Conditions; thus the Remonstrants think. Or the Intention of his Death was to actually save and bring Men to Heaven, which seems to me to be the Truth of the Case. In Order to clear up, and confirm this weighty Point, I shall give the Reader a general View of the Design of GOD, and CHRIST, in this singular Transaction; and also a more particular one.

  1st, Let it be observed, That the Father, and Son, unite in the End and Design of his Sufferings. The Intention was the same in both: In the Father who delivered up our SAVIOUR to Suffering, and in CHRIST who voluntarily suffered for us, his Pleasure consisted in a Compliance with, and Performance of, the Father’s Will.

  2dly, This in general was the Salvation of Sinners. The End proposed in the Incarnation and Sufferings of the Redeemer, was the Welfare and Happiness of offending Creatures; and the Gospel which brings us this welcome Report, is highly deferring of the most grateful Reception: It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all Acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the World to save Sinners (1Ti 1:15.). The Design of our LORD’S Appearance was this, That his People might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Joh 10:10.), i.e. That they might be the happy Subjects of a divine Life now, and possess eternal Life hereafter. It therefore was not a bare Possibility of Salvation, or a conditional Grant and Promise of Life, that CHRIST came to obtain; but the End of his Coming, was to effect Eternal Redemption; and this he actually and really obtained before his Ascension to Glory (Heb 9:12.). I apprehend that it will contribute much Light and Evidence in this Matter, to consider well the Covenant of Grace.

  (1.) CHRIST the Mediator of this Covenant was a Head, either to all Men, or to some only, that is, an influential Head, from whom Grace, Holiness, and Life, are derived; for here I do not speak of him as a Head of mere Dominion and Rule, such he is to Angels, to the apostate Spirits, and to Men universally, but as a Head of Life, and Influence, which he only is to his Body, the Church, who are the Elect of GOD alone.

  (2.) These Persons only can be interested in the Covenant of Grace; the Reason of which is, CHRIST in that Covenant is constituted a Head to all those who are included in it, in order to communicate to them, the Blessings therein promised; and therefore, none but such to whom he is a Head of Life, and Influence, are within the Compass of that Covenant.

  (3.) It is clearly deducible from the Promises of the new Covenant, that GOD and CHRIST, really and fully intended the Salvation of all the Persons to whom those Promises are made. For this Covenant comprises all spiritual and eternal Blessings; or they are all granted and promised therein. Hence David speaks of this Covenant as including the Whole of his Salvation, This is all my Salvation, and all my Desire (2Sa 23:5.). Herein the Affair of the Sufferings and Death of CHRIST, was settled as a Condition required of him, and agreed to by him, in order to viewing his Seed, enjoy the great and glorious Benefits therein given to them. But of these Things more will be spoken hereafter. I proceed to give the Reader a more particular View of the End of our SAVIOUR’S Death.

  I. Both the Father and CHRIST intended the Expiation of the Guilt of those for whom he suffered.

  1. This was the Intention of the Father. It was his Will not to impute Sin to Those whom be reconciled to himself by the Death of his Son. He charged their Guilt on CHRIST their Surety, and they stand clear of all Sin in his Sight; and if he is not disappointed of his End, they are constituted, or made righteous. For he hath made him to be Sin for us who know no Sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him (2Co 5:21).

  2. This also was the Design of CHRIST: The Lamb of God had not bore the Iniquities of many, but that he intended to remove them into an everlasting Oblivion, as the Antitype of the Scape Goat; Once in the end of the World, hath he appeared to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself (Heb 9:26.). The Father’s Will to impute Sin to CHRIST, and his Compliance therewith, evidently prove, that both designed the Discharge of Sinners from Guilt, which is a considerable Branch of Salvation.

  II. A farther End in View was, to secure Life to miserable and dead Sinners.

  1. The Father proposed this gracious End in the Mission of his Son: In this, was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God lent his only begotten son into the World, that we might live through him (Joh 4:9.). The evident Import and plain Sense of these Words is, that GOD intended the Life of sinful Men in fending of CHRIST.

  2. Our Saviour had the same thing in View, in coming into the World; of this he clearly informed his Disciples; I am come, that they might have Life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Joh 10:10.). The Life of Sinners who are naturally dead in Sin, was one eminent Part of the Joy that was let before CHRIST, which caused him to endure the Cross, and despise the Shame (Heb 12:2.) attending it.

  III. Our Holiness or Sanctification was one End of his Death. In ourselves we are morally impure and unmeet, for the Fruition of GOD, CHRIST sanctified himself, or set himself apart to Death, that those for whom he died, might be made holy; for their Sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified, through the Truth; sanctify them, through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth (Joh 17; 19:17.) His Design in the Gift of himself for the Church was, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of Water by the Word (Eph 5:26.).

  IV. The Redeemer desired that all those might be eternally happy for whom he laid down his Life. Such was that love he bore to Sinners, that he was not less intent on their Welfare and Happiness, than on his own Glory; he could not be content to dwell in Heaven alone, or without them, to see his Glory, and participate of Bliss, in the presence of his Father with him; except a Corn of Wheat fall into the Ground and die, it abideth; alone (Joh 12:24.). In which Words it is the Design of our Lord to acquaint his Disciples with the Necessity of his Death, in order to the Felicity of his People, and of his proposing their Happiness, as the End of his dying for them. From there Things it appears very evidently, that it was not a mere Possibility of Salvation which God and Christ proposed in his Death, but the actual, real, and certain Salvation of all such for whom he suffered.

  V. The Means used to this Purpose are most: proper and effectual, to question which, is highly blasphemous. It would be an impious Impeachment of divine Wisdom to imagine, that God in any of his Works, uses Means not suited to attain his End. The Death of Christ, as it was a most gracious Method of saving Sinners, so it is an effectual one: This cannot be denied without imputing Folly to him, who is the Fountain of Wisdom.

  1. By the Imputation of Sin to Christ, and the Infliction of Punishment on him, the infinite Displeasure of God against it, is fully discovered, and from hence arises the real and certain Remission of it, in whom we have Redemption through his Blood the Forgiveness of Sins (Eph 2:7.). From this Definition of Redemption it is clear, that it consists in the Pardon of Sin; those therefore, whose Sins are not remitted, are not the Subjects of Redemption.

  2. Christ’s Subjection to, and sustaining of the Law’s Curse, is a full Vindication of its Honour, and is the gracious and effectual Method which was appointed by infinite Wisdom to secure our Deliverance from the dreadful Menaces thereof, Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for us (Ga 3:10.).

  3. The Death of the blessed Jesus was designed to bring about our Reconciliation with God: His Substitution in our Room, bearing our Guilt, and undergoing the Penalty due to us, are undeniable Proofs thereof. And since his Death was penal, it must be satisfactory to the Law and Justice of God. Hence we read, That the Chastisement of our Peace was upon him, and that with his Stripes we are healed (Isa 53:5.). As the End designed in cutting off the Messiah, was to make Reconciliation for Iniquity (Da 9:24-26.), that gracious End is accomplished; for Peace is made by the Blood of his Cross (Col 1:20.); so that when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son (Ro 5:10.). Upon the Whole, it is very evident, that it was the kind Intention of God and Christ by his Death, to effectually secure the certain Salvation of all those for whom he died; unless therefore they are disappointed of the End they intended, unless their Design is rendered abortive, and unless the Redeemer died in vain: All such for whom he suffered, will certainly be saved; and therefore, since all Men are not saved, all Men are not interested in the atoning Sacrifice of Christ; nor was his Death intended as a Means of the Salvation of every Man without Exception, which was the important Point to be proved.

 

06- CHAPTER 3

  Contains a Third Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death

  I. THE very different Appellations, which, in the Scripture, are given to Such for whom Christ died, from those which others bear, deserve our particular Consideration. They suggest to us that special and peculiar Interest, which the former have in the Compassion and Love of Christ, and in his saving Benefits; and that the latter are not the Objects of his Favour; that he had not the same Design concerning them; and that they share not in the happy Effects of his Sufferings and Death.

  1. They are called, the Sheep of Christ, by, which may be signified their Disposition to wander, their Distance from God in their natural State: This is also expressive of the Redeemer’s Concern about them, and of his peculiar Interest in them, as distinguished from others. Our Lord speaks several Things of these Persons, which he no where expresses, concerning the rest Of Mankind, that may justly lead us to conclude, he had formed such Resolutions about them, as he had not taken up about the Goats, viz. That he must bring them (Joh 10:16.), that they hear his Voice, that he knows them, that they follow him, that he gives to them eternal Life, that they shall never perish, that none shall pluck them out of his Hand, nor out of his Father’s Hand (Joh 10:27-28,29.); nothing like these Things is ever declared of others; and therefore, we have no Reason to think it was the Intention of Christ to save Such to whom this Character is never applied. We are plainly told, That for these Persons Jesus Christ died: I lay down my Life for the Sheep (Joh 10:15.). If it be said, This is certainly true, because he died for all Mankind, of whom they are a Part; but that from hence it is not to be proved that he suffered not for others also. I answer,

  (1.) Its no where said, he died for such as are represented under the opposite Character of Goats;if this had been any where expressed, that would have been a demonstrative Proof of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death; but it falls out to the great Disadvantage of this Opinion, that no Hint of such a Nature is to be found in all the Scripture.

  (2.) It is the Design of our Saviour to set forth his particular and special Regard to these Persons in Distinction from all others, when he calls them his Sheep; which upon a due Consideration of the Things before observed, cannot well be denied. And therefore, when he says, I lay down my Life for the Sheep, his Intention is to represent this Act as a singular Instance of his good Will and Favour to them, as they stand distinguished from others; of consequence others are not interested in his Death.

  (3.) I suppose it will be granted, that eternal Life is only given to the Sheep, not to the Goats, who in Judgment will be placed at the Left Hand of Christ, upon whom an awful Sentence of Condemnation will be pronounced, and dreadful Punishment will be inflicted: as therefore the Omission of the exceptive Particle only, when our Saviour says, To them I give eternal Life, leaves no room to think he also gives eternal Life to others; so the Omission of that Particle when he says, I lay down my Life for the Sheep, is no just Objection to the Limitation of his Death to them; for it is here as plainly understood as there, and the whole Scope of our Saviour’s Discourse leads to that Sense, as I can’t but think must be evident to every impartial Enquirer.

  2. Sons and Children are Characters given to such for whom the Redeemer suffered. From the several Places in which these Persons are honoured with these Titles, and Christ is said to die for them, it evidently appears, that it was the Intention of God to save them through his Sufferings and Death; for they were to be gathered together in one (Joh 11:52.), and to be brought to Glory (Heb 2:10.). In order to which, Christ was made perfect thro’ Sufferings, on their Account; viz. a perfect Saviour. This was by his undergoing all that the Law and Justice of God required to their Discharge. He was made a perfect Saviour to None in his Death, but to those who are Sons; and therefore None but such who are Sons, have an Interest: in his Death.

  3. Church is an Appellation by which those Persons for whom Christ suffered, are distinguished from others. It will (as I suppose) be readily acknowledged, that the Whole of Mankind are not designed by this Character, but only the Church of the First-born who are written in Heaven. Now if it was the Intention of the Apostle to represent the special Love of Christ to those who are saved, (which cannot reasonably be called in Question) where he mentions Christ’s giving himself to that End (Eph 5:25-26.), there Is the clearest Reason to think that his Death is a full Proof of that peculiar Affection which he bears to the Saved-Ones; for that alone is here produced as such an Evidence; and therefore, his Death is limited to the Church of the First-born, nor are any others interested therein.

  4. Another Title given to these Persons, is the Body of Christ: This is expressive of that foederal Union which subsists between him and them. He is the Head, and they are the Members. By Way of Distinction from others, he is declared to be the Saviour of the Body (Eph 5:23.): Such Christ is to them, and to them only for whom he died. He cannot with any Propriety be called a Saviour of them who are not saved; he freed not them from the Curse of the Law on whom it is inflicted he redeem’d not them from Hell who suffer eternal Vengeance there, since Christ is not a Saviour to those who perish, but only to his Body, the Church of the Firstborn, who are written in Heaven, and Salvation arises from his Death as the meritorious and procuring Cause thereof; they are the only Persons for whom he died, to whom that Title properly belongs, who are not all Men is most certain.

  5. The Elect is another Name by which they are known. That the Chosen of God, are the only Persons, against whom a Charge of Guilt cannot be exhibited, appears very plainly, from this Challenge of the Apostle in their Behalf: Who shall lay any Thing to the Charge of God’s Elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died (Ro 8:33-34.). Others are under the Imputation of Sin, a Sentence of Condemnation; and that Sentence will certainly be executed upon them. In the Opinion of the Apostle, the Death of Christ is a sufficient Security, from a Charge of Offence, and a Sentence of Condemnation; and therefore, such for whom he died, to them, Sin is not imputed; nor, is any Curse pronounced against them, considered as interested in his Death, which Things are true of the Elect of God only, in whole Name alone, this Challenge is expressed. The same Thing is evident from two Places of Scripture compared together, the First is, Heb 12:23. To the Church of the First-born. The Second is, Eph 5:25. He loved the Church, and gave himself for it. The Church consists of such Persons only, who are written in Heaven; viz. Who are elected to Everlasting Life, for these Christ is said to die, or give himself: And to say that he died for others also, is to speak beside the Scripture.

 II. Others of the human Race are as plainly distinguished from them, by very different Characters.

 1. They are called The Rest: The Election hath obtained it, and the Rest were blinded (Ro 11:7.): It is expressly asserted, that Christ died for the Former, but of the Latter, no such Thing is any where intimated; and therefore to affirm that he died for Men universally, is to extend his Death far beyond what the Scriptures do. As for those general Expressions, the World, the whole World, it can never be proved, that they include Persons of these different Characters, the Election, and the Rest; and therefore, from those Expressions it cannot fairly be inferred, that Christ died for the Elect, and Reprobates also, which is the Point to be demonstrated.

  2. The World is another Title under which they pass, by way of Distinction from the People of Christ: I pray for them, I pray not for the World, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine (Joh 17:9.). If ye were of the World, the World would love his own; but because ye are not of the World, but I have chosen you out of the World; therefore the World hateth you (Joh 15:19.). To establish the Doctrine of the unlimited Extent of Christ’s Death, it ought to be proved, That that World is redeemed, out of which, the Church of God is said to be redeemed (Re 5:9.); and therefore was not redeemed together with it

.   3. They have the Character of Goats: The Sheep he will set at his Right Hand, but the Goats on his Left (Mt 25:33.). Our Lord expressly declares, He laid down his Life for the Sheep; but he never says any thing like it of the GOATS. His Sheep he knows, bears a great Respect to them, is never unmindful of them, securely defends them, and gives to them eternal Life: The others denominated GOATS, he NEVER KNEW (Mt 7:23.). They are not the Objects of his good Will and Favour; he gives not to them eternal Life, but consigns them over to endless Misery. How confidently soever it shall be affirmed, I do not expect to see it proved, that Christ died to save those WHOM HE NEVER KNEW.

  4. They are represented as Persons appointed to Condemnation, and WRATH (Jude 4.), which is a Character just the REVERSE of those, for whom Christ is said to die. They are (as we have seen) called, the Elect, and said to be chosen to Salvation (1Th 5:9.). Let it be clearly proved, if it can be, that Christ suffered with an Intention to save those, who are APPOINTED to WRATH; and when that is done, I shall ask some Questions, which will not admit of Answers very easy. Whether an Intention, to save, and to punish, are the same, or may consist together? If God and Christ once designed to save those, whom they eternally punish, when they changed their Purpose concerning these Persons? Whether such an Alteration of Purpose is consistent with Immutability? And to what Motives, or Reasons, we may attribute, this Change of Resolution and Design? I have always thought, that the Council of the Lord shall stand; that he will do all his Pleasure (2Th 2:12; 3:18.); that the Counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, and the Thoughts of his Heart to all Generations (Isa 46:10.); that none have resisted his Will (Ps 33:11.), or prevented the Accomplishment of his infinitely wise Determinations: But when I shall see it once proved, that God intended to save all Men, by the Death of his Son, I will readily acknowledge myself mistaken, In the Sentiments, (so agreeable to the Scripture) just now expressed, and that the Bible is not the most consistent Book, which was ever wrote: But at present I am under no Apprehension that I shall be obliged, to make Concessions so dishonourable to God, and destructive of his Veracity in his Word.

07- CHAPTER 4

  Contains a Fourth Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST's Death

  THE learned and ingenious Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, in Words greatly extols the Merits of our Saviour, he frequently speaks of his redundant, superabundant, and overflowing Merit; but his Opinion is a real Extenuation, and Nullity of his true Merit, as will hereafter appear.

  1. The Foundation of Christ’s Merit, in his Obedience and Sufferings, is the infinite Dignity of his Person; his Obedience to the Law, his Sufferings and Death had not been available to the Justification of Men, or to the Remission of their Sins, if he had been a mere Creature, or Man only. His human Nature was the Subject of Obedience and Suffering; but his Obedience and Sufferings have their infinite Value, from his Divine Nature: His Righteousness being the Righteousness of God, and his Blood being the Blood of God, is the Reason, Cause, and Foundation of that Merit, which attends both.

  2. It was an eminent Act of free and foreign Favour to Christ, as Man, to ordain his human Nature to a personal Union, with the Word the Son of God: This, which is his highest Honour, as Man and Mediator, is a free Gift, or it is a Fruit of the Father’s everlasting and eternal Love to him (Joh 17:24.). This he did not, he could not merit; for our Saviour can’t be supposed to have merited that, which rendered him a Subject capable of meriting. Which Augustin well improves as an Argument against Merit in us. And Calvin from him insists upon the same Argument in his Institutions (Lib. II. Cap 17.). Limborch very much misrepresents Calvin’s Sense in this Pointf2. His Opinion was not, that intrinsick Merit, did not attend what Christ did and suffered; this he pleads for; but inasmuch as this Union of the human Nature with the Divine, is the Result of God’s Decree, he resolves Christ’s Merit into that Decree, as the Origin of it; and represents the Grace of God as the supreme Cause, and the Merit of Christ, as the subordinate Cause of Salvation.

  3. As a supreme, and subordinate Cause, are not inconsistent, so Salvation though it is merited by Christ, it is still freely given; the Grace of God is to be considered, as the supreme Cause, and Fountain of it: For since, the Merit of Christ, (as we shall find it is, if we trace it up to its Source) is to be resolved into, the free, and sovereign good Will of God, we affirm nothing incompatible, with the Freeness, Riches, and Sovereignty of Divine Grace, when we say, that our Salvation is merited, by the Obedience, and Sufferings of our Saviour. The Reason is, a Cause supreme, and subordinate, are by no Means repugnant

.   4. Infinite Merit attended, what Christ did and suffered for his People, and by Virtue of the Union which subsists between him, and them, that Merit becomes theirs.

  1st. His Obedience to the Law, had an infinite Merit attending of it. In order to give the Reader, a clear, and distinct, and just Idea of this most important Point, I observe.

  (1.) It was by a special Divine Constitution, that Christ became Subject to the Law, Men are born under the Law, or Covenant of Works, as the natural Descendants of Adam, with whom, that Covenant was made, but so was not Christ: The first Adam was not a Head to the last Adam; and therefore, if the last Adam, comes under the Obligation of that Law, which was given to the first Adam, it must be, by an Appointment, and Decree peculiar to himself; hence as Christ was made of a Woman, i.e. as his human Nature was produced in a supernatural Manner, or not according to the settled Law of Nature, so he was made under the Law, by a special Appointment (Ga 4:4.), otherwise he would have had no Concern, with the Law, or Covenant of Works, as a Subject of it. For as the first Man, was not a Head to the second Man, who is the Lord from Heaven (1Co 15:47.), nor he a natural Descendant from him, he was not, nor could be obliged to the Observation of that Law, or Covenant, (but by special Appointment) which was given to, and made with the first Man.

  (2.) Christ as Man, by Vertue of his personal Union, with the Word, the Son of God, was raised above the Condition, and State of a mere Creature; or, had a Right to Glory, and Blessedness, even to Glory, as great as we may suppose, his human Nature thus advanced was capable of enjoying, for he was appointed Heir of all Things (Heb 1:3.); he was rich (2Co 8:9.), and his stooping to a low State was a voluntary Act of Condescension, being found in Fashion as a Man, be humbled himself (Php 2:8.); and therefore Obedience to the Law, became not due from him, in order to the Fruition of God: As he was exalted above the State, and Condition, of all Creatures, by Vertue of this Union, he is not to be considered under the same Obligation with them. And this is the great Mystery, and Glory of the Gospel; Oh that my Soul may for ever, admire, and adore it!

  3.) Though he was not a mere Creature, but God as well as Man, and was thus exempted from the common State, and Condition of Creatures, yet, by a special Designation of the Father, and his own voluntary Agreement, he became subject to the Law., or Covenant of Works, not on his own Account, for that was impossible, but for the sake, of others; or with a gracious View, to their Redemption, from that Law, considered as a Covenant of Works

.   (4.) Those, on whose Account he became subject to the Law, or Covenant of Works, are such, for whom he was a Surety to the Father, or to whom he was constituted a representative Head, and no others: For as his Obligation to the Law, or Covenant of Works, wholly arises from the Father’s sovereign Will, and his own voluntary Consent, it can’t be thought, that he stood obliged to fulfil that Law, or Covenant, for those, whole Surety he was not, and to whom he was not appointed, representative Head, until therefore, we shall see it clearly proved, that Christ is a Head, to such, who are not of his Body the Church, we shall continue to firmly believe, that he only fulfilled the Law for them, and that he is not, or was designed to be the End of the Law for Righteousness to any others.

(5.) Our blessed Saviour was perfectly conformable to the Law, his Nature was pure, and his Conduct unblemished, he did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his Mouth (1Pe 2:22.). His Obedience was commensurable to, or every Way, such as the Law required, he always did those Things which pleased the Father

.   (6.) As in his Obedience, he is to be considered a Surety and Head, his Righteousness, or Obedience, is imputed those, and only to those, for whom he became a Surety, and to whom. he was appointed a Head. He is not a Head to all Men, he only is to his Body the Church, i.e. the Church of First-born, who are written in Heaven, or the Elect of God, who we know are not all Men: All Men therefore ate not interested in his Obedience, and the Merit of it, which was the Point to be proved.

  (7) The Deity of Christ infinitely exhalted his Obedience: Immense Honour arose to the Law by Christ’s Subjection to it, and Observation of it, he magnified the Law, and made it honourable (Isa 42:21.). The Obedience of our Lord is attended with Merit suitable to the Dignity of his Person, which Merit becomes theirs, on whole Account, he was made under the Law, and for whom as a Surety, and Head, he fulfilled it; they therefore are entitled to all those Benefits and Blessings which are the Result, of his Obedience; hence says the Apostle, That being justified by his Grace, we should be made Heirs, according to the Hope of eternal Life (Tit 3:15.).

  (8) Infinite Merit attended the Sufferings of Christ: The Blood of our Redeemer, is equal in Value, and Worth, to the Greatness and Dignity his Person. Now he is the Brightness of the Father’s Glory, and the express Image of his Person (Heb 1:3.). It therefore is no Diminution, or lessening of the Father’s Honour, to esteem him, his EQUAL (Php 2:6.); of Consequence, he is a Person infinitely great and glorious. And if his Sufferings are allowed to have any thing of superior Worth in them, to those of a mere Creature, on Account of his Deity, if we will be consistent, and carry up our Reasoning, to its proper Pitch, in an Affair, wherein it is absolutely necessary to be done, we must grant, that as they have any thing more of Merit, in them, than those of a mere Creature, they have infinitely more and greater Worth: Hence it follows, that his Suffering are an adequate, and every Way sufficient Price, for our Redemption: An infinite Justice was offended, and an infinite Person suffered: Here was an Equality between the Judge, who punished, and the Subject, on whom Punishment was inflicted. And if the Death of Christ was a full, and adequate Price, of Redemption, then all those, for whom he died, in Justice, have a Right and Claim to a Discharge from Guilt, Freedom from Condemnation, and Security from the penal Effects of Sin. Whether these Things can consist with the universal Extent of his Death, a small Degree of Discernment, in spiritual Truths, will enable any Person to discover. It is impossible to maintain the true Merit of Christ, without granting, that all those partake of the Benefits which he merited, for whom they were procured; for it is unjust, to withhold that, to which a Person hath a Right; Merit gives Right to those Favours, which are supposed to be merited, whether that Merit, is personal, or it is the Merit of another, but becomes ours, by Vertue of the meritorious Action being done by one between whom and us, there is such a Union, as lays a proper Foundation, for the Imputation of that Action to us, which is the Case here, as plainly appears by what has been before observed. This cannot be denied, without an entire Subversion of the Gospel, in the most weighty Points, it recommends to our Faith and full Assent.

 

08- CHAPTER 5

  Contains a Fifth Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST's Death

  REDEMPTION which is effected by the Death of Christ, Is a clear and cogent Argument in Favour of the limited Extent of his Death.

  1. Redemption may be considered as metaphorical; that is a mere Deliverance out of Misery and Servitude, without the Payment of any Price. Thus the Israelites are said to be redeemed (1Ch 17:21.) out of the Hands of the Egyptians, when no Price, or valuable Consideration, was given for their Release from Bondage. The Socinians maintain, that such is our Redemption by Christ, that he paid no Price, or valuable Consideration, for our Deliverance from the penal Effects of Sinf3.

  2. It is proper, and that is when a Price is given, or a valuable Consideration, is yielded by him who acts the Part of a Redeemer, for those who enjoy Liberty in Consequence of his so doing, (1). This may have Place in the Deliverance of Captives, who are held under Confinement by a Conqueror. (2.) In the Deliverance of Criminals from deferred Punishment, in this View, our Redemption is to be considered, for we are Criminals, and obnoxious to very severe Penalty, for our Offences, against God, our Sovereign, and our Judge.

  3. Christ as our Redeemer paid a valuable Price, or Consideration, for our Redemption. In order fairly to make out this, it will be necessary to prove — That he suffered in our Stead — That his Sufferings were that Penalty, to which we were obnoxious — That those Sufferings of Christ were a proper Price, or valuable Consideration, for our Deliverances and Exemption from Punishment.

  I. Christ suffered in our Place and Stead not merely for our Good, as the Socinians and Armininians urge: For though it is certain, that in suffering in our Room he suffered for our Good, yet this he might be supposed to do, without suffering in our Stead. The observation of two Things will fully clear up this.

  1. Christ was a Surety to God for those Persons, on whose Account he died; hence he is said to be the Surety of a better Testament, or Covenant, diaqhkhv (Heb 7:22.). For this Reason, his Blood is called the Blood of the everlasting Covenant (Heb 13:11.). He was not a Surety for God to Sinners, as the Socinians, and Arminians contend f4; he stood in no Need of a Surety. to make good his Engagements; it is blasphemous to imagine it, the Thought thereof is a horrid Reflection, on the Power, or Veracity of God. And therefore if Christ was a Surety at all, he was our Surety, and took our Debt upon him, as such, he died, in order to clear that Debt, which necessarily supposes his Substitution in our Place, or Relation to the Law of God.

2. He is expressly said to have suffered for us; i.e. in our Stead; for the Preposition uper evidently designs the Substitution of one Person in the Room and Place of another ina uper sou diakonou, That in thy Stead be might have ministered (Phm 13.), uper risou deomeqa. We pray you in Christ’s Stead (2Co 5:20.), uper gar tou agaqou for a good Man (Ro 5:7.), i.e. in the Stead of a good Man, and no Reason can be assigned, why it should not be taken in this Sense, when it is said, risov uper hman apeqane, Christ died for us; the Just suffered for the Unjust (1Pe 3:18.), uper adikwn in Stead of the Unjust, agreeable to the Sense of the Preposition in other Places, until therefore some substantial and clear Reason is assigned for a different Sense, we shall not grant what is merely begg’d, the Cause is too important to allow of such a Complement. The Reason which is urged against this Sense, taken from its being said that Christ suffered pdei amartiwn, i.e. for Sins (1Pe 3:18.), is so far, from militating with it, that it abundantly confirms it, for he of whom it is declared, that he suffers for the Crimes of another, must be understood to suffer in the Stead of that other Person, when it is affirmed that he suffers for him.

  II. Christ suffered the Penalty, that they were liable to, on whole Account he died. Which thus appears:

  1. Their Guilt was imputed to him: He was made Sin for them (2Co 5:21.), the Lord laid on him the Iniquities of us all (Isa 53:6.), he bore our Sins in his own Body on the Tree (1Pe 2:24.). Christ was in himself innocent, but by Imputation, he was made Sin or Guilty, without that, his Sufferings could not be of a penal Nature, for proper Punishment is the Infliction of the Evil of Suffering, for the Evil of Sin; Penalty therefore always bears Respect to a Charge of Offence, committed either by the Person himself who suffers, or by others, for and in whose Stead he suffers, which is the Care here. Nor is there any thing unjust in this, if the Party offended, hath a Power of excusing the guilty Party and of accepting the Engagement of another to suffer for him, and he who engages, hath a Power over his Life, if that is at his Disposal, and he is free to resign it, which Things though they are not found among Men, they are all true, and actually found here, or else we are undone for EVER.

  2. He was made a Curse: That very Thing from which we are freed, by the Death of Christ, he was made in dying for us, which is the Curse and Condemnation of the Law, he redeemed us from the Curse of the Law being made a Curse for us (Ga 3:12.). No, say the Socinians and Arminians, he was not properly made a Curse, if not properly, then not at all; for there is no improper Sense, in which he could be made a Curse, the Apostle affirms, he was made a Curse for us, every one knows whom we ought to believe, the inspired Writer rather than those Men.

  3. Our gracious Redeemer sustained the Shock of the Father’s vindictive Displeasure: What less, than this, can be the Import of such Modes of Expression as these: It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to Grief ( Isa 43:10.), and awake, O Sword, against my Shepherd, against the Man that is my Fellow, finite the Shepherd ( Zec 13:7.). This awful Language is expressive of a real and positive Act, of God himself against his Son, as the Surety of Sinners, and standing charged with their Guilt, which must be an Act of Vengeance. The whole Punishment due to Sin, when punished in such a Subject as Christ is, was inflicted on him, who had infinite Dignity, whole Sufferings therefore were of infinite Value, and of Consequence, it was not necessary that they should be endless in Duration, because they were in Value immense: Hence it is evident that the Shortness of the Time of his Sufferings, is no just Objection, to his undergoing that very Punishment, which was due to, or from us; though Socinians and Arminians are pleated to argue it is.

  III. Christ’s Sufferings were a proper Price, or valuable Consideration for our Redemption. The Socinians deny that his Death was a Price, though it is expressly so called, Lutron, (Mt 20:28.), i.e. a Price of Redemption, which is the proper Signification of the Word. The Arminians will nor allow, that it was a full, and adequate Price; but that it was so according to the Estimation of God, or his gracious Acceptation. And tome others, who perhaps would take it amiss, to be reckoned of that Party, agree with them therein; thus Dr. Doddridge speaking of what Christ paid for us, faith, it was GRACIOUSLY ALLOWED of God, as a valuable Consideration . This is infinitely to sink the Merit of the Redeemer, below its true Nature; for his Death must needs be an adequate and full Price of Redemption, or a complete Payment of our Debt; because he suffered that very Punishment, which was due to the Criminals he intended to redeem, and was equal, in Dignity, to their offended Judge, who inflicted that Penalty. The Sufferings of an innocent Person, in the Room of the Guilty, ought to be allowed and accepted, as a valuable Consideration, for their Deliverance, if he suffers all that penal Evil which the Law threatens, Justice requires it, it is not an Act of Favour, but of Righteousness: And therefore, if Christ really suffered for Sinners, the WHOLE of that Punishment, which was due to, or from them, in Right and Justice, they are intitled to Impunity: If indeed he has not, but a Part of it only, then we are left in a miserable Condition; for we are unable to bear the least Part of the Penalty our Sins deserve. But the Father expects no more for our Deliverance and Redemption, than Christ has paid: And therefore all those for whom he died, have Remission of Sins, Freedom from Condemnation, and Security from WRATH. In whom we have Redemption through his Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins (Eph 2:7.). Where is therefore now no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:1.). Being justified by his Blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through him. The universal Extent of the Death of Christ, supposes the Reverse of there Things, so plainly expressed, in the Holy Scriptures: That the Surety bore Sin, and that the Sinner remains under a Charge of it. — That our Saviour was made a Curse, and that the Offender continues under it. That our Lord sustained the infinite Displeasure and Wrath of God, and that those (at least many, yea the greater Part of them) for whom he so did, will eternally lie under his awful Vengeance. Thus Men take the Liberty to depreciate the Merit of the Redeemer under a Pretence of extending it, and to contradict the plainest Evidence of the Word of God, in Favour of their own Opinions, which have no Foundation in the sacred Writings, as I hope fully to evince and prove hereafter. The Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, makes a Concession which (if I mistake not) is entirely inconsistent with the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, though he appears a zealous Advocate for it, (in a marginal Note.) It is this, I cannot find that Scripture once asserts, that Christ redeemed all Men, or died to redeem them all. I beg Leave to ask this Gentleman, Whether Christ died with an Intention to redeem such for whom he paid a Price of Redemption? Surely he must: The Scripture represents his Death as a Price of Redemption; and I should think his Death was that in his Intention, which it was in Fact; if therefore he died for all Men, in his Death he intended to pay a Price of Redemption for all Men, or died to redeem them all. The Arminians in order to reconcile the Doctrine of universal Redemption, with particular Salvation; or the Happiness of a Part of human Nature only, with the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, distinguish upon Redemption, as impetrated, and as applied. They suppose that Redemption was impetrated for all Men; but that it is applied to some only, the Reason of which is, all do not perform those Conditions, upon which the Application of Redemption dependsf5. To this I answer: Though the Impetration of Redemption, and the Application of it, may be distinguished, they cannot be separated: For it is unjust to render the Enjoyment of that uncertain which is impetrated, or obtained, by the Payment of a proper, and full Price, to those for whom it is so obtained, by the Injunction of any Conditions on them. It would be acting an injurious Part to him, who paid that Price. And therefore, since Redemption is not applied to all Men, but to some only, it was not impetrated, or obtained for all Men, but for a Part of the human Nature only. Upon the Whole, we may safely conclude, That the Extent of Christ’s Death is not universal, but particular, and limited to some.

 

09- CHAPTER 6

  Contains a Sixth Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death

  THAT Reconciliation which Christ effected by his Death, seems to me, a nervous Argument in Favour of the limited Extent of it. The Doctrine of divine Reconciliation supposes not any Change, in the Disposition of Gods or from a Purpose of inflicting Punishment, to friendly Design of conferring Benefits, neither of which are compatible with the Perfections of God: And therefore Apprehensions of this Sort, are by no Means to be entertained, when we speak of that Peace which Christ has made for Sinners. But it supposes an infinite Displeasure with Sin, in God.

  A Disapprobation of our Persons, considered as Offenders; and the Engagement of divine Justice against us, as Transgressors: All which are perfectly consistent, with the everlasting Love of God to us, and with his gracious Choice of us in Christ to eternal Salvation; and with the invariable Approbation of our Persons, as view’d in the Beloved. Hence it appears, That Reconciliation with God, by the Death of Christ, is not a Procurement of divine Favour, as the Socinians object to us: But it really is an Effect thereof, There is no Repugnancy, between the free, sovereign, and eternal Love of God to his Elect, and the Doctrine of real Peace, being made for them by the Blood of Christ’s Cross. The pretended Inconsistency of God’s good Will and Favour, Love to and Delight in his People, with actual, and proper Reconciliation, which is effected by the Sufferings of the Redeemer, is no other than a foolish Objection of the Socinians, who are professed Adversaries, to the Merits and Satisfaction of Christ. And it is Pity, that any through a Desire to maintain the precious Truth of God’s Free, immutable, and eternal Love to his People should in the least countenance an Objection formed by the worst Enemies, which the Gospel has, against the proper and real Atonement of Christ: Since there is no Inconsistency in these Things; but both are alike true, and of equal Moment, in our Salvation, viz. The free Love of God to his People, and Atonement made for their Sins, by the Sufferings of our blessed Lord. The Ground of this Mistake, is, considering God as attended with human Passions, than which, nothing more dishonourable to the divine Being, can by a Creature be deviled. Reconciliation is not a Change in the Heart of God, from an angry Disposition, to a friendly Affection, as it is in Men; but it is a full, and proper Satisfaction to his violated Law, and offended Justice, Nor is another Objection which the Socinians make, of the least Weight; i.e. That God is never said to be reconciled to Men; but that we are said to be reconciled to him, by the Death of his Sonf6. For the Party to whom Christ offered himself, as a Sacrifice, is reconciled, which was not Men, but God. Besides, it is the usual Mode of speaking, to express Reconciliation, by the Party who offends, becoming reconciled, to the Party offended: Go thy Way, and first be reconciled to thy Brother (Mt 5:24.). God in this Affair is to be considered, as a Judge, insisting on a plenary Satisfaction to his Law, and Justice, which being given, he hath no farther Demand to make; and therefore is most properly said to be appeased, or reconciled to Sinners.

  I. Christ was to make Peace or Reconciliation: Let him take hold of my Strength; i.e. on Christ who is the Son of Man, whom God has made strong for himself: And is called the Power of God, that he may make Peace with me, and he shall make Peace with me (1Co 1:24; Isa 27:5.). One gracious End of the Messiah’s being cut off; but not for himself, was to make Reconciliation for Iniquity (Da 9:24-26.). The Church under the legal Dispensation, was taught to expect the great Benefit, of real Atonement, or Peace and Reconciliation, by and through the Sufferings of the Messiah: And the Saints then acted Faith on that Atonement: The Chastisement of our Peace was upon him, and with his Stripes we are healed (Isa 53:5.).

  II. The Nature of the Sufferings of our blessed Redeemer, is an evident Proof, that he suffered in order to make Peace and Reconciliation. His Sufferings were penal, and therefore, so far as he sustained that Punishment, which was due to, or from Sinners, they must be satisfactory to the Law, and Justice of God. Sin was imputed to him; The Curse of the Law was inflicted on him: And the Sword of divine Justice smote him. Which Things are a full Evidence, that in suffering he was punished: And if the Whole of that Penalty which Sin demerits, was endured by our Saviour, the certain Effect thereof, must be real, and perfect, Peace, or Reconciliation with God. If indeed he suffered only a Part of that Punishment, then complete Atonement is not made, he is but a partial Saviour, and was not made perfect through Sufferings. But this we can, by no Means, allow of, not only because it dreadfully affects our eternal Interest, but also because it impeaches divine Wisdom, and Justice, and reflects the greatest Dishonour on Christ himself.

  III. The Gospel is a Report of Peace and Reconciliation. It is called The Gospel of Peace: And the Word of Reconciliation (Eph 6:1; 2Co 5:19.). Because it assures us, That Peace is made, by the Blood of the Cross of Christ. And that when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son. And that we are healed by the Stripes, i.e. the Sufferings of our Lord. It is not a Report of a Disposition,or Inclination in God, to be reconciled to sinful Men, on Account of the Suffering, and Death of Christ; but it is a clear, and glorious, and gracious Discovery, or Proclamation of real, and actual, and perfect Peace, or Reconciliation effected by his Passion and Death, The Divine Will to Reconciliation is not an Effect, but it is the Cause of Christ’s suffering for Sinners, in order to his making Peace for them; Hence we read, that the Apostles preached Peace by Jesus Christ (Ac 10:31.); not a Will or Disposition in God to a Reconciliation with offending Creatures, but real Peace, or actual Atonement, and Reconciliation. And therefore some Gentlemen must excuse me, if I say that they are very different Preacher, from the Apostles, and bring us another Gospel (which is not another, no Gospel of Christ at all) who represent God as only willing to be reconciled to Sinners, thro’ the Death of his Son) and not actually reconciled.

  IV. The Distinction of a first, and second, or of a former, and a latter Reconciliation, the former as common to all Men, and the latter as peculiar to Believers upon Believing, which the Arminians urge, is an Invention of their own f7. They suppose that which cannot in Justice be granted; viz. That Christ: by his Death obtained a conditional Grant, of Pardon and Life for all Men: This they call the first, or former Reconciliation; and thus much are they pleased to allow to the Merits of our Saviour; but not that he merited that Grace, which is necessary to enable Men to perform those Conditions, on which the latter Reconciliation is to be enjoyed, (and herein the Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, agrees with them, as to the larger Number of Men, for whom Christ died.) This I say is supposing what Justice forbids us to allow, in this Care, or in any Affair of this Nature. For it is manifestly unjust, to require an innocent Person to suffer for a Criminal, that Punishment which he deserves, and enjoy any Conditions on the Criminal, which may render his Impunity precarious, and for Want of the Performance of such Conditions, actually punish him; of this the Arminians are fully sensible; and therefore they deny that in a strict Sense Christ was punished. And so to must our Author also, if be will be consistent with himself. I should think this Gentleman can’t esteem it an unreasonable Request, if I ask the Favour of him, to tell us plainly, whether he apprehends Christ was really punished for Sinners in his Sufferings? Whether he endur’d the Whole, or a Part only, of that Penalty which was due to, or from them, for whom he died? And whether he thinks it agreeable to Justice to inflict the whole Punishment, due to Offenders, on a Surety for them, and punish them also.

  It seems clear to me, even to a Demonstration; that if our precious Saviour was punished in his Sufferings: That if he underwent the Whole of that Punishment, to which they were liable for whom he died: And if it cannot consist with Justice, and Righteousness, to inflict Penalty on a Surety, and on Offenders also: That all those for Right to Impunity, whom Christ suffered, have a Pardon, and Life; or that the Law and Justice of God are satisfied, that no Fury is, or can be in God, against those Persons; but that he is actually reconciled to them, or pacified towards them for all that they have done. Which is evidently inconsistent with the universal Extent of Christ’s Death; and therefore, I cannot but apprehend that it is particular; and limited to time.

 

10- CHAPTER 7

  Contains the Seventh Argument to Prove the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death

  THE Satisfaction of Christ is justly accounted a most momentous, and important Article of Faith, because his Glory, and the Efficacy of his Merits, the Honour, and Justice of God: And the Salvation of his People, are inseparably connected with it, are built upon it, and arise from it. We therefore are under infinite Obligations, to accurately inquire into it, clearly Rate it, and zealously defend it. And since the Adversaries of evangelical Truths, exercise their greatest Skill, and use their utmost Efforts, in militating against the Necessity of it, its Reality, and the Perfection thereof, we certainly ought not to be less diligent in asserting, and vindicating its Necessity, Reality, and Perfection.

  I. I shall endeavour to prove, that in order to the Remission of Sin, Satisfaction is necessary and such a Satisfaction, as is full, and adequate to what the Law and Justice of God require, which can be no other than what is given to both by Christ. Some Divines who defend the Satisfaction of Christ as real, and complete, have yet thought, that God might, if such was his Pleasure, have pardoned Sin, without any Atonement or Satisfaction for it: They apprehend that the Necessity of Christ’s Satisfaction is hypothetical only, or what results from a divine Decree and Purpose, that is to say, That God having decreed the Death of his Son, as a Satisfaction to his Law, and Justice, his Death became necessary by Vertue of that Decree; but that God might have pardoned Sin, and saved Sinners, without his dying, had he not decreed his Death. At first View, this may seem too curious an Enquiry, and that it may better become us, to acquiesce in what God has done, as what upon the Whole is certainly wise, and just; since infinite Wisdom and Justice cannot do any thing, but what is so, rather than enquire whether God might have acted otherwise in this Affair, than it hath been his Pleasure to act. I confess that under the Influence of this Consideration, for a great while, I declined the Examination of this Point:

  But upon observing that the Socinians argue strongly against the Satisfaction of Christ, from no Satisfaction being absolutely necessary, and that they think this Point being gained, they are able with Ease, to answer all other Arguments, tho’ they are much mistaken. I began to think, that I might very safely enquire into it for the Defence of Truth; accordingly I did: And as I hope upon a humble, serious, and impartial Enquiry on this Head, have, arrived to a clear, and full Conviction, that the Justice of God necessarily requires a proper, and plenary Satisfaction for Sin, if Sinners are pardoned; and that since this is just and righteous, am persuaded that the Judge of all the Earth who cannot but do what is so, could not save Sinners, without such a Provision for the Honour of his law and Justice, any more than he can deny himself.

  The Reasons which induce me to be of this Opinion, are these:

  1. It is reasonable to think, that God would not have punished his Son, in the Manner he did, if it had not been necessary, to secure his Glory, and maintain the Honour of his Law in saving of Sinners. It is hard to conceive that a good and merciful God, who doth not willingly afflict or grieve the Children of Men, should so sorely bruise, wound, and punish, his only Son, who is dearer to him, than Angels or Men, without any Necessity for it, or the Honour of his Perfections so requiring, if Sinners are saved by him. His Sufferings were penal, or he was punished in suffering: For he bore Sin, or Guilt was imputed to him — He suffered for Sinners, or in their Stead — He suffered for their Sins, that is to say, their Sins were the meritorious and procuring Cause of his Sufferings — He was made a Curse, i.e. the Curse due to us Christ endured — Justice incensed by our Sins, smote him, wounded him, and put him to Grief. And therefore in Suffering Christ was punished for Sin. Besides, it was Punishment of an amazing and dreadful Weight that he sustained: Unless this is granted, we shall not be able to vindicate the Resolution and Fortitude of our Saviour, in and under his Sufferings such were the Complaints which he uttered.

  Many Martyrs, not to say equall’d, but far exceeded him, in Courage, if he underwent bodily Pains, and Reproaches from Men only, if he was not smitten, stricken of God and afflicted: And what adds much Weight to this, is, our Saviour had not that to trouble him, which the best of Martyrs have: A Consciousness personal Guilt, that they are Sinners, and deserve Wrath: Unbelief or Diffidence, a Sense of God’s Displeasure, he was not, or could be in Doubt, about and Interest in the Favour of his Father, or concerning the good Issue of his Sufferings. Besides he had that to comfort him, in suffering, which the best of Men cannot be supposed to have. A Sense of his personal Union with the Son of God, a full and certain Evidence that he had never offended the Father, that the highest Honour and Glory, would redound to the Law and Justice of God, by his Sufferings: That Sinners would certainly be thereby saved, and himself after his Sufferings be crowned with Glory, in which he could not have either any Equal or Partner: That he should have a Name which is above every Name that is named in this World, or in that which is to come. Now if Christ had not that to grieve him, which the best Saints on the Earth have, and if he enjoyed that which no good Man can be supposed to enjoy, tho’ it be in suffering for the best Cause in the World: Unless we allow that in his Sufferings he was made a Curse, and had a piercing Sense of that Wrath which is due to Sin, How shall we be able to account for the sore Complaints he expressed? Let Christians view their suffering Lord in the Garden, in his Agony, and there sweating, great Drops of Blood falling down in Plenty to the Ground, and think whether it will become them to imagine, this preternatural Sweat, was only occasioned by a Dread of the bodily Pains, he was to undergo. Let them hear him expressing himself thus, Now is my Soul troubled, and what shall I say? And my Soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto Death. Attending to this, his Language; let them ask themselves whether it is likely, that Christ should be so much inferior in Courage and Fortitude, to many of his Servants, who have gone to the Rack, and to the Stake, in Triumph, and with Exultation? Upon the Whole, we may safely conclude, That our Saviour was punished, and that the Weight of his Punishment was exceeding great. Why should it be thought, That God would punish his Son, whom he infinitely loves, in such a Manner, if it was not necessary to secure the Honour of his Perfections?

  Nor can I think that less than Christ actually suffered, would have been sufficient to the Redemption of his People, much less that one Drop of his Blood, as some have said, would have been sufficient to that End.

  2. It was proper that God should equally provide for the Honour of all his Attributes. It seems not to comport with his infinite Wisdom, to regard the Exaltation of the Glory of his free Mercy, in Remission, and wholly neglect the Honour of his Justice, which on]y could be manifested in the Infliction of Punishment. Why may it not be thought becoming God, and suitable to his Nature, which is holy as well as gracious, to shew himself offended with Sin, by punishing it, while he shews himself gracious in remitting it to the Sinner? The inspired Writer to the Hebrews, plainly suggests to us this Idea: It became him for whom are all Things, and by whom are all Things, in bringing many Sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation, perfect through Sufferings. If bringing Men to Heaven this Way became God, or was proper for his own Glory; he could not bring them to Happiness without it; unless we suppose that God may, or can omit, what it becomes him to do; which we have no more Reason to think, than that he can be unmindful of his Honour.

  3. God cannot but hate Sin: As he is a Being infinitely holy in his Nature, he necessarily, tho’ freely, loves and delights in Holiness; so he necessarily detests and hates the contrary of it, Sin: He is of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity; be cannot look upon Evil with Approbation or Connivance. Sin is the abominable Thing his righteous Soul hates: Hatred in God is not an Affection, or Portion, the infinite Blessedness of his Nature admits not of that, but it is a Will to shew Resentment against Sin, which, what is it but the Infliction of Penalty? If it be thought that the Holiness of God’s Nature, moves him to shew his Approbation of a Conformity to his Will, in his Creatures, Why may we not conceive, that his infinite Rectitude, and Purity, will certainly and necessarily determine him, to act an opposite Part, when his Creatures are chargeable with a Behaviour towards him quite the Reverse.

  4. It is just and righteous to punish Sin: Is it a righteous Thing with God to recompense Tribulation to Sinners: he is not unrighteous who taketh Vengeance. Socinus observes to very little Purpose, that God’s punishing of Men, is called Wrath, Anger, Fury, Indignation, and Severity. His Acts of Punishment being so spoken of, import nothing contrary to Justice and Equity in those Acts, or that God proceeds in such Acts, from an angry and revengeful Disposition; and therefore this is no Objection to the Righteousness, Equity, and Justice, which are inseparable from those Acts. As God is essentially just and righteous, he necessarily, tho’ freely, wills to act what is just and righteous; but should he will not to punish Sin, he then would will to omit an Act that is just and righteous, and is agreeable to the Holiness and Righteousness of his Nature, which is what he cannot do.

  5. This essential Righteousness of God is own’d and acknowledg’d by the Heathen: They have a Conviction in their Minds, that Sin deserves Punishment, or that those who are guilty of it, are worthy of Death,Ro 1:32. This is as forcible an Argument that God is essentially just, as their Acknowledgment of a Deity and supreme Being, is, that there is a God. From the Sense they had of Punishment being due to Sin; proceeded their Terrors of Conscience, Dread of Wrath, and the many Methods they fixed upon, to avert that Vengeance they fear’d on Account of their Vices. Whatever Men in Controversy may now say upon the Head, when once Guilt lies on the Conscience, and the Demerit of it is apprehended, there is not any thing in the World so difficult to be believed, as is that of the Remission of our Sins, even under the unspeakable Advantage, of a gracious Revelation of a full Satisfaction being made by the Blood of Christ: Such a deep Impression is made on the natural Conscience, of the Justice, Holiness, and Righteousness of God; and so far is the Light of Nature from dictating to us, there is Ground to hope for Pardon.

  6. Out of Christ God is a consuming Fire. The Words indeed are metaphorical; but the Sense of them is plain and obvious, viz. That as Fire necessarily consumes all combustible Matter within its Reach, so God necessarily, but freely (for he is an Intelligent and free Agent, which Fire is not) punisheth and consumes by his flaming Vengeance all such, whose Sins are not atoned for by the Sacrifice of his Son.

  7. If this Point is proved and granted, then it necessarily follows, that Christ in suffering, satisfied for Sin, or else it cannot be remitted: Of this, the Socinians are fully convinced; and therefore they use their utmost Skill in objecting to it: And some others who entirely dissent from their Opinion concerning the Ends and Effects of his Death, will not allow of the Necessity of Satisfaction, particularly Dr. Twiss, Vossius, and Dr. Goodwin. I shall first attend to the Objections of the Socinians, and then consider their Exceptions to it. I shall begin with Crellius his Objections; which are as follow:

  Object. 1. God hath a Power of inflicting, or not inflicting Punishment: but it is not repugnant to divine Justice, to pardon a Sinner whom be hath a Right to punishf8.

  Answ. 1. God is indeed the supreme Lord and Governor of the World, as he necessarily must be, since he created and upholds it.

2 But he doth not inflict Punishment, as a universal Lord, for then he might be supposed to punish innocent Creatures, but as Judge of all, and he cannot omit doing what is right in Judgment; such is the Infliction of Penalty on Offenders.

3. God acts not as supreme Lord in the Affair of punishing Sin; except in the Constitution of Christ a Surety, to the End he might bear Sin, and sustain the Penalty demerited by it, in order to Satisfaction for it, herein indeed, God acted not as a Judge, but as the universal Sovereign, and Lord of all, that is to say, in his Constitution; but in his Suffering for Sins, God acted as Judge.

  Object. 2. He does Injury to None, whether he punishes, or not punishes f9

  Answ. 1. None ever thought that a Neglect to punish, would be an Injury to the Offender.

  2. The Prejudice arising from such a Neglect would affect God’s Perfections, not the Sinner, Punishment in Care of Sin, is a Debt, not properly due to us, but to the Justice of God.

Object. 3. Punishment is not due to the Offender, he owes it; and be owes it to him, against whom all the Injury ultimately tends f10.

  Answ. 1. Because Punishment is not due to the Offender, but he owes it to the Law giver, it follows not that the Legislator, may in Justice forbear to inflict it.

  2. The Infliction of Punishment for Sin, is not as God is affected with Injury by it; for as he is not profited by good Actions; he is not injured by evil Actions; but God inflicts Punishment as Law-giver and Judge.

  Object. 4. Any one may part with his Right f11.

  Answ. 1. There is a Right of Debt, which being of an indifferent Nature, may be given up.

  2. There is a Right of Rule and Government; this cannot be resigned, without a Disregard to the Law, under which the governed Party is; this is, or at least ought to be granted with

Respect to the divine Law in its Precepts.: And it ought to be allowed in its Sanction and Threatening, unless it may be proved, that though the Righteousness and Justice of God necessarily, yet freely determines him to delight in, and command Holiness, it doth not determine him to hate, and will to punish its contrary Sin. Thus far the Objections of Cressius, and the Answers to them. I shall now consider Socinus his Objections, to the Necessity of Satisfaction for Sin, as they are delivered by him in his Book, de Jesu Christo Servatore.

  Object. 1. To pardon is to abate of what is right and due, this a Man may do, much more God, our Sins are Debts, and may be forgiven without Payment f12.

  Answ. 1. Obedience is God’s Right or Due from Men, with this his Right he cannot part, for if so, God may allow of Disobedience, or Sin: But a Man who is a rightful Matter and Lord of a Servant, may let his Servant at Liberty, and require no farther Obedience or Service from him; hence we see though Men may part with their Right, it follows not that God may also part with his.

  2. Our Sins are not properly, but metaphorically called Debts; a proper Debt is something that we owe to a Creditor, which we received from him, such are not our Sins; but as a Debtor owes something to a Creditor, that he hath received from him, we owe a debt of suffering to the Law and Justice of God, for that we have acted against both.

  Object. 2. The Justice of God by which be punishes Sin, it not an essential Property of his Nature, but is an Effect of his Will f13.

  Answ. 1. All Righteousness and Justice is essential to God, or else his Nature, is not absolutely and infinitely perfect, which it certainly is.

  2. It is granted, that God cannot but punish impenitent Sinners, the Reason of which is, the Holiness and Righteousness of his Nature: If God cannot but punish such, the Infliction of Punishment on them, is not an Effect of his Will.

  3. We should all eternally remain obstinate and impenitent, were it not for the Satisfaction of Christ, which secures the Communication of that Grace, that is necessary to work Repentance in us; and therefore, were it not for this Satisfaction, we should necessarily suffer Punishment.

  Object. 3. Punitive Justice is contrary to Mercy: Mercy is essential to God, and if punitive Justice is essential to him, the are there contrary Properties in God, which cannot bef14.

  Answ. 1. Justice is not contrary to Mercy, Cruelty indeed is; but that hath no Place in God’s inflicting Punishment on Sinners.

  2. Different Acts flow from Justice and Mercy, yet they are not contrary: To argue from Acts to Properties, is very weak and inconclusive.

  3. If God acts contrary to Mercy in punishing, then impenitent Sinners cannot be punished for Sin; the Reason is, God cannot do an Act, that is contrary to any of his Attributes.

  Object. 4. There is a twofold Righteousness, and a two-fold Mercy: One Righteousness, God perpetually exercises, when he punishes and destroys the Wicked and Obstinate, and Men lost to all Hope. The other is that by which God sometimes punishes sinners, not obstinate, nor wholly desperate, whose Repentance is not deferred: Yea, God might, if he would, punish the Penitent, exclusive of the Promise of his Mercy, by which he hath freely after some Sort bound himself to us. From whence the two-fold Mercy of God, as we have said, appears. One by which he pardons all sin, to those who repent, as his Promises shew, and confers Salvation, and Life. The other is that by which he truly prevents, calls, and allures Men hitherto immersed in sins, to himself, and graciously offers the Pardon of their sins, and Salvation to them, they not thinking of those Things f15.  

 Answ. 1. We should all remain wicked and obstinate, were it not for the Satisfaction of Christ, in Vertue of which, Grace is communicated to us in Order to Faith and Repentance, as was before observed.

  2. Its confess’d that God corrects in Faithfulness and Goodness, those whom he loves, and for whole Offences Satisfaction is made by the Death of Christ; but he cannot in Justice inflict Punishment oh them; the Reason is, Christ sustained Punishment in their Stead. It is also acknowledged, that not supposing the Satisfaction of Christ, God might eternally punish them; but that being supposed, he cannot. Allow but Socinus the Thing he begs, and he will certainly prove his Point.

  3. God’s pardoning Sin is an Act of Justice, as well as Mercy. To us it is an Act of Mercy, to Christ who has made Atonement, it Is an Act of Righteousness and Justice.

4. God exercises long Suffering towards the Wicked, or defers Execution of Punishment, as long as seems meet to his infinite Wisdom. Thus it appears that these Distinctions of Justice and Mercy, as opposite, are only invented by Socinus to answer an End, which they by no Means do. His whole Arguing here is sophistical; he begs the Thing he ought to prove, viz. that Satisfaction is not made by Christ, which being allowed him, the Proof of the Nonnecessity of his Satisfaction is most easy.

  Object. 5. If Justice is essential to God, not pardon sin, no not the least sin to any one, i.e. without Satisfactionf16.

  Answ. It is the manifest Design of Socinus, to urge this upon us as a great Absurdity, we acknowledge it to be our firm Opinion, out of the Regard we have to the Honour of God, in whom all Justice and Righteousness, we are fully persuaded is essential: Nor is it in the Power of any Man, as I believe to prove it absurd that God cannot pardon Sin without a Satisfaction, no not the least Sin.

  Object. 6. This is not called Righteousness in the Scripture, but Severity, Vengeance, etcf17.

  Answ. 1. Never was any Thing more falsely spoken by Man, than is this, that the Infliction of Punishment, is not called Righteousness, Ro 1:32.

  2. It is called Severity and Vengeance suitable to our Apprehensions of it: But this suggests not in the least, that it Is an Act, not flowing from Righteousness and Justice.

  Object 7. To punish sin, and pardon it, are contrary f18.

  Answ. This is true, if Respect is had to one and the same Subject, in punishing and pardoning: But if Respect is had to different Subjects, as it is in this Affair, they are not.God willed not to punish Sin, in his People, but in his Son. On his Son he actually inflicted Punishment, on them he doth not: To pardon Sin in the Sinner, and punish it in the Sinner’s Surety, are not contradictory, or the one is not eversive of the other.

  Object. 8. Its unjust to punish Sin in Christ f19.

  The Justice of God in the Imputation, of Sin to Christ, and the Infliction of Penalty on him, shall hereafter under divine Assistance, be vindicated from the Objections of Socinus, where this Objection will be particularly considered.

  Object. 9. Mercy as opposite to Justice is not essential to God, but is an Effect of his Willf20.

Answ. 1. Mercy and Justice are not contrary, as was before observed, tho’ Mercy and Cruelty are.

  2. God’s Nature is infinitely merciful, but the Exercise of his Mercy, is under the Direction of his most holy Will, as to its Objects, the Time, Manner, and the Degree of its Discovery; otherwise it can’t be true that he hath Mercy, on whom he will have Mercy.

3. The Exercise of Justice and Mercy are not to be considered in the same Light: Justice is not exercised, but in Case of Demerit: This the essential Righteousness of God requires; but Mercy is exercised freely, or without Merit; there is nothing in the objects of Mercy, that render its Exercise and Discovery towards them necessary, as there is in those, towards whom Justice is exercised.

  Object. 10. God very commonly, and most readily pardons Sin f21.

  Answ. Whatever Men may now think of the Pardon of Sin, they will certainly find at God’s awful Tribunal, that it is not to be had at such an easy Rate, as in Tenderness to themselves, and without a due Sense of his Righteousness and Justice, they may at present imagine.

  Object. 11. God’s Justice and Mercy are not infinite, for he is slow to Anger, and abundant in Mercy, the latter exceeds the former f22.

  Answ. 1. From the Delay of Punishment, it can’t be proved that God’s Displeasure with Sin is not infinite.

  2. Though God according to his sovereign Pleasure in the Dispensations of his Providence, discovers more of long Suffering, Patience, Goodness, and Mercy than of punitive Justice, it follows not from hence, that they are unequal in himself, and may not consist together.

  Object. 12. Socinus asserts, that we being deceived by a Shew of the Word Justice, think that God’s Sovereignty and Anger is infinite f23.

  Answ. 1. Its no Deception to think that the Indiction of Punishment, is a righteous and just Act; and therefore this Man was guilty of impious Boldness, in saying, that we are willing to call it by some worthy Name; viz. Justice, as though this was an Honour not strictly due to it.

  2. Righteous and just Acts proceed from Righteousness and Justice; and therefore the Act of punishing, flows from God’s Righteousness and Justice, which doubtless is essential to him.

  3. Of consequence it must needs be infinite, for there is nothing in God, but what is so. I proceed to consider the Objections of the very learned Dr. Twiss against the Necessity of Satisfaction.

  I. His first Argument stands thus. If God cannot pardon Sin without a Satisfaction, then this is either because he cannot by his Power, or because he cannot by his Justice f24.

  Answ. 1. What God cannot do by one Attribute, he cannot do by any; for he cannot act contrary or unsuitable in any of his Perfections.

  2. We plead that Justice requires Satisfaction for Sin, it therefore was not very pertinent in the learned Man, to argue from Power to Justice; the Point to be proved was, that Justice doth not require Satisfaction; till that is proved it can’t be demonstrated, that God may by his Power forgive Sin without Satisfaction. That God may by his Power forgive Sin without Satisfaction, is concluded, because it implies no Contradiction; to be able to remit Sin, and to be able not to remit, are not made up of contradictory Terms, that is, to be able to forgive Sin, is no Contradiction, and to be able not, is no Contradiction, and therefore God may do either, just as he pleases. Again, these things are not contradictory; to be able to remit Sins without Satisfaction, and to be able not, because this a Man may do, yea he ought to forgive his Enemies. The Answer is, I. A Man may do what God cannot, a Man may give up his Rule and Authority over his Servants, but God cannot, for he is necessarily, the Lord of his Creatures, and cannot dispense with their Obedience to him. 2. It is a Contradiction not to will to punish Sin, for the Infliction of Punishment is an Act of Justice, and God cannot but will to act justly. 3. Its a Contradiction that God is able not to hate Sin, which is a Will to punish it, as was observed above, for if God is able not to hate Sin, he is able to approve of it, which his infinitely pure Nature cannot do. 4. Men in some Instances may forgive Injuries, when they are personal, and a publick Good is not affected; but in Instance where the common Good is affected, they have not a Power of forgiving Injuries. Now Sin cannot be pardoned without a Satisfaction, because thereby the Government, Justice, and Righteousness of God, would be much affected.

  II. His Second Argument is; If God cannot suffer sin to go unpunished; then it must unavoidably be, that he punishes by absolute Necessity f25.

  Answ. 1. There is a Necessity in God, which tho’ it is natural, is not absolute; but results from his Will, necessarily, and yet freely; thus if God wills to create a rational Creature, an Angel, or a Man, he cannot but will to create that Creature holy. So if God wills to speak or reveal his Mind to Men, he cannot but will to speak Truth, and yet he freely wills to speak Truth; this is a Necessity tho’ natural yet not absolute. He urges, none doubts, but that the Punishment of evil Men may be encreased in this World, which he supposes cannot be, if God punishes necessarily, and that God must punish as far he as is able.

  Answ. 1. Tho’ God necessarily punishes Sin, he punishes freely, and according to his infinite Wisdom, as to Time, Manner, and Degree. 2. Not as far as he is able, but so far as in Righteousness he judges it just, and fit to punish. 3. And therefore the Time, Manner, and Degree of Punishment are according to divine Constitution; but tho’ these Circumstances of inflicting Penalty, are under the Direction of the Will of God, it doth not follow that he may will not to punish.

  Arg. 3. God may inflict a milder Punishment, than Sin deserves, and therefore be may according to his absolute Power, suspend the whole Penalty, to support which he reasons thus: God may reward beyond Desert, and therefore he may punish without Desert f26.

  Answ. 1.As before tho’ God necessarily punishes Sin, yet the Execution of Punishment, as to the Circumstances of it, such as Time, Manner, and Degree, is under the Direction of his most holy Will and Wisdom!

  2. Tho’ God may confer Favours, where there is no Merit, it doth not follows that he may punish without Demerit: The Supposition is false, his Justice doth not require the Bestowment of Favours more than are due; but it requires the Infliction of Punishment where there is Demerit. To consider the Communication of divine Benefits, in the same Light with the Infliction of Punishment, is highly improper: The Reason is plain, God may confer Blessings without Desert but his Justice allows not of the Infliction of Penalty, without Demerit; for proper Punishment, always hath Relation to Guilt, and Suffering without that is not Penalty.

  3. Since the Supposition is false, that God may punish where there is no Demerit, it is not true, that he may omit to punish where it is.

  Arg. 4. God may inflict Suffering exceeding great, yea eternal, without any Demerit: therefore he also may, notwithstanding Demerit however great, suspend Punishment as great The Antecedent, saith he, is proved more than once elsewhere: The Consequence is evident from hence, God is more inclined to do good, than to punish. He goes on and asks whether it is impossible for God to bring a sinner to Repentance? If you shall say it is impossible, I ask why it is impossible to bring a Sinner to Repentance? Since this includes no Contradiction. If it should be granted that it is possible, see what follows, that God is brought by a certain, natural, and absolute Necessity to punish some sinner, and that for ever, (unless Christ should be his Surety) though he repents, and departs this Life in a State of Repentance. He also objects, that God cannot annihilate a Sinner if so, f27.

  Answ. 1. Why doth the learned Man in this Argument, speak of Suffering merely; this is not fair, it is Punishment, not mere Suffering that is under Consideration; all Penalty is Suffering, but all Suffering is not Penalty.

  2. If God may inflict Suffering without Demerit, he cannot suspend Punishment, where Demerit is, the former is an Act of absolute Sovereignty, the latter is an Act flowing from the Righteousness of God’s Nature.

  3. To will to bring a Sinner to Repentance, and to will to punish him are contrary: Since therefore God cannot but will to punish, the Repentance of a Sinner is impossible without Christ’s Satisfaction.

  4. God is said to be more inclined to do good, than to punish, because the Motive to the latter is in the Subject, not so in the former.

  5. Annihilation may be without Demerit: No Creature hath a Claim upon God, to preserve it in a State of Existence; its Production into Being, was a sovereign Act of God’s Will, and so is its Preservation in a State of Being: Annihilation therefore is no Punishment, which we shall have Occasion to treat of hereafter: But Sin being supposed, I deny that God may annihilate the Creature, and am persuaded that any Absurdity attending this, will never be proved.

  6. The Elect may be said to be punished in Christ, by Reason of that Foederal Union, which subsists between him and them: Christ and they are one in Law, yet it can’t be said that they made Satisfaction, he made Satisfaction on whom the Punishment was personally inflicted, this was Christ not the Elect; notwithstanding it may truly be said, that they suffered in him, as he was their Head and represented them Vossius thus objects

  I. The Question is not whether it is just to take Satisfaction, but whether it is unjust not to take it f28.

  Answ. 1. As hath been proved, the Justice of God’s Nature, requires that Sin be punished.

  2. Its confessed that Christ’s making Satisfaction was refusable, God might have insisted on our Suffering, and not have. Resolved on his: But he offers this Argument: If God is merciful in doing this or that Thing, it follows not that in not doing it be is unmerciful: Very true; but there is that in a Sinner, which requires the Exercise of Justice, tho’ there is nothing in him that requires the Exercise of Mercy.

  Object. II. He goes on to observe, that every Agent that acteth naturally, acts on the Object naturally receptive of his Action; wherefore, if to punish be natural (namely in such a Sense as infers Necessity) such an Action cannot pass from the Person of the Sinner to another f29.

  Answ. 1. An intelligent Agent acting naturally, acteth with Will, and Choice, thus God in punishing Sin, acteth necessarily, yet freely, and with Choice; and therefore tho’ his punishing of Sin is necessary, punishing of it in the Person of the Sinner, or in the Person of a Surety, was free to the divine Will.

  2. The Act of Punishment flows from Justice; but that Christ should be the Subject of it, is an Effect of divine Sovereignty: God’s Will to punish is necessary; but his Will to punish Sin in Christ, is most sovereign, and free; it is Punishment for Sin, Justice indispensably requires, but not the Punishment of it in a Surety.

  Object. III. The Wisdom of God greatly shines in this Affair, as it chose the Means, but it seems not to have Place herein, if God could not by Nature act otherwise f30.

  Answ. The Righteousness of God requires Satisfaction for Sin: Infinite Wisdom contrived the Satisfaction Christ hath made. Dr. Goodwin objects thus, Christ put the Necessity of his Suffering on the will of God, and therefore, that Necessity arose not from the divine Nature, but the divine Will f31.

  Answ. The Necessity of Satisfaction arises from God’s Justice; but Christ’s making Satisfaction is the Result of God’s sovereign Pleasure: So that Christ’s Sufferings were the Effect of God’s Choice, in order to Satisfaction for Sin, tho’ a proper Satisfaction became necessary from his Justice. The very learned Dr. Twiss objects, that the necessary Consequence, of the Truth we contend for as Atheism: That God is a necessary Agent and acts not freely f32, this is a dreadful Consequence indeed, and if any Degree of Proof, could be given of it, all pious Minds would doubtless reject an Opinion, that is necessarily attended with such a Consequence; but well it is, Proof fails.

  Answ. 1. Some Necessity in God consists with the Freedom of his Choice, as God having decreed to punish his Son for Sin, he cannot but continue to will the Infliction of Punishment on him, by Reason of the Immutability of his Nature, and yet he continues to will this most freely.

  2. If God speaks to Men, he cannot but speak Truth, and yet when he speaks, he speaks Truth most freely.

  3. If God will create Man, he cannot but create him pure, and yet he creates Man pure and holy, with his free Will and Choice.

  4. If God wills to permit Man to Sin, he cannot but will to punish his Sin, the Justice of his Nature so requiring, and yet he wills to punish Sin freely. Under this Objection, it may not be improper to take Notice of the immutable Relation, Reason and moral Fitnesses of Things, independent on the Will of God, which is much talked of, in this very enlightened and refined Age: If this is the belt Instance, that is to be fixed on, as an Evidence of its admirable Improvement, Men of the present Time, have little Reason to boast of their superior Knowledge and Discoveries. For,

  1. The several Relations of things between themselves, and God, is wholly dependent on the divine Will.

  2. To suppose that any thing, out of God, is the Rule of his Will, is to imagine him to have some superior, and to be under the Direction of something out of himself; than which, nothing more dishonourable to God, can be invented by the depraved Mind of Man.

  3. The Opinion of the absolute Necessity of Satisfaction, is at an infinite Remove from this moral Fitness of Things, supposed to be a Rule to the Will of God, from which he cannot vary. That supposes something out of God, to be a Rule and Law to his Will: This maintains, that the Righteousness of God’s Nature, is the Rule of his Will, and not any Thing extrinsical, or out of himself, which hath no other than a Chimerical Existence, in the vain, and loose Imaginations of Men of corrupt Minds.

  II. The Reality of Christ’s Satisfaction is now to be proved: The Remonstrants, and some others deny the Reality of the Satisfaction of Christ; they allow not of the proper Ends and certain Effects of his Death; but imagine that by his Sacrifice God was at Liberty to save Men on what Condition soever he pleased: not that his Sufferings, great as they were, procured Salvation certainly, and infallibly for all such, on whose Account he suffered. To detect the Falshood of this Opinion, and establish the Reality of Christ’s Satisfaction, is my Design at present; and I apprehend the following Particulars abundantly confirm this most important Truth.

  1. Christ by his Death expiated Sin: He bore the Sins of all such for whom he died, or their Guilt was imputed to him, and by bearing it, he bore it away, hence we read of his purging our Sins, and putting away Sin by the Sacrifice of him. self: The Transgressions of God’s People are removed from them as far as the East is from the West: And those contrary Points will sooner meet, than the Sins and the Persons of those whose Iniquities Christ sustained. Crimes cannot be charged on the Offender, and also on another for him, that is not compatible with Justice, and therefore God in designing Reconciliation to Men, by the Death of his Son, imputed not their sins to them, but charged them on him; hence if he is acquitted of their Guilt, it can’t be considered as chargeable on them. The Pardon of Sin, or Justification from it, must necessarily be a certain Effect of his Death, and therefore the Satisfaction of Christ is real and proper.

  2. He redeemed those from the Curse of the Law, on whose Account he was made a Curse: To obtain only, a conditional Grant of Freedom from the Law’s Curse, is not real Redemption: If nothing more than this is to be attributed to the Death of Christ; then he obtained not eternal Redemption; his Death was only an Attempt to redeem Men, and it may prove successless, by their Non-performance of the Conditions enjoined, and we are to consider God, as acting a Part in this Affair, which no righteous Man would do, viz. punish the Surety and also the Offender. Either Christ in Suffering was punished, or he was not, he was not say the Socinians and the Remonstranis, which if true, then indeed he made not Satisfaction for Sin, if it is at all punished, it must be in the Sinner. If Christ was punished in his Sufferings, he bore either a Part of that Punishment to which we were obnoxious, or the whole of it; if a Part only, we are inevitably undone, and are left notwithstanding his Death, without Hope of Salvation, nor is he a perfect Saviour; if he bore the whole, let such who conceive that God punishes those for whom he died, vindicate and clear his Justice in so doing, if they are able.

  3. Such for whom Christ died Reconciliation is made: God is really reconciled, not willing to be reconciled, on Performance of certain Conditions, that to say the most of it is only a Disposition to Reconciliation: But Peace is made by the Blood of Christ’s Cross, says the Apostle: No, say the Arminians, only Articles of Peace are obtained by the Death of Christ, and Sinners are to compose the Difference between God and them, by performing certain Conditions, contrary to which we are persuaded, that being justified by Christ’s Blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through him, and that when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the Death of his Son: that the Messiah made Reconciliation for Iniquity: and that the Gospel is the Word or a Report of Peace and Reconciliation, as effected by a dying Saviour. But it seems in all these Particulars, we please ourselves with any Dreams and buoy ourselves up with false Hopes, though as we apprehended, there things are expressly asserted by the Prophets, and Apostles: But it seems, That the Chastisement of our Peace, was not upon Christ, neither by his Stripes are we healed: It is only a conditional Grant of Peace, and Healing, that is the Effect of the Sufferings of our Lord, and he may have the Satisfaction of seeing the Travail of his Soul suffer eternal Vengeance: We really thought, it could be no Pleasure to a Saviour, to view such in Hell, lying for ever under the Wrath of God, for whom he made his Soul an Offering for Sin: And it will doubtless be fully proved that we are mistaken in these Sentiments, when it shall be made evident, that the inspired Writers intended to convey Ideas, contrary to what their Words fully express, which we think never can be done.

  4. He suffered in the Room and Stead of those, for whom he died: The Just suffered for the Un-just, that he might bring them to God: The Surety sustained the Persons, and stood in the Place of all those, for whom he shed his most precious Blood. God our righteous Judge accepting his Engagement for us, and in Consequence of such his Engagement, and his own Acceptation of it, punishing of Christ for us, it cannot consist with his Justice, to punish us also; Righteousness requires not the Death of a Surety and of the Offender too for the same Offences: Either therefore Christ did not die, and was not punished in our Stead, or he has made Satisfaction for us. The Socinians therefore, who deny the Satisfaction of Christ, are right in denying that he suffered in our Room and Place.

  5. Christ was punished for our Crimes: He was wounded for our Transgressions, and bruised for our Iniquities. An innocent Person cannot suffer for the Offences of Criminals; but in his own Intention, and in that of the Judge who inflicts Penalty, it must be in order to make Satisfaction for them, no other just End can be proposed in such a Transaction.

  6. It is highly unjust to punish a Surety for a Criminal, and enjoin any Conditions on that Criminal, which may render his Impunity uncertain; and upon Non-performance of those Conditions punish him for his Offence. Its a real Injury to the Surety, and for which he can’t be recompensed. It is allowed this may be in pecuniary Punishments, because the Surety may sustain no Injury by it, the Money which he paid being returned to him, as in Justice it ought to be; but it cannot have Place in corporal Punishment, as in suffering Tortures, Pains, and Death. It is unjust to require an innocent Person to suffer corporal Punishment for an Offender, and leave his Impunity uncertain, under any Conditions to be performed by him; and upon Non-performance to inflict Punishment on him: The Reason of which is evident, the innocent Person is deprived of what he has a just Claim to, viz. the Impunity of him for whom he suffered: This not being granted and enjoyed, no Recompence can be made to him for suffering on Account of the Criminal’s Guilt. If therefore any of those are punished for whom Christ suffered Death, an ireparable Injury is done to him; but this we know can never be: For that Justice of God which indispensibly requires the Punishment of Sin, requires the Impunity of such, for whom Christ sustained Penalty. God cannot but punish Sin, either in the Sinner, or in a Surety for him; and since he has punished Sin in Christ the Surety, he cannot but forgive, and omit to inflict Punishment on the Offender. These Things sufficiently prove the Reality of Christ’s Satisfaction, and the limited Extent of his Death.

  III. That the Satisfaction of Christ, is plenary, and full, is now to be established, which these following Particulars clearly demonstrate.

  1. Men cannot make Satisfaction for the least Offence: The Punishment demerited by every Sin against God, is of such Weight, as would for ever sink us into Horror, and Despair: We are not able to sustain the Curse and Wrath, to which we become obnoxious by the smallest Crime. And therefore if Christ’s Satisfaction is incomplete, we are eternally undone, and must: unavoidably suffer endless Punishment in Hell, on Account of that remaining Guilt for which he has not atoned.

  2. Men are in no Part the Cause of their Salvation: If any thing which they suffer or do, appeases the divine Displeasure, they are Authors at least in Part, of their Salvation, which they are not, Christ is the sole Author of their Recovery, and Happiness, and he ought to have the whole Glory arising from it.

  3. He is a perfect Saviour: Such he was made by Suffering, and therefore he suffered not a Part only, of the Punishment Sin demerits; but the whole of that Punishment, or else he is no more than a partial Saviour. It is greatly prejudicial to the Honour of Christ, to consider him an incomplete Saviour, but such he is if his Satisfaction is incomplete, and not full.

  4. His Blood cleanses from all Sin: He suffered either for all the Sins of those for whom he died, or he suffered for some of them only: If he suffered for all their Sins, then he sustained the Punishment, that all their Sins taken together demerited, if so, then in Right and Justice, no part of that Penalty may be inflicted on them. To this it is objected, that he suffered not for final Impenitency, and therefore such as are finally impenitent God may justly punish. To which I answer: (1.) Sin being atoned for, in Consequence of that Atonement, Faith, Grace and Holiness, are given to all such, for whom the Atonement is made. (2.) If Punishment is inflicted on such for whom Christ died, it is either for some, or for all their Sins: If for all their Sins, as good Christ had never died for them, for they reap no Advantage from his Death; but if for some of their Sins only then it follows, that the damned will experience no Remourse, and Terror, for some of their Sins, it may be not for Murder, as Cain, not for the betraying of Christ, as Judas; but Stings of Conscience, will attend them only for final Impenitence, for which Christ died not. (3.) It is not as Unbelief is final, that it subjects Men to Punishment; but as it is a Sin, as such Christ hath made Satisfaction for it, on the Account of those for whom he suffered, and therefore in them it shall not be final f33. (4.) Perhaps it is not easy to be proved, that it is the Want of Faith in Christ:, which subjects us to Condemnation, such indeed who have not Faith are condemned; but it does not follow that the want of Faith is the Cause of that Condemnation. If Christ suffered for some of the Sins of Men only, his Satisfaction is doubtless incomplete, and we are certain of this uncomfortable and dreadful Truth, that we must necessarily perish. Let the Assertors of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, take which part of this Argument they please, we are persuaded they will never be able to answer it. (5.) Where no Curse is due, nothing is necessary to be suffered; but no Condemnation is due to them that are in Christ; the Reason is plainly this, he hath redeemed them from the Law’s Curse, by being made a Curse for them. So that his Satisfaction is full, plenary, and complete, which can never consist with the Universality of the Extent of his Death. This Chapter I shall conclude, with an Observation of Dr. Owen’s; it is this remarkable one, to affirm Christ to die for all Men, is the readiest way to prove he died for no Man, in the Sense Christians have hitherto believed, and to hurry poor Souls, into the Bottom, of all Socinian Blasphemiesf34. When he wrote this, he little thought, that any Successor of his, would stenuously assert and defend a Doctrine of such a pernicious Tendency, an Apprehension of it would have given his pious Soul great Distress.

 

11-CHAPTER 8

  Contains an Eighth Argument in Favour of the Limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death

  THE Intercession of our Saviour, is one Branch of his sacerdotal Office, and therefore he intercedes for those Persons on whole Account, as a Priest, he offered an atoning Sacrifice. His Sacrifice and Intercession are of the same Latitude; the former cannot with any Propriety be conceived of larger Compass than the latter, as we shall quickly discover, and if not, then, if there are any for whom Christ prays not, there certainly are some for whom he died not.

  1. Our Lord expressly affirms that he prayed not for the World: I pray for them, I pray not for the World, but for them which thou hast given me (Joh 17:9.). Those Persons who are interested in the Intercession of the Redeemer, are distinguished from others, included under the Term World, by various Things — They are the Fathers — They are given to Christ — Power is given to him, over all Flesh, that he may give eternal Life to the whole Number of them — For their sakes Christ Sanctified himself, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth — They are not of the World — They are loved of the Father, as Christ is. None of these Particulars are any where expressed concerning those, who are designed by the Term World. It can’t be said of them, that they are the Fathers, by a gracious Choice, or Ordination to everlasting Life; on the contrary they were of old appointed to Condemnation and Wrath (Jude 4.), as a just Punishment of their Sins — They are not given to Christ to be saved by him. For them he did not sanctify himself, and therefore for them he prayed not.

  2. Such for whom Christ prays, he intercedes with the Father to communicate Grace and Glory to: He requests of the Father, to send his Spirit into their Hearts, to convince them of Sin, to apply his saving Benefits to them, and to meeten them for a State of future Blessedness, and for their actual Possession of eternal Felicity in his Presence.

  3. His Intercession is certainly prevalent: The Father hears him, and grants the Blessings, he asks, in Favour of all such, for whom he makes Intercession, for which Reason the Apostle concludes upon his Ability, to save to the uttermost, from his ever living to make Intercession. Two Things fully prove this Point. (1) The Promises and Engagement of the Father to him; he required Christ to make his Soul an Offering for Sin, and promised that as a Reward far so doing, he should see his Seed, i.e. not in Hell, but in Heavens as I think, and that the Pleasure of the Lord, i.e. not the Destruction, but the Salvation of Sinners should prosper in his Hand (1Th 5:9.), or under his Influence. Supposing therefore it was allowed that the Satisfaction of Christ, was not proper and complete, which it certainly is: Since the Father called him to suffer, and promised him the Welfare of Sinners on that Condition, and as he has suffered at that Call of the Father, it would be a manifest Violation of Right, not to grant the Favours promised upon that Condition. But what adds much weight to this is, (2). Christ’s Intercession is founded upon the Perfection of his Satisfaction. That Sin is expiated — That an everlasting Righteousness is brought in, for the Justification of those to whom Christ is constituted a Head, or for whom he was a Surety — That actual Reconciliation is made, are Things not now to be proved. Clear and sufficient Proof is, I hope, already given of each of these Particulars: And therefore the Discharge of these Persons from Guilt, the Justification of their Persons, their Impunity, and Participation of all heavenly Blessing, must necessarily be agreeable to the Justice, and Righteousness of God. Hence it follows that Christ is certainly heard of the Father in his Petitions, in Favour of all those for whom he prays: If therefore all partake not of Grace and Glory, Christ prays not for all Men, nor is his Death of unlimited and universal Extent.

  4. Those for whom Christ died, he most intensely loves: His dying for them is an incontestable Proof of the great Affection he bears to them; those whom he so loves, he certainly desires the Welfare, and Happiness of. His Intercession is the Expression of that Desire; if therefore there are some, for whom he prays not, there are some whom he loves not, whose Salvation he desires not, and of Consequence, for whom he died not with an Intention to save them.

  5. Typical Atonement made by the Priests under the Law, had Relation to all those, and only to those, for whom Sacrifices were offered. And thus the Intercession of the Antitype, in the holy Place not made with Hands, bears Respect to all those, and only to those, for whom he offered himself a Sacrifice infinitely pleasing to God. His Intercession is of Compass as large, as his Death, and his Death is not of wider Extent, than is his Intercession; his Intercession is limited, and his Death also is.

  6. It is the Blood of Christ which speaks, and it speaks better Things than that of Abel. Now his Blood doubtless pleads in Favour of all those, for whom it was shed; if therefore there are any for whom it speaks not, it evidently follows there are some for whom he died not. The Arminians object to this Argument taken from the limited Extent of Christ’s Intercession. Thus,

  Object. 1. Though Christ did not at that Time pray for the World, it is not to be concluded, that be at no other Time did or would.

  Answ. 1. Christ always prays for the Salvation of all such, whose Salvation he desires; and therefore, since he then prayed not for the World, he desires not the Salvation of that World of Men; nor is it to be thought he can, for if so, he must desire, and pray the Father to save such, as he hath appointed to Condemnation and Wrath, and not agreeable to the Will, and Counsel of the Father, which is absurd to imagine.

  2. It is no where else said that Christ prays for the World, that they may be saved; and therefore, there is no Reason to believe he ever did, doth, or will intercede for them.

  3. That Place contains a glorious Plan of Christ’s Intercession in Heaven, we have there expressed what Favours he asks for his People, and it seems to be designed to inform us for whom he intercedes, as well as for what Blessings he asks, and if so, then, now he is in Heaven he prays not for the World; but only for those who are given him of the Father.

  Object. 2. Christ afterwards prays that the World might believe.

  Answ. It is not saving Faith that is intended; but a Conviction of his divine Mission and Authority: The World reproached him, as an Impostor and Deceiver of the People, he prays for the Vindication of his own Honour in those Words, and not their Happiness Joh 17:21. These are some of those Arguments, which I apprehend clearly prove the limited Extent of Christ’s Death, and the certain Salvation of all such for whom he died. — The Objections unto this Point, shall in the second Part be attended to, and I doubt not, but under divine Assistance, this Doctrine may be defended, from all just: Exceptions, how much soever the Force of some particular Objections may be boasted of, by those who be the Authors of them.

PART 2.  

12 [Part Two] - Chapter One

{Part Two - Chapter One}

Contains Answers to the Author’s General Arguments in Favour of the Universal Extent of the Death of Christ

  THE universal Extent of Christ’s Death, is spoken of with as much Freedom and Assurance, as if the Scripture had expressly said, he died for ALL MEN: Which is not once affirmed, in any Part of the sacred Writings. Nor is it said, he tasted Death for every MAN (Heb 2:9.). Anqrwpov Man is not in the Text, in the Greek, we have only pantov, which is either an Enallage of Number, for pantwn, all, or uiou, or adelov, may be understood, agreeable to the Scope of the Writer, for every Son, or for every, Brother; that is to say, for every Individual of those Sons, and Brethren, whom God intended to bring to Glory (Heb 2:10.). And therefore, those Words are not a proper Foundation for the Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, to proceed upon in shewing, in what Sense Christ died for every Man. But I shall attend to his Arguments, and he argues thus:

Arg. 1. We may suppose it is owing to the exuberant Merits of Christ, that this Earth continues to be the Habitation for Mankind; and that the Life of Adam and Eve, were preferred some hundreds of Years after the Day in which they first sinned, since the express Word or Threatening consign’d them over to Death immediately. (Page 215.)

Answ. 1. It is very probable that pardoning Mercy was extended to our first Parents, and that they were eternally saved.

2. If that Threatening had been immediately executed, there would have been none of the human Race to be either saved or lost. As God had a Design of saving some of their Descendants, they must of Necessity be continued in Life, not only so long as to have Seed: But a Time sufficient to provide for, succour, and protect that Seed during the State of Infancy. And if the whole Number of the Elect are born into the World, Men must be placed in such Circumstances as will admit of it. Surely it can’t be reasonably thought, that to bring Men into Being, and suffer them to dwell on the Earth, for a Course of Years, are a Proof, that God intends to bring them to Heaven, or that he has made Provision for that Purpose.

3. Deferring the Execution of Punishment, for a Season, Is no solid Argument, that God designs the Salvation of Men, for he permits some to live for many Years, who treasure up Wrath against the Day of Wrath, and with an Intention that they may so do.

Arg. 2. ‘Tis owing to the superabundant Merit of the Obedience and Sufferings of Christ, that the Earth is appointed still, and order’d to produce such a Variety of Supports and Comforts for Mankind in their successive Generations. (Page 216.)

Answ. 1. If it is the Will of God, that there should be successive Generations of Men, he must be supposed to will that they enjoy what is necessary to the Nourishment and Support of animal Life, without that, there could not be such a Succession of the human Race.

2. The Comforts of Life are new Covenant Blessings to all those for whom Christ died, such they are not to all Men, for Riches are sometimes kept for the Owners thereof to their Hurt. And therefore merely from Men’s enjoying those Comforts, we are not to conclude as this Author does, That God is upon Terms of Grace and Reconciliation, with all the Rebel Race of his Creature Man. (217.)

3. Many such who are excluded a Share in spiritual Blessings, are favoured with a large Profusion of temporal good Things: As Ishmael, Esau, Pharoah, and many Millions of others, to argue from the Bounty of God’s Providence, to the Purposes of his Grace, is very inconclusive: Indians may be thought to have as good a Ground of Hope, of being the Favourites of Heaven upon this Principle, as Christians themselves, for their abound in the Riches and Delights of Nature.

Arg. 3. That Mankind have the common Faculties of Nature continued to them, is to be ascribed to the Undertaking of Christ: That they have the Use of their Senses and Limbs in any Measures of Health, Ease, Vigour, and Activity; for there were all forfeited by sin, and included in the Word, Death. All this is probably owing to Christ. (Ibid.)

Answ. If I understand the Author’s Meaning in this Argument, it is this, that our continuing to be Men or rational Creatures, is owing to the Merit of Christ, such Sinners will eternally remain in Hell, so that this merely is no great Advantage to Mankind. Farther he seems to me to apprehend, that our natural Senses are enjoyed by us on the same Account, and the Vigour and Activity of our Limbs, without which Mankind would soon become extinct: Whence it follows, that if God wills a Succession of Men in the World, he must be thought to will that Mankind should enjoy each of these, at least so far, as is necessary to the Propagation of their Race. When I come to treat of the Annihilation of Infants, which is the Opinion of this learned Writer, I shall shew that it was not our Being, which we forfeited by Sin; but our Well-Being or Happiness only: So that the Continuance of our Existence, is not to be ascribed to the Death of Christ, as the meritorious Cause of it.

  Arg. 4. That Men have any Sparks of natural Virtue, Benevolence, Goodness and Compassion is probably the Fruit of the Mediation of Christ. (218.)

Answ. 1. It is a Favour that God in his Providence checks and restrains the unbounded Lusts of Men, thereby they are prevented contracting a great Deal of Guilt, which their vicious Nature prompts them to. 2. This also is necessary to the Accomplishment of God’s gracious Designs concerning his Elect, for without such a Restraint upon Men, it is more than probable the human Race would soon cease to be, so extravagant is the Madness, Rage, and Enmity of Men. 3. As God may of his absolute Will, defer Punishment for a Time, he may confer Favours on Men, and let such Bounds to their Lusts, as his own Designs render necessary, without Regard to the Merit of Christ, as a procuring Cause, of such a Communication of Benefits to them, and of laying such a Restraint upon their unruly, and impetuous Passions; from hence therefore it cannot fairly be concluded, that Christ died for every Man.

  Arg. 5. That all Mankind have had a Gospel revealed to them, or a Covenant of Grace proposed to their Acceptance, first by Adam, and afterwards by Noah, proceeds from the generous Undertaking of Christ. (218.)

Answ. 1. God in the first Promise made to fallen Man, clearly signified his peculiar, and distinguishing Favour to some of the human Race, and his Rejection of others of them, by the express Mention which he therein makes, of the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent. 2. Neither Adam nor Noah, proposed the Covenant of Grace to all Mankind, i.e. the whole World, for they lived to see but a very inconsiderable Part of Mankind comparatively. 3. Their Descendants soon lost all Memory of this Revelation, and became as ignorant of it, as if such a Revelation had never been afforded to their pious Progenitors.

Arg. 6. ‘Tis probably owing to the same Undertaking of Christ, and the overflowing Value of his Righteousness and Death, that there are so many Means of Grace and divine assistances, both outward and inward, afforded to whole Nations where the Gospel comes. (220.)

Answ. 1. Since hearing is the appointed Means of Faith, it can’t be, but that those concerning whom God hath no Intention of working Faith in them, must hear the Gospel with those about whom he hath such a Design, since they reside among them. 2. But God affords not the Gospel as a Means of ingenerating Faith in such, on whom he never purposed to confer that Grace. 3. Divine Assistances are not afforded to such, in order to Salvation, who are appointed to Wrath. 4. These supposed Assistances, are sufficient, or they are not, ‘tis certain they are not, because it is not allow’d that any gracious Habits are infused. Sin retains its Dominion in the Heart: Men continue dead in Sin, and their Minds remain carnal, and Enmity against God. They are still unregenerate, in the Flesh, and cannot please their Maker. It is very trifling to talk of Divine Assistances, being afforded to Men, in order to their Salvation, who are left of God in a State of Unregeneracy.

Arg. 7. In the last Place, ‘tis owing to the most redundant Merit of Christ our Lord, that such a conditional Pardon and Salvation, or such conditional Propositions of Peace as the Gospel expresses, were ever provided for them who were not elected. (221.)

Answ. 1. It is not to be proved, that such a conditional Provision of Salvation, is made for all the Non-Elect, at most, it can he made for some of them only; unless it is supposed and allow’d, that they (i.e. many of them) remain wholly ignorant of those Conditions, which are required to Salvation, because no Revelation is in Providence afforded to vast Numbers of the human Species.

2. Not one Soul will ever be saved by such a conditional Provision, which I intend to prove, the Lord assisting, hereafter. This therefore represents God as designing to save Millions of Men, but for Want of suitably providing for the Accomplishment of that Design, he is disappointed of his End, and those Steps which he takes to it are all ineffectual. When Men shall be able to prove, that God is not infinitely wise, they may prove him to be the Author of a Design, that certainly will not be executed; when it shall be made evident, that he is not infinitely powerful, then indeed it may be granted, that the Means he uses to a certain End, may fail of compassing that End, that is to say, when it is proved, that he is not God, then there Things may follow, but not till then.

3. The Invitations and Declarations delivered in the Gospel, are not expressive of such a conditional Provision of Salvation for all Men; but of the Characters of such Persons as shall be saved, in whom God by his Spirit, works Desires of Salvation by Christ, and they are designed as Encouragements to such Persons only. And therefore no Argument can justly be formed from thence, in Favour of a Design in God to save Men universally.

13- CHAPTER 2

  Contains Answers to Particular Arguments in Favour of the Universal Extent of the Death of CHRIST

  THIS ingenious Gentleman delivers it as his Opinion, that there is such a Thing as a Sufficiency of Pardon, Grace and Happiness, provided for all Mankind by Jesus Christ: And that ‘tis left to their NATURAL Powers under COMMON Helps to accept or refuse it. To support which he proposes the Considerations, or Arguments following.

Consid. 1. It is very hard to vindicate the Sincerity of the Blessed God, or his Son, in their universal Offers of Grace and Salvation to Men, and their fending Ministers with such Messages and Invitations to accept of Mercy, if there be not such a conditional Pardon and Salvation provided for them. (224.)

Answ. 1, Either this Tender of Grace and Salvation is universal, or it is not, it is supposed and asserted to be universal, if so, then this Offer is made to every individual of Mankind without Exception. This we know is not true in Fact, for a great Part of the World were never informed of this Saviour and this Salvation, the Argument is therefore most: evidently defective; what because some Men have an Offer of Christ: and Salvation, doth it thence follow, that he is provided as a Saviour for the whole World? What because some Men are invited to accept of a Redeemer, is this a necessary Consequence of such an Invitation, that a conditional Provision of Happiness is made for every Man, for such as receive no Intimation that there is such a Person as Christ, or such a Salvation? This Argument is so manifestly weak and inconclusive, that I should but impose on the Understanding and Patience of the Reader, to enlarge on the Impropriety of it,

2. Since a full Satisfaction is made to the Law and Justice of God, for the Sins of all those for whom Christ suffered, (which I hope has been clearly proved in the first Part,) it would be unsure to enjoyn any Conditions on those Persons, which would render their Pardon and Salvation precarious; and for Non-performance of those Conditions, inflict the Punishment demerited by their Sins on them: This would be doing, an irreparable Injury to a Saviour, who underwent that Punishment in their Stead, to which they were exposed by their Guilt.

3. It is in the Power of Men to embrace this Tender of Christ and Salvation, or it is not: If it is not in the Power of Men to accept this Offer, then either God will give them Ability to embrace it, or he will not: To say that Men have Power of themselves to accept this gracious Tender, would entirely let aside the Necessity of a supernatural Influence on their Minds, in Order to Regeneration. If it is not allowed that God will give Ability to Men, to embrace this Offer, perhaps it may be very difficult to vindicate, the Wisdom, and Sincerity of God, in making such an Offer to them: And if it should be granted that God gives to Men sufficient Power, to accept this gracious Tender; as this Author seems to think, and which he expresses by COMMON Helps; then either these Common Helps, take away the Heart of Stone, and give an Heart of Flesh: Either they implant Divine Principles, in the Souls of Men, such as Faith, Love to God, etc. or they do not: If they do, then it must be allowed, that all to whom this Tender of Grace and Salvation is made are really regenerated, and truly believe in Christ, which we are certain all Men. who hear the Gospel do not: If these COMMON Helps are sufficient to enable Sinners, to accept the Offer, though no such heavenly Principles are infused into them, then it necessarily follows, that such as are in the Flesh, i.e. an unregenerate State, may please God, which we really thought they could not, because, the Apostle expressly affirms, they cannot: If these COMMON Helps are insufficient, to enable Men, to embrace this Offer, then the Rhetorick of our Author, may be turned upon himself, and he may find it no easy Matter, to vindicate the Sincerity of God, in offering Christ, and Salvation, to Men, and at the same Time, deny them sufficient Ability to accept the Offers he makes.

4. If by this Tender of Christ, and Grace, and Salvation, be intended a proposing of him for Acceptance, to all such, as are willing to receive him, so far as I am able to discern it may be granted, without any Prejudice to the distinguishing Grace of God, or Danger of extolling the Power of the Creature, and without affording the least Support to the Opinion of a conditional Provision of Salvation design’d for all Men.

  For,

  1. This suggests not that God has provided Salvation for all Men, and that it is his Desire, and Intention that everyone who hears the Gospel should enjoy Happiness.

2. But it supposes that those Persons to whom such a Proposal of Christ: for Acceptance is made, have Desires after him, and Salvation by him, upon a Conviction of their miserable Condition by Nature, and a Sense of his Suitableness and Ability as a Saviour:

Now it is certain, that all such may lay hold on a Redeemer, for he is held forth to them in the Gospel to that End. Whosoever will, may take the Water of Life freely (Re 12:17.).

3. It imports not, that those may have Christ and Salvation who are Enemies to him, or who have no Conviction of the Necessity of an Interest in him. Well then, if to offer Christ, and Grace, and Salvation, be only a Declaration, that all who have Desires of being saved by him, may freely take him, and all his Benefits, and no more; there is nothing in this, which countenances the Opinion of a conditional Scheme of Salvation designed of God for all Men for it is a Call and Invitation to Men, not merely as Sinners; but as sinful Creatures convinced of their Misery, to lay hold on Christ for Salvation.

4. Men are not called or invited to this, as righteous, i.e. in their own Apprehensions; but as Sinners, i.e. as sensible of their Sins and Sinfulness. So that the Offer of Christ, or Proposal of him for Acceptance, is not made to Men, as Men, or to Sinners, merely as Sinners; but it is made to them as convinced, thirsting, hungring Sinners after Christ, and his Righteousness, and his Salvation, which is not incontinent with the discriminating Favour of God; but is a clear Proof of it. It supposes not a Power for spiritual Acts in unregernerate Men, nor affords any Support to the Doctrine of a conditional Provision of Salvation for all Mankind.

5. Though Christ is not offered, or proposed for Acceptance to the Elect, as such, yet they are the, only Persons to whom he is held forth in the Gospel for Acceptance: Because they only have Desires after him. He is proposed to them as Persons seeing their Need of him, which, though it is not a Proposal of him as a Saviour to them, considered in the Character of the Elect; but as Sinners sensible of their Guilt, Danger, and Misery, this Proposal can be made to such only who are Objects of Election: Unless it may be proved, that the Non-elect see their Need of Christ and his Salvation. The Proof of which would exceed all my Expectation.

6. If an Offer, or Proposal of Christ for Acceptance is made to Sinners, merely as Sinners, whether sensible, or insensible of their lost Condition, I would ask, if it is the Will and Design of God, that they should accept of him as a Saviour? If it he said, that such is the Will and Design of God; then it must be allowed, that he is disappointed of his Purpose in making this Proposal; with respect to the far greater Number of those to whom the Offer is made: Which seems to me evidently inconsistent with the Perfections of God. And if it is not his Desire and Intention, that Men should accept this Tender of Christ, to what End is such an Offer of the blessed Jesus made? Again, if it is the Purpose of God, that Men should embrace the Proposal, then (as was argued above) either they have a Power to accept the Offer, or they have not. If they have, then they may believe of themselves, and Faith is not the Gift of God, as we have always thought it to be, because the Apostle expressly affirms it is. If they have not such a Power, either God will communicate to them an Ability for it, or he will not. If he will, then they shall certainly believe, for that Ability is the Grace of Faith, wrought by divine Power in the Hearts of Men. If he will not, then he must be supposed to make an Offer and design the Acceptance of it, which he knows is a Thing impossible, because he grants not to Men a Sufficiency of Strength to embrace that Offer.

  Hence we may plainly see, that a general Tender of Christ, and Grace, and Salvation cannot be made to all who hear the Gospel, much less is such a Tender afforded to those who am Strangers to the Gospel, and are without Hope and without God in the World. This Argument therefore in Favour of universal Grace, and a conditional Salvation provided for all Mankind, how much soever it is boasted of, fails of proving the Universality of divine Grace, and of a conditional Provision of Salvation, for every Man without Exception.

5. I will add one Thing more here, (though to some, perhaps, it may seem unnecessary) which is, That when I say, that an Offer or Proposal of Christ: for Acceptance is made in the Gospel to Sinners sensible of their Misery, and who are seeking after Salvation, I do not intend a BARE Offer, though I apprehend an Offer is included; but a gracious Declaration, that God has provided Christ as a Saviour for such Persons, as they are, that he is given to them, and that it is a Duty incumbent on them to thankfully receive him as God’s free Gift.

6. With respect to divine Calls, Invitations, and Exhortations, we may observe: They either relate to Men concerned about their eternal Interests, and who are under a Work of Grace: Or they refer to Men, who are not the Subjects of such a good Work, only the latter come under Consideration here. And, I. Men are called upon to repent, (1.) Of all Sin, i.e. of their sinful Behaviour in general, thus in Ac 17:31. (2.) Of some particular Evil, so in Ac 4:19. The Murderers of Christ are required to repent of that Wickedness, in Order to escaping those dreadful Judgments; to which that horrid Act, and their inveterate Opposition to the Gospel and Interest of Christ expos’d them. Repentance or Sorrow for Sin, as it seems to me, would have been the Duty of sinful Creatures, in Case no Provision had been made for their Recovery, and will eternally remain to be the Duty of those, on whom deferred Punishment will be inflicted, tho’ not Repentance of such a Nature, as attends or flows from an Act of Faith in Christ; and therefore unregenerate Persons are exhorted to the Exercise of Sorrow for Sin in the Word of God. (3.) Unrenewed Men are called upon, to submit to the evangelical Revelation, and to use those Talents which they are furnished with in the Advancement of Christ’s Interest, Mt 20:16. But none of there Things prove that there is a conditional Provision of Salvation made for all Men.

Consider. 2. It is very hard to defend the Sincerity of the Spirit of God in awakening the Consciences of these Persons, sometimes, who are not elected, and stirring them up, to think of receiving the Salvation of Christ, if there be no such Salvation conditionally provided for them to receive. (P. 227.)

Answ. 1. That Men at some Seasons may have terrifying Apprehensions of Sin, and its Consequences; that they may take some Pleasure in a general Idea of Salvation which the Gospel reveals; and that they may break off their sinful Courses, are all granted; but, that there are Effects of a real and positive Work of the Spirit upon their Hearts, wants Proof; these Effects are no other, than, what may be produced by the natural Conscience, accusing of Sin, and assisted by the external Revelation of the Will of God.

2. It is not to be thought that the holy Spirit, who is an infinitely wise Agent, ever operates in such a Manner, as will certainly be ineffectual to attain his End, in his Operations, which this Consideration necessarily supposes him to do; for it allows not, that he infuses Principles of divine Life in the Heart; in order to spiritual Acts; but it takes it for granted, that the holy Spirit excites Men to act, without giving Life, a Principle of Action; that he stirs Men up to bring forth good Fruit, without making them good Trees, which if our Lord is right, they cannot do; and therefore we conclude that there are no such Excitations, Impulses, or Influences of the Spirit, in or upon dead Sinners. Excitations to act, without giving Ability for Action, as it seems to us, will be eternally vain, and fruitless.

Consid. 3. It is equally difficult to vindicate the Equity of God, as the Judge of all Men, in condemning Unbelievers, and punishing them eternally for not accepting the Offers of Pardon, if there was not so much as a conditional Pardon provided for them. (P. 228.)

Answ. 1. It will be very difficult indeed, to vindicate the Equity of God, in damning Men for not believing in Christ, who never heard that such a Saviour appeared in the World; which if not admitted will enervate the Force of this Argument. Sure this Gentleman can’t think it a forcible Way of Reasoning, to say some Men will be punished for not accepting the Offers of Pardon, to whom the Gospel has been preached, and therefore a conditional Provision of Salvation is made for every Man without Exception: For such as receive no Intimation of this conditional Provision, and of Consequence Faith in Christ, cannot be expected of them. Whatever Weight there may be in this Argument, it can only extend to such a Part of Mankind, as are furnished with a Revelation of Christ, which a great, if not the greater Number of Men are not.

2. The Law is an accidental Cause or Occasion of Sin in Men, the Blame of which is not to be imputed to the Law; but it is wholly chargeable on the depraved Lusts of Men, which are irritated by the Prohibition of Sin in the Law, and therefore break out with the greater Violence. This as it heightens their Guilt, it will increase their Punishment, and the Equity of the Divine Lawgiver, is very easy of Vindication, in the Infliction of that heavier Penalty.

  3. Thus the Gospel may be an accidental Occasion of Sin to Men, hence says Christ, I came not to fend Peace on the Earth, but a Sword, and elsewhere, to send a Fire, and what will I if it be already kindled. The Gospel is not chargeable with the Fault, but the Obstinacy and Prejudice of Men: Their Opposition to the Gospel must one Day be accounted for, and a Disbelief of its greatest Mysteries, will, I doubt not, expose them to very severe Penalty; because though those Mysteries are above human Comprehension, and their Nature is inexplicable; the Revelation of them, is so very clear, explicite, and full, that if Men would but admit of the obvious and natural Interpretation of the Language of Scripture, they could not refuse an Assent to those mysterious Doctrines, as divine Principles. And therefore the Punishment of those who never heard the Gospel, will be more tolerable, than such shall suffer who are Adversaries to evangelical Truths.

4. All unregenerate Men will be eternally damned; but that the Want of Regeneration, will be the Cause of their Condemnation, seems to me a most harsh and severe Idea. I cannot tell how to think, that God will punish Men eternally, because they have not heavenly Principles infused into them, the Infusion of which is a Work proper to God. If Men are not damned, because they are not regenerate, they are not condemned and punished for the Want of that Faith which is peculiar to Persons regenerated. If Men are eternally damned for the Want of that Faith, it must: be either for Want of the Habit, or of the Act if for Want of the Habit, then God damns Men, because they are destitute of that, which he ALONE can give to and create in them. Again, if Men are damned for Want of the Act of Faith, they are eternally condemned and punished, because they have not put forth a supernatural Act, for such is that Faith in Christ:, which is proper to the Regenerate, as Dr. Goodwin very fully and judiciously proves f35. This seems to me an Idea, not consistent with, either the Goodness, or Justice of God, and therefore I humbly apprehend it is not to be admitted, It is one Thing, to say that Punishment will certainly be inflicted on such as believe not, and another, that it is the Want of Faith, which demerits that Punishment. The Sense of those Words in John 3:18, brought to support this severe Opinion, is now to be enquired into. He that believeth on him, is not condemned, but be that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God.

  1. It is not the Execution, but the Threatening of Punishment, which is intended in the Text.

2. Believers are not under the Law, as a Covenant of Works, to them therefore there is no Condemnation, or Threatening of Wrath and Punishment.

3. Unbelievers are under the Law, whether Elect, Non-elect, and are subject to the Threatnings of it.

4. Hence it follows, that the Want of Faith, is the Cause of Men’s lying under the sentential Curse and Condemnation of the Law; this is expressed by the Particle ALREADY, in which lies the Emphasis of the Words: But from this, it is not to be apprehended, that the Want of Faith demerits the Punishment threatened.

Consid. 3. It is very hard to suppose, that when the Word of God by the general Commands, Promises, Threatnings given to all Men what soever, and often repeated therein, represents Mankind as in a State of Probation, and in the Way to eternal Rewards, or eternal Punishments, according to their Behaviour in this Life: I say ‘tis hard to suppose all this to be no real and just Representation, but a mere Amusement. (Page 230, 231.)

  Answ. 1. These Things are either true of Men universally, or of some only, if they are not true of all Men, it is not to be inferred from those Things, that all Men are in a State of Probation: But we are sure that such to whom no Revelation is afforded, are not commanded to believe in Christ, and that no divine Promises are given to them: And therefore should it be granted that these Things are the fullest Proof of such being in a State of Trial, to whom the Gospel is preached, they afford no Proof at all, that those to whom it is not revealed, are also in a State of Probation. That which is universal, may be said of Particulars, because Particulars are included in what is universal; but that which is particular and limited to some, cannot truly be expressed of all.

2. If it is Fact that those who hear the Gospel are in a State of Probation, then they are under a Law or Covenant of Works, and will be rewarded or punished hereafter, according as they obey, or disobey that Law. If this is affirmed, as it is plainly supposed and suggested in this Argument, then I would beg leave to put the following Queries. Is this Law perfect, or is all Sin forbid by it? Then none can keep it and obtain Life by it: For there is not a just Man who lives and sinneth not. Is the Law imperfect and doth it allow of Evil in any Instance? To assert this is rank Antinomianism. Will the divine Legislator justify Men, for an imperfect Observation of a perfect Law? Then God must be supposed to account them righteous, who are not so, and his Judgment will not be found according to Truth. Is an imperfect Obedience accepted of God, as if perfect, and doth God reward his Creatures for such an Obedience? Then it follows, That that Obedience, which subjects to Punishment, because it is defective, entitles to a Reward: These Things may be allowed to be true when flagrant Contradictions are so. Are those Works or Conditions, which this Law requires, in the Power of Men? If so then Salvation may be of Works, which the Apostles deny more than once. If there Conditions are not in the Power of Men, either God will afford to them Grace sufficient, to enable them to perform them, or he will not; If he will, then he regenerates all Men, of whom the fulfilling those Conditions is expected; for no Man can believe, and repent truly, without the Graces of Faith and Repentance. If he will not, then Men are put into such a State of Trial, as renders their Salvation impossible. Is it just to punish Christ for the Sins of Men, and enjoy in Conditions on them, which render their Impunity, not to say precarious, but their Punishment inevitable? Thus it must be, since God wilt not regenerate them, for without the Infusion of divine Life or gracious Habits, Men are no more able to believe and obey God, in a spiritual Manner, than to keep his perfect Law. For without Faith it is impossible to please God: and they who are in the Flesh, i.e. who are in an unregenerate State cannot please God. The eternal Damnation therefore of all such, whom God is not pleased to create in Christ Jesus unto good Works is unavoidable. Let the Gentleman solve this Difficulty, when he is at leisure, if he pleases, and if he is able to do it, it is what may be justly expected of him. The ingenious Author apprehends, that if a conditional Provision (at least) of Salvation, is not made for the Non-elect, they are in the same State with Devils, for whom no Saviour was provided, and whom God has not treated in a Way of Precept, Promise and Threatening. But he is greatly mistaken: Christ was not provided as a Saviour, for such as eternally perish; he is not a Saviour to those, who are not saved. Besides there are many Millions of Men, whom God has not treated in a Way of Precept, Promise and Threatening, are they also in a State of Tryal, and is it expected of them, who never heard a Syllable of Christ, that they should believe in him, in Order to Salvation? Again, God commands Men (such to whom a Revelation is afforded) to be holy, and threatens to punish them for Sin: But that he promises to pardon, and save all who hear the Gospel, if they will with such Helps, as he is pleased to afford to them, repent and believe in Christ, as yet wants Proof: Notwithstanding they are not in such a State as the Devils are: For Judgment is not at present executed upon them, eternal Punishment is threatened, but it is not inflicted: This is a great Favour, and is so esteemed by those, who know the pungent Grief, which arises from a Sense of Guilt, and of the Wrath of God. Moreover Men enjoy many Mercies, for the Support, Convenience, and innocent Amusement of Life; whereas the Apostate Spirits have nothing to alleviate their Grief, or abate the Weight of their Sufferings. Farther no Man has any just Occasion to be discouraged, though Salvation is limited to the Elect of God. Men may be considered, either as concerned, or unconcerned about their future Welfare. Those who are unconcerned about their eternal Interest, as it seems to me, have no Right, to the least Degree of that Consolation, which the Gospel provides. As for such who are serious, and disposed to enquire into Things, which relate to their eternal Peace; this Doctrine contains nothing in it of a discouraging Nature to them; except it be that God promises to bear the Desires of the humble, and that such, who upon a Conviction of their lost Condition by Nature, and a View of Christ’s Ability as a Saviour, seek for Salvation by and through him, shall receive what they apply to him for: I say they have no Reason to be dejected, except it is, that God hath promised to save such Persons as they are, and will infallibly make good his Promises to them. And one would Imagine, that there is not any thing of a discouraging Nature in this. But this is a Point I shall have Occasion to consider hereafter; and therefore say the less of it now.

Consid. 5. This seems to be a fair and easy Way to answer several of those Texts of Scripture, which represent God as the Saviour of all Men. Some of those Scriptures the learned Gentleman quotes, one of them is by Mistake wrongly cited; it is 1Ti 2:6. Who gave himself a Ransom for all: Not for all Men as this Author reads it; nor is the Term Man in the Greek, in Heb 2:9. as is above observed. After the Quotation of those Texts, he proceeds thus: I grant indeed that many of these Scriptures, may have a pretty sufficient Answer given to them, by the Art of Criticism, but there are some Few of those Scriptures, and of their parallel Places, which can never be so well explained; but by supposing that the Death of Christ, has such an all-sufficient and overflowing Merit in it, as to provide a sufficient conditional Pardon, and conditional Salvation for the Non-elect, while it also provides absolute, effectual, and certain Pardon, and Salvation for those whom God has elected. (P. 231, 232.)

Answ. 1. This Gentleman seems not to disapprove of what he calls the Art of Criticism, used in explaining those Texts, and if not, I should think he must: allow, that those critical Explanations are just and proper.

  2. We should have been obliged to this learned Author, if he had pointed out to us, which of those Scriptures in his Opinion, will admit of sufficient Answers, and which he thinks will not. This would have been of some Moment in the Affair under Debate.

3. As he hath not thought proper to do this, which if he had, it may be I might have apprehended otherwise, I am firmly of Opinion, that every Text brought to support the Doctrine of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, will admit of Answers just and altogether sufficient. And I shall consider them, in the Order they are presented by Limborch on this Subject. But before I do this, it may not be improper, to attend to the sixth Consideration or Argument advanced by this ingenious Person, in Favour of the universal Extent of the Death of Christ, and of a conditional Provision of Salvation made for every Man without Exception. It is this,

  Consid. 6. That all Mankind have some conditional Salvation provided for them, and some real Grace and Pardon offered to them by a new Covenant, appears from this, that all Men, both wicked and righteous, or just and unjust, shall be railed from the Dead, to give an Account of Things done in the Body, whether good or evil, and to receive Rewards or Punishments in their Body, as well as in their Souls, according to the Improvement or Misimprovement of the Dispensations under, which they have lived. — Now a Resurrection is by no Means provided by the Law of Innocency or Covenant of Works: That only threatens Death for sin, without the least Hint or Thought of the Body’s rising again. This Doctrine of the Resurrection therefore seems to be the Effect of theoverflowing Merit of Christ. (P. 238, 239.)

Answ. 1. The Purport of the Threatening in the Law, is to be interpreted by the Punishment, which is inflicted on Sinners: Since therefore God raises the Bodies of ungodly Men, and punishes them in their Body, as well in their Souls; it may justly be concluded, that the Infliction of such Punishment, was intended in the divine Threatening: For it can’t reasonably be thought, that God exceeds in the Penalty he inflicts on Sinners, the true Meaning of his Threatening in the Law.

2. Either that Threatening extends to the whole Persons of Men, in each constituent Part of their Nature, or to one Part of Men only. That the Threatening affects the Body as well as the Soul is evident; because the Body dies and returns to Dust. Now the Death threatened not only included in it the first, but also the second Death; and therefore as that Threatning respected the entire Person of Man, the Body, as well as the Soul, it seems to follow, that his Body, in Union with his Soul, was to suffer the second Death, or endless Punishment, which necessarily supposes its Resurrection from the Dead. The Law of Innocency therefore provides for the Resurrection of the Body, and the Resurrection of Men; even the Resurrection of the Saints is not founded in the Mediation and Merit of Christ. The Death of Christ is not the Cause of Believers merely rising again, or their Resurrection is not to be attributed to his dying for them; tho’ their Resurrection to a State of Happiness is an Effect thereof.

  3. If the Resurrection of Men is owing to the Mediation of Christ, as this ingenious Author apprehends, and if they will be rewarded or condemned, according as they embrace or reject Pardon and Grace offered to them in the Gospel: Then either the Offer is made to all Men, or to some only, if there are any to whom no Tender of Pardon and Salvation is afforded, that cannot be a Reason of their Resurrection; nor can this Covenant or new Law, be a Rule of Procedure in Judgment with them: Unless it may be thought, that Men will be judged and condemned by a Law, of which they received no Notice. This is so manifestly absurd, that but very few, I am persuaded, will ever assent to it.

  4. That there are a very considerable Part of Mankind, who know nothing, or have Means of knowing any thing of the Gospel, is too evident to admit of the least Dispute. Shall they be condemned because they receive not that Pardon and Grace, a Tender of which is not afforded to them? This is with me, a most difficult Thing to be believed.

5. I am therefore of the same Opinion with the Apostle Paul, who was a much better Judge in there Things, than is this Gentleman, though a learned and ingenious Person, that some there are without Law, (Ro 2:13.) i.e. a divine Revelation, and that they will perish without Law, i.e. the Law as it is revealed in the Word of God, wilt not be the Rule of proceeding towards them in Judgment: And that as many as have sinned in the Law, or under the Advantage of a clearer Discovery of the Law in the divine Word, shall be judged by the Law, as so revealed to them.

6. The Gospel was not revealed to all Mankind, in Adam their first Father, to him it was revealed indeed; but he did not personally convey the Knowledge of it to any of his Descendants, who were born after his Decease: And it is pretty evident, that his Posterity very soon lost all Notices they had received of it. Nor did Noah preach the Gospel to all the World, it cannot be supposed he did, to all the Inhabitants of the Earth who lived before the Flood, nor could he after it, his Posterity quickly lost all Knowledge of it, and sunk into abominable Idolatry.

  7. May not therefore a great Part of Mankind, at the last Day, upon this Principle, object to their Judge; that they are try’d and condemn’d by a Law, of which they never had the least Knowledge, and in their Circumstances could not possibly have any Acquaintance with it: That this Law indeed provides a severer Punishment, but no Advantage, for never was any Tender of Pardon and Grace afforded to them. If such an Opinion as this is calculated to vindicate the Equity of God the Judge of all Men, I confess I have no Notion what Equity is. A feebler and more improper Argument in Favour of a conditional Provision of Salvation for all Mankind, than is this, cannot readily be formed, as I apprehend.

     

14- CHAPTER 3

  Contains Answers to an Argument taken from the Use of the Term ALL, about the Death of CHRIST

LIMBORCH in treating about the Extent of the Death of Christ, endeavours to prove it is universal, by various Arguments drawn from Scripture, and from some Absurdities, which in his Opinion necessarily attend the particular and limited Extent of his Death, all which I shall attempt to answer. The Arguments formed from Scripture, he ranges into four Classes or Heads.

  The first principal Argument, he takes from its being said, that Christ died for all. The second, that he died for the World. The third, that Christ is said to come into the World to save Sinners, etc. indefinitely; and therefore, as he thinks, all Sinners are included. His fourth Argument he draws from those Scriptures, wherein it is said, Christ died for those who perish. Then follow his Arguments taken from the Absurdities, which in his Apprehension, attend the Doctrine of the limited Extent of Christ’s Death. In this Chapter I shall consider his first principal Argument formed from its being said, that Christ died for all. Among the various Scriptures, which he produces, where the Term all is used with Relation to the Death of Christ: Those Words of the Prophet are introduced: Hath laid on him the Iniquities of us all (Isa 53:6); which Words can only be understood of the Church; for the Prophet is not speaking of Men in general, but of some in particular, who were healed with the Stripes of Christ, which all Men are not. He also produces there Words of the Apostle, delivered him up for us all (Ro 8:32.). Men universally cannot be intended in that Text is evident, for the Apostle is there speaking of God’s Elect, of Believers, and not of Men in general, the Term all therefore includes not the whole of human Race; but such of Mankind only, who are elected, and believe in Christ, in consequence of their Election in him to Holiness and eternal Life.

I. It is said indeed in several Places, that Christ died for all; but not in any one Place that he died for all MEN, or for every MAN, as was observed above: And since those for whom he is said to die or give himself, Land distinguished from others, by the Characters of Sheep, Children, Sons, and the Church, and the Church of the Firstborn, who are written in Heaven: And others are as plainly distinguished from them, by very different Titles, as The Rest, The World, and Goats, for whom it is no where said Christ died, there is great Reason to interpret those Texts, wherein he is declared to have died for all, of all the Sheep, all the Children, all the Sons, and of the whole Church of the First-born, who are written in Heaven. And no solid Reason can be offered, why we should extend those Places to other Persons described and distinguished from them, by very different Characters, and for whom it is not once affirmed Christ suffered Death.

II. If it had been said, which it is not, that Christ died for all MEN, that alone would have been insufficient to prove his Death, is of unlimited and universal Extent. For, that the Terms all Men are used in a restrictive Sense very frequently, cannot be denied, as for Instance, when it is said All Men held John for a Prophet. Multitudes of Men never heard of John, and a great many who did, entertained a contrary Opinion of him. Thus also when it is said, All Men came to Christ: A Limitation must be underwood, for he was rejected by far the greater Number of the Jews. Many more Instances of this Sort might be produced to prove, that the Terms all Men, are to be interpreted with Restriction; but these are sufficient to that Purpose. And therefore if even the Terms all MEN had been sed with Relation to the Death of Christ, (which they no where are) that would not have afforded an unexceptionable Proof, of the unlimited Extent of his Death.

III. Where the Term all is used in this Subject, a Limitation seems to be required; as in these Words: Who gave himself a Ransom for all (1Ti 2:6.) The Apostle before speaks of different Ranks of Men, of Governors supreme and subordinate, and directs us to pray for all Men, i.e. for Men of differing Conditions in Life, and then observes to enforce the Exhortation, that God will have all Men to be saved, and that Christ: gave himself a Ransom for all, in both which Men of every Condition and State in Life are intended: As for those Words: If one died for all, then were all dead: (2Co 5:14.) they afford no Countenance to the Opinion of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, because all those for whom he died, are said to be dead, and his dying for them is offer’d as a Proof of their being dead; or there Persons are represented as dead in Consequence of Christ’s dying for them; and therefore a Death to Sin must be designed; when Christ died, he died unto Sin, and they died unto Sin in him as their Head and Representative.: All Men are naturally dead in Sin, but that is not a Fruit of Christ’s Death. The Apostle evidently designs a Death, that is the Effect of Christ’s dying, which can intend no other than a Death to Sin; and therefore all MEN are not designed in these Words, but some only. Thus this Text which is urged as a Proof of the unlimited Extent of Christ’s Death, contrary to the Intention of our Opponents, furnishes us with an Argument for it, and such an Argument it is, as will not admit of a very easy Answer. The latter Part of the Words leads not to a different Sense, inaoizwntev, i.e. that they, or all these living, or being made alive by divine Grace, should not live unto themselves, but unto him, that died for them. Christ’s dying for them and their spiritual Life, as a Fruit and Consequence of his Death, are represented as forcible and persuasive Motives, to live to Christ, and therefore he died not for all MEN, for all MEN are not dead to Sin, and do not live spiritually in Consequence of his dying, which the Apostle plainly supposes of all those for whom he died; and what farther establishes this Sense of the Words, is, Christ rose again for their Justification, which is not true of all MEN and therefore he died not for all Men.

  Those Words, he tasted Death for every Man, require a Limitation, as has been above observed, its every Son, every Brother, every Child, that is designed, and not every individual of Mankind; Man is not in the Text, and the Scope of the Place directs us to understand it of every Son or Brother. So weak and inconclusive is the Argument taken from the Use of the Term all, in Favour of the Opinion of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, that it might justly be expected to hear no more of it. Several Things are objected to the Interpretation of this Term all, to Men of all Sorts, and of every Condition, which it will be proper to consider, and give Answers to.

    1. If this Exposition of these Places should be admitted, it must be said that there are no Sort of Men, of whom there are not any, but for them Christ died; but from whence may this be evident, if Christ died not for all and every one. f38 I answer, sure it may be evident, that he died for some Men of all Ranks and Conditions in Life, for Rulers and Subjects, for high and low, for learned and unlearned, for wise and unwise, for rich and poor, for bond and free, for old and young, without a Supposition of his dying for Men universally. It is clear that God saves some of every Sort, for though not many wise Men after the Flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; some such are called, as well as others of different States; and therefore no doubt may he made of Christ’s dying for some of every Condition and State, tho’ he did not die for the whole Race of Mankind.

  The learned Man farther observes thus: Besides among all Sorts of Men, there are both ungodly, and impenitent even unto Death; for some of such Christ likewise died, and consequently according to their Opinion, some of them will be saved, which is absurd. (Ibid.)

  The Answer to this is: Either Christ in dying for Men had Respect to Faith and Repentance in them, or he had not; if he had, then he suffered for penitent and believing Persons only, which effectually destroys the Opinion of the universal Extent of his Death. If he had not Respect to Faith and Repentance in Men, when he died for them; then he suffered for them, considered as ungodly and without Strength, which he certainly did, and it is this that renders his Grace, Love and Compassion, so admirable, and conspicuous in dying for them. When therefore it is said, he died for Men of all Sorts, the Meaning is, he died for sinful Men of all Sorts; and not for such as believe, and for such as are finally impenitent. This Distribution of Men into penitent, and finally impenitent, in treating on the Death of Christ, is very impertinent: For it is all Sorts of Men as Sinners, that Respect is had to, and not to Men as Sinners and Saints, tho’ of Sinners, Men become Saints, in Consequence of Christ’s Death; and for such as are not sanctified by divine Truth, Christ did not sanctify himself, or let himself apart to Suffering and Death on their Account. Again, says he,

2. It may according to this Exposition be much more justly said of all, that Christ died not for them, or rather, that he died for none, because according to them (the Calvinists) there are in all States, a much greater Number, for whom Christ did not die: And thus all, that is Men of every Condition, are said to be excluded the Benefits of Christ’s Death. (Ibid.)

  Answ. It is strange! That to assert Christ to die for many, for some Men of every State and Condition, and that they shall certainly enjoy the Benefits of his Death, should be thought to imply he died for no Man, and that all Men are excluded the Benefits of his Death. Besides, to say Christ died for some Men of all Sorts; but that he did not die for all Men of any Sort, are not contradictory, and therefore it is ridiculous to infer from his dying for some of every Sort; but not for all of any Sort, that he died for NONE.

3. The Term all, when it is taken of a most special and peculiar Species, cannot denote the Sorts of each; but only when it is expressed concerning a Thing of diverse Species: But Man is a most special and peculiar Species, having no inferior Species under himself. You will say, philosophical Kinds are not understood, but political, into which Mankind is distributed.

  Answ. It is queried, whether it is the Usage of Scripture, that the Term all expressed of that Species, which by Logicians is called most special, should signify not every individual of it; but the political Sorts. (Ibid.) I reply, thus it plainly is: That ye may eat the Flesh of Kings, and the Flesh of Captains, and the Flesh of mighty Men, and the Flesh of Horses, and of them that fit on them, and the Flesh of ALL MEN, both bond and free, both small and great (Re 19:18.). All in this Text doth not design every one of the human Species; but the human Species of every Circumstance and Condition. So also is this Term all to be understood in there Words: For tho’ I am free from all Men, yet have I made myself a Servant to ALL (1Co 9:19.), i.e. to Men of every Nation, State, and Condition: Not every one of the human Species; but to the human Species of every Circumstance, as the Apostle himself explains it; Jew and Gentile and the weak, that he might gain some of every State; and therefore it is usual with the Scripture, to distribute the most special or peculiar Species into political Kinds, and the Term ALL is expressive of every one of those Kinds. Nor can I think the learned Man was unapprized of it, tho’ he was pleased to frame this Objection: However the Removal of it hath occasioned very little Difficulty.

  4. The Circumstances of some Places, sometimes require the Restriction and Limitation of the Term all: But in Places where it is said Christ died for all, no Circumstances occur, which require a Restriction of this Kind: But in same, Circumstances are found which manifestly exclude all Restriction. (Ibid.)

  Answ. 1. Tho’ no Circumstances occurred in the several Places, where the Term all is used with Relation to the Death of Christ; yet if understanding it in an unlimited Sense, cannot consist with what is delivered concerning his Death in other Places of Scripture, as is evident it cannot, from what has been observed in the first Part of this Undertaking: It ought to be interpreted with Limitation, and especially since it is very frequently used in a restrictive Sense, 2. It happens to prove a Mistake, that Circumstances do not occur which require a Limitation, when it is used about the Affair of Christ’s Death. That all Men like Sheep have gone astray (Isa 53:6.), is readily acknowledged; but it is not true that ALL Men confess it with Shame and evangelical Sorrow, as the Church does; and the Terms US ALL in the latter Part of the Text, intend not any others, or more than such, who have a spiritual Sense of their Sins, and humbly confess them unto God, which ALL MEN do not. Says this Author no Restriction can be admitted in 2Co 5:14, That the contrary of this is true is before proved: But, saith he, all denotes not all, who are dead to Sin and themselves, is plain, because the End of Christ’s Death is the same for all, that they should not live unto themselves; but to Christ who died for them: Therefore be died for them in that State, in which, as yet, they were not dead to sin. (Ibid.)

  Answ. As when they were Enemies they were reconciled to God, by the Death of his Son (Ro 5:10.): So by the Death of Christ, their Head and Representative they really, tho’ not personally, became dead to Sin, when in themselves they were Enemies to God, and dead in Trespasses and sins, which is the Cause of their quickening, and dying unto Sin. It therefore is very evident, that Circumstances occur, even in these Words which require a Restriction in the Interpretation of the Term ALL, and so far are they from countenancing the Opinion of the unlimited Extent of Christ’s Death, that they are a clear Proof he died not for ALL MEN.

 

15- CHAPTER 4

  Contains an Answer to the Argument taken from its being said that CHRIST died for the World

Arg. 2. A second principal Argument we take from those Places, where it is said Christ died for the World: The first of which occurs is Joh 3:16. and the Word World denotes all Men in Kind. (Isa 53:6.)

  Answ. 1. It cannot be denied but that the Term World is ambiguous, and of very different Significations in Scripture: And therefore from the bare Use of that Term with Relation to the Death of Christ, we are not to form our Opinion of its Extent. But we ought to consider and compare other Places, where this important Subject is treated of; and if they hold forth such a Sense, as will not admit of the universal Extent of his Death, we cannot fairly conclude that so it is, from the Use of this Word, which we know to be of doubtful Import: And especially as it is used in a limited. Sense, and is even sometimes put for, and designs no more than Believers, and the Elect of God, who shall infallibly be saved.

2. Tho’ it is denied that the Term World is put for the Church and Elect of God, the Proof that so it is, will not be attended with the least Difficulty by any thing our Opponents are able to object to that Sense. It is indeed put for the Non-elect, or at least for Men in a State of Unregeneracy, in these Words: Whom the World cannot receive (Joh 14:17.). It is very vident that it designs the Non-elect in these Words: I pray not for the World (Joh 17:9). And thus it may mean, at least it must mean Men in a State of Unregeneracy, where it is said: The whole World lieth in Wickedness (1Jo 5:19.). Its of the same Import when Satan is called the Prince of this World (Joh 14:30.): And the God of this World (2Co 4:4.), But because it is put for the Non-elect, that therefore it is not used for the Elect, by no means follows. It’s manifestly put for the Elect and Church of God in several Places of Scripture, thus in these Words: For the Promise that he should be the Heir of the World (Ro 4:13.). That is of the same Import with, the Father of the Faithful: Both Phrase are of the same Latitude, and express the same Idea; and therefore by the Term World the Elect of God and they only are to be understood in that Text. This also is its Signification in these Words: Now if the Fall of them be the Riches of the World (Ro 11:13.). This like-wise must be its Sense where it is said: God was in Christ reconciling the World unto himself, not imputing their Trespasses unto them (2Co 5:19.). Until clear and evident Proof is given, that God imputes not Sin to the Non-elect, it must necessarily be concluded, that the Elect alone are intended in this Text. God imputes Sin to those, and only to those, whom he eternally condemns and punishes, and therefore the Nonelect to whom he imputes Sin, and on whom he inflicts endless Punishment cannot be intended. It is also put for the Church under the New Testament-Dispensation in there Words: For unto the Angels hath he not put in Subjection the World to come, whereof we speak (Heb 2:5). This Term World denotes the Elect and Church of God in these Words: And giveth Life to the World (Joh 6:33.). Christ gives Life only to his Sheep or to such who are given to him of the Father: To this it is indeed answered, That it designs Christ’s doing what is required in order to it, tho’ it follows not through the Vice of Men, refuting, or opposing his Operation. Limborch. f39

  I reply,

1. An Attempt to give Life to Men, who are dead, which is insuccessful, thro’ what Cause soever, cannot properly be called giving Life, seeing they still remain dead.

2. Doth Christ so much as attempt to give Life to such, to whom he reveals not himself, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life: I should think not, which we are sure he doth not to VAST Multitudes. But to support this it is farther observed, that God is said to have pursed Israel, and they were not purged. I answer thereby are intended, those Warning, Reproofs, Threatenings of Punishment: And Promises of Protection, Peace, and Plenty, In case they would reform in their Worship, and Conduct, which they received by the Ministry of the Prophets: But what are all these Things to Christ’s giving Life to the World? Which Is effected by a real, powerful, and positive Work of his Spirit upon their Hearts, and is always effectual, or else his People are not made willing in the Day of his Power; which we cannot but apprehend they are, because it is expressly declared, that so they shall be (Ps 110:3.). It is also objected thus: But be it so that the Term World, sometimes denotes the Elect, yet the Circumstances of this Place, viz. Joh 3:16. will by no means bear that Exposition, because it is added, that every one that believeth, should not perish; but have everlasting Life: For hence it is plain, that some of those for whom Christ died, may not believe, and may perish: Otherwise the Language is unapt and improper; which, since they (the Calvinists) will not grant; it follows by the Word World, others also besides the Elect are comprehended, and as we say all Men f40.

Answ. 1. Respect may be had to the Elect, tho’ not under that formal Consideration; but as Persons in like Circumstances with others; i.e. sinful, condemned by the Law, and liable to Wrath, and therefore may very properly be called by the Name of the World, as expressive of their Misery, and deplorable State by Nature, as so considered, they are Children of Wrath, even as others.

2. The Elect of God consist of Jews, and Gentiles, which was a Mystery but little known, till the dearer Revelation of the Gospel, by Christ, and his Apostles. The Jews generally apprehended themselves, to be the only Favourites of Heaven: To convince them of this Mistake, we meet with such general Expressions, in comprise Gentiles, as well as Jews, and particularly the Term World in this Text.

3. Therefore under,. standing the Words of the Elect only, no Impropriety attends the Mode of Expression, though it is denied, that any of them may not believe, and may perish; because Respect is had to them, as guilty miserable Sinners, and as Jews and Gentiles. God so loved the World, i.e. his Elect; that whosoever, i.e. that what Persons soever they are, believing, they shall not perish. The Words regard their State and condition: and therefore the sense is not, whoever of these Persons believes, but whatever be the Extract, Circumstance, and State of him, who believes, he shall not perish but infallibly be faced, thro’ the Mediation and Sufferings of Christ.

4. So it must be, because God infinitely loves ALL those Persons, represented under the Character of the World, in this Place, Doth God so love ALL Men? Why then doth he reveal his Will to SOME Men only? Why then doth not God give his Spirit and Grace to SOME MEN, for whom he gave his Son? The Gift of whom, without the Gift of the Spirit will not save them. Is divine Love productive of some saving Benefits, and not of ALL to SOME MEN? If so, then they must inevitably perish, for their Salvation is absolutely impossible, because the Love of God doth not determine him, to communicate to them, that Grace which is necessary to prevent their eternal Ruin. Is the Favour of God mutable? May it change, and turn into Hatred? This, however absurd it is, must certainly be allowed, if God once loved ALL Men, and now hates SOME Men, Let our Opponents take which Part of this Argument they please, I am persuaded they will never be able to solidly answer it.

5. The Distinction of a Love of Complacency, and Love of Benevolence, which latter is said to be here intended, removes not the Difficulty: By this Love of Benevolence, God is said to decree, to shew Favour, and give Life to Men, if they will believe f41. To which I object thus: Such a Purpose cannot reasonably be thought to be in God concerning ALL Men, without an Intention, that the Object of Faith should be proposed to ALL Men. And if once he so designed, when, and for what Reasons, did he recede from that Purpose, and wink at the Ignorance, and heathenish Darkness of WHOLE NATIONS for CENTURIES of YEARS?

  Again, if God decreed to give Christ to Death, to save Men upon Condition of their believing in him, he either knew, or did not know, whether they would believe or not: If it be said, he did know; then he appointed his Son’s Death to an End, which he foresaw would not be attained by it, at least with Respect to the far greater Part of Mankind, for it is certain, that but a FEW will believe and be saved, which as it seems to me, cannot comport with the Wisdom and Justice of God, or with his peculiar Regard to Christ. If God did not know, whether Men would believe, or not, then he is not omniscient, nor can be supposed to have decreed their Happiness or Misery. But he waits to see Men born into the World, and finish Life., and in what Manner they so do, before he wills their Bills or Punishment, and gave his Son to Death, altogether at an Uncertainty, whether his End therein, at least With Respect to the far greater Part or Mankind, would be brought about or not; which is a Thought one would not entertain of a WISE Man, in Affairs of infinitely less Importance. And shall this ever be conceived of GOD the Source of ALL Wisdom? May he himself forbid it, and by his holy Spirit prevent Men’s embracing and spreading such Principles, as necessarily suppose it; which this most evidently does. Farther, either Men can believe of themselves, or they cannot: If they may, then Faith is not the Gift of God; but such it certainly is: Then, either God will below this Gift on Men, or he will not: IF he will, then ALL Men will certainly believe, which the far greater Number of them do not. If he will not bestow the Gift of Faith upon them, or create this Grace in their Hearts, they can no more believe, than see without Eyes, walk without Feet, or do Business without Hands, whatever Excitations, Impulses, and Influences, it is imagined they may receive to act Faith. 4. In my humble Opinion, God can no more punish his Son, for the Sins of Men, and only grant to them Conditions of impunity, and if they fail of performing those Conditions, eternally punish them for their Sins, than he can for ever punish an innocent Creature, or act unjustly: And thus I cannot but conceive, ‘till I shall see this dreadful Opinion fully proved, that the Satisfaction of Christ, is not proper and complete; which that it is, is not now to be demonstrated, it has been done already. And ‘tis mere trifling to talk of Christ’s Suffering Punishment, in the Room and Place of Sinners, without allowing that Law and Justice are satisfied, for their Offences; if he sustained the WHOLE of that Penalty their Sins demerit: If indeed he did not; but a PART of it only, we are inevitably undone, and it is a vain Thing to contend about a conditional Impunity: For there is nothing, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery Indignation, which will shortly devour us: Let Men buoy us up, with what airy and false Hopes of Salvation, they please. The second Scripture produced to this Purpose is, 2Co 5:19. God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself not imputing their Trespasses to them: That there Words relate only to the Elect of God, may be thus proved. God acted towards these Persons, as he was in Christ, or he formed the Design and Plan of their Reconciliation, as he was in the Mediator; which intends the same, as if it had been said, they were in Christ: When it is affirmed that Sinners are in Christ, or that God is in Christ, as he puts forth any Acts, or Act towards them, in them, or upon them, the Idea conveyed by both Phrases is the very same; which is, that God is graciously determined, to shew Favour to those Persons in Christ, and to deal with them as a Covenant-God. And since the Arminians contend that none but Believers are in Christ, it might justly be expected that they should readily grant us, that the Term World, in this Text, designs Believers or the Church and Elect of God only. This however we will not crave of them as a Favour, but effectually prove: And what is now advanced, is such a Proof of it, as may perhaps, occasion them no small Difficulty to set aside: For God was in Christ to those Persons, and only to those, whom he chose in him to eternal Salvation before the World began; he never was, or ever will be in Christ, to more, or any others. Besides, God imputes not Sin to that World of Men, whom he reconciles: This is true of the Elect ALONE.

  1. No such Challenge can be expressed in Favour of others, as the Apostle gives out in their Behalf: Who shall lay any Thing to the Charge of God’s Elect, it is God that justifies.

2. Those to whom God imputes not Sin, are happy Persons, so they are pronounced to be, by the inspired Writers David and Paul: And surely by the joint Evidences of these two infallible Witnesses, this glorious Truth is fully established, beyond all the Exceptions of the Arminians, or others, whatever Name they bear, or Sett of Principles they are pleased to embrace.

3. The Happiness of those, to Whom Sin is not imputed, is most certain, because to them God imputes Righteousness, which the Apostle proves from David Romans 4:6, 7. Now those to whom Righteousness is imputed, are justified in the Lord, and in him shall they glory: Being made or constituted righteous, by the Imputation of Christ’s Obedience, they shall receive Justification of Life, and shall reign in Life, by one Jesus Christ their Lord.

4. The Non-imputation of Sin, necessarily infers a. Freedom from Condemnation: For a Curse Is only denounced upon a Charge of Offence, such as are acquitted, of their Guilt, are redeemed from the Law’s Curse, and therefore they are under no Denunciations of Wrath and Vengeance, except sententially, as considered under the Covenant of Works, which indeed the Elect of God are, until their Conversion, but converted they shall be, and enjoy Freedom from a Sentence of Condemnation contained in the Law (under which, they naturally are) in Consequence of their Redemption by Christ: And shall certainly receive the Adoption (i.e. the Honour and Privileges) of Sons: Those who partake of one spiritual Blessing, shall receive ALL; for there is an inseparable Connection between those Benefits. Such whom God justifies, he also glorifies, he doubtless justifies them, to whom, he imputes not Sin: The Elect: only enjoy a Nonimputation of Sin, and therefore no other Persons, than the Elect, can be intended, by that World of Men, to whom Sin is not imputed. Let any Arminian, produce Reasons as clear and cogent for Understanding the Term World in this Text, of Men universally, or others, if they are able, and they shall no longer meet with Opposition from me Limborch objects several Things to this Interpretation.

1. Says he, we have shewn, that it is contrary to the Stile of the Scripture, to understand by the World, the Elect. (Ibid.) This has been sufficiently refuted above, and therefore it requires no farther Answer now.

2. This Text, says he, permits not, that by the World the Elect may be understood; because all are said to be reconciled, to whom the Word of Reconciliation is sent, which is the Word of the Gospel; but that is not sent absolutely to the Elect; but it is sent to all men indifferently. (Ibid.)

  Answ. Its not said, that all Men are reconciled; the Apostle only speaks of himself of his Fellow-Labourers, and of Believers, when he says: Who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and not of ALL MEN. Again, the Gospel is not sent indifferently to ALL MEN: For it is not at all sent, to many Millions of Men; besides, it is sent with a special Regard to the Elect, tho’ others also hear it; God sends it to those, whom he has graciously chosen, with a Design, that it shall be effectual to their Salvation: If his intention was the same, concerning others, he would exert his Power, and bring them to believe it, to the saving of their Souls, which he doth not. Farther the Gospel is not sent to any Place, or continued where it is sent, unless God hath a People there. As for the Figment of the learned Man, of a prior and posterior Reconciliation, that we have before considered, and entirely removed out of the Way, and therefore it is here useless, and needs no farther Answer.

3. It is said, that the Apostle exhorts us to be reconciled to God. Very true, he doth so, but he also informs us elsewhere, that when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the Death of his Son (Ro 5:10.); both which are here intended, the former was effected for us by Jesus Christ, the latter is wrought in us by the Spirit of Christ, and is a certain Effect and Consequence of the former.   A third Text, on which the Opinion of the universal Extent of the Death of Christ is founded, and from which it is urged, is 1Jo 5:21. And he is the Propitiation for our Sins; and not for ours only; but also for the Sins of the whole World.

  Answ. The Terms whole World, frequently intend only a Part of Mankind, as when we read, that all the World were taxed, only that Part is designed, which was in Subjection to the Roman Power; and in this Epistle the Terms are used in a limited Sense: Thus in these Words, The whole World lieth in Wickedness: It is evident, that only a Part of Mankind are intended, i.e. such who are in an unregenerate State; and the Terms must be understood with Restriction, when it is said, all or the whole World, wondered after the Beast: For God always had a Seed to serve him, and who were accounted to him for a Generation. It is pleaded that this is a Catholick Epistle, or written to Gentile Believers, as well as believing Jews, and that therefore, when the Apostle says, not for our’s only; but also for the Sins of the whole World, he comprises Believers, both of the Jewish and Gentile Extract, and in the latter Phrase, takes in all of all Nations, or such of all Nations as believe not.

  Answ. several Reasons may be assign’d, why it is to be concluded, that this Epistle was wrote to, and principally intended for the Use of believing Jews.

1. The Author of it was an Apostle of the Circumcision, as Peter also was, in the Discharge of his Office, therefore, it is reasonable to suppose he chiefly regarded Believers of his own Nation, tho’ not exclusively of Gentile Saints.

2. Various Things in the Epistle itself, clearly prove it to be wrote to Jews and not to Gentiles,

(1.) Those Words in Chap. 2:7. Brethren I write no new Commandment unto you; but an old Commandment, which ye had from the Beginning: The old Commandment, is the Word, which ye heard from the Beginning, i.e. from the Commencement of the Gospel Dispensation, which was not true of the Gentiles; but is true of the Jews only.

(2.) Those Words in Verse the 24th, evidence the same: Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the Beginning: These Persons therefore, heard the Gospel when first preach’d by Christ, and his Apostles, which the Gentiles did not.

(3.) Those Words in Chap. 3, and 11, For this is the Message, that ye beard from the Beginning, that ye love one another. The Gentile Nations heard not this Message, from the Beginning, and therefore to them this Epistle, was not directed.

  (4.) The Persons to whom it was wrote, were commanded, by Christ himself, in his personal Ministry, to love one another, which the Gentiles were not, for he was sent to the lost Sheep, of the House of Israel ONLY. He, i.e. Christ gave us, i.e. us Jews, a Commandment to love another, Verse 23. The Apostle is therefore writing to such of his own Country-men, as believed, and not to the Gentiles. Hence we cannot but conclude, that when he says, For our sins, in these Words, he intends himself, and his own Countrymen, who believed in Christ. If the Apostle had proceeded no farther, but ended his Discourse, of Christ’s Atonement here, it might have occasioned great Inconvenience, and Cause of Difference to Believers, both of Jewish and Gentile Extract, and therefore he adds in the last Part of the Text: But also for the sins of the whole World: The Reason of which is plain, the believing Jews were not without great Difficulty persuaded, that the Gentiles, were Fellow-Heirs with them, of the Blessings of Abraham, as might be abundantly proved, if that was here necessary: It therefore was of great Importance that the Apostle subjoyns this Phrase: But also for the sins of the whole World. In order to remove that popular Prejudice, and teach them, that the Gentiles were not excluded a Share, in the Benefits of the Messiah; but it cannot fairly be inferred from hence, that every Individual of Mankind, is interested in the Death of Christ: Some of all Nations are; but not all of any Nation.

  Limborch objects thus: The Support and Foundation, of Consolation proposed to a Sinner in the first Verse, is taken away: For how should he be certain, that he hath Christ, an Advocate with the Father, if his Propitiation, is not common to all Sinners; but belongs to some only, and is absolutely peculiar to the Elect. (Ibid.)

Answ. 1. This Objection supposes, that the Intercession of Christ, and his Death, are of the same Extent, which is a great Truth: But tho’ the Objection supposes it, and argues upon it, I am apprehensive, that it will not be allow’d, because it would enervate a principal Argument formed in Favour of the Opinion, of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death: Which thus appears. There is a World of Men, for whom Christ prays not; it is supposed, that he is an Advocate, or Intercessor for all such, for whose Sins, he is a Propitiation, and therefore we have a World Men, for whom Christ prays not, that are not included in this whole World, for whose Sins be made Atonement.

2. The Knowledge which a Believer hath, of an Interest in Christ, as an atoning Sacrifice, and prevalent Intercessor, with the Father, is not of so low a Nature, as this Objection suggests: Which is only an Inference drawn from Premises, in a natural Manner. As thus, Christ died for all Men, without Exception, I am of the human Species, and therefore he died for me. For such on whose Account he died, he is an Advocate, he died for every Man, and for every Man he is an Advocate, or Intercessor, and therefore he is my Advocate with the Father. It will shortly appear how far this is, from being the Faith of the Operation of God.

3. Though the Intercession, and Atonement of Christ, are limited to some, yet a Man may have a comfortable Hope, and solid Persuasion of an Interest in both. 1. By a powerful Impression, of evangelical Promises on the Mind. 2. By discerning the happy Fruits, of Christ’s Propitiation, and Intercession, in himself: Such as Love to God, Abhorrence of Sin, and Dependence on Christ for Salvation, and Desires of Conformity to him. These are Effects of his Death and Intercession; and therefore the Subjects of there Things may safely conclude, upon an Interest in both. 3. Our Election of God may be known by its Fruits in us, hence says the Apostle, Knowing Brethren beloved, your Election of God. For our Gospel came not unto you in Word only; but also in Power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much Assurance (1Th 1:4-5.).

4. The Intercession of Christ, is not to be proposed to ALL MEN, as a Foundation of Consolation: If any think, that the Wicked and Ungodly, are to be comforted, by observing to them, that Christ hath atoned for their Sins, and is an Advocate for them, with the Father: I cannot but declare myself to be of a very different Opinion. That as no Man can receive evangelical Consolations, until he sees his Need of Christ, and Salvation by him: So none have a Right to those Consolations, before they are the Subjects of such Convictions. To propose the Satisfaction of Christ, and his Intercession, as Grounds, and Foundations of Hope, Comfort, and Joy to unregenerate Men: I am fully persuaded, Is to cast Pearls before Swine, indeed.

5. Every proper Subject of Comfort, may enjoy it, notwithstanding the Limitation of the Death, and Intercession of Christ, to the Elect: That is every sensible Soul may, who seeks for Salvation by him. For there is not any Thing of a discouraging Nature in this Doctrine, to such whole Hearts the Lord would not have made sad.

6. The Opinion of the universal Extent, of Christ’s Death, and Intercession, is no very comfortable one. It supposes indeed, that he died, to save Men; but that notwithstanding his Sufferings and Death, they may perish eternally, and that in Fact, the greater Number of Men, will for ever perish, because by his Death, he did not secure to them, that Grace which is necessary to keep them, in a World of Sin, Temptations and Snares. Pardon of Sin, Reconciliation, and Security from Punishment, are by no Means, to be thought, the certain Effects of his Death, to any, say some, not to the greater Part of Mankind, say others: And therefore ALL, as some, or the greater Number, of those for whom he died, as others think, must secure those Benefits, by their own Obedience, or else, notwithstanding his Death, they will inevitably perish for ever. Christ indeed, say some, intercedes for Men universally; but his Intercession prevails not so far, as to furnish a great Part of those, for whom he prays, with an external Revelation of himself: Nor is his Intercession, in Favour of many of those, who enjoy such a Revelation, a certain Means, of procuring for them; that Grace of the Father, which is necessary to preserve them safe: But tho’ Christ prays for their Salvation, and Happiness, they may, and many of them will certainly, and infallibly suffer endless Punishment in Hell: This doth not seem to me, to be that comfortable Doctrine, which affords strong Consolation to the Heirs of Promise, according to the Will of God: And therefore I am persuaded, its no Doctrine of his; its not from Heaven; but of Men, to say no worse of it. I shall here subjoin Limborch’s third Argument, with the Answers to it.

Arg. 3. This, says he, we collect from those Places, where it is said, the Lord Jesus came into the World, to save Sinners, and to seek, and to save that which was lost, which could not be, without the Intervention of his Death. Since therefore the Language of the Scripture, is indefinite, having no Limitation, or Restriction, from whence it may appear, that Jesus came into the World, to save some Sinners only: We rightly collect, that Christ died for Sinners indefinitely: And therefore not for the Elect only; but all Sinners, yea, that be died for all Men, because all Men are Sinners (Ibid.).

Answ. 1. The People Christ came to save, were really Sinners; and therefore in coming to save them, it is rightly said, he came to save Sinners. And that in dying for them, he died for Sinners.

  2. If he came to save all Sinners, why then are not all Sinners saved? Is it because he failed of performing, what was necessary to their Salvation? If so, what Advantage do they receive from his Appearance in the World, and dying for them? If he did not fail herein, what then should be the Reason that Christ hath the Dissatisfaction, of seeing the far greater Part of those, whom he died to save, suffer Vengeance in Hell for ever? Is it, because the Father on his Part, fails to communicate to them, that Grace, which is necessary to secure their final Happiness? If so, how may we vindicate his Veracity, and Faithfulness: Since he promised Christ, on Condition of his dying, that he should see of the Travail of his Soul, to his Satisfaction, and that his Pleasure, i.e. the Salvation of Sinners should prosper in his Hand. That the far larger Number of those are eternally damned, for whom Christ died, if he died for all Men, is too evident to admit of the least Dispute: And I should think, that their suffering eternal Torments, can’t well be interpreted, of that Success, which the Father promised to him, upon his Undertaking to suffer and die for them. Neither of there Things are to be imagined: On Christ’s Part there was not any Defect, for in Suffering he was made perfect, i.e. a perfect Saviour, nor is on the Father’s.

3. Christ is not a Saviour to those, who are not saved: An Attempt to save Persons in Misery, that is unsuccessful, in no other Case but this, (if so, it must be in this) would be accounted Salvation, any more than an Attempt, to destroy a dangerous Enemy, without Success would be esteemed Victory, and denominate the Author of such an Attempt a Conqueror. All Men are not saved, Christ therefore is not a Saviour to all Men: If he is not the Author of eternal Redemption to the Whole of Mankind, which we are sure he is not; then he is only in Name, and not in Fact a Saviour to some Men, yea to far the greater Part of the human Race, to all such as suffer everlasting Punishment in the Regions of Blackness, Darkness and Horror.

4. He is the Saviour of his Body the Church: These are the Persons given to him of the Father, or whom he sanctified and prepared for Glory: It cannot be truly said, that he is the Saviour of those, who are not of his Body the Church.

5. He was to save his People from their Sins, as the Angel informed Joseph: He shall save his People from their Sins, and he actually doth free them, from an Imputation of Guilt, and delivers them from all the penal Effects of their Sins. To say that Christ came to save more than his People, from their Sins, is to speak beside the holy Scripture. Upon the whole, nothing can be justly collected from the Phrases of Christ’s coming into the World to save Sinners, and to seek and to save that which was lost, in Favour of an Intention in him to save ALL Men, and that he died for all Men with such a View: Because in coming and dying to save SOME Men ONLY, he came and died to save Sinners, for such are all Men.

     

16- CHAPTER 5

Contains Answers to the Argument taken from those Places where it said CHRIST died for those who perish

  A Fourth Argument is, Christ is said to die for some that perish, and therefore he died not, for the Elect only. 1st. Thus in Ro 14:15. and 2dly, in 1Co 8:11.f42

  Answ. To perish sometimes imports a sinking into nothing, thus in there Words: They go to nothing, and perish (Job 6:18.). Sometimes it intends suffering eternal Punishment, so in this Text: And perished in the Gainsaying of Core (Jude 11.). In other Places, it designs Loss of spiritual Joy and Comfort, and the Weakness of the Graces of the Saints, as in there Words: Unless thy Law had been my Delights, I had perished in mine Affliction (Ps 119:92.). Now the Question is, in which of these Senses, the Phrase is to be understood, where it is supposed that such may perish, for whom Christ died. Not in the first Sense, the Arminians will allow, anti that very rightly; but this is not to be collected, and prov’d from those particular Places; but from other Texts and the Analogy of Faith, which will not admit of this Sense.

  And we reject the second Signification, because it is contrary to other Places of Scripture, as may be seen above, and to the whole Analogy of Faith. To establish this Sense, it must be proved, that some for whom Christ died, are not of the Number of his Sheep, for whom he laid down his Life: Or that his Sheep, may eternally perish, and that there are some of his Sheep, to whom, he doth not give eternal Life, that some of his Sheep, may be plucked out of his Hand, and out of the Father’s Hand. But it will be a very difficult Matter to prove, that Christ delivered a Sense, directly contrary to that, which his Words undeniably express. We therefore justly conclude, that tho’ his Sheep for whom he laid down his Life, may dwindle in their Comforts, and decay in the Exercise of Grace, they shall not be eternally miserable, any more than they will cease to be, and that the Apostle intends perishing, in the third Sense, in these Places; which gives no Countenance, to the Opinion, of the universal Extent of Christ’s Death, or of the Possibility, of such suffering endless Punishment, for whom our Saviour died. The third Scripture produced to serve, this Purpose is; Of how much sorer Punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under Foot the Son of God, and hath counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy Thing, and hath done Despite unto the Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:29.)?

  Answ. The Words suggest no such Sense, as is suppos’d and taken for granted: The Sanctification of the Person committing the Sin, of which the Apostle speaks, is not intended; but the Sanctification of Christ. His letting himself apart to suffer, and his actually suffering, and thereby becoming to Sinners, the only Way of Life and Hope, which contribute nothing to the Support of the Opinion of the unlimited Extent of his Death, or that any of those for whom he died, may eternally perish.

  The fourth Scripture which is urged to this End is: Denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift Destruction (2Pe 2:1.).

Answ. 1. It must be confessed, that there Words (at least) do not afford a clear Proof, that any of those perish eternally for whom Christ died: Because it is not to be proved that Christ is here intended, or that the Price of his Blood, is treated of and referred to: Hence It appears, that but very little at most:, can be inferred from them, in Favour of the Opinion we militate against; indeed not any thing with Certainty. For

(1) It cannot be proved, that Christ is the Person, who is said to have bought these Men, and if that is not capable of evident Proof, it must be allowed, that this Text affords not any clear Evidence, of Christ’s buying these Persons: For ought we could have known, it might be God the Father, who is intended, if nothing in the Words themselves, had directed us to understand them of him, which Despothv translated Lord imports, for that is a Name, which is never given to Christ in the New-Testament.

  (2). Buying may intend, as it doth, in some other Places, providential Mercies, thus in these Words: Is he not thy Father, that has bought thee (Deuteronomy 32:6.)?

(3). God the Father may be, and is denied by wicked Men, who introduce into the Church damnable Heresies, to his Dishonour and the Disturbance of his People.

(4). They bring on themselves swift Destruction, by acting such a Part. We have many weighty Reasons for interpreting the Text in this Sense, rather than in the other, for which the Arminians contend.

[1.] These Persons were not the Objects of divine Favour, because they were not drawn with Loving Kindness: As all those are whom God has loved with an everlasting Love (Jer 31:3.).

[2.] They were appointed to Condemnation and Wrath, or were made to be taken, and destroyed (Jude 12,4) which cannot consist with a Design of saving them by Jesus Christ.

[3.] If God ever intended to save them; I would ask why he changed his Purpose, and what was the Occasion of that Change, and how this can consist with his Immutability? To say that the Change is not in God; but in them, is no proper Answer to the Enquiry: For then it will be farther ask’d, whether God always knew, what Manner of Men, they would be? To affirm he did not know, and so he once really designed their eternal Happiness, until they proved other Sort of Men, than he expected, Is a plain Denial of divine Prescience. If he always knew, what Kind of Persons they would be, and yet once intended their Salvation, he could not ever appoint them to Wrath, and punish them for Sin, without a Change in himself, and that for no Reason possible to be assign’d.

[4.] If Christ died for them, they are either destroy’d for those of their Sins, for which he suffered, or for other Sins, for which he atoned not: If for those Sins, for which the Redeemer suffered, then Punishment is twice inflicted for those Sins, once on Christ, and also on them, which cannot consist with Justice. If for other Sins, then, they perish, because of a Defect, in the Satisfaction of Christf 43: Which is not by any Means to be allow’d.

 

17- CHAPTER 6

  Contains Answers to the Absurdities charged on the Opinion of the limited Extent of CHRIST’s Death, and a Vindication of Calvin from a Misrepresentation

LIMBORCH charges the Doctrine of the particular Extent of the Death of Christ, with several Absurdities, from which, I shall here attempt to vindicate that important Truth.

Absurd. 1. All to whom Christ is revealed, art bound to believe, that he died for them: If therefore he died not for all Men, they are obliged to believe a Falshood f43.

Answ. 1. If this was admitted, it would not prove, that Christ died for all Men; because he is not revealed to all Men by a great Number. The Obligation to believe, cannot exceed in Compass, the Extent of the Revelation of Christ, and since that is not universal, but limited, it is impertinent, to argue from a particular Obligation, to an universal Conclusion, in which, all Men are included, as well those not under the Obligation, as those that are under it.

2. It is certain not only, that all Men to whom Christ is revealed, ought to believe that he died for them, but it is equally certain, that they cannot disbelieve it, if he died for all Mankind: The Reason is most evident, in Order to a Belief of an Interest in his Death, no more is necessary, than understanding, this very plain Proposition, Christ died for every Man without Exception, and Mens allowing themselves, to be of the human Species, of which they cannot doubt, without falling into a strange Delirium, and losing the proper Exercise of their Reason: Hence it appears, that the full Assurance of Faith, is no extraordinary Attainment. Upon this Principle, it must necessarily be allowed, that a Persuasion of an Interest in a suffering Redeemer, is not proper to Believers, for it is, and must be in such, who are unregenerate. And therefore why, the Faith of primitive Christians, and of the Martyrs since, as consisting in a Persuasion, of an Interest in the Death of Christ, should be accounted a great Favour, no Reason can be assigned: For the most wicked Man upon the Earth, who hears the Gospel, has the same evident Foundation, for such a Confidence, as they had.

3. That all Men who hear the Gospel, are bound to believe in Christ, I humbly apprehend, is not very easy of Proof. They are indeed obliged to various Things, in consequence of enjoying the great Advantage, of a Revelation from God. They ought to search the Scriptures, and that diligently. It is their Duty to meditate upon the Scriptures, and use their Powers of Reasoning, in the best Manner they are able, in order to discover their true Meaning and Sense: They are not to enquire into the Modus, of the mysterious Things therein revealed, and embrace or reject the Doctrines of the Word of God, either as they can comprehend them, or as they exceed the narrow Limits of their shallow, and imperfect Understandings. The Part which Multitudes act, of this Nature, must one Day be accounted for. Again they ought to pray to God for Direction, in the reading of his holy Word. Farther they will be found inexcusable, in an awful Time approaching, in neglecting to hear the Gospel, and for a Disregard to the Worship of God. Moreover as Opposition to the Truths, and Interest of Christ greatly heightens their Guilt, and will increase their Punishment hereafter. But that they are obliged, to believe in Christ, and take him as theirs, without, or prior to a Conviction of their Need of him, and of his Suitableness to their Condition, as Creatures lost, miserable, and helpless, is much questioned, and I think, as yet wants Proof. The common, and external Revelation of Christ, obliges not, to special; but a common, and historical Faith, agreeable to the Nature of the Revelation: A special Revelation of Christ, obliges in a special Faith in him, which as I conceive supposes these Things.

  1. A Sinner by the Infusion of divine Light sees himself to be guilty, vile, and without any spiritual Strength.

  2. That he is condemned by the righteous Law of God, and that his Condemnation, is strictly just.

  3. That he is obnoxious to inconceivable, and endless Penalty, for his numerous Sins.

  4. That he cannot, by any means, deliver himself from Wrath, and secure his future Welfare.

  5. He views Christ to be the only Saviour, and his Mind is furnished with delightful Ideas, of his infinite Merit, everlasting Righteousness and Strength. He discovers incomparable Beauties, and Excellencies in his Person, and beholds that Riches unsearchable, and ever durable, are lodged in his Hand, for the Supply of the Wants, of such needy indigent Creatures, as he now sees himself to be. In a Word, he is fully convinced, that such an high Priest, and gracious Redeemer, as Christ: is, becomes him.

  6. On this special Revelation of the blessed Jesus in him, he stands obliged, to put forth Acts of special Faith, Hope and Love, towards Christ, for it seems reasonable, to suppose, that this additional and superadded Light, to the external Revelation in the Word, obliges to new Duties, which are suited to the Nature of this superadded Revelation. And what those Duties, arising from such a Revelation should be, unless those just now expressed, it may prove very difficult to shew, And therefore I cannot but conclude, that Men to whom the Gospel is barely preached, or without the Supperaddition of an internal Revelation, are not obliged to a special and supernatural Faith.

Absurd. 2. If Christ died not for all Men, then no Man, when Christ is preached to him, can be certain, that he is bound to believe in him, which is most absurd (Ibid.),

Answ. Every Man is bound to believe, according to the Nature and Degree of the Revelation made to him. The external Revelation in the Word, is of itself insufficient to convince Men of their Need of Christ, and to furnish their Minds with an experimental Knowledge of Christ’s Glory and Suitableness as a Saviour: And therefore, it follows not from the Nature and Degree of this external Revelation, that Men must know themselves bound to believe in Christ, or to put forth supernatural Acts: The Things revealed, are supernatural: But the Mode of the Revelation, is natural, and obliges not to acts above Nature.

Absurd. 3. Then no Man wilt be condemned for Incredulity (Ibid.)

Answ. Men will be condemned, for not yielding such an Assent to the Gospel Revelation, as the Nature of it requires: Thus the Jews were; and all other Opposers of it, under what Pretences soever, will find their Punishment increased, as their Guilt is aggravated and heighten’d by an Opposition to it. A special and internal Revelation of Christ, fails not to produce a Supernatural Faith: Hence those, who are the Subjects of it, are passed from Death to Life, and shall not come into Condemnation. Such who enjoy it not, are not obliged from the Nature of that Revelation, which is afforded to them, to this special Faith.

Absurd. 4. Baptism is a sealing of the Covenant of Grace, and may be only administered to such, who are in that Covenant: If Christ died not for all Men, then those, who only make a Profession of Faith, may not be baptized: God and Christ could not require their Baptism, for they not being in the Covenant it cannot be sealed to them (Ibid.).

Answ. Baptism is not a Seal to the Covenant of Grace, that only is, or can be a Seal to this Covenant, by which it is confirmed; and that ALONE is the Blood of Christ: This Covenant therefore hath not, or can have any other Seal, than his most precious Blood. Again, if all Men are in the Covenant of Grace, why do not all Men partake of the Benefits therein promised? Its Mercies are sure, and all its Promises are yea and Amen, to the Glory of God by Jesus Christ: And therefore, never was that Man in the Covenant of Grace, whether he be the Son of Abraham, or the Son of Pharoah, who partakes not of ALL the Blessings promised in that Covenant. Before I conclude this Chapter, I shall vindicate Calvin from a Misrepresentation, which the Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, gives of his Sentiments, relating to the Extent of Christ’s Death. He represents it as the Opinion of Calvin, that Christ died for all Men, and produces several of his Comments on divers Texts of Scripture, to support that Representation. In Answer to which, I observe as Spanhemius does, its no Wonder, if before the Controversy arose he wrote with less Guard, on this Subject. I add, that if his general Expressions in those Comments, are to be interpreted of all Men, and that, if at the Time of his writing those Comments, he was of Opinion, that the Extent of Christ’s Death is universal; it is evident he afterwards changed his Sentiments, in this Point, on farther Enquiry: His Note on 1 John 2:2. is a full Proof of this: A Part of which Note, this Gentleman presents the Reader with, but suppresses that Part of it, which acquaints us with the real Sentiments of that great Reformer, on this Subject: The Truth is, a more partial, unfair, and disingenuous Quotation of an Author, to serve a Turn, will not soon be met with: I can hardly allow myself to think that the Gentleman, whom I have Reason to believe, is the Author of this Book, would descend to so low a Piece of Artifice to gain Countenance to his own Opinion; I should rather imagine that he took it from Mr. Baxter, as it stands in his Catholic Theology, but that I observe some small Variation from his Manner of quoting it. However, it is certain, when Calvin wrote this Note, he no more believed that Christ died for all Men to save them, than he believed, that he died for Devils; for he says expressly, under the Term all, Reprobates are not comprehended The Reader may please to take a View of his Note entire, and he then will see, that Calvin’s Opinion was, Christ died for the Elect and Church of God only.

  The Note runs thus, not for ours only: This he adds for illustrating or enlarging his Subject, that Believers might really be persuaded, that the Expiation effected by Christ, is extended to all who receive the Gospel by Faith. But here a Question is moved, how the Sins of the whole World can be expiated? I omit the Ravings of frantic Men, who admit, with this Pretence, all REPROBATES, yea, and Satan himself to Salvation. This monstrous Figment is unworthy of any Refutation. Some to avoid this Absurdity, have said Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole World, but effectually for the Elect alone, This Solution commonly obtains in the Schools, although I confess this to be true, yet I deny it agrees to this Place. The Design of John was no other, than to shew, this is a Benefit common to the whole Church. Therefore under the Term all he includes not REPROBATES; but he designs those, who as they believed, were also dispersed through various Parts of the World. For then is the Grace of Christ truly illustrated, as it is meet it should be, when it is published as the Salvation of the Worldf44.

  This Gentleman favours the Reader only with this imperfect Part of Calvin’s Note: How can the Sins of the whole World be expiated? Some have said Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole World, but effectually for the sins of the Elect alone; this is the common Solution of the Schools, and though I confess this to be true, yet I don’t think it agrees to this Place (Page 237.). Was ever any Author more unfairly quoted, to serve a Turn in a Point of Controversy? I am of Opinion, that the Reader wilt think with me, no Author can well be cited in a more partial Manner. The true Sentiments of Calvin, are entirely kept from View; if they had been brought to Light, the Reader would have seen, that by the general Terms, he makes Use of in some other of his Comments on several Texts, he did not intend that Christ died for REPROBATES, or if he did then so intend, that he had now changed his Sentiments in this Matter. Thus we see, that a Gentleman of great Ingenuity, in Heat of Controversy, may be guilty of very great Unfairness and Partially, in the Citation of an Author, whom he is desirous to represent as a Favourer of his own Opinions.

 

18- CHAPTER 7

Contains Answers to the Author’s General Objections

Object. 1. Reprobation, in the most severe absolute Sense of it, says he, stands in such a direct Contradiction to all our Notions of Kindness and Love to others, in which the blessed God is set forth as our Example, that our Reason cannot tell how to receive it (Page 244.).

  Answ. 1. That some of the human Race are hated of God, and appointed to Wrath and ever-lasting Condemnation, Is as evident from Scripture, as it is, that others on the contrary are chosen to eternal Felicity. And if this was a Doctrine attended with Difficulties, to us insuperable and inexplicable, we ought, nevertheless, to readily and heartily assent to it, in a holy Submission to the sovereign and righteous Will and Counsel of God, whose Judgments tho’ deep and infathomable, must we are sure, necessarily be equitable and just: In a Refusal of it we shall certainly be deem’d guilty of inexcusable Incredulity and Folly: How much more shall we expose ourselves to the divine Censure, if we refuse to believe a Doctrine, not only revealed of God, but let in such a Light, as raises it above any reasonable Objections, which this Doctrine is, as will quickly appear.

II. This Gentleman observes, that it hath a dreadful Aspect, upon far the greatest Part of our Fellow-Creatures considered as mere Creatures (Ibid.) i.e. as I suppose he means not considered as guilty of Sin.

  Answ. 1. This Observation seems to me not true: I cannot but account it a most unfair, as well as a disadvantageous Method of Rating that Doctrine. For, I. Reprobation is either an Act of Preterition, wherein God decreed not to bestow eternal Bliss on some Men, which none had a Right to claim, and therefore he was at Liberty, to appoint Men to that happy State or not, just as it pleased him, and his purposing to bestow it on some, was an Act of undeserved and sovereign Favour towards them; and his Decree not to confer eternal Glory on others, was a sovereign Act of his; but it contains nothing of Injustice in it; since they, nor others, had the least Right or Claim to it.

  2. It is Pre-Damnation or an Appointment to suffer Penalty, which Act passed not in the divine Mind without Respect had to Sin, as deserving that Punishment: So that Men were not considered as MERE Creatures; but as guilty and worthy of Death in this Act of God. Now if there is nothing contrary to the Kindness and Goodness of God, in the actual Infliction of Punishment for Sin committed; why it should be thought inconsistent with the Kindness and Goodness of God, to will or purpose to inflict that deferred Punishment, it will be found no easy Matter to assign the Reason of.

3. Is God obliged to provide for the Recovery of his guilty Creatures, and must he be charged with Cruelty if he does not? Then, why is not Provision made for the Salvation of the Apostate Spirits, for Devils as well as Men? His awful Dealing with them, is a full Proof, that his Kindness and Goodness lay him under no Obligation to provide afresh, for the Happiness of his offending Creatures, and to put them on a new Foot of Hope.

4. It is a Favour that sinful Men are permitted to dwell on the Earth, in the Midst of so many Mercies, for so long a Time as they do, since Justice might be much more speedily executed on them.

  III. The learned Author enquires, What great Advantages can be derived to Religion and Christianity, by endeavouring to limit the Extent of the Death of Christ and to take away all manner of Hopes, and Prayers, and Endeavours, from the Non-elect (Page 245.).

Answ. 1. No Advantage arises to the Satisfaction of Christ, by asserting that many of those may and certainly will suffer the Torments of Hell for EVER, on whose Account he sustained Punishment: This is a manifest Subversion of the Reality and Perfection of his Satisfaction, and it offers great Prejudice to revealed Religion and Christianity, and therefore is by no means to be endured, let who will appear an Advocate for it.

2. No unregenerate Man, may justly entertain Hopes of Salvation, remaining in a State of Unregeneracy, even upon the Principles of this Author; for he allows that no Man will be saved, unless he believes and repents; an Unbeliever and impenitent Person therefore, while he is so, cannot hope upon solid Grounds, that he shall be happy hereafter. And as none know, while in that State, whether they are Objects of Election, or the contrary: As on the one Hand, they cannot conclude upon their Election; so on the other, they have no Evidence of their Reprobation. Hence it is easily to be discerned, that they are not by the Doctrine of Election justly discouraged from those Hopes, Prayers, and Endeavours, of which any may apprehend them capable, without the Grace of God.

3. The Sentiments of this Gentleman are full as discouraging, as the Opinion he opposes is: For since he will not allow, that God gives effectual Grace to the Non-elect, their Salvation is impossible, and their Damnation is ascertain, as if no such conditional Provision of Salvation was made for them, which will be hereafter prov’d. His Opinion really sinks the Merit of the Redeemer, infinitely below its true Value, subverts his proper Satisfaction for Sin, without the least Advantage to the Non-elect, for whom he thinks Christ died, as well as for the Elect.

  IV. He enquires, Are the Elect discouraged by it? Not in the least (P. 246.).

Answ. 1. Many of the Elect, under serious Impressions, are much in doubt about their Election: This I suppose will be granted.

  2. It is affirmed that God by his Spirit often works upon the Minds of the Non-elect, and excites and stirs them up to desire and seek after Salvation in Christ: But since he gives them not effectual Grace, they may thro’ their own Folly and Obstinacy cause the Spirit to withdraw from them, and may never become regenerate or meet for Heaven; and therefore notwithstanding these divine Influences upon them, and their Desires after Christ and his Salvation, to Hell they must as certainly go, as if they had never felt or experienced any of those Things. Doctrine of a more discouraging Nature to a tender Mind, convinced of Sin, and of a Need of Christ, without a Persuasion of an Interest in God’s electing Love, will not, I am of Opinion, very soon be invented and propagated by Men, who are profess’d Adversaries to evangelical Truths. The Case in Fact is this, if the Sentiments of this Gentleman contain any Thing of an encouraging Nature to Sinners, they are not the spiritually awakened and convinc’d; but the Careless and Unconcerned about heavenly Things, as it seems to me, who are but too apt to presume upon the Sufficiency of their own NATURAL Powers, with COMMON Helps to obtain Salvation.

  IV. Says this Gentleman, But many Persons who are awakened to a Sense of Sin, and are seeking after Christ for Salvation, by this narrow Doctrine may be terribly discouraged, from receiving his Offers of Grace, when they are taught to doubt whether there be any Grace provided for them, or whether Jesus be appointed to act as their Saviour (Ibid.).

  Answ. 1. A narrow Doctrine is most likely to be true, because the Way to Life is narrow, and but Few will find it, as we think, since he who is the Truth hath said it, and those Few, are only the chosen Few: None besides them discover and walk in this Way. And this Doctrine being called narrow in a Way of Contempt, by any Man, or Set of Men whatsoever, will give us no other Concern, than what arises from the Consideration of their offending against Christ and his Gospel.

2. Who teach Men awakened to a Sense of Sin, and to seek after Christ, to doubt whether any Grace is provided for them, or whether Jesus was appointed to act as a Saviour for them? Surely not such as constantly teach, that because Grace was provided for them in eternal Election, and Christ was appointed to act as a Saviour for them, therefore his Spirit operates in this Manner on their Hearts, and raises Desires in them after Christ and his Salvation, which Desires God graciously hears, and will certainly satisfy: I say not such Teachers surely, and I pray the Lord to deliver his Churches, from all such as teach otherwise.

V. It may, says he, drive some poor Souls to Despair, when they hear that unless they are elected they may seek after Salvation by Christ in vain (Ibid.).

Answ. The Doctrine of Election affords the greatest Encouragement to such as seek after Christ and Salvation by him, because it supposes, that this Act of seeking, is a Fruit of it, and that they who seek shall find.

  VI. It may, adds he, tempt them to begin at the wrong End, and seek to pry into the Counsels of God, etc. before they dare trust in Grace, or submit to the Gospel of Christ (Ibid.).

  Answ. 1. God’s Word, and not his secret Purpose is the Rule of our Conduct.

  2. There is nothing in the Doctrine, that leads to this Practice, and if Men are prevailed with to act such a Part, by Unbelief, or Satan, that is no just Objection to the Doctrine itself.

  3. In thus seeking they submit to Christ’s Gospel, and therefore shall be saved.

  PART 3.   IN this third Part 1 intend the Proof of the Impossibility of the Salvation of the Non-elect, upon the Supposition of a conditional Provision only, being made for their Happiness. The Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, allows, that they cannot obtain Life by the Law of Innocency, or Covenant of Works; because that requires Perfection of every Man, in order to it: If therefore, they secure their eternal Felicity, it must be by the Observation of a Law, which enjoins easier Terms and Conditions of Life, than that Law doth. I observe he cautiously avoids the Use of the Terms, a new and remedial, or milder Law, which have commonly been used about this Subject, by such Persons, with whom he agrees; particularly by Mr. Baxter, whose Track of Thoughts, he has very nearly followed, in what he delivers on this Subject, and in his Attempt to reconcile the Calvinists and Arminians. Since he means the same Thing, it is of very little Consideration, that he declines the Use of the Terms, perhaps he might have particular Reasons, which determined him, to make use of a somewhat different Mode of speaking, when he intended to convey to the Reader the very same Ideas. God forbid, that by a Change of the Mode of Language, we should be led to another Gospel, which is not another, no Gospel of Christ at all. I hope that such is our firm Regard to the free Grace of God, as the alone and entire Cause of Salvation, in Opposition to Works, perfect or imperfect, that we shall not be prevailed with, by a Representation of Works, as Causes of Salvation, in any Sense, tho’ in a different Dress, to part with the pure and unmixed Gospel of Christ. No surely, we shall be able to discover, when Works are represented, as having a casual Influence into Salvation, in what Language soever, such an Opinion is express’d. I have always apprehended, that Letters, Syllables, and Words, are perfectly indifferent Things, neither good nor bad, and that it is acting a very low Part, to object to Terms, which are only Signs of our Ideas, provided we are agreed about the Thought or Idea convey’d by those Terms: But yet we ought to deliver our Conceptions, especially in divine Things, by such Words as are properly expressive of our Ideas, and of the Truth itself. So that it is of some Moment, whether Faith shall be called a Condition of Salvation or not; because that Term is capable of a Construction, inconsistent with free Justification by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ alone: And therefore it is necessary, that the Use of that Term should be laid aside.  

19 [Part Three] - Chapter One

 

{PART 3. CHAPTER ONE}

IN this third Part 1 intend the Proof of the Impossibility of the Salvation of the Non-elect, upon the Supposition of a conditional Provision only, being made for their Happiness. The Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, allows, that they cannot obtain Life by the Law of Innocency, or Covenant of Works; because that requires Perfection of every Man, in order to it: If therefore, they secure their eternal Felicity, it must be by the Observation of a Law, which enjoins easier Terms and Conditions of Life, than that Law doth. I observe he cautiously avoids the Use of the Terms, a new and remedial, or milder Law, which have commonly been used about this Subject, by such Persons, with whom he agrees; particularly by Mr. Baxter, whose Track of Thoughts, he has very nearly followed, in what he delivers on this Subject, and in his Attempt to reconcile the Calvinists and Arminians. Since he means the same Thing, it is of very little Consideration, that he declines the Use of the Terms, perhaps he might have particular Reasons, which determined him, to make use of a somewhat different Mode of speaking, when he intended to convey to the Reader the very same Ideas. God forbid, that by a Change of the Mode of Language, we should be led to another Gospel, which is not another, no Gospel of Christ at all. I hope that such is our firm Regard to the free Grace of God, as the alone and entire Cause of Salvation, in Opposition to Works, perfect or imperfect, that we shall not be prevailed with, by a Representation of Works, as Causes of Salvation, in any Sense, tho’ in a different Dress, to part with the pure and unmixed Gospel of Christ. No surely, we shall be able to discover, when Works are represented, as having a casual Influence into Salvation, in what Language soever, such an Opinion is express’d. I have always apprehended, that Letters, Syllables, and Words, are perfectly indifferent Things, neither good nor bad, and that it is acting a very low Part, to object to Terms, which are only Signs of our Ideas, provided we are agreed about the Thought or Idea convey’d by those Terms: But yet we ought to deliver our Conceptions, especially in divine Things, by such Words as are properly expressive of our Ideas, and of the Truth itself. So that it is of some Moment, whether Faith shall be called a Condition of Salvation or not; because that Term is capable of a Construction, inconsistent with free Justification by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ alone: And therefore it is necessary, that the Use of that Term should be laid aside.  

  The Law of Innocency proved to be in full Force; Believers are under it as a Rule of Conduct;

Its various Uses to them are shewn; The Non-elect are under it in the Form of a Covenant of Works.

  SOCINIANS, Arminians, and Baxterians, all agree in an Opposition to the holy Law of God, which is the invariable and eternal Rule of Righteousness to Men: They contend, that since, that Law requires absolute Perfection in Heart and Life, and Men are depraved and cannot obey it, or obtain Life by it, Christ hath introduced new Law, which enjoins easier Terms and Conditions, and which it is in the Power of Men with common Helps to keep, and secure eternal Happiness by the Observation of. If another Law is enacted by Christ, under which Man was not, in a State of Innocence, that Law is either perfect or imperfect, or though the Law is perfect, God will justify and save Men by an imperfect Observation of it. If the Law is perfect and requires complete Holiness in Heart and Life, it is the very same, that was given to Man in his primitive Estate, i.e. it is the same materially and not another specifically different from it: If it is another specifically distinct from it; then indeed, it is an imperfect Law, and exact and universal Purity is not required by it, which to suppose, makes our Saviour the Minister of Sin, and to allow of Iniquity by a Law.

  You will say this is a very heavy Charge, which deeply affects the Sentiments of some good Men; true it is so; but I am under no Scruple of fully supporting this Charge, heavy as it is. The Law of Innocence is not abrogated, and another essentially distinct from it, introduced into its Room, as at needs must be, if perfect Holiness is not commanded.

  I. The Apostle Paul constantly teaches, that the Gospel doth not make void the holy Law of God; but on the contrary he asserts in the strongest Manner the Establishment of the Law by the Gospel: With respect to Believers they are not indeed under it, considered formally as a Covenant promising Reward in Case of Obedience and threatening Punishment upon a Breach of its Precepts, for they are not under the Law, as in form of a Covenant, but under Grace in Covenant Form, they are not without Law or a Rule of Conduct to God, but are under the Law to Christ. It hath been frequently and with great Confidence objected to the Assertors of the free Grace of God, that they deny, that Believers are under any Obligation to keep the Law, as a Rule of Behaviour, if any such Persons are to be found, their Number I am persuaded is very inconsiderable, would to God that none of his rational Creatures ever admitted a Thought so contrary to the Purity of his Nature, and destructive of his Government. For my own Part I declare I shall as soon believe, that not a Word of the Gospel is true, as that Believers are not obliged to observe the holy and perfect Law of God, as a Rule of Conversation and Walk: I would offer several Things to the Consideration of the Reader, in order to expose the egregious Folly and unparallel’d Immorality of such a wild and extravagant Conceit.

  1. This necessarily supposes that none of the Actions of a Believer are sinful. If the apostolical Definition of Sin, is allowed to be just and true, the necessary Consequence is, that where no Law is, there is no Transgression; then a Neglect to reverence, adore, and serve God, will be no Sin, then the Perpretation of the most abominable Vices will not be criminal: For if Sin is a Transgression of a Law, and Believers are not under the Law, this Consequence is unavoidable. Maccovius rightly observes, Should no Law intervene, there would be no good Work, nor any Sin, all Actions would then be indifferent. Therefore,

  2. The Distinction of Good and Evil would then vanish into Air, and cease to be: Upon such a Principle, the eternal Difference between right and wrong, just and unjust, Holiness and Sin, can never subsist.

  3. According to this licentious Opinion, no Actions of Believers would deserve Punishment; for it is a Breach of the Law only that subjects Men to Penalty, and the Displeasure of God, then there would be no Need for them to address the divine Being, in the Manner the inspired Writer did, rebuke me not in thine Anger, neither chasten me in thy hot Displeasure.

  4. This therefore is an unavoidable Consequence of such an immoral Principle, that Christ suffered for no Actions of Believers. The Doctrine of the Scriptures is, that he bore their Sins, and sustain’d the Punishment by them demerited: If Believers are under no Law they sin not, nor could Christ have any Sin of theirs imputed to him, he could not be wounded for their Transgressions, and bruised for their Iniquities: What then becomes of the Gospel as well as the Law, we have neither the one nor the other.

  5. This vile Opinion is subversive of the Experience of Believers: They are much disquieted in their Minds through the unregenerate Part, that is in them, and the Motions of it; but upon an Application of the Blood of Christ they enjoy Peace and Tranquillity. A Sense of Sin and Guilt distresses them, a View of Pardon fills them with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory: But if they are under no Law, and sin not, they cannot be either Subjects of Sorrow through a Sense of Sin, or of Joy through a Discovery of Remission.

  6. Evangelical Repentance can have no Place, because that is a godly Sorrow for Sin: If Believers are not Subjects of Sin, (as they are not if they are under no Law,) they cannot be Subjects of Repentance. This is so contrary to Scripture and Experience, that nothing can be more so, they look on Christ whom they have pierced, or who suffered for their Sins, and mourn as a Man mourneth for his only Son.

  7. Hence it follows, that Christian Communities have no Rules to walk by; nay, it is impossible that there should according to this Principle, be any Christian Churches or Societies, if a particular Believer is under no Law a Collection of them can be under none; then they are not obliged to comfort the distressed, to support the weak, to relieve the necessitous, to reprove the loose, or eject the scandalous, and the Church at Corinth was put upon a wrong Practice by the Apostle, in casting out the incestuous Person.

  8. This necessarily supposes that Christ dissolved all Obligation to Duty, than which, there is not any thing more false. His Satisfaction secures the Persons of Believers from Punishment, but changes not the Nature of their Actions: Vicious Acts in them are still sinful, and will eternally remain so; Redemption from the Law’s Curse, frees not from the Obligation to observes its Precepts.

  9. This abominable Notion eclipses the Glory of free Grace in the Remission of Sin: If it is not allow’d that Sin is committed by Believers, how can free Grace be discovered in their Forgiveness? ‘Tis a most plain Contradiction, that Sin is forgiven to the Saints, if it be denied that they contract Guilt.

  10. If no divine Law is in Force to Believers, God is not their Governor or Christ their King: Rule and Dominion necessarily supposes a Law or Rule of Behaviour is given to the governed: If Believers are under no Law, God then exercises no Rule over them or concerns himself about their Conduct: It is a Thing indifferent to him, whether they honour or dishonour him, adore or deny him his Glory.

  11. This monstrous Opinion sets aside the Work of the Spirit upon the Hearts of the Saints: If they are under no Law, then it can’t be imagined that the Spirit of God convinces them of Sin, humbles them for it, or raises Desires in them, of a Freedom from it, or gives them Joy and Peace under a Sense of pardoning Love, or in a Word, that he sanctifies their Hearts, and makes them holy, for all their Holiness and Sin are only imaginary Things.

  II. The holy and righteous Law of God, is of great Use and Advantage to the Saints: The proper Use of it is very profitable, and it serves to excellent Purposes; the Law is good if a man use it lawfully, and therefore it is not made void or abrogated by the Gospel, its Uses to the Saints are such as follow.

  1. They collect from it what Thoughts, Words and Actions are good or sinful. That the Commands and Prohibitions of the Law extend to the Acts of our Minds, to internal as well as external Acts, is most evident from the Exposition given of it by our Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount; tis a very mistaken Apprehension that Men are not accountable for their Thoughts, however difficult they may find it to preserve them pure, regular and holy. We cannot exercise that Humiliation necessary to Creatures guilty and vile, without a Sense of that Guilt we have contracted, and the Knowledge of this is only to be acquired from the Law of God, the Rule of our Conduct, and therefore an Acquaintance with, and a strict Regard to that Law, in its Precepts and Prohibitions, procure us great Benefit.

  2. It is from the Law of God we learn our miserable Condition by Nature: That we are destitute of a Righteousness necessary to our Acceptance with the divine Legislator; we are taught by the Purity, Spirituality and vast Compass of his Commands; and the Menaces of the Law in Care of Disobedience give us a full Conviction of that Wrath, Vengeance, and Weight of Punishment, to which our Crimes export us, hence we cannot but conclude, that our natural State is very calamitous and sad. 3. It is by the Law of God we discover the absolute Necessity, of placing our Hopes and Confidence in the Righteousness of Christ alone, which only is commensurable to its extensive Demands: ‘Till Men are under a powerful Conviction of the Defers and Blemishes, that attend their own Obedience, they will not submit to the perfect Obedience of a Saviour, which is that Righteousness, that is revealed in the Gospel from Faith to Faith. And it is only in the Glass of God’s Law, that we can see how defective we are, in every Act of Duty, and get an Acquaintance with our numerous Offences.

  4. By a proper Knowledge of the divine Law, we are excited to adore divine Goodness, which provided a Redeemer for us. In Proportion to our Apprehensions of the Misery, to which Sin hath exposed us, and the Difficulty that attended our Recovery, and the dreadful Nature of that Curse Christ endured for us, will our Gratitude rise for that Salvation, the sovereign Love and Favour of God designed to us, through the Mediation and Merits of his Son.

  5. The Law furnishes us with the Knowledge of our Duty; Ignorance of the Part we ought to act, in a Variety of Instances, towards God, ourselves and our Neighbour, is no small Branch of the Unhappiness attending human Nature. It is only by that Law which is wisely made the Rule of our Deportment in all Things, that we can improve in our Knowledge of Duty, and get rid of that Darkness and Ignorance about the manner of conducting ourselves, which is a Reproach to the Race of Mankind. These are some of those Advantages, which arise to us from the righteous Law of God, but it is here to be observed that the Law cannot be of that Service to us, we plead for, unless it is perfect: This leads me to shew, that a Law of milder Terms, and easier Conditions of Life is not given to Men.

  III. The Enaction of an imperfect Law, is a mistaken Opinion, which thus appears,

  1. It is inconsistent with the Perfections of God.

  (1). It is contrary to his infinite Purity and Holiness. Such as Is the Nature of God, such is his Law; his Nature is holy, and so is his Law. Holiness he cannot but approve and command: Sin he cannot but hate and forbid: Nothing more dishonourable to God will Men soon invent, than is the Opinion of his being the Author of an imperfect Law.

  (2). This cannot consist with the Immutability of God. That which God commands, he esteems good; and what he forbids, is evil in his Account. If God ceases to enjoyn the Holiness he once did, or to forbid the Evil in any Instance which he strictly prohibited, it follows, that what he once accounted good, and what in his Esteem once was Evil, are not by the divine Mind considered in the same View, which is incompatible with the Invariableness of God our supreme Lord and Judge. Thus it must be, unless God requires not what he approves, and forbids not what he disapproves, which is a Thought that will not be readily admitted, by those who have a due Concern for the Glory of God.

  (3). It would be an Impeachment of the Wisdom of God to conceive him the Author of such a Law, as essentially differs from that he before gave. It is not possible for human Governments, who have only an imperfect View of things, and as they at present appear, to enact Laws, in many Cases, which if always to be continued in Force, would no Way be prejudicial to themselves or to the Subjects; but such an Apprehension of the supreme Being, divers him of his infinite Wisdom, and limits his Knowledge.

  2. Such is the Nature of the divine Decrees, that their Accomplishment requires not the giving of a Law different from that of Innocence. It can’t be reasonably thought, that the Purposes of God are so framed, as to render any thing necessary, that is inconsistent with the Glory of his Attributes, far be it from us, to entertain so unbecoming an Opinion of God, who is infinitely wise, holy and just.

  1. God’s Decree to save Men is not conditional, but most free and absolute. If he purposed the Salvation of any Part of Mankind, upon certain Conditions, either the Performance of those Conditions is in their Power or it is not, if they have not Ability to fulfil those Conditions, then unless he gives them Strength for their Performance, Salvation is impossible to be attained, and we must necessarily suppose God to will and decree, that to be, which he knew could not be, because be would not do that for Men, which the Accomplishment of his Designs about them, necessarily required him to do. If God will enable Men to perform those Terms of Life, then their final Happiness is certain, but this is not granted, it is only allow’d, that God affords those Aids and Assistances to Men, which if duly improved would be sufficient to secure their Felicity. But,

  (1.) Can this be conceiv’d of such a Part of the human Race, as are wholly ignorant, that Salvation is at all intended for any by Jesus Christ? Surely not. (2.) The Helps which are said to be given to such a Part of Mankind, as hear the Gospel, either make Men regenerate, and inspire them with Life, or they do not; if they do, then is their Salvation not a thing doubtful, but certain; if they do not, then let Men say what they please, till it is prov’d that Persons unregenerate, and under the Dominion of Sin, and dead in it, and who are in the Flesh, may perform Service acceptable to God, which may perhaps be found a very difficult Matter to be prov’d, if it should ever be attempted: Salvation, notwithstanding these supposed common Helps and Assistances, will remain a Thing impossible, and God must be thought to have decreed that to be, which he eternally knew could never be. A Purpose of this Sort, who will attribute to a wise Man, and shall we admit such an Apprehension of God who is in Wisdom infinite? Therefore God’s Decree of saving Men is inconditional, of Consequence Life and Happiness are not proposed on Terms and Conditions to be performed by Men; but are freely promised, and graciously bestowed on all such, whom God intended to save: This Consideration alone, I should think is sufficient to disprove the Opinion of a conditional Salvation provided for any.

  2. God willed not to impute Sin to those, whom he purposed to reconcile to himself by Jesus Christ, 2Co 5:19. God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, not imputing their Trespasses to them: Where there is a Non-imputation of Sin, there can be no Infliction of Punishment; if there may, then the Happiness of those to whom Sin is not imputed, is not certainly inferable from the Non-imputation of Guilt; but thus it is in the Opinion of the Apostle, blessed is the Man to whom the Lord will not impute Sin, or did God once intend not to charge Sin on Men, but afterwards changed his Purpose; what should be the Reason of such an Alteration in the divine Mind? Is it because the Satisfaction of Christ is incomplete? Then is he an imperfect Saviour, we are inevitably undone, and God is disappointed of his End, in the Constitution of his Son a Redeemer to his People, which may by no Means be allow’d of, or is it because Men fail of performing what is necessary on their Part to actual Pardon? Then God only willed in a conditional Manner their Remission, but decreed absolutely the Satisfaction of Christ for their Sins, and agreeable to this absolute Decree, actually charged Sin on Christ, and punished him in the Stead of Sinners whom he proposed to save, and yet, he also charges Sin on many of those Persons, and eternally damns them for those Sins: If the Justice of God in such a Procedure may be vindicated, I should be glad to see it done, a Decree to pardon Sinners conditionally, cannot consist with an absolute Decree that Christ should satisfy for Sin: There therefore is no such conditional Grant of Pardon to all Men, which may not take Place as to the greater Part of them.

  3. God decreed to justify Sinners by the Obedience of Christ, and as he viewed them in his Righteousness, they ever were the Objects of his Approbation and Delight. Such as are the Subjects of Vocation, are the Objects of Justification, for whom God calls, them he justifies if the Apostle be right: But he calls not all, even externally, and many who hear the Gospel, he calls not effctually; now, I ask if the Righteousness of Christ secures Justification to all such, for whom that Righteousness was intended of God? If it is answered no, then it should seem to follow, that God is disappointed of his End, in designing that Righteousness to such a Purpose: This will be denied, and it will be urg’d, that it was intended for all such, as believe, and no others; then I would ask another Question, can Men believe without the Grace of Faith is given? If so, it is of themselves, and not the Gift of God, and we have hitherto been mistaken in considering it as a divine Gift, and were unhappily led into that Mistake, by an express Assertion of the Apostle, that so it is, his Assertions are therefore not to be admitted without some Caution. But if it should prove after all, that the Apostle was right, then, I ask will God give the. Grace of Faith to all such, for whom the Righteousness of Christ was designed? If you answer, God will afford such Helps to Men, as are sufficient to enable them to believe: This I observe is either true of some only, or it is true of all; it can’t be true of all, because Christ was never proposed as an Object of Faith to many. Again, these Helps afforded to some Part of Mankind, either produce the Grace and Habit of Faith in them, or they do not: If they do, then all who enjoy those Helps, actually become Believers, for where the Grace of Faith is wrought, God doth not fail to educe it into Act: If they do not produce the Habit of Faith in the Souls of Men, and yet they are sufficient to enable Men to believe, it mutt then be granted, that heavenly Acts, may be where there is no spiritual Life, that Men dead in Sin under the Dominion of it, whole Hearts are Stone, who are unregenerate, and in the Flesh, may please God, that Grapes may be gathered of Thorns, and Figs of Thistles, and that the Tree need not be made good, in order to bring forth good Fruit.

  4. If God decreed the Salvation of all Men conditionally, he either decreed to give them that Grace which is necessary to assist them to perform those Terms of Life, which pursuant to that his Decree he sets before them. If he did not decree to confer those Aids, that are absolutely necessary to fulfilling the Conditions of Salvation, their Damnation is inevitable, and certain: If God decreed to afford them sufficient Helps, then those Helps regenerate Men or they do not; if they do, then all Men shall be saved, unless it may be that heavenly Life, created in their Hearts is extinguished, and they after divine Quickenings become dead in Sin, which cannot be; for in whomsoever a good Work is begun, it shall be performed until the Day of Christ: If there Assistances give not Life, they are insufficient to enable a dead Man to act: If they produce no Principle of Love to God, they are insufficient to cause Enmity, to love him and his Ways, so that the Decrees of God, concerning the Salvation of Sinners cannot be conditional, nor is a Law of easier Terms and Conditions of Life, given to Men, by which they may obtain Happiness.

  IV. Many Absurdities attend the Supposition of the Enaction and Introduction of such a Law, which I shall now mention: It is apprehended that the Conditions and Terms of Life proposed to Men, are Faith, Repentance, and sincere Obedience, that this new Law pronounces not Damnation in Care of Sin; but only in Case Repentance is wanting. If thus it is, then I observe as follows:

  1. A Person really regenerate may be guilty of the most flagitious Crimes: If Murder, Incest, Adultery, Cursing, Swearing, and a Denial of Christ, may be so esteem’d the Observation therefore of this Law may consist with the worst of Vices.

  2. If no other Obedience is commanded in this Law, than may be interrupted by the Commission of such detestable Crimes, it will follow, that there are not Sins, for all Sin is a Transgression of some Law: Its not supposed, that Men are under any other Law, if therefore they are not Breaches of this Law or Covenant, it is a very imperfect Law indeed, and an infinitely holy God can no more be the Author of it, than he can be the Author of Sin, which he necessarily hates.

  3. Sin and Imperfection are even necessary to our Acceptance with God: Such an Obedience in Kind, as the Law requires to that End, we must yield and not another, that is specifically different from it; but such a perfect Obedience is: And therefore by, or according to this Law, perfect Obedience cannot intitle us to Life and Happiness, for such the Law requires not: Principles nothing so dishonourable to God, and contrary to his Law would be branded with the odious Name of Antinomianism in some Men, by those who embrace this detestable Opinion.

  4. It is a plain Contradiction, to affirm that this Law is not violated by Believers, and yet that Repentance is a necessary Condition of it, for Repentance presupposes the Commission of Sin, since it is a godly Sorrow for it, wherefore those who sin not, they cannot act Repentance; For as has been before observed: Sin is a Breach of some Law, Men cannot violate a Law, under which they are not, ’tis denied that they are under the perfect Law of God, against that Law therefore they do not offend, and if this new Law is not violated, it will be difficult to prove that Repentance is a Condition of it.

  5. If to avoid there Consequences which are most evidently absurd, it should be said that this Law forbids all Sin, and requires universal Holiness, it is the very same with that Law given to Man before his Fall, and it is not possible that Men should keep it, or obtain Life by it; to this it is answer’d by Limborch, That the Law, yea the Law of Christ forbids all Sin, but that God doth not rigourously insist on a complete Obedience to it:But uses Indulgence as a kind Father, pardons the Sins of Believers, and accepts of their sincere Obedience in the Room of perfect.

To which I reply,

  1. The most detestable Crimes do not expose them to God’s Displeasure, that Believers may, and that they have fallen into the worst of Sins is capable of the most evident Proof. Is their sincere Obedience, notwithstanding those Miscarriages accepted of God, how can it be, That that Obedience should deserve Reward, and Punishment also? Not by the same Law sure, which this Opinion supposes; but there are Things so plainly contradictory, that both cannot rationally be allow’d to be true.

2. If this Law forbids all Sin, Men cannot perfectly obey it; and if God justifies and fares Men on Account of their imperfect Obedience, then he hath published a Law which he intended should never be fulfilled, either by Sinners themselves, or by a Surety for them, how much this makes for the Honour of the divine Law, every intelligent Reader will easily determine.

3. This Opinion naturally tends to pacify a guilty Conscience without an Application of the Blood of Christ; which is the only proper Means of the Removal of Guilt; because it is the sole meritorious Cause of Pardon. If this new Law doth not subject us to Penalty, unless for Impenitence, it is our Repentance, that is the proper Condition and Cause of Remission, and not the Sacrifice of Christ. If this does not let aside the comfortable Experience of the Saints in applying to a crucify’d Saviour, for a Sense of Pardon, I am much mistaken.

4. This Notion supposes that imperfect Works intitle us to Life, they therefore do not subject us to Condemnation and Wrath; but Heaven is bestowed on such who according to the perfect Law of God, deserve Hell and eternal Destruction, and that on Account of their own filthy Rags, for such are the best Duties of the Saints, when compared to the holy Law of God, if this is not Antinomianism, pray what shall, or may we so esteem?

5. If God in justifying Men, accounts them righteous, they are so, or they are not, if they are righteous, then they have perfectly observed that Law which was the Rule of their Conduct, or else they cannot be truly so accounted, if this may be then opposite Characters agree to them, just and unjust, righteous and unrighteous, and they merit a Reward, and deserve Punishment, by one and the same Obedience, which cannot be, if Men are not righteous, then God in justifying of them, forms not his Opinion of them according to Truth, he esteems them to be what in Reality they are not, which who will dare affirm.

  Upon the Whole, there is no imperfect Law enacted or can be, which sinful Men may keep, nor doth God or can he justify Men, for an imperfect Obedience to a perfect Law, the Opinion therefore of a conditional Provision of Salvation for all Mankind, is down right Error, dishonourable to God and no Way profitable to Men, as shall be hereafter proved. The Law of Innocency is in full Force, the Elect are redeemed from its Curse by the Blood of Christ, God acts towards them, upon the Foot of a Covenant of Grace, diametrically opposite to that, and by this their eternal Salvation is secured, the Non-elect are left under the Covenant of Works, to them no Law is given which can give Life, and by which a justifying Righteousness can come, their Salvation therefore is not possible.

1. If the Non-elect are not under the Law of Innocency, they are under no Law, for there is no other Law, which the Things above urged, I apprehend prove very fully:If they are under it, they are under it as a Covenant, or as a Rule of Conduct only; if they are under it in the latter, and not in the former Sense, then their Sins are not imputed to them, they are not condemned, on them Punishment will not be executed; but they will be certainly saved, which none will affirm. They therefore are under it, as a Covenant of Works, and God will proceed towards them, agreeable to the Nature of that Law or Covenant.

  2. Those, to whom Sin is imputed, are under a Covenant of Works: For the Covenant of Grace promises the Remission of Sin, and therefore it is not according to the Nature of that Covenant to charge it. The Challenge which the Apostle expresses in Favour of God’s chosen, plainly supposes the Imputation of Sin to others: Who shall lay any Thing to the Charge of God’s Elect? It is God that justifies, who shall condemn? It is Christ that died. And if Sin is charged on the Persons of the Non-elect, as we have Reason to conclude it is; because this Challenge is given in the Name of the ELECT only: They are under the Covenant of Works, and have no Right to any of the Blessings of the Covenant of Grace, for they are not included in the Compass of it.

3. Condemnation is pronounced against such, as are not in Christ: None are in him, but those, who were chosen in him, and to whom he was appointed a Head in the divine Decrees. The Non-elect were not chosen in Christ, nor was he constituted a Head to them, and therefore they stand condemned or are under the Curse of the Law of Works: To suppose, that Christ may become a Head to any Persons, to whom he was not appointed such in God’s Decree, or that they may ever be in him as Members, is to extend his Headship beyond the divine Purposes, and can’t be true. Hence it follows, that Christ is not a Head of Life and Influence to more than the Elect of God, and therefore the whole Number of the Non-elect, are left under the Covenant of Works, and no conditional Provision of Salvation, is by any other Covenant made for, and granted to them.

4. They are no Part of his Church, for the Church of Christ only consists of such Persons, who are denominated, the first born, and who are written in Heaven: All others are trader the Covenant of Works.

5. God will proceed in Judgment towards them, agreeable to the Nature of that Covenant, to those of them, who have sinned without Law, as without Law, and to those of them, who have sinned in the Law, as under the external Revelation of that Law: And therefore we may strongly conclude, that they are under that Law or Covenant, for it is highly reasonable to suppose, that they are now under that Law, by which they will hereafter be tried and judg’d. Now, this Law proposes no other Terms or Conditions of Life, than perfect Works: Hence it is apparent, that no Proposal of imperfect Works, as Terms of future Happiness is made to the Non-elect.

6. Men cannot be under two Covenants, that are specifically distinct, under a Law of Works, and under a Covenant of Grace also. Either Men are under the Covenant of Grace or not: If they are under the Covenant of Grace, their Sins are forgiven, their Persons are justified, their Hearts shall be sanctified, and they shall be eternally sav’d, according to the Promises of that Covenant, which is ordered in all Things and sure. Since therefore many Men are not saved, they were never interested in the Covenant of Grace; but were left of God, as a righteous Judge, under the Covenant of Works.

7. A great, if not the greater Part of the Non-elect, hear nothing of the Gospel. Can it justly be supposed, that they are under a Covenant, which is entirely concealed from them, and that they will be judg’d by a Law, of which they never had the least Notice? This seems to me a very unreasonable Supposition. And if a great Part of them, will be proceeded against, in divine Judgment, according to the Law of Works: Can it reasonably be thought, that others of them will be judged by a different Law, one Part of them, by the Covenant or Law of perfect Works, and the other Part, by a Law of imperfect Works? Surely it cannot be.

20- CHAPTER 2

Shews, That no Law is given, which can give Life; That Faith and Repentance are Things impossible to unregenerate Men, and that God is the sole Author of Regeneration.

  THE Opinion of a conditional Grant of Life to Men, supposes, that a Laws given, by which Happiness is attainable, and that a justifying Righteousness may be by that Law: Against which I object, thus,

I. If any such Law was extant and in Force, in the Apostle’s Time, he had not the Pleasure of an Acquaintance with it, this is evident from his own Words: If there had been a Law given, which could have given Life, verily Righteousness would have been by the Law (Ga 3:21.). The Reasoning in which Text, (as the Apostle’s every where is) is exceeding clear and strong, ‘tis this: There is no Law enacted, by which Righteousness, justification, and Acceptance with God can be; and therefore there is no Law published, that can intitle Men to Life. The Opinion of Terms and Conditions of Life and Happiness, by fulfilling of which, Men may secure their eternal Blessedness, not being as ancient in the Church as the Time of this inspired Writer, I cannot believe it to be true.

II. If this Opinion is true, then, Salvation is due to the Works of Men: For if they perform those Terms and Conditions, which the Law prescribes, they may claim Life upon the Foot of Right, and the Reward cannot be esteemed of Grace; but must be accounted a due Debt: For to him that worketh, is the Reward, not reckon’d of Grace, but of Debt (Ro 4:4.). That Happiness becomes due to Men, on account of Works, is constantly denied: Not of Works, least any Man should boast (Eph 2:9.) Boasting is not excluded by a Law of Works; but by the Law of Faith (Eph 3:21.). To this it is answer’d, that the Apostle denies perfect Works to have Place in our Justification, or such Works as the Law of Innocency requires, which the Jews contended for; but that Works commanded by Christ, i.e. Faith, Repentance, and sincere Obedience, are Terms and Conditions of Life: To which I reply,

  1. No such Distinction of Works, is to be found, where ever the Apostle treats of this Subject, and therefore it is not to be prov’d, that perfect Works are ONLY excluded.

2. It is faith, that the Jews contended perfect Works, as Conditions of Life. For, they sought Life, as it were by the Works of the Law; and not by a perfect and sinless Observation of it.

3. They did not allow, that the Law of God required Perfection, in order to Life. This is so evident by the Vindication of the Law from their corrupt Interpretations of it, in the Sermon of Christ upon the Mount, that it will not admit of the least Doubt. And therefore to suppose the Apostle in his Debates with the Jews, only militates against the Opinion, of Justification by perfect Works, is to represent him as an impertinent Caviller, which is not greatly to his Honour.

4. It is irrational to think, that the Jews could entertain such an Apprehension: For,

  (1.) They had an Account of the Blemishes, which attended the most pious of their Forefathers, and therefore they could not conceive, that they were justify’d and sav’d, by a perfect Observation of the divine Law.

  (2.) Promises of Pardon were given, as a Foundation of Hope, in their sacred Writings, which would not permit them to imagine, that Salvation and Happiness, were alone to be expected by perfect Works.

(3.) The Ceremonial Law provided them with Sacrifices for Sin, and in a Variety of Instances, obliged them, to acknowledge that they were Sinners. How a People, in such Circumstances, could think that perfect Works, were the Terms and Conditions of Life, is hard to conceive.

III. If Faith, Repentance, and new Obedience, are the Terms and Conditions of Life, these are not in the Power of Men: They cannot believe in Christ, or truly repent of Sin, nor in a spiritual Manner obey God: To prove which, I offer the following Particulars to Consideration.

  1. Men cannot discern the Importance, Excellency and Worth of spiritual Things: Their Understanding is darkened; and therefore they are incapable of discovering the Beauty and Glory, of evangelical Truths: The natural Man receiveth not the Things of the Spirit of God: For they are Foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14.). ‘Tis as reasonable to think, a Man may discern Objects, who is naturally blind, as imagine a Sinner, who hath no spiritual Sight, is able to see the Value and Excellency of divine Mysteries.

  2. The Will of Man is averse to Holiness, and is strongly bent to Sin: Hence it is asserted, that, The carnal Mind is Enmity against God, that it is not subject to his Law, neither indeed can be (Ro 8:7.), and since there is such an Aversion to God, and such a Propensity to Evil fixed in the human Will, Men unregenerate cannot chuse those Things, that are pleasing to God, and which will conduce to their spiritual and eternal Welfare.

3. They are without spiritual Ability, and have not Power to perform what is spiritually good. The sacred Writer expressly affirms that we are without Strength, he doth not say, we are without great or sufficient Strength; but without Strength, which is exclusive of the least Degree of Power. And our Saviour asserts that without him we can do NOTHING: From him therefore Ability is derived, for the Performance, of every Act of evangelical Obedience.

4. The Hearts of Men are Stone: The natural Hardness of their Hearts, renders them incapable of evangelical Sorrow. The Adamant Stone will sooner yield to the Stroke of the Hammer, than the obdurate Hearts of Men, will yield to the Law’s Threatnings and Gospel Promises: They are harder than the nether Milstone, and are not susceptive of spiritual Impressions.

5. Men are dead or void of spiritual Life. Life is the Principle of Action: Since Sinners are not the Subjects of a divine Life, heavenly Acts are not within the Compass of their Power. Such are Faith, Repentance and holy Obedience: These then, if they are Conditions and Terms of Happiness, Men cannot perform, and of Consequence, it is impossible to obtain Life and Felicity, by a Law or Covenant, which requires those Things, in order to the Fruition of Bliss. It is allowed indeed, that divine Influences are necessary to enable Sinners to believe, to act Repentance and obey God: But not that any Principle or Habit of Grace, is infus’d and implanted by the Holy Spirit, in the Hearts of Men. Dr. Doddridge gives us his Sentiments, on this Subject in these Words: They who believed on him were possess’d of these Principles, not in Consequence, of their being born of Blood, i.e. their being descended from the Loins of the holy Patriarchs, or sharing in Circumcision and the Blood of the Sacrifices: Nor could they ascribe it MERELY to the WILL of the FLESH, i.e. their own superior Wisdom and Goodness, as if by the Power of corrupted Nature ALONE, they had made themselves to differf45. Elsewhere the same Gentleman has these Words: The Cause of Men’s final and everlasting Ruin, may be referred in one View of it, to God’s withholding those gracious Influences, which if they had been imparted, would indeed have subdued the greatest Perverseness; but the witholding these Influences, is not MERELY an ARBITRARY Act; (I suppose he means sovereign) but is a just Punishment of Men’s Wickedness, and of their obstinate Folly, in trifling with the Means of his Grace, and grieving his holy Spirit, till it was provoked to withdraw, This Thought, (no very bright and just one) which I might largely prove to you to be a Compendium of the Scripture Scheme, reconciles all; and any Consequences drawn from one Part of that Scheme, to the Denial of the other, how plausible soever, must CERTAINLY be falsef46. This is very strongly expressed indeed, and hardly leaves us room to think, the Gentleman apprehends himself, under a Possibility of being mistaken in this weighty Point. If I might be allowed to entertain any Scruple in a Matter, wherein this learned Person is so remarkably positive, I should think this Scheme to be antiscriptural, and imagine that Objections, far more than plausible, may be advanced against it:

They are such, as follow:

1. This Scheme supposes, that God intends the Salvation of some who perish: His Counsel therefore in there Instances doth not stand, and he does not all his Pleasure.

2. It supposes, that the Efficacy of divine Grace, is dependent on, and is to be resolved into the Will of Man. I have till now apprehended, that it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth; but of God that sheweth Mercy.

3. If this Scheme is true, then God excites Men to spiritual Acts, who are destitute of spiritual Life, and therefore we must be mistaken, in thinking a Principle of Grace and Holiness, is necessary to Acts of Holiness.

4. Then Men may bear good Fruit, before they are made good: Grapes may be gathered of Thorns, and Figs of Thistles, which we have thought till this Time, could not be.

5. The Scheme suggests, that God operates on Men in such a Manner, as he knows will not be effectual, to attain what he proposes in his Operations, whereas we have imagined, that the Word of God shall not return to him void; but that, it shall accomplish that which he pleases, and proper to the Thing, i.e. the End, whereto be sends it: But if this Scheme is true, we are doubtless mistaken.

6. It insinuates, that Men may cease to trifle with the Means of Grace, and subject themselves to the divine Law, even whilst the Enmity of their Hearts against God remains: We therefore have misunderstood the Apostle, who affirms, that the carnal Mind cannot be subject to that Law, and his Words are to be interpreted in a Sense very different to that, which they plainly express.

7. If this Scheme is true, then God works on some, with an Intention to save them, on whom the Decree of Reprobation is passed: Judas the Son of Perdition, who is gone to his own Place, for Instance: So that God hath contrary Wills, i.e. he wills to save some Men, and operates upon them, with a Design to bring them to Heaven, who were of old appointed to Condemnation. This seems to us most manifestly absurd.

8. Then, God draws some with loving Kindness, whom he never lov’d: We have apprehended, that heavenly Attraction is a Fruit of everlasting Love; but it seems in some Instances it is not so: God attracts them he hates, as well as those he loves.

9. Hence it follows, some hear and learn of the Father, who never come to Christ, the Words of our Lord therefore, which assert the contrary, are to be understood in a Sense quite foreign to their obvious and natural Import, and when he says, every Man that hath beard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me, we must: understand him to mean, some who hear and learn of the Father come not to me.

10. According to this Scheme, God operates on some in a gracious Manner, to whom he imputes Sin, condemns by his Law, and leaves them to perish for ever, under the Curie of the Covenant of Works.

11. It supposes, that God works on some to save them, WHOM Christ NEVER KNEW, and for WHOM he NEVER pray’d, and therefore whole Salvation, he NEVER DESIRED, which can’t be reasonably thought. It may be these Objections, will be found somewhat more, than plausible, and occasion greater Difficulty, to solidly answer, than this Gentleman, and some others, might conceive to attend a Point, in which he is so very positive and dogmatical.

IV. All Acts of Faith, evangelical Repentance and new Obedience, flow from a Principle of Holiness created or infus’d into the Souls of Men, and therefore no unregenerate Person, can fulfil there Conditions and Terms of Life.

1. If these Things are possible to unrenewed Men, then they may be saved without Regeneration or the new Birth; but if we do not as strangely mistake the Doctrine of our Saviour, in this Point, as we do in some others, according to the Principles of some Men, this cannot be. If a Man may act Faith, without the Grace of Faith wrought in his Heart: If he may exercise Repentance, without the Gift of the Grace of Repentance: And if Men may act holily, without a Principle of Holiness, implanted in them, they may be admitted to Heaven, without such a Change passing upon them, as that of the new Birth is: For tho’ they have not Principles of Grace in them, yet since they believe, repent of their Sins, and sincerely obey God, they shall be sav’d. And if Men may act Faith, or believe, before the Habit or Principle of Faith is wrought in them, then either their Act of believing without the Habit, must be taken for Regeneration, or else a Believer is not a regenerate Person: And if this is Regeneration without the Habit of Faith in the Soul, then, when a Man believes not, or his Act of Faith is interrupted, he sinks again into a State of Unregeneracy, and Men must he supposed, to become regenerate, or unregenerate, as often as they act, or act not Faith; but this cannot be. And therefore the Infusion of Grace, and a divine Life, into the Heart, must be that Regeneration, the Scripture speaks of, and is antecedently necessary to all Acts of Faith, Repentance, and holy Obedience to Christ:.

2. Regeneration is the Implantation of some supernatural Principles in the Mind; unless the Expressions used about it in Scripture, are to be interpreted infinitely below a Construction, which must be confess’d to be obvious and natural, and therefore not to be denied without manifest Necessity. Such Modes of speaking, as, being born again, quickened when dead, and created in Christ, are (at least) capable of being constru’d, without any Degree of Force, of the Production, of something in Men, which before they were not the Subjects of: And when it is said that we are new Creatures, it may mean, and seems properly to mean, that some heavenly Principle is created in us, which ‘till that Time we had not. This I think must be allow’d, and what Necessity can be urged, which should oblige us to understand these Modes of Speech in a lower Sense: Unless it is this, Enmity may love: Unbelief act Faith: And Sin may be productive of holy Acts: And Ignorance discover the true Nature of heavenly Things. In a Word, I can conceive of no other Necessity for this, than only maintaining that one contrary, may produce another: Darkness, Light, Sin, Holiness, and Enmity, Love; and who will not allow of the Propriety of this, especially, when it is to answer the desirable End of maintaining the Power of FREE WILL in MEN, to chuse what is good? It is likely all will grant it; but such as are fully determined to advance the Glory, Sovereignty and Efficacy of divine Grace. These Persons are indeed so tenacious of the Honour of the Grace of God, and at the Time desirous, not to embrace any Principle evidently repugnant to Reason, that they will never allow the Necessity pleaded for.

3. If Regeneration is not the Infusion of a divine Life into the Heart, then there are not contrary Principles in the Minds of regenerate Persons, then the Flesh lusteth not against the Spirit, nor the Spirit against the Flesh: For Spirit and Flesh are not in them: They have not a Law of Sin, and a Law of Holiness in their Minds, nor do contrary Acts flow from contrary Principles, as Acts of Faith, and Acts of Unbelief: But the Case is in Fact this, when their Hearts are excited by divine Grace, and their Wills are at Leisure to attend to, and are disposed to concur, with the Influences of the holy Spirit upon them, Acts of Faith and Holiness are produced, and they spring from the Mind not as possess’d of any supernatural Principles; but only, as it is under some divine Influences and Impulses. If it is thus, the Bible seems to me a Book most obscure, and I think the Experience of the Saints is not to be accounted for.

4. That in a Believer, which serves the Law of Sin, which is Flesh, and lusteth against the Spirit, is not, or can be, the Subject of divine Excitations and Influences to spiritual Acts: Who will say that the Minds of Believers, as depraved, carnal and corrupt, are stirr’d up, to love God, hate Sin, and act Faith on Christ? Should any affirm it, I imagine they will never be able to prove it. ‘Tis the spiritual Part in a Saint, that is excited to spiritual Acts: It is not his Unbelief, that is stirred up to believe in Christ; but his Faith which is wrought in him, as a Principle, in order to the Act. Unregenerate Persons therefore, being in the Flesh, and wholly carnal, they are not meet Subjects for those Excitations, which are spoken of: And such supposed Influences, will be eternally ineffectual to produce a single Act of Faith and Holiness in them. Let us then be very plainly told, what is intended by common Helps of divine Grace, and what Effects they do or may produce, if it be thought proper, do they regenerate Men, or do they not? If they do, then Men really believe, repent of their Sins, and obey the Precepts of Christ, and shall infallibly be saved: If they do not regenerate Men, then notwithstanding those Exciations, Impulses and Influences of the holy Spirit upon them, their Salvation, is absolutely impossible.

V. God alone, and entirely is the Author of Regeneration, which thus appears:

1. It is the Infusion, Creation, and begetting of a new Life and Principle in the Hearts of Men: This is evident from what has been above observ’d. The Will of Man cannot rationally be thought to contribute to the Production of an infused Habit or Principle: So far, as any Habit is owing to the Concurrence of the Will, so far it is acquired and not infus’d.

2. If the human Will is active herein, it must be so either as it is regenerate, or unregenerate, if that Faculty is the Subject of Sin, or of Holiness. If the Will should be said to concur, as it is made holy, that implies a manifest Contradiction, for it supposes a Man to be unregenerate, when he is regenerated, and it is the regenerate Part in him, treat renders the. Will capable of this Concurrence. If the Will acts herein, and cooperates with

divine Grace, as unregenerate, in order to Regeneration, then one contrary assists in the Production of another, and it necessarily, supposes, that the Will may act in a holy spiritual Manner before it is made holy, which we deny, and ever shall do, until we see it clearly proved, that a Principle of Grace is not necessary to heavenly Acts.

3. If we are actively concerned in our Regeneration, then it is owing to ourselves, (at least in Part) that we differ from others, and become meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light, and the WHOLE of this Work is not to be ascribed to divine Grace. The Consequence (disagreeable as it would once have been to some, who I fear are in great Danger of falling from Grace, i.e. the Doctrine of Grace is heard with Patience) is allow’d: The Grace of God indeed hath the Honour of being represented as the supreme Cause of the new Birth; but the Will of Man is affirmed to be a Cause, tho’ subordinately to divine Grace; and therefore as Dr. Doddridge plainly suggests, it is of ourselves, at least in Part, that we differ from others, and it is because we will to be regenerated, that we become so.

4. Then the Efficacy of divine Grace is dependent on, and is to be resolved into the Will of Man: Unless the Will of Man concurs, divine Grace, will not obtain it’s End in its Operations: God will be disappointed of his Design in the Influences he affords to Men: His Will is resisted, i.e. it is overcome, and his Attempt to regenerate Men proves insuccessful, and his kind Purposes are rendered abortive: How these Things suit with his Wisdom, and agree to the Nature of his all-powerful Operations, a small Degree of Discernment in spiritual Truths, will enable us to determine. Upon the whole we may rarely conclude, That the Salvation of Men is impossible, according to this imaginary conditional Scheme of Salvation: For the Performance of the supposed Terms of Pardon and Salvation propos’d to Men, they are absolutely unequal to, and tho’ God has thus conditionally design’d their Happiness, he will not it seems, communicate to them that Grace, which is requisite to enable them to fulfil those Conditions, and therefore they must unavoidably perish, and their Damnation is as certain, as if such a conditional Grant or Proposal of Life, had never been made to them.

21- CHAPTER 3

The Method which this Author takes to reconcile the Calvinists and Arminians, consider’d. His Mistakes noted, and the Impossibility of a Reconciliation proved, from the Disagreement of their Principles.

  IT is greatly to be wish’d, that all who profess to believe the Christian Religion, were united in their Sentiments, and heartily embraced divine Truths. An Agreement in Error, is far from being desirable, that is joining in an Opposition, to the Cause and Interest of Christ; and therefore in attempting to compose Differences, which subsist among nominal Christians, no Person ought to make the least Abatement of Truth, or in any Degree countenance Error: To do this, is betraying Truth, and gives an Opportunity, for false Opinions to be propagated, with the greater Ease and Advantage. The Sentiments of many are so widely different, that an Attempt to reconcile them, is extremely dangerous. No Concessions can be made to one Party, without great Disadvantage to the Truth, embraced by the other, for as there is a Connection in Error, as welt as Truth, one Concession to an erroneous Opinion, makes way for, and necessarily obliges to another. If we grant to the Arminians, that Christ died for all Men without Exception, we shall never be able to prove against the Socinians the Reality and Perfection of his Satisfaction: The Remonstrants are fully sensible of this, and therefore they give up, into the Hands of the Socinians, the glorious and important Doctrine, of his real and proper Atonement for Sin. And if we yield to them, that divine Grace is not effectual, in its Operations, they will easily maintain the Opinion, of the Dependence of Salvation on the Will of Man: The Uncertainty of the Salvation of any particular Man, and indeed of all Men; and that Faith is not given but acquired. How this Gentleman succeeds in his Attempt, to reconcile the very different Sentiments of Calvinists, and Arminians, relating to the Nature of the Influences, of the Grace of God, upon the Souls of Men, I shall now observe; as a Foundation to proceed upon, he lays down fix Propositions, to which, he thinks both Parties may agree: It will be very necessary, to well consider and examine those Propositions.

Prop. I. God has provided a glorious Salvation for fallen Men by Jesus Christ, which is sufficient far all Men in its own Nature, and shall be certainly effectual to all that are willing to accept of it upon his appointed Terms, or in his own appointed Way, i.e. in a Way of Repentance for sin, Renewal unto Holiness, and Faith or Dependence on the Mercy of God through Jesus Christf47.

1. That the Sufferings of Christ would have been sufficient for the Salvation of all Men, if God had appointed him a Saviour to all: And if the Sins of all Men had been imputed to him: And if he had died in the Room and Place of all Men, is readily granted, because of the infinite Dignity of his Person. But,

2. It remains to be prov’d, that he was appointed a Saviour to Men universally: That the Sins of all Men were charged on him: And that he suffered in the Stead of the whole Race of Mankind, until each of there Particulars is fully prov’d, this Proposition will not be a proper Foundation, to argue upon, in Favour of a Provision being made, for the Salvation of all Men, as it is design’d to be.

3. It is only a Part of Mankind, who can be concern’d herein because it is not to be expected, that such as know nothing of this divine Appointment, should fulfil those Terms, on which this Salvation, is to become effectual to Men.

4. None will ever be willing to accept of Salvation, in that Way God intends it shall be enjoy’d; but such whom he makes so, in the Day of his Power. And therefore this Proposition, is a most improper Foundation, on which to build the Possibility of the Salvation of all Men. For the Salvation of no Man is possible, without the effectual Operations of the Grace of God.

5. It supposes, that the Efficacy and certain Effects of Christ’s Merits depend on the human Will, which is highly dishonourable to our Saviour, impeaches the Wisdom, Goodness and Justice of God, and is eversive of the Satisfaction of Christ, and therefore we can’t but take the Liberty to reject this Proposition, as an unsound and rotten Foundation of Agreement among Christians, and of their Hope of Life,

Prop. II. Since God has made so glorious a Provision far the Recovery of Mankind, he will not leave it to mere Chance and Uncertainty, whether any Person shall repent and accept of this offer’d Salvation or no; left thro’ the universal Depravation and wretched Obstiancy Men, his own gracious Counsels for our Salvation should be frustrated, and the important Labours and Sufferings of his Son be sustain’d to no saving Purpose, and render’d almost useless to the World (Ibid, p. 265,266.).

  This Proposition fills me with Astonishment, it is so contrary to the Grace, Wisdom and Justice, and Immutability, and Faithfulness of God, as there his Perfections are gloriously displayed in the admirable Scheme of Salvation, by the Sufferings and Death of his Son. For,

  1. It evidently supposes that no real and proper Satisfaction for Sin, is made for any Part of Mankind, by the Death of the blessed Jesus. All it allows is, that Christ by his Sufferings obtained a bare Possibility of Salvation for all Men, and that God so far, as the Death of Christ, considered in itself, hath an Influence into our Salvation, intended it no more for one Man, than another, for Peter no more than for Judas.

2. It seems God leaves it to mere Chance and Uncertainty, as to some, for whom he put his Son to Death, in order to their Salvation, whether they shall believe and repent, and accept of this offer’d Salvation or no. So that he punished Christ, for the Sins of some Men, with a perfect Indifference, whether they reap any Advantage from his Sufferings or not. A Thought more dishonourable to the divine Perfections, will not soon enter into the Mind, or fall from the Pen of any Writer, than this is, I am fully persuaded.

3. Unless God is pleased by his Spirit and Grace, to conquer the rebellious Hearts of Men, not one of them will ever believe and repent: It is not a Chance and a Thing uncertain, whether they will or no, for it is most certain they cannot, and that they will not come to Christ, that they may have Life. No Man can come to Christ except the Father draws him. And the carnal Mind cannot be subject to the holy Law of God.

4. It as evidently supposes, that the gracious Counsels of God are frustrated, as to some, whole Salvation he intended. The Pleasure of the Lord, altho’ Christ made his Soul an Offering for sin, to the End it might, doth not prosper in his Hand; but is, as to the greater Part of Mankind render’d abortive, and not accomplished: For it seems it was the gracious Counsel of God, that all Men should be saved by the Death of Christ, and yet the larger Number of Men, are eternally damn’d, and for Want of that, on the Part of God, without which their Salvation was impossible.

  Prop. III. There is no Way, which I can conceive of, how God should secure or ascertain the Salvation of any in general, or make it lure even to his own Foreknowledge, unless it be same Way or other ascertain’d, which particular Persons shall accept of this Grace end Salvation (Page 266.).

As to this Propositions I observe

  1. It is certain, that not a single Person will or can believe, without the special and efficacious Grace of God this to the divine Being could not be unknown.

2. Justice requires the certain Salvation, of all those, for whom Christ died, as appears from what has been observed above.

3. The certain Salvation of Men results from God’s Decree, to confer that Grace upon them which secures it, and without which their Damnation would be as certain.

Prop. IV. God will magnify his Grace in the Salvation of all those who are saved, in such a Manner, that every one shall acknowledge his own Salvation, perfectly owing to the divine Mercy, and that none shall have Cause or Occasion to glory in himself; but shall confess to the Glory of divine Grace, that it is Grace, that is the Supreme and the chief Cause, that has made him to differ from others (Ibid.).

1. If the Will of the Creature is a subordinate Cause of Salvation, it is not wholly to be ascribed to God and his infinite Mercy.

2. It is supposed to be so of the Will of Man, that the Efficacy of divine Grace, is dependent on and must be resolved into it: And therefore the Event is principally owing to the human Will, which is represented as a subordinate Cause of Salvation.

Prop. V. How much soever the blessed God may design to manifest and magnify his free and sovereign Grace towards sinful Men, yet in every Step of his Procedure, he will maintain such an invariable Regard to his Equity as Governor of the World, that be will never exercise his Grace in such a Manner, as to take away the necessary Regards and Honours due to his governing Justice. The great God has given Man an understanding Mind to distinguish between Good and Evil, and a Freedom of Will to chuse one or the ether, and ordained him to be always, and in all Circumstances a proper Subject of his moral Government. And he has determined and resolved in Righteousness to manifest himself at last, as a Judge to render to every one according to their Works: And therefore be will maintain this righteous Design of his Government, to make the eternal Rewards and Punishments of Men, to depend on what they themselves have freely chosen, whether it be good or evil: Nor will be ever do any thing inconsistent with this his glorious and universal Design, as a righteous Governor and Judge of his intelligent Creatures (Ibid. p. 267, 268.).

1. To this Proposition, Papists, Socinians, and Arminians may all agree: Men of what Character and Denomination soever, who think, that Salvation is not of free Grace; but that future Happiness, notwithstanding all what Christ hath done, and suffered, is dependent on, and to be secured by our own Obedience, will most: heartily assent to it.

2. It is suited to a Covenant of Works alone, tho’ I suppose, this Favour will be allowed to guilty enfeebled Men, that imperfect Works, which deserve eternal Death, shall be rewarded with eternal Life. If this Proposition is true, either the Gospel is not true, or it has been strangely misunderstood, by the Bulk of our first Reformers, and by all those, who have opposed the Errors of the Socinians and Arminians, concerning the Grace of God.

3. The Proposition is so framed, as only to suit Man in a State of Innocence, and as under the Law of Innocency. But since Man is become depraved, he is incapable of understanding what is, or what is not evil, in a proper Manner: Nor hath he a Freedom of Will to chuse the former, and refuse the latter; if he hath, What Necessity is there of divine Grace, to enlighten his Mind, and sanctify his Will? 4. If Salvation is dependent on the Will and Obedience of Men, then it is of Works; and therefore according to the Doctrine contain’d in this Proposition, it is not of Grace: And if by Grace, then it is no more of Works: Otherwise Grace is no more Grace. But if it be of Works, then it is no more of Grace: Otherwise Work is no more Work.

This clear and nervous Reasoning has never yet been answer’d, nor ever will be, by all the Shuffles, Evasions, and groundless Distinctions about Works, which the fertile Wits of Men shall be able to invent. 5. For what Reason are the Merits, and Satisfaction, and Obedience of Christ, entirely left out, when God is represented, as acting upon the Foot of Justice, towards guilty miserable Creatures? Hath divine Justice no Regard to Christ’s Satisfaction for Sin, in this whole Affair? Or is it because its Honour is not vindicated, by the Sufferings of a precious Saviour? And is no Obligation laid on the Justice of God, by the Death of Christ, to grant Pardon and Life? Is it equitable to punish the Surety, and inflict eternal Punishment, Wrath and Vengeance on such, whole Surety he was, and for whole Sins he made Atonement? The good Lord of his infinite Mercy grant, that in Judgment, I may not be proceeded towards, in a Way of Justice, with Relation to my own Acts of Repentance, and Obedience: For if so I should be, I am sure, the Consequence would be dreadful; but solely with Regard to the Merits and Righteousness of Christ, whereby alone, I am certain, that I a most miserable Sinner can stand in his Sight, and be justify’d at his awful and righteous Tribunal.

Prop. VI. Therefore when divine Grace operates upon the Minds or Wills of Men, in order to their Conversion and Salvation, it is generally done in such a soft, gentle, and connatural Manner, that does not put any Violence upon the Faculties of the Soul. But for the most Part, the Grace of God and his holy Spirit, seem to operate insensibly, as though our own Faculties wrought this of themselves, and without any strong, certain and evident Notice, that it is the Operation of any Spirit superior to our own: And yet, by the blessed Effects of our Conversion, and Sanctification, compar’d with the Records of Scripture, we certainly infer that it must be, by Vertue of some divine Influence, received from above, that the Glory may be given unto God, and his Grace, as the supreme Cause of our Salvation (268.).

1. This Proposition evidently allows, that God operates on some, in a Manner very perceptible, and that it may easily be known it is a divine Influence on the Soul: And therefore I would ark, if in such Instances any Violence is offered to the Wills of Men, and if they are involuntary in the Choice of Good, under this powerful Influence? The Answer will hardly be in the Affirmative, for very evident Reasons.

2. Tho’ God operates imperceptibly, yet I hope it may be granted he works effectually, and infallibly determines our Wills to chuse Good, and refuse Evil, by his gracious and most persuasive Operations in us. The Want of a Perception, of its being a divine Work we are under, is no Objection to its Efficacy; nor affords the least Proof that our Wills, are left in a State of Indifference, about the Choice of Good or Evil.

3. I humbly apprehend, that God operates on our Minds, in such a Manner, not only at our first Conversion; but afterwards also, in many Instances of Conviction and deep Sorrow for Sin, a Sense of Wrath, and heavenly Joys, that its evident in itself, whether we duly attend to it or not, that we are under a supernatural influence, and yet tho’ our Wills are thus powerfully acted upon, they act most freely in all these Instances.

4. Divine Grace hath the Honour of being allow’d the supreme Cause of Salvation, I could be glad, if it might be granted, that it is the SOLE and ENTIRE CAUSE: For these Reasons, to deny it, and represent the human Will, as a subordinate Cause, robs divine Grace of its Glory, and may occasion some who experience, that in them, that is in their Flesh, dwelleth NO GOOD THING, to despair of ever being saved. I am willing to hope, that such have no just Occasion to doubt of Salvation by Christ, who most evidently find to their great Concern, Sorrow and Shame, that they have of themselves, neither a Will to what is good, nor Ability to perform it: Adored be divine Favour for it! They have not, for God worketh in them to will and to do, of his good Pleasure. And Christ filleth all in all, he fills their Souls with the heavenly Graces of his Spirit, and he fills those Graces, with Vigour and Activity: He is the Alpha and Omega in their Salvation: He is the Author and the Finisher of their Faith. Christ laid the Foundation of the noble and surprising Structure of their eternal Salvation, he carries on the Building, and will lay the top Stone thereof, and they with loud Acclamations of Joy will eternally cry, Grace! Grace! unto it. He alone builds the Temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the Glory.

  The chief Point, which this learned Gentleman, in his Attempt to reconcile the Calvinists and Arminian, labours to prove, is this, that the Will is not determined, by absolute and resistless Force to chuse, what the Understanding represents as good and eligible. He seems to apprehend that the Opinion of the Calvinist, deprives the Will of its natural Freedom, and subjects it, to an unnatural Force: That allowing his Sentiments to be true, free Agency is lost, and that Men are moved, as Machines or Puppets, and act not of Choice. In order to let this Matter in as clear and easy a Light as I can, I would observe the following Things.

  I. Some Necessity is consistent with Liberty, that is in say, a free Agent may necessarily will, and yet his Will act freely, in what he wills. 1. This is true of God, who, it is most certain, acts freely in all Things: For he worketh all Things, according to the Counsel of his own Will. Now he cannot but love and will Holiness, and he cannot but hate and will to punish its contrary, Sin; and yet his Will acts most freely in both.

2. Our Saviour could not but will to obey his Father, and yet his Will was not under any unnatural Force or Compulsion; but he was a free Agent, in all the eminent Instances of his Submission to the Father’s Pleasure concerning him, tho’ he could not but will to finish the Work, which the Father gave him to do.

3. Elect Angels cannot but will to obey God, and yet all their Acts of Obedience are free and voluntary: Some Necessity in them therefore is consistent with Liberty.

4. The Spirits of just Men made perfect, cannot but chuse what is good and agreeable to the Will of God, and yet their Choice of Good, is free and voluntary. Therefore,

II. Freedom doth not consist in an Indifferency, or Liberty to will Holiness, or will Sin, without any Biass and prevailing Disposition to one more than the other: If it does, then there is no Being, but what may make an improper Choice; the Consequence of such an Opinion is too horrid and blasphemous to be nam’d.

III. What if this is a Point absolutely inexplicable to us? What if it is attended with insuperable Difficulties, as to the Modus of it? Are there not a great Variety of Things that are so, both in the natural and moral World? Which yet we find ourselves obliged to believe and assent to, and therefore why should we refuse an Assent here? Since I should think from the Instances just now mentioned, we must be convinc’d, that some Necessity and Liberty, do not imply any Contradiction, for what is, does not, with what Obscurities and Darkness soever, the Modus of that Thing may be attended, which hide it from human View. None I believe, will ever be able to demonstrate that some Kind of Necessity, cannot consist with free Agency, how confidently soever, they may be pleased to assert it: So little do Men know, wherein is feared the Freedom of their Wills.

IV. It is not I think merely owing to the Illumination of the Mind, by which the Glory and Excellency of heavenly Things are discerned, that the Will is determined to the Choice of them; but by a real, positive and supernatural Work on the Will itself: And thus I can’t but think, because the Soul in all its Faculties, is the Subject of the sanctifying Operations of divine Grace.

1. The bare Illumination of the Mind, how great soever, removes not the Aversion in the Will to spiritual Things.

2. Nor gives a different Biass and Inclination to it.

3. In an unregenerate Man, there is a Propensity to Evil, in a regenerate Person, there also is a contrary Bent and Inclination: According to the Flesh, he cannot but serve the Law of Sin, in which his Will acts freely, and according to the Spirit he cannot but hate Sin, and serve the Law of God, in which he likewise acts voluntarily.

V. No Influences without the Infusion of gracious Habits, are sufficient to enable a Man, to chuse Holiness and refuse Evil: To suppose that a Man destitute of supernatural Principles, may be influenced to embrace spiritual Good, as it seems to me, cannot consist with a Freedom of Choice; because the Will without such Principles cannot approve of that Good, and therefore it would be determined to make a Choice, without an Approbation of the Object chosen, which is ever essential to a free Choice. Hence it follows, That that Opinion which is pretended to be embrac’d, in order to preserve the Liberty of the Will in its Acts or Volitions, at once deprives it of its Freedom, and supposes Men to be furnished with a Power, which they are not. The Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, apprehends, that the Distinction of natural Power and moral Impotence, reconciles all relating to this Subject. Amyraldus and Mr. Baxter before him had the same Apprehension. As to that Distraction, I observe,

1. Natural inability seems to be understood, of a Want of Faculties for reasoning and willing, and not of the Want of proper Habits or Principles in those Faculties, by which Men become capable of reasoning justly, and willing as they ought to will. This is a Supposition of what none contend for, that I know of, what is and will be still insisted on is, that tho’ Men have their natural Powers of reasoning and willing, those natural Powers without supernatural Principles and Aids, cannot reason and will as they ought, about spiritual Things.

2. Moral Impotence seems to be taken for Men’s labouring under such Prejudices and Ignorance, that without some superior Aids and Influences, they cannot reason and will as they ought; but it is not allowed that an Infusion of gracious Habits is necessary to either. I answer, It cannot be said of the Body of Adam, before its Union with his Soul, that It was naturally incapable of Sensation, or of the various Motions, for which its curious Organs and several Members were fitted and prepared, if natural Inability be taken in the Sense here express’d, yet I imagine none wilt say, it was possible for it to have Sensation or to move, before the Infusion of the Soul, and kindling the vital Flame in it. But of a Log of Wood, and of a shapeless Clod of Earth, it may be said that they are naturally incapable, of such Sensation and wonderful Motions, as the curious Machine of the Body of Man, is capable of having and performing, as animated by the Soul. When we say Men are naturally unable to reason justly, and to will, as they ought to will about spiritual Things, we mean that they can no more, reason justly and will rightly, than the Body of Adam was capable of Sensation or Motion, before Life was given to it, tho’ it had all the Organs of Sense, and all the Muscles and Members requisite to Motion. The same may be observed of the Body of Lazaras, while it lay breathless in the Grave, neither the one nor the other, wanted the proper Organs of Sense, or the Muscles and Members necessary to Motion: And yet it was absolutely impossible, that either should have Sensation or move a Finger, before the Infusion of the Soul, and during its Absence from the Body. And thus, tho’ Men have the natural Powers of reasoning and willing, while in an unregenerate State, yet until spiritual Life and heavenly Principles are infused and created them, they can no more reason and will spiritually, than the Body of Adam could have Sensation and move without the Soul, or than the Body of Lazarus could rise out of the Grave, while his Soul was absent from it. This Distinction therefore, by no Means, proves what it is design’d, as a Proof of, viz. That an Infusion of spiritual Life is not necessary to spiritual Acts. Grant us but the Idea we plead for, which is manifestly expressed in the Scripture, and we shall be content, and leave you to call it by what Name soever you please: It is the Thought not Terms that I would at any Time contend about. It is very observable, that this Gentleman allows of the Infusion of gracious Habits, in order to spiritual Acts, in which he dissents from Mr. Baxter who denies it, as the Arminians do; I heartily thank him for this Concession to the Advantage of divine Truth; but he must allow me to tell him, that this is such a Concession, as effectually overthrows the greatest Part of his reasoning on this Subject, and is a full Evidence of the Impossibility of a Reconciliation between the Calvinists, who contend for this, as a most important Doctrine, consistent with their other Principles, and the Arminians who deny it, which their Principles necessarily require them to do.

22- CHAPTER 4

Shews, that the new Covenant was made with Christ, from everlasting, as the Head of the Elect, and That that Covenant is absolute or unconditional.

  THE. new Covenant or Covenant of Grace, is to be considered either in its Constitution, or Manifestation. It was constituted and entered into by God the Father and Christ, as the Mediator and Head of the Elect, wherein are several Things to be observed.

1. That a certain and definite Number of Persons, were eternally beloved of God: Hence he says to the Church: Yea I have loved thee with an everlasting Love, and therefore with loving Kindness have I drawn thee. The Love of God is so spoken of, not only because it will continue to everlasting; but also because its Commencement was from everlasting, which evidently appears by there Words: The Mercy of the Lord, is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them who fear him. And this delightful Truth receives full Proof from our Saviour, when he says, And hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. The Love of God to his People, is of the same Date, with that Love he bears to his Son, which I presume, none will deny to be eternal.

2. Those Persons, who were the Objects of God’s special Favour, he unalterably determined to save: He did not appoint them to Wrath, but to obtain Salvation by Jesus Christ. His Purpose was to render them happy, in the eternal Fruition of himself. He chose them to Salvation, thro’ Sanctification of the Spirit, and the Belief of the Truth. As many as are included in this gracious Decree, have believed, do or shall believe: For according to this divine Purpose, they are saved and called with an holy Calling, and not according to their own Works.

3. In order to secure this glorious and gracious Design of their Salvation, God the Father made Choice of his Son to be their Head, Redeemer and Saviour. And as we are allow’d to speak of this important Affair, by the scriptural Account of it, he proposed To him, that he should in their Nature, suffer for their Offences, and obey the Law for them, that the Honour of his Justice might be vindicated, and the Riches of his Grace might be gloriously display’d in their Happiness, to each of which Christ readily consented. The Language of the Mediator in this Compact was, Lo I come, I delight to do thy Will. Upon his consenting to perform the arduous Work assign’d him, the Father promised great and glorious Thing, to him: Some of which respect himself personally, as He shall not fail, nor be discouraged; which Promise assured him of Assistance in his Work. Other Promises relate to Christ mystically, as, Thy People shall be willing in the Day of thy Power. There Transactions between the Father and Son, considered as the Head of the Elect, amount to the Nature of a full, formal and explicite Covenant. That this Covenant was entered into with the Elect in Christ their Head, is very evident from hence, that Grace was given to them in Christ before the World began, according to which, they are saved and called, with an holy Calling. And that Grace was given to them in this eternal Covenant of Grace. The Constitution of it was in Eternity; the Manifestation and Application of the Benefits promised in it, are in Time. That this Covenant is absolute and inconditional, may be argued from there Things.

I. God’s Purpose to save Sinners, was sovereign, free and absolute, or the Persons who are the Objects of that most gracious Decree, were not considered therein as holy, penitent and believing, and therefore were ordained to everlasting Life. But God chose them in Christ, that they might be holy, and not because he foresaw they would so be. To suppose that any became the Objects of God’s Choice, on Account of the Foresight of Faith or Holiness, prior to the divine Decree, to work Faith in them, necessarily infers that Faith is not of the Operation of God, nor a heavenly Gift. Faith and Holiness if so, are not Fruits flowing from God’s gracious Decree; but are the Cause of it: And hence it also follows, that Salvation is chiefly dependent on the fickle and uncertain Wills of Men, and is not secured by the most effectual and operative Will of God: Adored be divine Grace this is not the Care; but God chose us to Salvation, without any external Motive or Qualification in us, which induced him to put forth such an Act about us. He hath Mercy, because he will have Mercy, and for no other Reason. An inconditional Decree, and a conditional Covenant, by which our eternal State, is to be determined, are eternally repugnant, and therefore since God’s Decree to save his People is inconditional, the new Covenant must necessarily be absolute and free, and without all proper Conditions.

  II. If this Covenant is conditional, it is a Covenant of Works, for Works must be the Conditions contain’d in it: And whether those Works are perfect or imperfect, upon the Performance of them, Men may challenge the precious Benefits promised on those Conditions: They merit them, according to the Nature of the Covenant, and the Obligation under which God says himself, by his Promise. This is not denied by those, who embrace the Opinion, of a conditional Scheme of Salvation, Mr. Baxter thus delivers himself upon this Head, in his Aphorisms of Justification. Thesis 26. As Promise is an Obligation, and the Thing promised is called Debt; so the Performers of the Condition are called worhty, and their Performance Merit, tho’ properly it is all of Grace, and not of Debt. This Concession is plain and honest; but what he adds to qualify it, Is contrary to the express Words of the Apostle. To him that worketh, the Reward is not reckon’d of Grace, but of Debt. Merit and Grace are eternally opposite, (even when Merit is taken in this qualify’d Sense, and intrinsic Worth is not contended for) they will never consist together, by distinguishing Works, into perfect and imperfect, who ever dream’d, that depraved Men can perform perfect Works? And if Men could, those Works would not be meritorious in the Sense he falsely imagines, that is to say, That the Reward of eternal Life, in a strict and proper Sense, would upon the Foot of Justice, become their just Debt, on Account of the intrinsic Value of those Works. If by my Performance of the Conditions of the new Covenant, the Blessings of that Covenant, become my due, according to the Nature of its Promises, it is irrational to suppose, that they are free Gifts, and are freely bestowed on me. All that is allow’d to free Grace in the Business of Salvation, is, that it delivers us from the perfect Law of God, brings us under an imperfect Law, by the Observation of which, Life is to be obtain’d: But as has been observ’d, if Salvation is of Works, of any Kind, it is not of Grace, and of Consequence, a conditional Covenant, cannot be the Covenant of Grace.

III. Those Things, which are said to be the Conditions of this Covenant are absolutely promised, and freely given it: And therefore they cannot be the Conditions of it. The gracious Language of God in this Covenant is: A new Heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony Heart out of your Flesh, and I will give you an Heart of Flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my Statutes, and ye shall keep my Judgments, and do them. It is evident that Regeneration, as the Principle of evangelical Obedience and practical Holiness, is promised in there Scriptures: And therefore they are Blessings, and not Conditions of the new Covenant, for they cannot be Conditions, and promis’d Benefits also: The new Covenant then is really absolute, and inconditional: And Faith, Repentance, and sincere Obedience are not Terms and Conditions which it enjoyns.

  I conclude this Chapter with an Observation of Dr. Owen’s; it is this: Thus it is, the Covenant of God is not suspended, of our Will, or any Conditions to be performed by us; it hath all its Vertue and Effect from the Authority, Grace and Faithfulness of God himself. For it is an absolute Promise of Grace; nor is there any Condition of this Covenant which is not contain’d in the Promise itself. Therefore they act an unskilful and preposterous Part, who from the Nature of a Covenant used to be enter’d into between Men, endeavour to explain the Nature of the divine Covenantf48

23- CHAPTER 5

Contains Answers to such Arguments as are advanced to prove the Gospel is a Law.

  THE Gospel is represented and spoken of, as a Joyful Sound, and glad Tydings of great Joy. And it may well be so esteem’d: For it is a Discovery of full, free, certain and everlasting Salvation to miserable, helpless and unworthy Sinners thro Jesus Christ. ‘Tis hence we learn the Resolutions of matchless and stupendous Favour! To secure Happiness to us, who by our Sins were involved in the greatest Misery. ‘Tis this acquaints us with the admirable and astonishing Methods, which divine Wisdom and Love fix’d on, to effect so wonderful and gracious a Design: Methods no less surprising, than the kind Design itself, and which are wisely suited to effectually bring about the End in View. The Gospel declares, That Peace, Pardon, and Acceptance with God, and eternal Felicity in the Fruition of him, are inviolably secured to us, by the Sufferings and Obedience of Christ. And that, as to what is necessary to prepare us for, and preserve us to the heavenly State, God will not fail to work it in us, and bestow it upon us, as the Effect of his gracious and sovereign Pleasure. In a Word, the Gospel is a Revelation of pure Grace, in its glorious Contrivances about us, Actings for us, and effectual Influences upon us: And therefore it is called The Gospel of the Grace of God.

  This agreeable Account of the Gospel, which is so well suited to our helpless Condition, and to raise and comfort our distressed Minds, under a Sense of Guilt, the Law’s Curse, and divine Displeasure is vehemently oppos’d by some, who contend it Is a Law with Sanction, and that it denounces dreadful Menaces against us, that the States of Men are not determin’d, by God’s Decrees about them, or by what Christ hath done and suffer’d for them: Nor by the Influences of the holy Spirit upon them. That free Grace hath not secured Salvation, but only grants to Men Conditions of Life, and puts them upon a fresh Tryal for it: That the Gospel is a new Law, according to the Observation of which, or Disobedience to it, our eternal State will be happy or miserable. Various Arguments are made Use of to prove that the Gospel is such a Law, which I shall new consider and endeavour to answer.

  Arg. I. The Gospel is called a Law in Scripture, and therefore it is to be concluded that it is such. The Gospel is intended by the Law of Faith.

Answ. The Term Law does not always intend a Law with Sanction, neither in human, nor inspired Writings; but a settled Rule or fixed Order of Things. This is a frequent Use of the Word, with Poets and Philosophers, this is the manifest Import of it with Juvenal, where he speaks of the Law of Speechf49. And Philosophers use the Term in the same Sense, when their mention the Laws of Nature, the Laws of Bodies, and the Laws of Motion. It is the Order which obtains in Nature, in Bodies and in Motion that is disign’d. In this Sense the Gospel may be called a Law, for it is a Discovery of the most beautiful Order, which obtains in Man’s Salvation. It is not justly to be collected from the bare Use of the Term Law in Scripture, with Relation to the Gospel, that it is a Law with Sanction, for many Times, it signifies no more than Doctrine or Instruction, according to the Import of the Hebrew Word jrwt a Law, which comes from jry to cast, because Doctrine is as it were cast out of the Lips. It was customary with the Jews to call all Doctrine a Law, agreeable to their usual Mode of speaking, the Apostle so calls the Gospel; but it by no Means, follows, that it is a proper Law, which enjoyns Conditions and promises Blessings, in Case those Conditions are fulfilled, and threatens Death and Damnation, on Account of their being neglected.

Arg. II. Faith, Repentance and all good Works are required by the Gospel, as Conditions of Life, the Want whereof subjects Men to Threatnings of dreadful and sore Punishment: And therefore it is a Law which commands Obedience, as necessary to intitle us to Happiness, and condemns us for the Omission of it.

Answ. Faith is a free Gift of divine Favour, as was before observed, for which Reason, it cannot be a proper Condition of the new Covenant: It is absurd to think, that Faith or any other Grace, is a Gift of divine Favour, and a Condition, on which our Right to new Covenant-Blessings depends. Again, if Faith and Repentance are Conditions of Life, that is unattainable, for these are not in the Power of Men: And therefore those Scriptures which inform us, that Faith and Holiness are pre-requisite to everlasting Life, do not intend that they are Conditions of it, but are only descriptive Characters of such Persons, who will enjoy it. Thus in these Words: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: But he that believeth not shall be damned. That God formed a glorious Design of saving some of the Race of Mankind is indisputable, from the clear and express Declaration of the Gospel; but who those are, cannot be collected, except from such Scriptures, as acquaint us with their proper Characters, by which they stand distinguished from the rest of their Fellow-Creatures. And that is all that is intended in those Words, and in Texts of the like Nature.

  Arg. III. The Gospel commands Men to believe and repent, and therefore it is a Law.

Answ. A Command from one who is a rightful Sovereign and Governor, and which is just in itself, is a Law and binding upon the Subject. But it doth not appear that the Gospel consists of Commands and Comminations; they really are incompatible with the Nature of it, which as has been already mentioned, is a Doctrine of pure Grace, or a Revelation of God’s most gracious Purposes, concerning the Objects of his Favour. Witsius very rightly observes thus: The Covenant of Grace, or the Gospel strictly taken, which is the Deed of that Covenant, whereas it consists in MERE PROMISES, properly prescribes NOTHING, as Duty requires NOTHING, commands NOTHING; not this indeed, believe, trust, hope in the Lord, and Things of the like Nature. But shews, declares, signifies to us, what God promises in Christ, what he intends to do, and will do. All Prescription of Duty belongs to the Law, as after others venerable Voetius has well observed, Disput. Tom. 4. p. 24. and following Pages. And this truly, we must hold, if with all the Reformed, we would constantly defend the Perfection of the Law, containing in its Compass all Virtues, all Duties of Holiness. f50

Arg. IV. Subjection and Obedience are required by the Gospel, which are proper to a Law, and therefore the Gospel is a Law.

  Answ. That some are represented, as disobedient to the Gospel is granted, thus in these Words, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Th 1:8.). The Word is upaousi which is expressive of a Slight and Disregard to the Gospel, as a Revelation of Salvation, and not of a Breach of Precepts contained in it, as tho’ it was a Law. Again, the Gospel establishes the Law, inasmuch as it informs us, that God will write his Laws in the Hearts of his People, or implant Holiness in them, agreeable to the Nature of his Law. It also furnishes us with powerful Motives to the Practice of our Duty; such as, the free Remission of our Sins: The gracious Acceptance of our Persons in the Righteousness of Christ; and of a firm Title to eternal Life, which are Incitements to Holiness, of a most persuasive Nature. Moreover it clearly directs us to the proper End, we ought to propose to ourselves in all our Acts of Obedience, viz. the Glory of God. That Obedience, which hath these Attendants, may justly be called evangelical: Not because the Gospel is the Rule of our Duty; but by Reason, it serves for our Instruction in the right Practice of it: Nor is it to be inferred from there Things, that the Gospel is a Law consisting of Precepts, Prohibitions and Comminations.

Arg. V. Men may be and are guilty of Transgressions against the Gospel; but where no Law is, there is no Transgression, of Consequence the Gospel must be a Law.

Answ. As was before observ’d from Witsius, the Law is perfect, or it includes the Whole of our Duty, to God and Men. There is no Act of Obedience, which we are oblig’d to; but the holy Law of God commands it, if not, the Law is defective, which it cannot be, because the divine Legislator is infinitely perfect, and cannot be the Author of any imperfect Law. Now the Law obliges Men to honour, fear, adore and obey God: And therefore they must be under an indispensable Obligation, to assent to the Truth of what he shall, at any Time, please to reveal. An humble Adoration of God, as a Being of infinite Wisdom, Power, Truth and Justice, without Doubt, includes a Belief of the Verity of all the Doctrines he discovers: And if so, it is a Duty incumbent upon all Men, to credit the Mysteries of the Gospel, as revealed by him, and the Want thereof, subjects them to the righteous Condemnation of the Law of Works. The real Truth of scriptural Doctrines, how far soever they may exceed the narrow Compass of our limited and impair’d Faculties of Reasoning, is not to be called into Question. Surely the divine Authority, by which they are recommended to us, is sufficient of itself, to gain our Assent to those Doctrines, how mysterious and inexplicable soever, they may appear to us, with Relation to the Modus of the Things, therein treated of. Since the Truths of the Gospel have ALL THE DEMONSTRATION THEIR NATURE WILL, ADMIT OF:

  And it is certain they are not demonstrable, by the Principles of deprav’d Reason, and their Nature is of such Sublimity and Height, that no finite Mind, can by the utmost Stretch of Thought rise up to it, any more than that which is finite can comprehend Infinity, or infinitely extend it self: It is most unreasonable, to refuse an Assent to them, because they have not Demonstration of such a Kind, as is inconsistent with their Nature, and which, if they had, they would not be what they are, viz. The deep Things of God: And therefore Mens Opposition to the Gospel of Christ, is a manifest Breach of the Covenant of Works, under which they are, and they justly expose themselves to the Menaces of that Law, by their Opposition to it, as the most daring of them, will quickly find, to their Shame and Confusion, tho’ they now sneer at, and burlesque the Mysteries of the Christian Revelation; for, as for solid Thought, and just Reasoning, I am fully convinced, it is not to be expected of some Gentlemen, who vaunt, as if they were the only Men of Sense and Reason. No Transgressions strictly speaking, can be committed, against the Gospel, which is a Revelation of pure Grace: Those Duties which are sometimes called Gospel-Duties, are not properly so, or they are not enjoyn’d by it as a Law; but they are called such, because the Gospel is the Object of them, as it is of that Assent, which all Men to whom it is preach’d, are under an indispensable Obligation to yield to its Truths, tho’ they do not spiritually understand them. Or they are so called, because they are proper to the Gospel- Dispensation, as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; but the Gospel doth not enjoyn, even these Institutions as a Law; for by Vertue of the Covenant of Works, tho’ not as so considered, but merely as a Rule of Conduct, Believers are oblig’d to practise those Duties because God commands them in that Manner to worship him. And without Doubt, he hath a Right to institute what Mode of Worship he pleases, and upon the immediate Notice, that it is his Will to be worship’d, in this, or in the other Manner, we become bound to worship him in that Manner, by this Command, in the Law, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Hence it appears, that a Refusal of Assent to the Gospel, and a Neglect of New-Testament Duties, are Transgressions of the holy Law of God; but are not properly Offences committed against the Gospel, and therefore it is not a Law, as it is urged to be.

Arg. VI. Christ: as Mediator hath a Law, according to which, he dispenses Blessings and inflicts Punishments: The Law of Works is not: that Law, and therefore the Gospel is.

  Answ. It is evident from what has been before observ’d, that we do not receive spiritual Benefits, on Account of our Obedience to any Law, for they are freely given to us. Christ: as Mediator hath the Covenant of Works in his Hand, and his People are under it, as a Rule of Duty, and are under no other defective and imperfect Law, such as the Gospel is very absurdly imagin’d to be. Nor is our Obedience the Cause or Ground, of our receiving any Favours from God; and therefore the Gospel is not a Law, which is to be observ’d in Order to a Participation of heavenly Blessings, that is intirely foreign to its Nature.

Arg. VII. Men will be judg’d at the last Day, according to the Tenor of the Gospel, for Proof of this, these Words are urg’d: In the Day when God shall judge the Secrets of Men, by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel (Romans 2:14.). And therefore the Gospel is a Law.

  Answ. This Text fails of proving the Point: Two Things are to be observ’d which comprise the full Sense of the Words.

  1. That Christ is raised to this high Dignity and Honour, as Man and Mediator, to examine, try and pass Sentence on all Offenders, and openly to acquit and pronounce blessed all such, as believe in him, which the Gospel reveals to us, otherwise we had been ignorant of it.

  2. That as Life and Salvation is declared by the Gospel to be design’d and prepar’d for Believers in Christ, and only such: So God will at the Day of Judgment, make it apparent, that the evangelical Account hereof is strictly true, by receiving to Happiness the Saints, and by condemning impenitent Sinners. But neither of these Things afford the least Evidence and Proof, that the Gospel is a Law, by the Observation of which, Life is to be obtain’d, or that eternal Death will be inflicted on Men for Offences committed against it, this Argument therefore has nothing of Weight and Force in it, to prove that the Gospel is a new Law. Nor have any of the Arguments advanced in Favour of this Opinion, Strength sufficient to support it. The Gospel is, we must conclude a Revelation of pure Grace, and of full, free and everlasting Salvation by Jesus Christ, and no Law at all.

 

24- CHAPTER 6

Shews, that the State of the Heathen, is a weighty Objection, to the Scheme of a conditional Provision of Salvation made for all Mankind.

I. THE ingenious Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, professedly treats of the State of the Heathen World; but is very sparing in what he delivers on this Subject, which I imagine might arise from a Consciousness, that their Circumstances, are a very strong Objection to the Scheme, he endeavours to defend. In Fact at least, I am strongly persuaded, it is so, whether he had any Apprehensions of it or not: For if a conditional Provision of Salvation, is made for all Men without Exception, and if God really intended to save every Individual of Mankind, on Condition of Faith in Christ, Repentance and a Renewal unto Holiness, it is reasonable to think, that God in his Providence, would take Care that the Revelation of this his Design should be as extensive, as the Design itself. For how can God expect Men to believe in his Son, if they never hear that there is such a Person as Christ?

  II. The learned Author, on this Subject, sets out with a manifest Mistake, and asserts That is not to be doubted, which no considerate Person can ever believe, viz. That the Gospel has been twice preached to all Mankind, first by Adam, and afterwards by Noahf51. If by all Mankind he intends all the natural Descendants of Adam, he liv’d to see, but a small Number of them, comparatively to the many Millions, who have been born since his Decease, which may also be said of Noah; and therefore it cannot with the least Appearance of Truth, be affirm’d that either of them preach’d the Gospel to all Men. If he means all Mankind, who liv’d in their respective Ages, it is using the Terms All Mankind in a very limited Sense indeed: And a very small Part of the human Race, are included in those Terms. Such an ambiguous Use of the Terms is very unfair, in treating on a Subject, wherein every Man without Exception is supposed to be concern’d: They must be very unwary and extremely credulous Readers, who are impos’d on by such an Artifice. With as much Truth it might be said, yeas with less Appearance of False-hood, that Dr. Owen preached the Gospel to the same Individuals, as Dr. Watts now does, which he did not, as I suppose, to any of them; and I fear that the Doctrine, which Dr. Owen greatly recommended, is but too, too much desregarded by a Minister, who succeeds him, tho’ not immediately, in the Work of preaching to a Congregation, who in Dr. Owen’s Life-time had the Honour and Advantage of his Instructions; and that as an Effect thereof, the solid and found Divinity, which he zealously defended, is become distateful to many, if not to the greater Part of that Community. It cannot be said, that either Adam or Noah preached the Gospel to all Mankind, in that Sense, in which the Term Mankind is ever used in this Controversy, it is not put for the Number of Men who exist in any particular Age; but for all Men, who did exist in former Ages, who exist in the present, and who shall exist in future Ages.

  Neither of them preach’d the Gospel to Men, born hundreds and thousands of Years after their Departure out of this Life. And I should think, it can’t be apprehended, that Noah preach’d the Gospel to all Men who liv’d in his own Time, before the Flood: Its probable, that not so much as his Name was known, in many Parts of the habitable World, before the universal Deluge, which was brought upon the Earth.

III. Until the Law was given on Mount Sinai, those Revelations, which God was pleased to afford to holy Men, were not writtenf52. So that Mankind had not, in preceding Ages, the Advantage of a standing Revelation: They had indeed the Benefit of their pious Instructions, so far as their Influence reach’d; but that was far from being of universal Extent: And as the Mind of Man is naturally averse to spiritual Things, it is reasonable to think, that those Lessons of Piety, which the holy Patriarchs taught, might make but little Impression, on the Souls of Men in general, and that they might soon, entirely loose all Sense of those pious Instructions they receiv’d from them, which divine Revelation, assures us was actually the Case, and that all Flesh corrupted their Way, and sunk into the Practice of the most stupid Idolatry.

IV. When a standing Revelation was given, the Jews were the only People in the World, who were favour’d therewith, for many Ages: Other Nations were permitted to live in gross Darkness, and fatal Ignorance: They sat in Darkness, and in the Shadow of Death: The Lord shewed his Work to Jacob; his Statutes and his Judgments to Israel; he dealt not so with any Nation, and as for his Judgments they knew them not. The other numerous Nations in the World, receiv’d no Notices of the Messiah, who should be born, and become, The Author of eternal Redemption, to those who obey him.

V. It appears from those Accounts, which are given us of the Gentile Nations, in the Writings of the Prophets and Apostles, that in general they were devoted to Destruction, without an information of a divine Design, to save any Part of the human Race. God poured out his Fury on the Heathen: They were not a People for many Ages, but were Aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, and Strangers from the Covenants of Promise, were without Hope, and without God in the World. The Gospel therefore for Series of Ages, was concealed from them: How this can comport with a Decree to save every Individual of Mankind, on Condition of Faith in Christ, will be exceeding difficult to demonstrate. The Dispensatioins of Providence, toward the far greater Part of Mankind, for a long Tract of Years, will not easily be reconciled, with such a conditional Purpose of saving every Man by Jesus Christ. Besides. it is not to be prov’d, that every Nation in the World, even in these Gospel Times, has heard of Christ and Salvation by him. And in many Places, where the Gospel has been preach’d Ages since, Men have no more Sense and Remembrance of it, than if such a gracious Discovery had never been made, in those Parts of the World. If it should be said, That those Nations are deprived of the Light of the Gospel, for their Sins and Opposition to it, I would ask, if it is for their own Sins, or for the Sins of their Ancestors?

  If for the Sins of their Fore fathers, their Salvation and Damnation, depended not on their own Wills and Conduct; but on the Wills and Behaviour of their Progenitors, which cannot be admitted. If they are deprived of the glorious Light of the Gospel, for their own Sins, this supposes, that God intended to save them by the Gospel of his Son; but foreseeing in what Manner they would conduct themselves, under that great Advantage, he determin’d to leave them, to eternally perish without it, whereas the Nature of the divine Decrees, according to this Opinion, necessarily requires, that they should hear the Gospel, whatever may have been the Carriage of their Ancestors, or in what Manner soever they would conduct themselves under it.

VI. The Calling of the Gentiles to the Participation of the Gospel Salvation, and evangelical Privileges, is represented as a Mystery. The preaching of Christ among the Gentiles is one Branch of the great Mystery of Godliness. ‘Tis true in the prophetical Writings, very plain Predictions are delivered, that so it should be, and that great Success would attend its Publication among them: But because many Ages past, before those Predictions had their Accomplishment, and the Jews contracted a great Dislike of them, and were very much prepossess’d in their own Favor, to the Contempt of the Gentiles, they lost the true Sense of these Prophecies, and even when the Gentiles were converted to the Christian Faith, it was with great Difficulty they were persuaded, that God intended their Salvation, and upon a Conviction of the Reality of such a Purpose in God, concerning heathen Sinners, they were fill’d with Astonishment. God suffered them to walk in Darkness to their eternal Destruction for many Centuries, and winked at those Times of Ignorance. The Author of The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, interprets uperidwn, of a lighter Degree of Punishment; but that Sense is plainly contrary to the Scope of the Place (Ac 17:30.). The Meaning of it is, God neglected to furnish them with a Revelation of his Will, or suffered them to live in Blindness and Ignorance.

VII. That the Punishment, which will be inflicted on heathen Sinners, will be lighter, than that, which will be inflicted on such Sinners, who hear the Gospel, and refuse an Assent to it, and oppose that glorious Scheme of Salvation by Christ, is readily granted; but surely this fails of proving, that a conditional Provision of Happiness, Is made for such a Part of Mankind, as know nothing, and never had Means or Opportunity of knowing any thing of the Gospel.

VIII. Wherever God hath any considerable Number of People whom he intends to save, he sends his Gospel, as is clearly signified to the Apostle, No Man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for I have much People in this City (Acts 18:10.). And therefore in those Places where the Gospel is not preached, we have no Reason to think, that there are any considerable Number of Persons, for whom Salvation is design’d: Where there is such a Number the Word of God is sent, they are gather’d in to Christ, a Church State is let up, evangelical Institutions are practised, and Gospel Privileges are enjoy’d.

IX. It is not to be dissembled, that the Arminians turn this Objection upon us, say they, if God designs to save some of all Nations and Families of the Earth, as you yourselves allow he does, it lies upon you to answer this Objection, as well as upon us. To which I observe we are able to do it, upon our Principles, beyond any just Exception or Reply. For,

  1. We maintain indeed, that God has elect Persons of every Nation; but then its only known to him, who they are, and in what Ages they do or shall exist. There Persons he will either bring out of those dark Regions, into Places where the Light of the Gospel is, or he will send his Gospel to those Parts where they reside.

2. Tho’ God may not have any Persons, whom he designs to save, in this or that particular Nation, in this Century, or had not in some foregoing Centuries, he may have such among them, in succeeding Times, those Persons he will certainly call, and they shall enjoy the glorious Light of his Gospel, and if this is not accomplished, until the latter Day, when the Gospel shall have a surprising Spread, and the Knowledge of the Lord shall cover the Earth, as the Waters do the Seas: This furnishes out no solid Objection to our Opinion, for if it hath not its Accomplishment before, it certainly shall have, when the Fulness of the Gentiles, shall be brought in.

 

25- CHAPTER 7

The Author’s Opinion of the Annihilation of the dying Infants of ungodly Parents examined and refuted; The Death threatned in the Law, intends not the Destruction of the Being of a Sinner, but his Well-being, and Annihilation is proved to be no Punishment.

I. THIS Gentlemen seems to take it for granted, that the Death threatened in the Law is the Destruction of the Being of a Sinner; but produces not one Text of Scripture, wherein the Term Death, is so to be understood: This he ought to have done, since he hath not, we may reasonably suppose, he knew of no Place, where it is capable of such a Construction, his Opinion therefore of the Infants of ungodly Parents ceasing to exist at Death, is not founded on Scripture; but is entirely foreign to it, which is a Reason sufficient for our Rejection of this novel Opinion.

II. If Christ suffer’d that Punishment, which the Law denounces against Sin, in order to make Satisfaction for it, the Death threatned cannot be the Destruction of the Being of Transgressors, this must be evident to every one: And if the same Penalty was not inflicted on Christ, to which sinful Men are obnoxious, for their Offences against God, then Satisfaction is not made, by his Sufferings, nor are we heal’d by his Stripes: Should it be said, that it was endless Punishment, the Law threaten’d in Case of Disobedience; and that since Christ’s Sufferings were short in Duration, they were not the same Penalty we should have sustain’d. I would answer, the Eternity of our Punishment, is only a Circumstance, arising from our Incapacity to suffer it, in its whole Weight, in any imaginable Part of Time, and our Unworthiness, who suffer Punishment, and that herefore the Shortness of the Duration of the Sufferings of Christ, is no Objection to the Identity of the Penalty, tho’ in this Circumstance different; but if it was His of Being the Law threatned, it is certain Christ could not bear it, nor hath made Satisfaction for Sin.

III. The Wages of Sin is that Death the Law threatens, and that Death is the Opposite of eternal Life, which cannot be Loss of Being, but of Wellbeing only; and therefore it was not the Destruction of our Being, the Law intended by Death, but an eternally miserable State of Being.

IV. The Punishment which is executed on Men for Sin, is that Punishment the Law threatened, and not Penalty of another Nature, and specifically different from it: Loss of Being, and a being for ever miserable, are as distinct, as, To be, and Not to be, than which, nothing can be more opposite, and therefore it was a being eternally miserable, which the holy Law of God denounced against Man, in Care of his Disobedience: For we have not the least Hint, that the Punishment is changed, or that a different Penalty is to be inflicted on Men, from that which the Law at first threatened.

V. I humbly apprehend Annihilation is no Punishment at all, for these Reasons following.

1. Man hath no Right to a Continuance of his Existence, even in Case he offends not. A Right he hath to be happy, according to the Law under which he was originally placed, if God should will him still to be. His existing was absolutely dependent on the sovereign Pleasure of his Maker, but his Well-being depended on his Observation of that Law, which was given to him.

2. Man could not by his Sin forfeit that to which he had no Claim: No Right he had to continue in Being; this cannot be supposed consistent with his absolute Dependence on the sovereign Will. of God, as to his Existence, or Nonexistence; for if this is allow’d, God was under an Obligation to preserve him in a State of Being, in Case he did not sin against him, his Sovereign Lord and righteous Governor.

3. God may, if he pleases, annihilate the most perfect of his Creatures: They all rose into Being, by Vertue of his absolute Will, and their continuing to be, must be resolv’d into the same Cause, unless we raise an innocent Creature to a State of Independence on God, which would deify the Creature, and deprive the Almighty Creator, of his unalienable sovereign Right, Power and Dominion over the Works of his Hand.

4. Disobedience God cannot but punish, and therefore in Case of Sin, he cannot annihilate and destroy the Being of an offending Creature. That God by Necessity of Nature wills, and yet freely wills to punish Sin, hath, as I hope, been fully prov’d in the first Part, to which the Reader is referr’d. Now if God cannot but will to punish Sin, he cannot will to take away the Being of a Sinner. This may at first View seem strange, and it will perhaps be ask’d, What, may God of his absolute Pleasure, destroy the Being of an innocent Creature? and can he not annihilate a guilty Creature? How is this? Does Sin raise the Subject of it, to an Independence on the Will of God? Answer. No; by no Means: But the Case is thus: The Righteousness and Justice of God’s Nature, necessarily, but freely determines him to will the Punishment of Sin, and of Consequence to will the Being of a Sinner, the Subject of Sin, and of the Penalty that Sin demerits.

Object. The Destruction of the Being of a rational immortal Creature, deprives that Creature of Happiness, which is a great Punishment.

Answ. 1. Its deprived of Happiness, either before or upon its Annihilation: If you shall say before, that is an Infliction of Penalty while it exists, and is not the Annihilation of it. And if you say after or upon Annihilation, the guilty Creature is deprived of Happiness, it is a very manifest Contradiction; for this necessarily supposes the annihilated Creature to still exist, which it does not. Annihilation is a Privation of Being, but properly speaking, it is not a Privation of Happiness: For a Privation of Happiness necessarily infers the Existence of some Being, which is the Subject of that Privation.

2. All Punishment causes Grief and Pain to the Subjects of it. But, 1. No Grief and Pain follow upon Annihilation is certain, the Reason is clear, that which is not, cannot be the Subject of Joy or Grief, of Happiness or Misery. 2. It therefore is so far from being a Punishment to annihilate a Creature under the least Degree of Pain and Torture, that it puts an End to his suffering Pain, and of Consequence, Annihilation Is no Punishment, nor is threatened by the Law as a Penalty. And therefore Adam did not subject himself or any of his Descendants, to the Loss of Being by his Disobedience. And of Consequence, this novel Opinion, of the Annihilation of the Infants of ungodly Parents, who die in a State of Infancy, is not founded on the Word of God, or right Reason; but is an Invention of his own, and is very deservedly rejected. This is not a Place to examine the Author’s Sentiments, concerning the State of the Children of pious Parents, during their Infancy, and therefore I decline it.

  PART 4.  

26 [Part Four] - Chapter One

{Part Four Chapter One}

Treats of Imputation. An Enquiry whether the Fault of a Criminal may be imputed to an innocent Person, among Men; This is disallowed, and the Reasons of it are assigned; An Argument to prove it may be, is answered.

IN this fourth Part 1 propose to consider what the learned Author delivers, in his Essays on imputed Sin, and imputed Righteousness; And on the Guilt and Defilement of Sin. I humbly apprehend the Method he takes to explain the Doctrine of the Imputation of Adam’s Sin to his Posterity, and of the Imputation of our Sins to Christ, is very unhappy and improper, or rather, that in. reality he denies the Imputation of either.

I. The Hebrew Word j is frequently used to express Imputation, as in these Instances, And it was counted unto him for Righteousness (Le 17:4.). Blood shall be imputed to him (Ge 15:6.). And that was counted unto him for Righteousness (Psalm 106:31.). Blessed is the Man to whom the Lord imputeth not Iniquity (Ps 106:31-32.). In each of these Scriptures that Word is used, which the Septuagint render by logibomai, as the Apostle also does. 1. It imports to place to the Account of a Person, an Action, righteous or unrighteous. 2. Upon so doing, to reckon and esteem him righteous or unrighteous, according to the Nature of the Action imputed to him. The Greek Word logizomai, is used in the New Testament, in both there Senses. In the first: of there, it is used in these Words: That it may not be laid to his Charge (1Ti 4:16.). And in this Text: Not imputing their Trespasses to them (2Co 5:19.). Also, in this Scripture:

Blessed is the Man to whom the Lord will not impute Sin (Ro 4:6.). The contrary of this is, the Imputation of Righteousness: Even as David also describeth the Blessedness of the Man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without Works ( scripref>Romans 5:8. ). It is taken in the second Sense in several Places. Thus, in there Words: The Temple of the great Goddess Diana should be despised, or esteem’d as nothing, eiv ouden logiv qennai (Ac 19:27.). And in this Text: Brethren, I count not logizomai myself to have apprehended (Php 3:13.). And this its Import in there Words: To him that worketh, the Reward is not reckon’d of Grace, but of Debt (Ro 4:4.). It is not the Imputation of the Reward, but the Estimation, or reckoning it a due Debt, that is plainly intended. Imputation of Sin or righteousness, is the Foundation of reputing a Man, a Sinner or Just; nor can a Man, consistent with Justice, be accounted a Sinner, without a Charge or Imputation of Offence: Neither can a Person be reckon’d righteous, without the Imputation of Righteousness, but by Mistake; for he is not what he is esteem’d to be. The Imputation or Charge of a Crime, renders the Person, who is the Subject of that Charge, liable to Punishment, according to the Sanction and Threatning of the Law, by which, the Crime is imputed. Suffering without the Imputation of Offence is not Punishment: Says Grotius, Punishment in its general signification, is the Evil of Suffering which is inflicted for the Evil orationf53. The same Account Selden gives of Penaltyf54. And therefore Punishment cannot be inflicted on an innocent Person, as so consider’d, without manifest Injustice.

  Query. May the Fault of a Criminal be imputed to an innocent Person, and he be made to suffer the Punishment due to that Offence, among Men?

Answ. 1. No such Union subsists among Men, as can make them one Person in the Eye of the Law; and therefore the Righteousness of one Man, cannot be imputed to another; nor can one Man’s Guilt be charged on another. All human Laws respect Men personally. Hence they are, and must: be justified and condemn’d, either as they obey, or disobey the Law in their own Persons.

2. Pecuniary Punishments may be inflicted on an innocent Person, in the Room of the Guilty, who is fined for any Offence. The Ground of which must always be his voluntary Agreement, for without that, it would be Oppression and Robbery under a Pretence of the Execution of Justice: But his Payment of the Mulct or Fine, is not properly a Punishment to him, because it is not required of him with Respect to the Perpetration or Charge of the Crime, which is the formalis Ratio of Penalty. He takes it upon him as a Debt, and as such merely it is demanded of him. This it Man may do, because he has Power over his Property, and may dispose of it at his Pleasure.

  3. But capital Punishment may not be sustain’d by an innocent Person, in the Room of a Criminal.

  (1.) Because the Law cannot make the Crime deserving that Punishment his, the Reason is very evident, the Law only deals with Men in their own Persons, and justifies or condemns them, as they are or are not conformable to it.

(2.) The Law or Legislature have no Power, to require an innocent Person, to suffer in Stead of the Guilty: All just Laws, and every just Legislature, protect the Lives of guiltless Subjects, and therefore may not require such to suffer capitally for Offenders.

(3.) An innocent Person may not agree to suffer capital Punishment for a Trangressor, the Reason is, he hath not Power over his own Life, as Grotius observesf55. And should the Legislature accept of such an Engagement, and proceed to Execution upon it, this would be a manifest Violation of Right; for Justice necessarily obliges the Legislature to protect, and by no means allows of taking away the Life of any innocent Subject.

(4.) Mutilation or the Loss of an Eye, or of any Member of the Body, may not be inflicted on an innocent Person, instead of the guilty; because it may not be done, without the Consent of the innocent Party: And the Law of Nature (which human Laws never ought to contradict) obliges all Men not only to preserve Life itself; but also to preserve themselves entire and free from Maimingf56. A Man has no more Power over his Eye, than over his Head, and therefore I think the Conduct of Zaleucus, is incapable of Defence, who submitted to the Loss of one of his Eyes, for a Crime of his Son’s, which required the Loss of both his, that he might be deprived but of one: Nor can I conceive how this was any Way satisfactory to the Law, since he and his Son could not legally be considered as one Person.

  Object. Treason is frequently imputed to the Children of a Traytor, and they suffer Poverty and Disgrace for their Father’s Sinf57.

  Answ. 1. ‘Tis evident, that the Law does not consider the Children of a Traytor, as guilty of his Treason, if it did, the same Punishment would be inflicted on them, as is inflicted on their traiterous Parent.

  2. Children inheriting Honours, from their Parents, they cannot be suppos’d to be intitled to those Honours; but by Virtue of their Father’s Right. And as a Traytor forfeits all his Dignity, which was originally derived from the Crown; his Descendants can have no Claim to it, for he cannot convey that Honour to his Posterity, which by Overt Acts of Treason he has forfeited. This may be considered as suffering in his Children; but properly speaking it is not Punishment: Nor are they reputed as guilty with him, of that Rebellion he stands charged with.

3. As by Virtue of the mutual Contract, between the King and the Subjects, the King holds his Power and Prerogative: So by Virtue of that Contract, the Subject holds his Right to Life, Dignity, Liberty, and his Estate, on Condition of Loyalty and Subjection to his Prince; in Care therefore of Treason, against his lawful Sovereign, he forfeits his Life, Dignity and Liberty, and also his Estate; his Descendants having no other Title to his Estate, than what was sounded in his Right, they are justly deprived of it in Consequence of their Father’s Crime, and yet they are not to be considered as criminal: Nor Is this a Punishment to them, strictly speaking, to their Father it is; but not to them. There Things are a sufficient Answer to what this Author advances on this Subject in the 387th Page of his Book. As to what he supposes of an innocent Person being permitted by the Laws of a State, to suffer Imprisonment, Banishment, or scourging in the Room of an Offender (Page 388.), such a Conduct could not be justified by the Word of God or right Reason, so far as I am able to conceive, because the Crime could not be made his, by any Act of his own, nor Act of the State: His Imprisonment, Banishment or Scourging, therefore would not be Punishment, but merely Suffering. Nor hath any Man, nor have any Sett of Men a legal Power to inflict Sufferings on any Person; but in Case of Offence: For no Man becomes subject to the Evil of Suffering from a Fellow-Creature, but upon the Supposition of the Evil of Offence; and since no such Union does, or can subsist between one Man and another, as lays a proper Foundation for the Law to consider them as one Person, the Offence or Righteousness of one, may not be imputed to another, and the other suffer for his Crime; and if a Government will reward others, for the serviceable Actions of some one particular Man, ‘tis Matter of mere Bounty, they can have no Claim to the Reward, because the serviceable Actions of that Man cannot be made their’s by the State, any more than criminal Actions may. But what have all there Things to do with the Subject under our present Consideration, which infinitely differs from any supposable Case among Men. The learned Author makes three Remarks in order to support his Observations of this Kind:

  Rem 1. That there are several such Histories in the Bible, wherein the Instances of the like Kinds among the Transactions of Men are delivered down to us in such Sort of Expressions or Words of the same Import. Abraham’s eminent Obedience to God in bringing his Son Isaac to the Altar, was rewarded not only in Blessings to Abraham himself, but to his Seed, Ge 22:16, Here it may be said, that Abraham’s Obedience, at least in the Result and Consequence of it is imputed to his Seed. The same Promise is repeated again to Isaac, and assign’d to his Seed, Ge 26:4-5. Abraham’s Righteousness was thus imputed to Isaac and his Seed. The eminent Act of Righteousness of Phineas was so far imputed to his Children, as that they received the Reward of it as well as himself, Nu 25:11. The Crime of Achan by the Appointment of God, was so far imputed to his Children, that they were all stoned for the Sake of his Crime. The Guilt or Punishment of it, was imputed to the Children together with the Father, Jos 7:24. The Falsehood and Covetousness of Gehazi were imputed to his Posterity, 2Ki 5:25.

When God by the Mouth of his Prophet pronounced that Leprosy should cleave unto him, and to his Seed for ever (Pages 394, 395, 396.).

  Answ. 1. The Scripture saith nothing of the Imputation of Abraham’s Obedience to his Seed, or of their being made righteous thereby, or of the Imputation of it to Isaac and his Seed. Nor is any Thing said of the Imputation of the eminent Act of Righteousness of Phineas to his Seed. Neither is any Thing declared of the Charge of Achan’s Sin on his Children, tho’ they perished with him. Nor are we told that Gehazi’s Crimes were imputed to his Descendants.

  2. God may of his sovereign Goodness confer temporal Benefits on Men, without the Imputation of any Righteousness to them: That of Christ’s, or the Obedience of pious Parents. Thus he did on the Seed of Abraham, the Posterity of Isaac, and on the Descendants of Phineas: His so doing may be considered as an Approbation of their Piety and holy Conversations; but affords no Argument at all, in Favour of the Imputation of their Obedience to them.

3. God may take away the Lives of Children with their ungodly Parents, without the Imputation of their Parents Sin to them, for they are born under a Sentence of Death: The Execution of that Sentence, at such a Time and in such a Manner, as it was executed on the Children of Achan, may justly be considered, as an Instance of God’s great Displeasure with his Sin; but it is no Proof of the Charge of his Guilt on them.

  4. No Instance that I know of, is to be produced, where a Communication of Benefits or the Infliction of Punishment, is called Imputation of Righteousness, and the Imputation of Sin; this is such a Sense of Imputation, as is most foreign to the Scripture, the former and the latter follow upon Imputation, and cannot with the least Propriety be taken for the Thing itself. It destroys all proper Imputation, which implies these two Things and nothing more.

  (1.). Placing to the Account of a Man, Actions righteous or sinful.

(2). Accounting that Man just or unjust as those Actions are just or unjust, which are imputed to him. To confer Reward or inflict Punishment, is a third Thing that results from the Imputation of Righteousness or of Sin, and is not included in it.

Rem. 2. The Words sin and Iniquity afj or hafj ˆw[ and Amartia both in the Hebrew and Greek Languages, signify, sometimes, Liableness to Punishment, or Punishment itself (396, 397.).

  Ans. 1. It cannot be denied, that there Terms are frequently put for sinful Actions themselves, as in there Words. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, ygz[m i.e. from my Guilt, and cleanse me from my sin, ytafhm i.e. from my Sinful Actions (Psalm 51:2.); Thus also in this Text of Scripture, Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our Iniquities (Ps 103:10.). It is manifestly our criminal Conduct, that is intended in there Words. It would be almost an endless Labour, to instance in the numerous Places, where sinful Actions or Guilt is designed by there Terms. The Greek Word, Amartia, i.e. Sin, is I think, used more than a hundred and sixty times in the new Testament, and it is not in any one Place put for Obligation to Punishment or Penalty itself; but always deflates, either sinful Actions, or the corrupt Habits of the Mind from which criminal Actions proceed, and it is evidently distinguish’d from Punishment in these Words, come out of her my People, that ye be not Partakers of her taiv Amartiaiv i.e. Sins, or evil Conduct, and that ye receive not of her Plagues (Revelation 18:4.). The plain Sense of the Text is, that ye may not involve yourselves in her Guilt, and share in her Punishment.

  2. The Hebrew Word hafH is sometimes taken for Punishment, or the Evil which Sin demerits; but it includes a Charge of the Offence, and is nor understood in an abstract Consideration from it: So in there Words, if thou dost well thou shalt be accepted, and if thou doest not well, Sin lieth at the Door (Ge 4:7.), i.e. Guilt will be charged on thee, and the Penalty it deserves shall be executed, which are the contrary of Acceptance, that supposes Justification or the Non-imputation of Sin and a Reward: This Charge of Guilt, and a Subjection to Punishment on that Account. In same Places it may be put for a Sacrifice for Sin; but in those Places the Guilt is included, which the legal Sacrifices typically bore, and Christ: who made his Soul an Offering for Sin, bore it really, as the Antitype of the legal Sacrifices.

3. The Hebrew Word ˆz[i.e. Iniquity, may sometimes signify the Punishment of Sin, as in the Instance this Gentleman produces, Ho 10:13. which by Mistake is quoted the 12th Chap. Ye have plowed Wickedness and reaped Iniquity, i.e. the Consequence of your Crimes or dreadful Punishment; but this was not without the Imputation of their Sin itself. The thing to be prov’d in this Point is, that Punishment may be inflicted without any Charge of Offence. If therefore a thousand Places could be produced, where the Word is put for the Penalty of Sin, as taken in a strict Connection, with the Imputation of Sin itself, as the Cause of Punishment; they must have a great degree of Discernment indeed, who shall be able to discover, that Penalty may be inflicted on any Subject, to whom Guilt or Sin is not imputed, as the Cause of suffering that Punishment. It may design Penal Evil in there Words: God layeth up his Iniquity for his Children (Job 21:19.), and in these: In the Iniquities of their Fathers shall they pine away with them (Le 26:39.). Thus also in this Text, Our Fathers have sinned, and we have born their Iniquities (La 5:9.), i.e. the Consequences of their Sins and of our own; but surely not without a Charge of Guilt. These are all the Places, that I know of, where Iniquity I put for Punishment, and in neither of them, Penalty is intended in an abstract Consideration from a Charge of Guilt or Sin. To produce Instance, where it is taken for Punishment, in strict Connection with, and as following upon the Imputation of Crimes, fails entirely of proving that Punishment, may be inflicted on any Subject considered as innocent, to say the belt of it, it is no other than impertinent Cavilling.

  Rem. 3. The Scripture does not, as I remember, any where in express Words assert, that the Sin of Adam is imputed to his Children, or that the Sins of Mankind or of Believers were imputed to Christ, or that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to Believers (Page 403.).

  Answ. 1. If the Ideas conveyed by there Phrases are found in Scripture, it is triffling to object to the Truth of those things, because these very Words, and in such a Form, are not therein express’d.

  2. The Imputation of Adam’s Sin to his Descendants, is asserted with peculiar Strength and Evidence, when it is affirmed, that by the Disobedience of One, many were made Sinners.

3. And thus also when the Apostle says, by the Obedience of One many were made righteous, the Words are a full Assertion of the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to his People. Men are not made Punishment by Adam’s Sin, nor are Believers made Reward by Christ’s Obedience. Besides, it is very improper to speak of the Imputation of Penalty, for Punishment is not imputed, but inflicted; or of the Imputation of Reward, for the legal Result of Obedience, is not, it cannot be imputed to Believers, but it is communicated to them. Imputation of Sin or of Righteousness, is an Act in the divine Mind, to inflict Punishment or confer Reward, are transient Acts of God upon Sinners and Saints, and are most improperly called Imputation. This Remark I shall have Occasion to consider hereafter, and therefore add no more concerning it in this Chapter.

27- CHAPTER 2

Contains Arguments to Prove the real Imputation of Sin to Christ, and Answers to the Author’s Objections to it. Also Replies to some Answers which he gives to such Arguments for it, as he is pleased to mention: And the Objections of Socinus, are answered.

  THE Socinians, who deny the Satisfaction of Christ, and that he was punished for Sin, consistently with their own Principles utterly disown the Imputation of Sin to him. But such, who profess to embrace and maintain the important Doctrine of the real and proper Satisfaction of Christ, are greatly inconsistent in a Denial of the Imputation of Sin to him, in order to his suffering Punishment. The Arguments in Favour of a Charge of Sin on Christ our Surety are these,

1. Sin is not Punishment: No two Ideas are more distinct and different, than those of a Crime, and the Penalty it demerits. And therefore without urgent Necessity, when the sacred Scriptures speak of Sin, we ought not to interpret those Places of Punishment, in Distinction from Sin itself. If it is denied that Sin was imputed to Christ, it will be difficult to demonstrate what of Sin he bore.

2. If Christ had not Sin imputed to him, his Sufferings were not of a penal Nature, for as we have before observed, proper Punishment is the Infliction of the Evil of suffering for the Evil of Action: An innocent Person therefore, as so considered, cannot be the Subject of Penalty. And if Christ did not sustain the Punishment, which we deserve, he made no Satisfaction for our Offences; then, if Punishment is at all inflicted for Sin, it must be on our selves, which would sink us to the lowest Hell.

3. Our Saviour had that charged on him, which he bore away for his People: He took away Sin in its Guilt; for he removed our Transgressions from us, as far as the East is from the West: And put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself, he purged our Sins. Which Scriptures with many others, intend our Discharge from Guilt, in Consequence of the Imputation of it to Christ, and of his making a proper, real and plenary Satisfaction for it: And therefore Sin it self or our criminal Actions were laid on Christ, in order to the Removal of them, at the greatest Distance from us.

  4. Christ might be made Sin or guilty, by the Imputation of Sin to him; but in suffering he could not be made Punishment. An innocent Person may be made or constituted guilty, by a Charge of the Crimes of others on him; but by the Infliction of Sufferings, he cannot be made Punishment, for two very evident Reasons

(1.) No Penalty may justly be inflicted on him, without the Imputation of Guilt, i.e. the Sins of others for whom he is supposed to suffer.

(2.) No Man suffering Punishment, can with the least Propriety be accounted Penalty: He is not what he endures; but a Man may be made Sin or guilty, by an Imputation of Guilt to him. Thus, he who knew no Sin, was made Sin for us: i.e. according to the Opinion of some, he was made Punishment: That we might be made the Righteousness of God in him, i.e. say they, that we might be made or constituted divine Favours and Benefits. There are no Ideas so different and distinct, but some Persons, out of Opposition to evangelical Truths, will confound them, and dare to make the blessed God the Author of such Confusion.

  5. Remission of Sin is a Fruit of Christ’s Death, in the Discharge from Guilt, as well as Freedom from Punishment. His Sufferings could not be the procuring Cause of our Acquittance from a Charge of Sin, without the Imputation of our Guilt to him, and therefore Sin itself or our criminal Actions, were placed to his Account, as our Surety.

6. No innocent Person, as so consider’d, in suffering can be made a Curse, however great his Sufferings may be; for a Curse necessarily supposes a Charge of Sin, as the Cause of that Curse, which he. is made: Christ in his Death was made a Curse, and therefore he did not suffer consider’d as innocent, tho’ in himself he was absolutely so; but he was accounted guilty, which he only could be, by the Imputation of our Sins to him.

  7. This was typically represented, by the great Anniversary Sacrifice under the Law. A real Charge of Guilt could not indeed have Place, in any of the Mosaical Sacrifices: Nor could proper Punishment, be inflicted on any of the Beasts, which were slain and offered to God as Sacrifices, according to the ceremonial Law: But if any infer from thence, that Sin was not really imputed to Christ, as the Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind does, they may also conclude, that our Saviour did not, properly speaking, suffer Punishment for us, which to conceive entirely enervates his Satisfaction, leaves us under the Imputation of our Guilt, and obnoxious to all the Penalty it demerits. These are Consequences greatly to be dreaded by every one, who has the least Concern for his eternal Welfare and Deliverance from the infernal Pit.

8. Without a proper Imputation of Sin to Christ, he cannot be said to die in our Room, as we are Sinners. It is as Persons guilty, that we become obnoxious to Death; an innocent Person could not die in our Stead, without a Charge of our Sin on him, the Reason is evident, he who dies for, or in the Place of a Criminal, suffers for him that Penalty, to which his Crimes expos’d him; but this cannot be without the Imputation of his Sin, because the Infliction of penal Evil, where there is no Charge of Offence, is a Violation of all Right and Justice. Christ was our Substitute, and died in our Room, and therefore our Sins or criminal Actions were really imputed to him. The Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, objects several Things to this evangelical Truth.

Object. 1. The particular sinful Actions of David, Mary Magdalen and Rahab, could not minutely be imputed, that is to say, that every particular lustful Thought of theft Persons could not be charged on Christf58.

Answ. 1. When this Gentleman makes a Difficulty, of allowing such a minute and particular Imputation of Sin to Christ, his Intention is to entirely overthrow the Doctrine of the Charge of Sin on Christ, in order to his making Satisfaction for it. We understand, Sir, your Drift and Scope, but shall never be shaken in our Faith relating to this great Doctrine, by any such trifling Objection, as this is, it contains nothing of Difficulty in it, as will appear by observing.

  2. It is God, who charges Sin on Offenders themselves, or on his Son our Surety. Now, as God is able in his all-comprehending Mind, to impute every sinful and lustful Thought to Sinners themselves, so he is certainly able to charge every sinful and lustful Thought of theirs on Christ, who suffered for them. His Knowledge of Sin is absolutely perfect, he knows it in all its various Springs and Motions in the Hearts of Men, and therefore, he is able to impute it either to Men in their own Persons, or to charge it on Christ, as a Surety for them, as his sovereign, Pleasure is, to act in this great Affair.

Object. 2. The Author fears it would border upon the Language of Blasphemy, to say that sin itself was imputed to Christf59.

  Answ. 1. This stale and groundless Objection, the Author could not but know, has been many Times answered, it might therefore be expected, that he should have shewn, wherein the Answers given to it over and over are defective, if he think them so. The Omission of it I can’t but apprehend, will be thought highly unfair and disingenuous, by more Persons than myself.

2. The Imputation of Sin to an innocent Person, does not formally make him a Sinner: It is only a Conveyance of sinful Habits does this, which is absolutely denied in this Care, and is not supposed in the Nature of the Thing, nor doth attend it, and therefore, there is not any Thing of a blasphemous Nature in the Doctrine. The blessed Jesus on the Charge of the Guilt of others to him, was accounted and reputed what he was not in himself, and could not be made viz. Sin or guilty.

  3. The Imputation of the Action of one Person to another, does not make that Action, the personal Act of him, to whom it is imputed, whether the Action is righteous or unrighteous: So that our sinful Actions became not the personal Acts of Christ, by the Imputation of them to him, neither do his Acts of Obedience to the Law of God, become our personal Acts, by the Imputation of them to us. This Objection supposes that sinful Actions, upon Imputation, became the personal Acts of Christ, or else there can be no Foundation for this dreadful and horrible Charge of Blasphemy, the Consequence therefore, is inferr’d from what is not supposed or found in the Nature of the Thing, and is as certainly false, as it would be shocking, and destructive of all our spiritual Hopes if true. The ingenious Author undertakes to answer some of the Arguments, used to support the Doctrine of the real Imputation of Adam’s Sin to his Posterity, and of the proper Imputation of Sin to Christ, which Answers of his I shall now consider and reply to.

Arg. 1. The first Argument, as he ought to have stated it, is, how can Punishment be inflicted on an innocent Person, without the Imputation of the Crimes of others to him for whom he suffers Penalty? Or how can the Reward that is due to Righteousness, be confessed without the Imputation of that Righteousness to him, on whom the Reward is bestow’d? To which Enquiries he answers thus, The very same just Constitution, whether human or divine, by which the Actions themselves, whether good or evil, could be supposed to be imputed, is sufficient for the Imputation of the legal Result of those Actions, and that with as much Justice (Page 399.).

I reply,

  1. No human Law can impure the good or evil Actions of one Man to another, for the Reasons before assign’d in the preceding Chapter.

  2. The Imputation of the legal Result of an Action, whether good or bad seems to me, a most odd and improper Idea: The legal Result of a good Action i.e. the Reward may be conferred, and the legal Result of an evil Action, i.e. Punishment may be inflicted. But of the Imputation of Reward or Penalty, I cannot frame any Idea: If I mistake not, the true Nature of Imputation is entirely lost. in this Supposition.

3. Its unjust to inflict Punishment on an innocent Person, as so consider’d, and suffering without an Imputation of Offence is not Penalty. If Sin therefore, was not imputed to Christ, his Sufferings could not be of a penal Nature, which if they were not, no proper Satisfaction for Sin arises from his Death: At most, it was only a Condition of Pardon, and this the Socinians themselves freely grant us, who are avow’d Adversaries to the glorious and important: Doctrine of real Atonement and Satisfaction.

4. To justify a Person, who is not righteous, as so considered, is as contrary to Truth and Equity, as it is to condemn and punish the innocent. If therefore, Men are not righteous in themselves, nor made so by the Imputation of another’s Obedience, their Justification mull: be an illegal Act, and plainly contrary to all the known Rules of Equity and Justice: And without Justification, a Man can have no Title to the Reward, which the Law promises only in Case of Obedience to its Precepts, to be perform’d either by Men themselves, or by a Surety for them.

  Arg. 2. May not the sinful Actions of the Father be imputed to the Posterity, since the Children were in the Father naturally, when he committed those sins? Is not Levi said to pay Tithes in Abraham, in Heb 7:9. because he was yet in the Loins of his great Grandfather, when be paid Tythes to Melchisedec? The Author answers to this Argument thus,

  1. The Apostle expresses it, not as Matter of strict reasoning, because he adds the Words, as I may so say, to intimate, ‘tis rather an Allusion or Emblem, than strict reasoning.

2. If there could be supposed any Advantage by this natural In-being of all Men in Adam to support the Imputation of his sin to them, yet there can he no Necessity of it, for Christ was not naturally in us, tho’ our Sins were imputed to him. This Imputation of Sin therefore, to the one or the other, signifies only the transferring of Guilt, Condemnation or Punishment, and not the Imputation of the same evil Actions, or the transferring them from Adam to, us or from us to our blessed Saviour (Pages 399, 400.).

I reply,

1. ‘Tis not suppos’d, that Abraham and Levi were consider’d as one Person, by which Abraham’s Act of paying Tithes might become his, or be accounted the Act of Levi, as well as the Act of Abraham, for tho’ Abraham was Levi’s Progenitor, he was not his Representative. But as Adam was the common Parent and Root of Mankind, he also was constituted the Head and Representative of all his natural Descendants; he and they were considered as one Person by the Law, which he violated, hence his Act of Disobedience became theirs, or chargeable on them, as well as on him, and they were reckon’d to sin in him, and fall with him in his first Transgression.

2. Therefore, the Imputation of Adam’s Offence, does not merely follow upon the natural In-being of all Men in him; but it arises from his being their Representative: He indeed was the only proper Person to be constituted such a Head, to the whole of the human Race, because he alone is the common Parent and Root of all Men.

3. Christ was not naturally in us; but yet he might be, and actually was constituted the Representative Head of his Seed. He and they were considered as one in the divine Mind, hence our Sins became his, and his Righteousness becomes ours or is imputed to us.

4. From what has been before observ’d, ‘tis evident, that unless Adam’s Sin is imputed to us or reckoned ours, as well as his, we are unjustly subjected to Condemnation, Misery and Punishment on Account of that Sin: For, to deny the Imputation of that Offence, and yet grant that we suffer in Consequence of it, necessarily supposes, that we are condemned and punished, consider’d as innocent, than which there is nothing more unjust: And it is equally apparent, that unless our Sins were imputed to Christ, he could not suffer the Punishment due to them, for no innocent Person as so considered, can be made the Subject of Condemnation and Penalty, without a manifest Violation of Justice, in the highest Degree imaginable.

Arg. 3. There is a particular comparison, between our being made or constituted Sinners by the Disobedience of Adam, and our being made or constituted righteous by the Obedience of Christ. The Author’s Answer to this Argument is a very observable one, ‘tis this. The Jewish and all the Eastern Writers deal in very strong Figures and Expressions, to signify plain and obvious Things. And therefore there is some Allowance to be made in the Explication of them, or when we reduce them to plain Language (401.).

I reply,

  1. That the inspired Writers many Times use elegant and strong Figures on various Subjects, is evident enough, and this must be allow’d a peculiar Grace and Beauty in their Stile, which is far above the Imitation of some, who pretend to discover Defects and Blemishes in it, as much for Loftiness and Majesty, instructive Allusions and beautiful Metaphors, as it is for Conciseness, Ease and Simplicity.

2. But we must not imagine, that the unspired Pen-men make Use of figurative Modes of Speech without any Evidence, that they so do, and take the Liberty to interpret their Words, in a Sense quite different from and far below the proper and natural Import of them, without a solid and substantial Reason for it, taken either from the Nature of the Subject concerning which they speak; or from the Scope and Design of the Writer, for if we may indulge to such an Imagination, no evangelical Truth will be capable of Defence from Scripture, nor will it be found possible to detect and refute any Error, however great, by the Help of the sacred Pages.

3. The Truth in the Case is really this: The Subjects of which the Apostle in this Place discourses, are mysterious, and of the Number of the deep Things of God; but the Language in which they are expressed, is easy, plain and natural, yea too plain and striking, for any Person whatever to interpret it in a Consistency with a Denial of the important Truths of the Imputation of Adam’s first Offence to his Posterity, and of the Imputation of Christ’s Obedience to his People.

4. The Scope of the divine Writer requires us to understand his Words, in their obvious and natural Import, and will not allow us to explain them, as if they were figurative, and more elevated and strong, than the Nature of the Things about which he writes required. It is his general Design in this Discourse to prove two Things. First that Adam’s Sin, is the Cause of Condemnation and Death to all his Seed. Secondly, That Christ’s Obedience is the Cause of Justification and Life to all his Seed. (1.) He asserts Sin and the Sin of one Man to be the Cause of Death. (2.) That Sin is not imputed where there is no Law. (3.) That Death had reigned from the Time of Adam to Moses, even over such a Part of Mankind, as had not sinned, in the Manner Adam did, i.e. personally, whereby it is not to be doubted Infants are intended. And therefore Mankind were under a Law, before the Delivery of the Law on Mount Sinai, by the Hand of Moses, and this Law threatened Death in Care of Disobedience, and since many suffered Death, who had not actually sinn’d, they must be under an Imputation of Guilt contracted by another: For the Apostle plainly supposes an Imputation of Sin to all who are subject to Death, and concludes, that by the Offence or Disobedience of one Man, we are made or constituted Sinners. farther he supposes throughout his Discourse, that it is Sin imputed, which subjects Men to Condemnation and Death, and that it is Righteousness imputed, which intitles Men to Justification and Life. And therefore, there is a manifest Necessity to interpret his Words, in their plain and obvious Sense, his Scope and Drift will by no Means allow us to think, he here uses figurative Expressions or Language stronger than the Nature of the Subjects, about which he treats will bear, as this Author falsely imagines he does. In the remaining Part of the Author’s Answer to this Argument, ‘tis observed, that a Conveyance of sin from Adam, and a Communication of Grace and Holiness from Christ may be intended in this Discourse. To this I reply, (1.) In this Place there is no Mention of our natural Depravity and Corruption, in Consequence of Adam’s Sin. (2.) Nor is any Mention made of our Sanctification by Christ. His whole Discourse is of the Imputation of Sin, of one Sin, and of the Sin of one Man to Condemnation and Death: And of the Imputation of the Obedience of one, i.e. Christ, in order to Justification and Life. Sanctification enters not into his Discourse in this Place. The Author argues, that there was not a real Imputation of Sin to the Scape-goat or a real Infliction of Punishment.

  Both there Things are freely allow’d, because that was not a Subject capable of either: But still both are true of Christ the Antitype, if he made a real and proper Atonement for Sin, which glorious and important Point is not now to be prov’d, I hope it has been already done.

  Arg. 4. It cannot properly be called imputed Righteousness, if the righteous Actions themselves are not imputed, for in proper Speech, the Result of Christ’s Righteousness, i.e. the Right to Impunity and eternal Life, which he procured for us, is given to us rather than imputed. To this says he, I answer and grant, this is the very Language of Scripture, it is called, the Gift of Righteousness, Ro 5:17. Eternal Life which is the Result of Christ’s Righteousness, is the Gift of God through Jesus Christ.Ro 6:23. And the Forgiveness of Sins is given to Israel. Ac 5:31. Yet let it be observed, that the very Reward itself, is sometimes said to be reckoned or imputed in Scripture>Ro 4:4. The Word is logizetai, which our Translators have constru’d imputed in the next Verse (P. 493.).

I reply,

  1. Conferring of Benefits, it is certain, cannot properly be called an Imputation of them. Imputation is an Act in the divine Mind towards Men: A Communication of Favours to Men, is a gracious Act of God upon them, which are very different and distinct Ideas: The latter is not the same with the former, nor may be put for it.

2. The Word signifies to reckon, account, esteem or repute, as well as to impute or place to Account: Thus in these Words, I reckon, logizomai, that the Sufferings of this present Time, not I impute (Ro 8:18.). So in this Text, We are accounted elogisqhmen, as Sheep for the Slaughter not we are imputed as Sheep (Ro 8:36.), etc. And this must be the Sense in which the Word is used in this Scripture: are counted logizetai eiv sperma for the Seed, i.e. are reckoned or reputed, not imputed for the Seed (ver. 8.). More Instances might be produced, where the Term is taken for Account, Esteem or Reckoning; but these, as I suppose, are sufficient. The Sense of Ro 4:4. is plainly this: To him that worketh, i.e. who obeys the Law, the Reward is reckoned, or accounted a due Debt. It is the Judgment formed of his Right and Title to Life, upon the Foundation of his Obedience to the Law, which is design’d, and not the Imputation of the Reward to him, that is intended.

  3. The Word signifies to impute, or place to the Account of a Person, an Action righteous or unrighteous: Thus in these Words: I pray God it may not be laid to their Charge, mh autoiv logisqeiou (2Ti 4:16.) and also in this Scripture: Unto whom God imputeth logizetai Righteousness without Works (Romans 4:6).

4. When a righteous Action is imputed, a Man is accounted or reckoned just, upon the Imputation of that righteous Action and when a sinful Action is imputed or plac’d to the Account of a Person, he is thereupon reputed or esteem’d Unrighteous. But without the Imputation of Righteousness or of Sin, Men cannot be esteem’d Just or Unjust. Socinus objects several Things to the Imputation of our Sins to Christ; but they are such as will be found very easy of Dispatch.

  Object. 1. It obscures the Glory of the Grace of God, which is discovered in delivering Christ to Death for us, for if our Sins were imputed to Christ, then in that Act he prosecuted his own Right.

Answ. 1. God maintain’d and vindicated the Honour of his Justice, in the Imputation of our Sins to his Son, and in the Infliction of that Punishment on him, which they demerit.

2. Herein also the Glory of his Grace shines with the brightest Lustre: His Blood being a proper Price or valuable Consideration for our Discharge from Guilt, is no Diminution or lessening of the Glory of divine Grace in our Forgiveness: Since the Provision of Christ as a Redeemer, is wholly and solely to be attributed to the Riches of that Grace.

Object. 2. Christ could not then be an Example to us, in his Death, for the Sins of others cannot be imputed to us.

  Answ. 1. Christ was an Example to us, in what he suffered from the Hands of Men, and we ought to imitate him, in Patience, Meekness, and Gentleness, when we are rudely treated for his Sake, and the Good of his People and Church.

2. But he was not an Example to us, in what, and as he suffered from the Hand of God, who commanded the Sword of Justice to awake against him, and to smite him, in order to the Redemption of his Body the Church.

Object. 3. How can our Sins be imputed to us, if they were to Christ?

Answ. Adored be divine Favour for it, they are not imputed to us: For, God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, not imputing their Trespasses unto them.

Object. 4. Two Things are required to the Imputation of another’s sins.

  (1.) There must be a personal Conjunction or Union between him, to whom they are imputed, and the Person, whose sins they are. (2.) The other is, he must have sinned, and imitated his Wickedness, on whom they are charg’df60.

Answ. 1. Christ was absolutely free from all sinful Pollution in himself, for he did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his Mouth.

2. But there is a most near Union between Christ and his People, a nearer Union than can subsist between one Man and another: He is the Head and they are his Members: They are Bone of his Bone, and Flesh of his Flesh: And ‘tis this close and intimate Union which is the Foundation of the Charge, of their Sins on Christ, and of the Imputation of his Righteousness and Obedience to them. And therefore Socinus had no just Cause, as his Manner was, to insult, triumph, and pronounce the Doctrine of the Imputation of Sin to Christ, false, absurd, and impious, which he insolently and rudely does. I am very sorry that the Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, has in any Degree imitated him, in suggesting it to is a blasphemous Doctrine: Such I am well assured it will never be prov’d.

 

28- CHAPTER 3

Shews, that Faith is not a Condition of our Justification, and that it is not imputed to us for Righteousness.

I. A Proper Condition is an Addition to a Promise, by which we will that what is to be granted, or to be, should be conferr’d, in Case some other Thing is done. And therefore two Things enter into the Nature of a proper Condition. A Delay to fulfil the Promise, and an Uncertainty of the Bestowment of the Thing promised. For if the Condition is not fulfill’d, Right to the Benefit promised on that Condition, cannot take Placef61. Some have apprehended, that Faith is a proper Condition of our Justification by the Righteousness of Christ. That an everlasting Righteousness is brought in, for the Justification of Sinners that it is accepted of God to such a Purpose; and, that it is in itself sufficient to that end, am granted; but it is not allow’d to be imputed to any particular Person, except upon the Condition of believing in Christ. Against this Opinion, I object Thus,

1. This Principle supposes, that Christ was not made under the Law, nor obey’d it, for one Man, more than another: Or that he as much designed the Justification of Judas by his Obedience, as the Justification of Paul or Peter, which is entirely incontinent with that peculiar Love he bore to them, and in which Judas had no Interest.

2. There is a foederal Union between Christ and those Persons, on whose Account he fulfill’d the Law: He is their Head, and they are his Members, which can only be said of the Church of the first-born, who are written in Heaven, who are his Body, and to whom he is a Head exclusive of all others, to them therefore, he had a particular View, in his Obedience to the Law, and only intended the Justification of those Persons.

3. As we have before prov’d, this Condition is not in the Power of Men to perform. Now it would be an Impeachment of the Wisdom of Christ, and no Instance of Goodness in him, to design his Righteousness, as the Matter of our Acceptance with God, upon an impossible Condition.

4. If God gives that Grace to Men, which effectually enables them to fulfil this Condition, the Nature of a proper Condition, as to us, is lost: For Justification with Respect to Men becomes absolute, and what there is of Conditionality in it, is not on our Part, but on the Part of God.

5. If all those are not justified, for whom Christ: obey’d the Law, with a View to their Justification, he is disappointed of the End he propos’d to himself in his obeying of it, then he magnified the Law, and made it honourable in vain, as to these Persons, which may not be thought, any more than that he dy’d in vain.

6. Since Christ knew, that God would not enable such Men to believe, who are not of his Sheep, for Men continue in Unbelief, because they are not of that happy Number: Ye believe not, because ye are not of my Sheep, he must be suppos’d to intend, the Justification of such Patrons, as he certainly knew never could be justified, which can’t be thought without a manifest Impeachment of his Wisdom: Nor consistent with his Submission to the Father’s Will.

7. This supposes, that a Believer for a Time is not justified but condemn’d, for according to this Opinion, Faith is prior to Justification, which if it is, then a Believer may be considered as an unjustified Patron, at least until after his first Act of Faith; but thus he may not be conceived of.

II. Some are of Opinion, that Faith, i.e. the Grace of Faith is imputed for Righteousness, as the Socinians and Arminians. Dr. Doddridge declares himself to be of this Mind, tho’ he also believes the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness, which Arminius likewise did. I have said, (so he speaks) that I believe both, i.e. that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and that our Faith is imputed for Righteousnessf62. And says Dr. Doddridge, all manner of Imputation seems to be a Metaphor, taken from Books of Account, between Creditor and Debtor. To impute any Act of Sin, or of Obedience, is therefore properly no other than to let it down to his Account. The great God of Heaven and Earth is represented in Scripture, with humble Condescension to our Manner of acting and conceiving of Things, as keeping a most exact Book of Records and Accounts, in which things are registered concerning every one of us, which he wilt bring into that final Review and Survey, by which our Characters and States shall finally be determin’d. And as a most exact and perfect Obedience is a Debt which we owe him, as our great Creator, Benefactor, and Governor; so on the Breach of his Law, we owe him some proper Satisfaction for it. In this view, we are all charged as Debtors, poor, miserable and insolvent Debtors in the Book of God: Innumerable sins are imputed, or set down to our Account: And were Things to go on in this Course, we should e’er long be arrested by the divine Justice, and being found incapable of Payment, should be cast into the Prison of Hell, to come out no more. But God in Pity, to this our calamitous State, has found out a Surety and a Ransom for us, and has provided a Satisfaction in the Obedience and Sufferings of his Son; which is what we mean by the Righteousness of Christ, or his active and passive Obedience. It is with a gracious Regard to this, to express his high Complacency in it, and if I may so speak his pleasing Remembrance of it, that all who are finally justified and saved, meet with divine Acceptance and Favour: Or to pursue the Metaphor open’d above, the Righteousness of Christ is in the Book of God, imputed offer down to their Account, as that by which the Debt is balanced, and they are intitled to such Favours as righteous Persons might expect from God. But then it is an invariable Rule in the divine Proceedings, that this Righteousness, or this Atonement and Satisfaction of Christ, (for I think it matters but little, by which of these Names it shall be called) be a Means of delivering those, and only those, that believe. Pursuant therefore to the afore said Metaphor, when any particular Person believes, this is set down to his Account, as a most important Article, or as a Memorandum (if I may so express it) in the Book of Gods Remembrance, that such a one is now actually become a Believer, and therefore is now entitled to Justification and Life by Christ. In this Sense his Faith is imputed for Righteousness. Yet it is not regarded by God, as the grand Consideration which balances the Account, or indeed as paying any Part of the former Debt, which it is impossible it should; but only as that, which according to the gracious Constitution of the Gospel gives a Man a Claim to that which Christ has paid, and which God has graciously allowed as a valuable Consideration, in regard to which be may honourably pardon and accept all who shall apply to him in his appointed Way, or in the Way of humble believing, aa Faith was described abovef63.

  On this extraordinary Paragraph we may remark as follows.

1. It is supposed that the Satisfaction of Christ is not real and proper; but is graciously allowed of God as a valuable Consideration for our Discharge, altho’ it is not so in itself, for if so it is, it is not a Favour to allow it to be such.

  2. That this was paid for such, as may have no Claim to it for want of Faith. The Churches of Christ, in Northamptonshire, may expect to soon hear the universal Extent of Christ’s Death in express Words asserted, when they are sufficiently prepared for it, by such artful and sly Insinuations of it.

3. That it is Faith which intitles Men to this Satisfaction of Christ’s, such as it is allowed to be: We have thought that it was God’s Acceptation of it for us, and his Imputation of it to us, that made it ours, and not any Act which we perform, but it seems this old Protestant Doctrine proves a Mistake.

  4. It is here suppos’d, that we are not constituted and made righteous, by the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to us; but receive Favours from God, as if we were righteous, tho’ in Reality we are not so made.

  5. It is expressly affirm’d that Faith, i.e. the Grace of Faith is imputed for Righteousness: So say Papists, Socinians, and Arminians, the learned Man, if that will afford him any Degree of Pleasure, may observe, that all who are averse to the most important Point of the truly reform’d Religion, viz. the Doctrine of Justification by the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ ALONE, differ not from him, in this his Opinion of the imputation of the Grace of Faith for Rightousness. ‘Tis not a little strange that such a Congregation as that at Rowel in Northamptonshire, should press the Publication of Doctrine, quite the Reverie of what they have been faithfully instructed in, by a Succession of able and judicious Ministers, for many Years, and which they have profess’d to cordially believe: But tho’ they so did, I can’t persuade myself to think, that they will give up the glorious Truths of the Reality and Perfection of Christ’s Satisfaction, the Inconditionality of an Interest in it, and in the Remission of Sin, arising from it and secured by it. Nor that of Justification by Christ’s Obedience without any Act of ours. I would here advance some Arguments to prove that the Grace of Faith is not imputed for Righteousness,

  1. If Faith is imputed for Righteousness, it is either the Act of Faith only, or it is the Act with the good Works, Which attend it and spring from it: If it is the Act of Faith itself, then we are justified by an Act of our own, and in Justification God imputes not Righteousness to us without Works; but on the contrary, he imputes to us in order to Justification, an Act or Work of our own, for such is Faith. If Faith in Connection with its Fruits, Repentance and holy Obedience, is imputed to us for Righteousness, then we are justified by Works, and therefore this great Benefit with all the Fruits attending it become due to us, and the Reward is not reckoned of Grace; but of Debt, if the Apostle’s Reasoning is right.

  2. If Faith itself is the Matter of our Acceptance with God, then he justifies us, on Account of an imperfect Work, for such is our Faith, and by Reason of the Imperfection of it, we become liable to Condemnation according to the holy Law of God, which requires absolute Perfection in order to Justification: So that an Act to which Remission is necessary, is the Foundation of our Justification before the awful and holy Tribunal of God. Nothing more false or absurd than is this, that an Act which in strict Justice deserves Punishment, because of its defective Nature, is accepted of God, as our justifying Righteousness, and intitles us to divine Benefits, will soon be invented.

  3. In Justification God either accounts us perfect and sinless, or imperfect and deficient in the Practice of our Duty: If he reckons us perfect, then Faith which is imperfect cannot be our justifying Righteousness in his Sight, that is, if his Judgment is formed of us according to Truth: If God justifies us as imperfect, then he pronounces Men righteous, who are unrighteous, for one single Act of Offence against the Law, justly denominates a Man a Transgressor, and this his Act of Disobedience subjects him to legal Condemnation, and wilt be an eternal Bar to his Justification by his own Acts of Obedience, how sincere soever.

  4. If Men are justified by Faith itself, they have whereof to Glory, and Boasting is not excluded, especially as Faith is thought to be produced, by the Concurrence of the human Will, with the Operations of divine Grace, and Men are suppos’d in Part at least, to be the Cause of their differing from others.

5. Upon this Principle a Believer cannot truly acknowledge, that his purest Acts and best Services consider’d in themselves, expose him to Condemnation according to the Law: Nor hath he Reason to pray, that God would not enter into Judgment with him; but on the contrary, this he is to expect, and is to be justified or condemn’d, as he obeys or disobeys that Law, which requires Faith, as a Condition of his Justification. 6. Neither may Believers renounce a Dependance on their Works, for if God has expressly declared, that he will justify them, on Account of any Acts, or Act of theirs, they ought not to reject those Acts, or that Act, in the great Business of their Acceptance with the Majesty of Heaven; but agreeable to his revealed Will, place their Hopes of Justification therein, and not act such a preposterous Part, as the Apostle must be supposed to do, (if this Doctrine is true) who counted all Things except the Righteousness of Christ, but Dung, Skuzala Dog’s Meat (Php 3:8.), as the Word signifies, and of no Consideration in the momentous Affair of his Justification before God: Nor may he frame such an Opinion of himself, and of all his own Righteousness, as the Church does of herself and of her Righteousness: We are all as an unclean Thing, and all our Righteousnesses are as filthy Rags. Before I dismiss this Point, it will be proper to answer an Argument, advanced in Favour of the Imputation of the Grace of Faith for Righteousness. The Argument is this, it is expressly said, that Faith was imputed to Abraham for Righteousness, Ro 4:22.

Answ. Faith either intends the Grace or the Object of Faith; it is strenuously insisted on by Papists, Socinians and Arminians, and by some others, who perhaps would not be thought to be of either of those Parties, that the Grace of Faith is intended: But various Things may be objected to it, taken from the Context and the Thread of the Apostle’s Discourse, which will not I apprehend, admit of easy and solid Answers; as, 1. The inspired Writer in Chapters the first and second, and in the first Part of the third Chapter of this Epistle, largely proves the universal Corruption of human Nature, and thereupon infers this Conclusion in the 20th Verse, By the Deeds of the Law, no Flesh can be justified in the Sight of God.

  2. He lays down this Proposition in the 21 Verse: The Righteousness of God is manifested and witnessed to, by the Law and the Prophets, which is the Matter of our Acceptance in Opposition to Works. In the 22d Verse he distinguishes this Righteousness from Faith: Even the Righteousness, which is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe, for there is no Difference. The Grace of Faith, which is so plainly distinguish’d from the Righteousness manifested and witnessed to, by the Law and the Prophets, cannot be that Righteousness itself. In Verses 24, 25, 26, he expresly declares this Righteousness to be the Redemption and Propitiation. of Christ, hence it is evident, that it was the Intention of the Apostle to prove, that the Matter of our Justification before God is not in ourselves, but in Christ; on whom true Faith acts, as its proper Object, and therefore all Boasting is excluded, and the Law is fully establish’d in the Justification of Sinners, thro’ the Perfection of that Righteousness the Gospel reveals. In the fourth Chapter, the Apostle enters upon the Proof of this important and glorious Doctrine, and produces Abraham, as an Instance of this free Justification, by the Righteousness of God. In Verse the 6th he calls it: A Righteousness without Works: Faith is a Work, and therefore cannot be that Righteousness. In Verse the 11th he distinguishes this Righteousness, from that Faith Abrabam had, while he was uncircumcised, and therefore his Faith could not be that Righteousness, which was imputed to him, in order to his Justification. Circumcision was to Abraham a Seal, not of his Faith, but of what God had revealed and promis’d to him, as a Ground of his Hope and Trust, which the Apostle calls the Righteousness of Faith, and which is the Righteousness that the Faith of Abraham had Respect to, and trusted in, and is imputed to such who are not circumcis’d. In the 13th Verse he again calls it the Righteousness of Faith. In the 18th Verse he mentions the divine Promise given to Abraham, as the Foundation of his Hope, and the Object of his Trust. In Verses 19, 20 and 21, he observes the Strength of Abraham’s Faith under the many Difficulties, which attended the Accomplishment of that Promise, to which his Faith had Respect: And then asserts, that this Righteousness of God, on which his Faith acted in so eminent a Manner was imputed to him Verse the 22d. Besides, another Thing which evidently shews, that it was not Abraham’s Faith itself, which was imputed to him for Righteousness, but the Object of his Faith, is this: That which was imputed to Abraham for Righteousness, is also imputed to others, to the same End, which can’t be true of his Faith; but is true of the Object of his Faith, viz. the Righteousness of God, which is to all, and upon all them, that believe without any Difference or Distinction. Thus the Apostle clearly proves the Proposition laid down, that the Matter of our Justification, is not in ourselves; but that it is the Righteousness of God manifested, and witnessed to, by the Law and the Prophets. To there Things we may subjoyn, that the Apostle in the next Chapter, professedly treats of the Imputation of Adam’s Sin to his Posterity, and of the Imputation of Christ’s Obedience to his Seed, in order to Justification of Life. And therefore it could not be his Design in this Chapter to establish the Doctrine of Justification, by Faith, as an Act or Work of ours.

29- CHAPTER 4

Contains Arguments to prove that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to Men in order to Justification. And an Enquiry into the Foundation of the Charge of Sin on Christ, and of the Imputation of his Obedience to his People.

MY Design in this Chapter, is to offer to the Consideration of the Reader, such Arguments, which I apprehend clearly demonstrate and prove, that Christ alone is the Subject of that Righteousness, by which we can be justified in the Sight of God, and be intitled to eternal Life; they are as follow:

1. We cannot be justified by an imperfect Righteousness: The Holiness and Justice of God, before whom the Heavens are not clean, and who charges his Angels with Folly, is such, that no Service tinctur’d with Sin, can ever be accepted with him, as in itself considered, and be the Foundation of the Acceptance of our Persons in his Sight. He cannot esteem an Action, which hath the least Mixture of Evil in it, pure, and impute it to the Subject of it for Righteousness: For if so, God must be thought to account his Creatures just and unjust, righteous and unrighteous, and that with a View to the same individual Actions, which imply a most manifest Contradiction, and therefore cannot be true. Our own Acts of Obedience are all defil’d, and when compared with the holy Law of God, deserve the Name of filthy Rags: Of these filthy Rags we must be diverted, and be cloathed with Change of Raiment: With fine Linnen, clean and white, that is to say, with a Righteousness absolutely pure and without any Spot, or else we can never be the Objects of divine Approbation. No such perfect Righteousness we have of our own, if therefore we are not furnished with such a Righteousness by our dear Redeemer, our Justification is a Thing impossible. God of his infinite Mercy grant, that such as depend on their own imperfect Obedience, and now think of putting themselves upon Trial at the Bar of God, to be justified or condemn’d, as their Actions are agreeable or disagreeable to his Law, may see the Danger of that Dependence, before their Appearance there, if not the Consequence will be dreadful.

2. Justification is not of Works, or of the Works of a Law, that is to say, not by the personal Actions of Men performed in Obedience to any divine Law whatever, new or old: For there is no Law given which can give Life, and by which , may by Men be wrought out. To say, that if we are justified by the Righteousness of Christ, we are justified by Works conformable to the Law, is a glorious Truth; but is no Objection to this Assertion, that , in the Apostle’s Sense, who speaks of Works in a personal View, or of Men’s personal Actions. And therefore to infer from the Imputation of Christ’s Obedience, that we are justified by Works in such a Sense, as contradicts the Design of the inspired Writer, concerning the Exclusion of Works, from having any Concern in Justification, is no better than an impertinent Cavil, and is most unworthy the lovely Name of Reasoning. If Justification is of Works, or of the personal Actions of Men, it is not of Grace: It is of the one wholly, and exclusively of the other, it cannot be of both, of Grace, and of the personal Acts of Men too: There are Opposites, and it is impossible they should ever be blended, or enter into a Composition. , thro’ the Redemption, that is in Christ. His Righteousness alone therefore, is the Cause, Matter and Foundation of our Acceptance with the divine Being.

3. Our Righteousness is in Christ, he only is the Subject of it: Surely shall one say in the Lord have I Righteousness. That it is a Righteousness for Justification, which is designed in the Text, plainly appears from what is immediately subjoyn’d: In the Lord shall all the Seed of Israel be justified. We are justified in him, in whom our Righteousness is, who is no other than Christ: Nor are we justified by any other Righteousness, than what is in him; his Obedience therefore, is our justifying Righteousness, and is imputed to us for our Justification.

  4. One of Christ’s glorious Titles is: Jehovah our Righteousness. This Name of his, is as Ointment poured forth, which causes the Virgins to love him. It Is our Righteousness in the divine Account, which is the Matter of our Justification, Christ in the Esteem of God, is our Righteousness, and therefore we are only justified by and thro’ him, or by the Imputation of his siness and perfect Obedience to us.

5. He is expressly declared to be the End of the Law for Righteousness to every one who believes. The Law of God required an exact Observation of all its Precepts, in order to Justification and Life: Through the Weakness of our Nature, it was impossible for us to keep it: God in infinite Goodness and Mercy to us lent his Son, in the Likeness of sinful Flesh, and for Sin condemned Sin in the Flesh, that the Righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, i.e. by the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to us, which is commensurable to the extensive Commands of the Law. So that the Law now, as it was fulfilled by Christ for us, proposes no such End of Obedience to us, as obtaining Justification and Life, that End is brought about by Christ’s Subjection to it, and Observation of it for us, as our Surety.

6. By the Obedience of Christ, we are made or constituted righteous: This only can be by the Imputation of that Obedience to us. Say some, we are intitled to the Reward, or God deals with us, as if we were righteous, on Account of Christ’s Righteousness; but we are not so made. If this Interpretation of Scripture is allow’d of, what Principles may not be defended, or what evangelical Truths can be establish’d? It is only saying the Intention of the inspired Writers, was to convey Ideas, very different to what their Terms are proper Signs of, Truth is banished and Error is introduc’d: Nor have we any Way left us, to defend the former or detect the latter. If indeed the Language of Scripture, might be understood, in its proper Sense and Meaning, we should have nothing to fear, from the most subtle and violent Opposers of the Gospel. But this is a Favour which will not be granted us, tho’ as we think, in Point of Right and Justice we may demand it: But we must it seems wait to see what Sense some Persons will please to put upon the Words of Scripture, different from their plain, natural and obvious Import, before we may safely interpret them, and yet none in the World know, how they came to be invested with this extraordinary Authority, which they assume to themselves. No two Ideas are more different and distinct, than Obedience or Righteousness, and the Reward, or the Result of Righteousness and Obedience. We think, that when the Apostle says, we are made righteous by the Obedience of one, i.e. Christ, his Language was properly expressive of his Sense; no, say some, he intended a very different Thing, not that we are made or constituted righteous; but we are proceeded towards, as righteous Persons might expect to be, tho’ such this Obedience makes us not. If we take the Liberty to ask there Persons, what Foundation they have to support their Opinion, truly they are able to assign no other Reason for it, than, that to them the Thing express’d seems not reasonable, which with us is of no Weight at all; because we know, that the Mysteries of the Gospel, have always been censured, as irrational and foolish Notions by many.

  7. God is well pleased, for Christ’s Righteousness sake. With what is God well pleas’d for the sake of the Obedience of his Son? We think it is with the Persons of his People, who are the Objects of his infinite Delight, as he beholds them in the spotless Righteousness the Mediator, as so view’d he pronounces them all fair and without Spot. The Persons of God’s Elect are the Objects of the eternal and invariable Complacency of Christ: His Delights were with the Sons of Men, before the World was framed. In no other View could they so be, than, as clothed with his own Robe of Righteousness, and ‘tis as invested therewith, that God sees no Iniquity or Perverseness in them, and declares them perfect: Thou art perfect, through my Comeliness, that I have put upon thee.

8. Christ is the entire Cause of our Justification. One Branch of which, is our Discharge from Guilt, that is owing to his Sufferings, and Death: Being justified by his Blood. The other Branch of our Justification, is God’s accounting us righteous; Christ solely and alone is the Cause of this, as he is of the former, or else he is only a partial Saviour, which we don’t take to be true; on the contrary, we are fully persuaded, that, he is a perfect Saviour, and all in all, to the Saints: ALL in their Acceptance with the Father, as well as in their Redemption, which he is not, if our Faith or Obedience is imputed to us for Righteousness. There Arguments are so clearly deducible from Scripture. and contain so much Evidence in them, that we think no Exception can reasonably be made to them. If it would not be interpreted as expecting more than we ought, we should desire those, who differ from us, in this grand Article of Faith, to produce at least, one Argument equally clear, in Favour of their Opinion of Justification, by any Acts, or Act of our own, which if they will please to do, it shall have all the Weight and Consideration the Importance and Evidence of it may require.

  Query. What is the Foundation of the divine Procedure in the Charge of Sin on Christ, and in the Imputation of his Righteousness to his People? In the Resolution of this Question, lies no small Part of the Mystery and Glory of the Gospel.

1. There is a most near and intimate Union between Christ and his People, that Union is the Ground of this Imputation in each Instance: If this Union is of such as a Nature, as cannot subsist between Men, then such Acts may follow upon it, towards Christ and towards his People, as may not take Place in the Conduct of Men towards one another. And that this is really the care, may be concluded, from the various Unions the Scripture uses, to express that of Christ: and his People by. Christ is represented as the Vine, and his Saints as the Branches in him: He is the Husband and his People are his Bride: They are Bone of his Bone and Flesh of his Flesh: They are of Him as Eve was of Adam. Christ and they constitute one Mystical Person, they are his Members, and he is their Head: God considers them as one, in such a sense, as any Number of Men cannot be constituted one. Christ and they therefore may be treated, in such a Manner, as no Number of Men may be by one another, by reason of the peculiar Conjunction between them. This Union is set forth by the most near in Nature, that of the Soul and Body There is one Body, and there is one Spirit. As a reasonable Soul, and a human Body united, constitute the Person of a Man; so Christ and his People constitute one mystical Person, in the Repute of God, hence it is that their Sins were imputed to him, and that his Righteousness is imputed to them.

  2. Christ is their Surety, he is expressly called the Surety, of a better Testament. The Socinians indeed speak of him, as a Surety for God to Men, wherein they are followed by the Arminians. But this is no other than a mere Figment of theirs, invented with a Design to evade the Force of several Arguments, form’d from thence in Favour of the most solid and important Truths of the Gospel. God had no need of a Surety, ‘tis blasphemous to imagine it. He is Truth and cannot but fulfil all his Promises and Engagements: He is omnipotent and able to perform all the good and great Things for his People, he gives them Reason to hope for. Christ therefore was a Surety for us to God, and not the Surety of God to us, as these Men affirm he is, without the least Evidence from Scripture or Reason. ‘Tis hence our criminal Actions were charged on him, and this is the Foundation of the Imputation of his Righteousness or Obedience to us. Suretyship may be and frequently is allow’d of among Men, in Affairs of mere Debt; but it ought not to be admitted in capital or corporal Punishments, for Offences against the Law: The Reasons are, no human Legislature have Power to require, or to accept of the Engagement of an innocent Person to suffer for a Transgressor: Justice obliges to protect the Life and Safety of every guiltless Subject: Nor is there such an Union subsisting among Men, or can be, as lays a proper Foundation, for the Law, or Legislature, to consider them as one Person, and therefore the criminal Actions of one Man, cannot legally be charged on another: Neither hath any Man Power over his Life, or over the Members of his Body, but to preserve it: He therefore may not engage to die, or to suffer the loss of any Member, for and in the Stead of an Offender. But God had Power over the human Nature of Christ, and might will and design him to suffer for his People. Christ also had Power over his Life, and might dispose of it, to effect the important End of the Redemption of Sinners.

  And since such a Union subsists between Christ and those Persons, whom he intended to save, as is a proper Foundation for the Charge of their Offences on him, and the Imputation of his Righteousness to them, he and they being considered as one by the Law, and were such in the Repute of God; in neither of there singular Transactions, is there any thing absurd, or inconsistent with Justice, tho’ no such Acts, may take Place in human Conduct.

3. Christ became subject to the Law by a special divine Constitution: He was not born under it, as all mere Men are; their Subjection to the Law follows upon their being the natural Descendants of Adam, to whom the Law was originally given, and his being to them a Representative; but as Christ was not a natural Descendant of Adam: Nor was the first Adam a Representative of the second Adam, who is the Lord from Heaven; his Obligation to the Law arises not from his Birth but he was made under it, by an Appointment peculiar to himself, to answer a special End, viz. the Redemption of sinful Men: And therefore what the Law required of them, either in a Way of Suffering or Obedience, he became obliged by this divine Constitution to undergo and perform: And by Vertue of this peculiar Appointment, both are reckoned or imputed to them, without which, their Redemption from the Law, as a Covenant of Works threatening Death in case of Offence, and promising Life only on Condition of perfect Obedience, was impossible.

       

30- CHAPTER 5

Contains Answers to the Author’s Objections against the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to his People; And also to the Objections of Socinus.

  THE first Objection is contain’d in the latter Part of the third Remark, which the ingenious Author makes, the former Part of which is before considered. It is this,

Object. 1. The Scripture does not as I remember, in express Words assert — that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to Believers (403.).

  Answ. 1. If the Sense is found in Scripture it is sufficient, tho’ the Terms are not expressly mentioned, and that it is, I hope is abundantly evident from what has been before observ’d

. 2. But it may be, if it had been said expressly, that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to Believers, the proper Idea conveyed by that Assertion, would not be admitted; but some figurative Meaning, would be invented, which the Terms of the Proposition do not properly import, and the Thought express’d would be deny’d. This Gentleman is pleas’d to acquaint us very plainly, that this Method would be taken, and I doubt it not. If these Words, says he, were expressly written in the Bible, they could not reasonably be interpreted to any other Sense, than that which I have explained in and by so many Examples, both in the Scripture History and in common Life (404.). I am very sorry that so offensive an Observation, as this is, fell from his Pen.

(1.) The Thing is contested, as it is said, because the Scripture does not in express Terms assert it.

(2.) But what if the Scripture had expressly in these very Terms, and in this very Form asserted it, would the Doctrine have then been believed? No, it seems not: This brings to Mind what Socinus said of the Satisfaction of Christ; that if the Scripture had expressly asserted it, he would not believe it. When once Men arrive to such a Height of Prejudice against any Doctrine, their Conviction is hardly to be hoped for, whatever Evidence is offer’d in Confirmation of divine Truth: And therefore were we not constrain’d by Love to evangelical Truth, to appear in its Defence, as good we might leave them quietly to enjoy, and please themselves with their corrupt Prejudices, and would do so; but that we know, we ought to contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

(3.) To put a forc’d and unnatural Sense on the Terms of Scripture, is not to interpret it; but is a manifest Corruption of the Word of God, and for which Men, unless I am greatly mistaken, will one Day be accountable.

(4.) If this Gentleman or any other shall be able to prove, that Obedience is Justification and eternal Life, i.e. that Obedience and Reward are the same thing, and not different and distinct Things then how much soever, I am persuaded of the Truth and Importance, of the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to his People, I will no longer contend about it, but give it up as an Opinion never to be prov’d.

(5.) I promise the same, upon his or any other Person proving, that to make Men righteous by the Obedience of Christ, is intitling them to Justification and Life, without considering them righteous by the Imputation of that Obedience to them, this may be done when it is prov’d that Righteousness is Life or Reward, but not before. And therefore I am in no great Danger of being obliged by this Concession, to part with a Doctrine, which in my Apprehension, is as important and glorious, as any recommended to our Assent and Faith, in the sacred Word of God.

(6.) To assert that Men are made righteous by the Obedience of Christ, is affirming the Imputation of that Obedience to them, with the stronger Evidence imaginable: The Evidence is such, as cannot be resisted; but by denying, that the Terms are used in their proper Sense, without being able to assign one solid Reason, why they must be understood, in an improper one: Nay, which is more, when the very Scope and Design of the holy Writer, requires us to understand him, as speaking, not in a figurative, but strictly proper Manner, as is above observ’d, and I hope fully prov’d.

(7.) The Instances in the Scripture-History, which this Gentleman produces, are by no means parallel: Abraham and his Seed, Phineas and his Seed, Gehazi and his Seed, Achan and his Seed, were not considered as one Person by the Law, and therefore their Actions righteous or unrighteous, could not be imputed to their Posterity. But Christ and his People are one, in the Eye of the divine Law, and in the Repute of God: Hence their Sins were charged on him, and ‘tis hence his Righteousness is imputed to them.

(8.) All Affairs in common Life are at an infinite Remove, from the Nature of those Things, now under our Consideration. Strange indeed! is there no Mystery in the Gospel, and are all divine Procedures towards Sinners, and towards Christ, to be explained by the common Affairs of human Life? Why then is the Gospel represented as a Mystery and the hidden Wisdom of God in a Mystery? For what Reason does the Apostle speak of the Doctrines of the Gospel, particularly that of Redemption; as of the deep things of God: If it is a Matter so very obvious, and may be considered in the same Light, as Things in common Life? Sure this Eastern Writer, uses very strong and exalted Expressions indeed on a Subject, which hath not in the Nature of it, any thing of Sublimity or Depth, suitable to the Pomp and Grandeur of those exalted. Epithets, which he profusely gives it. In Words there is a Shew of Something extraordinary, and far above all Affairs in human Life; but in Fact there is not. See the dangerous Tendency of departing from the known and establish’d Sense of Terms and Expressions used in the holy Scripture, without urgent Necessity for it. This is an intolerably bad Note, and I doubt not, but the good Gentleman will some Time or other, be heartily sorry, that he ever wrote it.

Object. 2 This Satisfaction cannot be imputed to us properly.

Answ. Is there any improper Imputation of Righteousness? To me it seems there is not. To impute an Action righteous or unrighteous, is to place it to the Account of a Person, on which he is reputed righteous or unrighteous, according to the Nature of that Action, which is imputed in him or placed to his Account. Either therefore an Act of Obedience is reckoned to a Man, or it is not; If it is, that is a proper Imputation of it. If it is not, there is no Imputation at all. To say that Imputation is proper or Improper, is at best speaking very improperly. But why may not the Satisfaction of Christ be imputed to us? The Reason he assigns to support this Objection is this, Lest we should be said to have satisfied, and made God a Recompence for our sins. His Merit cannot be imputed to us in a strict Sense, for that would make us Meritors, (407, 408.).

Answ. 1. When the Action of one is imputed to another, that Action is still to be considered, as the personal Act of him who perform’d it, and not the personal Act of him, to whom it is imputed.

  2. The Imputation of Christ’s Obedience to his People, supposes not, that they performed it, or were personally concern’d an those righteous Actions, of which it consists: Or that it is accounted their personal Righteousness; This Imputation of it therefore, makes it not their personal Obedience, which, the Objection. evidently, supposes, and since It suggests that which is not supposed to attend, or which in Fact does not, nor can attend the Act of Imputation, it fails of proving the Point, the Objector intends it as a Proof of: The Imputation of Christ’s Merit to Men, does not make them Meritors, as this Author, with the Socinian most untruly affirms. The Author of a meritorious Action alone merits, because that Action is only his personal Act: The Imputation of it to another, makes it not his personal. Act:, and therefore in Consequence of the Imputation of that Action, he can’t be said to merit: But yet he hath a Right to all the Favours merited, by Virtue of the Imputation of that meritorious Action to him.

2. No valuable End, I think, is answered by using Scripture Language, when Men explain away the proper Ideas that Language is expressive of: To what Purpose is it to say, the Obedience of Christ is imputed to Men, and that they are made righteous by that Obedience, when no such Thing is intended; but only that the Result i.e. the Effects of that Obedience are imputed, (which by the Way cannot be, for Favours may be communicated, but cannot be imputed) and made theirs or transferred to them? It is no better than trifling with the Word of God, and it will one Day appear, whether this is not done, with an Intention to impose on the less capable and discerning Part of Christians, who may not be able to discover, that the Doctrine of Scripture is deny’d, when a scriptural Mode of speaking is used, tho’ the proper Ideas of the Language of Scripture are entirely explained away. For my Part, tho’ I am desirous to hold fast the Form of found Words, and would not part with, even Terms and Expressions by which divine Truths are properly express’d, and to use other Words capable of a Construction contrary to, or short of those Truths, in Complaisance to any Man: Yet, I cannot be content with the bare use of such Terms, without the Ideas they properly convey, for what are Letters, Syllables, and Words or Sounds, without those Ideas they are proper Signs of? Let Gentlemen, therefore, if they please, together with a Rejection of scriptural Doctrines, lay aside the Use of scriptural Expressions: How ever if they will not do this, they may be assured of being oppos’d in a Corruption of the Word, of God, tho’ they express themselves in the Language of the Bible. Socinus vehemently opposes the Imputation of the Satisfaction and Righteousness of Christ; he pronounces it impossible, absurd, and pernicious. This is objecting very strongly, indeed, how he succeeds in supporting there Objections we shall presently discover.

Object. 1. Says he, it is impossible; which he endeavours to prove thus; Christ was obliged to obey the Law for himself, as other Men are, and therefore his Obedience, cannot be imputed to others.

  Answ. 1. Christ was born and given to the Church of God; or became Man with a View in the Salvation of his People; what therefore he did or suffered in Obedience to the Law, was for the Sake of those, on whose Account he came into the World.

2. He was God, as well as Man: and his human Nature, being personally united with the Son of God, it was exalted to a State above that of mere Men; and he was not obliged to obey the Law, in order in his own Justification and Right to Life, as all mere Men are: For by Vertue of his personal Union with the Son of God, he had a Right to Heaven and Glory; his Title to Happiness did not depend on his Obedience to the Law; but was the proper and necessary Result, of his being ineffably united with the divine Nature. Hence we read of his being made under the Law, i.e. by a special divine Constitution, with a View to the Redemption and Justification of others, as was before observ’d. He indeed denies the Divinity of Christ but this is a Truth, which at present I take for granted, it not being called into Question, by those with whom I have now a more immediate Concern, tho’ they, at least some of them, have borrowed his Reasoning in this Point, without his Principle on which he founds it. ‘Tis this Union that is the Foundation of the infinite Merit, which attended the Obedience of Christ; and ‘tis owing to this, that it is available to the Justification of many. This effectually answers a second Thing, offered by Socinus, to prove the Imputation of it is impossible; which is, that it could not be imputed to more than one single Person. To which we may add Christ was appointed a Representative Head to many, and he and they were considered as one by the Law: His Obedience therefore, may be imputed to every Individual of those Persons, to whom he was constituted such a Head, upon the same Ground, as it is imputed to any one of them. He farther observes, that if the Obedience of Christ is imputed to us, he must have obey’d, for us, at our Will or Desire, which is just as true, as that one who pays the Debt of another, must do it at the Request of him who owes it, if the Payment of the Debt is accepted by the Creditor; every one knows this is not necessary. God’s Appointment and Christ’s voluntary Engagement, were a sufficient Foundation for the Imputation of his Merit, Satisfaction and Obedience to his People. It was not necessary, Christ should suffer or obey the Law at their Motion and Will, in order to the Imputation of his Sufferings and Obedience to them.

Object. 2. It is absurd, says he, because then we blotted out the Sins of Mankind, and satisfied for our Offences.

  This is sufficiently answered above, to an Objection of the Author’s of Ruin and Recovery, which is much the same with this. We very well know of whom, some other Objections of his to the glorious Truths of the Gospel are borrowed, and whole Language it is he uses. I need only observe now: The Imputation of the Action of one to another, does not make it become the personal Act of him, to whom it is imputed. Christ’s Obedience to the Law, consists of his personal Actions agreeable to it, the Imputation of that Obedience to us, does not make those Acts, our personal Acts, of which that Obedience consists. If the Doctrine of the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness was as absurd, as this Way of arguing is, it would be monstrously so indeed. He adds, its absurd, because it supposes Men are justified, who are ungodly. This the Apostle expressly affirms: But believeth on him, that justifieth the ungodly, in which at present, we think he was not mistaken. But tho’ Men are justified who are ungodly, yet they are not considered as ungodly; but as righteous by the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to them, in the divine Mind.

  And Holiness and Grace shall certainly be communicated to them, to dispose them to Acts of Religion and Piety.

  Object. 3. Its pernicious, says he, because it dissolves Obligation to Dutyf64.

Answ. 1. It is certain Men will be obliged to all Acts of Holiness, when Justification and Life depend not on the Practice of Duty, viz. when they will be in Heaven. 2. To say that Men are under no Obligation to Holiness, because that is not required in order to their Justification, is the same Objection, which was brought against the Doctrine of the Apostle; it seems therefore, very likely to be the Doctrine, which he so zealously recommended.

3. To affirm that if good Works are not necessary to Justification, they are in other Respects unnecessary, discovers great Ignorance or Perverseness: If a Man is not under the Law, in order to his Justification by the Works of it, ‘tis not to be inferred from hence, that he may cease to observe it as as a Rule of Conduct; for Duty ceases not with this End of it. Thus we see this Doctrine of the Imputation of Christ’s Obedience is not impossible, absurd or pernicious, as Socinus pronounces it.

31- CHAPTER 6

  Contains an Examination of the Author’s Distinction of the real and relative Evil of Sin; his Mistakes herein are noted. Sin not put for Obligation to Punishment, without a Charge of Offence. What he delivers on Guile and Guiltiness considered. His Thoughts of

the Filth Of Sin, are also taken into Consideration: And some Animadversions are made on the Author’s Answers to several perplexing Questions, relating to these Subjects.

  THE Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, distinguishes the Evil of Sin, into real and relative,

  1. With Respect to the real Evil of Sin, he observes, it consists in its hurtful Nature and evil Qualities; whether it be considered in the Habits of the Mind, or in the Actions of Life.

  2. The relative Evil of sin, says he, consists more particularly in its Respect to the governing Authority and Law of God, it is a Contrariety to that Law, partly in the very Principles and Habits of the Soul, as well as in the Actions of Life. But as this relative Evil belongs chiefly to sinful Actions, it is more properly an actual Opposition to, or Violation of God’s righteous Law, and so it subjects the sinner to the Punishment, which that Law threatens (Pages 411, 412.).

1. The ingenious Author is obliged to allow, that the relative Evil of Sin, extends itself to the Habits of the Mind, as well as to the Actions of Life, ho’ more particularly and chiefly to external Acts; and therefore it bears Respect to the governing Authority and Law of God, of Consequence the natural Depravity of our Mind, as well as our sinful Actions in Life, renders us guilty in the Sight of God: Hence it is to be considered as a relative Evil of Sin, as well as a real Evil.

2. I cannot understand what this Gentleman designs by the Application of this Distinction, of the real and relative Evil of Sin, to the Habits of the Mind, and to sinful Actions in Life: Unless it is to prove, that vicious Principle, in Men, do not subject them to a Charge of Guilt and Condemnation by the Law. In a marginal Note he plainly acquaints us, that this is his Intention: I do not remember, says he, the Word Guilt, which is the proper relative Evil of sin, is ever in Scripture ascribed to the Principle or Habit of Sin, without the Act. His Opinion therefore, as it seems to me, is plainly this: That Sin, as it is an evil Habit in the Soul, is not any Part of our Guiltiness before God. Which I take to be an intolerable Error: Men at the Bar of God will, I am strongly persuaded, find the dreadful Corruption of their Hearts, charged on them as one Branch of their Guilt: For the divine Law requires Truth in the inward Part, as well as a strict and perpetual Conformity of Life to its righteous Precepts. Such an Observation as this from some Persons would be censured as Antinomianism, and how justly, I think any Person may easily discover.

3. The Mind of Man is an active, and ever thinking Power or Substance, as the ingenious Dr. Watts observesf65. As the Mind is depraved, it cannot think, will or desire regularly, and therefore it constantly thinks, wills and desires in an irregular Manner: The Imagination of the Thoughts of the Hearts of Men, is only evil continually. Now I would ask, whether our irregular Thoughts, and disorderly Acts of our Wills and Affections are criminal? If it is allowed they are, why should the Streams which flow from the Fountain of Sin in us, be accounted vile and abominable; and contrary to the Law, and the Origin from whence they take their Rise not be so esteem’d? I should think, that as the Source and the Streams are of the same Nature, they both must be hateful and displeasing to God.

4. When this Author says without the Act; he means either the internal Act of the Mind, or the external Act in Life: If he intends the latter, then the Apostle was mistaken, in thinking that he sinn’d, when he coveted; which will not soon be granted: If he means the internal Act of the Mind, when he is able, it may be expected of him to prove, that a reasoning Power or Substance, which ever thinks, and is corrupt, may think, will and desire, as it ought, or that the Habit of the Mind may be separated from the Act; then he may conclude, that the Depravity of the Mind, is not any Part of our Guiltiness before God; but not till this is done. The Reason of which is, tho’ the Habit and the Act may be distinguished, they cannot be seperated: As a Power of thinking, and Thought may be distinguished, but cannot be separated; for as a Man cannot cease to think, he cannot cease to think in a disorderly Manner: ‘Tis therefore a vain Thing, to distinguish upon the Habit and Act of Sin, in such a Way, as to clear the Habit of Blame, and throw it all upon the Act.

  5. If the internal impure Acts of Men are not relatively evil, then the Law of God hath no Concern with their Hearts, then Covetousness, Pride and Envy, Malice and Revenge, as aged in the Mind are not criminal: Nor indeed any Act that is proper to the Soul, which is most false.

6. The Reason why the Guilt is charged on the Act, is, the Act is inseparable from the Habit, as was just now observed, and the evil Habit of Sin, from which sinful Acts spring, is considered or included in the Act.

7. It therefore is evident, that the evil Bias and Propensity of our Hearts, subjects us to Condemnation and Penalty.

8. The Want of any Thing which enters into that Righteousness, which the Law requires to Justification, renders us liable to Condemnation and Death. The Law commands Purity of Heart in order to Justification, and therefore the Want of it, and the contrary, i.e. Impurity, being found in us, subject us to Punishment and Death.

II. He asserts, that Sin both in the old and new Testament, is put for the sinful Disorder of the Heart, and also for the Demerit of some evil Action (Pages 214, 215.).

Answ. 1. I am of Opinion, Sin is never in the old Testament, but for Punishment, in an abstract Consideration from a Charge of the Crime deferring the Penalty, I know of no Instance where it is to be so taken; nor has this Gentleman produced any such.

2. It is not Fact, that Sin is ever put for Penalty in the new Testament, at least so far as I can find, true it is, that Punishment may be and is included; but a Charge of Offence, is always supposed as the Cause of that Penalty. It is not put for Punishment in a seperate Consideration from the Crime itself, in the new Testament, which is what this learned Gentleman intends, if I mistake not his Sense. When Christ is said to be made Sin, it designs the Imputation of Offence, and an Infliction of Punishment, as the Result of that Charge of sinful Disorder on him, not his own, but his People’s.

III. Guilt and Guiltiness the Author enquires into;

1. Guilt and guilty, he apprehends, denote a Person’s Obligation to suffer Punishment (Pages 214, 215.). But surely not without an Imputation of Sin itself: Guiltiness is the Opposite of Innocence and Righteousness, without which a Man is not intitled to a Reward; neither is or can any Man legally be obliged to suffer Punishment, without the Imputation of Offence.

2. He distinguishes Guilt into Reatus Culpae, & Reatus Paenae, i.e. Guilt of Blame and Guilt of Punishment; what Foundation so ever it may be thought, there is for this Distinction relating to Guilt, the latter only follows upon the former, they are inseperable: No Man is or can in Justice be liable to Punishment, that is not guilty of Fault, either by Perpetration or Imputation Reatus Poenae, cannot take place, where there is not ReatusCulpoe.

  IV. He observes, That we never say a Man is guilty of the Fault; but when he is the actual personal Sinner (416, 417.). Very true: The Reason of which is, an Offender and an innocent Person among Men, cannot become one Person in a legal Sense. Says this Gentleman, But he may be said to bear the Guilt of sin, or have the Guilt laid on him, when be is made liable or subject to the Punishment, by the Imputation of Sin to him (ibid.). I cannot well understand this: Sometimes Obligation to suffer Penalty, is all the Imputation of Sin that is allow’d of. Here Imputation of Sin seems to be consider’d as a Thing distinct from it, which is the very Point we plead for, and shall be glad if it may be granted.

  V. He observes, that Guilt of Conscience, or a Consciousness of Sin, is proper to the personal and actual Offender, and can never be transferred to another by Imputation (ibid.).

  Answ. Tho’ our Saviour could not have the least Consciousness of personal Offence, yet he was capable of having a painful Sensation of the Charge of Sin on him by divine Justice, and of the evil Nature of Sin, and of the infinite Anger and Displeasure of God, demerited by those Sins he bore and he actually had a wounding Sense of these Things, or else he was not punished in his Suffering, for there are essential to divine Punishment, and enter into the very Nature of it: And if a Redeemer sustained not Penalty, Satisfaction is not made, and therefore after all, we must embrace Socinianism. There is nothing more inconsistent in the World, than to deny the Imputation of Sin to Christ:, and his having a painful Sensation of its vile Nature, and dreadful Demerit: And yet pretend to maintain the Doctrine of Satisfaction for Sin, by his Sacrifice and Death. If Christ had not a Sensation of there Things, his Soul was not made an Offering for Sin, or was not any other Way the Subject of Suffering, than as it was affected with his bodily Pains, and other afflictive Circumstances, which attended him, from Devils and Men, which Socinians themselves will never deny.

  The ingenious Gentleman expresses himself in such a Manner, if I understand him right, as is not very consistent, it is thug: The only Thing in Sin which can be transferr’d or imputed to any other Person, is the Obligation to suffer Penalty, or to make amends for the Violation of the Law. To which he subjoins in the following Part of this Discourse, Therefore when I use the Word Guilt I desire to be understood chiefly, or only, concerning that Liableness, Obligation or Subjection to Punishment, which sin may bring any Man under, whether it be actually and personally committed by himself, or whether it be transferr’d to him only by Imputation (418.). How can there Assertions consist together?

  Obligation to suffer Penalty is the only Thing in Sin, which can be imputed to an innocent Person. 2. A Man is brought under a Liableness, Obligation or Subjection to Punishment by Sin, either as it is personally committed by himself, or as transferr’d to him only by Imputation.

1. If I mistake not, that which is denied in the first Assertion, is granted in the Second; Obligation to suffer Penalty, and Sin, are considered as distinct Things in each Assertion. Sin itself is denied to be imputed in the first, to any but the actual Transgresser: And in the second, Sin (as thus distinguished from the Obligation to suffer Penalty,) is said to be imputed to one, who is not the actual Offender, in order to his Subjection to Punishment. Either there Things are not consistent, or there is some Obscurity in the Manner of the Author’s expressing himself, which I acknowledge, is with him an exceeding rare Thing. Or else the Difficulty only arises from my Want of Capacity.to undersrand his Meaning, which of there it is: I leave with the Reader to determine,

2. Obligation to suffer Punishment is not any Thing in Sin; but; is absolutely distinct from it, tho’ it is the proper and legal Result of it. If therefore it was only the Obligation to Punishment that was imputed to Christ; nothing of Sin was imputed to or laid on him.

3. If the Obligation to suffer Penalty arises from, and is only founded in a Charge of Sin, then an innocent Person, as so considered, cannot be the Subject of that Obligation to suffer Punishment.

4. Christ’s Obligation to suffer Penalty must be most distinct from ours, if our Sins were not imputed to him: For our Liableness to suffering Punishment, results from a legal Charge of Sin. But if Sin was not imputed to him, his Obligation to suffer, infinitely differs from our Obligation to suffering: Nor did he take our Obligation upon himself, the Reason of which is evident: That Obligation to suffer, which only arises from a Charge of Sin, can never be separated from it, any more than the Effect and Cause may be: An Effect cannot exist without its Cause, a legal Charge of Guilt or Sin is the Cause, and our Obnoxiousness or Obligation to suffering is the Effect: And therefore Christ could not be any Way concerned in the Effect, seperately from a Concern in its Cause. And without this, his Sufferings could not be of a penal Nature; nor could any Satisfaction be made for our Sins by his Death.

  IV. I proceed to observe what the learned Author says of the Filth of Sin, and here I must ask his Pardon, for being obliged to say, I cannot perfectly understand him: Or if I do, that he is egregiously mistaken in several Particulars.

1. I attend to the Sense of the Word Guilt, which he desires us to understand him in, when he uses that Term in this Discourse, i.e. chiefly or only of Obligation to Punishment.

2. I observe he ascribes the Pollution of Sin to the Guilt or relative Evil of it, i.e. to our Obligation to Penalty. Now, why Obligation to Punishment, should be thought vile and filthy, is to me a most inexplicable Thing, that is a righteous Effect which follows upon the Commission of Sin, according to the Nature of the holy Law of God, and therefore can have nothing of Filthiness or Pollution in it. He observes two Things in order to the Proof of it, 1st, It is the Guilt of Sin, that makes us offensive to the divine Justice (Page 421.). 1. If the Gentleman understands by Guilt, Obligation to Punishment: How is it possible to conceive, that this Obligation renders us offensive to God? 2. If he intends by Guilt, the Evil of Sin itself, he uses the Word in a Sense different from what he professes to do on this Subject, and would be understood to mean by it in this Discourse. 3. ‘Tis because Sin is in itself a vile, filthy and abominable Thing, and contrary to the holy and pure Nature of God, that it is condemned by his Law, and subjects us to Penalty: The Pollution of Sin therefore, cannot be our Obligation to suffer Punishment. 2dly. Says he, The Defilement of Sin is represented, as producing Shame and Fear in the Sinner in the Presence of God (422.), what he now calls Defilement, he presently calls by the Name of Guilt, i.e. our Obligation to Punishment: Fear, he observes, is the Effect of Guilt, and Shame is the Effect of the Disorder of Sin. Again, he says, The Guilt of Sin produces Fear, and the Disorder of Sin produces Shame (423.). His using the Terms, Defilement and Guilt indifferently, and understanding by Guilt, Obligation to Punishment, is no Proof at all, that they are the same Thing, they are quite distinct Things, and cannot be the same. 3. Guilt being taken as it ought to be, for Sin itself, and as charged on us, is a most filthy Thing, and subjects us to Punishment, and therefore produces both Fear and Shame in us. 3dly. He adds, The Defilement of sin is sometimes represented, as debating the Nature of the Soul, and rendering it vile (Ibid.). True it is so, and it actually does; but this is no Proof at all, that Pollution attends Obligation to Punishment: On the contrary, it is a strong Objection against it: For Men become not vile thro’ an Obligation to suffer the Evil of Punishment but they become liable to Penalty, because they are impure, and have acted a Part most polluted and vile. (2.) He proposes another Method for Proof. 1. Says he, we are said to be washed from our Sins, by the Blood of Christ, Revelation 1:5. There the Defilement imply’d, must signify Guilt (424.). It is readily granted, if Guilt be taken for our sinful Actions: But not if our Obligation to Punishment is intended by Guilt, in which Sense the Gentleman would have us understand it. 2. He hath two strange Assertions. I. Says he, It is possible in the Nature of Things, that the Guilt of Sin and all Obligations to Punishment may be taken away from a Person by pardoning Grace, and yet the Impurity or sinful Disorder of the Soul may remain (426.).

Answ. 1. If this is rightly understood, I think it is true, not only that so it may be, but also that it actually is so: For I question not, but the Elect of God are perfectly justified in his Sight, before their Regeneration, as considered in Christ. The Mention of the Possibility of this by me, some Persons would pronounce at once to be Antinomianism, perhaps it may be more favourably treated in this Gentleman. But if it be meant that it may always remain, then it follows that a Man might be pardoned and justified, and yet remain for ever in a State of Enmity against God, which is impossible.

2. It is possible also, that the sinfulness and moral Disorder, and evil Qualities of the Soul, may be removed by sanctifying Grace, and yet the Guilt of past sins may remain (Ibid.). If this is true, then a Man might be call’d, who is not justified or whole Sin Is imputed to him, i.e. a Person may be sanctified and glorified, who is under a Charge of Sin. This Assertion will hardly be received by any, who have a tolerable Degree of Discernment in spiritual Things: But besides, if Guilt be understood of an Obligation to Punishment, as this learned Person professes to understand it, in this Discourse, then a Man may be eternally happy, and yet not be free from an Obligation to suffer Penalty in Hell for his Sins. There Assertions, especially the latter (the former may be interpreted in a good Sense) if I am not mistaken, are very contrary to the true Nature of evangelical Truths, and afford no Support to the Point in View.

V. Let us consider the Author’s Answers, to some perplexing Questions, relating to these Subjects.

  Quest. 1. Can the Defilement of Adam’s first Sin be transferred to his Offspring by Imputation? The Gentleman grants it may with Respect to the Guilt of his Sin: But denies it with Regard to the Pravity or Corruption of Nature (Page. 428.). If Guilt means an Obligation to Punishment, that is not the Defilement of Sin. Again, the Impurity of our Nature is not the Pollution that attended Adam’s first Sin; but it is the Consequence of that Sin, as it was legally’ charged on him and on. his Posterity. So that the Conveyance of that Depravity, cannot be considered, as the Imputation of that Sin. Besides, if his sinful Act itself in Eating of the forbidden Fruit, is not charged on his natural Descendants, they must necessarily be esteemed innocent, not having personally sinn’d, and they must become corrupt without any Charge of Offence. This seems to me such an Impeachment of the Justice of God, that I could much sooner entirely give up the Doctrine of Original Sin, than embrace this Account of it: But this I cannot do, so long as I know any Thing of myself, of human Nature, and of the Word of God. Farther, the Defilement of Adam’s first Sin, as it is of every sinful Act, was its Contrariety to the holy Law, and infinitely pure Nature of God. This is inseparable from Sin, and without it, Sin would cease to be Sin, the Imputation of his Act of Disobedience therefore, to himself and to his Offspring, was an Imputation of that Pollution to him and to his Seed, which is ever inseparable from a sinful Action.

  Quest. 2. How far was our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Surety, concern’d in the Filth or Defilement of our Sins? Some, says he, pronounce it boldly, that he took upon him the Filth and Pollution of our Sins, tho’ at the same Time they mistake, and suppose it to mean something really distinct from the Guilt (Page 429.). This is no Mistake, that if is something distinct from Guilt, if Guilt is understood of Obligation to Punishment: For there is no Filthiness in that, Punishment is not Sin, nor can it be considered such with the least Propriety. Again, Pollution is inseparable from sinful Action, as is above observed, the Imputation of Sin therefore, to any Subject, whether innocent or guilty in himself, in an abstracted View from this Charge of Offence, must be allow’d to be an Imputation of Sin with its Filth and Pollution to him: But the Imputation of Sin with that Filthiness which is ever inseparable from it to Christ, supposes not, that he was rendered in himself impure, by that Imputation, and therefore there is no need, to reject the Doctrine of the Charge of Sin with its Pollution on Christ, which some do reject, as the learned Gentleman observes. This Author apprehends, that our Obligation to Punishment was imputed to Christ. But that is not Sin; it is absolutely distinct from it: tho’ a necessary Consequence thereof. Again, Christ could not be legally obliged to suffer Punishment, without a Charge of Sin, for where that is not, the formalis Ratio of such an Obligation is wanting, and therefore, he could not come under any such Obligation. Nor can it properly be said, that Christ made Atonement for our Guilt, i.e. our Obligation to Penalty, as this ingenious Person seems to apprehend. He concludes this Essay and the Book itself with expressing his Charity for all sincere Enquirers after Truth, which he might have done, without making Concessions prejudicial to Truth. Charity to Men’s Persons may be very consistently exercised, with a zealous, strict and faithful Defence of every Branch of evangelical Truth. While we are charitable to Men, we ought not to give the least Countenance to such Opinions they embrace, as are dishonourable to the divine Perfections, diminish the Glory of the Mediator, and are eversive of his Satisfaction: Which this ingenious Person does, in allowing that we suffer for Adam’s Sin, without the Imputation of it, and in supposing it sufficient, as he seems to do, to believe that Christ some Way or other is the Author and Cause of our Salvation, tho’ it be, for ought his Words imply, in the Socinian Way, without any Satisfaction for Sin by his Death. I fear his Charity to Men is not more extended, than his Zeal for the glorious Truths of the Gospel is dimish’d.

32- POSTSCRIPT.

  SINCE my Writing what precedes, the learned Author has published a second Edition of his Book, with a Postcript; wherein, he farther treats of the Infliction of Punishment, without a Charge of Guilt, and endeavours to clear it of some Objections, He represents it as the Opinion of those, who are skill’d in the civil Law, that an innocent Man may suffer Punishment, If he had read their Writings with due Care, he could not, I think, have fallen

into such a gross Mistake: This he doubtless ought to have done, since he appeals to their Judgment in the Affair, his Neglect thereof, I cannot but apprehend will be thought inexcusable. My Design here is to propose and give Answers to four Queries They are these.

Query 1. What is Punishment, and may it be inflicted on an innocent Person?

Query 2. May not God punish an innocent Creature as so considered: Or without any Imputation of Sin or Guilt?

Query 3. May God impute the Fault of an offending Creature to one who is innocent, in order to his Suffering Punishment: Or was it agreeable to his Righteousness and Justice, to charge Sin on Christ, and punish him for it?

Query 4. If it will render the Doctrine of Christ’s Atonement, less exceptionable, to state it in such a Manner and Light, as corresponds with the Conduct of Men in some Cases of Penalty, why may it not be done, in order to compose Differences subsisting among Christians? Why should we delight in Obscurity, and contend for Principles, which will not admit of an easy Explication and Defence, either from the common Notions, or Conduct of Men, when this Doctrine may be so stated, as to agree with the common Sentiments of Mankind, and may by that Means be more generally approved?

Query 1. What is Punishment, and may it be inflicted on an innocent Person?

  Answ. It is the Infliction of Suffering or Pain, with relation to or on Account of Offence, I suppose it will be allowed, that Cicero was no incompetent Judge in this Matter, and he defines it thus: Pain or Torment is the Punishment of Sinf66, i.e. when judicially inflicted, as he must be understood to mean. And Grotius it will certainly be granted, was well acquainted with the Nature of Penalty. His Definition of it is this: Punishment in the general Signification of it, is the Evil of Suffering, which is inflicted for the Evil of Actionf67; and observes, That he who punishes, that he may justly punish, must have a Right to punish, which Right, says he, arises from the Fault of the Person guiltyf68. Now if to punish without Right is unjust, and if a Right to punish arises from Offence, then to punish an innocent Man, is the Infliction of Penalty without Right to do it, and is a manifest Violation of Justice. Farther his Opinion is, That no Man ought to be punished beyond Desertf69. This is also observed by Cicerof70. If a Man is not to be punish’d beyond Desert, then surely not without Desert: If it is unjust to inflict greater Pain for an Offence, than that Offence deserves, it can never be consistent with Justice to punish without Offence. Now an innocent Person, as so considered, or without the Imputation of another’s Crime, cannot be attended with any Desert of Punishment, and therefore it is not lawful to punish him. He may not, as Cicero very rightly observes, be brought into any Danger of Punishmentf71. far the Guilty only, as Cicero farther observes, are to be punished. His Opinion was, That it is cruel to punish the Crimes of Parents in Childrenf72. Philo condemns the Practicef73. And Vinius in his Commentary on the Institutions of Justinian the Emperor says, It is not just, that the Heir should suffer Punishment for the Fault of the Deceasedf74. And Selden, whose Judgment in this Point is of considerable Weight, observes, That by the Reason and Essence of Punishment, properly so called, it should be impendent on a Person for sin or Guiltf75. The formal Cause of Punishment, says he, certainly consists in this, that it is timwria, or vindictive, or purgative, or expiatory, or some other Way bears Respect to Wickedness or Sin committed. And adds, Punishment, properly speaking, as it hath Place in any Right whatever, is taken for this, that it is the Evil of suffering for the Evil of Action; or that it is rendered, as an Evil of Punishment, for that which is the past Evil of Guilt, viz. Punishment is Avenging a Crime, or as the Greek Lawyers speak Amartimatov Ekdikhsiv, i.e. the Avenging of Sinf76. To this Purpose, says Hierocles, The Law taketh Vengeance on a Man, not simply, or as a Man; but as evil or guiltyf77.

  Object. The Children of a Traytor suffer for their Father’s Crime, although they are not guilty of Rebellion with him, nor is his Sin imputed to them.

Answ. 1. The King, or sovereign Prince, is the Fountain of Honour: In such a Stile Kings speak of themselves in the Creation of Peers: as Selden observes in his Titles of Honourf78. The King or supreme Magistrate confers Peerage or Dignity on a Subject, in a conditional Manner, He requires an Oath of Loyalty, and Subjection, which supposes a due Regard to the Laws of the Land; this is also observed by Selden, in his Titles of Honourf79. Hence in case of Treason, the Person on whom Nobility or Honour is conferr’d, violates his solemn Oath, and forfeits his Dignity, nor may be supposed to have any longer, a legal Title to that Dignity or Honour.

3. It is a Rule with Lawyers, that Parents cannot convey greater Right than they have themselves: Now, as a Traytor, by his Rebellion against his lawful Sovereign, forfeits his Title to Nobility and Honour, his Son cannot be intitled to that Dignity.

4. If a Subject holds his Estate by a Right from the Crown, which is many Times the Case, by treasonable Acts, he forfeits his Title to it, his Right to that Estate ceases, and therefore no Right to it. from him, can devolve upon his Son.

5. Some have thought Confiscation of Goods cruel and unjyst, as Cicerof80, Vinniusf81, and Chrysotomf82.

6. But allowing it just, it is not a Punishment to Children, tho’ it is to their guilty Parent: This, as Grotius observes, some call Damage or Suffering indirect, and allow it not to be Punishment, and assign this obvious Reason for it: Children have a Right to Nothing, but what their Parents posess to their latest Breathf83. A Traytor forfeiting his Dignity, Estate and Goods, as well as his Life, he is degraded before his Condemnation, as Selden observes, in his Titles of Honourf84, or is reduced to a base Condition, to Disgrace and Poverty, and therefore he has neither Dignity, Estate, nor Goods to leave to his Descendants. Hence it is evident that the Punishment wholly terminates on him, tho’ his Posterity in an indirect Manner, suffer, or in Consequence of that his Punishment; the Law supposes a Traytor to have no Right to Honour, Estate, or Goods, and therefore no Right to either, can descend from him to his Children: For according to the Rule before-mentioned, he cannot convey farther Right, than he himself possesses: He is inverted with no Right to either of there Things, as the Law supposes; hence it manifestly follows, no Right to them he can convey. These Things evidently prove, that the Children of a Traytor, are not punished for their Father’s Crime, tho’ they suffer in Consequence of it. Vinnius, as was before observed, denies that penal Actions against Heirs may be allowed, for this Reason, lest there should be Punishment, where there is no Guilt. Pecuniary Punishments may indeed pass to Heirs, yet not as Punishments; but as Debts due upon the Estate of the deceased, which they take possession of, the Reason of which is, the Deceased and the Heir, are accounted as one Person, with Respect to the Estate or Goods

convey’d and enjoyed. Farther, something afflictive may be enjoyn’d on a Person, or Benefit taken from him, by Reason of another’s Crime: But not so as that the Offence is the proximate Cause of the Action, as it relates to the Right itself of acting: He who becomes a Surety for another’s Debt suffers Damage; but the proximate Cause of his Obligation, is his Engagement itself. And hence it is, that the Evil inflicted on him takes its Measure or Degree, not from the others Fault; but from the Power he had in promising.

  1. No Man may promise to die for another, because he hath not Power over his Life.

2. Nor to lose a Member, for Power is not given to a Man over the Members of his Body, but to preserve it. He may not injure himself, nor has a Power of inverting others, with a Right of doing it.

3. Banishment, and Loss of Money, for another, is not properly Punishment.

4. Obligation to Punishment arises from Desert, Desert is personal, for this Reason, no Man free from Fault may be punished for the Fault of anotherf85.

5. Achan’s Children, Saul’s, etc. God exercised a Right of Dominion over, but not of Punishment, Grotiusf86. Upon the Whole, it appears, that Penalty may not be inflicted, without Relation to Fault or Sin imputed. Grotius, in his Defence of the Satisfaction of Christ, urging that it might, and Arguing on that Principle, rendered the Answer, on this Part of the Subject, very east to Crellius, who pretty well understood the Law, and made a satisfactory Reply impossible to Grotius, without an Acknowledgment of a Mistake in this Point. Let the Reader compare the fourth Chapter of his Book, with the Answer of Crellius to it, and with what he delivers here concerning Punishment, and he will be convinced of the Truth of this Observation.

  It is in vain to think of establishing the Doctrine of Christ’s Satisfaction against the Socinians, who are not unskilful in the Law, by referring to the Conduct, of Men in the Infliction of Penalty: For this Case is really singular, and has no Parallel, and it is utterly impossible that any thing of the like Nature, consistent with Justice, should ever be acted by Men. It will be always easy to prove, that Punishment properly so called, may not be inflicted on an innocent Person by Men: Since the Guilty and the Innocent cannot possibly become one in the Eye of human Laws, and Men have not Right to inflict Penalty; but upon a legal Charge of Guilt on the Person, who is the Subject of Punishment, and no Man is invested with Power over his Life, or over the Members of his Body, except to preserve the one and the others; and therefore may not engage to submit to Death, or Mutilation for the Fault and Crime of another. For tho’ an innocent Person may suffer, in Consequence of the Infliction of Punishment on a Person guilty, in some Instances, yet he is not, he may not be punished without a Concern in the Guilt, from whence alone arises Obligation to suffer Punishment. Thus much in Answer to the first Query.

Query 2. May God punish an innocent Creature, as so considered, or without the Imputation of another’s Sin or Guilt to him.

Answ. I humbly apprehend he cannot, for the Reasons following:

1. God cannot but approve and justify an innocent Creature as so consider’d, or as free from all Charge and Imputation of Offence, the Reason is evident: The innocent Creature is what God wills him to be according to his Law, and therefore it is impossible he should, under this Consideration, be the Object of his Disapprobation.

2. An innocent Creature, as such, cannot be the Subject of the Condemnation and Curse of the Law of God: Because the Law pronounces a Sentence of Condemnation, only, upon a Charge or Imputation of Fault or Sin.

  3. Hence it necessarily follows, that an innocent Creature, as so consider’d, cannot be impressed with a piercing Sense of divine Vengeance against Sin. A Perception the guiltless Creature may have, of the Evil of Sin, and of the Wrath of God, which Sin demerits: Such a Perception the holy Angels, and glorify’d Saints doubtless have, and ever will have; but this is not attended with any Anguish or Pain of Mind: For it is only a Sense of Sin, as charg’d or imputed, and of an Obnoxiousness to divine Displeasure that Account, which can give the Soul Uneasiness and Torture. This seems to me so evident and demonstrable, that nothing, I apprehend can be more so. The Saints I am persuaded, will retain forever a Consciousness of their sinful Actions, and will never lose the Idea of that Wrath, Curse, and Vengeance, to which their Offences render’d them obnoxious: But this Consciousness, and this Perception of the proper Demerit of their Guilt, occasion no Uneasiness, Sorrow, or Pain; the Reason is, they are discharg’d of their Guilt, and are not the Objects of God’s Displeasure, to which it exposed them; this must be allow’d, if their Happiness in Heaven is granted to be complete.

4. Each of there Things enter into the very Nature of, and are essential to divine Punishment. Surely it is not to be thought, that God approves of any whom he punishes, that is to say, as they are the Subjects of his Act of punishing: And it is impossible, that a Creature under the same Consideration should be the Object of divine Condemnation and Justification; for these are certainly inconsistent Ideas, if any such there be. Nor can God impress the Mind of a Creature, with a painful Sense of his Wrath, who is not, under any Consideration, the Object of his Displeasure. Either therefore an innocent Creature cannot be the Subject of Penalty, or these Things do not enter into the Nature of divine Punishment: Or else Guilt is imputed to that innocent Creature, and in his suffering Punishment, he is consider’d, not as he is in himself; but as guilty, by a Charge of another’s Guilt on him, for whom he sustains that Punishment.

5. God in punishing, acts as a Lawgiver and Judge: The Act of punishing therefore, is not an Act of Sovereignty, but of Righteousness and Justice; and is agreeable to the Nature of his Law by which penal Suffering is threatened. Now if no divine Law is extant, which threatens Penalty without Relation to a Charge of Fault or Sin, it should seem to follow, that Punishment cannot be inflicted on an innocent Creature, as such, or without the Imputation of another’s Guilt to him. I am firmly of Opinion, that no Law of God is to be produc’d, wherein penal Suffering is denounced, without Respect to Sin imputed, as the procuring Cause of that Denunciation of penal Evil, and if not, then no innocent Creature as such, can be the Subject of divine Punishment. 6. What God hates in Men he cannot do himself. Nothing is the Object of God’s Displeasure; but what is contrary to the divine Nature: To punish the Innocent is disapproved of God, because it is a dreadful Violation of Right and Justice; and is therefore contrary to the essential Righteousness and Justice of God. It being so, he cannot condemn and punish, without a righteous Charge and Imputation of Offence.

Query 3. May God impute the Fault of a Criminal to one who is impotent, in order to his suffering Punishment, or was it agreeable to the Righteousness and Justice of God, to Charge Sin on Christ, in order to his sustaining the Penalty due to it?

  Answ. In this Question we may observe, that those, who plead for Christ’s suffering Penalty, with. out a Charge of Guilt, in order to Satisfaction, can have nothing to object to the Righteousness and Justice of God, in punishing his Son. The only Difficulty with them, is to reconcile the Act of the Imputation of Sin to Christ, with divine Justice, to which End, I would propose several Things to Consideration.

1. Christ and his People are to be reckoned as one: He as Head and they as Members constitute one mystical Person. Such a Relation subsists between him and them, as cannot subsist among Men, and therefore, as the Conjunction and Union of Christ and his People is singular and without a Parallel, such Acts may follow upon it, both towards Christ himself as Head, and towards them, as Members, which cannot take place with Respect to any others, viz. The Charge of their Sins on Christ, and the manipulation of his Righteousness or Obedience to them.

2. According to a special divine Constitution, he took their Place, Standing and Relation to the Law: Christ’s being made of a Woman, was peculiar to himself; so also was his being made under the Law (Ga 4:4). In Consequence of which, what the Law charg’d on them and demanded of them, is in Right and Justice chargeable on him, and he becomes responsible for them, in order to their Redemption from it, as a Law or Covenant of Works. This supposes the Imputation of their Sins to him, and the Imputation of his Righteousness to them.

  3. He voluntarily agreed to take their Debts upon himself, or to come under that Charge, which the Law exhibited against them: And therefore no injurious Part was acted towards our Saviour, in the Imputation of Guilt to him, any more than Injustice is done to a Surety for a Debtor, in charging a Debt to him, which he undertook to pay.

4. Christ bore our Sin, or was under a Charge of Guilt, but for a Time, and in order to make Satisfaction for it, and upon his making Satisfaction for Sin, he was acquitted and discharg’d of Guilt, which I apprehend is design’d, when it is said: He was justified in the Spirit (1Ti 3:16.). if the Imputation of Sin to him had been perpetual, as it as to the Persons of Sinners, the highest Injury had attended that Act, because his Sufferings had then been endless in Duration, and he must have been rendered incapable of receiving any Reward, for his singular Submission to the Will of God in bearing Sin; but this was not the Case: For,

5. Signal Honour is conferred upon Christ on Account of his submitting to the Will of God, in this wonderful Affair: And therefore no Prejudice arose to our Saviour, from the Imputation of Sin to him (Php 2:9-10,11.).

6. No false or mistaken Idea, attends the Doctrine of the Imputation of Sin to Christ: For he was not esteemed the actual Transgressor, in that Act; but the Transgressions of others, with his full and free Consent, were placed to his Account: The Debt charged on him, as he did not contract: it, he was not reputed to have so done; but in Vertue of his own Engagement, it became his, and no otherwise. So that in this singular Case, there is nothing contrary to Truth, Justice and Righteousness.

7. It is Fact, that the Minds of Men may be troubled about a sinful Act, which was the personal Act of another, as that criminal Action is imputed to them, and subjects them to Punishment. Adam’s first Offence, was his personal Act: His Posterity cannot have a Consciousness. of committing it; but a painful Sensation may attend the Apprehension of a righteous Charge, and Imputation of that sinful Action to them, by which they are made or constituted Sinners. And thus tho’ it was impossible, that Christ should have a Consciousness of our criminal Actions, as his personal Acts: Yet he might have, and actually had, a painful Sensation of the Charge of those Actions to him, and of his Obnoxiousness to Penalty on that Account. To deny this entirely destroys the Reality of his suffering Penalty, and of Consequence the Truth of his Satisfaction. In Words Men may deny Socinianism; but unless this is granted, all that the Socinians contend for, may and must be allow’d because without it, the Death of Christ cannot justly be considered as a Punishment inflicted on him, and therefore can’t be satisfactory; at most, it was only a Condition of Pardon and Salvation, which the Socinians themselves readily assent to.

Query 4. If it will render the Doctrine of Christ’s Atonement, less exceptionable, to state it. in such a Manner and Light, as corresponds with the Conduct of Men in some Cases of Penalty, why may it not be done, in order to compose Differences subsisting among Christians? Why should we delight in Obscurity, and contend for Principles, which will not admit of an easy Explication and Defence, either from the common Notions, or Actions of Men: When it may be so stated, as to agree with the common Sentiments of Mankind, and may by that Means be more generally approved?

Answ. 1. The Imputation of a Fault, and the Infliction of Punishment, are as distinct Ideas as can be; the Ideas of Colour and Sound are not more so. They be as different, as the Idea of a Cause and its Effect are.

2. Among Men Punishment cannot be inflicted, without a Charge of Offence. This I think is very clearly proved above: And also that Men have no Power to impute the criminal Action of an Offender, to an innocent erson; or to punish him for another’s Offence.

3. This Doctrine ought to be esteemed among the deep things of God: It is his Wisdom, yea his hidden Wisdom In a Mystery. With as much Reason therefore, It may be affirmed, that more Depth of Wisdom, Is not discovered in Nature than in Art, as that the Affair of punishing the innocent Jesus to save Sinners, is to be explained by the common Notion and Actions of Men, in civil Life. A higher Affront, in my Opinion, can’t soon be offered to God: Or a greater Reproach be cast on the Gospel, than such a Way of stating this Doctrine carries in it. I am fully persuaded it is acting a very bad Part, by what Motives or Views soever, a Person may be influenced to do it, and that it will appear so to be, when the Time of Disputing shall have an End with Men.

FINIS.

 

33- FOOTNOTES

  ft1 Amyraldus was of the same Sentiments with the Author of the Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, says he, Duo sunt igitur Genera Hominum a Christo redemptorum, Electi scilicet & non Electi. De non Electis certum est Fidem illis a Christo nullo modo suiffe impetratam, quam ipfi certe praestare tenentur, & ni id faciunt, Justissime puniuntur a Deo. Ad Electos quod spectat, Fides illis ira impetrata suit ut Impetratio omnem Conditionem excludat. Speciminis Animad. General. Exerc. de Grat. Univerf. Pars III. p. 190. His Opinion was, that the Salvation of the Elect is certain and infallible, and that a conditional Provision of Salvation is made for the Non-Elect. The just Censure therefore which the pious and learned Dr. passes upon him equally concerns and affects this Author. If good Dr. Owen was now in Being, I doubt not but his holy Zeal for the Protestant Doctrine of the real Merit, and Satisfaction of Christ, would engage his able Pen against this Writer. I sincerely wish that some such worthy Person, had now been employed in the Defence of so glorious a Truth.

ft2 Theolog. Christ. Lib. III. Cap. 21. Edit. Quarto, p. 270.

ft3 Socin. de Christo Servatore Pars secunda, Cap. l, 2, 3.

ft4 Shlictingius in Heb 7:22; and Limborch Inst. Lib. III. Cap. 21.

ft5 Inst. Limborch, Lib. III, Cap. 23.

ft6 Socin. de Christo Servatore Pars prima, Cap. 8.

ft7 Inst. Lib. III, Cap. 23.

ft8 Deinde, ut Potestatem habet Deus infligendi Poenam, ita & noninfligendi. — Caeteroquin Justitiae Dei nequaquam repugnat, Peccatori, quem punire Jure posset, ignoscere.

ft9 Nemini enim, sive puniat, sive non puniat, facit Injuriam.

ft10 Neque enim nocenti, ut supra monuimus, debetur Poena, sed is e mdebet: Et debet quidem illi, in quem Injuria omnis ultimo redundat: Quiin nostro Negotio est Deus.

ft11Jus autem suum, si Rem per se spectes, ut persequi cuique licet: Ita & non persequi, ae de eo, quantum libet, remittere. De vera Religione, Lib. I, Cap. 23.

ft12 Ita ut Peccatis Deum ignoscere, nihil aliud fit, quam earn de Jure fuo remittere. Unicuique autem de Jure fuo, quantam velit, remittere licet. Deus igitur, &. De Jesu Christo Servatore Pars tertia, Cap. 1.

ft13 Justitiam istam, cuivos satisfaciendum omnino esse Contenditis in Deonon refidere, fed effectum esse Voluntatis ipfius. Ibid.

ft14 Divina Justitia quae Misericordiae opponitur, etc. Pars prima, Cap. 1.

ft15 Hanc ipsam Dei Justiam, quae Misericoriae opponitur, de qua nosagere, ut jam videre poaisti, probe memini, duplice esse: Non focusatque Misericoria duplex Hatni potest. Ex his, ut dixi, duplicem effeDei Justitiam liquido apparet: unam, qua perpetuo utitur, etc,. Alteramqua Peccatores nonnunquam, etc. Unde, ut diximus, etiam duplex DeiMisericordia apparet: Una videlicet, qua Resipiscentibus, etc. Altera, qua plane Homines pravenit, etc. Pars prima, Cap. I.

ft16 Si ea (i.e. Justitia) in Deo residereo, nunquam is, ne minimum quidemdelictum, cuiquam condonarct. Ibid. Pars tertia, Cap. I.

ft17 Ista Justitia, ut supra vifum est, in Sacris Litteris, non Justitia, fedseveritas, aut vindicta, nuncupatur, etc. Ibid.

ft18 Punire Delicta, Deliria condonare, invicem prorsus adversantur. Ibid.

ft19 Puniri per hanc Justitiam delictum posse, etiamsi delinquens ipse nonpuniatur, id, ut infra apparebit, & ab hac & ab omni Justitia alienissimusest. Ibid.

ft20 Misericordiam, quatenus isti Justitiae, hoc est Severitati, et Vindictae opponitur, in Deo non residere, fed effectum voluntatis ejus. Ibid.

ft21 Cum igitur Sacrae Litterae testantur, Deum Mifericordem esse, nihilaliud sibe volant quam Deum saepiffime, et facillime Peccata condonare. Ibid.

ft22 Hinc manisestum fit, quam graviter errent illi, qui Dei hanc turn Justitiam, turn Misericordiam insinitam esse affirmant. Ibid.

ft23 Quod enim ad Justitiam attinet, vocabule Specie decepti non vident, fenihil aliud dicere, quam Dei Severitatem atque Iram infinitam esse.

ft24 Si Deus non possit Peccata fine Satisfactione remittere; tum vel quianon potest per Potentiam, vel quia non potest per Justitiam. vindic.

Grat. de Elect. Digr. 8. Sect. 25. Lib. I. Pars secunda, p. 199.

ft25 Arg. II. Si Deus non potest Peccatum impunitum dimittere; tum necesseest ut puniat, Necessitate abloluta — Malorum Hominum Poenas in hoc Seculo possit augeri quis dubitat? ibid.

ft26Arg. III. Potest Deus mitiorem Poenam inferre quam Peccatum meretur; ergo potest pro absoluta fua Potentia Poenam universam suspendere, p 200. Potest Deus remunirari citra Condignum; ergo etiam potest puniercitra Condignum, p. 201.

ft27 Arg. IV. Potest Deus criciatum quantumcunque etiam infernalem alicuiinferre citra omne Demeritum; ergo etiam potest, non obstante Demerito quantocunque, quantamcunque Poenam suspendere. Anticedens alibi, idque non femel abunde probatur est. Consequentia, ex eo nora est ibid. Quod multo nior fit Deus ad benefaciendum quam ad puniendum — Quaero an etiam impossible fit, ut Deus eum quipeccaverit, adducat ad Poenitentiam? etc. — Ergo Deus, per Potentiamfuam absolutam non purer annihilarc Creaturam fuam, quam ex nihitocreavit, ibid.

ft28 Sed hoc est quod quaeritur; non, an justum sit Satisfactionem accipifed, an injustum fit non accipi. Non enim seqaitur si Mitericors estDeus hoc vel illud agendo, eo immifericordem fore non agendo.

ft29 Praeterea omne agens, quod agit naturaliter, agit in Objectum fuae Actionis naturaliter receptivum: quare si punire, effet naturale (ilianimirum Acceptione, quae secum sert Necessitatem) non possit Actiotalis de Persona Peccatoris, in Personam alteram transire.

ft30 Neque etiam Sapientia Dei, quae in hoe Negotio max-ime elucet, Locum habitura videtur, fi per Naturam nequiffet a liter agere. Sapientia enim, eft Electrix Mediorum. Respos. ad Judicium Ravensp in Fine.

ft31 Of Christ the Mediator, Book 3. P. 71.

ft32 Graviter impingat in Naturam Dei, quippe ex qua fequatur, Deum esseAgens necessarium, non liberum; unde ad Atheismum pateat Adieusmanifestus. Ibid. p. 202.

ft33 This I say upon the Supposition, of an Offer, or Proposal of Christ for Acceptance to sinful Men, merely as Sinners: i.e. while and as they are insensible of their Need of him: And that it is the Will and Design of God, that they should receive him, and his Salvation; which I humbly apprehend cannot be: Tho’ this I infer not from Men’s Want of Ability, to believe in Christ, for I am very far from making the Power of Men, the Measure of their Duty: But I am of Opinion, that an Offer or Proposal for Acceptance of new Covenant-Blessings, is not made to Men, while they am under the old Covenant, or Law of Works, which all Men are, ‘till regenerated, or so long as they are under the Dominion of Sin, Ro 6:14. Offers of Grace, as I conceive, are not made, to those who are not under Grace, nor interested in the Covenant of Grace, which many are not, to whom the Gospel is preached.

ft34 Salus Electorum, Sanguis Jesu: Lib. 3. Chap 10. the End.

ft35 II. Vol. of his Works, of the Creatures etc. p. 52, 53, 54.

ft36 Primum suppeditant nobis ilia Loca, quibus expresse Christus dicitur

pro omnibus esse mortuus. Theolog. Christ. Lib. IV. Cap. 3. Edit. quarto, p. 319.

ft37 Lib. IV, Cap. 3.

ft38 Limborch, Ibid.

ft39 Lib. IV, Cap. 3.

ft40 Limborch, ibid.     ft41 Limborch, ibid. ft42 Limborch, Lib. IV. Cap. 3.

ft43 Theolog. Christ. Lib. IV. Cap. 3.

ft44 Non pro nostris solum: Amplificationis Causa hoc addidit. ut certopersuasi sint fideles, Expiationem a Chirsto partam, ad omnes extendiqui Evangelium Fide amplexi suerint. Sed hic movetur Quaestio, quomodo Mundi totius Peccata expientur. Omitto phreneticorum Deliria, qui hoc Pretextu Reprobos omnes, adeoque Satanam ipfum in Salutem admittunt. Tale Portentum Refutatione indignum est. Qui bane Absurditatem volebant essugere, dixerunt, sufficienter pro toto Mundo passam erie Christum: Sed pro Electis tantum efficaciter. Vulgo haecSolutio in Scholis obtinuit. Ego quanquam verum illud Dictum fateor: Nego tament praefenti Loco quadrare. Neque enim aliud suit Concilium Joannis, quam toti Eeclesiae commune sacere hoe Bonum. Ergo rubomnibus, Reprobos non comprehendit: Sed eos designat qui simulcredituri erant, & qui per varias Mundi Plagas dispersi erant. Tunc enimvere, ut par est, illustratur Christi Gratia, quum unica esse Mundi Saluspraedicatur. ft45 Family Expositor, Vol, I. p. 9.

ft46 On Regeneration, F. 232, 233.

ft47 Ruin and Recovery, p, 265.

ft48 Ita est, non suspenditur Dei Foedus, a Voluntate nostra, ullisve Conditionibus a nobis praestandis; ab Authoritate, Gratia, & Fidelitateipsius Dei Virtutem omnem habet et Effectum. Absoluta enim estPromiflio Gratiae, neque ulla est Foederis Conditio, quae in ipsaPromissione non continetur. Inepte ideo agunt & prepostere, qui exNatura Foederis rater Homines sanciri soliti Naturam thv tyrb Divinae exponere conantur. Qeologoumena, P 149. Edit, Bremae.

ft49 Servata femper Lege & Ratione loquendi. Satyr VI. v, 452.

ft50 Foedus Gratiae, sive Evangelium stricte sic dictum, quod illius Foederis Formula est, quum in meris consistat Promissis, nihil proprie praescribit ut Officium, nihil eyigit, nihil mandat; ne hoc quidem, crede, confidespera in Dominum, & quae sunt similia. Sed resert, nunciat, significant nobis, quid Deus in Christo promittat, quid sacere velit, & facturus sit. mnis Praescriptio Officii ad Legem pertinet, quaemadmodum, postalios, optime inculcavit venerabilis Voetius Disput. Tom. 4. p. 24. & sequentibas. Et hoc omnino tenendum est, si cure omnibus Reformatis Perfectionem Legis, omnes Virtutes, omnia Sanctitatis Officia, Ambitusuo continentis, constanter tueri velimus. De Faed. Lib 3. Cap. I. p 257. Edit. tertia.

ft51 Ruin and Recovery, p. 289.

ft52 Quavis ideo in Re non majoris Momenti nolim cum quoquam alitersentiente Contentionis Serram ducere, neminem tamen adhuc, autRationibus, aut Testimoniis Fide dignis, Usum Literarum proprie sicdistarum, nomoqesia Mosaica Antiquiorem demonsrasse, non dubitoaffirmare. Dr. Owen Qeologommena p. 294. Edit. Bremae.

ft53 Eft autem Poena generali Significatu malum Passionis quod infligitur obMalum Actionis. De Jure Belli & Pacis, Lib. II, Cap. 20, Sect. I.

ft54 De Jure Natur. & Gent. juxt. Discipl. Ebrae. Lib. I. Cap. 4.

ft55 Quia statuimus Nerainem Jus tale habere in Vitam, ut eam sibi ipseadimere aut adimendam obligate poffit, Ibid. Cap. 21, Sect. 11.

ft56 Quod de Vita diximus, idem & de Membris intelligi debet: Nam & inilla Jus Homini datum non est nifi Corporis servandi Causa. GrotiusIbid.

ft57 R. R. 387.

ft58 Ruin and Recovery p. 405.

ft59 Ruin & Recovery, p. 405, 406.

ft60 De Jesu Christo Scivatore, Pars tertia Cap, 3.

ft61 Conditio, ut alibi quoque desinivimus, est adjectio, qua id quod dari autfieri volumus, confertur in aliquem Cafum: Ad quem Modura hicdesinitur. Itaque duo haec Conditionem saciunt, Dilatio, et Casus, five incertus Eventus — Vis Conditionis omnis haec est, ut pendente eanihildum debeatur ea impleta perinde habeatur, ac fi ab Initio pure debitum fuisset; deficiente, quaff nulla unquam suisset Obligatio. — Vinnii in Inst. Imper. Comment. Lib. 3. Tit. 16. de Ver-borum Obligationibus, p. 561, 562.

ft62 Respons ad 31 Artic. Artic. 4

ft63 Serm, on Salvat. by Grace, 15, 16, 17, 18.

ft64 De Jesu Christo Servatore Pars tertia. Cap. 3.

ft65 Philosophical Essays. Essay 5. Sect. I.

ft66 Supplicium autem est Poena Peccati, Orat. in Pison.

ft67 Est autem Poena generali. Significatu, malum Passianis, quod infligitur

ob mature Actionis. De Jure Bdli ac Pacis, Lih, II. Capt. 20. Sect I.

ft68 Qui punit, ut recte puniat, Jas habere debet puniendum, quod Jus exDelicto nocentis nascitur. Ibid. Sect. 2.

ft69 Puniendus Nero oest ultra meritum. Ibid. Sect. 28.

ft70 Cavendum est etiam major Poena, quam Culpa fit. de Offic. Lib. I. Cap.25.

ft71 Atque etiam hoc Praceptum Officii diligenter tenen. alum est, hic NEQUEM unquam innocentem Judicio Capitis arcessas. Ibid. Lib. II. Cap.14.

ft72 Quae est igitur Poena? Quod Supplicium? Id mea Sententia, quodaccidere nemini potest nifi nocenti. Orat. in Pison. Nec vero me fugit, quam sit acerbum, Parentum Sccelera Filiorum Poenis lui. Epist. 12. ad Brutum.

ft73 Dikaiwsav wn ta Amarthmata toutwn einai kai timwriai. deLeg. Spec Lib. II.

ft74 At cum Haeres in universum Jus desuncti succedat, & regulariter tam inincommoda, quam in commoda, quae Ratio est, quod in Propositotantum commodum Actionum paenalium ad Haeredes transire placet? Nimirum quia aequum visum est, Poenam ex hac Successione excipere, ne ibi Poena sit, ubi Noxia non est. Lib. IV. Tit. x:,.

ft75 Nam ex Ratione & Effentia Poenae proprie dictae est, ut pro Peccatoseu Culpa aliqua impendatur. de Jure naturali et Gent. Juxt. Discipl. Ebrae. Lib. I. Cap. 4.

ft76 Formali enim Poenae Causa certe in hoc maxime consistit quod fit timwria, seu Vindicta atque satisfactoria, feu purga, toria, feuexpiatoria aliterve Scelus, feu Peccatum commissum respiciat. Sed vetoPana, proprie loquendo, atque ut in Jure qaalicunque locum habet, sumitur pro co quod est malum Passionis pro malo Actionis, feu quodredditur ut malum insequens Poenae pro eo quod est malumpraeteritum Culpae. Scilicet Pinna est Noxae Vindicta, feu utJurisconsulti Graeci loquuntur, Amarthmatov Ekdikhsiv CulpaeVindicta.

ft77 Ou gar apalav ton Anqrwpon h Anqrwpov kolazei o nomovall h kakov, in Carm. Pythag.

ft78 A regali Solio, velut a Sole distensi Radii, singulae tem-porales prodeunt Dignitates. Second Part, p. 538.

ft79 1533.

ft80 Primum, ut ne Poena Capitis cum Pecunia conjungatur. Orat. pro Domosua.

ft81 Illud autem durum & crudele videtur, quod ob Parentum Crimen etiamLiberi plectantur, perpetua nimium Egestate & Insamia. Sane Legidivinae et vere Justitiae repugnat. 2Ki 14:2 Chronicles 25. Comment. in Inst. Imper. Lib. IV. Tit. 18.

ft82 Confiscatio odiofa est quia Liberia adimit Successionem quae eiscompetit de Jure Nature, tendique in Perniciem eorum innocentes sunt, quique Culpam Parentum ferre non deberent. Christinaei Decif. Vol. I. Dec. 400. n. 99.

ft83 Sic Parentum bonis consiscatis sentiunt quidem incommodum Liberi,fed proprie ea Poena non est, quia Bona ilia illorum furura non erantnisi a Parentibus ad ultimum Spiritum effent confervata, de Jure Belli acPacis, Lib. II. Cap. 21. Sect. 10.

ft84 Second Part 810, 811.

ft85 Praeterea notandum, interdum imponi alicui aliquid ma-li, out bonialicquid auserri, Occasione quidem alicujus Peccati; sed non ita utPeccatum Causa fit proxima ejus Actionis quod Jus ipsum agendiattient. Sic qui Occasione alieni Debiti aliquid promifit malum potitur,ex veteri Verbo, egtua para data. Sponde, naxa praesto est; at proxima Caufa Obligationis eft ipfa Promissio. Nam ut qui pro Emptore fide jussit, non proprie ex Empto tenetur, fed ex Promiffo: Ita & quipro derelinquente, non ex Delicto, fed ex fua Sponsione. Atque hine fit quod malum illi ferendum Mensuram accepit non ex Delicto alterius, fed ex Potestate quam ipse in promittendo habuit — Occidi Nemopotest ex Fide Jussione, quia statuimus Neminem Jus tale habere in Vitam, ut earn fibi adimere aut adimendam obligare possit — Quod deVita diximus, idem & de Membris intdligi debet: Num & in illa JasHomini datum non elf, nifi Corporis sevandi Cause. Quod fi Exilium, fi Peeuniaram Damnum in Promiflione fuerit, & alterius Delicto impletafit Conditio, Damnum feret Fidejuffor, quae tamen in ipfo, fi exacteloquimar, Pinna non erit. De Jure Belli & Pacis. Lib II. Cap, 21. Sect. 10, 11, 12. Nimirum aequum omnino est, Fidejuffor ejus, quod pro reofolvit, recuperandi Causa Actionem Mandati dari, ne cui Officium faumfit’ damnofum: At Poenae Corporalis nulla est Restitutio: & quidproderit Fidejuffori, ream eadem Poenam, postea subite? PostremoNemo contrahendo se ad Poenam Corporalem obligare potest: Quoniam Membrorum faorum Nemo Domi-nus videtur, neque Justitiae Ratio patitur, eum, qui non deliquit, Ponam hujusmodi fustinere. Comment. in Intl. Jus. tin. Imper. Lib III. Tit. 21.

ft86 Igitar it Morte immatura ac violenta rapit Liberos Acanis, Saulis, Jeroboami, Achabi, in ipsos Jure Dominii non Poenae utitur (Deus), sedeodem Facto gravius punit Parentes, de Jure Belli ac Pacis. Lib. II. Sect. 14. His Dictinctionibus positis dicemus Neminem Delictiimmunem ob Delictum alienum punire poffe, cujus Rei Ratio vera est—Obligaio ad Poenam ex Merito oritur: Meritum autem est perfouale, quippe ex Voluntate Ortum habens, qua nihil magis nobis proprium, unde autexousion vocatur. Grotius ibid. Sect. 12.