« PreviousContinue »
This is the sum of what they say: “We are reconciled to God, that is, we convert ourselves, by the death of Christ; that is, not by his death, but according to the doctrine he teacheth. And this is the sum of the doctrine of reconciliation: Christ teacheth us a way how we should convert ourselves to God.” And so much for reconciliation.
The satisfaction of Christ on the consideration of his death being a punishment
farther evinced, and vindicated from the exceptions of Smalcius.
III. The third consideration of the death of Christ was of it as it was penal, as therein he underwent punishment for us, or that punishment which for sin was due to us. Thence directly is it said to be SATISFACTORY. About the word itself we do not contend, nor do our adversaries except against it. If the thing itself be proved that is intended by that expression, this controversy is at end. Farther to open the nature of satisfaction, then, by what is said before about bearing of sins, etc., I see no reason; our aim in that word is known to all, and the sense of it obvious. This is made by some the general head of the whole business. I have placed it on the peculiar consideration of Christ's bearing our sins and undergoing punishment for us. What our catechists say to the whole I shall briefly consider.
Having assigned some causes and effects of the death of Christ, partly true in their own place, partly false, they ask, question 12,
Ques. Is there no other cause of the death of Christ ?
Ans. None at all. As for that which Christians commonly think, that Christ by his death merited salvation for us, and satisfied fully for our sins, that opinion is false (or deceitful), erroneous, and very pernicious.'
That the men of this persuasion are bold men we are not now to learn; only, this assertion, that there is no other cause of the death of Christ but what they have mentioned, is a new experiment thereof.
If we must believe that these men know all things and the whole mind of God, so that all is "false and pernicious” that lies beyond their road and understanding, there may be some colour for this confidence; but the account we bave already taken of them will not allow us to grant them this plea.
Of the merit of Christ I have spoken briefly before. His satisfaction is the thing opposed chiefly. What they have to say against it shall now be considered; as also, how this imputation or charge on
1 “ Non est etiam aliqua alia mortis Christi causa ?—Nulla prorsus. Etsi nunc vulgo Christiani sentiunt, Christum morte sua nobis salutem meruisse, et pro peccatis nos. tris plenarie satisfecisse, quæ sententia fallax est et erronea, et admodum perniciosa." -Cat. Rac. de mor. Chris. cap. viii. q. 12.
the common faith of Christians, about the satisfaction of Christ to be “false, erroneous, and pernicious,” will be managed.
Q. How is it false (or deceitful)?
A. That it is false (or deceitful) and erroneous is hence evident, that not only there is nothing of it extant in the Scripture, but also that it is repugnant to the Scriptures and sound reason.'
For the truth of this suggestion, that it is not extant in Scripture, I refer the reader to what hath been discoursed from the Scripture about it already. When they, or any for them, shall answer or evade the testimonies that have been produced, or may yet be so (for I have yet mentioned none of those which immediately express the dying of Christ for us, and his being our mediator and surety in his death), they shall have liberty, for me, to boast in this manner. In the meantime, we are not concerned in their wretched confidence. But let us see how they make good their assertion by instances:
Q. Show that in order
A. That it is not in the Scripture this is an argument, that the assertors of that opinion do never bring evident scriptures for the proof of it, but knit certain consequences by which they endeavour to make good what they assert; which as it is meet to admit when they are necessarily deduced from Scripture, so it is cer. tain they have no force when they are repugnant to the Scripture.?
But what is it that we do not prove by express Scripture, and that in abundance? That “our iniquity was laid upon Christ;" that “ he was bruised, grieved, wounded, killed for us;" that “he bare our iniquities," and that “in his own body on the tree;” that "he was made sin for us,” and “a curse;" that we deserved death, and “he died for us;” that “he made his soul an offering for sin, laid down his life a price and ransom for us,” or in our stead; that we are thereby“ redeemed and reconciled to God;" that our “ iniquities being laid on him," and he “bearing them” (that is, the punishment due to them)," we have deliverance;" God being atoned, and his wrath removed, -we prove not by consequence, but by multitudes of express testimonies.
If they mean that the word "satisfaction” is not found in Scripture in the business treated of, we tell them that Deis is; and λύτρων, αντίλυτρον, and λύτρωσις, απολύτρωσις, καταλλαγή (all words of a cognate significancy thereto, and of the same importance as to the doctrine under consideration), are frequently used. It is, indeed, a hard task to find the word satisfaction in the Hebrew of the Old Testament or the Greek of the New; but the thing itself is found expressly a hundred times over; and their great master doth confess that it is not the word, but the thing itself, that he opposeth. So that, without any thanks to them at all for granting that consequences from Scripture may be allowed to prove matters of faith, we assure them our doctrine is made good by innumerable express testimonies of the word of God, some whereof have been by us now insisted on; and, moreover, that if they and their companions did not wrest the Scriptures to strange and uncouth senses, never heard of before amongst men professing the name of Christ, we could willingly abstain wholly from any expression that is not inws, found in the Word itself. But if, by their rebellion against the truth, and attempts to pervert all the expressions of the Word, the most clear and evident, to perverse and horrid abominations, we are necessitated to them, they must bear them, unless they can prove them not to be true.
1 « Qua ratione ?_Quod ad id quod fallax sit et erronea, attinet, id hinc perspi. cuum est, quod non solum de ea nihil extet in Scripturis, verum etiam Scripturis et sanæ rationi repugnat ?”
? « Demonstra id ordine !-- Id non haberi in Scripturis argumento est, quod istius opinionis assertores nunquam perspicuas scripturas afferunt ad probandam istam opinionem, verum quasdam consecutiones nectunt quibus quod asserunt efficere conan. tur; quas ut admittere æquum est cum ex Scripturis necessario adstruuntur, ita ubi Scripturis repugnant eas nullum vim habere certum est."- Ques. 15.
Let the reader observe, that they grant that the consequences we gather from Scripture would evince that which we plead and contend for, were it not that they are repugnant to other scriptures. Let them, then, manifest the truth of their pretension by producing those other scriptures, or confess that they are self-condemned.
Wherefore they ask,-
A. In this sort, that the Scriptures do everywhere testify that God forgives sin freely, 2 Cor. v. 19, Rom. iii. 24, 25; but principally under the new covenant, Eph. ii. 8, Matt. xviii. 23, etc. Now, nothing is more opposite to free remission than satisfaction; so that if a creditor be satisfied either by the debtor himself or by any other in the name of the debtor, he cannot be said to forgive freely.'
If this be all that our consequences are repugnant unto in the Scripture, we doubt not to make a speedy reconciliation; indeed there was never the least difference between them. Not to dwell long upon that which is of an easy despatch,
1. This objection is stated solely to the consideration of sin as a debt, which is metaphorical. Sin properly is an offence, a rebellion, , a transgression of the law, an injury done, not to a private person, but to a governor in his government.
2. The first two places mentioned, 2 Cor. v. 18–20, Rom. ii. 24, 25, do expressly mention the payment of this debt by Christ as the ground of God's forgiveness, remission, and pardon; the payment of it, I say, not as considered metaphorically as a debt, but the making an atonement and reconciliation for us who had committed it, considered as a crime and rebellion or transgression.
" " Quî vero Scripturæ repugnat ?--Ad eum modum, quod Scripturæ passim Deum peccata hominibus gratuito remittere testentur, 2 Cor. v. 19, Rom. iii. 24, 25; potissimum vero sub novo fædere, Eph. ii. 8, Matt. xviii. 23, etc. At remissioni gratuitæ nihil adversatur magis quam satisfactio. Cui enim creditori satisfit vel ab ipso debi. tore, vel ab alio debitoris nomine, de eo dici non potest vere eum debitum gratuito ex ipsa gratia remisisse.”
3. We say that God doth most freely forgive us, as Eph. ii. 8, Matt. xviii. 23, etc., without requiring any of the debt at our hands, without requiring any price or ransom from us or any satisfaction at our hands; but yet he forgives us for Christ's sake, setting forth him to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, he laying down his life a ransom for us, God not sparing him, but giving him up to death for us all.
4. The expression of another satisfying in the name of the debtor intends either one procured by the debtor, and at his entreaty undertaking the work, or one graciously given and assigned to be in his stead by the creditor. In the first sense it hath an inconsistency with free remission, in the latter not at all.
The truth is, men that dream of an opposition between the satisfaction made by Christ, the surety and mediator of the new covenant, and free remission made to us, are utterly ignorant of the whole mystery of the gospel, nature of the covenant, and whole mediation of Christ, advancing carnal imaginations against innumerable testimonies of the Scripture, witnessing the blessed conspiration between them, to the praise of the glorious grace of God. But they say,
That it is contrary to reason also, because it would hence follow " that Christ underwent eternal death, if he satisfied God for our sins, seeing it is manifest that the punishment we deserved by our sins eternal death. Also, it would follow that we should be more bound to Christ than to God himself, as to him who had shown us greater favour in satisfaction; but God receiving satisfaction afforded us no favour.'
What little relief this plea will afford our adversaries will quickly appear; for,
1. I have proved that Christ underwent that death that was due unto sinners, which was all that justice, law, or reason required. He underwent it, though it was impossible for him to be detained by it.
2. If the Racovians do not think us obliged to God for sending his Son, out of his infinite and eternal love, to die for us, causing all our iniquities to meet on him, justifying us freely (who could do nothing for our own delivery) through the redemption that is in the blood of Christ, we must tell them that (we bless his holy name!) we are not of that mind, but, finding a daily fruit of his love and kindness upon our souls, do know that we are bound unto him eternally, to love, praise, serve, honour, and glorify him, beyond what we shall ever be able to express.
For the inquiry made and comparison instituted between our
1 " Cedo quî istud rationi repugnat ?-Id quidem binc perspicuum est, quod sequeretur Christum æternam mortem subiisse, si Deo pro peccatis nostris satisfecisset, cum constet pænam quam homines peccatis meruerant æternam mortem esse. Deinde con. sequeretur nos Christo quam Deo ipsi devinctiores esse, quippe qui satisfactione multum gratiæ nobis ostendisset; Deus vero exacta satisfactione, nulla prorsus gratia lius prosecutus fuisset.” VOL. XII,
obligation to the Father and the Son, or which of them we are most beholden to, we profess we cannot speak unto it. Our obligation to both, and either respectively, is such that if our affections were extended immeasurably to what they are, yet the utmost and exactest height of them would be due to both, and each of them respectively. We are so bound to one as we cannot be more to the other, because to both in the absolutely highest degree. This we observe in the Scriptures, that in mentioning the work of redemption, the rise, fountain, and spring of it is still assigned to be in the love of the Father, the carrying of it on in the love and obedience of the Son, and so we order our thoughts of faith towards them; the Father being not one wbit the less free and gracious to us by loving us upon the satisfaction of his Son than if he had forgiven us (had it been possible) without any satisfaction at all.
And thus is this article of the Christian faith contrary to Scripture, and to reason.
They add: Q. How also is it pernicious?
A. In that it openeth a door unto men to sin, or at least incites them to sloth in following after holiness. But the Scripture witnesseth that this amongst others is an end of the death of Christ, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and deliver us from this evil world, that we might be redeemed from our vain conversation, and have our consciences purged from dead works, that we might serve the living God, Tit. ii. 14; Gal. i. 4; 1 Pet. i. 18; Heb. ix, 14.
That the deliverance of us from the power and pollution of our sin, the purifying of our souls and consciences, the making of us a peculiar people of God, zealous of good works, that we might be holy and blameless before him in love, is one eminent end of the death of Christ, we grant.
For this end, by his death, did he procure the Spirit to quicken us, “ who were dead in trespasses and sins," sprinkling us with the pure water thereof, and giving us daily supplies of grace from him, that we might grow up in holiness before him, until we come to the measure in this life assigned to us in him. But that the consideration of the cross of Christ, and the satisfaction made thereby, should open a door of licentiousness to sin, or encourage men to sloth in the ways of godliness, is fit only for them to assert to whom the gospel is folly.
What is it, I pray, in the doctrine of the cross that should thus dispose men to licentiousness and sloth? Is it that God is so provoked with every sin that it is impossible and against his nature to forgive it without inflicting the punishment due thereto? or is it that
1 «Cedo etiam quî hæc opinio est perniciosa !-- Ad eum modum, quod hominibus fenestram ad peccandi licentiam aperiat, aut certe ad socordiam in pietate colenda eos invitet. Scriptura vero testatur, cum inter alios Christi mortis finem esse, ut redi. meremur ab omni iniquitate, ex hoc seculo nequam eriperemur, et redimeremur ex vana conversatione a patribus tradita, et mundaremur conscientia a mortuis operibus ad serviendum Deo viventi, Tit. ii. 14; Gal. i. 4; 1 Pet. i. 18; Heb. ix. 14."