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Wherein the controversy is summed up and resolved, partly by way of Question and Answer, with a plain intimation of my sense thereof, as relating to the 2d, 3d, and 4th chapters before.
Question 1. What was the nature and extent of Christ's sufferings?
Answer. Not an undergoing infinite wrath or vindictive justice, so called, at the hands of his Father, for that is the just reward of rebels against God, Christ, and free grace; but, 1. The weight and burthen of sin, and grief of soul because of it, as seeing the punishment and wrath incurred by the rebellious. 2. The fury of his persecutors, in his undergoing that cruel death of the cross, inflicted on his body by wicked hands and murderers; so that his sufferings were two-fold, both inward and outward. S. His real desire, travail of soul, and good will through all, was for the benefit and good of all mankind, even for the whole world, (for whom he suffered and died,) that all who receive him might be spiritually influenced with his holy life, and partake of his mind and will, which stood in subjection to the Father.
Question 2. What were the true signification, intent, and ends of Christ's sufferings?
Answer. 1. To evince God's long suffering towards all men, for whom Christ gave himself a ransom, for a testimony in due time. 2. The appeasement of wrath and severity, so far as to grant remission on true repentance. 3. The end of the law and first covenant, and the shadows and curse of it, as threatened to impose the terms of it. 4. To introduce the new covenant administration, Christ being the mediator of it.. 5. To show God's great condescension to receive poor lost man again on the terms of this new covenant, reinforced by the death of his Son, that man coming into this new covenant, might experience a real agreement with God, even in the Son of his love.
Question 3. How far the light in man is necessary, and answers the intent and ends of Christ's sufferings?
Answer. It is absolutely necessary to salvation, being that divine principle of light within, which directly guides all those who obey it, into the way and dispensation of the new covenant, whereby they secretly experience the real intent, virtue, and ends of Christs sufferings and blood.
Question. Whether the light of Christ within (in each degree of it) be not the new-covenant light in nature and kind, and the certain guide into this covenant?
Answer. It is. The life that was in Christ, as the eternal Word, was and is the light of men; which life or light is therefore divine and spiritual, as the new-covenant dispensation is.
Question 5. Whether the word within, the law within, the commandment within, the kingdom of God within, and the light within, be not one and the same thing, and so the life of the new covenant?
Answer. They are. The names, degrees, and manifestations, do not alter or vary the divine nature or life thereof.
Question 6. The satisfaction, what? and in what did it consist? Answer. 1. Not rigid payment from Christ to God. 2. Not of the nature of payment for all sins past, present, and to come, as stated by sin-pleasers. 3. Not Christ's undergoing infinite wrath or revenge from his Father, for these were never exacted nor required of him. But the satisfaction was in Christ as the Son of the Father's love, the delight of his soul, and as he was a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour to him. Both the Father and the Son condescended in one and the same infinite love for man's recovery out of sin and death, and for his deliverance from wrath to come, they being equally kind to man, and equally angry at man's sin. God so loved the world, that he freely sent his only begotton, Son, &c. And in the same love the Son freely gave his life, yea, even himself, a ransom for all, for a testimony in due time.
Question 7. What is true justification?
Answer. It is properly and strictly a making man just, through the washing of regeneration. It is not only God's pardoning sins past for Christ's sake, through faith in his name; but also God's absolute accepting, owning, and blessing all those who faithfully obey, persevere, and walk in the light and law of the new covenant.
Question 8. What is the true or real imputation of righteousness?
Answer. It is the same with justification, as it relates to God's reckoning or esteeming that man righteous who partakes of the everlasting righteousness of Christ by a living faith in him, and so the same righteousness and holiness of Christ, as inwardly revealed and brought forth in the new creature that is made conformable to his image. And the blessed fruits and effects of Christ's power and inward work of righteousness, as true faith, love, obedience, sincerity, holiness, integrity of spirit to God, are acceptable to him, accounted of and reckoned unto his people for righteousness, and all for Christ's sake, who is the author and finisher of true, living, saving, justifying faith, as "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness." We say, then, that Abraham's faith was so reckoned or imputed to him. It has been by some confessed,
(as between God and the creature,) "that there can be no liking one another without likeness of disposition;" nor doth God receive man into actual friendship with himself, without his being renewed after his image.
Question 9. Who are the subjects of everlasting wrath and vengeance?
Answer. Wieked and rebellious persons, who reject the love of the truth tendered to them, who tread under foot, crucify, or contemn the Son of God, slight the blood of the covenant, and do despite to the spirit of grace.
Question 10. Whether it be consistent with divine justice or truth in God, to show mercy and to be an absolute Saviour, after so much injury done against him and his commands by Adam's fall, and the actual disobedience of his posterity in the fall?
Answer. Yes; it is not inconsistent with divine justice for God to be the absolute Saviour of all that return to him and believe in him, he being a just God and a Saviour, besides (or without) whom there is no other. Absolute justice in God doth not limit him, nor withhold mercy from the creature in the first place; nor doth it produce severity or revenge, until his goodness be rejected and wholy slighted; for he saith: "I am a just God and Saviour," &c. "I, even I, for my own sake do pardon transgression."
Question 11. Whether divine justice did properly and strictly require a full payment and punishment upon Christ in man's stead, for all the debt contracted, and injury done by fallen man?
Answer. No; Christ's sufferings were not of that nature or intent; but as it was by the grace of God that he tasted death for every man, they showed God's patience, and proclaimed his mercy, in order to pardon all that return to him from the evil of their ways.
Question 12. [Obj.] Whether God as rector and judge, could dispense with the act of law, and not rather with the immediate object? Did he not substitute an innocent person to undergo the punishment or severity of the law due to sin and sinners?
Reply. This is objected by some of our opposers, which must needs imply a great dispensing with, and digression from the very intent of the law. If the severe punishment of it be removed from the unrighteous, for whom it was made, and who have incurred it, and fully inflicted upon Jesus Christ, the righteous One that never sinned, could God thus far dispense with the intent of the law, and yet not forgive sin, without such a kind of satisfaction and payment as is supposed? Oh, sad blasphemy and inconsistency! And seeing it hath been confessed by some of our eminent opposers, that "satisfaction" is not a scripture
phrase, but a notion of law, and made agendo et patiendo, viz by Christ's obedience in doing, and subjection in suffering the penalty, which the law should have inflicted upon offenders, I propose these three questions to our opposers. 1. Would it be reasonable or true to say, that the creditor has forgiven both the debt and injury, if it be all paid and fully punished in the surety? 2. Would it be justice in the creditor to detain the debtor in prison, if his debts be all paid by the surety? or to suffer the surety to wait long soliciting or interceding for his pardon or deliverance? 3. Doth not your doctrine of such rigid or severe satisfaction oppose Christ's intercession? However, we still confess, the man Christ was greatly acceptable and most eminently satisfactory, considered as a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour to God, and as the first fruits.
Question 13. What did the blood of Christ that was shed, bespeak? and what is our sense of Christ's blood; and for what end owned?
Answer. 1. It bespoke remission of sins past to all that truly repent and believe in him. 2. Our sense of the blood of Christ, is a living and spiritual sense of the virtue and efficacy of it, as through it we receive redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. 3. We really own and confess to the blood of Christ, both in the history and in the mystery, as most significant to express his life which he gave a ransom; and the value of the one offering we do in the sight of God confess, and we own the blood of Christ both as shed for us, and as sprinkling and purging our consciences from dead works. And this we are come to know by his light shining in our hearts, which as we walk in we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John i. 7. To come to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of Abel, (Heb. ix. 14,) is an attainment and mystery, only obtained by true believers, in and through his Divine light and eternal Spirit, by which Christ offered himself without spot to God; and by "one offering" God hath perfected forever them that are sanctified, whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness to us." Heb. x. 14, 15. For if a literal knowledge and application of the blood could either sanctify or justify without having the conscience sprinkled with it, then how could it be as the anti-type answering and ending the type or pattern under the law, where all the people were sprinkled with the blood of the offerings? See Heb. ix. and x. chap. And the leper was cleansed by seven times sprinkling upon him the blood of the bird that was killed, (Lev. xiv. 6, 7,) but the blood of Christ, which sprinkles and purges the conscience, far excels all those under the law; and therefore, as it redeems from the vain conversation, it is called
"the precious blood of Christ," as opposed to, and beyond all corruptible things. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. Thus in the blood of Christ there is a mystery, and a spiritual consideration and application, absolutely necessary beyond the historical profession and faith thereof, (as well as in the cross, &c.) as Christ said, "except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you." It is the spirit that quickeneth," &c. John vi. The Holy Ghost is witness to us of the virtue and blessed effect of the one offering. Blessed be the name of the Lord our God for ever, who by his Divine light hath opened our understandings in the mystery of Christ Jesus and the saving knowledge of him which is after the spirit.
All these passages of scripture relating to Christ's sufferings, as Isaiah liii. Zach. xiii. 17. Rom. viii. 32. Phil. xxviii. 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, 21. Gal. iii. 13. and iv. 5. Heb. ii. 9, do intimate God's great kindness and condescension in Christ Jesus, and his humiliation, and deep suffering under the weight and burthen of sin; and that by the grace of God he tasted death for every man. All which fall greatly short of proving our adversary's charge against him, viz. " that God poured down his wrath or revenge upon his innocent Son, for satisfaction to Divine justice in man's stead that had done the injury." All the scriptures alleged by them, can never prove this; but rather, 1. That Christ's sufferings were of another kind, both as he was delivered up by the Father, in his patience to suffer and bear the burden, sorrows, and inward griefs, by reason of man's sin, for which his soul also was made an offering. 2. And as the reproaches, suffering, and death of the cross that he sustained from the wicked and murderers, were temporal or had an end, they were not the infinite wrath and revenge from God, due to wicked men. 3. Yet Christ was rendered a curse, and as it were, made to be sin. This he could not properly be in his own being; for sin and a curse, (in this abstract sense,) could not strictly relate to his pure and sinless being, but were so made or reputed with respect to his bearing the reproach and sin of many, the outward punishment, crucifying, death, and blood sheding. And all that was in him, which in any sense might be said to suffer, was offered and given for the advantage and good of mankind; and that which he so gave and offered, was called his life," "himself," "a ransom," and all sometimes in scripture comprehended and expressed under the name of "the blood," "the precious blood of Christ," that redeems from the vain conversation, purgeth the conscience, &c. And even the outward part of his suffering, his most innocent example, his eross, death, blood of his cross, his reviving again, were so far from yielding either an indulgence or justification to men while in sin and disobedience, that they did very eminently preach and