Billeder på siden


right, so every one may forego it, remit of it, or not prosecute it at his pleasure. And this is that which is principally insisted on by them in this cause ; namely, that the right of punishing being in God only, he may forego it if he please, seeing every one may recede from, or not pursue his own right at his plea

But a person may have a double right; first, that which ariseth from a debt, or a personal injury. This every man may pursue, so as that hereby he wrongs not any unconcerned therein, nor transgresses any rule of duty prescribed to himself, and every one may at his pleasure remit, so as no prejudice redound thereby to others. But our sins in respect of God, have neither the nature of debts properly, nor of personal injuries, though they are metaphorically so called. And there is a right of rule or government, which is either positive or natural. Of the first sort is that which magistrates have over their subjects. Hereunto belongs the right of exacting punishment according to the law. Now this is such a right as hath duty inseparably annexed to it. This therefore a righteous magistrate cannot forego, without destroying the end of magistracy in the public good. For a magistrate to say, I have indeed a right to punish offenders in the common-wealth, but I will forego it, seeing all its exercise depends upon my will, is a rejection of his duty, and a renunciation of his authority. But, lastly, The right of God to rule over all, is natural and necessary to him. So there fore is our obligation to obedience, or obnoxiousness to punishment. To say that God may forego this right, or remit of it, is to say, that he

may at his pleasure cease to be our Lord and God. For the same nature of God, which necessarily requireth our obedience, doth indispensably require the punishment of our disobedience. And so have we closed our first argument in this cause, with our vindication of it.

[ocr errors]

A Digression concerning the Sufferings of Christ : whether they

were of the same kind with what sinners should have suffered ; or whether he suffered the same that we should have done.


nto what we have argued in the foregoing exercitation, it is generally objected, that if the justice of God did thus indispensably require the punishment of sin, which was the ground of the satisfaction made by Christ; then it was necessary that Christ should undergo the same punishment that the sinners themselves should have done, namely, that which the justice of God did require. But this was impossible, as is pretended. And to overthrow this apprehension, that the Lord Christ underwent the same punishment in kind which we should have done, or as was due unto us, they have thus stated the opinion of them whom they do oppose. Some they say do maintain that our sins are to be looked on as our debts, or under the notion of debts, and God as the creditor, requiring the payment of them. Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ by his death and sufferings paid this debt; so that his death was solutio ejusdem, or the payment of what was due in the same kind. This, say some learned men, gave great advantage unto Socinus, who easily proved that there was no necessity for a mere creditor to exact his debt, but that he might at his pleasure cedere jure suo, or forego his own right. And this must needs be supposed of God in this matter, whose love and grace, and pardoning mercy are so celebrated therein. And to confirm this argument it is usually added, which is the main thing pleaded by Socinus and Crellius themselves, that the · Lord Christ neither did nor could undergo the penalty due unto us, because that was eternal death.' And to plead that either Christ should have undergone it, if he could not have delivered himself from it, or that what was wanting unto his sufferings as to their duration, was compensated by the dignity of his person, is to acknowledge that indeed he did not undergo the same punishment that we are obnoxious unto.

Learned men, and those sound in the substance of the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, being differently minded either in the thing itself, or about the sense of the terms whereby it is expressed, I shall endeavour to state right conceptions about it, or at least express my own, without a design to contradict those of any others. And, 1. For the consideration of our sins under the notion of debts, and God as creditor, it is generally known, that before the rising of any heresy, the most learned men have expressed themselves with such a liberty, as advantage hath been thence taken, by such adversaries of the truth, as afterwards arose. Thus the Scripture, having called our sins our debts, and made mention of the payment made by Christ, and compared God to a creditor, before Socinus called the whole matter of the satisfaction of Christ into question, it is no wonder, if the truth were commonly expressed under these notions, without such distinctions as were necessary to secure them from unforeseen objections. He with whom Socinus first disputed on this subject was Covetus; and he doth indeed make use of this argument to prove the satisfaction of Christ; namely, that our sins being our debts, justice required that there should be payment made of them or for them. But the truth is, he doth not take his argument from the nature of debts in general, but from the especial nature of these debts, as the Scripture calls them. For he made it appear that these debts are such as are crimes, or transgressions of the law of God:

: on the account whereof the persons that had contracted these debts, or were guilty of these crimes, became liable and obnoxious unto punishment, in the judgment of God who is the sovereign ruler over all. There is therefore a distinction to be put between such debts as are civil or pecuniary only, or those which are criminal also. And when the Scripture sets out our sins as debts, with such circumstances as allude unto pecuniary debts and their payment, it is to make the thing treated of obvious unto our understandings by a similitude familiar to all men ; but as our sins are really intended, the expression is metaphorical. And Socinus, in his disputation about the nature of debts, creditors, and payments, had no advantage but what he took by a supposition, that the terms which were used by his adversary metaphorically, (his argument being taken from the thing intended) were urged by him in their proper sense; which indeed they were not. And so whereas all his dispute respects civil or pecuniary debts only, he was far enough from triumph ing over his adversary, who intended such as were criminal. Wherefore as this notion of debts, creditor and payments, need not yet be forborne in a popular way of teaching, because it is made use of in the Scripture, to give us a sense of our condition upon the account of our sins, especially a declaration being made that these debts will be exacted of us; so in a disputation about the truth, it is necessary to declare of what nature these debts are, as all generally do, asserting them to be criminal.

Secondly, There is much ambiguity in that expression of Christ's paying the same which was due from us. For that term the same, may be variously modified from divers respects. Consider the punishment suffered, it may be it was the same; consider the person suffering, and it was not the same. And therefore it may be said, as far as it was a penalty, it was the same; as it was a payment it was not the same, or it was not the same as it was a satisfaction. For it was only what the law required, and the law required no satisfaction as formally such. Punishment and satisfaction differ formally, though materially they may be the same. I judge therefore, that Christ was to undergo, and did undergo, that very punishment in the kind of it, which those for whom he suffered should have undergone, and that, among others, for the reasons ensuing.

1. Christ underwent the punishment which in the justice or judgment of God was due unto sin. That the justice of God did require that sin should be punished with a meet and due recompence of reward, we have proved already, and shall afterwards farther confirm. To answer and satisfy this justice it was that Christ suffered. And therefore he suffered what that justice required. And this is what is pleaded for, and all. We should have undergone no more but what in the justice of God was due to sin. This Christ underwent; namely, what in the justice of God was due to sin; and therefore what we should have undergone. Nor can it be supposed that in the justice of God there might be two sorts of penalties due to sin, one of one kind, and another of another. If it be said that because it was undergone by another it was not the same; I grant it was payment, which our suffering would never have been; it was satisfaction which we by undergoing any penalty could not make; but he yet suffered the same penalty which we should have done. No more is intended, but that the Lord Christ underwent that punishment which was due to our sins; which I cannot see how it can well be denied by those who grant that he underwent any punishment at all; seeing the justice of God required no other.

Secondly, That which was due to sin was all of it, whatever it were, contained and comprehended in the curse of the law. For in the curse God threatened the breach of the law with that punishment which in his justice was due unto it, and all that was so.


this will not be denied. For the curse of the law is nothing but an expression of that punishment which is due unto the breach of it, delivered in a way of threatening. But now Jesus Christ underwent the curse of the law, by which I know not what to understand, but that very punishment which the transgressors of the law should have undergone. Hence our apostle says, that he was made a curse for us, Gal. iii. 13. because he underwent the penal sentence of the law. And there were not two kinds of punishment contained in the curse of the law; one that the sinner himself should undergo ;

another that should fall on the mediator. For neither the law nor its curse had any respect unto a mediator. Only every transgressor was cursed thereby: the interposition of a mediator depends on other principles and reasons than any that the law was acquainted withall. It was therefore the same punishment in the kind of it, which was due to us, that the Lord Christ was to undergo, or it was that which neither the justice nor the law of God required.

Thirdly, It is said expressly, that God “ caused all our iniquities to meet on him," Isa. liii. 6. or hath “ laid on him the iniquity of us all," that he “ bare our sins," ver. 10. or,

66 bare our sins in his own body upon the tree," 1 Pet. ii. 24. Whereby he who “ knew no sin, was made sin for us,” 2 Cor. v. 21. The sense of all which places I have elsewhere pleaded and vindicated. Now unless we will betake ourselves unto the metaphorical sense of our adversaries, and grant that all these and the like expressions in the Scripture, which are innumerable, signify no more, but that Christ took away our sins, by declaring and confirming unto us the way of faith and obedience, whereby we may obtain the pardon of them, and have them so taken away; we can assign no sense unto them, but that the Lord Christ underwent the punishment due unto our sins, in the judgment of God, and according to the sentence of the law. For how did God make our sins to meet on him, how did he bear them, if he did not suffer the penalty due to them? or if he underwent some other inconvenience, but not the exact demerit of sin. And there is no other sense given of these places by them who plead for the satisfaction of Christ, but This, that he bare the punishment due to our sins, which is all that is contended for.

Fourthly, Christ suffered in our stead. He was our Avtobuxos. And it is usual with all learned men to illustrate his being so by the instances of such as have been renowned in the world on that account; which they have clear warrant for, from our apostle, Rom. v. 7. When one would substitute himself in the room of another who was obnoxious unto punishment, he that was so substituted, was always to undergo that very penalty, whether by loss of limb, liberty, or life, that the other should have undergone. And in like manner, if the Lord Christ suffered in our stead, as our Arthkumes, he suffered what we should have done. And to conclude, if a certain punishment of sin be required indispensably on the account of the holiness and essential righteousness of God, I know not on what ground we can suppose, that several sorts or kinds of punishment might be inflicted for it at pleasure.

It remains, that we consider the principal objections that are usually levelled against the truth asserted, and either answer

« ForrigeFortsæt »