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unto them that look for him, fall he appear the second time without Sin unto Salvation: That by one Offering he hath perfečted for ever them that are sanctified. All the Sacrifices of the Law are represented as Types and Figures of the great Sacrifice of the Cross, he is our Atonement, our Propitiation, our Peace, who hath made Peace through the Blood of his Cross. Whoever reads these and such Texts, wherewith the Gospel and Epistles abound, would think it impossible to raise any Dispute about this Matter, whether the Death of Christ be a true and proper Sacrifice for the Sins of the World; whether our Sins are expiated, and God atoned and reconciled to Sinners by the shedding of his Blood; and yet there is nothing, which the perverse Wits of Men have more perplexed and entangled : Not that the Scripture is not sufficiently plain, but they desire to know what God hath not thought fit to tell them, and reject what is plainly revealed, because they cannot satisfy their Reason about the Philosophy of Christ's Death and Sacrifice. As if such little Creatures as we are, should be able to comprehend the Reasons, and fathom the Depths of the divine Will and Counsels. I shall give you as plain and brief an Account of this Matter, as I can, that you may the better understand what I have to say in this Cause.
Some there are, who think this a very incredible Story, that the Son of God should become Man, and die upon the Cross, as an expiatory Sacrifice for the Sins of Men ; because they can by no means understand, what necessity there is for any Satisfaction to be made to God for the Sins of Men: For cannot God, who is the supreme unaccountable Lord and Judge of the
World, forgive Sin if he pleases, without any Sacrifice or Expiation, when every Prince, nay every private Man in his own Cause, can do this when he sees fit, and is thought to do very well in it? And if God has such a tender Compassion for Sinners, as this Account of the Death of Christ represents him to have, is it not much more credible, that he should forgive all truly penitent and reformed Sinners without a Sacrifice, than expose his only beloved Son to a painful and infamous Death, when he could have forgiven Sin without it?
As for that Necessity of Satisfaction, which some resolve into a natural vindictive Justice in God, which cannot forgive Sin without executing a juft Vengeance against it, either in the Person of a Sinner, or his Surety and Sacrifice; this they think makes a very terrible Representation of God, and contradicts all the Notions Mankind have of his Goodness, and Readiness to forgive. For how frightful is it to think that we have to do with a God, who cannot forgive without exacting the utmost Punishment that every Sin deserves ? And who will call this Forgiveness, to punish no more, when we have punished as much as juftly we can ? And
the Scripture magnifies the Grace and Goodness of God in forgiving our Sins for Christ's Sake, notwithstanding that Christ died to make Atonement for our Sins.
Nor can they possibly understand, how bearing the Punishment of Sin makes Satisfaction for it; for is any Man satisfied for the Injury he fuffers, that he, who did the Injury, suffers for it as he deserves ? Does any Man think this a Reason to forgive and to be reconciled to the injurious Person, that he has suffered for the In
jury he has done? Is not every good Man much better satisfied with Repentance, and Reparation of the Injury, and the Amendment of the injurious Person, without his suffering, than with his suffering without Repentance and Amendment? That Repentance and Amendment seem the only natural Attonement and Expiation of Sin, because that alone can repair the Injury, and attone, and pacify, and reconcile the injur'd Person. It contradicts, they say, the essential Notions both of Justice and Goodness, and is infinitely, unworthy of the Justice and Goodness of God, to place the Satisfaction for Sin merely in the Satisfaction of Revenge ; and yet they cannot conceive what other Satiffaction the mere bearing the Punishnient of Sin can make to vindictive Justice. And yet, were this the true Notion of Satisfaction, they say it. utterly destroys the Satisfaction of a Sacrifice, let the Sacrifice be what it will; for though Punishment might be transferred, Revenge can't, which can no more change its Object, than An. ger or Love ; and Punishment without Revenge is no Satisfaction to vindictive Justice : Much less could the Son of God, his only begotten and well beloved Son, be the Object of such a Revenge, and that, when he did the most acceptable Service to his Father, and exercised the profoundest Humility, Self-denial, Patience, Obedience, and Resignation to the Will of God, and the most perfect Trust and Affiance in him; for which God bath highly exalted him, and given him a Name, which is above every Name; which is no great Argument, that he was the Object of his Wrath and Vengeance upon the Cross, when he exalted him from the U
Cross to his own Throne, and fet him at his own Right Hand.
But whatever Satisfaction be due to vindiétive Justice, why, say they, would no less Sacrifice than the eternal Son of God be accepted for the Sins of Men? What Proportion is hete, between God and Creatures, that the Son of God hiust die to deliver Men from Death ? And what Justice, where there is no Proportion? To resolve this into the infinite Demerit of Sin, as committed against the infinite Majesty of God, and therefore requiring an infinite Sacrifice to expiate it, they say, is no Scripture Account of Christ's Death, and introduces upon other 'Principles a Stoical Equality of all Sins ; for if the infinite Majesty of God, whom we offend by our Sins, gives an infinite Demerit to every Sin, then all Sins, are equal, and deserve an equal Punishment, unless we will allow of Degrees in Infinite. Nay, by the same Reafon every virtuous Action must have an infinite Meric too, as it respects the infinite Majesty of God; which destroys all the Degrees of Virtue and Vice, and the Justice of Government, in proportioning Rewards and Punishments to Men's Deferts. Nay, if this were true, it would prove the quite contrary to what it is intended for. For if a finite Person may merit infinitely of God, there is no need that an infinite Perfon, as the Son of God'is, should die as a Sacrifice for Sin, since a finite Person
offer a Sacrifice of infinite Merit; for the infinite Majesty of God, to whom it is offered, according to this way of Reasoning, must give an infinite Merit to it. But indeed the Foundation of all this is naught: For though the Quality and Character of the Person
does proportionably aggravate every Offence, which immediately respects his Perfon and Character, yet every Act of Disobedience is not Crimen læse Majeftatis, a direct Affront and Injury to Majesty : The Authority of a Prince is concerned in all his Laws, but yet the Breach of no Law is Treason, but what immediately concerns the Life, Authority, or Government of the Prince: Thys every Sin iş an Act of Disobedience to God, but not a direct and designed Affront to his infinite Majesty; and therefore the Demerit of Sin muft be measured by the Nature of the Action, not by the Majefty of God.
These are the Difficulties which attend the Notion of Satisfaction, as founded in vindictive Justice; and therefore others resolve the Necesfity of Satisfaction into the Reasons of Govern, ment: That God is not to be considered in this Matter as the Pars læfa, the offended Party, or, as a Creditor to whom we owe the Punishment of our Sins, but as a Rector or Governor, They grant in the first Sense, that God might have forgiven Sin, had he so pleafed, without a Sacrifice, but the wise Government, of the World would not allow it: It was necessary, they fay, for God to maintain the Authority of his Laws and Government, and to deter Men from Sin by some visible Execution of his Ju. ftice: And yet to invite Sinners to Repentance by the highest Afsurances of Pardon and Forgiveness ; and nothing could so perfectly answer these Ends, as to give his own Son a Sacrifice for Sin, in whose Death and Sufferings he has declared his fiercest Anger and Displeasure 4gainst Sin ; which he would not forgive without the Death of his own Son; and yer has given