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us the highest Demonstration of his great Love and Compassion for Sinners, that he so loved the World, as to give bis only begotten Son, that whofoever believes in him should not perish, but have cuerlasting Life: These indeed are considerations of great Weight and Moment, and ought to have a powerful Influence upon our Lives, and will have so, when they are put into their right Place ; but the Question now is, whether this be a good Account of the Necessity of Satisfaction, and how it agrees with the Scripture Account of Christ's Death, as a Sacrifice for Sin?
For how can the Reasons of Government make that necessary, which the divine Justice does not make so? For, is the Justice of Government so different from the Justice of the divine Nature, as to make them Two Things ? We must either then return to a natural vindictive Justice, or confess, that the Reasons of Government do not make an Expiation and Sacrifice for Sin necessary, but only more agreeable to the Wisdom of Government, and then there was no Necessity that Christ should die to make Attonement for our Sins ; and for my Part, though I dare not say, that God could not fave us any other way but by the Death of Chrift, yet it can never enter into my Thoughts, that the eternal Son of God became Man, suffered and died, only to serve the Ends of Government, if his Death in it self considered, had no direct and immediate Influence upon our Redemption.
It must be acknowledged, that these Persons believe very othodoxly concerning the Death of Christ, that it is a true and proper Sacrifice, that Christ died for us, in our place and Stead,
that he died for our Sins, and by his Blood made Attonement and Expiation for them, and delivered us from eternal Death; that be redeem'd us from the Curse of the Law, by being made a Curse for us, as it is written, cursed is every one that bangeth on a Tree; and with great Zeal and Judgment vindicate the Scripture Account of Christ's Death against all the cavilling Objections of the Socinians : But yet to avoid that harsh Account, which some give of a natural Justice, I doubt they have run into another Extreme, and destroyed the Neceffity of Christ's Death, and any true and proper Expiation for Sin: For a true and proper Expiation for Sin, is certainly to satisfy Law and Justice, not merely to serve the Ends of Government ; and if Law and Justice require no such Thing, we may call what we please an Expiation and Sacrifice, but in Truth it is only an Ast of Government, not a proper Sacrifice for Sin.
And yet unless Christ's. Death was such a Sacrifice for Sin, as did in a proper Sense expiate our Sins, and redeem us from Death, I cannot see how it should serve the Ends of Government. If Law and Justice required no Sacrifice and Expiation for Sin, why was it not as honourable for God to forgive Sins without a Sacrifice, as with it? If God could in Law and Justice have raised us from the Dead into immortal Life, without Christ's dying for us, and rising again from the Dead, how does this recommend God's great Love and Goodnefs to Sinners ? He has done a great and wonderful Thing indeed, but what he need not have done ; which very much leffens the Opinion both of the Wisdom and Goodness of God in it. And was there no effectual way to deter
Men from Sin, and to invite them to Repentance, but the Death of Christ ? Why would not the certain Promises of Pardon and immortal Life to trưe Penitents, and the as certain and irrevocable Threatnings of eternal Miferies against all impenitent Sinners, have been as effectual to this End ? It is certain from Experience, that, at this Day, these are the great Motives and Arguments to Repentance, without which the Death of Christ would have little effect upon the World ; and if this were all that God defigned in the Death of Chrift, he might certainly have given as great and undeniable Evidence and Afsurance of this, though Chrift had
In short, we freely acknowledge, that the Death of Christ ferves a great many admirable Ends in Religion, and contains many forcible Arguments to Repentance and new Obedience ; but the Foundation of all must be laid in the Expiation of his Death ; that by his Death he hath delivered us from Death, and given Life to the World ; and whatever weakens this, (as to deny the absolute Necessity of Christ's dying to redeem us from Death certainly does ) weakens all the other Arguments contained in the Death of Chrift, and makes the Love and Wisdom of God in giving his own Son to die for us, when there was no Necessity of such a Sacrifice to deliver us from Death, as unaccountable as they think a natural vindi&tive Justice.
These and such like Disputes concerning the Nature, Reasons, and Ends of Christ's Death, tempted Socinus and his Followers, to deriy the Death of Christ to be a true and proper Sacrifice or Expiation for Sin ; but this is so directly contrary to the whole Style and Language of
Scripture, that it would be less impious to reject its Authority, than to offer such manifest Force and Violence to it. What a Priest and a Sacrifice, Expiation and Attonement, bearing Şins, being made a Çurse, and such like facrificial Phrafes fignified in the Jewish Law, was very well known; and is there any Colour of Reason to think, that when the Apostles apply all the same Terms and Phrases to Christ and his Death, and make the legal Priests and Sacrifices mere Types and imperfect Representations of our great HighPriest, and the great Sacrifice of the Cross, they should mean any thing else by it, than a proper Priest and a proper Sacrifice? For how Thould we understand their Meaning, but by their Words, or their Words, but in that Sense, which both the divine Law and the common Use of Mankind had given them? Especially since the whole Catholick Church from the Days of the Apostles till Socinus, understood them in the fame Sense.
But I do not intend to dispute this Matter now ; for I cannot persuade my self, but thaç the Socinians themselves must believe, that the Language of Scripture is against them ; bus they think the Doctrine of Satisfaction, as ic has been represented by some Men, so very absurd, so unworthy of God, so contrary to the Reason of Mankind, that they are resolved to force any Sense on Scripture, rather than believe it; that could we give a fair Representation of the Death of Christ, without clogging it with philofophical Disputes, and unscriptural Hypotheses, it would appear so worthy of God, fo agreeable to the belt Reafon, and of such infinite Consolation to Sinners, that there would be no need to pervert the Sense of Scripture to avoid this Faith, and
that would answer all their forc'd Criticisms at once ; and this may easily be done, if we will be contented with that Account which the Scripture gives of it.
To represent this as plainly as I can, let us consider, what the State of Man was after the Fall, what a kind of Saviour he wanted, and what that Redemption is, which the Scripture attributes to the Death of Christ.
As for the first, it is very well known, that, as God threatned Adam with Death in case he eat of the forbidden Fruit, in the Day that thou eatest thereof, thou malt surely die ; so, when he had eaten, he pronounces the final Sentence on him, Dust thou art, and to Dust thou halt return. So that Adam from that moment became mortal, which necessarily involved all his Pofterity in the same Fate ; for the Children of mortal Parents must be mortal, and muft die, as their Parents do. Now since Man must die, and has no Power to raise himself from the Dead, the natural Consequence of this Sentence is, that he must die for ever, that he must never live more. For he that dies, and cannot raise himself from the Dead, must always continue under the Power of Death,
This was the miserable State of all Mankind after the Fall ; and this shews us the Necessity of a Saviour and Deliverer, and what kind of Saviour Man had need of, viz. such a Saviour, not as could deliver him from the Necessity of dying, for that was determined by an irreverfible Decree, but from the Power and Dominion of Death, that is, that could raise him into immortal Life again: Without such a Sa. viour Mankind must have continued for ever under the Power of Death, and therefore such