Imágenes de páginas

Paul, as by the transgression of one, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, many were made righteous! Elsewhere," the ground of pardon—that which delivers us from the curse of the law, the same apostle extends to the whole of Christ's life. When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. Even in his baptism, God declares, that Christ had fulfilled a part of this righteousness --that he had done his will. Finally, from the time that he took upon himself the form of a servant,' he began to pay the price of our redemption. Nevertheless, that the scripture may define more precisely, the manner in which salvation is procured, it ascribes peculiarly, the price of redemption to the death of Christ.” He afterwards adds, “yet the remaining part of his obedience which he performed during his life is not excluded; for the apostle comprehends the whole of his obedience from the beginning of his life to the end, when he says, that he humbled himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was obedient to his Father unto death, even the death of the cross.' Indeed, his death occupies the first grade in his voluntary subjection; because, a sacrifice avail. ed nothing, unless it was offered freely.” Elsewhere, he remarks,* that, “ accepting grace, is nothing else but his unmerited goodness, by which the Father embraces us in Christ, clothes us with his innocence, causing us to accept it, that on account of it, he may esteem us holy, pure and innocent. It behooves the righteousness of Christ, which alonė is perfect, and will stand in the sight of God, to be presented for us, and as a righteousness offered by our surety, to be set to our account in the judgment. Ornamented by this, we, through faith, obtain perpetual remission of sin. By its immaculate purity, all our defilements are washed away: they are not laid to our account-before the splendour of Emmanuel's righteousness, our pollutions are banished, and flee away, never more to rise against us in judgment."

* Inst. book ii.cap. 14. sec. 12.

The Gallic Synods, by repeated acts, have given their most explicit testimony in favour of the same truth.* “ When man can find in himself, either before or after effectual calling, no righteousness, by which he can stand before the tribunal of God; he cannot be justified unless in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was obedient to God the Father, even from his entrance into the world, until his ignominious death on the cross. In his life, and at his death, he fulfilled the whole law given to man—the command to suffer and lay down his life, a price of redemption for many. By the perfect obedience of Christ, we are rendered righteous; for through the goodness of God it is imputed to us, and received by faith, which is the gift of God. We by the merit of the whole of this obedience, obtain remission of our sins, and are rendered worthy of eternal life.”

* Privatensis Synodius, anno 1612, and Joninensis, anno 1614.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The controversy concerning the extent or universality of the atonement, was formerly agitated, and is now agitated, which imposes upon us a necessity of handling this subject, that nothing may be wanting to a clear elucidation of this allimportant article of the Christian system.

Among the ancients, the Pelagians and Semipelagians contended, that Christ died for all men; hence Prosper, in his letter to Augustine, concerning the remains of the Pelagian heresy, says, “Those who embrace the Pelagian heresy, profess to believe, that Christ died for all men universally, and that none are excluded from the atonement, and redemption, which the blood of Christ has effected.” And among those errors which they attribute to Augustine, they find this:—“The Saviour was not crucified for the redemption of the whole world.” Faustus* says, “ they wander far from the path of piety, who assert, that Christ did not die for all.” Hincmar, in his letter to pope Nicholas,t recounts, among other tenets of Gotteschalcus, which he calls erroneous, that he maintained and preached, that Christ did not shed his blood precious to God the Father, for the redemption and salvation of all men, but for those only who will be saved, or for the elect. To the same purpose are the anathemas of the pretended Council of Arelate, anathemas which are recorded in a letter to Lucidus, written by Faustus,

* Book i. De libero arbitrio.

+ Book iii. chap. 14.

the first leader of the Pelagian bands; in which he also asserts, that Sirmandus acknowledged himself to be a semipelagian. Augustine, in his age, opposed himself to these heretical innovations; so did Prosper, and Fulgentius, his disciple, and other preachers of the grace of Christ, who, travelling in their footsteps, boldly defended the truth. The truth for which these divines contended, was afterwards as. serted by Remigius, bishop of Leyden.*

The same controversy was afterwards renewed among the Roman Catholics; some of whom taught, like the semipelagians, the doctrine of universal atonement; while others, embracing the views of Augustine and his genuine disciples, restricted the atonement to the elect. This controversy was principally between the Jesuits and Jansenists. The Jesuits, a genuine branch of the semi-pelagian sectaries, warmly contend for a universal atonement. The Jansenists, with great firmness, contended, that the atonement was restricted to the elect. In this they followed Jansenius, the founder of their order. Jansenius has examined this subject very largely, and with great solidity of argument.

The controversy passed from the Catholics to the Protestants. The Lutherans follow the Jesuits, and contend for a universal satisfaction. The Arminians, however, called remonstrants, from the remonstrance which they presented to the synod of Dort, are among the protestant churches, the great champions for a universal atonement. They have indirectly dragged into their creed, the most of the Catholic errors, from Molinus, Lessius, Suarezius, and other Jesuits. From such polluted fountains, they have among others, drunk in the error concerning universal atonement, which, they contend, was made by the death of Christ; and which is placed second among those errors that were rejected and condemned by the synod of Dort, as may be seen in the

* Liber. tribus epistolis et concilio Valentino III. anno 855. habito. + In suo Augustino, et in apolegia Jansenii, et in catechismo de gratiæ.

I Eckard. Fasicul. controv. c. 15. De Predesti. q. 6. Broehmannus de gratia Dei. c. 2.9, 17, 18, 19. et alü.

second chapter of their rejection of errors, concerning the death of Christ.

The doctrine on this subject for which the Arminians contended at the synod of Dort, which was condemned at that synod, and against which they remonstrated, is expressed in this manner:-“ The price of redemption which Christ offered to his Father, was not only in itself sufficient for the redemption of the whole human family, but even by the decree, will and grace of God the Father was paid for all men and every man, so that no one is by an antecedent decree of God, particularly excluded from a participation of its fruits. 1. Christ, by the merits of his death, has so far reconciled God to the whole human family, that the Father on account of his merits, without any impeachment of his truth or justice, can enter and wishes to enter into and confirm a new covenant of grace with sinful men exposed to damnation.” Hence they maintain, that, according to the counsel of God, Christ so died for all men that his death, not only on account of its own intrinsic value, is sufficient for the redemption of all men, but that agreeably to the will of God it was offered for that express purpose--that the death of Christ was a death in the room of all men, and for their good, by the intervention of which, and on account of which, God, ever after, willed to deal graciously with all men-and hence, that the death of Christ was not a blessing promised in the covenant of grace, but the very foundation of it. 2. That from his own intention and that of his father, he has obtained for all men, as well those who perish, as for those who are saved, a restoration into a state of grace and salvation, so that no one on account of original sin, is either exposed to condemnation, or will be condemned; but all are freed from the guilt of that sin. 3. That Christ, according to the counsel of his Father, delivered himself up to the death for all men, without any fixed purpose that any individual in particular should be saved; so that the necessity and utility of the atonement made by the death of Christ, might be in every respect preserved, although the redemption obtained should not be actually applied to one indivi

« AnteriorContinuar »