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denounces death, and a curse against sinners? What becomes of justice, which not only acquits the guilty, and copyicted criminal without inflicting upon him the deserved punishment, but also bestows on him rewards the most honourable? Besides, by denying the atonement, the following absurdities are unavoidable. 1. That our redemption may be attributed no less to the death of the apostles and martyrs, than to the death of Christ; since by their death, and sufferings, they have given strong testimony in favour of the doctrines of the Gospel, and have set before us in their lives illustrious examples of patience and obedience. 2. That Christ saved us rather by his life and miracles, than by his death, since the promulgation of doctrines, and the example of his life were much more plain exhibitions of truth than his death affords. 3. The priestly office is altogether taken away from this world and confounded with his prophetical, and kingly office. 4. The saints under the old testament were not saved by Christ; because they had not the benefit of his example, nor did they hear him preaching doctrines. We shall now proceed to remove the difficulties whịch are started.
Though the word satisfaction is not expressly used in the scriptures, yet, what is quite sufficient, there are words used in the scriptures which are altogether equivalent to it, and which either have no meaning, or they mean that real satisfaction for which we contend. Such are the words «Tolurgweig. which signifies the redemption of a captive, by making a payment Tidur Cov, a price of redemption-soucos, a propitiation-in, a price of punishment-ratepa, a curse Suora, a sacrifice for pope an offering, and many others of the same import which we have mentioned above.
As Christ sustains a two-fold relation to believers, one in the character of their surety bound to satisfy justice in their behalf, the other in the character of their head and Lord operating in them, by the animating and directing influence of his Spirit; so he had a two-fold end in his death and sufferings; one the payment of a price of redemption for us to justice, the other to set before us an example worthy
of imitation. Hence his sufferings may be viewed either as satisfactory or as exemplary. Though the sufferings of Christ are proposed* to us as an example, and his death, as that which we should imitate by dying for our brethren, at his command;t yet we are not hence to infer that by his death he made no real satisfaction, for the mentioning of the one end does not exclude, but supposes the other.
There is a wide difference, between a payment made by a debtor in his own person, and a payment made by a surety. As to the reality of payment there is no difference in the eye of the law, but in relation to grace there is a striking difference. When a debtor pays out of his own purse his debts, it cannot be said that the creditor has forgiven him the debt or shown him favour; but if the debt has been paid by another and that other has been found out by the creditor, then grace may be said to have been shewn. Satisfaction, and remission are inconsistent with each other, when referred to the same thing, but not so when they are referred to different things. Satisfaction has God for its object, remission man for its object. Satisfaction is made by Christ to God for man, and yet man is freely pardoned. Justice and mercy reciprocate. Justice is exercised against sin as imputed to Christ, and mercy, free and sovereign mercy is shewn to sinners. The pardon granted to us is entirely of grace, while full satisfaction is demanded of the surety. Nothing is demanded of us, full payment having been made by Christ.
If Christ makes satisfaction, we cannot say that he satisfies himself, in the same character in which he makes the Batisfaction;
he satisfies himself as God, and as the son of God, not as Christ. Thus it is not precisely the same chap racter, nor in the same relation that he gives, and receives the satisfaction. Christ gives it as God man, as mediator, and receives it as God the judge. Though it is not absurd to suppose that the same person should make satisfaction to himself, when the subject treated of is not a private satis
+ 1 John, iii. 16.
1 Pet. ü. 21.
faction, by which a private loss is compensated, or money that is due paid, for so indeed the person would take of his own, and with it pay himself. But when we speak of a public satisfaction, by which a public injury is repaired, it is not absurd to say that a judge who has violated the law, may make satisfaction to himself as judge by suffering either in his own person, or in the person of another, that punishment which the law denounces; and thus it is in the work of redemption.
Christ did not suffer eternal death as to duration, but a death of three days only, and yet he fully paid the debt of everlasting punishment, which we owed. His which was one of finite duration, was equivalent to an everlasting death suffered by us, because of the infinite dignity of his person. His were not the sufferings of a mere man, but as to their value, those of the true God, who purchased the church with his blood.* Hence what was deficient in duration is supplied by the divinity of the sufferer, which gave infinite importance to a passion finite in duration. Yet we may not hence infer, that as the person suffering was infinite, one drop of his blood was sufficient for our redemption. The smallest passion of Christ might have infinite value considered merely in relation to the infinite exaltation of him who suffered; yet death only could possess infinite value, in respect of the judge by whose sentence it was inflicted. The dignity of the person increases the dignity of the punishment endured--the more exalted the person is, so much the more exalted is the suffering which he undergoes; yet nothing but that species of punishment which the law denounces can satisfy its claims upon the guilty. Death and death alone could fulfil the demands of law and justice.
It was not necessary, when Christ was suffering the punishment due to sin, that he should suffer that desperation, and gnashing of teeth, which are a part of the punishment of the damned; as these are not essential to the punishment which God inflicts upon the victims of eternal tor.
Acts xx. 28.
ment, or to that which the surety must bear. They are circumstances, which arise from the character of the persons of the damned, who are vicious, and who when they find that their torments are necessary, overwhelming and eternal, sink into utter despair and gnashing of teeth. This could not be so with Christ, who in the midst of his greatest agonies, had full assurance of deliverance, and a resurrection from the tomb, and hence when encompassed by tortures, the most excruciating, he always manifested his faith in God—“My God! My God!" are his words.
Though a death of infinite value was due for every individual sioner, yet such a death as Christ's is quite sufficient for the redemption of the whole elect world. A penal satisfaction is not of the same nature with a pecuniary payment, which is only valued by the amount paid, without regard to the person
and hence can be of avail to none but the individual for whom the payment is made. But penal satisfaction is appreciated by the dignity of the person who makes it, and is increased in worth in proportion to his dignity, and hence avails for many as well as for one. Money paid by a king is indeed of no more avail in the discharge of a debt, than money paid by a slave: but the life of a king is of more value than the life of a vile slave, as the life of king David was of more worth than that of half the Israelitish army.* In this way Christ alone is more excellent than all men together. The dignity of an infinite person swallows up all the infinities of punishment due to us they sink into it and are lost. Besides it is no new thing that what is necessary for one should be amply sufficient for many. One sun is necessary to the illumination of an indi. vidual, and yet the same sun illuminates the whole human family. One victim was sufficient for the priest and all the people, and yet it would have been requisite for one. The great annual expiatory sacrifice, made atonement for all the people, while yet there were as many atonements necessary, as there were Israelites, because by divine appointment it
* 2 Sam. xviii. 3.
was offered for the whole congregation as well as for indi. viduals. On this subject the scriptures are so express, that no one, unless he have the hardihood to contradict the Holy Spirit, can deny it." The Lord laid on him the ini. quities of us all."* If one died for allot “ By one offering of himself he hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified.” What do all these scriptures teach, unless that one death of Christ is sufficient to make a full atonement for all the elect. Thus also the disobedience of Adam made many sinners. One cannot satisfy for many, when he and they are of the same rank. One plebeiap cannot satisfy for many plebeians; but one prince may satisfy for many plebeians. If this is admitted among creatures who are all finite and mortal, how much more between creatures and the Creator, between whom there is an infinite distance?
The rule which is laid down in the 18th chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy, “ the soul that sinneth it shall die,” cannot be understood as absolute and universal, for so all imputation of sin would be barred, which yet the scriptures teach by many examples. It must be referred to the ordinary dispensations of providence, and not to an extraordi. pary dispensation of grace. Or it may refer to a particular providence, to the Jews, to whom the Lord speaks in such a way as to close their mouth, and prevent them from complaining that they had undeservedly suffered punishment on account of the sins of their fathers; and not to the general government of men, in which God declares that he will visit the iniquitics of the fathers upon the children until the third and fourth generations.ll
So far is the doctrine of the atonement from opening a door to impiety and spreading a couch on which spiri. tual sloth may repose in security; that it is the most efficacious means of holiness, and the death of sin itself, which is, among others, one of the ends, that Christ assigns for his death—“ that being dead unto -sin, we may
* Isai. lii. 6. + 2 Cor. v. 14. # Heb. x. 4.
Rom. v. 18, 19. | Exo, xx.