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chosen, calves of a year old, and a multitude of them; Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, a price which very few were able to give, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? in which he offers more than it was possible to give; then he ascends yet higher, and, if it were sufficient, would part with his first-born for his transgression, the fruit of his body, for the sin of his soul; all which is reckoned an inconsiderable price, not sufficient to procure the thing designed thereby; and therefore he that offers it, is advised instead of pretending to satissy divine justice by a finite price; to walk humbly with his God, Micah vi. 7, 8. and, whatever obedience he is obliged to perform, not to have the vanity to think that this is a sufficient price to answer that end.
2. Satisfaction must bear some similitude, or resemblance, as to the matter of it, to that debt which was due from those for whom it was to be given. Here we must consider what was the debt due from us, for which a demand of satisfaction was made; this was twofold.
1st, A debt of perfect and sinless obedience, whereby the glory of God's sovereignty might be secured, and the honour of his law maintained. This debt it was morally impossible for man to pay, after his fall; for it implies a contradiction to say that a fallen creature can yield sinless obedience; nevertheless, it was demanded of us, though fallen; for the obligation could not be disannulled by our disability to perform it.
2dly, There was a debt of punishment, which we were liable to, in proportion to the demerit of sin, as the result of the condemning sentence of the law, which threatened death for every transgression and disobedience. Now, to be satisfaction to the justice of God, it must have these ingredients in it.
As to the infinite value of the price that was given, this is contested by none, but those who deny the divinity of Christ; and these arguments that have been brought in defence of that doctrine ; and others, by which we have proved the necessity that our Mediator should be God, render it less needful for us, at present, to enlarge on this subject.* But there are many, who do not deny the necessity of an infinite satisfaction, who will not allow that it is necessary that there should be a resemblance between the debt contracted, and satisfaction given; and, by these, it is objected,
Object. 1. That the least instance of obedience, or one drop of Christ's blood, was a sufficient price to satisfy divine justice; in defence of which they argue, that these must be supposed to have had in them an infinite value ; but nothing can be greater than what is infinite, and therefore that one single act of obedience was sufficient to redeem the whole world of fallen men, or the whole number of fallen angels, if God had pleased to order it so.
* See Quest. XXXVIII.
Answ. Though we do not deny that the least instance of obedience, or sufferings performed by our Saviour, would have been of infinite value, inasmuch as we do not conclude the infinity of obedience to consist in a multitude of acts, or in its being perfectly sinless; nor do we deem his sufferings infinite, merely because they were exquisite, or greater than what mankind are generally liable to in this world, but because they were the obedience and sufferings of a divine Person; neither do we deny, that, according to the same method of reasoning, the least act of obedience and suffering, performed by him, would have been infinite. Nevertheless, it does not follow from hence, that this would have been a sufficient price of redemption ; for the sufficiency of the price does not only rise from the infinite value thereof, but from God's will to accept of it; and he could not be willing to accept of any price, but what had a tendency to illustrate and set forth the glory of his holiness, as a sinhating God, and of his sovereignty in the government of the world, in such a way, that the most fit means might be used to prevent the commission of it, and of his truth, in fulfilling the threatnings denounced, which man was exposed to, by his violating the law. Now these ends could not be answered by one single instance of obedience, or suffering, and therefore God could not deem them sufficient; and it is plain that he did not, for, if he had, he would not have delivered our Saviour to suffer all that he did; concerning whom it is said, He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, Rom. viii. 32.
Moreover, it was necessary that redemption should be brought about in such a way, as would lay the sinner under the highest obligation to admire the love, both of the Father and the Son. Now, if Christ had performed only one act of obedience, or suffered in the least degree, this instance of conde. scension, though infinite, would not have had so great a tendency to answer this end; nor could it have been said, as it is, with a great emphasis of expression, that God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Rom. v. 8.
Object. 2. It is objected, by others, that Christ's active obedience was no part of the satisfaction which he gave for us, inasmuch as this was a debt due from him for himself, his human nature in which alone he could yield obedience) being under a natural obligation to perform it; therefore he could not be said to pay that debt for us, which was due for himself. As for his passive obedience, that, indeed, might be performed for us, because, being an innocent person, he was not under any obligation to suffer, but by his own consent; but this camot be said of his active obedience. And it is farther objected, that if he had performed active obedience for us, this would have exempted us from an obligation to yield obedience ourselves, and consequently this doctrine leads to licentiousness.
Anstv. We allow that Christ as Man, was obliged to perform obedience, as a debt due from him, as a creature, and consequently, now he is in heaven, he is under the same obligation; though this has no reference to the work of our redemption, which was finished before he went thither: nevertheless, the obedience he performed before his death, might be deemed a part of that satisfaction which he gave to the justice of God for us; for,
(1.) His being under the law, was the result of his own voluntary consent, inasmuch as his incarnation, which was necessary, to his becoming a subject, was the result of the consent of his divine will. Now, if he came into the world, and thereby put himself into a capacity of ylelding obedience by his own consent, which no other person ever did, then his obedience, which was the consequence hereof, might be said to be voluntary, and so deemed a part of the satisfaction which he gave to the justice of God in our behalf.
(2.) Though we do not deny that Christ's active obedience was a debt due to God for himself, yet it does not follow, from hence, that it may not be imputed to us, nor accepted for us; even as that perfect obedience which was to have been performed by Adam, according to the tenor of the first covenant, though it were to have been imputed to all his posterity, was, nevertheless, primarily due from him for himself.
(3.) As to that part of the objection, in which it is supposed, that Christ's obedience for us, would exempt us from an obligation to yield obedience, this is generally brought, by those who desire to render this doctrine odious, and take no notice of what we say in explaining our sense thereof. Therefore, in answer to it, let it be considered, that, when we say Christ obeyed for us, we do not suppose, that he designed hereby to exempt us from any obligation to yield obedience to God's commanding will, but only to exempt us from performing it with the same view that he did. We are not hereby excused from yielding obedience to God, as a Sovereign, but from doing it with a view of meriting hereby, or making atonement for our defect of obedience, which was the result of our fallen state; and therefore we are to say, When' we have done all, we are unprofitable servants ; we have done that which was our duty to do, Luke xvii. 10. without considering it as that righteousness, by which we are to be justified in the sight of God. We understand our obligation to yield active obedience, in the same sense, as we are obliged patiently to suffer whatever afflictions God is pleased to lay on us, from which we are not exempted by Christ's sufferings : the only difference between them is, that his sufferings were penal and satisfactory; he suffered for us, that hereify he might purchase for us eternal life, which is not the end of a believer's suffering; therefore, why may it not be allowed, that Christ might perform obedience for us, and we, at the same time, not be excused from it?
Object. 3. As to what concerns the sufferings of Christ, it is (objected, by others, that the whole of his passive obedience was not demanded as a price of redemption for us but only what he endured upon the cross, which was the greatest and most formidable part of his sufferings; and particularly those which he endured from the sixth to the ninth hour, while there was darkness over all the land, in which his soul was afflicted in an extraordinary manner, which occasioned him to cry, (Matt. Axvii. 45, 46.) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?* As for his other sufferings, endured in the whole course of his life, these are allowed to have been a convincing evidence of his love to us, and designed, as an example, to induce us to bear aflictions with patience; but that it was only his sufferings upon the cross that were satisfactory, and that was the altar on which he offered himself for 'us; which appears from those scriptures which speak of our redemption and justification, as the effect of his crucifixion and death, rather than of his sufferings in life.
Answ. To this it may be replied, that, though redemption and salvation be often attributed, in scripture, to Christ's death, or to his shedding his blood upon the cross for us, yet there is, in all of them, a figurative way of speaking, in which, by a Synecdoche, a part is taken for the whole; therefore his sufferings in his life, though not particularly mentioned therein, are not excluded. There is one scripture, in which, by the same figurative way of speaking, our justification is ascribed to Christ's active obedience, when it is said, By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, Rom. y. 19. in which, though his passive obedience be not mentioned, it is not excluded;
therefore, when we read of Christ's sufferings on the cross, as being a part of his satisfaction, we are not to suppose that his sufferings in life are excluded. The apostle plainly intimates as much, when he says, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, Phil. ii. 8. he humbled himself not only in his death, but in all the sufferings he endured unto it, in the whole course of his life; therefore we must conclude, that what he endured in his infancy, and that poverty, temptation, reproach, and contradiction of sinners against him
These, which are styled, Passiones trihoriz, ultinıæ, are generally called, Penz Sat's furtorid; and all his sufferings before them, Pæoz convincentes.
self, and all the other miseries which he underwent, during the whole course of his life, which were a part of that curse which was due to us for sin, were submitted to by him to expiate it, and consequently were a part of that satisfaction.
As for the cross's being styled, as it is by some ancient and modern writers, the altar, on which Christ offered himself, we think that little more than a strain of rhetoric; or, if it be de. signed to illustrate the opinion we are now. opposing, we deny that it ought to be called the altar; for it is no where so styled in scripture, neither have we ground to conclude, that the altar, upon
which the sacrifices under the law were offered, was a type of Christ's cross in particular; and, indeed, we have a better explication of the spiritual meaning thereof, given by Christ himself, when he speaks of the altar, as sanctifying the gift, Matt. xxiii. 19. alluding to what is said concerning its being most holy, and whatsoever touched it, shall be holy, Exod. xxix. 37. from whence it is inferred, that the altar was more holy than the gift, which was laid upon it, and it signifies, that the altar, on which Christ was offered, added an excellency to his offering; whereas nothing could be said to do so, but his divine nature's being personally united to his human, which ren. dered it infinitely valuable. This is therefore, the altar on which Christ was offered; or, at least this is that which sanctified the offering, and not the cross on which he suffered *.
V. We shall now prove, that what Christ did and suffered, was with a design to give satisfaction to the justice of God; and, that what he offered, was a true and proper sacrifice for sin. All allow, that Christ obeyed and suffered ; and even the Socinians themselves will not deny that Christ suffered for us, since this is so plainly contained in scripture : But the main stress of the contoversy lies in this; whether Christ died mere. ly for our good, namely, that we might be hereby induced to believe the truth of the doctrines he delivered, as he confirmed them, by shedding his blood, or that he might give us an example of patience and holy fortitude under the various evils we are exposed to, either in life or death? This is the sense in which they understand Christ's dying for us: But there is a great deal more intended hereby, to wit, that he died in our room and stead, or that he bore that for us, which the justice of God demanded as a debt first due from us, as an expedient for his taking away the guilt of sin, and delivering us from his wrath, which we were liable to. This will appear,
1. That he is, for this reason, styled our Redeemer, as hava • It is an abominable strain of blasphemy, which some Popish writers make use of, when they say that not only the cross was the altar, but that it was sacred, and had a virtue to sanctify the gift offered thereon, which is the foundation of that idolatrous adoratim which they give to it. VOL. II.