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A. In this sort, that the Scriptures do every where testify, that God forgives sin freely; 2 Cor. v. 19. Rom. iii. 24, 25. but principally under the new covenant; Eph. ii. 8. Matt. xviii. 23. Now nothing is more opposite to free remission, than satisfaction; so that if a creditor be satisfied, either by the debtor himself, or by any other in the name of the debtor, he cannot be said to forgive freely.'
If this be all that our consequences are repugnant unto in the Scripture, we doubt not to make a speedy reconciliation. Indeed there was never the least difference between them. Not to dwell long upon that which is of an easy despatch.
1. This objection is stated solely to the consideration of sin as a debt, which is metaphorical. Sin properly is an offence, a rebellion, a transgression of the law, an injury done, not to a private person, but a governor in his government.
2. The two first places mentioned, 2 Cor. v. 18-20. Rom. iii. 24, 25. do expressly mention the payment of this debt by Christ as the ground of God's forgiveness, remission, and pardon; the payment of it, I say, not as considered metaphorically, as a debt, but the making an atonement and reconciliation for us, who had committed it, considered as a crime and rebellion, or transgression.
3. We say, that God doth most freely forgive us, as Eph. ii. 8. Matt. xviii. 23. without requiring any of the debt at our hands, without requiring any price or ransom from us or any satisfaction at our hands; but yet he forgives us for Christ's sake, setting forth him to be a propitiation through faith in his blood; he laying down his life a ransom for us, God not sparing him, but giving him up to death for us all.
4. The expression of another satisfying in the name of the debtor, intends either one procured by the debtor, and at his entreaty undertaking the work, or one graciously given, and assigned to be in his stead, by the creditor. In the first sense it hath an inconsistency with free remission, in the latter, not at all.
The truth is, men that dream of an opposition between
peccata hominibus gratuito remittere, testentur, 2 Cor. v. 19. Rom. iii. 24, 25. potissimum vero sub N. Fœdere, Eph. ii. 8. Matt. xviii. 23, &c. At remissioni gratuitæ nihil adversatur magis, quam satisfactio. Cai enim creditori satisfit, vel ab ipso debitore, vel ab alio debitoris nomine, de eo dici non potest vere, eum debitum gratuito ex ipsa gratia remisisse.
the satisfaction made by Christ, the surety, and Mediator of the new covenant, and free remission made to us, are utterly ignorant of the whole mystery of the gospel, nature of the covenant, and whole mediation of Christ; advancing carnal imaginations against innumerable testimonies of the Scripture, witnessing the blessed conspiration between them, to the praise of the glorious grace of God. But they say,
That it is contrary to reason also, because it would hence follow, that Christ underwent eternal death, if he satisfied God for our sins: seeing it is manifest, that the punishment we deserved by our sins, was eternal death. Also it would follow, that we should be more bound to Christ, than to God himself, as to him who had shewn us greater favour in satisfaction; but God receiving satisfaction, afforded us no favour." What little relief this plea will afford our adversaries, will quickly appear. For,
1. I have proved that Christ underwent that death that was due unto sinners, which was all that justice, law, or reason required. He underwent it, though it was impossible for him to be detained by it.
2. If the Racovians do not think us obliged to God, for sending his Son out of his infinite and eternal love to die for us, causing all our iniquities to meet on him, justifying us freely (who could do nothing for our own delivery) through the redemption that is in the blood of Christ, we must tell them, that (we bless his holy name) we are not of that mind; but finding a daily fruit of his love and kindness, upon our souls, do know that we are bound unto him eternally, to love, praise, serve, honour, and glorify him, beyond what we shall ever be able to express.
2. For the inquiry made, and comparison instituted, between our obligation to the Father and the Son, or which of them we are most beholden to, we profess we cannot speak unto it. Our obligation to both, and either respectively, is such, that if our affections were extended immeasurably to what they are, yet the utmost and exactest height of them
• Cedo qui istud rationi repugnet?-Id quidem hinc perspicuum est, quod sequeretur Christum æternam mortem subiisse, si Deo pro peccatis nostris satisfecisset: cum constet pœnam quam homines peccatis meruerant æternam mortem esse: deinde consequeretur, nos Christo, quam Deo ipsi devinctiores esse, quippe qui satisfactione multum gratiæ nobis ostendisset; Deus vero exacta satisfactione, nulla pror. sus gratia nos prosecutus fuisset.
would be due to both, and each of them respectively. We are so bound to one, as we cannot be more to the other; because to both in the absolutely highest degree. This we observe in the Scriptures, that in mentioning the work of redemption, the rise, fountain, and spring of it is still assigned to be in the love of the Father: the carrying of it on in the love and obedience of the Son, and so we order our thoughts of faith towards them. The Father being not one whit the ⚫ less free and gracious to us, by loving us upon the satisfaction of his Son, than if he had forgiven us (had it been possible) without any satisfaction at all.
And thus is this article of the Christian faith, contrary to Scripture, thus to reason. They add,
'Q. How also is it pernicious?
‘A. In that it openeth a door unto men to sin, or at least incites them to sloth in following after holiness. But the Scripture witnesseth that this amongst others is an end of the death of Christ, that he might redeem us from our iniquity and deliver us from this evil world that we might be redeemed from our vain conversation, and have our consciences purged from dead works, that we might serve the living God; Tit. ii. 14. Gal. i. 4. 1 Pet. i. 18. Heb. ix. 14.'
That the deliverance of us from the power and pollution of our sin, the purifying of our souls and consciences, the making of us a peculiar people of God, zealous of good works, that we might be holy and blameless before him in love, is one eminent end of the death of Christ, we grant. For this end by his death, did he procure the Spirit to quicken us, 'who were dead in trespasses and sins,' sprinkling us with the pure water thereof, and giving us daily supplies of grace from him, that we might grow up in holiness before him, until we come to the measure in this life assigned to us in him.
But that the consideration of the cross of Christ, and the satisfaction made thereby, should open a door of licentiousness to sin, or encourage men to sloth in the ways of godliness, is fit only for them to assert, to whom the gospel is folly.
'Cedo etiam, qui hæc opinio est perniciosa?-Ad eum modum, quod hominibus fenestram ad peccándi licentiam aperiat, aut certe ad socordiam in pietate colenda eos invitet. Scriptura vero testatur, cum inter alios Christi mortis finem esse, ut redimeremur ab omni iniquitate, ex hoc seculo nequam eriperemur, et redimeremur ex vana conversatione a patribus tradita, et mundaremur conscientia a mortuis operibus ad serviendum Deo viventi. Tit. ii. 14. Gal. i. 4. 1 Pet. i. 18. Heb. ix. 14.
What is it, I pray, in the doctrine of the cross, that should thus dispose men to licentiousness and sloth? Is it that God is so provoked with every sin, that it is impossible, and against his nature to forgive it, without inflicting the punishment due thereto? Or is it that God so loved us, that he gave his only Son to die for us, or that Christ loved us, and washed us in his own blood? Or is it that God for Christ's sake doth freely forgive us? Yea, but our adversaries say, that God freely forgives us; yea, but they say it is without satisfaction. Is it then an encouragement to sin, to affirm that God forgives us freely for the satisfaction, of his Son? And not to say, that he forgives us freely without satisfaction? Doth the adding of satisfaction, whereby God to the highest manifested his indignation and wrath against sin; doth that, I say, make the difference, and give the encouragement? Who could have discovered this but our catechists and their companions? Were this a season for that purpose, I could easily demonstrate that there is no powerful or effectual motive to abstain from sin, no encouragement or incitation unto holiness, but what riseth from, or relateth unto, the satisfaction of Chirst.
And this is that which they have to make good their charge against the common faith, that it is false, erroneous, and pernicious. Such worthy foundations have they of their great superstruction, for rather so great is their confidence, and so little is their strength for the pulling down of the church built upon the rock.
They proceed to consider what testimonies and proofs (they say) we produce for the confirmation of the truth contended for. What (they say) we pretend from reason (though indeed it be from innumerable places of Scripture), I have vindicated not long since to the full in my book of the vindictive Justice of God, and answered all the exceptions given thereunto; so that I shall not translate from thence what I have delivered to this purpose, but pass to what follows.
Question twelve they make this inquiry.
'Q. Which are the Scriptures out of which they endeavour to confirm their opinion?
8 De Justit. divin. Diatrib.
Quæ vero sunt Scripturæ e quibus illi opinionem suam adstruere conantur? Eæ, quæ testantur Christum vel pro peccatis nostris mortuum, deinde, quod nos redemit,
'A. Those which testify that Christ died for us, or for our sins, also that he redeemed us, or that he gave himself or his life a redemption for many; then, that he is our Mediator: moreover, that he reconciled us to God, and is a propitiation for our sin. Lastly, from those sacrifices, which as figures shadowed forth the death of Christ.'
So do they huddle up together those very many express testimonies of the truth we plead for, which are recorded in the Scripture. Of which I may clearly say, that I know no one truth in the whole Scripture, that is so freely and fully delivered; as being indeed of the greatest importance to our souls. What they except in particular against any one of the testimonies that may be referred to the heads before recounted (except those which have been already spoken to), shall be considered in the order wherein they proceed.
They say then,
'For what belongeth unto those testimonies wherein it is contended that Christ died for us, it is manifest that satisfaction cannot necessarily be therein asserted, because the Scripture witnesseth that we ought even to lay down. our lives for the brethren; 1 John iii. 16. And Paul writes of himself, Col. i. 14. Now I rejoice in my affliction for you, and fill up the remainder of the affliction of Christ for his body which is the church.' But it is certain, that neither do believers satisfy for any of the brethren; nor did Paul make satisfaction to any for the church.
'Q. 23. What then is the sense of these words, Christ died for us?
That these words, for us,' do not signify in our place
aut dedit semetipsum et animam suam redemptionem pro multis: tum quod noster Mediator est. Porro quod nos reconciliarit Deo, et sit propitiatio pro peccatis nostris; Denique ex illis sacrificiis, quæ mortum Christi, seu figuræ adumbraverunt.
i Quod attinet ad illa testimonia in quibus habetur Christum pro nobis mortuum, ex iis satisfactionem adstrui necessario non posse hinc manifestum est, quod Scriptura testetur, etiam nos pro fratribus animas ponere debere, 1 John iii. 16. et Paulus de se scribat, Col. i. 24. nunc gaudeo &c. Certum autem est, nec fideles pro fratribus cuiquam satisfacere, neque Paulum cuiquam pro ecclesia satisfecisse.
At horum verborum, Christum pro nobis esse mortuum, qui sensus est?-Is, quid hæc verba [pro nobis] non significent loco vel vice nostri, verum propter nos, uti etiam Apostolus expresse loquitur, 1 Cor. viii. 11. Quod etiam similia verba indicant, cum Scriptura loquitur, pro peccatis nostris mortuum esse Christum; quæ verba eum sensum habere nequeunt, loco seu vice nostrorum peccatorum mortuum esse; verum propter peccata nostra esse mortuum; uti Rom. iv. 25. manifeste Scriptum legimus. Ea porro verba (Christum pro nobis mortuum esse) hanc habent vim, eum idcirco mortuum, ut nos salutem æternam, quam is nobis cælitus attulit amplecteremur, et consequemur, quod qua ratione fiat, paulo superius accepisti.