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he hath made for us, or atonement by the sacrifice of himself.
How Faustus Socinus first broached this opinion, with what difficulty he got it to be entertained with the men of his own profession, as to the doctrine of the Trinity, has been before declared. What weight he laid upon this opi-nion about the death of Christ, and the opposition he had engaged in against his satisfaction, with the diligence he used, and the pains he took about the one and the other, is evident from his writings to this purpose which are yet extant. His book, 'De Jesu Christo Servatore' is wholly taken up with this argument; so is the greatest part of his 'Prælections; his Lectiones Sacræ' are some of them of the same subject; and his 'Parænesis' against Volanus; many of his Epistles, especially those to Smalcius, and Volkelius, and Niemojevius, as also his treatises about justification, have the same design. Smalcius is no less industrious in the same cause, both in his Racovian catechism, and his answers and replies with Franzius and Smiglecius. It is the main design of Schlichtingius's comment on the Hebrews; Crellius, de Causis mortis Christi,' and his defence of Socinus against Grotius dwells on this doctrine. Volkelius hath his share in the same work, &c.
What those at large contend for, Mr. Biddle endeavours slily to insinuate into his catechumens in this chapter: having thereby briefly spoken of salvation by Christ, and of his mediation in general, in consideration of his sixth and seventh chapters, I shall now, God assisting, take up the whole matter, and after a brief discovery of his intendment in his queries concerning the death of Christ, give an account of our whole doctrine of his satisfaction, confirming it from the Scriptures, and vindicating it from the exceptions of his masters.
For the order of procedure, I shall first consider Mr. Biddle's questions; then state the point in difference, by expressing what is the judgment of our adversaries concerning the death of Christ, and what we ascribe thereto; and then demonstrate from the Scripture the truth contended for.
Mr. Biddle's first question is,
'Was it the will and purpose of God that Christ should suffer the death of the cross? What saith the apostle Peter
to the Jews concerning this? A. Acts ii. 22, 23. To which he subjoins, What say the disciples in general concerning the same? A. Acts iv. 24. 27, 28.'
It is not unknown what difference we have, both with the Socinians and Arminians, about the purposes and efficacious decrees, and the infallibility of the prescience of God: something already hath been spoken to this purpose, in our discourse concerning the prescience of God, as formerly in that of perseverance. How unable Mr. Biddle's companions are to disentangle themselves from the evidence of that testimony, which is given to the truth we contend for, by these texts which here he with so much confidence recites, hath been abundantly by others demonstrated. I shall not here enter into the merits of that cause, nor shall I impose on Mr. Biddle the opinion of any other men, which he doth not expressly own; only I shall desire him to reconcile what he here speaks in his query, with what he before delivered concerning God's not foreseeing our free actions, that are for to come.' What God purposes shall be and come to pass, he certainly foresees that that will come to pass. That Christ should die the death of the cross was to be brought about by the free actions of men, if any thing in the world was ever so, and accomplished in the same manner; yet that this should be done, yea, so done, God purposed; and therefore without doubt foresaw that it should be accomplished, and so foresaw all the free actions whereby it was accomplished. And if he foresaw any one free action, why not all? there being the same reason of one and all. But at the present let this pass. His second question is,
'Did Christ die to reconcile and bring God to us, or on the contrary, to bring us to God?
'A. Rom. v. 10. Eph. ii. 14. 16. 2 Cor. v. 19. 1 Pet. iii. 18.' That I may, by the way, speak a little to this question, reserving the full discussion of the matter intended to the ensuing discourse; the terms of it are first to be explained.
1. By reconciling God,' we intend the making of such an atonement, whereby his wrath or anger, in all the effects of it, are turned away. Though we use not the expression of reconciling God to us, but of reconciling us to God, by the taking away, or removal of his wrath and anger, or the making reconciliation with God for sin; yet as to reconcile
God, intends the appeasing of the justice and anger of God, so that, whereas before we were obnoxious to his displeasure, enmity, hatred, and wrath thereby, and on that account we come to be accepted with him, we say Christ died to reconcile God to us, which in the progress of this discourse with plentiful demonstrations from the Scripture shall be evinced.
2. Of bringing God to us,' we speak not; unless by bringing God to us, he intends the procurement of the grace and favour of God toward us, and his loving presence to be with us, and then we say, in that sense, Christ by his death brought God to us.
3. Our 'reconciliation to God,' or the reconciliation as it stands on our part, is our conversion unto God, our deliverance from all that enmity and opposition unto God, which is in us by nature; and this also we say is the effect and fruit of the death of Christ.
4. Our bringing unto God,' mentioned, 1 Pet. iii. 18. is of a larger and more comprehensive signification, than that of our reconciliation; containing the whole effect of the death of Christ, in the removal of every hinderance, and the collation of every thing necessarily required to the perfect and complete accomplishment of the work of our salvation, and so contains no less the reconciliation of God to us, than ours to him; and is not proper to make up one member of the division there instituted, being a general expression of them both.
Now concerning these things Mr. Biddle inquires, Whether Christ by his death reconciled God to us, or on the contrary, us to God?' So insinuating that one of these effects of the death of Christ is inconsistent with the other; this seems to be the man's aim.
1. To intimate that this is the state of the difference between him and us; that we say, Christ died to reconcile God to us ;' and he, that he died to 'reconcile us to God.'
2. That these things are contrary, so that they who say the one, must deny the other; that we who say, that Christ died to reconcile God to us, must of necessity deny that he died to reconcile us to God; and that he also, who saith, he died to reconcile us to God, may, and must deny, on that account, the other effect by us ascribed to his death. But
this sophistry is so gross, as it is not worth the while to insist upon its discovery; we say, that Christ died to reconcile God to us in the sense before explained, and us unto God; and these things are so far from being of any repugnancy one to another, as to the making up of one entire end and effect of the death of Christ, that without them both, the work of reconciliation is by no means complete.
Not to prevent the full proof and evidence hereof, which is intended, it may at present suffice, that we evince it by the light of this one consideration: If in the Scripture it is expressly and frequently affirmed, that antecedently to the consideration of the death of Christ, and the effects thereof, there is not only a real enmity on our parts against God, but also a law enmity on the part of God against us, and that both of these are removed by virtue of the death of Christ; then the reconciliation of God to us, and our reconciliation to God, are both of them one entire effect of the death of Christ. That there is in us by nature a real enmity against God, before it be taken away by the virtue of the death of Christ, and so we reconciled to him, is not denied; and if it were, it might be easily evinced from Rom. viii. 7, 8. Tit. iii. 3. Eph. ii. 12. and innumerable other places; and certainly the evidence on the other side, that there was a law enmity on the part of God against us, antecedent to the consideration of the death of Christ, is no less clear. The great sanction of the law, Gen. iii. Deut. xxvii. 29. considered in conjunction with the justice of God, Rom. i. 32. Hab. i. 13. Psal. v. 4-6. 2 Thess. x. 5, 6. and the testimonies given concerning the state and condition of man in reference to the law and justice of God, John iii. 36. Rom. v. 18. Eph. ii. 3. 12, &c. with the express assignation of the reconciliation pleaded for, to be made by the death of Christ, Dan. ix. 24. Heb. ii. 18. do abundantly evince it; there being then a mutual enmity between God and us, though not of the same kind (it being physical on our part, and legal or moral on the part of God), Christ our Mediator making up peace and friendship between us, doth not only reconcile us to God by his Spirit, but God also to us, by his blood; but of this more afterward under the consideration of the death of Christ, as it was a sacrifice.
For the texts cited by Mr. Biddle, as making to his pur
pose, the most, if not all of them look another way than he intends to use them. They will in the following chapter come under full consideration. Rom. v. 10. ' When we werè enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;' is the first mentioned. That our being reconciled to God, in this place doth not intend our conversion to him, and our deposition of the real enmity, that is in us against him, but our acceptance with him, upon the account of the atonement made in the blood of Christ, whereby he is reconciled to us, is evident from sundry circumstances of the place. For,
1. That which is called 'being reconciled by his death,' in ver. 10. is being justified by his blood;' ver. 9. The observation of the same antithesis in both verses makes this evident. Now to be justified by the blood of Christ, is not to have our enmity with God slain and destroyed (which is our sanctification), but our acceptation with God upon the account of the shedding of the blood of Christ for us; which is his reconciliation to us.
2. We are thus reconciled, when we are enemies, as in the verse insisted on; 'when we were enemies we were reconciled.' Now we are not reconciled in the sense of deposing our enmity to God (that deposition being our sanctification) whilst we are enemies, and therefore it is the reconciliation of God to us, that is intended.
3. Ver. 11. we are said to receive this reconciliation; or as the word is rendered, the batonement;' the word is the same with that used ver. 10. Now we cannot be said to receive our own conversion, but the reconciliation of God by the blood of Christ, his favour upon the atonement made, that by faith we do receive. Thus Mr. Biddle's first witness speaks expressly against him, and the design for the carrying on whereof he was called forth; as afterward will more fully appear.
His second also, of Eph. ii. 14. 16. speaks the same language; He is our peace, who hath made both one, that he might reconcile both unto God in one body, by his cross, having slain the enmity thereby;' setting aside the joint design of the apostle to manifest the reconciliation made of Jews and Gentiles by the cross of Christ, it is evident the reconciliation here meant, consists in slaying the · Καταλλαγὴν.