Imatges de pàgina
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its own nature, can properly merit his discharge from condemnation. The truth of this will

appear if we consider, first, that as guilt is a personal thing, which cannot be transposed from one to another, and as it is very just that the guilty person should bear his own burthen, by suffering the punishment due for his fault, and as the punishing or pardoning of the finner is the peculiar property of God; so if any one should appear in the finner's behalf, and should offer to make fatisfaction to God for the offence committed, and should suffer for him all that is possible to be suffered to that end ; yet still God is at liberty to reject whatever is thus suffered in the finner's behalf, and may justly punish him in his own person, notwithstanding what hath been suffered for him in the person of another; it being no way contrary to justice to demand satisfaction from the offender, and to reject or refuse satisfaction from any other hand. From hence it will follow, that there is nothing which any one can suffer for another, which, in its own nature, doth strictly merit the sinner's discharge; for if it did, in its own nature, thus merit, tho'God did not require such suffering, yet it would be the finner's right to be exempted from punishment, and it would be an act of criminal injustice in God to lay any punishment upon him. Bụt that God may punish the finner in his own person, and very justly refuse what is done or sufiered by another in the finner's behalf, I think no períon, who understands what justice and equity is, will deny; and consequently, there is r.othing, which another can suffer in the sinner's behalf, that, in the nature of the thing, can mez rit deliverance from him. The truth of this will farther appear, if we consider, secondly, that there can be no such thing as making satisfaction by Another, in the present case ; for tho! in the care of debt, another may make satisfaction for us, by:

fully

fully repairing the damage we have done, or paying to the full what we owe, yet in the case of guilt it is quite otherways ; for as no orte can, in this case, undo what another has done, and as guilt cannot be transposed from one person to another, so the nature of the thing requires, that if any do suffer for sin, it must be the guilty perfon, and he only; because punishment, in the present case, is a chastising the fool for his folly, and a vindication of the just authority of God, which hath been affronted by the disobedience of his creature ; but if the punishment be transposed from the guilty to another who is substituted to suffer in his stead, then, in that case, the fool is not at all chastised for his folly, neither is the authority of God vindicated thereby, and so the ends of punishment are not at all answer'd. For as it is unreasonable to suppose that God punishes the finner for punishment's fake, to gratify an angry passion; so if he Nhould punish the innocent in the guilty's stead, this would be so far from retrieving his honour, so as to repair the damage done by sin, that on the contrary it would add to his dishonour, by representing him as unjust and unholy, in punishing the innocent, and letting the guilty go free. And tho' the person suffering should voluntarily offer himself to suffer in the finner's behalf, it makes no alteration in the case, because such a voluntary offer makes no alteration in the sinner; he is as guilty after it as before, and consequently is as much the proper object of punishment as before. And the innocent person, as he doth not contract the guilt of the other, by that voluntary offer, he being as innocent as before, so that offer cannot make him the proper object of that punishment, and consequently the suffering of the innocent cannot make satisfaction for the guilty. From the whole

I think

I think it plainly appears that there is nothing which the finner can do for himself, nor which any other can do or suffer for him, which, in the nature of the thing, can merit his exemption from punishment, or give a right to claim his deliverance at God's hand. Again,

Fourtbly, I obferve, that as the original right to pardon or punish the finner is the peculiar property or prerogative of God, and as there is nothing which the finner can do for himself, nor which any other can do or suffer in his behalf, which, in the nature of the thing, can merit his discharge ; from hence it will follow, that it is wholly at God's pleasure to give pardon upon what terms he will, and to require what qualifications he pleases in those he thinks fit to make the objects of his mercy. Again,

Fiftbly, I observe, that when God hath offered pardon to the finner, upon any terms, and under any qualifications, when those terms are made good in such sort as God crdained, and when those qualifications are attained which he required, then the person, which hath made good the terms required, hath a right, by virtue of God's promile, to claim forgiveness for the finner at God's hand ; and it would be an act of criminal injustice in God to with-hold it from him. But then it ought to be remembered, that this right to claim pardon is not founded in merit, but in grace ; for tho' when any one has made good the terms required, he' then has a right ta claim the pardon promised, yet that right is noc founded upon the proper and original meritoriousness of these terms, but upon the free promise of God, which he has been pleased to make as a reward of grace to the performance of those terms, the right of claim depending wholly upon that promise ; because if no such promise had

been

been made, then the performance of those terms would have given no right at all. Again,

Sixthly, I observe, that whoever makes good the terms required for the finner, which God has promised pardon to, or whoever doth that with which God is so well pleased as to pardon the sinner for its fake, such a one may fitly be esteemed a saviour cr redeemer to the finner ; for tho' he hath not done that which, in its own nature, merits the sinner's discharge, yet forasmuch as he hath done what God requires and accepts as the

, is so well pleased with as to give the finner his pardon for its fake, he is, in a secondary and less proper sense, a redeemer to the finner; because he hath done what God required and accepted to that end, and because the finner's actual deliverance is the issue and consequence of it. Again,

Seventhly; I observe, that whatever God is pleased to make the condition of his mercy, or whatever is done which he is so well pleased with as to pardon the finner for its fake, the performance, or doing of that thing, may, in a se. condary and less proper sense, be called the price of that redemption, and the finner may be said to be redeemed by it, or bought with it for tho' the performance, or doing of that thing, doth pot, in its own nature, merit the finger's difcharge, yet forasmuch as God is pleased to make those terms the condition of his mercy, and to pardon the finner upon its account, the perform, ance of those terms becomes, by the free grace of God, in a fecondary and less proper sense, the price of that deliverance. Again,

Eighihly, I observe, that whatever God is pleased to accept, as the price of the finner's redemption, the paying of that price may, in a fecondary and less proper sense, and according to

the

the common way of speaking, be said to merit that forgiveness; just as we use to say, when the prince advances the foldier to some high poft for his service in the wars, that he is advanced for his merit. Now tho' the soldier hath merited nothing by his service, but his wages, when we use the word merit, in its first and most proper fense, because that wages is all that he covenanted for, and so is all that hath a legal right to claim, and is all that the prince is, in justice, obliged to give ; yet fofasmuch as his good service is such as hath recommended him to his prince's favour, therefore thofe good services are said, in a secondary and lefs proper sense, to merit that favour for him at his prince's hand. So in like manner whatever God is so well pleased with, as to pardon the finner for its fake, that may, in a fecondary and less proper sense, be said to merit that forgiveness at God's hand. Thus much I thought proper to observe as previous to the following enquiry. But 'note, that when I say, God would be criminally unjust if he did so or fo, 'I do not mean that he is guilty of the breach of a law, which he is obliged to submit to by any superiour authority, but only that he would act contrary to the universal rule of equity.

The ENQUIRY. This Enquiry consists of four general parts ; first, whether the believing penitent finner will be delivered from condemnation ; secondly, whether Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has obtained that deliverance for him ; thirdly, whether that deliverance is obtained by his sufferings and death ; fourthly, whether his sufferings and death do, in their own nature, and in the strict sense of the word, ' merit that deliverance, and are a full and equal fatisfaction to God for the fins and of fences of all believing penitent finners. And,

First,

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