Imatges de pÓgina

rageous Offenders upon the back of the most pious and spotless Man, that, by your Account, ever came into the World. But when we farther consider, that this inno, cent Person is owned by you to be the Son of God, and his only Son too, and must nevertheless be sacrificed to appease this vindiAive Nature of God, before he could be reconciled to the World: This is such a horrid Representation of the best of Beings, as shocks human Nature to consider; and far out-does all the Stories of Scyrbian Sacrifices, and Busiris's Altars. And yet greater Monsters of Absurdities do appear, when we consider, That this suffering Person was the supreme God himself

, who by this Scheme is supposed to have took upon him all the In firmities of an human Body, was hungry and thirsty, and at last was crucified, and died. Now this does imply a fort of a Pallibility in the Deity, which of all Heterodoxies is the most gross and absurd.

Cred. I have not Time now to enter with you into the What is nice Disputes of the Socinian Controversy upon this Sub- meant by ject. But however, I do not see any Thing in the gene- on.

Satisfactiral Notion of Christ's Satisfaction, which does reflect at all upon

the Goodness of the divine Nature. Indeed the word Satisfaction is not found in Scripture, but the whole Substance of what the Word imports, is ; and this and all other Words which are used to express any of the divine Actions, or Nature, must be used Metaphorically, and not be taken in so strict a Sense, as when they are used properly, and according to their original Application, Now the Satisfaction which is here meant, is not such a Satisfa&tion as an angry Man requires, but a judicial or forensical Satisfaction, which a Governour requires of an Offender, upon the Violation of his Laws. Now whereas the whole Oeconomy of our Salvation is delivered in Scripture in forensical Terms, as when God is represented as a Judge, Man as an Offender or Criminal, God's Word as the Law by which he is condemned, Death as the Punishment, Christ as a Mediator and Surety, his Death as an aviauler, or Price of Redemption ; now I think it not at all improper to call that which Christ did

to free us from the Obligation we were under to the divine Justice, upon Account of our Sins, by the Name of Satisfaction. For this is no bloody revengeful Satisfaction, which impotent and passionate Minds are wont to call for; but only such a just Debt as ought to be paid to the Justice of God, considered as the Governour of the World. I am not insensible, that some Calvinistical Writers have carried this Matter a little too får, by leaving no Room at all for the Mercy of God to exert it self in this wonderful Dispensation, and making the divine Justice to require a Satisfaction to be made, by the same specifick infinite Punishments which we had deserved, in the Sufferings of our Saviour ; so as to think that no Satisfaction could be, unless Christ actually fuffered upon the Cross all the eternal Torments of the damned intensive, as they speak, though not extensive'; so that our Saviour in his Agony and Crucifixion, must suffer Torments as much infinitely greater than damned Souls, as their Eternity of Suffering is longer than the Hours of our Saviour's Pallion. But this has no Foundation in Scripture, and seems horrid to Christian Ears. It is enough to say, That the Mercy of God disposed him to accept of the temporal Sufferings of Christ for our Sins in Lieu of the eternal Punishments, which we had deserved. And so the infinite Dignity of the Person suffering was a sufficient Satisfaction to the divine Justice offended; and unspeakable Mercy was shewn to offending Mankind, by being freed from that Punishment which otherways they must have undergone themselves. So that Infidel and Socinian Scoffers do very ill to arraign the Mercy of God, and to tax him with Revenge and Implacability in demanding such a legal Satisfaction ; for by the fame Rules they might expofe all the Legislative Authority in the World when Criminals suffer by their San&tions. For there is no other Way to maintain the Legislator's Honour, and to engage Men to observe his Laws, but by inflicting an excmplary Punishment on Offenders : For otherways their Laws would be but Cobwebs, and their Authority the May-game of licentious Transgressors. But in this vicarious Punishment of Christ for us, God is far from shewing himself an angry or implacable Governour ; but does rather manifest the greatest Tenderness and Compallion in being willing that all the World should escape their deserved Punishment, and Christ only suffer for them all; and inaccepting the temporal Pains of his Cross for those of eternal Death, which they had deserved.


2. Neither is it unjust that Christ Mould undergo a A vicarious vicarious Punishment for us. For that vicarious Punish-Punishment ments are not in themselves absolutely unjust, may be

mot unjusi, proved not only from * Scripture-Instances, where Children are punished for their Parents, and Subjects for their Princes į but by the Notion which the most civilised Nations have always had of the Lawfulness of punishing Sureties for the Parties they were engaged for, by their denying the publick Honours to the Children of notorie ous Offenders, by Decimations in their Armies, and by killing the innocent Hostages when the Articles were not performed. Now if the Greeks and Romans, who of all other Nations pretend to the exactest Rules of the equum bonumque, could see no Obliquity in these vicarious Punishments; there is certainly a far less Pretence of Injustice to be laid to God's Charge in ordering Christ to suffer for the Sins of the World. Now it is impossible here that there should be any Injustice, or Injury. Here was no Injustice done to Christ; for he was pleased voluntarily to lay down his Life for us. Neither was it any Injustice done to God; for God authorised him to do it, by a mutual Stipulation betwixt the Father and the Son. And our Saviour says expresly, 7oh. x. 18. I have Power or Authority, egoíu, to lay dowvn my Life. So that there is no more Injustice committed in our Saviour's laying down his Life in a voluntary Suffering for us; than there is in his laying it down according to Socinus's Notion, for a Testimony of his Do&rine. And I am sure I could prove it as equally unjust, for God to put him upon

* Gen. ix. 25. 2 Sam. xxi. 8. - 2 Sam. xxiy, 15; Jo.. vii, 14. 1 Kings xxi. 29


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preaching a Doctrine that would cost him his Life, as to

let him lay down his Life to save a World. Clrift, tho 3. And as for your tragical Exclamations against the Gol, might orthodox Doctrine which makes the eternal Son of God, juffer.

who is himself God blessed for ever, to be incarnate, and to suffer for the Sins of the World ; this does by no Means render the Deity passible, a Notion which all Christians abhor. But by reason of the Union of the Deity with Fleth or Humanity, which was passible, Christ was then in a Possibility of Suffering; and those Sufferings which were proper only to one Nature, are attributed to the whole Person by Reason of the intimate Union of the two Natures.' Nay, the Scripture it self attributes the Properties of the inferior Nature, viz. the Humanity, to the Divinity the superior one. As when it is said, that we are redeemed by the Blood of God; we must not think as if God could bleed or die, but that That Person who was both God and Man, who by Virtue of his Humanity, was capable of Suffering, laid down his Life for us, to redeem us. Now here is nothing in this of Absurdity, but only adorable Mystery, and admirable Wisdom, which the Thoughts of Man could never have reached to, and no human Counsel could ever have contrived: To find out such a Way to save the Souls of lost Mankind, and to secure God's Honour, and the Authority of his Laws.

Phil. I have one Thing more to object to you upon this Head, and that is the Christian Do&trine which

you teach about Christ's Intercellion; and that is so odd and gross a Notion, as no rational Man can assent to. For you make Christ continually at his Prayers in Heaven to God the Father, to pardon the Sins of Mankind upon their Repentance, and to bestow his Benefits upon them; which God in his own Nature is inclined to do, without this Bustle of Intercession. Besides, it looks like a piece of Pageantry (as your Doctors explain it) to have Christ continually exhibiting the Wounds of his crucified Body to the Father, to move him to Compassion, and to put him in Mind of the Sacrifice he was made for Man's Sins, which it is impossible that an omnipotent Knowledge


could be unmindful of. Methinks this looks like a Piece of Homerick Divinity, when the Poet describes Heaven according to all the Formalities and Sillinesses which are seen in human Nature.

Cred. There is nothing in the Christian Doctrine of No InconIntercession but what is agreeable to good Sense and Reality in fon: And all Expressions which do seem to imply any čtrine of such Grossness in them, as you imagine, must only be Chrift's Inunderstood figuratively. To what State of Bliss the glo-tercession. rified Body of our blessed Saviour is exalted, whilst we poor

Christians live in this Vale of Misery and Tears, we are not able to imagine'; or with what divine Actions his Humanity is employ’d. All that we can be certain of is what the Scripture tells us, that we have an Advocate with tbe Father Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John ii. 1. that he is said to intercede for us at the right Hand of God, Rom. yiii. 34.

that he is entred into Heaven it self, now to appear in the Presence of God for us, Heb.ix. 24. that he is a Priest continually

, and his Blood Speaks better Things than that of Abel, that he offers his own Sacrifice for Sin for ever, Heb. ix.25. and the like. Now there is no Need to affert, that all these Expressions are taken literally, when it is plain that many of them are Metaphors taken from the Levitical Law, from the piacular Sacrifices, from the Intercession of the High-Priest for the People, from his entring into the Sanctum Sanctorum, &c. Now St. Paul makes Use of these ritual Phrases, the better to explain to the Jewish Converts the Nature and Efficacy of Christ's Death, from those outward Ceremonies of the Mofaical Law, which they were well acquainted with. And I doubt not but the Unbelievers themselves do think these Expressions are metaphorical; but only they have a Mind to be picking up something to be flinging at Religion, though they are at the same Time sure it will do no Harm.

Phil. Pardon me, Sir, for this, and I will not at present trouble you with any more Infidel-Objections; and ;or the rest of the Time that you will honour me with your Company, I will endeavour to entertain you with more inoffensive Discourse. Though I cannot but ac


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