« VorigeDoorgaan »
and therefore a true idea of God, and a just sense of the moral fitness of things, will naturally lead us to see the necessity of satisfaction for sin, &c. and predispose us to understand and believe what is held forth by divine revelation to that purpose. On the other hand, where a true idea of the moral perfections of God, and the moral fitness of things, is not-but, on the contrary, very wrong notions of the divine Being, and of the true nature of things, there will naturally be an indisposition and an aversion to such principles ; nor will what the gospel teaches about them be readily understood or believed : And doubtless it was this which originally led some to deny the necessity of satisfaction for sin, and others to go a step farther, to deny that Christ ever designed to make any. John viii. 47 .... He that is of God, heareth God's words ; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God.
REM. 3. The death of Christ was not designed, at all, to take away the evil nature of sin, or its ill deserts; for sin is unalterably what it is, and cannot be made a less evil: But the death of Christ was rather, on the contrary, to acknowledge and manifest the evil nature and ill desert of sin, to the end that pardoning mercy might not make it seem to be a less evil than it really is : So that, although God may freely pardon all our sins, and entitle us to eternal life for Christ's sake, yet he does look upon us, considered merely as in ourselves, to be as much to blame as ever, and to deserve hell as much as ever; and therefore we are always to look upon ourselves so too : And hence we ought always to live under a sense of the freeness and riches of God's grace in pardoning our sins, and under a sense of our own vileness and ill desert, in ourselves, upon
the account of them, although pardoned--That thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God....Ezek. xvi. 63. But this is not the way of hypocrites: for being once confident that their sins are pardoned, their shame, sorrow, and abasement are soon at an end : and having nu fear of hell, they have
but little sense of sin : and, from the doctrine of free grace, they are emboldened, as it were, to sin upon free cost. But thus saith the Lord, When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live ; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it....Ezek. xxxiii. 13.
REM. 4. Nor was the death of Christ designed to draw forth the pity of God towards a guilty world : for God could find it in his heart, of his mere goodness, without any motive from without, to give his only begotten Son to die for sinners : But this was greater goodness than it would have been to have saved mankind by an act of sovereign grace, without any mediator ;--it was a more expensive way : As, for an earthly sove. reign to give his only son to die for a traitor, that the traitot might live, would be a greater act of goodness than to pardon the traitor, of mere sovereignty. It was not, therefore, because the goodness of the divine nature needed any motive to draw it forth into exercise, that Jesus Christ obeyed, and died in our room ; but it was to answer the ends of moral government, and to secure the honor of the moral Governor ; and so open a way for the honorable exercise of the divine goodness, which, in its own nature, is infinite, free, and self-moving, and wants no motive from without to draw it forth into action: And the same, no doubt, may be said of Christ's intercession in heaven. We are, therefore, in our approaches to God, not to look to Christ to persuade the Father to pity and pardon us, as though he was not willing to show mercy of his own accord ; but we are to look to Christ, and go to God through him, for all we want, under a sense that we are, in ourselves, too bad to be pitied without some sufficient salvo to the divine honor, or to have any mercy shown us : And, therefore, when we look to be justified by free grace, it must be only through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ; who has been set forth to be a propitiation for sin, to declare God's righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in fesus.... Rom. iii. 24, 25, 26.
Rem. 5. Some of the peculiar principles of the Antinomians seem to take their rise from wrong notions of the nature of satisfaction for sin. They seem to have no right notions of the moral perfections of God, and of the natural obligations we are under to him, nor any right apprehensions of the nature and ends of moral government, nor any ideas of the grounds, nature, and ends of satisfaction for sin ; (a right sense of which things tends powerfully to promote a holy fear and reverential awe of the dread Majesty of heaven and earth....a sense of the infinite evil of sin....brokenness of heart....tenderness of conscience.... a humble, holy, watchful, prayerful temper and life, as well as to prepare the way for faith in the blood of Christ.) But they seem to have no right apprehensions of these things : They seem to consider God merely under the notion of a creditor, and us merely under the notion of debtors ; and to suppose, when Christ, upon the cross, said, It is finished, he then paid the whole debt of the elect, and saw the book crossed, whereby all their sins were actually blotted out and forgiven : and now, all that remains is for the holy spirit immediately to reyeal it to one and another that he is elected that for him Christ died, and that his sins are all pardoned ; which revelation he is firmly to believe, and never again to doubt of: and this they call faith. From which it seems they understand nothing rightly about God or Christ..., the law or gospel : for nothing is more evident than that God is, in scripture, considered as righteous Governor of the world, and we as criminals, guilty before him ; and the evident design of Christ's death was, to be a propitiation for sin, to declare and manifest God's righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus... Rom. iii. 9–26: And the gospel knows nothing about a sinner's being justified in any other way than by faith, and by consequence, in order of nature, not till after faith. The gospel knows nothing about satisfaction for sin, in their sense ; buteve. ry where teaches that the elect, as well as others, are equally under condemnation and the wrath of God...yea, are children of wratb while unbelievers.... John iii. 18, 36—Eph. ii. 3--Acts iii. 19.
Again—while they consider God merely under the character of a creditor, and us merely as debtors, and Christ as paying the whole debt of the elect....now, because Christ obeyed the law, as well as suffered its penalty, therefore they seem to think that Christ has done all their duty, so that now they have nothing to do but firnily to believe that Christ has done all: they have nothing to do with the law-no, not so much as to be their rule to live by ; but are set at full liberty from all obligations to any duty whatsoever ;-—not understanding that Christ gave himself to redeem his people from alliniquity, and purify them to him. self, a peculiar people, zealous of goodworks, (Tit. ii. 14.)—and not understanding that our natural obligations to perfect obedience are not capable of being dissolved, (Mat. v. 17.)—and not understanding that our obligations to all holy living are mightily increased by the grace of the gospel, (Rom. xii. 1.): Indeed, they seem to understand nothing rightly, but to view every thing in a wrong light; and, instead of considering Christ as a friend to holiness-as one that loves righteousness and hates ini. quity, (Heb. i. 9.) they make him a minister of sin, (Gal. ii. 17.) and turn the grace of God into wantonness : All their notions tend to render their consciences insensible of the evil of sinto cherish spiritual pride and carnal security, and to open a door to all ungodliness.
SECTION V. SHOWING A DOOR OF MERCY IS OPENED BY JESUS CHRIST FOR
A GUILTY WORLD. I come now to another thing proposed, viz. III. To show more particularly what way to life has been opened, by what Christ, our Mediator, has done and suffered.
In general, from what has been said, we may see that the mighty bar which lay in the way of mercy is removed by Jesus Christ ; and now a door is opened, and a way provided, wherein the great Governor of the world may, consistently with the honor of his holiness and justice...his law and government, and sacred authority, and to the glory of his grace, put in execution all his designs of mercy towards a sinful, guilty, undone world. But to be more particular,
(1.) Away is opened, wherein the great Governor ofthe world may, consistently with his honor, and to the glory of his grace, pardon, and receive to favor, and entitle to eternal life, all and every one of the human race, who shall cordially fall in with the gospel-design...believe in Christ, and return home to God through him.
What Christ has done is, in fact, sufficient to open a door for God, through him, to become reconcileable to the whole world. The sufferings of Christ, all things considered, have as much displayed God's hatred of sin, and as much secured the honor of his law, as if the whole world had been damned—as none will deny, who believe the infinite dignity of his divine nature. God may now, therefore, through Jesus Christ, stand ready to pardon the whole world :-There is nothing in the way. And the obedience of Christ has brought as much honor to God, and to his law, as the perfect obedience of Adam, and of all his race, would have done : the rights of the God-head are as much asserted and maintained : So that there is nothing in the way, but that mankind may, through Christ, be received into full favor, and entitled to eternal life. God may stand ready to do it, consistenly with his honor. What Christ has done is every way sufficient. Mat. xxii. 4.... All things are now ready.
And God has expressly declared that it was the design of Christ's death, to open this door of mercy to all — John iii. 16 ....God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that wHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life~That whosoever, of all mankind, whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, rich or poor, without any exception, though the chief of sinners, that believes, should be saved; For this end, God gave his only begotten Son. He set him forth to be a propitiation for sin, that he might be just, and the justifier of him (without any exception, let him be who he will,) that believeth in fesus.... Rom. iii. 25, 26.
Hence, the apostles received an universal commission. Mat. xxviii, 19....Go, teach ALL NATIONS. Mark xvi, 15, 16....Go ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel to EVERY CREA