Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

again, and to an enjoyment of the same, or a friendship built on better conditions than the former. This description of reconciliation doth God himself give us, Job xlii. 7—9.

And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said unto Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering, and my servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept, lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, like my servant Job,' &c. The offenders are Eliphaz and his two friends; the offence is their folly in not speaking aright of God. The issue of the breach is, that the wrath or anger of God was towards them; reconciliation is the turning away of that wrath; the means whereby this was to be done, appointed of God, is the sacrifice of Job for atonement.

This then is that which we ascribe to the death of Christ, when we say that as a sacrifice we were reconciled to God by it; or that he made reconciliation for us. Having made God our enemy by sin (as before), Christ by his death turned away his anger, appeased his wrath, and brought us into favour again with God: before the proof of this, I must needs give one caution as to some terms of this discourse, as also remove an objection that lies at the very entrance against the whole nature of that which is treated of.

For the first, when we speak of the anger of God, his wrath, and his being appeased towards us, we speak after the manner of men, but yet by the allowance of God himself; not that God is properly angry, and properly altered from that state and appeased, whereby he should properly be mutable and be actually changed; but by the anger of God, which sometimes in Scripture signifyeth his justice from whence punishment proceeds, sometimes the effects of anger or punishment itself, the obstacles before-mentioned on the part of God, from his nature, justice, law, and truth are intended; and his being appeased towards us, his being satisfied as to all the bars so laid in the way from receiving

us to favour, without the least alteration in him, his nature, will, or justice and according to the analogy hereof, I desire that whatever is spoken of the anger of God, and his being appeased or altered, which is the language wherein he converseth with us, and instructs us to wisdom, may be measured and interpreted.

2. The objection I shall propose in the words of Crellius. 'Si in eo sita est dilectio, quod Deus nos dilexerit et filium suum miserit iλaoμóv pro peccatis nostris, quomodo Christus morte sua demum iram Dei adversus nos incensam placarit? nam cum dilectio illa Dei quæ plane fuit summa, causa fuit cur Deus filium suum charissimum miserit, necesse est ut iram jam suam adversus nos deposuerit: nonne aliter eodem tempore et impense amabit, et non amabit? si Deus etiam tum potuit nobis irasci, cum filium suum charissimum supremæ nostræ felicitatis causa morti acerbissimæ objiceret, quod satis magnum argumentum erit, ex effectu ejus petitum, unde cognoscamus Deum nobis non irasci amplius.' Crell. Defen. Socin. con. Grot. part 6.

To the same purpose Socinus himself. Demonstravi non modo Christum Deo nos, non autem Deum nobis reconciliasse, verum etiam Deum ipsum fuisse qui hanc reconciliationem fecerit.' Socin. de Servator. lib. 1. part. 1. cap. 1.

[ocr errors]

'If this be the chiefest and highest love of God, that he sent Christ his only Son to be a propitiation for our sins; how then could Christ by his death appease the wrath of God, that was incensed against us? For seeing that God's love was the cause of sending Christ, he must needs before that have laid aside his anger: for otherwise, should he not intensely love us, and not love us at the same time? And if God could then be angry with us, when he gave up his Son to bitter death for our everlasting happiness, what argument or evidence at any time can we have from the effect of it, whence we may know, that God is not farther angry with us??

To the same purpose is the plea of the catechist, cap. 8. De Morte Christi.' Quest. 31, 32.

Ans. The love wherewith God loved us, when he sent his Son to die for us, was the most intense and supreme in its own kind; nor would admit of any hatred or enmity in God towards us, that stood in opposition thereunto. It is

"

every where set forth as the most intense love; John iii. 16. Rom. v. 7, 8. 1 John iv. 10. Now this love of God, is an eternal free act of his will: his purpose, Rom. ix. 11. his good pleasure,' his purpose that he purposed in himself, as it is called ; it is his πρόθεσις, πρόγνωσις ; 1 Pet. i. 2. εὐδοκία, as I have elsewhere distinctly declared; a love that was to have an efficacy by means appointed: but for a love of friendship, approbation, acceptation, as to our persons and duties, God bears none unto us, but as considered in Christ, and for his sake. It is contrary to the whole design of the Scripture, and innumerable particular testimonies, once to fancy a love of friendship, and acceptation towards any in God, and not consequent to the death of Christ.

2. This love of God's purpose and good pleasure, this 'charitas ordinativa,' hath not the least inconsistency with those hinderances of peace and friendship, on the part of God, before-mentioned; for though the holiness of God's nature, the justice of his government, the veracity of his word, will not allow that he take a sinner into friendship and communion with himself, without satisfaction made to him, yet this hinders not, but that in his sovereign good-will and pleasure, he might purpose to recover us from that condition, by the holy means which he appointed. God did not love us, and not love us, or was angry with us, at the same time, and in the same respect. He loved us, in respect of the free purpose of his will, to send Christ to redeem us, and to satisfy for our sin; he was angry with us, in respect of his violated law and provoked justice by sin.

3. God loves our persons, as we are his creatures; is angry with us, as we are his sinners.

4. It is true, that we can have no greater evidence and argument of the love of God's good-will and pleasure in general, than in sending his Son to die for sinners; and that he is not angry with them, with an anger of hatred, opposite to that love; that is, with an eternal purpose to destroy them; but for a love of friendship and acceptation, we have innumerable other pledges and evidences, as is known, and might be easily declared.

These things being premised, the confirmation of what was proposed ensues.

1. The use and sense of the words, whereby this doctrine

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of our reconciliation is expressed, evinces the truth contended for, ἱλάσκεσθαι, καταλάσσειν and ἀποκαταλάσσειν, which are the words used in this business, are as much as 'iram avertere,'' to turn away anger;' so is 'reconciliare, propitiare,' and placare,' in Latin: Impius, ne audeto placare iram Deorum,' was a law of the Twelve Tables: iλáoкoμat, propitior, placor,' iλaouòs, placio, exoratio;' Gloss. vetus; and in this sense is the word used; ὅσα μέντοι πρὸς ἱλασμοὺς Θεῶν ἢ ὁράτων ἀποτροπὰς συνηγόρευον οἱ μαντεῖς. Plut. in Fabio: to appease their gods, and turn away the things they feared.' And the same author tells us of a way taken, ¿¿íλaoJai Tò μnvíμa Jou, to appease the anger of God.' And Xenophon useth the word to the same purpose; todλà μèv πέμπων ἀναθήματα χρυσᾶ πολλὰ, δὲ ἀργυρᾶ πάμπολλα δὲ θύων, ἐξιλασάμην ποτὲ αὐτον. And so also doth Livy use the word 'reconcilio: non movit modo talis oratio regem, sed etiam reconciliavit Annibali. Bell. Macedon.' And many more instances might be given. God then being angry and averse from love of friendship with us, as hath been declared, and Christ being said thus to make reconciliation for us with God, he did fully turn away the wrath of God from us, as by the testimonies of it will appear.

If thy

Before I produce our witnesses in this cause, I must give this one caution; it is not said any where expressly, that God is reconciled to us, but that we are reconciled to God. And the sole reason thereof is, because he is the party offended, and we are the parties offending. Now the party offending, is always said to be reconciled to the party offended, and not on the contrary; so Matt. v. 23, 24. brother have ought against thee, go and be reconciled to him; the brother being the party offended, he that had -offended, was to be reconciled to him by turning away his anger and in common speech, when one hath justly provoked another, we bid him go and reconcile himself to him; that is, do that which may appease him, and give an entrance into his favour again. So is it in the case under consideration; being the parties offending, we are said to be reconciled to God, when his anger is turned away, and we are admitted into his favour. Let now the testimonies speak for themselves.

·

6

Rom. v. 10. When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son;' κατηλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ, we were reconciled to God, or brought again into his favour.' Amongst the many reasons that might be given to prove the intention of this expression to be, that we were reconciled to God,' by the averting of his anger from us, and our accepting into favour; I shall insist on some few from the context.

·

"

1. It appears from the relation that this expression bears to that of ver. 8. whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us;' with which this upon the matter is the same, 'we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son.' Now the intent of this expression, Christ died for us sinners,' is, he died to bring us sinners into the favour of God; nor will it admit of any other sense; so is our being reconciled to God by the death of his Son: and that this is the meaning of the expression, Christ died for us,' is evident from the illustration given to it by the apostle; ver. 6, 7. Christ died for the ungodly.' How? as one man dieth for another; that is, to deliver him from death.

·

"

2. From the description of the same thing in other words; ver. 9. being justified by his blood.' That it is the same thing upon the matter that is here intended, appears from the contexture of the apostle's speech, whilst we were yet enemies Christ died for us; much more being justified by his blood.' And, if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God;' the apostle repeats what he had said before; if when we were enemies Christ died for us,' and

·

we were justified by the blood of Christ;' that is, ' if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God.' Now to be justified, is God's reconciliation to us, his acceptation of us into favour, not our conversion to him, as is known and confessed.

3. The reconciliation we have with God, is a thing tendered to us, and we do receive it; ver. 11. Karaλλayǹv žλáBouεv, we have received the reconciliation or atonement.' Now this cannot be spoken in reference to our reconciliation to God, as on our side, but of his to us, and our acceptation with him. Our reconciliation to God is our conversion; but we are not said to receive our conversion, or to have our

« VorigeDoorgaan »