King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page

Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store



    CHAPTER 1.


    AFEW words will briefly acquaint the reader with the occasion of this discourse ensuing. It is now about two years since I published a treatise about the redemption and satisfaction that is in the blood of Christ. My aim was, to hold out the whole work of redemption, as flowing from the love of the Father, dispensed in the blood of the Son, and made effectual by the application of the Spirit of grace: and because in this whole dispensation, and in all the method of God’s proceedings to make us nigh to himself in the blood of Jesus, there is no one thing so commonly controverted as the object of that redemption in respect of the extent of it, that in the whole I did specially intend.

    What, by the grace of Him who supplieth seed to the sower, was attained in that undertaking, is left unto the judgment of men, upon the issue of his blessing thereunto. Altogether, I am not out of hopes that that labor in the Lord was not in vain. The universality of redemption, one thing in that treatise mainly opposed, having of old and of late got room in the minds of some men otherwise furnished with many precious truths and eminent gifts, I was not without expectation of some opposition to be made thereunto. Something also, I have been informed, hath been attempted that way; but I am yet at so much quiet in that regard as an utter nescience of them can afford. Only, whereas many other questions are incidentally and by the way handled therein, — as about the satisfaction and merit of Christ, etc., — it pleased Mr Baxter, a learned divine, in an appendix to a treatise of justification, by him lately published, to turn aside in the censure of some of them, and opposition to them. Indeed, most of his exceptions do lie rather against words than things, expressions than opinions, ways of delivering things than the doctrines themselves, as the reader will perceive; so that of this labor I might ease myself with this just apology, — that I was desired and pressed to handle the things of that discourse in the most popular way they were capable of, and in the best accommodation to vulgar capacities, so that it is no wonder if some expressions therein may be found to want some grains of accurateness (though they have not one dram the less of truth) in a scholastical balance.

    Notwithstanding, because I am not as yet convinced, by any thing in Mr Baxter’s censure and opposition, that there was any such blamable deviation as is pretended, but rather the words of truth and sobriety, clothing a doctrine of wholesomeness; and especially, because the things pointed at are in themselves weighty, and needing some exactness in the delivery to give a right apprehension of them; I was willing once more to attempt whether the grace of God with me, who am less than the least of all saints, might give any farther light into the right understanding of them, according to the truth, to the advantage of any that love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.

    The true nature of the satisfaction of Christ, with the kind of payment of our debt by him made and accomplished, is doubtless worthy of our most serious inquiry. The right constitution of the immediate effects of the death of Christ, the relation of men to the election of God and the redemption of Christ, with their several states and conditions in reference unto those works of grace, ought to be of no less esteem; and that not only for the nature and excellency of the things themselves, but ‘also because a right disposal of them gives more light into the stating’ and settling many other controverted truths about faith, justification, vocation, and the like.

    These are the subjects about which I am called forth in my own, or rather truth’s defense. For the treatise and subject thereof, whose latter part gives rise to this, I shall say no more, but as there are in it many footsteps of commendable learning, industry, and diligence, so, to my present apprehension, the chief intendments of it, with very many occasional expressions of the author’s judgment in sundry particulars, are obnoxious to just opposition from truth itself.

    It is not at all in my thoughts to engage myself into the chief controversy there agitated, though I could desire that some, to whom Providence hath given more leisure and opportunities for such employments, would candidly examine those “Aphorisms,” for the farther advantage of the truth and light. But whereas the learned author hath, to make straight the work he had in hand, endeavored to cast some part of the doctrine of the satisfaction and redemption of Christ, as by me delivered, into a crooked frame, and that with some such passages of censure as might have been omitted without losing the least grace of his book or style, I shall, with the Lord’s assistance, endeavor to re-enforce what of truth hath been thereby assaulted in vain; and more especially, take occasion from thence farther to unfold those mysteries which, to our apprehension, are wrapped up in no small darkness, there being in them some things difficult and hard to be understood.

    The first thing, then, which that learned divine chose to stand in distance from me in, is concerning the nature of the payment made for sin by the blood of Christ, — whether it be ejusdem or tantidem; and of the sense of these expressions is our first debate: in handling whereof, I hope I shall not only satisfy the reader as to the truth of what I had before written, but also farther clear the whole doctrine of satisfaction, with special reference to the kind of the payment that Christ made, and punishment which he underwent.

    The other head wrappeth in itself many particulars concerning the immediate fruit or effects of the death of Christ, the state of the elect redeemed ones before actual believing, the nature of redemption, reconciliation, the differencing of persons in God’s eternal purposes: to the consideration of all which, and sundry other particulars, I have occasion offered, in defense of the truth impugned.

    These now, and the like, being things in themselves weighty, and the difference about them being, for the most part, rather as to the way of the delivery than as to the things themselves, in the handling of them, I could not attend merely to the advantage offered by Mr Baxter’s discourse, but chose rather to cast them into another method, which might be distinct, clear, and accommodate to the things themselves; so that I hope the reader may, with some profit, see the whole dispensation of the love of God to his elect through Christ, with the relation of the elect, in several conditions, unto the several actings of God in that dispensation, succinctly laid down. The accommodation, also, of all delivered, to many weighty controversies, I have added.

    If the way of handling these things here used be blamed by any, I hope the judicious will see that it is such as the matter itself will bear.

    There have not been many things, in my whole inquiry after the mind of God in his word, which have more exercised my thoughts than the right ordering and distinct disposal of those whereof we treat. If the Lord hath discovered any thing unto me, or made out any thing by me, that may be for the benefit of any of his, I shall rejoice; it being always in my desire that all things might fall out to the advantage of the gospel: and so I address myself to the matter before me.

    CHAPTER 2.


    MR BAXTER having composed his Aphorisms of Justification, with their explications, before the publishing of them in print, he communicated them (as should appear) to some of his near acquaintance. Unto some things in them contained one of his said friends gives in some exceptions. Amongst other things he opposed unto those aphorisms, he also points at my contrary judgment in one or two particulars, with my reasons produced for the confirmation thereof. This provoketh their learned author (though unwilling) to turn aside to the consideration of those reasons. Now, the first of those particulars being about the payment made for sin in the blood of Christ, of what sort and kind it is, I shall willingly carry on the inquiry to this farther issue, whereunto I am drawn out. 1. He looks upon the stating of the question as I professedly laid it down at my entrance into that disputation, and declares that it is nothing at all to the question he hath in hand, nor looking that way. “He distinguisheth,” saith Mr Baxter,” betwixt paying the very thing that is in the obligation and paying so much in another kind; now, this is not our question, nor any thing to it,” Append. p. 137.

    If it be so, I know no reason why I was plucked into the following dispute, nor why Mr Baxter should cast away so many pages of his book upon that which is nothing at all to the business he had in hand. But though there be nothing to this purpose, p. 137 [265] of my book, the place he was sent to, yet, p. 140 [267], there is, as also something contrary to what is expressed in the former place, which he intimates in these words:- “In p. 140 [267] he states the question far otherwise, and yet supposeth it the same, namely, — Whether Christ paid the idem or the tantundem? which he interpreteth thus, ‘That which is not the same, nor equivalent unto it, but only in the gracious acceptation of the creditor.’ Now, what he means by ‘not equivalent’ I cannot tell. “If he mean, not of equal value, then he fights with a shadow. He wrongeth Grotius, for aught I can find in him, who teacheth no such doctrine. However, I do not so use to English solutio tantidem. But if he mean, that it is not equivalent in procuring its end ipso facto, delivering the debtor, without the intervention of a new concession or contract of the creditor, as solutio ejusdem doth, then I confess Grotius is against him, and so am I. “So, also, God’s gracious acceptance is either in accepting less in value than was due, and so remitting the rest without payment (this I plead not for); or else it is his accepting a refusable payment, which, though equal in value, yet he may choose to accept according to the tenor of the obligation. This is gracious acceptance, which Grotius maintaineth, and so do I; and so distinguish betwixt solutio and satisfactio, ‘payment’ and ‘satisfaction.’” Thus far he.

    Sundry things are here imagined and asserted: — First, Several passages are pointed at in my treatise, and a contradiction between them intimated.

    Secondly, Various conjectures given at my plain, very plain meaning, and divers things objected answerable to those conjectures, etc.

    Wherefore, to clear the whole, I shall, — 1. Give you in the passages opposed; and, 2. Vindicate them from mutual opposition, with what is besides charged on them.

    The first place mentioned in my treatise is in p. 137 [265], where, after I had discoursed of the nature of satisfaction, in reference both unto things real and personal, I laid down a distinction in these words: — “There may be a twofold satisfaction, — First, By a solution or payment of the very thing that is in the obligation, either by the party himself who is bound, or by some other in his stead; as, if I owe a man twenty pounds, and my friend goeth and payeth it, my creditor is fully satisfied. Secondly, By a solution or paying of so much, although in another kind, not the same that is in the obligation, which by the creditor’s acceptation stands in lieu of it; upon which also freedom followeth from the obligation, by virtue of an act of favor.”

    What now says Mr B. to this? Why, “it is nothing to the business he hath in hand.”

    Let then this pass, and look to the next passage which is opposed, and supposed to stand in opposition to the other.

    Having laid down the former distinction, passing on to some other things concerning the nature of satisfaction, and the establishment of that of Christ from the Scripture, in p. 140 [267], I apply that distinction laid down before in general to the kind of satisfaction made by Christ, in these words: — “Whereas I said that there is a twofold satisfaction whereby the debtor is freed from the obligation that is upon him, — the one being solutio ejusdem, payment of the same thing that was in the obligation; the other solutio tantidem, of that which is not the same, nor equivalent unto it, but only in the gracious acceptation of the creditor, — it is worth our inquiry which of these it was that our Savior did perform.”

    And accordingly I refer it to the first. “This,” saith Mr B., “is a stating of the question far otherwise than before, yet supposing it the same.”

    But this I was so far from once mistrusting before, as that, being informed of it, I cannot as yet apprehend it to be so.

    In p. 137 [265] I lay down a distinction in general about the several kinds of satisfaction, which, p. 140 [267], I plainly apply to the satisfaction of Christ, without any new, much less changed stating of the question. My whole aim, in that inquiry, was to search out that kind of punishment which Christ underwent in making satisfaction for sin, — namely, “Whether it were the same that was threatened to the transgressors themselves, or whether something else which God accepted in lieu thereof, relaxing the law not only as to the person suffering, but also as to the penalty to be undergone?”

    The first of these, and that with the concurrent suffrage of fax the greatest number of protestant divines, I assert with sundry arguments, pp. 141,142, etc., 154-156 [268, etc., 280-282]. Unto which assertion he neither opposeth himself nor once attempteth to answer any of the arguments whereby I proved it.

    This being my intendment, p. 137 [285], I intimate that Christ paid the same thing that was in the obligation; as if, in things real, a friend should pay twenty pounds for him that owed so much, and not any thing in another kind. And p. 140 [267], I affirm that he paid idem, that is, the same thing that was in the obligation, and not tantundem, something equivalent thereunto, in another kind. “The first of these is nothing to our purpose,” saith Mr B., “but the latter crossing the former.”

    But truly, such is my dulness, I cannot as vet be won to his mind herein.

    But I agree with myself; perhaps I do not with the truth. That description of solutio tantidem, namely, that it is a payment of that which is not the same, nor equivalent unto it, but only in the gracious acceptation of the creditor, is peculiarly opposed.

    To make this expression obnoxious to an exception, Mr B. divides it, that so it may be entangled with a fallacy, para< tw~n plei>wn ejrwthma>twn .

    And, first, he asks as before what I mean by not equivalent; and hereunto supposing two answers, to the first he opposeth a shadow, to the latter himself.

    First, “If,” saith he, “by not equivalent, you mean not of equal value, you fight with a shadow, and wrong Grotius. However, I do not use so to English solutio tantidem.”

    By not equivalent, I mean that which is not of equal value, or certainly I mistook the word; and if so, had need enough to have gone to Mr B., or some other learned man, to have learned to English solutio tantidem. But do I not;, then, fight with a shadow? Truly, cut my words thus off in the middle of their sense, and they will be found fit to cope with no other adversary; but take them as they lie, and as intended, and there is scarce any shadow of opposition to them cast by Mr B. passing by. My words are, “It is not equivalent, but only in the gracious acceptation of the creditor.” Is not this the plain meaning, of these words, that tantundem in satisfaction is not equivalent to idem ajplw~v , but only kata< ti> ? What is denied of it absolutely is affirmed in some respect, lie that says it is not equivalent but only in gracious acceptation, in that sense affirms it to be equivalent, and that it is in respect of that sense that the thing so called is said to be tantundem, that is, equivalent.

    Now, what excepts Mr B. hereunto? Doth he assert tantundem to be in this matter equivalent unto idem aJplw~v ? It is the very thing he opposeth all along, maintaining that solutio tantidem stands in need of gracious acceptance, ejusdem of none; and, therefore, they are not as to their end aJplwv , equivalent. Or will he deny it to be equivalent in God’s gracious acceptance? This he also contendeth for himself: “Though refusable, yet equivalent.” What, then, is my crime?

    I wrong Grotius ! Wherein? In imposing on him that he should say, “It was not of equal value to the idem that Christ paid.” Not one such word in any of the places mentioned. I say, Grotius maintains that the satisfaction of Christ was solutio tantidem. Will you deny it? Is it not his main endeavor to prove it so? Again; tantundem, I say, is not in this case equivalent to idem aJplw~v , but only kata< ti . Doth not Mr B. labor to prove the same? Where, then, is the difference? Were it not for Ignoratio elenchi in the bottom, and Fallacia plurium interrogationum at the top, this discourse would have been very empty.

    Secondly, But he casts my words into another frame, to give their sense another appearance, and saith, — “If you mean that it is not equivalent in procuring its end ipso facto, delivering the debtor without the intervention of a new concession or contract of the creditor, as solutio ejusdem doth, then I confess Grotius is against you, and so am I.”

    Of Grotius I shall speak afterward; for the present I apply myself to Mr B., and say, — 1. If he intend to oppose himself to any thing I handle and assert in the place he considereth, he doth, by this query, plainly metazai>nein eijv to< a]lla ge>nev , and that from a second inadvertency of the argument in hand.

    It is of the nature of the penalty undergone, and not of the efficacy of the satisfaction made thereby, that I there dispute. 2. I conceive that in this interrogation and answer he wholly gives up the cause that he pretends to plead, and joins with me, as he conceives my sense to be, against Grotius and himself. “If,” saith he, “he mean that it is not equivalent in procuring its end ipso facto, without the intervention of a new concession or contract, as solutio ejusdem doth, then I am against him.” Well, then, Mr B. maintains that solutio tantidem is equivalent with solutio ejusdem in obtaining its end ipso facto; for, saith he, if I say it is not equivalent, he is against me. To< sowords bear any other sense? 3. Whether tantundem and idem, in the way of satisfaction, be equivalent to the obtaining the end ipso facto aimed at, which he here asserts, though elsewhere constantly denies, — couching in this distinction the prw~ton yeu~dov of a great part of his discourse, — certainly it is nothing at all to the question I there agitated, maintaining that it was idem, and not tantundem, that Christ paid, and so the end of it obtained ipso facto answerable to the kind of the efficacy and procurement thereof.

    But perhaps I do not conceive his mind aright; peradventure his mind is, that if I do maintain the satisfaction of Christ to procure the end aimed at, ipso facto, as solutio ejusdem would have done, then to profess himself my adversary. But,— 1. This is not here expressed nor intimated. 2. It is nothing at all to me who place the matter of the satisfaction of Christ in solutionc ejusdem. 3. About the end of satisfaction in the place opposed I speak not, but only of the nature of the penalty undergone, whereby it was made. 4. To the thing itself, I desire to inquire, — (1.) What Mr B. intends by solutio ejusdem in the business in hand? Doth he not maintain it to be the offender’s own undergoing the penalty of the law? What end, I pray, doth this obtain ipso facto? Can it be any other but the glory of God’s justice in the everlasting destruction of the creature?

    How, then, can it possibly be supposed to attain the end spoken of ipso facto? If this be the only meaning of solutio ejusdem, in this sense, the end of it is distant from the end of satisfaction wJv eujrano>v ejst j ajpo< gai>av .

    By the laying the penalty on Christ, that God intended the freedom of those for whom he underwent that penalty, I suppose cannot be doubted; but in inflicting it on the offenders themselves, that he hath any such aim, wants an Origen to assert. (2.) Whether the penalty due to one may not be undergone by another? and if so, whether it be not the same penalty, the idem, or no? In things real I gave an instance before. If a man pay twenty pounds for another who owed it, doth not he pay the idem in the obligation? And may not this hold in things personal also?

    Of the satisfaction of Christ procuring its end ipso facto, I mean in its own kind, — for the death of Christ must be considered as meritorious as well as satisfactory, if the deliverance be attended as the end of it, — I shall speak afterward in its proper place. The present controversy is no more but this: — Whether Christ underwent the penalty threatened unto us, or some other thing accepted instead thereof, by a new constitution? or, which is all one, whether, in laying our iniquities upon Christ, the law of God was relaxed only as to the persons suffering, or also as to the penalty suffered? that is, whether Christ paid the idem in the obligation, or tantundem ?

    To suppose that the idem of the obligation is not only the penalty itself, but also the offender’s own suffering that penalty, and then to inquire whether Christ underwent the idem, is to cause an easy enemy to triumph in his dejection.

    That the law was relaxed as to the person suffering, I positively assert; but as to the penalty itself, that is not mentioned. Of these two things alone, then, must be our inquiry: — 1. Whether Christ, in making satisfaction, underwent that penalty that was threatened to the offenders themselves? 2. Whether the penalty, though undergone by another, be not the idem of the obligation?

    Of both these, after the clearing of the residue of Mr Baxter’s exceptions.

    Nextly, he requireth what I intend by “gracious acceptance,” or rather giveth in his own sense of it in these words, pp. 138,139 [266, 267]: — “So also God’s gracious acceptance is either his accepting less in value than was due, and so remitting the rest without payment. This I plead not for. Or else it is his accepting of a refusable payment, which, though equal in value, yet he may choose to accept according to the tenor of the obligation. This is gracious acceptance, which Grotius maintaineth, and so do I.” Thus far he.

    Now, neither is this any more to the business I have in hand; for, — 1. The value of any satisfaction in this business ariseth not from the innate worth of the things whereby it is made, but purely from God’s free constitution of them to such an end. A distinction cannot be allowed of more or less value in the things appointed of God for the same end; all their value ariseth merely from that appointment; they have so much as he ascribeth to them, and no more. Now, neither idem nor tantundem is here satisfactory, but by virtue of divine constitution. Only, in tantundem I require a peculiar acceptance, to make it equivalent to idem in this buslness, — that is, as to satisfaction; or, if you please, an acceptance of that which is not idem, to make it tantundem. So that this gracious acceptance is not an accepting of that which is less in value than what is in the obligation, but a free constitution appointing another thing to the end, which before was not appointed. 2. He supposeth me (if in so many mistakes of his I mistake him not) to deny all gracious acceptance where the idem is paid; [which], in the present case, is to assert it necessary, because not paid per eundem; yea, and that other person not procured by the debtor, but graciously assigned by the creditor. 3. To make up his gracious acceptance in this latter sense, he distinguisheth of payments refusable and not refusable: in the application of which distinction unto the payment made by Christ I cannot close with him; for a payment is refusable either absolutely and in itself, or upon supposal. The death of Christ, considered absolutely and in itself, may be said to be refusable as to be made a payment, — not a refusable payment; and that not because not refusable, but because not a payment. Nothing can possibly tend to the procurement and compassing of any end, by the way of payment, with the Lord, but what is built upon some free compact, promise, or obligation of his own. But now consider it as an issue flowing from divine constitution making it a payment, and so it was no way refusable as to the compassing of the end appointed. Thus, also, as to the obligation of the law for the fulfilling thereof, it was refusable in respect of the person paying, not in respect of the payment made. That former respect being also taken off by divine constitution, and relaxation of the law as to that, it becometh wholly unrefusable, — that is, as it was paid, it was so; for satisfaction was made thereby, upon the former supposals of constitution and relaxation. 4. Doth not Mr B. suppose that in the very tenor of the obligation there’ is required a solution, tending to the same end as satisfaction doth? Nay, is not that ajzleyi>a the prw~ton yeu~dov of this discourse? Deliverance is the aim of satisfaction, which receives its spring and being from the constitution thereof; but is there any such thing as deliverance once aimed at or intended in the tenor of the obligation? I suppose no. 5. :Neither is the distinction of solutio and satisfactio, which Mr B. closeth withal, of any weight in this business, unless it would hold o[lwv kai< pa>ntwv . which it will not, and so is of no use here; for, — (1.) There is solutio tantidem as well as ejusdem, and therein consists satisfaction, according to Mr B. (2.) Whether satisfaction be inconsistent with solutlo ejusdem, but not per eundem, is the to< crino>menon . After all this Mr B. adds,— “Yet here Mr Owen enters the list with Grotius.”

    Where, I pray? I might very justly make inquiry, from the beginning to the ending of this discourse, to find out what it is that this word “here” particularly answereth unto. But to avoid as much as possible all strife of words, I desire the reader to view the controversy agitated between Grotius and myself, not as here represented by Mr Baxter, so changed by a new dress that I might justly refuse to take any acquaintance with it, but as by myself laid down in the places excepted against, and he will quickly find it to be, — 1. Not whether the law were at all relaxed, but whether it were relaxed as well in respect of the penalty to be suffered as of the person suffering; that is, whether God be only a rector, or a rector and creditor also, in this business. Which controversy, by the way, is so confusedly proposed, or rather strangely handled by Mr B., p. 145, where he adjudges me in a successless assault of Grotius, as makes it evident he never once perused it. 2. Nor, secondly, whether there be any need of God’s gracious acceptance in this business or no; for I assert it necessary, as before described, in reference to solutio ejusdem, sed non per eundem. 3. Neither, thirdly, whether the satisfaction of Christ, considered absolutely, and in statu diviso, and materially, be refusable, which I considered not; or be unrefusable, supposing the divine constitution which Grotius, as I take it, delivered not himself in. Nor, — 4. About the value of the payment of Christ in reference to acceptance; but merely, as I said before, whether the Lord, appointing an end of deliverance neither intimated nor couched in the obligation nor any of its attendancies, constituting a way for the attainment of that end by receiving satisfaction to the obligation, did appoint that the thing in the obligation should be paid, though by another, or else some new thing, that of itself and by itself never was in the obligation, either before or after its solution; as the payment made by Christ must be granted such, unless it were for substance the same which the law required. And here, with most divines, I maintain the first, — namely, That the law was relaxed in respect of the person suffering, but executed in respect of the penalty suffered.

    Relaxation and execution are not in this business opposed aJplw~v , but only kata< ti> .

    He that would see this farther affirmed may consult what I wrote of it in the place opposed; which is not once moved by any thing here spoken to the contrary.

    By the way observe, I speak only of the penalty of the law, and the passive righteousness of Christ, strictly so called. For his active righteousness, or obedience to the law (though he did many things we were not obliged unto, for the manifestation of himself, and confirmation of the doctrine of the gospel), that it was the very idem of us required, I suppose none can doubt. What place that active righteousness of Christ hath, or what is its use in our justification, I do not now inquire, being unwilling to immix myself unnecessarily in any controversy; though I cannot but suppose that Mr B.’s discourse hereabouts gives advantage enough even minorum gentium theologis, “to ordinary divines,” as he calls them, to deal with him in it.

    CHAPTER 3.


    THE state of the question in hand being as above laid down, let us now see what Mr Baxter’s judgment is of my success in that undertaking, concerning which he thus delivereth himself: “Yet here Mr Owen enters the list with Grotius.” And,— First , “He overlooketh his greatest arguments.”

    Secondly , “He slightly answereth only two.”

    Thirdly , “And when he hath done, he saith as Grotius doth, and yieldeth the whole cause. These three, things I will make appear in order,” Appendix, p. 139.

    A most unhappy issue as can possibly be imagined, made up of deceit, weakness, and self-contradiction! But how is all this proved? To make the first thing appear, he produceth the argument overlooked. “The chief argument of Grotius and Vossius,” saith he, “is drawn from the tenor of the obligation and from the event. The obligation chargeth punishment on the offender himself. It saith, ‘In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die;’ and, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things,’ etc. Now, if the same in the obligation be paid, then the law is executed, and not relaxed, and then every sinner must die himself; for that is the idem and very thing threatened: so that here dum alius solvit, simul aliud solvitur. The law threatened not Christ, but us (besides that Christ suffered not the loss of God’s love, nor his image and graces, nor eternity of torment; of which I have spoken in the treatise.) What saith Mr Owen to any of this?”

    Let the reader observe what it is we have in hand. It is not the main of the controversy debated by Grotius wherein I do oppose him, neither yet all in that particular whereabout the opposition is. Now suppose, as he doth, that the punishing of the person offending is in the obligation, yet I cannot but conceive that there be two distinct things here, — first, The constitution of the penalty itself to be undergone; secondly, The terminating of this penalty upon the person offending. For this latter I assert a relaxation of the law; which might be done and yet the penalty itself in reference to its constitution be established. In those places, then, ‘In the day thou eatest,’ etc., there is death and the curse appointed for the penalty, and the person offending appointed for the sufferer. That the law is relaxed in the latter I grant. That the former was executed on Christ I prove. Now, what says this argument to the contrary? “If the same in the obligation be paid, then the law is executed, not relaxed, and then every sinner must die himself; for that is the idem and very thing threatened: so that here dum alias solvit, aliud solvitur.” 1. The matter of the obligation having a double consideration, as before, it may be both executed and relaxed in sundry respects. 2. The idem and very thing threatened in the constitution of the law is death. The terminating of that penalty to the person offending was in the commination, and had it not been relaxed, must have been in the execution; but in the constitution of the obligation, which respects purely the kind of penalty, primarily it was not. “Death is the reward of sin,” is all that is there. 3. We inquire not about payment, but suffering. To make that suffering a payment supposeth another constitution, by virtue whereof Christ suffering the same that was threatened, it became another thing in payment than it would have been if the person offending had suffered himself. 4. That the law threatened not Christ but us is most true; but the question is, whether Christ underwent not the threatening of the law, not we? A commutation of persons is allowed, Christ undergoing the penalty of the offense; though he were not the person offending, I cannot but still suppose that he paid the idem of the obligation. 5. For the parenthesis about Christ’s not suffering the loss of God’s love, etc., and the like objections, they have been answered near a thousand times already, and that by “no ordinary divines” neither; so that I shall not farther trouble any therewith.

    Now, this is the argument, the great, chief argument, of Grotius and Vossius, which Mr Baxter affirms I overlooked.

    That I did not express it I easily grant, neither will I so wrong the ingenuous reader as to make any long apology for my omission of it, considering the state of the matter in difference as before proposed. When Mr B. or any man else shall be able to draw out any conclusion from thence, “That, granting the relaxation of the law as to the persons suffering, the Lord Christ did not undergo the penalty constituted therein;” or that, “Undergoing the very penalty appointed, he did not pay the idem in the obligation” (supposing a new constitution for the converting of suffering into a satisfactory payment), I shall then give a reason why I considered it not.

    In the next place, Mr B. giveth in the two arguments wherein I deal.

    And for the first, about an acquitment ipso facto upon the payment of the idem in the obligation, with my answer, [he] refers it, to be considered in another place; which, though I receive no small injury by, as shall be there declared, yet, that I may not transgress the order of discourse set me, I pass it by also until then.

    The second argument of Grotius, with my answer, he thus expresseth: — “To the second argument, that the payment of the same thing in the obligation leaveth no room for pardon, he answereth thus: — “‘God’s pardoning compriseth the whole dispensation of grace in Christ; as, — 1. The laying of our sin on Christ; 2. The imputation of his righteousness to us, which is no less of grace and mercy. However, God pardoneth all to us, but nothing to Christ; so that the freedom of pardon hath its foundation, — 1. In God’s will freely appointing this satisfaction of Christ; 2. In a gracious acceptation of the decreed satisfaction in our stead; 3. In a free application of the death of Christ to us.’ To which I answer,” etc.

    So far he.

    Though this may appear to be a distinct expression of my answer, yet because it seems to me that the very strength of it as laid down is omitted, I shall desire the reader to peruse it as it is there proposed, and it will give him some light into the thing in hand. I apply myself to what is here expressed, and answer:— To the objection proposed from Grotius, as above, I gave a threefold answer: — 1. “That gracious condonation of sin, which I conceive to be the sum of the glad tidings of the gospel, seemeth to comprise those two acts before recounted, both which I there prove to be free, because the very merit and satisfaction of Christ himself was founded on a free compact and covenant or constitution.”

    Now, I had three reasons (among others) that prevailed with me to make gracious condonation of so large extent, which I shall express, and leave them to the thoughts of every judicious reader whether they are enforcing thereunto or no, being exceedingly indifferent what his determination is; for the weight of my answer depends not on it at all. And they are these: — (1.) Because that single act of remission of sins to particular persons (which is nothing but a dissolution of the obligation of the law as unto them, whereby they are bound over to punishment), as it is commonly restrained, is affirmed by them whom Grotius in that book opposed (into whose tents he was afterward a renegado) to be inconsistent with any satisfaction at all; yea, that which Grotius maintains per tantundem. But now, if you extend that gospel phrase to the compass I have mentioned, they have not the least color so to do. (2.) Whereas the Scripture mentioneth that “through Christ is preached the forgiveness of sins,” Acts 13:38, I do suppose that phrase to be comprehensive of the whole manifestation of God in the covenant of grace. (3.) God expressly saith that this is his covenant, “That he will be merciful to our unrighteousness,” Hebrews 8:12.

    By the way, I cannot close with Mr B. that this place to the Hebrews, and the other of Jeremiah 31:31-34, do comprise but part of the covenant, not the whole, God saying expressly, “This is my covenant.” To say it is not, is not to interpret the word, but to deny it. It is true, it is not said that is the whole covenant; no more is it that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life only. As the want of that term of restriction doth not enlarge in that, no more doth the want of the note of universality restrain in this. To say thus because here is no condition expressed is prosko>ptein eijv cei>ron. If you mean such a condition as God requireth of us, and yet worketh in us, it is there punctually expressed with reference to the nature of the covenant whereof it is a condition, which is to effect all the conditions thereof in the covenanters. This by the way, having resolvedly tied up myself from a debate of those positions which Mr B. dogmatizeth; though a large field, and easy to be walked in, lies open on every hand for the scattering of many magisterial dictates, which, with confidence enough, are crudely asserted.

    This is (to return) my first answer to the fore-mentioned objection, with the reasons of it; whereunto Mr B. excepteth as followeth: — 1. “Pardon implieth Christ’s death as a cause; but I would he had showed the Scripture that makes pardon so large a thing as to comprise the whole dispensation of grace, or that maketh Christ’s death to be a part of it, or comprised in it. 2. “If such a word were in the Scripture, will he not confess it to be figurative and not proper, and so not fit for this dispute. 3. “Else when he saith, that Christ’s death procured our pardon, he meaneth that it procured itself.” So he.

    To all which I say, — 1. The death of Christ, as it is a cause of pardon, is not once mentioned in any of my answers. There is a wide difference (in consideration) between God’s imputation of sin to Christ, and the death of Christ as the meritorious cause of pardon. So that this is pura ignoratio elenchi. 2. Take pardon in the large sense I intimated, and so the death of Christ is not the meritorious cause of the whole, but only of that particular in it wherein it is commonly supposed solely to consist; of which before.

    But in what sense, and upon what grounds, I extended gracious condonation of sin unto that compass here mentioned, I have now expressed. Let it stand or fall as it suits the judgment of the reader; the weight of my answer depends not on it at all.

    My second answer to that objection I gave in these words: — 2. “That remission, grace, and pardon, which is in God for sinners, is not opposed to Christ’s merits and satisfaction, but ours. He pardoneth all to us, but he spared not his only Son; he bated him not one farthing.”

    To this Mr B., thus expressing it, “But it is of grace to us, though not to Christ,” answereth, “Doth not that clearly intimate that Christ was not in the obligation, that the law doth threaten every man personally, or else it had been no favor to accept it of another?” (1.) It is marvellous to me, that a learned man should voluntarily choose an adversary to himself, and yet consider the very leaves which he undertakes to confute with so much contempt or oscitancy as to labor to prove against him what he positively asserts terminis terminantibus. That Christ was not in the obligation, that he was put in as a surety by his own consent, God by his sovereignty dispensing with the law as to that, yet as a creditor exacting of him the due debt of the law, is the main intendment of the place Mr Baxter here considereth. (2.) Grant all that here is said, how doth it prove that Christ underwent not the very penalty of the law? Is it because he was not primarily in the obligation? He was put in as a surety, to be the object of its execution. Is it because the law doth threaten every man personally? Christ underwent really what was threatened to others, as shall be proved. But it is not then of favor to accept it. But this is the to< krino>menon . And thus to set it down is but a petition tou~ ejn ajrch~| . (3.) How doth this elude the force of my answer? I see it not at all.

    After this I gave a third answer to the former objection, manifesting how the freedom of pardon may consist with Christ’s satisfaction, in these words: — 3. “The freedom, then, of pardon hath not its foundation in any defect of the merit or satisfaction of Christ, but in three other things: — (1.) “The will of God freely appointing the satisfaction of Christ, John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9. (2.) “In a gracious acceptation of that decreed satisfaction in our steads; so many, no more. (3.) “In a free application of the death of Christ unto us. Remission, then, excludes not a full satisfaction by the solution of the very thing in the obligation, but only the solution or satisfaction of him to whom pardon and remission is granted.”

    It being the freedom of pardon that is denied, upon the supposals of such a satisfaction as I assert, I demonstrate from whence that freedom doth accrue unto it, notwithstanding a supposal of such a satisfaction: not that pardon consisteth in the three things there recounted, but that it hath its freedom from them; that is, supposing those three things, notwithstanding the intervention of payment made by Christ, it cannot be but remission of sin unto us be a free and gracious act. To all this Mr B. opposeth divers things; for, — 1. “Imputation of righteousness,” saith he, “is not any part of pardon, but a necessary antecedent. 2. “The same may be said of God’s acceptation. 3. “Its application is a large phrase, and may be meant of several acts, but of which here I know not.”

    In a word, this mistake is very great. I affirm the freedom of a pardon to depend on those things. He answereth that pardon doth not consist in these things. It is the freedom of pardon, whence it is, — not the nature of pardon, wherein it is, that we have under consideration. “But,” saith he, “how can he call it a ‘gracious acceptation,’ a ‘gracious imputation,’ a ‘free application,’ if it were the same thing the law requireth that was paid? “To pay all, according to the full exaction of the obligation, needeth no favor to procure acceptance, imputation, or application. Can justice refuse to accept of such a payment? or can it require any more?” 1. Though I know not directly what it is he means by saying, “I call it,” yet I pass it over. 2. If all this were done by the persons themselves, or any one in their stead procured and appointed by themselves, then were there some difficulty in these questions; but this being otherwise, there is none at all, as hath been declared. 3. How the payment made by Christ was of grace, yet in respect of the obligation of the law needed no favor, nor was refusable by justice, supposing its free constitution, shall be afterward declared. To me the author seems not to have his wonted clearness in this whole section, which might administer occasion of farther inquiry and exceptions, but I forbear.

    And thus much be spoken for the clearing and vindicating my answer to the arguments of Grotius against Christ’s paying the idem of the obligation. The next shall farther confirm the truth.

    CHAPTER 4.


    IT being supposed not to be sufficient to have showed the weakness of my endeavor to assert and vindicate from opposition what I had undertaken, Mr Baxter addeth that I give up the cause about which I contend, as having indeed not understood him whom I undertook to oppose, in these words: — “ Mr Owen giveth up the cause at last, and saith as Grotius, having not understood Grotius’ meaning, as appeareth, pp. 141,143” [268,270].

    Whether I understand Grotius or no will by-and-by appear. Whether Mr B. understandeth me, or the controversy by me handled, you shall have now a trial. The assertion which alone I seek to maintain is this: — “That the punishment which our Savior underwent was the same that the law required of us, God relaxing his law as to the person suffering, but not as to the penalty suffered.”

    Now, if from this I draw back in any of the concessions following, collected from pp. 141,143 [268,270], I deprecate not the censure of giving up the cause I contended for. If otherwise, there is a great mistake in somebody of the whole business.

    Of the things, then, observe, according to Mr B.’s order, I shall take a brief account: — 1. “He acknowledgeth,” saith he, “that the payment is not made by the party to whom remission is granted; and so saith every man that is a Christian.”

    This is a part of the position itself I maintain, and so no going back from it; so that as to this I may pass as a “Christian.” 2. “He saith,” adds he, “it was a full, valuable compensation ;’ therefore not of the same.”

    First, This inference would trouble Mr B. to prove.

    Secondly, Therefore not made by the same, nor by any of the debtor’s appointment, will follow, perhaps, but no more. 3. “That by reason of the obligation upon us, we ourselves were bound to undergo the punishment. Therefore, Christ’s punishment was not in the obligation, but only ours; and so the law was not fully executed, but relaxed.”

    First, This is my thesis fully: The law was executed as to its penalty, relaxed as to the person suffering.

    Secondly, The punishment that Christ underwent was in the obligation, though threatened to us. 4. “He saith, he meaneth not that Christ bore the same punishment due to us in all accidents of duration, and the like, but the same in weight and measure; therefore, not the same in the obligation, because not fully the same act.”

    The accidents I mention follow and attend the person suffering, and not the penalty itself. All evils in any suffering, as far as they are sinful, attend the condition of the parties that suffer. Every thing usually recounted by those who make this and the like exceptions, as far as they are purely penal, were on Christ. 5. “He saith God had power so far to relax his own law as to have the name of a surety put into the obligation, which before was not there, and then to require the whole debt of that surety. And what saith Grotius more than this? If the same things in the obligation be paid, then the law is executed; and if executed, then not relaxed. Here he confesseth that the surety’s name was not in the obligation, and that God relaxed the law to put it in. Now, the main business that Grotius drives at there is, to prove this relaxation of the law, and the non-execution of it on the offenders threatened.” Thus far Mr Baxter.

    First, All this proves not at all the things intended, neither doth any concession here mentioned in the least take off from the main assertion I maintain, as is apparent to any at first view. Secondly, Grotius is so far from saying more than I do, that he says not so much. Thirdly, This paralogism, “If the law be executed, then not relaxed,” and on the contrary, ariseth merely from a non-consideration of the nature of contradictories.

    The opposition fancied here is not pro , kata< to< aujto> , wjsau>twv kai< ejn tw~| aujtw~ cro>nw| , as is required of contradictions.

    Fourthly, The observation, that Grotius’ main business is otherwise discovereth the bottom of Mr B.’s mistake, even a supposal that I should oppose Grotius in his main intendment in the place considered; which was not once in my thoughts. It was merely about the nature of the penalty that Christ underwent that I discoursed. How the relaxation of the law as to the commutation of persons may be established, whether we affirm Christ to have paid the idem or tantundem, and that Mr B. affirms the same with me, I can prove by twenty instances. The reader, if he please, may consult p. 18, and pp. 25, 33-35, 42,48; and, in plain terms, p. 81, “In respect of punishment abstracting from persons, the law was not dispensed withal as to Christ.” And what said I more?

    And so much, if not too much, to Mr Baxter’s exceptions; which of what weight and force they are, I leave to others to judge.

    That which I maintain as to this point in difference I have also made apparent. It is wholly comprised under these two heads, — first, Christ suffered the same penalty which was in the obligation; secondly, To do so is to make payment ejusdem, and not tantidem.

    The reasons of both I shall briefly subjoin. And first, as to the first, they are these following: — 1. The Scripture hath expressly revealed the translation of punishment in respect of the subjects suffering it, but hath not spoken one word of the change of the kind of punishment, but rather the contrary is affirmed: Romans 8:32, “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” 2. All the punishment due to us was contained in the curse and sanction of the law; that is, the penalty of the obligation whereof we spake. But this was undergone by the Lord Christ; for “he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,” Galatians 3:13. 3. Where God condemneth sin, there he condemns it in that very punishment which is due unto it in the sinner, or rather to the sinner for it.

    He hath revealed but one rule of his proceeding in this case. Now, he condemned sin in the flesh of Christ, or in him sent in the likeness of sinful flesh: Romans 8:3, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The condemning of sin is the infliction of punishment due to sin. 4. The whole penalty of sin is death, Genesis 2:17. This Christ underwent for us: Hebrews 2:9, “He tasted death.” And to die for another is to undergo that death which that other should have undergone, 2 Samuel 18:33. It is true, this death may be considered either in respect of its essence (if I may be allowed so to speak), which is called the “pains of hell,” which Christ underwent, <19B603> Psalm 116:3, 22:1, Luke 22:44; or of its attendancies, as duration and the like, which he could not undergo, Psalm 16:8-11, Acts 2:24-28. So that whereas eternal death may be considered two ways, either as such in potentia, and in its own nature, or as actually, so our Savior underwent it not in the latter, but first sense, Hebrews 2:9,14, which, by the dignity of his person, 1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 9:26,28, Romans 5:10, which raises the estimation of punishment, is oequipotent to the other. There is a sameness in Christ’s sufferings with that in the obligation in respect of essence, and equivalency in respect of attendancies. 5. In the meeting of our iniquities upon Christ, Isaiah 53:6, and his being thereby made sin for us, 2 Corinthians 5:21, lay the very punishment of our sin, as to us threatened, upon him. 6. Consider the scriptural descriptions you have of his perpessions, and see if they do not plainly hold out the utmost that ever was threatened to sin. There is the hr;Wbj\ , Isaiah 53:5; Peter’s mw>lwy , 1 Peter 2:24; the “livor, vibex,” “wound, stripe,” that in our stead was so on him, — that whereby we are healed. Those expressions of the condition of his soul in his sufferings, whereby he is said lupei~sqai , Matthew 26:37; ejkqaubei~sqai , ajdhmonei~n , Mark 14:33; qro>mboi ai[matov ejn th~| ajgwni>a| , Luke 22:44; sadness unto death, Matthew 26:38; that dreadful cry, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” — those cries out of the deep, and mighty supplications under his fear, Hebrews 5:7, that was upon him, do all make out that the bitterness of the death due to sin was fully upon his soul. Sum all his outward appearing pressures, mocks, scoffs, scorns, cross, wounds, death, etc., and what do some of their afflictions who have suffered for his name come short of it? And yet how far were they above those dreadful expressions of anguish which we find upon the “Fellow of the Lord of hosts,” the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” who received not the Spirit by measure, but was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows! Certainly his inconceivable sufferings were in another kind, and such as set no example to any of his to suffer in after him. It was no less than the weight of the wrath of God and the whole punishment due to sin that he wrestled under.

    Secondly, The second part of my position is to me confirmed by these and the like arguments.

    That there is a distinction to be allowed between the penalty and the person suffering is a common apprehension, especially when the nature of the penalty is only inquired after. If a man that had but one eye were censured to have an eye put out, and a dear friend, pitying his deplorable condition, knowing that by undergoing the punishing decreed he must be left to utter blindness, should, upon the allowance of commutation, as in Zaleucus’ case, submit to have one of his own eyes put out, and so satisfy the sentence given, though, by having two eyes, he avoid himself the misery that would have attended the other’s suffering, who had but one; — if, I say, in this case, any should ask whether he underwent the idem the other should have done, or taatundem, I suppose the answer would be easy. In things real, it is unquestionable; and in things personal I shall pursue it no farther, lest it should prove a strife of words. And thus far of the sufferings of Christ in a way of controversy. What follows will be more positive.

    CHAPTER 5.


    THE next thing I am called into question about, is concerning actual and absolute justification before believing. This Mr Baxter speaks to, page 146, and so forward; and first answers the arguments of Maccovius for such justification, and then, page 151, applies himself to remove such farther arguments and places of Scripture as are by me produced for the confirmation of that assertion.

    Here, perhaps, I could have desired a little more candor. To have an opinion fastened on me which I never once received nor intimated the least thought of in that whole treatise, or any other of mine, and then my arguments answered as to such an end and purpose as I not once intended to promote by them, is a little too harsh dealing. It is a facile thing to render any man’s reasonings exceedingly weak and ridiculous, if we may impose upon them such and such things to be proved by them, which their author never once intended. For pactional justification, evangelical justification, whereby a sinner is completely justified, that it should precede believing, I have not only not asserted but positively denied, and disproved by many arguments. To be now traduced as a patron of that opinion, and my reasons for it publicly answered, seems to me something uncouth; however, I am resolved not to interpose in other men’s disputes and differences. Yet, lest I should be again and farther mistaken in this, I shall briefly give in my thoughts to the whole difficulty, after I have discovered and discussed the ground and occasion of this mistake.

    In an answer to an argument of Grotius about the satisfaction of Christ, denying that by it we are ipso facto delivered from the penalty due to sin, I affirmed that by his death Christ did actually, or ipso facto, deliver us from the curse, by being made a curse for us: and this is that which gave occasion to that imputation before mentioned.

    To clear my mind in this, I must desire the reader to consider that my answer is but a denial of Grotius’ assertions In what kind and respect Grotius doth there deny that we are ipso facto delivered by the satisfaction of Christ, in that sense, and that only, do I affirm that we are so; otherwise, there were no contradictions between his assertion and mine, not speaking ad idem and eodem respectu. The truth is, Grotius doth not, in that place whence this argument is taken, fully or clearly manifest what he intends by deliverance which is not actual or ipso facto; and, therefore, I made bold to interpret his mind by the analogy of that opinion wherewith he was thoroughly infected about the death of Christ. According to that, Christ delivering us by his satisfaction, not actually nor ipso facto, is so to make satisfaction for us as that we shall have no benefit by his death but upon the performance of a condition, which himself by that death of his did not absolutely procure. This was that which I opposed; and therefore affirmed that Christ by his death did actually, or ipso facto, deliver us.

    Let the reader, then, here observe, — 1. That our deliverance is to be referred to the death of Christ, according to its own causality, — that is, as a cause meritorious. Now, such causes do actually and ipso facto produce all those effects which immediately flow from them; not in an immediation of time but causality. Look, then, what effects do follow, or what things soever are procured by them, without the interposition of any other cause in the same kind, they are said to be procured by them actually, or ipso facto. 2. That I have abundantly proved, in the treatise mentioned, that if the fruits of the death of Christ be to be communicated unto us upon a condition, and that condition to be among those fruits, and be itself to be absolutely communicated upon no condition, then all the fruits of the death of Christ are as absolutely procured for them for whom he died as if no condition had been prescribed; for these things come all to one. 3. I have proved in the same place that faith, which is this condition, is itself procured by the death of Christ for them for whom he died, to be freely bestowed on them, without the prescription of any such condition as on whose fulfilling the collation of it should depend.

    These things being considered, as I hoped they would have been by every one that should undertake to censure any thing, as to this business, in that treatise (they being there all handled at large), it is apparent what I intended by this actual deliverance, — namely, That the Lord Jesus, by the satisfaction and merit of his death and oblation, made for all and only his elect, hath actually and absolutely purchased and procured for them all spiritual blessings of grace and glory; to be made out unto them, and bestowed upon them, in God’s way and time, without dependence on any condition to be by them performed, not absolutely procured for them thereby; whereby they become to have a right unto the good things by him purchased, to be in due time possessed, according to God’s way, method, and appointment.

    From a faithful adherence unto this persuasion, I see nothing as yet of the least efficacy or force to dissuade me; and am bold to tell those concerned therein, that their conditional satisfaction, or their suspending the fruits of the death of Christ upon conditions, as though the Lord should give him to die for us upon condition of such and such things, is a vain figment, contrary to the Scriptures, inconsistent in itself, and destructive of the true value and virtue of the death of Christ: which, by the Lord’s assistance, I shall be ready at any time to demonstrate.

    My intention in the place excepted against being cleared, I shall now tender my thoughts to these two things: — 1. The distinct consideration of the acts of the will of God, before and after the satisfaction of Christ, as also before and after our believing, towards us, as unto justification. 2. The distinct estate of the sinner upon that consideration, with what is the right to the fruits of the death of Christ which the elect of God have before believing.

    CHAPTER 6.

    OF THE ACTS OF GOD’S WILL TOWARDS SINNERS, ANTECEDENT AND CONSEQUENT TO THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST — Of Grotius’ judgment herein. THE distinct consideration of the acts of God’s will in reference to the satisfaction of Christ and our believing, according to the former proposal, is the first thing to be considered.

    Grotius, who with many, and in an especial manner with Mr Baxter, is of very great account, and that in theology, distinguisheth (as himself calls them with a school term) “three moments” or instances of the divine will: — 1. “Before the death of Christ, either actually accomplished, or in the purpose and foreknowledge of God. In this instance,” he saith, “God is angry with the sinner, but so as that he is not averse from all ways of laying down his anger.” 2. “Upon the death of Christ, or that being supposed; wherein God not only purposeth but also promiseth to lay aside his anger.” 3. “When a man by true faith believeth in Christ, and Christ, according to the tenor of the covenant, commendeth him to God. Here now God lays aside his anger, and receiveth man into favor.” Thus far he.

    Amongst all the attempts of distinguishing the acts of God’s will in reference unto Christ and sinners, whatever I considered, I never found any more slight, atheological, and discrepant from the truth than this of Grotius.

    To ( Psalm 50:21; Exodus 3:14; 1 Samuel 15:29: Job 23:13; <19A226> Psalm 102:26,27; Isaiah 14:27.) measure the Almighty by the standard of a man, and to frame in the mind a mutable idol, instead of the eternal, unchangeable God, is a thing that the fleshly reasonings of dark understandings are prone unto; — to feign the Lord in one instant angry, afterward promising to cease to be so, then in another instant laying down his anger, and taking up a contrary affection: and you seem to me to do no less.

    What it may be esteemed in law, which was that author’s faculty, I know not; but suppose in divinity that (notwithstanding the manifold attempts of some ajki>nhta kinei~n in most heads of religion) ( 2 Kings 19:6; Isaiah 37:8; 1 Timothy 1:13.) the ascribing unto the Most Holy things alien and opposite unto his glorious nature, is, by common consent, accounted no less than blasphemy. Whether this be here done or no, may easily appear. I hope, then, without the offense of any, I may be allowed to call those dictates of Grotius to the rule and measure of truth.

    I. “Before the foresight of the death of Christ,” saith he, “God is angry with sinners, but not wholly averse from all ways of laying aside that anger.” To which I answer, — 1. That God should be conceived angry after the manner of men, or with any such kind of passion, is gross Anthropomorphism, — as bad, if not worse than the assigning of him a bodily shape. The anger of God is a pure act of his will, whereby he will effect and inflict the effects of anger. Now, what is before the foresight of the death of Christ is certainly from eternity. God’s anger must respect either the purpose of God or the effects of it. The latter it cannot be, for they are undoubtedly all temporal.

    It must be, then, his purpose from eternity to inflict punishment that is the effect of anger. This, then, is the first thing in the business of redemption assigned by Grotius unto the Lord, — namely, he purposed from eternity to inflict punishment on sinners. And on what sinners? Even on those for whom he gives Christ to die, and afterward receives into favor, as he expresseth himself. Behold here a mystery of Vorstian theology; God changing his eternal purposes! This Arminius at first could not down withal; inferring from hence that the will of God differed not from his essence; — that every act thereof is, first, most simple; secondly, infinite; thirdly, eternal; fourthly, immutable; fifthly, holy.

    Reason itself would fain speak in this cause, but that the scriptures do so abound. Many places are noted in the margin. James 1:17; Timothy 2:19; Psalm 33:9-11; Acts 15:18, etc., may be added. A mutable god is of the dunghill. 2. That the death of Christ is not comprised in the first consideration of God’s mind and act of his will towards sinners to be saved, is assumed gratis. 3. “He is not,” saith he, “averse from all ways of laying down this anger.”

    This scheme Grotius placeth, as is evident, in God, as the foundation and bottom of sending Christ for our redemption. This he immediately subjoins, without the least intimation of any farther inclination in God towards sinners, for whom he gives his Son. But, — (1.) This is a mere negation of inflicting anger for the present, or a suspension of that affection from working according to its quality; which how it can be ascribed to the pure and active will of God I know not. ( Ephesians 1:13.) Yea, it is above disproved. (2.) Such a kind of frame, as it is injurious to God so to be held out as the fountain of his sending Christ to die for us, is, I am persuaded, an abhorrency to Christians. And, — (3.) Whether this answer that which the Scripture holds out as the most intense distinguishing love, John 3:16; Romans 5:8, 8:32; 1 John 4:9,10, is easily discernible. A natural velleity to the good of the creature is the thing here couched, but was never proved.

    II. “In the second instance, God,” saith he, “the death of Christ being supposed, not only determineth, but also promiseth to lay aside his anger.” 1. What terms can be invented to hold out more expressly a change and alteration in the unchangeable God than these here used, I know not. 2. That the will or mind of God is altered, from one respect towards us to another, by the consideration of the death of Christ, is a low, carnal conception. The will of God is not moved by any thing without itself. f291 Alterations are in the things altered, not in the will of God concerning them. 3. To make this the whole effect of the death of Christ, that God should determine and promise to lay aside his wrath, is no Scripture discovery, ( Matthew 18:11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Ephesians 5:25-27, 2:15,16; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 1:7, etc.) either as to name or thing. 4. The purposes of God, which are all eternal, and the promises of God, which are all made in time, are very inconveniently ranged in the same series. 5. That by the death of Christ atonement is made, everlasting redemption purchased, that God is reconciled, a right unto freedom obtained, for those for whom he died, shall be afterward declared. 6. If God doth only purpose and promise to lay aside his anger upon the death of Christ, but doth it not until our actual believing, — then, first, our faith is the proper procuring cause of reconciliation, the death of Christ but a requisite antecedent; which is not the Scripture phrase, Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20,21; Daniel 9:24; Hebrews 2:17; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12.

    Secondly, how comes the sinner by faith, if it is the gift of God? ( Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:29.) It must be an issue of anger and enmity; for that scheme only is actually ascribed to him before our enjoyment of it. Strange! that God should be so far reconciled as to give us faith, that we may be reconciled to him, that thereupon he may be reconciled to us.

    III. For the third instance, — of God’s receiving the sinner into love and favor upon his believing, quite laying aside his anger, — I answer, to waive the Anthropomorphism wherewith this assertion is tainted as the former, if by receiving into favor he intend absolute, complete, pactional justification, being an act of favor quitting the sinner from the guilt of sin, charged by the accusation of the law, terminated in the conscience of a sinner, I confess it, in order of nature, to follow our believing.

    I might consider farther the attempts of others for the right stating of this business, but it would draw me beyond my intention. His failings herein who is so often mentioned and so much used by him who gives occasion to this rescript, I could not but remark. What are my own thoughts and apprehensions of the whole, I shall in the next place briefly impart.

    Now, to make way hereunto, some things I must suppose; which, though some of them otherwhere controverted, yet not at all in reference to the present business: and they are these: — That Christ died only for the elect; or, God gave his Son to die only for those whom he chooseth for life and salvation, for the praise of his glorious grace.

    This is granted by Mr Baxter, where he affirms, “That Christ bare not punishment for them who must bear punishment themselves in eternal fire,” thes. 33, p. 162; and again, “Christ died not for final unbelief,” thes. 33, p. 159: therefore, not for them who are finally unbelievers, as all nonelected are and shall be. For what sinners he died, be died for all their sins, Romans 5:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:7.

    If any shall say, that as he died not for the final unbelief of others, so not for the final unbelief of the elect, and so not for final unbelief at all, I answer, — First, If by final unbelief you mean that which is actually so, Christ satisfied not for it. His satisfaction cannot be extended to those things whose existence is prevented by his merit. The omission of this, in the consideration of the death of Christ, lies at the bottom of many mistakes.

    Merit and satisfaction are of equal extent as to their objects; both also tend to the same end, but in sundry respects.

    Secondly, If by final unbelief you understand that which would be so, notwithstanding all means and remedies, were it not for the death of Christ, so he did satisfy for it, its existence being prevented by his merit.

    So, then, if Christ died not for final unbelief, he died not for the finally unbelieving. Though the satisfaction of his death hath not paid for it, the merit of his death would remove it.

    Thirdly, I suppose that the means as well as the ends, grace as glory, are the purchase and procurement of Jesus Christ. See this proved in my treatise of Redemption, lib. in. cap. 4, etc.

    Fourthly, That God is absolutely immutable and unchangeable in all his attributes; neither doth his will admit of any alteration. This proved above.

    Fifthly, That the will of God is not moved, properly, by any external cause whatsoever, unto any of its acts, whether immanent or transient; for, — 1. By a moving cause we understand a cause morally efficient; and if any thing were so properly in respect of any act of God’s will, then the act, which is the will of God acting, must in some respect, — namely, as it is an effect, — be less worthy, and inferior to the cause; for so is every effect in respect to its cause. And, — 2. Every effect produced proceedeth from a passive possibility unto the effect; which can no way be assigned unto God. Besides, it must be temporary; for nothing that is eternal can have dependence upon that whose rise is in time. And such are all things external to the will of God, even the merit of Christ himself. 3. I cannot imagine how there can be any other cause why God willeth any thing than why he not willeth or willeth not other things; which for any to assign will be found difficult, Matthew 11:25,26, 20:15. So, then, when God willeth one thing for another, as our salvation for the death of Christ, the one is the cause of the other; neither moveth the will of God.

    Hence, — Sixthly, All alterations are in the things concerning which the acts of the will of God are; none in the will of God itself.

    These things being premised, what was before proposed I shall now in order make out, beginning with the eternal acts of the will of God towards us, antecedent to all or any consideration of the death of Christ.

    CHAPTER 7. In particular of the will of God towards them for whom Christ died, and their state and condition as considered antecedaneous to the death of Christ and all efficiency thereof. FIRST, then, the habitude of God towards man, antecedent to all foresight of the death of Christ, is an act of supreme sovereignty and dominion, appointing them, by means suited to the manifestation of his glorious properties, according to his infinitely wise and free disposal, to eternal life and salvation, for the praise of his glorious grace.

    That this salvation was never but one, or of one kind, consisting in the same kind of happiness, in reference unto God’s appointment, needs not much proving. To think that God appointed one kind of condition for man if he had continued in innocency, and another upon his recovery from the fall, is to think that his prescience is but conjectural and his will alterable.

    In this instance, then, we suppose no kind of affection in God, properly so called, no changeable resolution, no inclinableness and propensity of nature to the good of the creature in general, no frame of being angry, with only a non-averseness to the laying down of his anger, etc.; all which, and the like, are derogatory to the infinite perfection of God; — nor yet any act of pitying and pardoning mercy, much less any quitting or clearing of sinners, whereby they should be justified from eternity; the permission of sin itself in the purpose of it being not presupposed, but included in this habitude of God’s will towards man, to make it complete; — neither any absolute intention of doing good unto man, without respect unto Christ and his merits, they referring to the good to be done, not to his appointment; for by them is this purpose of his to be accomplished. Nor, lastly, doth it contain any actual relaxation, suspension, or abrogation of that law and its penalties by which it is his will the creature shall be regulated, in reference to the person concerning whom this act of his will is; they standing, indeed, in that relation thereunto, as, in the season of their existence, their several conditions expose them to, by virtue of the first constitution of that law.

    But it is such an act of his will as in the Scripture is termed pro>gnwsiv , Acts 2:23; Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:20; — pro>qesiv , Romans 8:28, 9:11; Ephesians 3:11; — eujdoki>a , Matthew 11:26; Ephesians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Luke 12:32 ; — boulh< zelh>matov , Ephesians 1:11; — zeme>liov tou~ Qeou~ , 2 Timothy 2:19; — proorismo>v , Ephesians 1:5,11; Romans 8:29; — ordination or appointment unto life, Acts 13:48; 1 Thessalonians 5:5,9. All which, and divers other expressions, point at the same thing.

    Divines commonly, in one word, call it his “decree of election,” and sometimes, according to Scripture, “election” itself, Ephesians 1:4.

    Neither doth the word hold out any habitude of God towards man, antecedaneous to all efficiency of the death of Christ, but only this. I speak of them only, in this whole discourse, for whom he died.

    That this is an act of sovereignty or supreme dominion, and not of mercy, properly so called, hath been by others abundantly proved. And this I place as the causa, prohgoume>nh , of the satisfaction of Christ, and the whole dispensation of making out love unto us, through various acts of mercy.

    This in the Scripture is called the “love” of God, Romans 9:13, and is set out as the most intense love that ever he beareth to any of his creatures, John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9,10; being, indeed, as properly love as love can be assigned unto God. His love is but an act of his will, whereby qe>lei tini< t j ajgaqo>n? and in respect of effects (in which respect chiefly affections are ascribed unto God), it hath the most eminent possible. Now, this being discriminating, can no way be reconciled with the common affection before disproved.

    For the order and series of the purposes of God, as most natural for our apprehension of God, and agreeable to his own infinite wisdom, tending to the completing of this love in all its issues and fruits, as it is more curious perhaps in the framing than necessary to be known, so certainly it would be too long and intricate a work for me to discuss at present, in reference to this intendment. Only, in general, this must be granted, that all the thoughts of God concerning the way of accomplishing this act of his will must be subordinate hereunto, as comprising the end, and coordinate among themselves, as being concerning the means.

    In particular, the constitution or appointment of the covenant of free grace, for the recovery and bringing home unto God of fallen man, hath immediate dependence thereon; I mean in that way of dependence which their order gives unto them. I cannot assent to what Mr Baxter hath asserted in this matter, thes. 14, expl. p. 90. “The satisfaction of Christ,” saith he, “to the law goes before the new covenant, though not in regard of its payment, which was in the fullness of time, yet in undertaking, acceptance, and efficacy: there could be no treating on new terms until the old obligation was satisfied and suspended.”

    Had he attempted the proof of this assertion, perhaps he would have found it a more difficult undertaking than barely to affirm it. Some few reasons to the contrary that present themselves I shall briefly set down: — 1. Christ himself, with his whole satisfaction and merit, is included in the covenant; therefore, his satisfaction is not antecedent to the covenant. The first appeareth, in that all promises of pardoning mercy are in and of this new covenant, Hebrews 8:10-12; but now, in them, as the foundation of that mercy, is Christ himself, with his satisfaction, comprised, Genesis in. 15; Isaiah 9:6,7. 2. He who in all that he is, as made unto us, was the Mediator of the new covenant, and whose merit and satisfaction, in all that they are, are appointed for the procuring the mercies of the new covenant, his satisfaction is not antecedent to the covenant, Hebrews 7:22, 8:6, etc 3. The constitution of the new covenant, as it is in the purpose of God, is the rise and fountain of giving Christ with his satisfaction for us. It is in the purpose of God to save us, through faith, by pardoning mercy: in the pursuit of that design, and for the praise of that glorious grace, is Christ given, John 3:16; Romans 8:32. Or thus: — 4. If the designation of that way of life and salvation which is administered by the gospel be antecedent to the satisfaction of Christ, then the satisfaction of Christ is not antecedent to the new covenant; for nothing can be before and after the same thing. Understand the designation of the way of life, and the satisfaction of Christ, in the same order of decree or execution; now the supposal is manifest, — the satisfaction of Christ being appointed as the means of accomplishing that way of life.

    If Mr Baxter intendeth those latter words, “There could be no treating on new terms before the old obligation was satisfied or suspended,” as a proof of his former assertion, he will fail in his intendment, as I suppose; for, — 1. Treating on new terms denoteth either consilium ineundi foederis, or exequendi. If the first, it is nothing but the purpose of God to save his elect by par-dolling mercy, for the praise of his glorious grace. This is wholly antecedent to any efficiency of the death and satisfaction of Christ, as being of mere and absolute grace, Jeremiah 31:3; Hebrews 8:7,8. If the latter be intended, or the actual taking of sinners into covenant, by working an acceptance of it upon their spirits, and obedience to the condition of it in their hearts, then, though the satisfaction of Christ be an antecedent hereunto, yet it is not thence antecedent to the new covenant; for the new covenant, and taking into covenant, are distinct.

    This, then, being assigned unto God, after our manner of apprehension, the next inquiry is into the state and condition of those persons who are the peculiar object of the act of God’s will before described, in reference thereunto, antecedaneous to all consideration of the death of Christ, and all efficacy thereof.

    The Scripture, speaking of them in this condition, saith that they are “beloved,” Romans 9:13, 11:28; “elected,” Ephesians 1:4; “ordained to eternal life,” Acts 13:48: 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Whether only the eternal actings of the will of God towards them [be intended], or also their own change, either actual, in respect of real state and condition, or relative, in reference to the purpose of God, is not certainly evident. Hereunto, then, I propose these two things: — 1. By the eternal love, purpose, and act of God’s will towards them that shall be saved (who are so from thence), they are not actually changed from that condition which is common to them with all the sons of men after the fall. 2. By virtue of that love alone, they have not so much as personal right unto any of those things which are the proper effects of that love, and which it produceth in due season, beseemingly to the wisdom and justice of God.

    Either of these assertions shall be briefly proved. 1. For the first, it is manifest, — (1.) From the act of God’s will, which to this love is contradistinct. What change is wrought in the loved or elected by the purpose of God according to election, an answerable change must be wrought in the hated and appointed to condemnation by the decree of reprobation. Now, that this should really alter the condition of men, and actually dispose them under the consequences of that purpose, cannot be granted. (2.) Analogy from other eternal purposes of God gives a demonstration hereof. The eternal purposes of the divine will for the creation of the world out of nothing left that nothing as very nothing as ever, until an act of almighty power gave, in the beginning, existence and being to the things that are seen. Things have their certain futurition, not instant actual existence, from the eternal purposes of God concerning them (3.) The Scripture plainly placeth all men in the same state and condition before conversion and reconciliation. “We have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin,” Romans 3:9.

    So “every mouth is stopped, and all the world is become guilty before God,” verse 19; all being “by nature children of wrath,” Ephesians 2:3.

    The condition of all in unregeneracy is really one and the same. Those who think it is a mistaken apprehension in the elect to think so, are certainly too much mistaken in that apprehension. “He that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him,” John 3:36.

    If the misapprehension be, as they say it is, unbelief, it leaves them in whom it is under the wrath of God. He that would see this farther cleared and confirmed may consult my treatise of Redemption, lib. in cap. 8, where it is purposely and expressly handled at large.

    Hence Mr Baxter may have some directions how to dispose of that censure concerning me, which yet he is pleased to say that he suspendeth, p. 158, — namely, That I should affirm justification to be nothing but the manifestation of eternal love; which I have more than in one place or two expressly opposed. That any one should but here and there consult a few lines or leaves of my treatise, I no way blame, — in such things we all use our liberty, — but upon so slight a view as cannot possibly represent the frame, structure, and coherence of my judgment in any particular, to undertake a confutation and censure of it, cannot well be done without some regret to candid ingenuity. 2. For the second assertion laid down, which goeth something farther than the former, it is easily deduced from the same principles therewithal. I shall therefore add only one argument for the confirmation thereof.

    God having appointed that his eternal love, in the fruits thereof, should be no otherwise communicated but only in and by Christ, all right thereunto must of necessity be of his procurement and purchasing. Yea, the end of the mediation of the Lord Jesus is to give right, title, and possession, in their several order and seasons, unto and in all the fruits, issues, and tendencies of that love unto them whose mediator he is appointed to be.

    Thus far, then, all is seated in the bosom of the Almighty, all differencing acts of grace flowing from hence being to be made out as seems good unto him in his infinite wise sovereignty; from whence alone is the disposal of all these things, as to that order which may most conduce to his glory.

    And this also writes vanity upon the objection insisted on by Mr Baxter, p. 157, that when we have a right we must presently have a possession; all these things being to be moderated according to his free, sovereign disposal.

    And this concerneth the first instant proposed.

    CHAPTER 8. Of the will of God in reference to them for whom Christ died, immediately upon the consideration of his death; and their state and condition before actual believing in relation thereunto. THE second instance proposed to be considered is in the immediate issue of the death of Christ, as proposed and accomplished. Purpose and accomplishment are, indeed, different, but their effects in respect of God are the same. In reference to us, also, the death of Christ hath the same efficacy as promised and as performed. What acts the Scripture ascribes unto God, antecedent unto any consideration of the death of Christ, or at least such as are absolutely free and of sovereignty, without any influence of causality from thence, we saw before; for as for the order of God’s decrees compared among themselves, I will not with any one contend.

    Here we inquire what it holdeth out of him, that being in all its efficacy supposed. And we affirm, — 1. That the will of God is not moved to any thing thereby, nor changed into any other respect towards those for whom Christ died than what it had before. This was formerly proved, and must again be touched on. But, — 2. The death of Christ [being] proposed and accounted effectual, as before, God can, agreeable to his infinite justice, wisdom, truth, and appointment, make out unto sinners for whom Christ died, or was to die, all those good things which he before purposed and willed by such means to them; those things being purchased and procured, and all hindrances of bestowing them being removed, by that satisfaction and merit which, by free compact, he agreed and consented should be in that death of Christ. 3. That as [to] the making out of all spiritual blessings, first proposed by the Father, then purchased by the Son, that they might be bestowed condecently to divine justice, God hath reserved it to his own sovereign disposal. That it be done so that they for whom this whole dispensation is appointed may really enjoy the fruits of it, is all that necessarily is included either in the purpose or purchase.

    Hence it is that the discharge of the debtor doth not immediately follow the payment of the debt by Christ; not because that payment is refusable, but because in that very covenant and compact from whence it is that the death of Christ is a payment, God reserveth to himself this right and liberty to discharge the debtor when and how he pleaseth, — I mean as to times and seasons: for otherwise the means of actual freedom are procured by that payment. though not considered merely as a payment, which denotes only satisfaction, but as it had adjoined merit also.

    Therefore, that principle much used and rested on by Mr Baxter in the business of satisfaction, to obviate this very difficulty of a not immediate discharge, if Christ paid the debt, — namely, That the satisfaction of Christ is a refusable payment, — which he presseth, pp. 149,150, is neither true in itself nor accommodate to this difficulty. Not true; for, The suffering of Christ may be considered either, — (1.) Absolutely, as in itself, abstracting from the consideration of any covenant or compact thereabout; and so it cannot be said to be a refusable payment; not because not refusable, but because no payment. That any thing should have any such reference unto God as a payment or satisfaction, whether refusable or otherwise, is not from itself and its own nature, but from the constitution of God alone. Between God and the creature there is no equality, — not so much as of proportion. Christ, in respect of his human nature, though united to the Deity, is a creature, and so could not absolutely satisfy or merit any thing at the hand of God; I mean, with that kind of merit which ariseth from an absolute proportion of things. This merit can be found only among creatures, and the advancement of Christ’s humanity takes it not out of that number.

    Neither, in this sense, can any satisfaction be made to God for sin. The sinner’s own undergoing the penalty neither is satisfaction in the sense whereof we speak, neither can it properly be said to be so at all; no more than a thing [can be said] to be done which is endlessly in doing. (2.) It may be considered with reference unto God’s constitution and determination, predestinating Christ unto that work, and appointing the work by him to be accomplished to be satisfactory; equalling, by that constitution, the end and the means. And thus the satisfaction of Christ, in the justice of God, was not refusable, the wisdom, truth, justice, and suitable purpose of God being engaged to the contrary.

    This distinction is not accommodate to this difficulty; the sole reason thereof being what was held out before, — of the interest of God’s sovereign right to the bestowing of purposed, purchased, promised blessings, as to times and seasons, according to the free counsel of his own will.

    Hence, then, it is that God, in the Scripture, upon the death of Christ is said to be reconciled, to be returned unto peace with them for whom he so died, the enmity being slain and peace actually made, Ephesians 2:14-16, Colossians 1:20; because he now will and may, suitably to his justice, wisdom, and appointment, make out unto them for whom the atonement was made all the fruits of love, peace, and amity, Hebrews 2:17; Romans 5:10,11; 2 Corinthians 5:19.

    The objection unto this, “How, then, can God deny us the present possession of heaven?” used by Mr Baxter, p. 157, is not of any force, the whole disposal of these things being left to his own pleasure.

    And this is the scheme which, upon the death of Christ, we assign unto God: He is atoned, appeased, actually reconciled, at peace, with those for whom Christ died; and in due time, for his sake, will bestow upon them all the fruits and issues of love and renewed friendship.

    This, possibly, may give some light into the immediate effect of the death of Christ; which though I shall not purposely now handle, yet Mr Baxter, with much diligence, having employed himself in the investigation thereof, I shall turn aside a little to consider his assertions in this particular.

    CHAPTER 9.

    A DIGRESSION CONCERNING THE IMMEDIATE EFFECT OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST. “IT is one of the greatest and noblest questions in our controverted divinity, What are the immediate effects of Christ’s death? He that can rightly answer this, is a divine indeed, and, by help of this, may expedite most other controversies about redemption and justification. In a word, the effects of redemption undertaken could not be upon a subject not yet existent, and so no subject, though it might be for them. None but Adam and Eve were then existent; yet as soon as we do exist, we receive benefit from it. The suspending of the rigorous execution of the sentence of the law is the most observable immediate effect of the death of Christ; which suspension is some kind of deliverance from it.” Thus far Mr Baxter, thes. 9, explicat, p. 67.

    There are scarce more lines than mistakes in this discourse; some of them may be touched on: — 1. Effects are to be considered with respect to their causes. Causes are real or moral. Real or physical causes produce their effects immediately, either immediatione suppositi or virtutis. Unto them the subject must be existent.

    I speak not of creating power, where the act produceth its object.

    Moral causes do never immediately actuate their own effects, nor have any immediate influence into them. There is between such causes and their effects the intervention of some third thing previous to them both, — namely, proportion, constitution, law, covenant, — which takes in the cause and lets out the effect; and this for all circumstances of where, how, when, suitable to the limitations in them expressed or implied, with the nature of the things themselves.

    The death of Christ is a moral cause in respect of all its effects. Whether those subjects on which it is to have its effects be existent or not existent, at the time of its performance, is nothing at all considerable. If it wrought physically and efficiently, the existence of the subjects on which it were to work were requisite. It is altogether in vain to inquire of the immediate effects of Christ’s death upon an existent subject. By the way, That Adam and Eve only were existent when Christ undertook the work of redemption, to me is not clear; no, nor yet the following assertion, That as soon as we do exist we receive benefit by it, — taking benefit for a benefit actually collated, as Mr Baxter doth not for a right to a benefit, or the purpose of bestowing one, which will operate in its due time. This is easily affirmed, and therefore eddem facilitate is denied.

    I have no fancy to strive to carry the bell, and to be accounted “a divine indeed,” by attempting at this time a right stating of and answer to this question proposed. I am not altogether ignorant of the endeavor of others even as to this particular, and have formerly spoken something that way myself.

    Mr. Baxter seems here to understand by this question, — namely, What is the immediate effect of the death of Christ? — What is the first benefit which, from the death of Christ, accrueth unto them for whom he died? not what is the first thing that every particular person is actually, in his own person, in his own time, made partaker of; but a benefit generally established and in being upon the designment of the work of redemption, which every one for whom Christ died hath a share of. And of this he positively affirms that the suspending of the rigorous execution of the sentence of the law is the most observable immediate effect of the death of Christ; and so deserves the title of” a divine indeed.”

    Now, truly, though not to contend for the bell with Mr Baxter, — whereof I confess myself utterly unworthy, and willingly, for many commendable parts, ascribe it unto him, — I cannot close with him, nor assent unto that assertion. Very gladly would I see Mr Baxter’s arguments for this; but those, as in most other controverted things in this book, he is pleased to conceal: and, therefore, though it might suffice me to give in my dissent, and so wait for farther proof, yet, that it may be apparent that I do not deny this merely because it is said, not proved (which, in things not clear in themselves, is a provocation so to do), I shall oppose one or two arguments unto it: — 1. All the effects of the death of Christ are peculiar only to the elect; to some, the suspension of the rigorous execution of the law is not so: ergo, etc.

    The minor is apparent, the major proved by all the arguments against universal redemption used in my former treatise. 2. All the effects of the death of Christ are spiritual, distinguishing, and saving, to the praise of God’s free grace; the suspending of the rigorous execution of the law is not so: ergo, etc.

    The assumption is manifest. It is only a not immediate casting into hell, which is not a spiritual, distinguishing mercy, but, in respect to many, tends to the manifestation of God’s justice, Romans 9:22.

    The proposition is evident. The promises made unto Christ upon his undertaking this work doubtless do hold out all that he effected by his death. Of what nature they are, and what is the main tendence of them, I have elsewhere discovered. From the first to the last, they are restrained to distinguishing mercies. See Isaiah 49:6-12, 53:10-12, <236101> 61:1-3; and no less is positively affirmed, Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 1:5,6.

    If Mr Baxter say that the meaning in this is, that if Christ had not undertaken the work of redemption and satisfaction, then the law must have had rigorous execution upon all, and therefore, this being suspended upon his undertaking of it, is the first fruit of the death of Christ, I answer, — Notwithstanding this, yet that suspension, which in respect of the different persons towards whom it is actually exercised hath different ends, is not a fruit nor effect of the death of Christ, but a free issue of the same eternally wise providence, sovereignty, and grace, as the death of Christ himself is. If, then, by the rigorous execution of the law, you intend the immediate execution of the law in all its rigour and punishment, this, if it had been effected, could, in your own judgment, have reached Adam and Eve, and no more; and would have so reached them as to cut off the generation of mankind in that root. If so, and this be the fruit of Christ’s death, why do you not reckon the procreation of the human race among those fruits also? for had it not been for this suspension, that also had failed; which is as good a causative connection as that between the death of Christ and this suspension. Had not he undertaken the work of redemption, it had not been. If by a rigorous execution you intend the penalty of the law, inflicted in that way which hath pleased the will of the Law-giver, — by several parts and degrees, from conception, through birth, life, death, to eternity, the curse of it being wholly incumbent in respect of desert, and making out itself according to God’s appointment, — then the suspension thereof is not the immediate effect of the death of Christ; which (supposing the first arguments to the former acceptation) I farther prove: If those for whom Christ died do lie under this rigorous execution of the law (that is, the curse of it) until some other effect of Christ’s death be wrought upon them, then that is not the first effect of the death of Christ; but that supposal is true, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:3: therefore, so also the inference.

    In a word: Take the suspending of the rigorous execution of the law for the purpose of God, and his acting accordingly, not to leave his elect under the actual curse of it; so it is no fruit of the death of Christ, but an issue of the same grace from whence also the death of Christ proceeds.

    Take it for an actual freeing of their persons from the breach of it and its curse, and so it differs not from justification, and is not the immediate effect of Christ’s death, in Mr. Baxter’s judgment.

    Take it for the not immediate executing of the law upon the first offense, and I can as well say, Christ died because the law was suspended, as you, that the law was suspended because Christ died; had not either been, the other had not been.

    Take it for the actual forbearance of God towards all the world, and so it falls under my first two arguments.

    Take it thus, That God, for the death of Christ, will deal with all men upon a new law, freeing all from the guilt of the first broken law and covenant; so it is non ens.

    If you mean by it God’s entering into a new way of salvation with those for whom Christ died, this, on the part of God, is antecedaneous to the consideration of the death of Christ, and of the same free grace with itself.

    For the question itself, as I said before, I shall not here in terms take it up; the following discourse will give light into it. I have also spoken largely to it in another place, and that distinctly.

    The sum is: I conceive that all the intermediate effects of the death of Christ, tending to its ultimate procurement of the glory of God, are all, in respect of his death, immediate; that is, with such an immediation as attends moral causes. Now, these concerning them for whom he died, as they are not immediately bestowed on them, the ultimate attingency of the cause and the first rise of the effect lying in an intervening compact, so not simul, at once neither, though simul and alike procured; the cause of this being that relation, coherence, and causality which the Lord hath appointed between the several effects, or rather parts of the same effect, of the death of Christ, in reference to the main and ultimate end to be thereby attained, as at large I have discussed, lib. 2:cap. 1, pp. 52,53, etc.; — in one word, the first effect of the death of Christ, in this sense, is the first fruit of election; for, for the procuring and purchasing of the fruits thereof, and them alone, did Christ die.

    If I mistake not, Mr. Baxter himself is not settled fully in this persuasion, that the suspension of the rigorous execution of the law is the most immediate effect of the death of Christ; for, p. 52, these words which he useth, “God the Father doth accept the suffering and merits of his Son as a full satisfaction to his violated law, and as a valuable consideration, upon which he will wholly acquit and forgive the offenders themselves, and receive them again into favor, so that they will but receive his Son upon the terms expressed in the gospel,” seem to place the ultimate efficacy of the death of Christ in God’s acceptation of it, as to our good, on the condition of faith and obedience.

    Which, first, makes the suspension of the law to be so far from being the first effect of the death of Christ, that the last reacheth not so far; and, secondly, the fond absurdity of this conditional acceptation I have before declared.

    Neither am I clear to which of those assertions, that of p. 92, where he affirms that some benefit by Christ the condemned did receive, is most accommodate. Neither can I easily receive what is here asserted, if by “benefit” you understand that which, in respect of them, is intentionally so; for, — 1. Condemned persons, as condemned persons, surely receive no benefit by Christ, for they are condemned. 2. The delay of the condemnation of reprobates is no part of the purchase of Christ. The Scripture says nor more nor less of any such thing, but peculiarly assigns it to another cause, Romans 9:22.

    CHAPTER 10. Of the merit of Christ, and its immediate efficacy — What it effecteth — In what it resteth — With the state of those for whom Christ died in reference to his death, and of their rights to the fruits of his death before believing. THAT they for whom Christ died have a right to the things which he purchased thereby, — that is, an actual right, for so men may have to what they have not in actual possession, — is no singular conception of mine.

    Our divines freely express themselves to this purpose.

    Even the commender and publisher of Grotius’ book of “Satisfaction,” the learned Vossius, himself affirmeth that Christ by his death purchased for us a double right, — first, a right of escaping punishment, and then a right of obtaining the reward. By the way, I cannot close with his distinction in that place, of some things that Christ by his life and death purchased for us, and others that he daily bestoweth; for the things he daily bestoweth are of them which by his death he purchased.

    My expressions then, alone, are not subject to the consequences charged on them, for asserting a right to life and salvation in them for whom Christ died, even before believing. Yea, some have gone farther, and affirmed f293 that those for whom Christ died are in some manner restored into saving favor; not to mention some of them, to whose judgment Mr Baxter seems to accede, who assert universal justification and restoration into grace upon the death of Christ. But I lay no weight upon these things.

    To clear my thoughts in this particular, two things must necessarily be inquired into and made out: — 1. Seeing the satisfaction and merit of Christ do tend directly for the good of them for whom he died, and that there is a distance and space of time between that death and their participation of the good things purchased thereby, wherein lieth or in what resteth the efficacy of that his death, with the principle of the certain futurition of the spiritual things so procured, which those for whom he died shall assuredly in due time enjoy? 2. Wherein lies the obligation unto death, hell, and wrath, which, before believing, the Scripture affirms to be upon the elect, seeing Christ hath actually purchased for them freedom from these things: And this, without more ado, will be cleared in the former. “Omnes illi, pro quibus Christus ex intentione Dei satisfecit, sunt Deo reconciliati, i.e., in favorem salutiferum allquo modo restituti.” — Ames. Antisynod., p. 104.

    For the first, then, upon the issue of the death of Christ, something being supposed in God beyond his mere purpose (of which before), some things being actually procured and purchased by it, which yet they for whom they are so purchased neither do nor possibly can, upon the purchase, immediately possess and enjoy, it is inquired wherein resteth the efficacy of his death which in due time causeth the making out of all those spiritual blessings which by it are so procured?

    Now, this must be either in those for whom he died, or in himself as mediator, or in his Father who sent him. 1. That it is not in them for whom he died is apparent. Upon the death of Christ, in purpose and promise, when first its efficacy took place, they were not; I mean, actually existent. True, they were potentially in the purpose of God; but will that make them a meet subject for the residence of this right and merit whereof we speak? As is the thing, such are all its affections and adjuncts; — but possible, if it be no more. This is something actual whereof we speak. 2. That it is not in Christ as mediator is no less evident. He that makes satisfaction and he to whom it is made, he who meriteth any thing and he at whose hands he meriteth it, must be distinguished. The second person, under the notion of performing the work of mediation, receiveth not satisfaction. The power Christ receiveth of the Father, because he is the Son of man, to give eternal life to those given him of his Father, is of later consideration to that we have in hand, being a result and consequence thereof. 3. It must, therefore, be in the Father, or God, as receiving satisfaction.

    Of all the attributes of God, where this may be placed, to speak after the manner of men, one of these four must needs be the proper seat of it, power, will, justice, truth: — (1.) His power. And then it must be, not that God hath any addition of power, for that cannot be to him who is omnipotent, but that a way is made for the exercise of his power, which before, by somewhat from himself, was shut up.

    And, as some suppose, it is no otherwise; that whereas the Lord could not make out grace and favor unto sinners, because of his justice necessarily inclining him to their punishment and destruction, now, that justice being satisfied in Christ, he can collate any spiritual blessings upon them, as he seeth good.

    But this I have disproved elsewhere, and manifested, — [1.] That the foundation of this apprehension (being an impossibility in God to forgive sin without satisfaction, because of the contrariety of it to the properties of his nature) is a groundless assertion; and, — [2.] The foundation of God in sending his Son to die for his elect is oppugned hereby; and, — [3.] It is destructive to all the proper fruits and effects of the death of Christ, etc., lib. 2: cap. 2. (2.) In the will of God it seems that the merit and fruits of the death of Christ, whereof we treat, seem better to be treasured; and from hence it is that he can will, or willeth, to us the good things purchased by it. But, — [1.] That the will of God should, by the death of Christ, be changed into any other habitude than what it was in before, was before disproved. [2.] That now God can will good things to us, holds out the enlargement of his power as to the acting thereof, mentioned above, rather than any thing properly belonging to the will of God. [3.] God’s willing good things to us it cannot consist in. His willing of a thing is operative of it. It is his efficacious, energetical will whereof we speak. When he actually willeth grace, we have grace; and when he willeth glory, we have glory. But that concerning which we speak is antecedent to the actual making out of grace and glory to us, being the procuring cause of them, though not of that act of the will of God whereby they are bestowed. (3.) His justice and truth only remain. For justice, that which is commutative properly, with one consent, is removed from God. “Who hath given first unto him, and it shall be rendered unto him again?” Neither is distributive justice to be supposed in him antecedent to some free engagement of his own. Where no obligation is, there cannot be so much as distributive justice properly. All obligation from God to the creature is from his own free engagement; otherwise he stands in no relation to it but of absolute dominion and sovereignty. All the justice of God, then (we consider not the universal rectitude of his nature, but) in reference to the creature, is “justitia regiminis,” Psalm 33:4,5,1 John 1:5; and therefore must suppose some free constitution of his will.

    This, then, rightly considered, do I affirm to be effected with the merit of Christ; there I place the procuring efficacy thereof, whence it is that all the fruits of it are made out unto us. But this in due order.

    The first thing of immediate concernment hereunto is the covenant of the Father with the Son, the free engagement of God to do such and such things for Christ, upon the performance of such other things to him appointed. This is the foundation of the merit of Christ, as was before declared, Hence his distributive justice ascribed to God as to this thing. It is righteous with him, being engaged by his own free purpose and promise, to make out those things which he appointed to be the fruit and procurement of the death of Christ. And from thence it is that all the things purchased by the death of Christ become due to those for whom he died, even from the equity attending this justice of God. (4.) Herein, also, his truth hath a share. By his truth I understand his fidelity and veracity in the performance of all his engagements. This immediately attends every obligation that, by any free act of his will, God is pleased in his wisdom to put upon himself, and is naturally under consideration before that distributive justice whereby he is inclined to the performance itself of them This, then, is that I say: — God, by free purpose and compact, making way for the merit of Christ, which absolutely could be none, is obliged, from the veracity and justice which attend all his engagements, to make out, as in his infinite wisdom shall seem meet, all those things which he hath set, appointed, and proposed as the fruit and purchase of his death, unto all them for whom he died.

    And in this rests the merit of Christ.

    Here two things may be observed: — 1. What we ascribe to the merit of Christ, — namely, the accomplishment of that condition which God required to make way, that the obligation which he had freely put upon himself might be in actual force. And so much (how rightly I leave to himself to consider) doth Mr Baxter assign to our own works, thes. 26, p. 140. 2. The mistake of those who wind up the merit of Christ, as affecting God, if I may so speak, unto a conditional engagement, — namely, that we shall be made partakers of the fruits of it upon such and such conditions, to be by us fulfilled; for, — (1.) All such conditions (if spiritual blessings) are part of the purchase of the death of Christ; and if not, are no way fit to be conditions of such an attainment. (2.) It cannot be made apparent how any such conditional stipulation can be ascribed unto God; that God should engage upon the death of Christ to make out grace and glory, liberty and beauty, unto those for whom he died, upon condition they do so or so, — [1.] Leaves no proper place for the merit of Christ. [2.] Is very improperly ascribed unto God. Lawyers tell us that all stipulations about, things future are either sub conditione or sub termino.

    Stipulations or engagements upon condition, that are properly so, do suppose him that makes the engagement to be altogether uncertain of the event thereof. Stipulations sub termino are absolute, to make out the things engaged about at such a season. Upon the very instant of such a stipulation as this, an obligation follows as to the thing, though no action be allowed to him to whom it is made, until the term and time appointed be come.

    In those stipulations that are under condition, no obligation ariseth at all from them, it being wholly uncertain whether the condition will be fulfilled or no. Only in two cases doth such an engagement bring on an immediate obligation: — 1st, If the condition required be in things necessary and unalterable; as if Caius should engage himself unto Tilius to give him a hundred pounds for his house on the morrow if the sun shine. Here ariseth an immediate obligation, and it is the same as if it had been conceived only sub termino, without condition at all. 2dly . If by any means he that makes the stipulation knows infallibly that the condition will be fulfilled, though he to whom it is made knows it not, in this respect, also, the stipulation sub conditione introduceth an immediate obligation, and in that regard is coincident with that which is only sub termino.

    Whether an engagement upon condition properly, without the former respects, — that is, a stipulation to an event dubious and uncertain, — can be ascribed unto God, is easy to determine. To assert it oppugns the whole nature of the Deity, and overthrows the properties thereof, immediately and directly. All other stipulations under condition are coincident, as I said before, with that which is sub termino only, from whence ariseth an immediate obligation for the performance of the thing stipulated about, though there be not an immediate action granted him unto whom it is made.

    Surely they are wide, if not very wild, who affirm that all the stipulations on the part of God, upon the death of Christ, are upon a condition which he himself knows to be impossible for them to perform to whom they are made; which amongst wise men are always accounted nugatory and null.

    This being, then, so vain, I say that the merit of Christ, flowing from the free purpose and compact of God, resteth on his justice thence also arising, fixing thereon an obligation to make out all the fruits of it unto them for whom he died sub termino only; whereby a present right is granted them thereunto, though they cannot plead for present enjoyment.

    CHAPTER 11.


    The former assertions about the death of Christ being in some measure cleared, we may hence have light into the state and condition of those for whom Christ died, in their several generations, before believing.

    To make this the more fully appear, we must distinguish between their present state or possession, and their present right. Their state is not changed because all the procurements of the death of Christ are to be made out unto them by virtue of a stipulation sub termino, that term or season being not come. So that still, in present actual state, I leave them as before, not justified, not sanctified, not entered into covenant.

    Right also is twofold: — 1. In re; — as the father hath a right to his estate. And this jus in re holds, though the estate be unjustly or forcibly detained from him. 2. Ad rem; — so the son hath a right to the estate of his father, being to enjoy it at his death.

    The first right is presently actionable upon any detainment; the latter not so. The first we do not ascribe to the elect in this condition, — namely, that which is in re, and instantly actionable; but that which is ad rein and sub termino.

    This being that which I aimed at, and being by Mr Baxter opposed, I will farther consider it, that it may appear whether any thing in this assertion be justly blamable.

    I said that by the death of Christ we have actual right to the good things purchased by that death. That right which is not actual (to speak a word to that term) is not. The contradistinct affection hereunto is potential; and this is totally destructive to the nature of a right. All right is actual, or not at all.

    To evince the main assertion, I shall, — 1. Show the nature and quality of this right; 2. The bottom or foundation of it; and, 3. Prove the thesis. 1. By right I understand jus in general. Now, “Jus est quod justum est,” Aug. in Psalm cxliv, sub. fin; — “That is right which it is just should be.”

    And, “Quidquid rectum est, justum est,” Ansel. de Verit. cap. 13; — “It is just all that should be, which hath a rectitude in itself.” Farther; what this justum is, Aquinas tells you, 22 ae. q. 57, a. 1, c.: “Justum est quod respondet secundum aliquam aequalitatem alteri;” — “Then a thing is just, when it stands in some equality unto those things whereunto it relates.”

    And this equality or adequation of things is twofold: — First, That which ariseth from the nature of the things themselves; as an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc.

    Secondly, That which ariseth from a proportion condescended unto, by condict, agreement, covenant, or common consent. “Dupliciter est aliquid adsequatum; uno modo ex natura ipsius rei; allo modo cum est commensuratum ex condicto sire ex communi placito,” Aquin.

    In the first sense, as to a right that should accrue unto the creatures in respect of God, from the commensuration of the things themselves, we showed before that it cannot be. It must be from some grant, compact, covenant, or the like, from whence a right in reference to the faithfulness or righteousness of God may arise. The right, then, whereof we speak, which they for whom Christ died have to the things which by his death are procured, consists in that equity, proportion, and equality, which, upon the free compact, constitution, and consent of God the Father, is between the death of Christ and their enjoyment of the fruits of that death. It is just and equal that they should enjoy the fruits of his death in due time.

    Neither is the right of any man to any thing any more but such a frame and order of things as is just, either from the nature of the things themselves, or from common consent and agreement that he should enjoy that thing.

    This is the right whereof we speak; which, in their sense, the very Socinians grant. “Christus jus quoddam ad obtinendam remissionem peccatorum et salutem (morte sua) nobis dedit,” Crellius adv. Groti. cap. i. 2. For the foundation of this right, seeing that before the consideration of the death of Christ (as was declared) it is not, from thence it must needs be, nothing of any likelihood to be such a foundation being coincident therewithal.

    Now, whereas in the death of Christ two things are considered, — (1.) The satisfaction; and (2.) The merit thereof, — it may be inquired after, under whether respect this right relates thereunto. (1.) The satisfaction of Christ tends, in all that it is, to the honor and reparation of the justice of God. This, then, in its utmost extent and efficacy, cannot give ground to build such a right upon. The ultimate effect of satisfaction may be accomplished, and yet not the least right to any good thing communicated to them for whom this satisfaction is made. The good things attending the death of Christ may be referred unto two heads, — the amotion of evil, and the collation of good. For the first, — the amotion of evil, the taking that from us that it may not grieve us, and subducting us from the power and presence thereof, — it is immediately aimed at by satisfaction. That the curse of the law be not executed, that the wrath to come be not poured out, is the utmost reach of the death of Christ, considered as satisfactory. Yea, in itself, as only such, it proceedeth not so far as to give us a right to escape these things, but only presents that to the justice of God whereby it may be preserved in all its glory, severity, and exact purity, though these things be not inflicted on us. This, I say, I conceive to be the utmost tendency of the death of Christ, as satisfactory. That condemnation cannot possibly de facto follow, when such satisfaction hath been made, is immediately from the equity of justice so repaired as above. For positive good things in grace and glory, by satisfaction alone, they are not at all respected. (2.) There is the merit of the death of Christ; and that principally intendeth the glory of God in our enjoying those good things whereof it is the merit or desert. And this is the foundation of that right whereof we treat. What Christ hath merited for us, it is just and equal we should have, — that is, we have a right unto it, — and this before believing. Faith gives us actual possession as to some part, and a new pactional right as to the whole; but this right or that equaling of things upon divine constitution, whereby it becomes just and right that we should obtain the things purchased by it, is from the merit of Christ alone. What Christ hath merited is so far granted as that they for whom it is so merited have a right unto it.

    The sum, then, of what we have to prove is, — That the merit of the death of the Lord Jesus hath, according to the constitution of the Father, so procured of him the good things aimed at and intended thereby, that it is just, right, and equal that they for whom they are so procured should certainly and infallibly enjoy them at the appointed season; and, therefore, unto them they have an actual right even before believing, faith itself being of the number of those things so procured. 3. All which I prove as followeth: — (1.) The very terms before mentioned enforce no less. If it be justum before their believing that those for whom Christ died should enjoy the fruits of his death, then have they, even before believing, jus, or a right thereunto; for “jus est quod justum est.” That it is right and equal that they should enjoy those fruits is manifest; for, — [1.] It was the engagement of the Father to the Son, upon his undertaking to die for them, that they should so do, Isaiah 53:10-12. [2.] In that undertaking he accomplished all that was of him required, John 17:4. (2.) That which is merited and procured for any one, thereunto he for whom it is procured certainly hath a right. That which is obtained for me is mine in actual right, though not perhaps in actual possession. The thing that is obtained is granted by him of whom it is obtained, and that unto them for whom it is obtained. In some sense or other, that is a man’s which is procured for him. In saying it is procured for him, we say no less.

    If this, then, be not in respect of possession, it must be in respect of right.

    Now, all the fruits of the death of Christ are obtained and procured by his merit for them for whom he died. He obtains for them eternal redemption, Hebrews 9:12; purchasing them with his own blood, Acts 20:28; Hebrews 2:14,15; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Galatians 1:4; Revelation 14:3,4. The very nature of merit described by the apostle, Romans 4:4, infers no less. Where merit intercedes, the effect is reckoned as of debt; that which is my due debt I have right unto. The fruits of the death of Christ are the issues of merit, bottomed on God’s gracious acceptation, and reckoned as of debt. He for whom a ransom is paid hath a right unto his liberty by virtue of that payment. (3.) 2 Peter 1:1,the saints are said to obtain “precious faith, through the righteousness of God.” It is a righteous thing with God to give faith to them for whom Christ died, because thereby they have a right unto it.

    Faith being amongst the most precious fruits of the death of Christ, by virtue thereof becometh their due for whom he died. (4.) The condition of persons under merit and demerit, in respect of good or evil, is alike; the proportion of things requires it. Now, men under demerit are under an obligation unto punishment, and “it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them,” 2 Thessalonians 1:6; it being” the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32. They, then, who are under merit have also a right unto that whereof it is the merit. It is not of any force to say that they are not under that merit but only upon condition (for this is, first, false; secondly, with God this is all one as if there were no condition, at the season and term appointed for the making out the fruit of that merit, as hath been declared); — neither yet to object that it is not their own merit, but of another which respects them; that other being their surety, doing that whereby he merited only on their behalf, yea, in their stead, they dying with him, though the same in them could not have been meritorious, they being at best mere men, and at worst very sinful men. (5.) A compact or covenant being made of giving life and salvation, upon the condition of obedience, to certain persons, that condition being completely fulfilled (as it was in the death of Christ), claim being made of the promise, according to the tenor of the compact, and the persons presented for the enjoyment of it, surely those persons have an actual right unto it. That all this is so, see Isaiah 49:1-6, etc.; Psalm 2:2-8; Isaiah 53:10-12; John 17:2,4,11,21; Hebrews 2.

    And so much for this, also, concerning the issue of the death of Christ, and the right of the elect to the fruits of it before believing.

    CHAPTER 12.


    THE way and causes of bestowing faith on them who are under the condition before described is the next thing to be inquired after.

    What are the thoughts of God from eternity concerning those for whom Christ was to die, with the state they are left in, in relation to those thoughts, as also what is the will of God towards them immediately upon the consideration of the death of Christ, with the right which to them accrues thereby, being considered, it remaineth, I say, that we declare the way and method whereby they obtain faith through the righteousness of God.

    And here we must lay down certain positions; as, — 1. Notwithstanding the right granted them for whom Christ died, upon his death, to a better state and condition in due time, — that is, in the season suit\rig the infinitely wise sovereignty of God, — yet as to the present condition, in point of enjoyment, they are not actually differenced from others. Their prayers are an abomination to the Lord, Proverbs 28:9; all things are to them unclean, Titus 1:15; they are under the power of Satan, Ephesians 2:2; in bondage unto death, Hebrews 2:15; obnoxious to the curse and condemning power of the law in the conscience, Galatians 3:13; having sin reigning in them, Romans 6:17, etc. 2. What spiritual blessings soever are bestowed on any soul, I mean peculiarly distinguishing mercies and graces, they are all bestowed and collated for Christ’s sake; that is, they are purchased by his merit, and procured by his intercession thereupon.

    That supernatural graces cannot be traduced from any natural faculty, or attained by the utmost endeavor of nature, howsoever affected with outward advantages, I now take for granted. These things I looked upon as the free gifts of love: so the Scripture, John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 11:25,26; Acts 16:14, etc.

    Now, the dispensation of all these, as it is through Christ, so they are for Christ. On whomsoever they are bestowed, it is for Christ’s sake. For instance, Peter and Judas are unbelievers. Faith is given to Peter, not to Judas. Whence is this difference? Presupposing God’s sovereign discriminating purpose, the immediate procuring cause of faith for Peter is the merit of Christ: “To us it is given on the behalf of Christ to believe on him,” Philippians 1:29. We are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in him,” Ephesians 1:3. Whatsoever is in the promise of the covenant is certainly of his procurement; for therefore he is the surety, Hebrews 7:22. And his blood, the ransom he paid, is the blood of the covenant, Matthew 26:28; whereby “all the promises” thereof become “in him yea, and in him Amen,” 2 Corinthians 1:20. And whether faith be of the blessings of the covenant, and included in the promise thereof, or no, let the Scripture be judge, Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26,27; Hebrews 8:8-12.

    Furthermore; what we have through him, we have for him; all these things being made out on this condition, that “he should make his soul an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10. 3. That all the procurements of the death of Christ, in the behalf of his, are to be made out by virtue of a stipulation sub termino; or, in respect of their actual collation and bestowing, they are to be made out in the season limited and appointed by the will of the Father. Of this before. 4. No blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us.

    Here I must do two things: — (1.) Declare what I mean by reckoning Christ unto us; and then, (2.) Prove the assertion as laid down. (1.) God’s reckoning Christ, in our present sense, is the imputing of Christ unto ungodly, unbelieving sinners for whom he died, so far as to account him theirs, and to bestow faith and grace upon them for his sake.

    This, then, I say, at the accomplishment of the appointed time, the Lord reckons, and accounts, and makes out his Son Christ, to such and such sinners, and for his sake gives them faith, etc. Exercising of love actually, in the bestowing of grace upon any particular soul, in a distinguishing manner, for Christ’s sake, doth suppose this accounting of Christ to be his; and from thence he is so indeed, — which is the present thesis. And, — (2.) This may be proved; for, — [1.] Why doth the Lord bestow faith on Peter, not on Judas? Because Christ dying for Peter, and purchasing for him the grace of the covenant, he had a right unto it, and God according to his promise bestowed it; with Judas, it was not so. But then, why doth the Lord bestow faith on Peter at the fortieth year of his age, and not before or after? Because then the term was expired which, upon the purchase, was by the counsel of God’s will prefixed to the giving in the beginning of the thing purchased unto him.

    What, then, doth the Lord do when he thus bestoweth faith on him? For Christ’s sake, — his death procuring the gift, not moving the will of the giver, — he creates faith in him by the way and means suited to such a work, Ephesians 1:18,19, 2:1, etc. If, then, this be done for Christ’s sake, then is Christ made ours before we believe. Else, why is faith given him at this instant for Christ’s sake, and not to another, for whom also he died? That it is done then, is because the appointed time is come; that it is done then for Christ, is because Christ is first given to him. I cannot conceive how any thing should be made out to me for Christ, and Christ himself not be given to me, he being “made unto us of God, righteousness,” 1 Corinthians 1:30. [2.] The apostle holds out this very method of the dispensation of grace: Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

    First, Christ is given for us, then to us, then with him (he having the preeminence in all things) all things; and this being, also, for him, Philippians 1:29, he is certainly in the order of nature given in the first place. He being made ours, “we receive the atonement by him,” Romans 5:11.

    How Christ is said to be received by faith, if he be ours before believing, is easily resolved. Christ is ours before and after believing in a different sense. He who is made ours in an act of God’s love, that for him we may have faith, may be found and made ours in a promise of reconciliation by believing.

    I offer [suggest], also, whether absolution from the guilt of sin and obligation unto death, though not as terminated in the conscience for complete justification, do not precede our actual believing; for what is that love of God which through Christ is effectual to bestow faith upon the unbelieving? and how can so great love, in the actual exercise of it, producing the most distinguishing mercies, consist with any such act of God’s will as at the same instant should bind that person under the guilt of sin?

    Perhaps, also, this may be the justification of the ungodly, mentioned Romans 4:5, God’s absolving a sinner in heaven, by accounting Christ unto him, and then bestowing him upon him, and for his sake enduing him with faith to believe.

    That we should be blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, and yet Christ not be ours in a peculiar manner before the bestowing of those blessings on us, is somewhat strange. Yea, he must be our Christ before it is given to us for him to believe; why else is it not given to all others so to do? I speak not of the supreme distinguishing cause, Matthew 11:25,26, but of the proximate procuring cause, which is the blood of Christ. Neither yet do I hence assert complete justification to be before believing.

    Absolution in heaven, and justification, differ as part and whole.

    Again: absolution may be considered either as a pure act of the will of God in itself, or as it is received, believed, apprehended, in and by the soul of the guilty. For absolution in the first sense, it is evident it must precede believing; as a discharge from the effects of anger naturally precedes all collation of any fruits of love, such as is faith.

    But if God account Christ unto, and bestow him upon, a sinner before believing, and upon that account absolve him from the obligation unto death and hell, which for sin he lies under, what wants this of complete justification?

    Much every way. 1. It wants that act of pardoning mercy on the part of God which is to be terminated and completed in the conscience of the sinner; this lies in the promise. 2. It wants the heart’s persuasion concerning the truth and goodness of the promise, and the mercy held out in the promise. 3. It wants the soul’s rolling itself upon Christ, and receiving of Christ as the author and finisher of that mercy, an all-sufficient Savior to them that believe.

    So that by faith alone we obtain and receive the forgiveness of sin; for notwithstanding any antecedent act of God concerning us, in and for Christ, we do not actually receive a complete soul-freeing discharge until we believe.

    And thus the Lord Christ hath the pre-eminence in all things. He is “the author and finisher of our faith.”

    This, then, is that which here we assign unto the Lord: Upon the accomplishment of the appointed season for the making out the fruits of the death of Christ unto them for whom he died, he loves them freely, says to them, “Live;” gives them his Son, and with and for him all things; bringing forth the choicest issue of his being reconciled in the blood of Jesus whilst we are enemies, and totally alienated from him.

    It will not be requisite at all, as to our purpose in hand, to make particular inquiry into the state and condition of them towards whom such are the actings of God, as we before described. What it is that gives them the first real alteration of condition and distinguishment from others I have now no occasion to handle.

    So far as advantage hath been offered, I have labored to distinguish aright those things whose confusion and misapprehension lie at the bottom of very many dangerous mistakes: how the foregoing discourse may be accommodated and improved for the removal of those mistakes, I shall leave to the consideration of others.

    CHAPTER 13.


    HAVING fully declared, not only what was my intendment in the expressions so exceedingly mistaken by Mr Baxter, as hath in part already been made manifest, and will instantly more fully appear, I shall now take a view of what is imposed on me as my judgment, and the opposition made thereunto, so far as may be needful for the clearing of the one and removing of the other, at least in what they may really concern what I did deliver in the treatise impugned.

    In p. 146 of his Appendix, Mr Baxter endeavors to vindicate a thesis of his from some exceptions that he was by his friend pointed to, unto which it seemed liable and obnoxious.

    The thesis he lays down is, “That no man is actually and absolutely justified upon the mere payment of the debt by Christ, till they become believers.”

    Against this “article,” as he calls it, he produceth some objections of Maccovius, censuring his assertions to be “senseless,” his positions “strange and abhorred,” his arguments “weak and ineffectual;” with some other expressions to the same purpose. 1. I am now, by the providence of God, in a condition of separation from my own small library, neither can here attain the sight of Maceovius’ disputations, so that I shall not at all interpose myself in this contest; only I must needs say, — (1.) I did not formerly account Maccovius to be so senseless and weak a disputant as here he is represented to be. (2.) That for Mr. Baxter’s answer to that argument, “Where the debt is paid, there discharge must follow,” by asserting the payment made by Christ to be refusable, and the interest of sinners in that payment to be purely upon the performance of a condition, I have fully before, in both parts of it, demonstrated it to be weak and inconsistent with itself and truth. That the interesting of sinners in the payment made by Christ, at such and such a season, is from the sovereignty of God, and his free engagement sub termino for this end, hath been also fully manifested. 2. But Mr. Baxter affirms that to these arguments of Maccovius, Mr Owen adds some in the place against Grotius whereunto he was referred. “To what end,” you will say, “doth Mr Owen add these arguments?”

    Why, to prove that men are actually and absolutely justified upon the mere payment of the debt; by Christ, before believing!

    But, fidem tuam! Is there any one argument in my whole book used to any such purpose? Do I labor to prove that which I never affirmed, never thought, never believed? In what sense I affirmed that by the death of Christ we are actually and ipso facto delivered from death, — that is, wJv e]pov eijpei~n , we have in due time, the time appointed, free and full deliverance thereby, without the intervention of any condition on our part not absolutely procured for us by his death, — I have before declared.

    How much this comes short of actual and absolute justification I need not now mention; I shall therefore only so far consider the answers given by Mr Baxter as they may seem to impair or intrench upon the main truth I assert, and that in the order by him laid down. “These,” saith he, “Mr Owen layeth down.” 1. “By death he delivereth us from death.” To which he answers: “Not immediately nor absolutely, nor by his death alone, but by that as a price, supposing other causes on his part and conditions on ours to concur before the actual deliverance.’’ (1.) To what end I mention that place of the apostle was before declared. (2.) By the death of Christ we are immediately delivered from death with that immediation which is proper to the efficiency of causes which produce their effects by the way of moral procurement; that is, certainly, without the intervention of any other cause of the like kind. And, — (3.) Absolutely, no condition being interposed between the cause and the effect, Christ’s death and our total deliverance, but such as is part of our deliverance, and solely procured by that death, though that death of Christ be not considered as alone, that is, separated from his obedience, resurrection, and intercession, when the work of redemption is assigned to it in the Scripture. (4.) By the death of Christ as a price, I suppose you understand his purchase as well as his payment, his merit as well as his satisfaction; or else this is a false notion of the death of Christ as the cause of our deliverance. (5.) All other causes concurring on the part of Christ for our deliverance are, first, either not of the same kind with his death; or, secondly, bottomed on his death and flowing from thence: so that, summarily, all may be resolved thereinto. (6.) The conditions on our part, in the sense intended, are often mentioned, never proved; nor, I am persuaded, will ever be. But he adds: — 2. “He saith the elect are said to die and rise with Christ.” Saith he, — “(1.) Not in respect of time, as if we died and rose at the same time, either really or in God’s esteem. “(2.) Not that we died in his dying, and rose in his rising. But, — “(3.) It is spoken of the distant mediate effects of his death, and the immediate effects of his Spirit on us, rising by regeneration to union and communion with Christ.” So he. (1.) I pass the first and second exceptions, notwithstanding that of God’s not esteeming of us as in Christ, upon his performance of the acts of his mediation for us, might admit of some consideration. (2.) The inference here couched, that these things are the immediate effects of Christ’s Spirit on us, therefore the distant and mediate effects of his death for us, is very weak and unconcluding. The death of Christ procureth these things as a cause moral and impelling, the Spirit worketh as an efficient; and therefore the same thing may be the immediate effect of them both, according to their several kinds of efficacy; and so, indeed, they are. Our actual conversion, the efficient whereof is the Spirit, is the immediate procurement of the merit of Christ. See this at large in my treatise opposed. I know not any man that hath run out into more wide mistakes about the immediate effects of the death of Christ than Mr Baxter, who pretends to so much accurateness in this particular. 3. “He saith,” adds Mr Baxter, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse, being made a curse for us.” “I explained,” saith he, “before how far we are freed by redemption, lie hath restored us, that is, paid the price, but with no intent that we should by that redemption be immediately or absolutely freed. Yet when we are freed, it is to he ascribed to his death as the meritorious cause, but not as the only cause.” (1.) A being freed so far or so far by redemption, and not wholly, fully, or completely, whatever men may explain, the Scripture is wholly silent of. (2.) That Christ, in paying a price, had no intent that those he paid it for should be immediately or absolutely freed, is crudely enough asserted. Of the immediateness of their delivery I have spoken already. It hath as strict an immediation as the nature of such causes and effects will bear.

    If he intended not that those for whom he died should be absolutely freed, then either he intended not their freedom at all, and so the negation is upon the term freed; or the negation of his intention is only as to the qualification absolutely, and so his intention to free them is asserted, and the affection of absoluteness in that intention only denied.

    If the first he meant, — first, It is contrary to innumerable express testimonies of Scripture; secondly, It renders the Son of God dying with no determinate end or designed purpose at all, in reference to them for whom he died, — a thing we would not ascribe to a wise man in a far more easy undertaking.

    If the second, — [1.] I desire to know what is this intention here assigned to our Savior? He paid a price or ransom for us; he bought and purchased us by his blood to be a peculiar people to himself; he redeemed us from the curse and wrath due to us, that we may be conditionally freed! All things intended under condition are, as to their accomplishment, uncertain. The condition may be fulfilled, or it may not be fulfilled; and therefore the thing intended thereon can have no certainty, as to its accomplishment, in the mind of the intender. This, then, is that which is ascribed to the Lord Jesus: “Making his soul an offering for sin; laying down his life a ransom for many; and tasting death, to free the children given him from death; praying that those for whom he died might together be partakers of his glory;” yet was he altogether uncertain whether ever any one of them should at all partake of the good things which, in his whole undertaking of mediation, he aimed at.

    Thus is he made a surety of an uncertain covenant, a purchaser of an inheritance perhaps never to be enjoyed, a priest sanctifying none by his sacrifice, etc. [2.] Is the accomplishment of this condition, upon which freedom depends in the intention of Christ, certain in his mind under that intention? I ask, then, whence that assurance doth accrue? Is it from his foresight of their good using of their abilities to fulfill the condition to them prescribed? See, then, whither you have rolled this stone! The folly and absurdity of this hath been long since sufficiently discovered.

    But is it from hence, because by his death he purchaseth for them the completing the condition in them? Thus he pays a price, with intention that those for whom he pays it shall be freed, by enjoying that freedom under such a condition as he procures for them, and thereupon knows that at the appointed time it shall be wrought in them. What differs this, in the close, from absolute freedom?

    Farther feign some of them for whom Christ died to fulfill this condition, others not, and it will be more evident that the greatest uncertainty possible, as to the issues of his death, must be assigned to him in his dying. The pretense of an effectual discriminating purpose of free grace, following the purpose of giving Christ promiscuously for all, will not salve the contradictions of this assertion. But the truth is, this whole figment of conditional freedom is every way unsavoury, that very thing which is assigned for the condition of our freedom being itself the chiefest part of it.

    The whole, indeed, as here begun, potential, conditional, not actual, not absolute issues and effects of the death of Christ, have been abundantly disproved already.

    That which follows in Mr. Baxter, from p. 152 unto p. 155, chapter 19, belongs not to me, being only a declaration of his own judgment about the things in hand; wherein, although many things are not only incommodiously expressed, to suit the unscriptural method of these mysteries which he hath framed in his mind, but also directly opposite to the truth, yet I shall not here meddle with it, referring them who desire satisfaction in this business to a serious consideration of what I have written to this purpose.

    Page 155, chapter 20, he returns to the consideration of my assertion concerning our deliverance ipso facto by the blood of Christ, and tells you, “I do not understand Mr Owen’s meaning; for he saith that Christ did actually and ipso facto deliver us from the curse and obligation, yet we do not instantly apprehend and perceive it, nor yet possess it, but only we have actual right to all the fruits of his death,” etc.

    So he.

    The things of that treatise were written with the pen of a vulgar scribe, that every one might run and read; whence, then, it should be that so learned a man should not understand my meaning, unless from his own prejudice, I know not. However, I have now so fully delivered my sense and meaning as to these things, that I hope no place remaineth for disceptation thereabout. But let us look a little into Mr Baxter’s inquiry after that which he professeth not well to understand: — 1. “Whether,” saith he, “a man may fitly be said actually and ipso facto to be delivered and discharged who is not at all delivered, but only hath a right to deliverance, I doubt.”

    To unriddle this, with most of the following exceptions, and to resolve his doubt so far as I am concerned, as having administered occasion thereunto, I shall transcribe the place from whence these difficulties are pretended to arise.

    The passage is in lib. 3. cap. 7 of that treatise, pp. 140,141 [268,269], as followeth: — 1. “That actual freedom from the obligation doth not follow the satisfaction made by Christ cannot be granted; for by death he did deliver us from death, and that actually, so far as that the elect are said to die and rise with him. He did actually, or ipso facto, deliver us from the curse, by being made a curse for us; and the handwriting that was against us, even the whole obligation, was taken out of the way, and nailed to his cross. It is true, all for whom he did this do not instantly actually apprehend and perceive it, which is impossible; but yet that hinders not but that they have all the fruits of his death in actual right, though not in actual possession, — which last they cannot have until at least it be made known to them. As, if a man pay a ransom for a prisoner detained in a foreign country, the very day of the payment and acceptation of it the prisoner hath right to his liberty, although he cannot enjoy it until such time as tidings of it are brought unto him, and a warrant produced for his delivery. So that that reason is nothing but a begging tou~ ejn arjch~| . 2. The satisfaction of Christ, by the payment of the same thing that was required in the obligation, is no way prejudicial to that free, gracious condonation of sin so often mentioned. God’s gracious pardoning of sin compriseth the whole dispensation of grace towards us in Christ, whereof there are two parts: — First, The laying of our sin on Christ, or making him to be sin for us; which was merely and purely an act of free grace, which he did for his own sake. Secondly, The gracious imputation of the righteousness of Christ to us, or making us the righteousness of God in him; which is no less of grace and mercy, and that because the very merit of Christ himself hath its foundation in a free compact and covenant, However, that remission, grace, and pardon which is in God for sinners, is not opposed to Christ’s merits, but ours. He pardoneth all to us, but he spared not his only Son, he hated him not one farthing. The freedom, then, of pardon hath not its foundation in any defect of the merit or satisfaction of Christ, but in three other things: — First, The will of God freely appointing this satisfaction of Christ, John 3:16; Romans 5:8; John 4:9. Secondly, In a gracious acceptation of that decreed satisfaction in our steads; for so many, no more. Thirdly, In a free application of the death of Christ unto us. Remission, then, excludes not a full satisfaction by the solution of the very thing in the obligation, but only the solution or satisfaction by him to whom pardon and remission are granted,” etc. All that is here affirmed may be reduced to these heads: — (1.) Actual freedom from the obligation is the immediate fruit of the death of Christ. Understand such an immediation as I have often described. (2.) Hence Christ is said actually, or ipso facto, to deliver us, because our deliverance, which is to be accomplished sub termino, is the infallible, absolute, immediate issue and product of what he did for us. Actual and ipso facto are opposed to the intervention of any such thing as should make our deliverance to be only potential or conditional. (3.) Those for whom Christ doth work this deliverance are not as to a simulty of time actually delivered; they neither enjoy nor are acquainted with any such deliverance until the appointed time be come, but have actual right thereunto, to possess it in due season.

    This being the sum and plain intendment of that place, I suppose there will not need any operose endeavor to remove the objections that are laid against it. And therefore, to that before expressed, I say, Christ hath actually and ipso facto procured our deliverance. Hence we have actual right unto it, but not actual possession of it; and where the difficulty of this should rest I know not. Men may, as oft as they please, create contradictions in their own minds, and entangle themselves with doubts in the knots which themselves have tied. But, — 2. “Knowledge,” saith he, “and possession of a deliverance, are far different things.” (1.) He maketh them so, who plainly intimates that the reason why it is not apprehended is because it is not possessed, and always speaks disjunctively of them. (2.) Besides, this proposition of the distance of these two is not universally true, as I could easily demonstrate. 3. “Our knowledge, therefore,” he adds, “doth not give us possession, so that the similitude fails: for it is the creditor’s knowledge and satisfaction that are requisite to deliverance; and our creditor was not in a far and strange country, but knew immediately, and could either have made us quickly know, or turned us free before we had known the cause.” (1.) Whether or no, or how far, knowledge gives us possession, I shall not now dispute; only, considering in what sense knowledge is here used, and often in the Scripture, the deliverance also spoken of being such as no small part thereof consists in this knowledge, and without it (in the seed at least) is not, I cannot but say that such kind of affirmations in things of this weight are very slender proofs. Yea, farther, whereas the enjoyment of this deliverance is either as to the being of it or to the comfort of it, the latter is given us by this knowledge merely; the former consists therein mainly, John 17:3. (2.) Similitudes are allowed their grains to make them current; but yet, as our creditor’s knowledge and satisfaction are required to our deliverance, so not that only but ours also, as to our actual enjoyment of it. It is true, he could have made us quickly know it; but who hath been his counselor?

    This is left to his sovereign and free disposal, our deliverance being purchased, to be made out in the season thereby appointed. But that God could have made us free before we knew the cause, supposing his constitution of the way of salvation, revealed in the blood of Jesus, which lies at the bottom of all these disputes, is a most and-evangelical assertion, and diametrically opposed to the whole way of God’s dealing with sinners. But he adds, — 4. “Neither can it be understood how God can so long deny us the possession of heaven, if we had such actual, absolute right so long ago; which seems to me to express a jus ad rem and in re.” (1.) I love not to inquire into the reason of God’s actings, which are ( Ephesians 1:11; Galatians 4:1.) “after the counsel of his own will;” and yet think it not very difficult to conceive how a son is for a season kept as” a servant, though he be lord of all.” (2.) He speaks as though this deliverance lay all in heaven, whereas it is here ( John 1:12; Romans 5:11; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:12-14.) fully enjoyed on the earth, though not in all the degrees of the fruits thereof. (3.) If the right whereof we speak were jus in re, I see not well, indeed, how God could keep us from the possession of it, as Mr Baxter says; a man cannot be kept long from what he hath. But, saith he, — 5. “If he mean a right to future possession, I do not see how right and possession should stand at so many years’ distance. To have right to God’s favor and possession of that favor seem to me of nearer kin, except he should think that possession of favor is nothing but the knowledge or feeling of it, and that faith justifieth only in foro conscientiae. But I will not censure so hardly until I know.” (1.) If at so many years’ distance it may not be allowed, he had done well to express at how many it might. For my part, placing this right upon the purchase of Christ, as before, and possession in the actual enjoyment of the fruits of that purchase, then referring the distance between them to the good pleasure of God, who had granted and established that right to an enjoyment sub termino, I see no difficulty, no perplexity in this at all. (2.) That no small portion of favor consists in a ( Psalm 55:6,7; Corinthians 4:6.) sense and knowledge of the kindness of God, in its actings terminated upon the conscience, I must believe, whatever Mr Baxter be pleased to censure. It is far more facile to give the hardest censures than to answer the easiest arguments. (3.) The place where faith justifieth I am not so solicitous about, as the manner how; which, of all other ways commonly insisted on, I conceive not to be as it is our new obedience: yet that in this work it looks farther than the conscience I easily grant.

    The most of what is subjoined to these exceptions is fully answered in what went before.

    As much as possible I shall avoid all repetitions of the same things; only, whereas he affirmeth that to have right to justification and to have possession of it is all one, I must needs enter my dissent thereunto; which may suffice until it be attempted to be put upon the proof. If he shall say, that a right to a future justification at the day of judgment is the same with the possession of present actual justification, it is neither true nor any thing to the business in hand.

    In the close he shuts up this discourse, and enters into another, giving in his thoughts about the immediate effects of the death of Christ; a matter wherein he pretends to great accurateness, censuring others for not being able to distinguish aright of them, and so to spend abundance of labor in vain in their discourse thereabout. Particularly, here he denies, and calls it a dangerous error to suppose, that actual remission and justification are immediate effects of his death, or any right thereunto; which he attempteth to prove by sundry arguments.

    Of the effects of the death of Christ, and what relation they all stand in thereunto, I have spoken at large before. Now, because actual remission is denied to be an immediate effect of the death of Christ, and so potential remission, not once mentioned in the book of God, is tacitly substituted in the room thereof, and this also in opposition to what I had delivered, I shall briefly consider his arguments, and so give an end to this debate: — 1. “What right soever God giveth unto men in things supernatural, such as justification, remission, and adoption, he giveth it by his written laws; but by these laws he hath given no such thing to any unbelievers, such as are the elect before conversion: therefore, etc. “The major is evident; God’s decree giveth no man a personal right to the mercy intended him. And for the minor, no man can produce the Scripture giving to unbelievers such a right.” (1.) Taking the laws of God in the strict and proper sense, it is so far from being a truth, that what right God gives to any he gives it by his written laws, that indeed the laws of God give no right to any one concerning any thing, whether supernatural or otherwise. The end of the law is not to give right, but to exact obedience, and that chiefly, if not, upon the sum, solely. The usual, proper, genuine signification of God’s laws being his revealed will for our obedience, I know not why Mr Baxter should bring them in, in the latitude of his single apprehension, to be a medium in an argument. Hence, — (2.) Here is not a sufficient enumeration of causes; the promises of God are to be added, and those either made to us, or to any other for our good.

    But, — (3.) That the decree of God gives to no man a right to the thing concerning which the decree is, is so far from being a sufficient proof of the major that it is in itself very questionable, if not unquestionably false. That the decree gives not. being and existence to the things concerning which it is, is an old rule. That no right should from it arise unto that thing by virtue thereof, is not yet so clear. Right is but “jus... Jus est quod justum est.” If it be just or right that any one should have such a thing, he is said to have a right thereunto. Now, supposing the ( Ephesians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:1.) decree of God, that a man shall by such means have such a thing, is it not just, equitable, and condecent unto righteousness that he should have it? But yet farther, — (4.) We are not at all speaking of a right founded on God’s decrees (which considering what was proposed to be proved by this argument, I wonder how it found any mention here), but upon two other things: — [1.] The covenant of God with Christ about the pardoning, justifying, and saving of those for whose sin he should make his soul an offering; which covenant, respecting Christ as mediator, God and man, is not to be reckoned among the mere decrees and purposes of God, containing in itself all those promises and engagements whereon the Lord Jesus in the work of redemption rolled himself.

    Now, in this covenant God engaged himself, as I said before, to make out to those for whom Christ undertook whatsoever was the fruit of his purchase; and that was ( Isaiah 50:5-9.) what in his good pleasure was assigned thereunto. And this is the first bottom of this right. [2.] The purchase of Christ being completed, by the performance of all things by divine constitution thereunto allotted ( John 17:4; Timothy 3:16; John 17; Hebrews 9:14.) and himself acquitted and exonerated of the whole debt of their sin for whom he suffered, which was charged on him, he makes demand of the accomplishment of the forementioned engagement made to him, concerning the freedom and deliverance of the persons whose sins were laid on him, and whose bringing unto glory he undertook.

    On these two, I say, it is that our right to the fruits of the death of Christ, even before believing, doth depend; from hence, at least, it is right and equal that we do, in the time appointed, enjoy these things. Yea, to say that we have right, upon believing, to the fruits of the death of Christ, affirmed universally, can only be affirmed of a jus in re, such a right as hath, at least in part, conjoined actual possession, believing itself being no small portion of these fruits.

    This argument, then, being fallacious, omitting the chief causes in enumeration, includes not the thing proposed. Besides, it is in no small measure faulty, in that the first thing proposed to be confirmed was, that remission of sin and justification are not the immediate effects of Christ’s death, whereof in this argument there is oujde< gru~ . 2. “If God ‘hate all workers of iniquity,’ and we are all ‘by nature the children of wrath,’ and ‘without faith it is impossible to please God,’ and ‘he that believeth not is condemned already,’ then certainly the elect, while they are unbelievers, are not actually de facto, no, nor in personal right, delivered from this hatred, wrath, displeasure, and condemnation; but, etc., ergo .” (1.) This argument, for what indeed it will prove, is handled at large in my treatise of Redemption, as also re-urged in the pages foregoing. Against actual justification from eternity it hath its efficacy. (2.) It doth also conclude that the elect, whilst unbelievers, are not actually and de facto put in possession of the issues of love, faith being with the first of them. But, — (3.) That they have not, upon the grounds fore-mentioned, a right to these things; or, — (4.) That justification is not the immediate effect of the death of Christ (being the sole things in question), it hath the same unhappiness with the former, not once too mention. 3. “If we are justified only by faith, then certainly not before faith; but we are justified only by faith: ergo.” (1.) If I mistake not, it is not justification before faith, but a right to the fruits of the death of Christ before faith, that is to be proved. (2.) That justification is not the immediate effect of the death of Christ; to which ends for this argument, “valeat quantum valere potest;” to me it comes not within many miles of the thing in question: so that, with the absurd answers supposed thereunto, we pass it by.

    The like also I am enforced to say of the two others that follow, being of the same length and breadth with those foregoing, — too short and narrow to cover the things in question; so that though they may have their strength to their own proper end, yet as to the things proposed to be proved, there is nothing in their genuine conclusions looking that way.

    If I might take the liberty of guessing, I should suppose the mistake which led this author to all this labor in vain is, that the immediate effects of the death of Christ must be immediately enjoyed by them for whom he died; which assertion hath not indeed the least color of truth. The effects of the death of Christ are not said to be immediate in reference to others’ enjoyment of them, but unto their causality by that death. Whatever it be that in the first place is made out to sinners for the death of Christ, whenever it be done, that is the immediate effect thereof as to them; as to them, I say, for in its first tendency, it hath a more immediate object.

    If Mr Baxter go on with his intentions about a tract concerning universal redemption, perhaps we may have these things cleared; and yet, we must tell him beforehand, that if he draw forth nothing on that subject but what is done by Amyraldus, and like things to them, he will give little satisfaction to learned and stable men upon the issue of his undertaking. I shall not presume to take another man’s task out of his hand, especially one’s who is so every way able to go through with it; else I durst undertake to demonstrate that treatise of Amyraldus, mentioned by Mr Baxter, to be full of weak and sophistical argumentations, absurd contradictions, vain strife of words, and, in sum, to be as birthless a tympanous endeavor as ever so learned a man was engaged in.

    For the present, being by God’s providence removed for a season from my native soil, attended with more than ordinary weaknesses and infirmities, separated from my library, burdened with manifold employments, with constant preaching to a numerous multitude of as thirsting a people after the gospel as ever yet I conversed withal, it sufficeth me that I have obtained this mercy, briefly and plainly to vindicate the truth from mistakes, and something farther to unfold the mystery of our redemption in Christ, all with so facile and placid an endeavor as is usually upon the spirits of men in the familiar writings of one friend to another. That it hath been my aim to seek after truth, and to keep close to the form of wholesome words delivered to us, will, I hope, appear to them that love truth and peace.

    Tw~| Qew~| ajristomegi>stw| do>xa . Dublin Castle, December 20, 1649.


    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.