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ping a tear of ingenuous grief over their unworthy conduct on this account. Yet it would not be just to say, that this redemption had for its basis an idea of pecuniary justice, and not that of moral justice. It was moral justice which in this case was satisfied: not, however, in its ordinary form, but as exercised on an extraordinary occasion; not the letter, but the spirit of it.

The scripture doctrine of atonement being conveyed in language borrowed from pecuniary transactions, is not only improved by unbelivers into an argument against the truth of the gospel, but has been the occasion of many errors among the professors of Christianity. Socinus, on this ground, attempts to explain away the necessity of a satisfaction. "God," says he, “is our Creditor. Our sins are debts which we have contracted with him; but every one may yield up his right, and more especially God, who is the supreme Lord of all, and extolled in the scriptures for his liberality and goodness. Hence, then, it is evident that God can pardon sins without any satisfaction received,"* Others, who profess to embrace the doctrine of satisfaction, have on the same ground, perverted and abused it; objecting to the propriety of humble and continued applications for mercy, and presuming to claim the forgiveness of their sins, past, present, and to come, as their legal right, and what it would be unjust in the Supreme Being, having received complete satisfaction, to withhold.

To the reasoning of Socinus, Dr. Owen judiciously replies, by distinguishing between right, as it respects debts, and as it respects government. The former, he allows, may be given up without a satisfaction, but not the latter. "Our sins,” he adds, “ are called debts, not properly, but metaphorically." This answer equally applies to those who pervert the doctrine, as well as those who deny it for though in matters of debt and credit a full satisfaction from a surety excludes the idea of free pardon on the part of the creditor, and admits of a claim on the part of the debtor, yet it is otherwise in relation to crimes. In the interposition of the prince, as stated above, an honourable expedient was adopted, by

:

* Treatise of Jesus Christ the Saviour, Part III. Chap. I.
+ Dissertation on Divine Justice, Chap. IX. Section VII. VIII.

means of which the sovereign was satisfied, and the exercise of mercy rendered consistent with just authority: but there was no less grace in the act of forgiveness, than if it had been without a satisfaction. However well pleased the king might be with the conduct of his son, the freeness of pardon was not at all diminished by it; nor must the criminals come before him as claimants, but as supplicants, imploring mercy in the mediator's name.

Such are the leading ideas which the scriptures give us of redemption by Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul especially teaches this doctrine with great precision: Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Chirist Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.* From this passage we may remark, First : That the grace of God, as taught in the scriptures, is not that kind of liberality which Socinians and Deists ascribe to him, which sets aside the necessity of a satisfaction. Free grace, according to Paul, requires a propitiation, even the shedding of the Saviour's blood, a medium through which it may be honourably communicated. Secondly: Redemption by Jesus Christ was accomplished, not by a satisfaction that should preclude the exercise of grace in forgiveness, but in which, the displeasure of God against sin being manifested, mercy to the sinner might be exercised without any suspicion of his having relinquished his regards for righteousness. In setting forth Jesus Christ to be a propitiation, he declared his righteousness for the remission of sins. Thirdly: the righteousness of God was not only declared when Christ was made a propitiatory sacrifice; but continues to be manifested in the acceptance of believers through his name. He appears as just while acting the part of a justifier towards every one that believeth in Jesus. Fourthly: That which is here applied to the blessings of forgiveness and acceptance with God, is applicable to all other spiritual

*Rom. iii. 24-26.

blessings: all, according to the scriptures, are freely communicated through the same distinguished medium. See Ephes. i.*

The Christian reader, it is presumed, may, from hence, obtain a clear view of the ends answered by the death of Christ, a subject which has occupied much attention among divines. Some have asserted, that Christ by his satisfaction accomplished this only, "That God now, consistently with the honour of his justice, may pardon (returning) sinners if he willeth so to do." This is, doubtless, true, as far as it goes; but it makes no provision for the return of the sinner. This scheme, therefore, leaves the sinner to perish in impenitence and unbelief, and the Saviour without any security of seeing of the travail of his soul. For how can a sinner return without the power of the Holy Spirit? And the Holy Spirit, equally with every other spiritual blessing, is given in consideration of the death of Christ. Others, to remedy this defect, have considered the death of Christ as purchasing repentance and faith, as well as all other spiritual blessings, on behalf of the elect. The writer of these pages acknowledges he never could perceive that any clear or determinate idea, was conveyed by the term, purchase, in this connexion; nor does it appear to him to be applicable to the subject, unless it be in an improper or figurative sense. He has no doubt of the atonement of Christ being a perfect satisfaction to divine justice; nor of his being worthy of all that was conferred upon him, and upon us for his sake; nor of that which to us is sovereign mercy being to him an exercise of remunerative justice: but he wishes it to be considered, Whether the moral Governor of the world was laid under such a kind of obligation to show mercy to sinners as a creditor is under to discharge a debtor, on having received full satisfaction at the hands of a surety? If he be, the writer is unable to perceive how there can be any room for free forgiveness on the part of God; or how it can be said that justice and grace harmonize in a sinner's salvation. Nothing is farther from his intention than to depreciate the merit of his Lord and Saviour: but he considers merit as of two kinds; either on account of a benefit conferred, which on the footing of justice requires an equal return, or of something done or suffered which is worthy of being rewarded, by a Being distinguished by his love of righteousness. In the first sense, it cannot, as he supposes, be exercised towards an infinite and perfect Being. The goodness of Christ himself, in this way, exlendeth not to him. It is in the last sense that the scriptures appear to him to represent the merit of the Redeemer. That he "who was in the form of God, should take upon him the form of a servant, and be made in the likeness of men, and humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," was so glorious an undertaking, and so acceptable to the Father, that on this account he "set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to

These remarks may suffice to show, not only that Mr. Paine's assertion has no truth in it, but that all those professors of Christianity who have adopted his principle, have so far deviated from the doctrine of redemption as it is taught in the scriptures.

As to what Mr. Paine alleges, that the innocent suffering for the guilty, even though it be with his own consent, is contrary to every principle of moral justice, he affirms the same of God's visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children.* But this is a truth evident by universal experience. It is seen every day, in every part of the world. If Mr. Paine indulge in intemperance, and leave children behind him, they may feel the consequences of his

* Age of Reason, Part I. p. 4. Note.

come and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." Nor was this all: so well pleased was he with all that he did and suffered, as to reward it not only with honours conferred upon himself, but with blessings on sinners for his sake. Whatever is asked in his name, it is given us.

It is thus, as the writer apprehends, that A WAY WAS OPENED BY THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST, FOR THE FREE AND CONSISTENT EXERCISE OF MERCY

IN ALL THE METHODS WHICH SOVEREIGN WISDOM SAW FIT TO ADOPT.

There are three kinds of blessings in particular, which God, out of regard to the death of his Son, bestows upon men: First, He sends forth the gospel of salvation, accompanied with a free and indefinite invitation to embrace it, and an assurance that whosoever complies with the invitation, (for which there is no ability wanting in any man who possesses an honest heart,) shall have everlasting life. This favour is bestowed ON SINNERS AS SINNERS. God giveth the true bread from heaven in this way to many who never receive it. He inviteth those to the gospel supper who refuse and make light of it.— John vi. 32-36. Matt. xxii. 4, 5, Secondly, He bestows his Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify the soul: gives a new heart and a right spirit, and takes away the heart of stone. Christ is exalted to give repentance. Acts v. 31. Unto us it is given in behalf of Christ, to believe in him. Phil. i. 29. We have obtained like precious faith through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Pet. i. 1. This favor is conferred on ELECT SINNERS. See Acts xiii. 48. Rom. viii. 28-30. Thirdly, Through the same medium is given the free pardon of all our sins, acceptance with God, power to become the sons of God, and the promise of everlasting life. Your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. 1 John, ii. 12. God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephes. iv. 32. We are accepted in the beloved. Ephes. i. 6. By means of his death we receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Heb. ix. 15. This kind of blessings is conferred on BELIEVING SINNERS.

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misconduct when he is in the grave. The sins of the father may thus be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. It would, however, be their affliction only, and not their punishment. Yet such visitations are wisely ordered as a motive to sobriety. Nor is it between parents and children only that such a connexion exists, as that the happiness of one depends upon the conduct of others; a slight survey of society, in its various relations, must convince us that the same principle pervades creation. To call this injustice, is to fly in the face of the Creator. With such an objector I have nothing to do: He that reproveth God, let him answer it.

If the idea of the innocent suffering in the room of the guilty, were in all cases inadmissible, and utterly repugnant to the human understanding, how came the use of expiatory sacrifices to prevail as it has, in every age and nation? Whether the idea first proceeded from a divine command, as Christians generally believe, or whatever was its origin, it has approved itself to the minds of men, and not of the most uncultivated part of mankind only, but of the most learned and polite. The sacrifices of the Gentiles, it is true, were full of superstition, and widely different, as might be expected, from those which were regulated by the scriptures; but the general principle is the same: all agree in the idea of the displeasure of Deity being appeasable by an innocent victim being sacrificɛd in the place of the guilty. The idea of expiatory sacrifices, and of a mediation founded upon them, is beautifully expressed in the book of Job; a book not only of great antiquity, but which seems to have obtained the approbation of Mr. Paine, having, as he supposed, been written by a Gentile. And it was so, that, after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept; lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the

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