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the most submissive obedience, in order to obtain for us the favour of the Father.
XVIII. This reconciliation, effected by the sufferings of Christ, is expressly and frequently mentioned in Scripture; as in the following passages. "When we "were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death "of his Son." "All things are of God, who hath re"conciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."r "God was "in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not "imputing their trespasses unto them."s "It pleased "the Father, having made peace through the blood "of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to him"self." The Scriptures contain many other testimonies to the same effect.
XIX. It must be remarked, however, that this reconciliation is attributed, but attributed in different respects, to God the Father, to Christ the Mediator, and sometimes to believers themselves. God the Father is said to reconcile us, as from eternity he decreed to restore to a state of favour some of mankind fallen by sin; and being himself reconcileable from his own philanthropy, and determining to be reconciled in a manner becoming his character, made all that preparation which was necessary for repairing the breach betwixt himself and sinners." Christ the Mediator reconciles us to the Father by his satisfaction and merit, which he exhibits to God, and upon beholding which all his anger is turned away; for he satisfied all the demands of the law, that God might be just in justifying the sinner. By his own blood, too, he purges the con
P John xiv. 31. xv. 13. Philip. ii. 8.
Rom. v. 10.
• Verse 19.
"2 Cor. v. 19. Col. i. 20.
2 Cor. v. 18.
* Col. i. 19, 20.
sciences of the elect from dead works, that they may not thenceforth fall into those offences, which would break the bond of reconciliation, but "serve the true " and living God." Believers, in fine, are said to reconcile themselves to God, as they embrace by an unfeigned faith the benefit appointed for them by God the Father, obtained for them by Christ the Mediator, and exhibited to them in the Gospel,-laying aside likewise all enmity on their part, and returning love to a God of love.9
xx. To obviate every doubt, that the sufferings of Christ are the meritorious cause of this reconciliation, the Scripture calls Christ" the propitiation," and "the propitiation, the propitiatory, in his blood." These expressions carry an allusion partly to the expiatory sacrifices of the Old Testament, where the ram which was offered in sacrifice is called "the ram of the " atonement," and the day on which an atonement used to be made for the sins of the people is denominated "the day of atonement:"-and partly to the lid or covering of the ark, which the Hebrews call and Paul aerngior," the mercy-seat."a The covering of the ark of the covenant was called the propitiatory, "the mercy-seat," for several reasons. 1st, Because it covered the law, which was shut up in the ark, that it might not subject believers to condemnation for the crimes committed against itself and the covenant. 2dly, Because there, God was pleased to be pacified, and to become propitious to his people, through
▾ Heb. ix. 14. 1 Pet. ii. 24.
1 Ιλαστήριον ἐν τῷ αίματι, Rom. iii. 25.
s‘Ημερα ἐξιλασμῦ, Lev. xxiii. 27. a Heb. ix. 5.
• See NOTE IX.
w ́Ιλασμος, 1 John ii. 2.
the sprinkling of the blood of victims, which was done towards this covering. 3dly, Because, in consequence, he there exhibited himself to his people, propitious and reconciled, and sitting on the throne of grace, which was between the cherubim.
Now the Apostle, with great propriety, applies the name of the figure and shadow to the substance, and calls Christ" the mercy-seat;" for, 1st, It is he that covers our sins with his own perfect righteousness, that they may never come into God's sight. He interposes himself as the medium between God and us; as the covering of the ark was a medium between the law laid up in it, and the majesty of God dwelling between the cherubim. 2dly, It is he that, by the sprinkling of his own blood, which Paul calls "the blood of sprinkling," made full expiation to God for us.d 3dly, It is he, finally, in whom God hath erected a throne of grace, to which we are commanded to come, and in whom we receive gracious answers to our prayers.e
XXI. Further, FOR WHOM hath Christ made satisfaction by his sufferings? We do not deny that the sufferings of Christ, considered in themselves, and viewed in connexion with the character of the person that suffered, who, as we have frequently noticed already, is one of infinite dignity, are of so great value that they could suffice for the redemption even of the whole human race, and of many more myriads of mankind, on supposition their numbers were increased to that extent, if it had pleased God, and Christ, that he should become Surety for them all. Nor are we un
b Lev. xvi. 14.
d Heb. i. 3. ix. 12.
Heb. xii. 24.
e Heb. iv. 16.
willing to admit, that Christ, as man, being subject to the law of charity, had a holy love to all mankind as his neighbours, heartily wished them well, and seriously lamented the ruin of those that perish; whilst yet, as God, he knew them to be reprobate, and, as Mediator, he had not undertaken for them:-the human affection, however, being in subjection to the divine appointment. We do not deny, besides, that, owing to the sufferings and satisfaction of Christ, many good things fall to the share of the reprobate. To the sufferings of Christ they stand indebted for the reformation of the world from its gross idolatry, and monstrous ferocity, by the preaching of the Gospel; also for many valuable though not saving gifts of the Holy Spirit; for their "esca"ping the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge "of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" and for other similar advantages. They obtain those blessings, too, not accidentally, without the intention of God and Christ, but according to the determinate counsel of the Deity and the Saviour. At the same time we maintain, in conformity to holy writ, that, according to the will of God the Father and his own purpose, Christ did not become Surety or make satisfaction, and consequently did not suffer, for any but those whom the Father gave him, and who are actually saved. "I came down from heaven," says Christ, "not to do mine own will, "but the will of him that sent me." And this is the Father's will who hath sent me, that of all whom he hath given me I should lose nothing.
XXII. This doctrine derives support from those passages of Scripture in which the sufferings of Christ are restricted to his " sheep," to his "church," to his
John vi. 38, 39.
people," and even "a peculiar people to himself."g All those passages tend to illustrate the distinguishing love of Christ towards his sheep for whom he laid down his life, towards the church which he purchased for himself with his own blood, and towards his people for whom he gave himself. But if the "sheep," "the "church," "the people" of Christ have no peculiar interest and privilege in this matter, by which they are distinguished from all other men, is it possible to specify any probable reason why that unbounded love of Christ in laying down his life, shedding his blood, and giving himself, should be ascribed peculiarly to them? This subject, however, we have treated more largely elsewhere.*
XXIII. The compilers of the Creed have thought proper also to make mention of PONTIUS PILATE, as under his government our Lord completed his passion. They have done this, however, not to intimate that those sufferings only were meritorious which befell him after sentence was passed upon him by Pilate; for nothing can be more absurd, nothing more opposite to the whole tenour of the Christian doctrine than that notion. The name of the Roman Governor is mentioned, partly to facilitate the comparing of the epoch of Christ's suffering with the Roman histories, as Luke mentions the enrolling for taxation which took place according to the command of Augustus at the epoch of Christ's birth;partly for other weighty reasons, which are to be explained immediately.
XXIV. It is proper to take notice of three things respecting Pilate. 1st, The temper and disposition of
The Author here refers, without doubt, to his discussion on this point in his Treatise on the Covenants, Book ii. chap. 9. T.
John x. 15. Ephes. v. 25. Acts xx. 28. Tit. ii. 14.