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Whether Christ can with propriety be called a sinner, an adulterer, an idolater, &c. and whether a certain exchange of persons took place between him and the Elect.


I. We must beware of hard unscriptural phrases, especially in things concerning Christ. II. Whom scripture calls sin indeed, never a sinner. III. Although numbered with sinners. IV. The more hard sayings of some are not to be wrested into a bad sense. V. Christ was called a sinner by Chrysostom, by Oecumenius. VI. By Calvin. VII. By James Allingius. VIII. There was truly a certain exchange of persons between Christ and the Elect. IX. Highly extolled by Justin. X. Clearly explained by Turretin. XI. Approved by the English Brethren.

1. BUT,

on the other hand, I think it is neither good nor prudent, that others going farther, than is just, use too hard expressions, and 1. We such as are unknown to the Holy Spirit; must be

ware of

hard un


which can scarcely but offend tender ears. For instance, when they say, that we are not scriptural greater sinners than Christ, who being made sin phrases, especially in for us, was as great a sinner as we: that our things concerning sins were so actually translated to Christ, we are no more sinners. That as often as an elect person is spoken of, although he hath committed adultery, theft, and idolatry, he is not the adulterer, the thief, or idolater, but that these

that Christ.


CHA P. are rather to be affirmed of Christ, that there


was never so great a transgressor on earth as
Christ and more of that nature.
things are without scripture, which indeed.
calls Christ sin, never a sinner.

II. Whom scripture

II. Neither indeed do I agree with those, calls sin in- who think that by that abstract and hyperbodeed, never lical phrase, as they say, the force of the cona sinner. crete is intended: that it is more to say sin, than a sinner. Paul, as usual, borrows these his phrases from the Old Testament, and treating of our reconciliation with God, by the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, he teaches. that Christ was such a sacrifice in truth as the No and wx were in type, as I have just now shown. [2]


though numbered

with sin


III But neither does the prophet call Christ a sinner, when he testifies that he was numbered with transgressors, Isa. liii. 12. For that may be very conveniently referred to the unjust judgment of the most wicked men, procuring the death of Christ. This prophecy had its accomplishment, when Christ being apprehended as a robber, accused of deceiving, of blasphemy, and of disturbing the commonwealth, was at last crucified, in the midst between two thieves: we have Mark at least, as the author of this interpretation, chap. xv. 28.

IV. The IV. But in reality, although they do not

too hardex

pressions of speak with scripture, who love to call Christ

Note [2.]

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not to be
wrested in-


a sinner, truly a sinner, the greatest of all sin- CHAP.
ners; and although I judge it better to ab-
stain from phrases so hard, and so liable to some are
calumny; yet since other authors solicitously
provide for the untainted purity of Christ, to a bad
and mean that none of them be understood
except in respect of our sins, which are not
Christ's, unless by the imputation of God the
Father, and his own most holy undertaking;
neither have they any other aim, except to
show, that that imputation is most full, and
every way good in law for our salvation; I
am unwilling that that should be snatched by
the left hand, which is given to the right, and
that unusual expressions should be seized as
materials for calumny.

V. Christ is called a

tom, and

V. For they also have the greatest examples, by which they can defend themselves. sinner by Chrysostom, Homil xi. on the II. to the ChrysosCorinthians, τον γαρ δίκαιον, φησιν, ἐπιεσιν ἁμα ζωλον, ινα Decumeτους αμαρτώλους ποίηση δικαιος. μαλλον δε ουδε ουτως ειπεν. nius. αλλ' ὅ πολλω μειζόν ην. ου γάρ εςιν εθηκεν, αλλ' αυτήν την ποιότης τα ου γαρ είπεν, εποίησε μαρτώλιν, αλλ άμαρτίαν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώς μεθα, ουκ ειπε δικαιοι, αλλά δικαισούνη, και θεου δικαιοσύνης For says he, be made the righteous a sinner, that he might make sinners righteous. Yea, he spake not only so, but something which was much greater: for he did not suppose the habit, but the quality itself: for he did not say, be made him a sinner, but SIN, that we might be made, he did not say, righteous, but righteousand even the righteousness of God. Add, Ecumenius on Chap. ix. to the Hebrews, p. 845. Η σφόδρα αμαρτωλός ὁ Χρισcs, ως τας του παντος καστ



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C H A P. μου αναλαβών και οικειοσάμενος ἁμαρτίας. Christ was A GREAT SINNER, in as much as he had taken upon him, the sins of the whole world, and bad made them his own.

VI. By Calvin.

VI. Calvin on Gal. iii. 13. follows those fathers, but modestly. Because he represented our person, therefore he was a sinner, and obnoxious to the curse, not so much in himself indeed, as in us; but yet that he was under a necessity to pay our debt. And in Marlorat's collections on 2 Cor. v. 21. I find the following expressions, Christ not only died for us, but he died as accursed by God, and the most wicked sinner of all.

VII. And

VII. But most plainly James Allingius, by James Diss. Theol. Hept. II. Dis. 1. Sect. 4, 5, 6, Allingius. 7, 8. that Christ came into judgment and was condemned there, yet is declared IMPIOUS, OR. AN OFFENDER, appears from this, that imprisonment, is joined with judgment. Isa. liii. 8. By which judgment he was brought into prison. That judgment was not human, which may be unjust, but Divine, and therefore most just. Now since in the divine judgment, Christ was condemned to. that prison, verily he must needs have been GUILTY, AND AN OFFENDER: since injustice neither belongs, nor can belong to God the judge, under which, however, he would have laboured, if indeed he had condemned the just and the innocent. Now Christ was IMPIOUS, AND AN OFFENDER, not absolutely, but relatively, as a surety, who, free of personal debt, sustains the guilt of another, and on this account, is guilty, an offen



der, or impious in the sight of the creditor and CHAP. judge.


truly a cer

persons be

the elect.

VIII. Though I do not altogether approve of these phrases, yet I must maintain, that There is Christ so substituted himself for the elect, tain exand sustained their person, that a certain ex- change of change of persons takes place; and as Christ tween represented their person, while he took their Christ and debts upon him, and paid for them no less than if he himself had been bound to pay, so they again are judged to have paid in the Surety, no less than if they had paid in their own person. For I believe none acquainted with divinity has ever been found, nay, not indeed a man of sound judgment, who dreamed of such an exchange of persons, whereby either the Saviour was reduced to the rank of them who are to be saved, or they became the Saviour. That would be as extravagant, as what I say is orthodox: because as Christ representing the person of the elect, was made sin for them; so also on the other hand, the elect considered in the person of Christ become the righteousness of God in him: and because his righteousness is as much their righteousness, as their sins were his sins; both by imputation: [3.] but an imputation so valid, that as he could not but be punished on account of their sins imputed to him, so they cannot but be saved on account of his righteousness imputed to them. These things, as to the mat

Note [3.]

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