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66 And now,
vindicate the justice of God.
," he adds, “ what does this defence of God's justice amount to? God, by an act of His irresistible power, makes Christ guilty of all the sins of all believers in all ages. Then beholding in bim a deluge of iniquities, God's anger is kindled. He smites with the sword of His vengeance for those very sins of which He Himself had made Christ to be guilty! and this is called a just displeasure in the Deity!" (See Ludlam's Essays, Vol. I. p. 112. 115.)-Into such absurdities do men run, when they leave the simple statements of the Scriptures. According to these writers, our Saviour during his agony in Gethsemane was the object of God's wrath : “God was now become INEXORABLE.” What different views do we find in the New Testament. He was heard in that he feared,' or rather for his godly fear, απο της ευλαβειας,” saith the Writer to the Hebrews (ch. v. 7): 'He died the just for the unjust,' saith the Apostle Peter (1 Ep. iii. 18): and our Lord himself says, I know that Thou hearest me ALWAYS;' and · For This my Father LOVETH me, because I lay down my life that I may receive it again.' (John xi. 42. x. 17.)
(5) 'The doctrines of satisfaction and vicarious punishment, followed to their just conclusions, destroy the force of Christian sanctions. Some would deny those conclusions; but others admit them. Hervey, as quoted by Ludlam (Vol. I. p. 83,) says, “ the debt of penal suffering, and “ debt of perfect obedience, are fully discharged
by our divine surety, so that we are no longer “ under the necessity of obeying to obtain an ex“ emption from punishment.” There is reason to fear that such baneful language is not unfrequently uttered from the pulpits of those who style themselves Evangelical preachers; and it is at once obvious, that in so far as its influence is not checked by the plain and often repeated declaration of the Scriptures,—that God will render unto every man according to his deeds, -it must directly tend to subvert the foundation of Christian holiness.-How destructive these doctrines are (so far as they are allowed their genuine operation) of those views of the character and dispensations of God which we are encouraged by the Scriptures to entertain, and which I have already stated in different parts of this and the preceding chapter, it cannot be necessary to show. We have reason to be thankful, that though men, by a perversion of the language of the Scriptures, have derived these doctrines from them, yet that the same source supplies the antidote also.
(6) Many argue the necessity of an infinite satisfaction, from the position, that sin is an infinite evil, being against an infinite being, and therefore deserves infinite punishment. Without entering into the absurdity of the supposition that a finite being can be an infinite sinner, I cannot omit to quote 'here the statement of one singular consequence, which appears inevitable to follow from it. “ If sin be an infinite evil, one infinite person could make satisfaction for only one sin ; for as the number of sinful acts committed is not infinite, sin, if infinite at all, must be infinite in its nature, and unless each sinful act be ipfinite, sin in the aggregate cannot be so; for, if finite quantities be added together ever so far, they never will make an infinite total. But if every sinful act be infinite, it follows that even an infinite person could make satisfaction for but one sin ; a thousand such persons would be necessary to satisfy justice for a thousand sins.” See Monthly Repotitory, 1809, p. 330,
(7) The doctrines of satisfaction and vicarious punishment are the chief support of the doctrine of the proper deity of Christ; and that on the other hand supports them. If Christ were not truly and properly God, his satisfaction would not have been adequate ; and if he made an adequate satisfaction, he must have been truly and properly God. “Finite creatures," says Hervey, “ cannot make an infinite satisfaction: " our Lord being truly and properly infinite, he “ finished his work at once.--His sufferings are
adequate, nay, on account of his infinite nature, they are more than adequate to an eternity of
punishment.” In my first and second parts, I have shown the foundation of my own con, viction, that, as to nature, Jesus was truly and properly man, and consequently no more; and though I have not entered at large upon this ground of argument against the doctrines of
satisfaction, &c. yet it is obvious that they must fall to the ground at once, if that conviction be a well-founded one: and on the other hand, if the death of Christ answered no further purpose in the redemption of mankind, than could be effected by one who was truly a human being, the improbability of the common opinions as to the person of Christ is most strongly increased. -But independent of what I regard as the fact, that those opinions are totally unscriptural, it appears to me, as it has done to others, that they are directly inconsistent with each other, unless they are accompanied with the admission of the position, that God the Son suffered and died on the cross: for if only the MAN CHRIST JESUS suffered and died, it was the MAN only who made satisfaction.
(8) If the efficacy of the death of Christ be what is represented, it must have had that efficacy altogether independently of his doctrines and precepts. Now, though the death of Christ was one means of our redemption, and in the circumstances of the case a necessary means, yet it is never represented as the sole means, or even as of itself adequate to effect the end, On the contrary, as is well observed by Henry Taylor, “we are said to be saved by faith, by works, by the word of God, by baptism, by hope, by grace, by the death of Christ, by his life, by the words of St. Peter, by the words of St. Paul, by the foolishness of preaching, by calling on the name of the Lord, by enduring unto the end, &c.; by real repentance, and in His final acceptance, if, in obedience to His will we deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and live soberly, righteously, and religiously in the present world, and to resign ourselves and all our concerns and interests, for this life and another into His hands, casting all our cares upon Him, since He careth for us.
It is because I believe that the doctrines which I have defended in these pages are the doctrines taught by Jesus and his Apostles; that many of those opinions which oppose them have the direct tendency to give, or to countenance, injurious views of the character, dispensations, and will of God, and to check or debase some of the most worthy affections of our frame both respecting our Maker and our fellow-men; and that these doctrines, on the other hand, are eminently calculated to form and cultivate those habits of heart and life which constitute vital godliness ;*
it is from these convictions, that I have been led to enter so fully into the subject : and I shall deem myself abundantly recompensed, if, under the blessing of God, my present labours should contribute to diffuse the spread of those principles, which are rapidly gaining ground, and which I trust another generation will see generally prevalent among those who make the Scriptures their ultimate rule of faith and practice.
* See a very excellent paper, entitled, A View of Unitarianism as connected with Vital Godliness, in the Monthly Repository, 1807, p. 77.
I may be permitted also to refer the Reader to a tract, entitled, The Beneficial Tendency of Unitarianism: being the ixth Chap. of the Examination of Archbishop Magee's Charges.