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already so often shewn, but it seems from what we have confirmed sect. 6. it must be denied with respect to the divine. How. ever, as the human nature does not, without the divine, compleat the person of the mediator, it does not appear, that the mediator as such, did not engage to be subject to the law, without bringing his divine nature likewise to share in that subjection.
XVII. In order to remove this difficulty, we are accurately to distinguish between both natures considered separately, and the same natures united in the person of God-man. It was pro. per that both natures should act suitably to themselves and their distinct properties. Since the divine nature, as subsisting in the Son, could not truly and really be subject ; therefore, by virtue of the covenant, it did not exert or display all its majesty in the assumed form of a servant ; nor hinder that nature to which it was united by the hypostatical union, from being truly subject to the law, both as to the condition of the reward, and as to the penal sanction, which indeed, was neither a real renunciation, nor degradation of the divine superiority, but only a certain economical vailing of it for a time.
XVIII. The human nature was really and properly subject to the law: Nay, from the bypostatical union there was superadded, a certain peculiar obligation upon the human nature of Christ, considered in relation to the suretiship undertaken for us as his brethren. For, as men are bound to love God in such a manner as above all things to seek his glory, which shines most illustrious in the justification and sanctification of the sinner, and so to love their neighbour, as to desire to deliver their brother from sin and misery, even at their own peril, if possible. But tho' no mere man can effect this, yet the man Christ, who is likewise true God, and so able by his obedience and suffering, to promote this glory of God and the salvation of his brethren, was therefore obliged to undertake and undergo all those things, in which he might shew forth this most intense love of God and his neighbour: since he only could do this, so he only was bound to do it. What others were obliged to do conditionally, as we observe a spark of this love in Moses, Ex. xxxii. 32 ; and in Paul, Rom. ix. 3. was incumbent on the man Christ absolutely ; because being God-man, he could absolutely perform it.
XIX. We commonly ascribe to the person God-man, the relation of an inferior to a superior, by a constitution or appointment: That, both by doing and suffering those things might be accomplished, according to the condition of each nature which were requisite to our salvation : so that the very obed. ience and sufferings themselves, are not only to be appropriated
to the human nature, but to be considered as truly performed and suffered by the God-man. If this was not the case, they would not be of infinite value and dignity, nor sufficient for our redemption. Hence, he who is in the form of God, is said “ to have made himself of no reputation, and become obedient unto death,” Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. And “ to be the Lord of glory who was crucified," 1 Cor. ii. 8. ". XX. It is here usual to enquire, whether Christ as Medi
ator, is inferior to the Father, and subordinate to him. But - this controversy, it seems, may be easily settled among the or
thodox: if the Mediator be considered in the state of humiliation and the form of a servant, he is certainly inferior to the father, and subordinate to him. It was not of his human na. ture only, but of himself in that state that he himself said, John xiv. 28. The Father is greater than 1. Nay, we may look upon the very mediatorial office in itself as importing a certain economical inferiority, or subordination ; as being to be laid down, when all things shall be perfectly finished, and God himself shall be all in all, 1 Cor. xv. 28. Nevertheless this undertaking and mediation, and the bringing of fallen man to God, to grace and glory, is not so much beneath the excellency of the Deity, but we may without the least hesitation affirm, that this glory of mediation is incommunicable to any creature. It is the glory of Jehovah to be the righteousness of Israel. This glory he gives to none who is not God: 'to be Mediator does not merely denote a servant of God, but the great God and Saviour; who as the first and principal cause of saving grace, equal to the Father, works by his own power, our reconciliation with God, by means of the subjection and obedience of his human nature, without which the coequal Son could neither perform his service, nor obey the Father.
XXI, The third thing we promised to enquire into was this, “ Could the Son refuse to undertake, or withdraw himself from this covenant?” To which question we are again to answer dissinctly. ist, If the Son be considered as God, the whole of this covenant was of his own most free will and pleasure. There neither was, nor could be ar y necessity to bind the Son of God, as such, to this covenant. Here is nothing but mere good pleasure, philanthropy unmerited, and altogether liberal, pure, and unmixed grace. 2dly, If he be considered as man, tho' he indeed entered into this engagement, of his own accord, without being constrained ; yet he could not, without sin, from which he is at the greatest distance, withdraw from this agreement : Which we prove in the following manner :
XXII. Ist, The human nature of Christ, as we have often said, could not be without law. The law under which it naturally is, is the royal law of love. Which does not indeed formally, as it was made for man in innocence, but yet eminently contain this precept, which John inculcates, 1 Ep. iii. 16. That one lay down bis life for the brethren. I say, the law of love, as given to man in innocence contains not this precept formally; death being inconsistent with that state, and perfect obedience, which is all summed up in love, frees man from all necessity of dying, according to the promise, he who doth those things, shall live in them. And therefore we have shown, that if Christ be considered in himself as a holy person, without respect to the decree of God, and his own engagement for his miserable brethren, he was, by virtue of his perfect holiness, under no necessity of dying and suffering. But the law of love does, supposing the requisite circumstances, eminently contain the command of dying for our brethren. For, it enjoins us to love God above all, and our neighbour as ourselves. And he who loves God above all, does not only delight in God his creator, benefactor, lord, and example; not only studies to please him, but endeavours to promote his glory, and direct all things that are God's to that, end. And as he ought to have a tender regard for the glory of God above his own advantage, he also ought to be ready to undergo every thing, by which the glory of God may be most illustrated. And supposing, such a one has brethren in distress, from which he can deliver them by his death, so that God shall in an eminent manner, appear glorious in them; the love of our brethren, together with the love of God, enjoins him not to decline dying for them ; especially if he himself, becoming a conqueror over death, shall thereby obtain a most distinguishing reward at last. Since therefore, Christ as man, could not but be under the law of love, and a holy man, as doubtless it became him to be, he cannot therefore be conceived as destitute of love, much less as having a contrary disposition ; it follows, that he could not, in such circumstances, withdraw himself from his agreement to satisfy for men ; because the law of love eminently contains such an obligation.
XXIII. 2dly, The Son of God had from eternity engaged to satisfy this covenant, by assuming human nature, and obeying in it, as we shewed above sect. 2. If the human nature, personally united to him, could have withdrawn itself from, and renounced the covenant, it was possible that the Son of God himself might have violated his covenant engagements. And in that case Christ would not be either the true and faithful God, who cannot lië, or not be God omnipotent: because he, who, from eter, Vol. I.
nity, willingly engaged in this undertaking, could not, in time, induce the human nature to execute that for which it was assumed at first. Nor do I see what reply can be made to this argument, unless one shall venture to say, that it is contrary to the nature of liberty, that the will should be thus bent, or brought over, by a superior cause : and that, in such a case, the human nature, declining to stand to that covenant, would be deprived of the honour of the hypostatical union, and another be assumed in its stead. But besides that this overthrows the inseparability of the hypostatical union, admitted on both sides, the same difficulty must recur with respect to the nature newly assumed ; because, equal liberty is to be ascribed to it.
XXIV. 3dly, God had, by an eternal and irrevocable decree, appointed, promised and confirmed by oath, the inheritance of all blessings in Christ, Heb. vi. 13-18. Luke i. 73. But if Christ could have withdrawn himself from the covenant, then the decree of God would have become void, his promises been deceitful, and his oath falsified; and therefore the whole counfel of God concerning the economy of our salvation, so often in. culcated in the prophetical writings, would have become of no effect; which is indeed blasphemy to imagine. There is no occasion to suggest, as one has done, that God could, without the payment of any price, have remitted the debt of sin, and among some thousand methods have found out another way of saving mankind, had this method proved unsuccessful. For as this is very much more than we can readily yield to, so it is nothing to the purpose. For God did not only in general decree, promise and confirm by oath, salvation to his elect; but salvation to be obtained by Christ and his obedience; which decree, promise and oath, could be accomplished no other way; not to say, how unworthy it is of God, to be obliged to make new decrees, after the former had miscarried. And this is the very bone of the remonstrant divinity.
XXV. 4thly, Let us suppose that the human nature of Christ, to speak plainly, could have withdrawn itself from this covenant ; yet it could not, at least without a horrible sin, after the preor. dinarion of God, the eternal will of the Son, the promise and oath had been discovered to him. Nay, it had been a more dreadful sin than that of the first Adam, for him obstinately to oppose all these considerations, and prefer his own private advantage to the glory of God and salvation of the elect ; and by this means, we should be reduced, by this hypothesis we are now contend. ing against, to the shocking blasphemies of some schoolmen, who affirm that Christ could have sinned, and consequently
bave been damned. These are the depths of Satan, which all Christians ought to pronounce accursed.
XXVI. Hence we see what we are to think of the divinity of the remonstrants on this head, who, in chap. xvii. p. 187. b. , of their apology or remonstrance, say, that “the obedience of Christ was of a different nature from ours; but agreeing in this that it was altogether free. Christ obeyed the will of his Father, not as we obey the law of God, under the threatening of eternal. death, in case of disobedience : God forbid ; but as an ambassador is said to obey his sovereign, or a beloved son his father, when his sovereign or father, confers on either an honourable office to be executed by them, adding the promise of some extraordinary reward, if they will freely, and on their account undertake it. Whoever obeys in this manner, that is willingly takes that office upon himself, he indeed properly and freely obeys, not that he would properly sin, did he not undertake it ; or. when undertaken, lay it down again, with the good-will of the father; much less that he would deserve eternal punishment, if he did not undertake it, or excuse himself from undertaking, or bearing the burden thereof; as it is most certain, that when we disobey God and his law, we deserve punishment. But no such threatening of punishment was made to Christ; but he could ei. , ther not undertake it, or when he undertook it, resign his charge, and so not enjoy, or forfeit the promised reward."
XXVII. In this discourse there are as many faults, as ser. tences. We will now chiefly remark these following things. Ist, The leading error of the remonstrants, from whence their other errors flow, is their making the liberty of the will to consist in indifference, so as one may, or may not obey; whereas it is to be placed in the free good pleasure of the mind. Unless one would affirm either of these things, that it was either possible or lawful, for the holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, nay, Christ himself exalted, not to do the will of God. 2dly, They distinguish not the person of the Son of God, and the grace, by which he humbled himself to undertake obedience in the assumed human nature, from the human nature itself, and obedience of Christ, now in his state of humiliation, The grace of the Son of God was so free, that he could not be against this humiliation, or emptying of himself, that he might come under an obligation to obedience. There is no reason, but the most free good pleasure of the divine will, why this future humiliation was decreed by the adorable Trinity, and consequently by the Son himself. Yet, upon supposing this free decree, the human nature assumed by the logos, or the word, could not decline, or draw back from the office assigned to Christ, and now undertaken by the logos himself, without sin and disobedience.
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