« ÖncekiDevam »
necessary, arising from the nature of the things themselves, but arose from a compact between the Father and the Son to this purpose, and the promises wherewith it was confirmed.' Suppose, then, a proportion in distributive justice, between the obedience of Christ, and the salvation of believers; then add the respect and relation that they have one to another, by virtue of this covenant, and in particular, that our salvation is engaged by promise to Christ, and it gives us the true nature of his merit.
The conditions required, or prescriptions made to the undertaker, in this covenant, were, that he should assume the nature of those whom he was to bring to God; that in his nature assumed, he should be the servant of the Father, and yield universal obedience to him, both according to the general law of God obliging all mankind, and according to the special law of the church under which he was, and, moreover, according to the singular law of that compact, Isa. xlii, 1; chap. xlix, 5; Phil. ii, 6–11; and, that he should make atonement for sin, by means of our nature assumed. And thus we are come to the well-head of salvation. Here lieth the immediate sacred foundation of the priesthood of Christ, and of the sacrifice of himself, which, in the discharge of that office, he offered to God.
$31. And when God came to reveal and represent to his church this counsel of his will, he did it by the institution of priesthood and sacrifices; for the priesthood and sacrifices of the law were not the original exemplar of these things, but a transcript of what was done in heaven itself, in counsel and covenant, as well as a type of what should be afterwards accomplished on the earth. And the very names of priests and
sacrifices were but improperly ascribed to them who were so called, being only obscure representations of what was past, and types of what was to come.
THE NECESSITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.
$1. The subject proposed. 82. The righteousness of God,
what; as resident in the Divine nature. 13. As to its exercise. 94. What this pre-supposeth. $5. That the righteousness of God necessarily requires the punishment of sin. 56. The objection that mercy prevents the exercise of justice, answered. 87. That sin cannot be pardoned without satisfaction, argued from the holiness of God. 98. The foregoing branches of the argument recapitulated. 99, 10. That justice and mercy are properties of the Divine nature, and not mere external acts. $11, 12. The objection, That Christ could not endure the penalty due to us, answered. $13—15. Other objections answered. $16, 17. Additional arguments, in confirmation of the general thesis.
şi. On this supposition, that God in his infinite grace and love would save sinners by the interposition of his Son, there was something in the manner of it indispensable and necessary, viz. that he should do it by undergoing tre punishment that was due to them, who should be saved, or offer himself a sacrifice, to make atonement and reconciliation for them.
This being a matter of great importance, and strenuously opposed by the Socinians, and the defence of it deserted by some otherwise adhering to sound doctrine in the main of our cause, I shall the more particularly
insist upon it.
$2. Whereas we assert the necessity of the priesthood of Christ to depend on the righteousness of God, it is requisite, that something be premised concerning it. The righteousness of God is taken two ways, viz. absolutely in itself, as it is resident in the Divine nature; and, with respect to its exercise, or the actings of God, in a manner suitable to that holy property of his nature. In the first acceptation, it is nothing but the universal rectitude of the Divine nature, whereby it is necessary to God, to do all things rightly, justly, equally, answerably to his own wisdom, goodness, holiness, and right of dominion, Zeph. iii, 5; “The just “Lord in the midst thereof; he will do no iniquity, “morning by morning doth he bring his judgment to “light.” I say, it is the essential, natural readiness and disposition of the holy nature of God, to do all things justly and decently, according to the rules of his wisdom, and the nature of things, with their relation one to another. And this virtue of the Divine nature considered absolutely, doth not consist in a habitude of mind (ngos elegov) with respect to another, as all justice in men doth, but is the infinite essential rectitude of God in his being. Hence it so presides over all the works of God that there is none of them, though proceeding immediately from mercy and goodness on the one hand, or from severity or faithfulness on the other, but that God is said to be righteous therein, and they are all represented as acts of righteousness in him. And this, not only because they are his acts and works, who can do no evil, but also because they proceed from, and are suited to that holy, absolute, universal rectitude of his nature, wherein true righteousness doth consist.
For between the consideration of this righteousness of God, and the actual exercise of it towards his creatures, there must be interposed a consideration of the right of God, or that which we call Jus Domini, a right, power, and liberty of rule or government. For it is not enough that any one be righteous to enable him to act righteously, with respect to others, but moreover he must have a right so to act; and this right in God is supreme and sovereign, arising naturally and necessarily from the relation of all things to himself; being all placed in an universal, indispensable, and absolutely unchangeable dependence on him, according to their natures and capacities.
The right of God, therefore, to rule over us, is wholly of another kind and nature, than any thing is or can be among the sons of men; for it is a sovereign right to deal with us, and act towards us, according to the infinite, eternal rectitude of his nature. And as he hath a right so to do, so he cannot do otherwise, supposing the state and condition wherein we are made and placed, with the nature of our relation to, and dependence on God; for God can act no otherwise towards us but according to what the essential rectitude of his nature doth direct and require; which is the foundation of what we plead in the case before us, concerning the necessity of the priesthood.
$3. Again, the righteousness of God may be considered with respect to its exercise, which supposeth the right of God before declared. For, suppose the creation of all things, and it is as natural and essential to God to be the ruler over them, as it is to be God. Now, the exercise of the righteousness of God, in pursuit of his right of rule, is either absolute and antecedent, or respective and consequential. In the former respect it is exercised in his laws and promises; in virtue of the latter, he distributes rewards and punishments to his creatures according to their work. And one part of this consists in the punishing of sin, as it is
a transgression of his law; and this is that wherein, at present, we are concerned; for we say that the righteousness of God, as he is the Supreme Ruler of the world, doth require, necessarily, that sin be punished, or the transgression of that law, which is the instrument of his rule, be avenged. $4. The exercise of this righteousness in God
presupposeth, the creation of intelligent rational creatures in a moral dependence on himself, capable of being ruled by a law, in order to his glory and their own blessedness; the nature of the law given to those creatures, as the means and instrument of their moral, orderly dependence on God, which order the breach of that law would disturb; the eternal, natural, unchangeable right that God hath to govern these creatures, according to the tenor of that law; the sin of these creatures, which was destructive of all that order of things, which ensued on the creation, and the giving of the law; for it was destructive of the principal end of the creation, and of the dependence of the creatures upon God; and was introductory of a state of things utterly opposite to the universal rectitude of the Divine nature.
We say, then, that upon a supposition of all these antecedaneous free acts, and of the necessary continuance of God's righteousness of rule and judgment, it was necessary that the sinning creature should be punished according to the sentence of the law.
Hence the necessity and special nature of the priesthood of Christ. Designed it was in grace, as we have before proved, on supposition that God would save sinners, but it was this justice that made it necessary,
and determined its nature. For this was that, which indispensably required the punishment of sin, and, therefore, was it necessary, that he who would