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sinners through the preaching of the gospel. Such an absolute decree as this, Arminians do not deny..... Thus much at least (out of all controversy) is implied in such Scriptures, as i Cor. ii. 7. Eph. i. 4, 5, and chap. iii. 9, 10, 11, 1 Pet. i. 19, 20. Such an absolute decree as this, Arminians allow to be signified in these texts. And the Arminians, election of nations and societies, and general election of the Christian Church, and conditional election of particular persons, imply this. God could not decree before the foundation of the world, to save all that should believe in, and obey Christ, unless he had absolutely decreed, that salvation should be provided, and effectually wrought out by Christ. And since (as the Arminians themselves strenuously maintain) a decree of God infers necessity; hence it became necessary, that Christ should persevere, and actually work out salvation for us, and that he should not fail by the commission of sin.
8. That it should have been possible for Christ's holiness to fail, is not consistent with what God promised to his Son, before all ages. For, that salvation should be offered to men through Christ, and bestowed on all his faithful followers, is what is at least implied in that certain and infallible promise spoken of by the apostle, Tit. i. 2.“ In hope of eternal life; which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” This does not seem to be controverted by Arminians.
9. That it should be possible for Christ to fail of doing his Father's Will, is inconsitent with the promise made to the Father by the Son, by the Logos that was with the Father from the beginning, before he took the human nature : As may be seen in Psal. xl. 6, 7, 8, (compared with the Apostle's interpretation, Heb. X. 5......9.) “ Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire : Mine ears hast thou opened, (or bored ;) burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. Then said I, Lo, I come : In the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy Will, my God, and thy law is within my heart." Where is a manifest allusion to the covenant, which the willing servant, who loved his mas
* See Ds, Whitby on the five Points, P. 48, 49, 50.
ter's service, made with his master, to be his servant forever, on the day wherein he had his ear bored ; which covenant was probably inserted in the public records, called the Vole ume of the Book, by the judges, who were called to take cognizance of the transaction ; Exod. xxi. If the Logo8, who was with the Father, before the world, and who made the world, thus engaged in covenant to do the Will of the Father in the human nature, and the promise was as it were recordo ed, that it might be made sure, doubtless it was impossible that it should fail ; and so it was impossible that Christ should fail of doing the Will of the Father in the human nature.
10. If it was possible for Christ to have failed of doing the Will of his Father, and so to have failed of effectually working out redemption for sinners, then the salvation of all the saints, who were saved from the beginning of the world, to the death of Christ, was not built on a firm foundation. The Messiah, and the redemption which he was to work out by his obedience unto death, was the foundation of the salvation of all the posterity of fallen man, that ever were saved. Therefore, if when the Old Testament saints had the pardon of their sins, and the favor of God promised them, and salvation be« stowed upon them, still it was possible that the Messiah, when he came, might commit sin, then all this was on a foundation that was not firm and stable, but liable to fail; something which it was possible might never be. God did as it were trust to what his Son had engaged and promised to do in future time; and de pended so much upon it, that He proceeded actually to save men on the account of it, as though it had been already done. But this trust and dependence of God, on the supposition of Christ's being liable to fail of doing his Will, was leaning on a staff that was weak, and might possibly break..... The saints of old trusted in the promises of a future redemption to be wrought out and completed by the Messiah, and built their comfort upon it : Abraham saw Christ's day and rejoiced ; and he and the other Patriarchs died in the faith of the promise of it.... (Heb. xi. 13.) But on this supposition, their faith and their comfort, and their salvation, was built on a moveable, fallible foundation ; Christ was not to them a tried stone, a sure found
ation : As in isa. xxviii. 16. David entirely rested on the covenant of God with iim, concerning the future glorious dominion and salvation of the Messiah, of his seed ; and says it was all his salvation, and all his desire : And comforts himself that this covenant was an “ everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure,” 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. But if Christ's virtue might fail, he was mistaken: Ilis great comfort was not built so sure as he thought it was, being founded entirely on the determinations of the Free Will of Christ's human soul; which was subject to no necessity, and might be determined either one way or the other. Also the dependence of those, who looked for redemption in Jerusalem, and waited for the consolation of Israel, (Luke ii. 25, and 38) and the confidence of the disciples of Jesus, who forsook all and followed Him, that they might enjoy the benefits of his future kingdom, were built on a sandy foundation.
11. The man Christ Jesus, before he had finished his course of obedience, and while in the midst of temptations and trials, was abundant in positively predicting his own future glory in his kingdom, and the enlargement of his church, the salvation of the Gentiles through him, &c. and in promises of blessings he would bestow on his true disciples in his future kingdom; on wbich promises he required the full dependence of his disciples, (John xiv.) But the disciples, would have had no ground for such dependence, if Christ had been liable to fail in his work : And Chrisi Himself would have been guilty of presumption, in so abounding in peremptory promises of great things, which depended on a mere contingence, viz. the determinations of his Free Will, consisting in a freedom ad utrumque, to either sin or holiness, standing in indiference, and incident, in thousands of future instances, to go either one way or the other.
Thus it is evident, that it was impossible that the Acts of The Will of the human soul of Christ should be otherwise than holy, and conformed to the Will of the Father ; or, in other words, they were necessarily so conformed.
I have been the longer in the proof of this matter, it being a thing denied by some of the greatest Arminians, by EpiscoVOL. V.
pius in particular; and because I look upon it as a point clearly and absolutely determining the controversy between Calvinists and Arminians, concerning the necessity of such a freedom of Will as is insisted on by the latter, in order to moral agency, virtue, command or prohibition, promise or threatening, reward or punishment, praise or dispraise, merit or demerit. I now therefore proceed,
II. To consider whether CHRIST, in his holy behavior on earth, was not thus a moral agent, subject to commands, promises, &c.
Dr. Whitby very often speaks of what he calls a freedom ad utrumlibet, without necessity, as requisite to law and commands ; and speaks of necessity as entirely inconsistent with injunctions and prohibitions. But yet we read of Christ's being the subject of the commands of his father, Job x. 18, and xv. 10. And Christ tells us, that every thing he said, or did, was in compliance with commandments he had received of the Father ; John xii. 49, 50, and xiv. 31. And we often read of Christ's obedience to his Father's commands, Rom. v. 19. Phil. ii. 8. Heb. v. 8.
The forementioned writer represents promises offered as motives to persons to do their duty, or a being moved and induced by promises, as utterly inconsistent with a state wherein persons have not a liberty ad utrumlibet but are necessarily determined to one. (See particularly, p. 298, 311.) But the thing which this writer asserts, is demonstrably false, if the Christian religion be true. If there be any truth in Christianity or the holy Scriptures, the man Christ Jesus had his Will infallibly, unalterably and unfrustrably determined to good, and that alone; but yet he had promises of glorious rewards made to Him, on condition of his persevering in, and perfecting the work which God had appointed Him ; Isa. liii. 10, 11, 12, Psal. ii. and cx. Isa. xlix. 7, 8, 9, In Luke xxii. 28, 29, Christ says to his disciples, “ Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." The word most properly signifies to appoint by covenant or
promise. The plain meaning of Christ's words is this : « As you
have partook of my temptations and trials, and have been stedfast, and have overcome, I promise to make you partakers of my reward, and to give you a kingdom; as the l'ather has promised me a kingdom for continuing stedfast, and overcoming in those trials.” And the words are well explained by those in Rev. iii. 21. “ To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne ; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” And Christ had not only promises of glorious success and rewards made to his obedience and sufferings, but the Scriptures plainly represent him as using these promises for motives and inducements to obey and suffer; and particularly that promise of a kingdom which the Father had appointed Him, or sitting with the Father in his throne ; as in Heb. xii. 1, 2. 6 Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
And how strange would it be to hear any Christian assert, that the holy and excellent temper and behavior of Jesus Christ, and that obedience which he performed under such great trials, was not virtuous or praiseworthy ; because his Will was not free ad utrumque, to either holiness or sin, but was unalterably determined to one ; that upon this account, there is no virtue at all, in all Christ's humility, meekness, patience, charity, forgiveness of enemies, contempt of the world, heavenly mindedness, submission to the will of God, perfect obedience to his commands, (though he was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross) bis great compassion to the afflicted, his unparalleled love to mankind, his faithfulDess to God and man, under such great trials ; his praying for his enemies, even when nailing him to the cross; that virtue, when applied to these things, is but an empty name; that there was no merit in any of these things ; that is, that Christ was worthy of nothing at all on account of them, wore