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Christ is the sinner's substitute, in keeping the law, in the Divine judgment against sin, and in punishment."Next comes in the infinite merit of Christ's righteousness and atonement; for we were chosen to salvation in him as members of his mystic body; and that, through him as our surety and substitute, by whose vicarious obedience to the moral laws, and submission to the curse and penalty, all we whose names are in the book of life, should never incur the Divine hatred, or be punished for our sins, but continue to eternity, as we were from eternity, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ."1 It is not maintained by the advocates of this scheme of the atonement, that Christ's obedience is the same with the obedience of all his followers, so that no punishment is demanded; nor that the sufferings of Christ are the same with the sufferings of all his followers, so that punishment has been inflicted to the utmost; but by means of both, the ransom of the church is consummated. "Nothing but the allperfect and everlasting merit, which is the complex result of his [Christ's] obedience and of his sacrifice, can exalt and retrieve us to the dignity and felicity of heaven."3 It is not the view of this author that the amount of suffering on the part of Christ, with the sum of his meritorious deeds, is that which fixes the value of the atonement. The infinite merit and efficacy of Christ's righteousness is due to the "divinity of his person." "All created beings could not, by any sacrifice, present a single sinner blameless before the bar of God. Such power belongeth only to the righteousness of the Godman, Jehovah incarnate." 3 Yet there is a transfer of good works from Christ to his people, and a transfer of punishment from the elect to Christ. "Jesus,the Son and the Lamb of God, sustained intensively that punishment for sin, which must otherwise have been levied extensively on sinners, to all eternity."4
Though Christ and the elect are spoken of as one mystical body, they are not so in any sense which destroys the separate individuality of each of the followers of Christ. They are by faith one with him, hence one with him in justifica
1 V. 210.
« III. 231. 8 III. 230. 4 III. 80. tion; but not one so as to have done the works of Christ with him, for these are imputed to them. "By imputation! I mean, God's graciously placing that to our account which we did not personally do. Whoever denies the imputation of Christ's sufferings to us men, is a Socinian in the essential import of the word." The atonement is limited in its effect. It is not the will of God that all should be saved (for who hath resisted his will?), but all are saved for whom Christ died; hence, "though the blood of Christ, from its own intrinsic dignity, was sufficient for the redemption of all men; yet, in consequence of his Father's appointment, he shed it intentionally, and therefore effectually and immediately, for the elect only."1 As God has not provided for the salvation of all, so he does not invite all:"Now, if God invited all men to come to him, and then shut the door of mercy against any who were desirous of entering, his invitation would be a mockery and unworthy of himself; but we insist on it, that he does not invite all men to come to him in a saving way; and that every individual person who is, through his gracious influence on his heart, made willing to come to him, shall, sooner or later, be surely saved by him, and that with an everlasting salvation."' Deity is supposed to tamper (for tampering it is) with this man, by an offer of grace, which the Omniscient Offerer knows will be ineffectual? Let those who plead for such grace as this, forbear to charge the asserters of special and efficacious vocation, with representing the Deity as unmerciful; and, for common decency's sake, cease to tax the doctrines we plead for, with tyranny and cruelty. Level your tragical exclamations about unmercifulness at your own scheme, which truly and properly deserves them."1 comparatively, of the human species falls under the decree of pretention and non-redemption."1
Mr. Toplady did not admit that the Arminian scheme of a general atonement is more mild and merciful than that of the Calvinists. Both parties admit that the atonement does not, in fact, secure the salvation of all. Which scheme, then, has most of mercy in it, that which supposes all are invited, while some reject the invitation; or that which supposes the non-elect are never invited at all. This writer does not hesitate to say, the latter."Suppose God actually offers grace to one of the reprobate, 'nay, even draws him (i. e., according to the Arminian notion of divine traction, God solicits, propounds motives, excites, and would fain have him), to accept of it. But why this waste of Divine influence 1 Is it to add to iniquities already too great? and to seal destruction already too sure? Can God be in earnest in offering grace to one who, he infallibly knows beforehand, will infallibly refuse it? Can it be from a principle of loving kindness that the
An assertion which seemed unwarranted to the opponents of this theological system, was: "That the number of the elect is so fixed and determinate that it neither can be augmented nor diminished." But Mr. Toplady insists that the proposition must be true, and does "not scruple to hinge the whole weight of it on the certain and immutable knowledge of God." Christ says, he knows whom he has chosen; "but was the number fluctuating and precarious," he could only be said " to guess at them." So, again: "' I know my sheep.' But if the number was indeterminate, they could not be known: the sheep of to-day might degenerate into goats to-morrow; and the goats of yesterday might become sheep to-day, and be goats again before night. Nay, it might so happen that the Great Shepherd might, at the long run, not have a single sheep to know." 2 Though Toplady was rigid in his view of a partial atonement; no man could entertain a more grateful assurance that multitudes would be found to be the followers of Christ."The kingdom of glory will both be more largely and more variously peopled, than bigots of all denominations are either able to think, or willing to allow." In a letter to Dr. Priestley, he asks:"Why are Calvin's notions gloomy? Is it gloomy to believe that the far greater part of the human race are made for endless happiness? There can, I think, be no reasonable doubt entertained concerning the salvation of very young persons. If (as some, who have versed themselves in this kind of speculations, affirm) about one half of mankind die in infancy; and if, as indubitable observation proves, a very considerable number of the remaining half die in childhood ; and if, as there is the strongest reason to think, many millions of those who live to maturer years, in every successive generation, have their names in the book of life; then what a very small portion,
In proof of the salvation of infants, he refers to Matt. 18: 14: "It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." Believing that it was the will of God that the non-elect should perish, he could of course deny "these little ones" to be of that number. Does, then, the will of God change concerning them, when they become adult? Certainly not; for Christ is not speaking of any who will arrive at adult age — as may be seen from verse 10th of the same chapter: ' I say unto you, that their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. "Their angels," as he understands the passage, means their souls—the souls of such as die in infancy. He considers other interpretations of the text,—as whether these were not guardian-angels,—but thinks they would not, in that case, always behold the face of God; but it might be asked, whether guardian-angels are "longsighted" enough to see him while they are on earth, etc.; but the result of all is, his own view is the most rational. The reader will be convinced, at least, that it was the most consonant with his feelings.2 Sin. The depravity of men has different appearances, according as we view it in different relations. We may consider it as a perversion of character, as resulting in guilt and punishment, as requiring an atonement, as a means by which God manifests his glory; and each view will leave an impression on the mind different from that produced by another. It should seem that Toplady's favorite view was that which connected sin with the government of God. He believed that God could have prevented sin, that he therefore willed it, yet was not the author of it. Though God is the agent in all actions, sinfulness in acts is not the effect of his
agency, therefore sin is, for the most part, negative. This negative quality God permits effectively, and is the cause of, defectively."Very happily we have a fine definition of sin, given us by a logician who could not err. 'Every man who committeth sin, doth also commit illegality ; for sin is illegality,' 1 John 3: 4. Whence I conclude that sin, strictly considered, has more of negation in it than of positivity; else it could not have been properly definable by a merely negative term. For illegality imports no more than a non-commensuration to the law as a rule, or measure of length and breadth."1
Sinfulness is a negative quality, belonging to actions when we consider them as the product of Divine power. God refuses to add a certain quality to the deeds of men, and they are therefore sinful. "Which actions [those of the non-elect], as neither issuing from faith, nor being wrought with a view to the Divine glory, nor done in the manner prescribed by the Divine word, are, on these accounts, properly denominated evil."3 When God actuates men by an influence which, beside producing actions, displaces this negative quality which has been spoken of, then we have good actions. "God is the author of the actions of the elect, both as actions and as good actions :" so is he the author of the actions of the wicked, but "not in a moral and compound sense, as they are sinful; but physically simply, and sensu diviso, as they are mere actions, abstractedly from all considerations of the goodness or the badness of them. We can easily conceive of an action, purely as such, without adverting to the quality of it; so that the distinction between an action and its denomination of good or evil, is very obvious and natural." In the elect, God produces works both by his almighty power and by the influences of his Spirit; but, in the wicked, by his power alone, withholding his Spirit. He does not infuse iniquity into men, but powerfully excites them to action, and, in the reprobate, neglects to add that influence without which every act is necessarily evil. Sin is thus " a thing purely negative, can have no positive or efficient cause, i VI. 100.