صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

sin is impossible, and personal righteousness needless, shall afterward be spoken unto, so far as they deserve.

All that we aim to demonstrate, is only, that either the righteousness of Christ itself is imputed unto us, or there is no imputation in the matter of our justification, which whether there be or no, is another question afterward to be spoken unto. For as was said, the effects of the righteousness of Christ, cannot be said properly to be imputed unto us.

For instance, pardon of sin is a great effect of the righteousness of Christ. Our sins are pardoned on the account thereof. God for Christ's sake forgiveth us all our sins. But the pardon of sin cannot be said to be imputed unto us, nor is so, Adoption, justification, peace with God, all grace and glory, are effects of the righteousness of Christ. But that these things are not imputed unto us, nor can be so, is evident from their nature. But we are made partakers of them all, upon the account of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto us, and no otherwise.

Thus much may suffice to be spoken of the nature of imputation of the righteousness of Christ, the grounds, reasons, and causes whereof, we shall in the next place inquire into. And I doubt not but we shall find in our inquiry, that it is no such figment, as some ignorant of these things do imagine, but on the contrary, an important truth immixed with the most fundamental principles of the mystery of the gospel, and inseparable from the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

[graphic]

doctr

T as v the It

Imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ. Grounds of it. The na

ture of his suretyship. Causes of the new covenant. Christ and the church

one mystical person; consequents thereof. Christ unto believers, for the justification of life, do also

Those who believe the imputation of the righteousness of unanimously profess, that the sins of all believers were imputed unto Christ. And this they do on many testimonies shall be pleaded and vindicated afterward. At present we

of the Scripture directly witnessing thereunto, some whereof things, and the declaration of the nature of what shall be proved afterward. And in the first place we shall inquire are only on the consideration of the general notion of these into the foundation of this dispensation of God, and the equity of it, or the grounds whereinto it is resolved, without an understanding whereof, the thing itself cannot be well apprehended,

The principal foundation hereof is, that Christ and the church, in this design, were one mystical person, which state they do actually coalesce in, through the uniting efficacy of the Holy Spirit. He is the head, and believers are the members of that one person, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. Hence as what he did is imputed unto them, as if done by them, so what they deserved on the account of sin was charged upon him. So is it expressed by a learned prelate; Nostram causam sustinebat, qui nostram sibi carnem aduniverat, et ita nobis arctissimo vinculo conjunctus, et żvwleis, quæ erant nostra fecit sua.' And again; 'Quid mirum si in nostra persona constitutus, nostram carnem indutus,' &c. Montacut. Origin. Ecclesiast. The ancients speak to the same purpose. Leo. Serm. 17. 'Ideo se humanæ infirmitati virtus divina conseruit, ut dum Deus sua facit esse quæ nostra sunt, nostra faceret esse quæ sua sunt.' And also Serm. 16. Caput nostrum Dominus Jesus Christus omnia in se corporis sui membra transformans, quod olim in psalmo eructaverat, id in supplicio crucis sub, redemptorum suorum voce clamavit. And so speaks Augustine to the same purpose, Epist. 120. ad Honoratum ; Au

dimus vocem corporis, ex ore capitis. Ecclesia in illo patiebatur, quando pro ecclesia patiebatur,' &c. • We hear the voice of the body from the mouth of the head. The church suffered in him, when he suffered for the church; as he suffers in the church, when the church suffereth for him. For as we have heard the voice of the church in Christ-suffering, my God, my Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? look upon me; so we have heard the voice of Christ in the church-suffering, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?' But we may yet look a little backward and farther into the sense of the ancient church herein. Christus,' saith Irenæus, omnes gentes exinde ab Adam dispersas, et generationem hominum in semet ipso recapitulatus est; unde a Paulo typus futuri dictus est ipse Adam;' lib. iii. cap. 33. And again ; 'recapitulans universum hominum genus in se ab initio usque ad finem, recapitulatus est et mortem ejus. In this of recapitulation there is no doubt but he had respect unto the avakepalaiwors, mentioned, Eph. i. 10. And it may be this was that which Origen intended enigmatically, by saying, the soul of the first Adam was the soul of Christ, as it is charged on him. And Cyprian, Epist. 63. on bearing about the administration of the sacrament of the Eucharist; nos omnes portabat Christus; qui et peccata nostra portabat.' 'He bare us,' or suffered in our person, when he bare our sins.' Whence Athanasius affirms of the voice he used on the cross ; oỦk αυτός ο κύριος, αλλά ημείς εν εκείνω πάσχοντες ήμεν, we suffered in him.' Eusebius speaks many things to this purpose, Demonstrat. Evangel. lib. x. cap. 1. Expounding those words of the psalmist, ' Heal my soul, for,' or as he would read them, if, 'I have sinned against thee;' and applying them unto our Saviour in his sufferings; he saith thus, επειδαν τας ημετέρας κοινοποιεί εις εαυτόν αμαρτίας, “because he took of our sins to himself; communicated our sins to himself;' making them his own; for so he adds, 8TL τας ημέτερας αμαρτίας εξοικειούμενος, making our sins his own.' And because in his following words he fully expresseth what I design to prove, I shall transcribe them at large ; πως δε τας ημετέρας αμαρτίας εξοικειούταις και πώς φέρειν λέγεται τας ανομίας ημών, ή καθ' ό, σωμα αυτού είναι λεγόμεθα και κατά τον απόστολον φήσαντα, υμείς έστε σωμα Χριστού, και μέλη εκ μέρους και καθ' ο πάσχοντος ενός μέλους, συμπάσχει πάντα τα μέλη, ούτω πολλών μελών πασχόντων και αμαρτανόντων, και αυτός κατά τους της συμπασθείας λόγους, επειδήπερ ευδόκησε θεού λόγος ών μορφήν δούλου λαβείν, και το κοινό πάντων ημών σκηνώματι συναφθήναι και τους των πασχόντων μελών πόνους είς εαυτόν αναλαμβάνει, και τας ημετέρας νόσους ίδιοποιήται, και πάντων ημών υπεραλγεί και υπερπονεί κατά τους της φιλανθρωπίας νόμους" ου μόνον δε ταύτα πράξας ο αμνός του θεού, αλλά και υπέρ ημώυ κόλαθείς και τιμωρίαν υποσχών, ήν αυτος μεν ουκ αφείλειν, αλλ' ήμείς του πλήθους ένεκεν πεπλημμελημένων, ημίν αίτιοι της των αμαρτημάτων αφέσεως κατέστη, άτε τον υπέρ ημών αναδεξάμενος θανάτον, μάστιγας τε και ύβρείς, και ατιμίας ημίν εποφειλομένας εις αυτόν μεταθείς, και την ημϊν προστετιμημένην κατάραν έφ' εαυτόν ελκύσας, γενόμενος υπέρ ημων κατάρα. και τι γάρ άλλο αντίψυχον, διό φησίν εξ ημετέρου προσώπου το λόγιον---ώστε είκότως ενών, εαυτόν ημίν, ημάς τε αυτό και τα ημέτερα πάθη ιδιοποιούμένος φησιν, εγώ είπα, κύριε ελήεσόν με, ιάσαι την ψυχήν μου, ότι ήμαρτόν σοι.

I have transcribed this passage at large, because, as I said, what I intend to prove in the present discourse is declared fully therein. Thus therefore he speaks. How then did he make our sins to be his own, and how did he bear our iniquities? Is it not from thence, that we are said to be his body, as the apostle speaks, You are the body of Christ, and members, for your part, or of one another ? and as when one member suffers, all the members do suffer ; so the many members, sinning and suffering. He according unto the laws of sympathy in the same body (seeing that being the Word of God, he would take the form of a servant, and be joined unto the common habitation of us all in the same nature), took the sorrows or labours of the suffering members on him, and made all their infirmities his own, and according to the laws of humanity (in the same body), bare our sorrow and labour for us. And the Lamb of God did not only these things for us, but he underwent torments, and was punished for us; that which he was no ways exposed unto for himself, but we were so by the multitude of our sins; and thereby he became the cause of the pardon of our sins; namely, because he underwent death, stripes, reproaches, translating the thing which we had deserved unto himself; and was made a curse for us, taking unto himself the curse that was due to us; for what was he, but (a substitute for us) a price of redemption for our souls ? In our person therefore the oracle speaks-whilst freely uniting himself unto us, and us unto himself, and making our (sins or passions his own) I have said Lord; be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.'

That our sins were transferred unto Christ and made his, that thereon he underwent the punishment that was due unto us for them; and that the ground hereof, whereinto its equity is resolved, is the union between him and us, is fully declared in this discourse. So saith the learned and pathetical author of the Homilies on Matt. v. in the works of Chrysostom, Hom. 54. which is the last of them : 'In carne sua omnem carnem suscepit, crucifixus, omnem carnem crucifixit in se.' He speaks of the church. So they speak often others of them; that he bare us,' that he took us with him on the cross,' that we were all crucified in him;' as Prosper; ‘he is not saved by the cross of Christ, who is not crucified in Christ.' Resp. ad cap. Gal. cap. 9.

This then, I say, is the foundation of the imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ, namely, that he and it are one person, the grounds whereof we must inquire into.

But hereon sundry discourses do ensue, and various inquiries are made. What a person is, in what sense, and how many senses that word may be used; what is the true notion of it, what is a natural person, what a legal, civil, or political person; in the explication whereof some have fallen into mistakes. And if we should'enter into this field, we need not fear matter enough of debate and altercation. But I must needs say, that these things belong not unto our present occasion; nor is the union of Christ and the church illustrated, but obscured by them. For Christ and believers are neither one natural person, nor a legal or political person, nor any such person as the laws, customs, or usages of men do know or allow of. They are one mystical person, whereof although there may be some imperfect resemblances found in natural or political unions, yet the union from whence that denomination is taken between him and us, is of that nature, and ariseth from such reasons and causes, as no personal union among men (or the union of many persons) hath any concernment in. And therefore, as to the

« السابقةمتابعة »