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and Arminianism, as drawn out by himself; and that this intermediate system is the genuine Calvinism of the confessions of the Reformed churches. So far is it from exceeding the wit of man to point out the exact place in which the truth lies, that it has been pointed out repeatedly; and if we put no false construction upon the language of the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England, a genuine Calvinistic system, an expression of the
truth in all the most important points, is contained in them. From the extracts already given, our readers will know what they are to expect from our author. Against his style we have nothing to object but the occasional use of long, high sounding, newly invented words; such as quinquarticular, p. 421; Cribolia, Taurobolia, Anthropobolium, p. 147; postdiluvian Patriarchism, p. 323; and proselytical baptism, p. 324. It is in general neat, and uncommonly nervous.
In the first sermon the author treats of the universal profitableness of scripture for doctrine, reproof, correction of errors, and instruction in righteousness. Under the head of doctrine, he expresses his opinion that the XXXIX articles of the Church of England constitute a summary of scriptural truth; and gives the meaning which he attributes to the principal parts. He believes, with the Calvinists, in the doctrines of original sin, human insufficiency for any thing good, regeneration by the Holy Spirit; justification by the sole merits of Christ, through the instrumentality of saving faith, which God gives; and sanctification through a divine blessing on human agency: but he does not believe in the “ tenets of particular redemption, reprobation, and election, according to the Calvinistic interpretation of the word.” He says,
16 the elect people of God are only those, who are made his sons by adoption; who are changed into the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ; who walk religiously in good works; and who at length by God's mercy, attain to everlasting felicity.” p. 8. We avow ourselves to be what Mr. Faber calls “high Calvinists,” and yet we agree that no man can be known, by himself or his fellow men, to be elected, but by the evidence of his
adoption, which is a conformity of mind and life to the moral image of Christ. We should be content to define the elect as being “all those persons, who shall at length by God's mercy, attain to everlasting felicity.” A person can know himself to belong to this number only by being conscious of performing certain works, which he compares with the law of God, and judges to be good works. But will it follow, that the omniscient Jehovah id not, before one's adoption, before the commencement of his religious walk, and before his entrance into heaven, contemplate him as one who should be adopted, regenerated, and admitted to heaven, by the grace and mercy which he himself chose to bestow? Because men know not who the elected are, until they bring forth the fruits of holiness, does it therefore follow that the Lord knoweth not them that are his, in co-existent foreknowledge and purpose, from all eternity? Certainly our reason in conjunction with revelation must teach us, that God alway knew and chose to do, every thing which he will do, in relation to the persons who attain to everlasting felicity? All voluntary actions are actions which proceed from choice; and if Jehovah chose, from some sufficient motive apprehended by his own mind, to make some differ from others, as our author teaches that he did, (p. 414) so that through the right use of privileges bestowed they shall believe and be saved, we can see no objection to calling all these, on whom God's choice terminates in its operation, the elect. If God makes men to differ without having chosen to do so, then is his conduct involuntary, and we grant that in such a case it would be improper to speak of the ob. jects on whom his volitions should ultimately act.
In the second sermon Mr. Faber exemplifies the justice of God in the atonement of Christ. This is an excellent discourse, that exhibits the nature of divine justice in a strong light. We would gladly pay the price of the whole volume for this and the two following sermons, if we could not possess them on better terms. He shows, that the Deity is perfectly and immutably just; that perfect justice requires the infliction of the Vol. I.
penalty of the law, when that is incurred, in every case; that all men have sinned; and that God would be unjust should he for any consideration fail of inflicting all the punishment deserved; or should he inflict any thing more. He presents Christ as having the will, the right, and the power to offer full satisfaction to divine justice for the sins of men; as having done it; as having been accepted as a substitute; and as having performed his covenant engagements.
“In the exercise of human laws, it is found necessary to vest somewhere or other the power of granting an absolute pardon. But the use of this power, or, in other words, the assumption of the privilege of mercy, must inevitably, from the very nature of things, be a departure from strict and naked justice. We may call it a necessary power, or we may call the occasional exercise of it an amiable injustice: but still, disguise it as we please, turn it as we may, if sifted to the bottom, it will prove to be neither more nor less, than an act of absolute injustice. In fact, such is the unavoidable deficiency of human institutions, perfect justice and perfect mercy cannot subsist together. We may, like Draco of old, write our laws in blood by way of attaining to perfect justice: but what then becomes of mercy? We may allow to the sovereign the exercise of mercy; but what then becomes of the perfection of our justice? The moment that mercy is introduced, since it can only be extended to those who deserve punishment (otherwise the remission of punishment is not an act of grace, but a claim of absolute right;) the moment, I say,
is introduced, justice is rendered imperfect, because a criminal is suffered to escape with impunity; and, the moment that justice is in this manner rendered imperfect, it, to all intents and purposes, becomes injustice.
“So far as the merits of the abstract question are concerned, it is in vain to say, that there were such and such mitigating circumstances, which moved the sovereign to extend his pardon to the culprit. The sum of the matter, after all, will be found to be simply this: did the man break the law, or did he not break it? If he did not break it, an exemption from punishment was no more than his right; in this case, there was plainly no room for mercy. If he did break it, then in absolute strictness he deserved punishment: and, if he were suffered to escape, no mitigating circumstances can possibly render that just, which in itself is intrinsically unjust. We may applaud the amability of mercy; nay, we may even find
it necessary for the well-being of society, that the discretionary power of exercising it should be lodged somewhere: but mercy, as exercised by man, can never, if thoroughly analysed, be any thing else than an inferior sort of injustice.” p. 21, 22.
His text is in Romans, iii. 23—26. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath sent forth to be a propi. tiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justi. fier of him which believeth in Jesus. On this passage he observes,
“ It must I think, strike every one, however singular it may appear at the first view, that God's remission of sins is not here described as an act of mercy, but as an act of strict and unbending justice. His remission of them, contradictory as such a thing might seem, is yet a public demonstration of his justice. The Apostle, in order as it were that his meaning might be incapable of misapprehension, emphatically repeats his words: and, instead of disguising the point, or refusing to meet the difficulty, he sums up the whole, in what may well be termed the great legal paradox of Christianity, by declaring, that God accepted the atonement made by the blood of Christ, in order that he might at once be just himself, and yet the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus; nay, that, by virtue of this powerful atonement, the remission of sins should absolutely be a demonstration of his justice; not of his
mercy (as the Socinian would teach us,) but of his justice. “ The evident drift of St. Paul is to show, how God may preserve inviolate his attribute of justice at the very time when he is pardoning those whom strict justice would condemn: and this he teaches us, is done by Christ being made our substitute and by his bearing in his own person the whole weight of that wrath which must otherwise have fallen upon us. The complete penalty of sin was exacted even to the uttermost farthing: and the most ample satisfaction was made to the divine justice; but it was done, not by the sufferings of the guilty, but by the sufferings of one placed in their stead. The divine attribute of justice being now perfectly satisfied, and a punishment completely equivalent to the sins of the
whole world having been inflicted; that very attribute of justice, justice not mercy, was now as much concerned in pardoning the sins of every faithful penitent, as it was before concerned in punishing them, notwithstanding his repentance. For, precisely as it would be unjust to punish a man twice for the same offence, so it would be unjust to punish those whose punishment had already been undergone by their surety, Christ." p. 36, 37.
The only thing about which we disagree with our author is the extent of Christ's satisfaction to divine justice; for if he made such a plenary atonement for all the sins of every human being as Mr. Faber has de. 'scribed, then we insist upon it, that all men, without one exception, will be saved from hell; for " it would be unjust to punish those whose punishment had already been undergone by their surety, Christ.” To be consistent with himself, our author must either become a Universalist, or teach the Calvinistic doctrine of a particular atonement, for the sins of the whole world of believers alone. Principles enough are established, in short, in this sermon, to make their advocate a thorough and consistent Calvinist, if he would but apply them. We agree with him, that many persons “ will be little disposed to allow the validity of the common argument,” stated by Dr. Priestley as the general sentiment of Calvinists, " that sin, being committed against an infinite being, requires an infinite satisfaction; but an in.
finite satisfaction can only be made by an infinite person: and infinitude is an incommunicable attribute of God; therefore Christ who makes an infinite satisfaction for the sins of the world, must himself be God." The divinity of Christ rests not on such a weak argument as this. We agree too, with Faber and Magee, that "a mere inversion of terms will produce an exactly opposite conclusion;" for sin being committed by a finite being, must be a finite evil, and requires satisfaction. So much is true: but it is not true, that a finite creature could render even a finite satisfaction for a sinner, unless that finite creature could be free from obligations to render all the obedience in his power for himself; and having rendered it, could then suffer all the punishment deserved by the person