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such an enigmatical sense unto the words, expressions, and propositions, wherein they are revealed and declared in the Scripture, as to turn almost the whole gospel into an allegory, wherein nothing is properly expressed, but in some kind of allusion unto what is so elsewhere; which irrational way of proceeding, leaving nothing certain in what is or may be expressed by word or writing, is covered over with a pretence of right reason, which utterly refuseth to be so employed, These things the reader will find afterward made manifest, so far as the nature of this brief discourse will bear. And I shall only desire these few things of him that intends its perusal. First, That he would not look on the subject here treated of, as the matter of an ordinary controversy in religion :
Neque enim hic levia aut ludicra petuntur
They are things which immediately and directly in themselves concern the eternal salvation of the souls of men ; and their consideration ought always to be attended with a due sense of their weight and importance. Secondly, Let him bring with him a due reverence of the majesty and infinite, incomprehensible nature of God, as that which is not to be prostituted to the captious and sophistical scanning of men of corrupt minds, but to be humbly adored according to the revelation that he hath made of himself. Thirdly, That he be willing to submit his soul and conscience, to the plain and obvious sense of Scripture propositions and testimonies, without seeking out evasions and pretences for unbelief. These requests I cannot but judge equal, and fear not the success, where they are sincerely complied withal.
-Nec enim levia aut ludicra petuntur
I have only to add, that in handling the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, I have proceeded on that principle, which as it is fully confirmed in the Scripture, so it hath been constantly maintained and adhered unto by the most of those, who with judgment and success have managed these controversies against the Socinians. And this is, that the essential holiness of God, with his justice or righteousness, as the supreme Governor of all, did indispensably require that sin should not absolutely go unpunished; and that it should do so stands in a repugnancy to those holy properties of his nature. This, I say, hath been always constantly maintained by far the greatest number of them, who have thoroughly understood the controversy
in this matter, and have successfully engaged in it. And as their arguments for their assertion, are plainly unanswerable, so the neglect of abiding by it, is causelessly to forego one of the most fundamental and invincible principles in our cause. He who first laboured in the defence of the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ, after Socinus had formed his imaginations about the salvation that he wrought, and began to dispute about it, was Covetus, a learned man, who laid the foundation of his whole disputation in the justice of God, necessarily requiring and indispensably the punishment of sin. And indeed the state of the controversy as it is laid down by Socinus, in his book • De Jesu Christo Servatore,' which is an answer to this Covetus, is genuine, and that which ought not to be receded from, as having been the direct ground of all the controversial writings on that subject, which have since been published in Europe. And it is in these words laid down by Socinus himself. “Communis et orthodoxa (ut asseris) sententia est, Jesum Christum ideo servatorem nostrum esse, quia divinæ justiciæ per quam peccatores damnari merebamur, pro peccatis nosjudge and
tris plene satisfecerit; quæ satisfactio per fidem imputatur nobis ex dono Dei credentibus.' This he ascribes to Covet. The common and orthodox judgment is, that Jesus Christ is therefore our Saviour, because he hath satisfied the justice of God, by which we being sinners deserved to be condemned for all our sins. In opposition whereunto he thus expresseth his own opinion. 'Ego vero censeo et orthodoxam sententiam esse arbitror, Jesum Christum ideo servatorem nostrum esse, quia salutis æternæ viam nobis annuntiaverit, confirmaverit, et in sua ipsius persona, cum vitæ exemplo, tum ex mortuis resurgendo, manifeste ostenderit, vitamque æternam nobis ei fidem habentibus ipse daturus sit. Divinæ autem justitiæ, per quam peccatores damnari meremur, pro peccatis nostris neque illum satisfecisse, neque ut satisfaceret, opus fuisse arbitror.' ' 'I
suppose it to be the orthodox opinion, that Jesus Christ is therefore our Saviour, because he hath declared unto us the way of eternal salvation, and confirmed it in his own person ; manifestly shewing it, both by the example of his life, and by rising from the dead; and in that he will give eternal life unto us believing in him. And I affirm that he neither made satisfaction to the justice of God, whereby we deserved to be damned for our sins, nor was there any need that he should so do.' This is the true state of the question; and the principal subtlety of Crellius, the great defender of this part of the doctrine of Socinus, in his book of the 'Causes of the Death of Christ,' and the defence of this book “De Jesu Christo Servatore,' consists in speaking almost the same words with those whom he doth oppose, but still intending the same things with Socinus himself. This opinion, as was said of Socinus, Covetus opposed and everted on the principle before-mentioned.
The same truth was confirmed also by Zarnovitius,
who first wrote against Socinus's book; as also by Otto Casmannus, who engaged in the same work; and by Abraham Salinarius. Upon the same foundation do proceed, Paræus, Piscator, Lubbertus, Lucius, Camero, Voetius, Amiraldus, Placæus, Rivetus, Walæus, Thysius, Altingius, Maresius, Essenius, Arnoldus, Turretinus, Baxter, with many others. The Lutherans, who have managed these controversies, as Tarnovius, Meisnerus, Calovius, Stegmannus, Martinius, Franzius, with all others of their way have constantly maintained the same great fundamental principle of this doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ; and it hath well, and solidly been of late asserted among ourselves on the same foundation. And as many of these authors do expressly blame some of the schoolmen, as Aquinas, Durandus, Biel, Tataretus, for granting à possibility of pardon without satisfaction, as opening a way to the Socinian error in this matter; so also they fear not to affirm, that the foregoing of this principle of God's vindictive justice indispensably requiring the punishment of sin, doth not only weaken the cause of the truth, but indeed leave it indefensible. However I suppose, men ought to be wary how they censure the authors mentioned, as such who expose the cause they undertook to defend, unto contempt; for greater, more able, and learned defenders, this truth hath not as yet found, nor doth stand in need of.
The disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ having made that great confession of him, in distinction and opposition unto them who accounted him only as a prophet, • Thou art Christ the Son of the living God;' Matt. xvi. 14-16. he doth on the occasion thereof, give out unto them that great charter of the churches stability and continuance; Upon this roek I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against its ;' ver. 18. He is himself the rock upon which his church is built; as God is called the rock of his people, on the account of his eternal power and immutability, Deut. xxxii. 4. 18. 31. Isa. xxvi. 4. And himself the spiritual rock which gave out supplies of mercy and assistance to the people in the wilderness; 1 Cor. x. 4.
The relation of the professing church unto this rock, consists in the faith of this confession, that he is Christ the Son of the living God.' This our Lord Jesus Christ hath promised to secure against all attempts ; yet so as plainly to declare, that there should be great and severe opposition made thereunto. For whereas the prevalency of the gates of hell in an enmity unto this confession is denied, a great and vigorous attempt to prevail therein is no less certainly foretold ; neither hath it otherwise fallen out. In all ages from the first solemn foundation of the church of the New Testament, . it hath one way or other been fiercely attempted by the gates of hell. For some time after the resurrection of Christ from the dead, the principal endeavours of Satan, and men acting under him, or acted by him, were pointed against the very foundation of the church,