<410>

CHAPTER XVI.
OF THE MINISTRY OF REDEMPTION.

HAVING treated of the mediatorial office, and its threefold functions, we are now to consider the manner in which it is discharged. This includes the state of humiliation to which our Redeemer submitted, as well as his state of exaltation.

The humiliation of Christ is that state in which under his character of God-man he voluntarily submitted himself to the divine justice, as well in life as in death, for the purpose of undergoing all things requisite to accomplish our redemption.

Under his character of God-man. Philipp. ii. 6-8. 'he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.' Luke xxii. 43. 'there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.' Now the presence of an angel would have been superfluous, unless the divine nature of Christ, as well as his human, had needed support. So also Matt. xxvii. 46. 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' If his divine nature had not partaken of the trial, why was it not at hand to sustain him when he demanded succour?' or, if it had the ability, but not the will to help him, of what <411> avail was it to call upon his Father, whose will was identically one with his own?

In life. Rom. viii. 3. 'in the likeness of sinful flesh.' This is conspicuous even from his birth, Luke ii. 7. in his circumcision, Rom. xv. 8. by which he became a 'a debtor to do the whole law,' Gal. v. 3. whence an offering was made for him, Luke ii, 24; in his flight into Egypt, Matt. iii. in his subjection to his parents, Luke ii. 51; in his submitting to manual labour, Mark vi. 3; in his baptism, Matt. iii. in his temptation, Matt. iv. Heb. ii. 18. iv. 15; in his poverty, Matt. viii. 20. 2 Cor. viii. 9. 'that ye through his poverty might be rich;' in the persecutions, insults, and dangers which he underwent; for an account of which, together with the whole of his passion, it is better to refer to the gospels, than to cite the passages at length. To the same purport is the prediction of Isaiah, 1. 6. 'I gave my back to the smiters-.' Compare also xlix. 6, 7. liii 2. 3.

In death. Psal. xxii. Philipp. ii. 8. 'he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' This death was ignominious in the highest degree; Deut. xxi. 23. 'he that is hanged, is accursed of God.' The curse also to which we were obnoxious, was transferred to him, Gal. iii. 13. accompanied with a dreadful consciousness of the pouring out of the divine wrath upon his head, which extorted from him the dying exclamation, Matt, xxvii. 46. 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Lastly, he was datained in the grave three days after death; 1 Cor. xv. 4. And here may be found the solution of the difficulty respecting the descent into hell,[1] <412> which has occasioned so much acrimonious controversy among divines; for if Christ's death was real, his soul must have died on the same day with his body, as was above shown. There is another question which seems less easy of solution; namely, whether he yielded to death in his divine nature likewise. For not a few passages of Scripture intimate that his divine nature was subjected to death conjointly with his human; passages too clear to be explained away by the supposition of idiomatic language. Rom. x. 9. 'if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,' Him whom we ought to confess with the mouth, God raised from the dead. But he whom we ought to confess with the mouth is 'the Lord Jesus,' that is, the whole person of Jesus; therefore God raised from the dead the whole person of the Lord Jesus. 1 Cor. ii. 8. 'had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' Gal. i. 1. 'not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.' Christ therefore was not raised in his human nature alone, but in the whole of his person; and Paul received his mission from him not as man, but as God-man. Philipp. ii. 6-8. 'who being in the form of God..... made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form <413> of a servant..... he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.' 1 John iii. 16. 'hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.' Rev. i. 17, 18. 'I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead.' See also ii. 8. The only uncertainty, therefore, arises from the words of Christ to the thief, 'this day thou shalt be with me in paradise;' a passage which has on other accounts given much trouble to the learned. As to the conciseness of expression in 1 Pet. iii. 18. I consider it as of comparatively little importance; 'being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by' (or in) 'the Spirit:' since, if the antithesis be correct, the apostle's intention is to specify, on the one hand, the part in which he died, and on the other, that in which he was quickened. Now that which was quickened, must have been previously dead. But if 'the Spirit' be here put for that which causes life, it must be understood, on comparing it with less obscure texts of Scripture, to signify the Spirit of God the Father. The fact, that Christ became a sacrifice both in his divine and human nature, is denied by none; and as it was requisite that the whole of the sacrifice should be slain, Christ, who was the sacrificed lamb, must be considered as slain in the whole of his nature.

To the divine justice. Luke xxiv. 26. 'ought not Christ to have suffered these things?' Isai. liii. 6. 'Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.'

The humiliation of Christ was succeeded by his exaltation.

The exaltation of Christ is that by which, having triumphed over death, and laid aside the form of a servant, he was exalted by God the Father to a state <414> of immortality and of the highest glory, partly by his own merits[2] partly by the gift of the Father, for the benefit of mankind; wherefore he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.

Having triumphed over death, and laid aside the form of a servant. Luke xxiv. 26. 'ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' Col. ii. 14, 15. 'having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.'

He was exalted by God the Father. John x. 18. 'I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again: this commandment have I received of my Father.' Hence John ii. 19. 'destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,' namely, because he had been so commanded by the Father, as he acknowledges in the preceding quotation. Acts ii. 24. 'whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death.' v. 33. 'being by the right hand of God exalted.' v. 30, 31. 'the God of our fathers raised up Jesus..... him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince.' See also x. 40. and xiii. 32-34. as above. Rom. i. 4. 'declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.' viii. 11. 'if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies.' 2 Cor. xiii. 4. 'though he was crucified through weakness, <415> yet he liveth by the power of God.' Eph. i. 19, 20. 'according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.' Philipp. ii. 9. 'wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.' Col. ii. 12. 'through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.' Heb. ii. 7. 'thou crownedst him with glory and honour.'

To a state of immortality. Acts xiii. 34. 'no more to return to corruption.' Rom. vi. 9. 'Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more.'

Partly by his own merits, partly by the gift of the Father. Rom. xiv. 9. 'to this end Christ both died..... that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.' Philipp. ii. 9. 'wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.' Heb. ii. 9. 'we see Jesus..... crowned with glory and honour, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.' xii. 2. 'for the joy that was set before him.'

For the benefit of mankind. See below, where the object of Christ's entire ministry is considered.

This exaltation consists of three degrees; his resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and his sitting on the right hand of God; all of which are specified with sufficient clearness in the gospels and apostolical writings. For his resurrection, see Matthew and Mark, &c. and 1 Cor. xv. 4, &c. for his ascension into heaven, Mark xvi. 19. Luke xxiv. 51. John xiv. 12, &c. Acts i. 9, &c. Eph. iv. 8-10. 'he ascended up far above all heavens.' His sitting on the right hand of God, a Hebraism signifying that he is exalted to a place of power and glory next to <416> God,[3] is mentioned Matt. xxvi. 64. 'sitting on the right hand of power.' See also Mark xiv. 62. xvi. 19. Eph. i. 20. 'he set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.' Heb. i. 3. 'sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.' viii. 1. 'who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty.' See also xii. 2. Psal. cx. 1. Acts vii. 55.

The human nature of Christ, although exalted to a state of the highest glory, exists nevertheless in one definite place, and has not, as some contend, the attribute of ubiquity.[4] Matt, xxviii. 6. 'he is not here, for he is risen.' Luke xxiv. 51. 'he was parted from them and carried up into heaven.' John xiv. 28. 'I go away, and come again unto you.' Acts iii. 21. 'whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things.'

As Christ emptied himself in both his natures, so both participate in his exaltation;[5] his Godhead, by <417> its restoration and manifestation; his manhood, by an accession of glory. John xvii. 5. 'now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.' Acts xiii. 32, 33. 'he hath raised up Jesus again, as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.' Rom. i. 4. 'being declared' (or defined) 'to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.'

The effect and design of the whole ministry of mediation is, the satisfaction of divine justice on behalf of all men, and the conformation of the faithful to the image of Christ.

The satisfaction of Christ is the complete reparation made by him in his twofold capacity of God and man, by the fulfilment of the law, and payment of the required price for all mankind.[6]

By the fulfilment of the law. Matt. v. 17. 'I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.' Psal. xl. 8, 9. compared with Heb. x. 7, 9. 'I come to do thy will, O God.' Gal. iv. 5. 'to redeem them that were under the law.' Col. ii. 14. 'blotting out the hand writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.' Rom. viii. 3, 4. 'that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled.' Christ fulfilled <418> the law by perfect love to God and his neighbour, until the time when he laid down his life for his brethren, being made obedient unto his Father in all things.[7]

By payment of the required price for, that is to say, instead of all mankind. Matt. xx. 28. λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν 'a ransom for many.' 1 Cor. vi. 20. 'ye are bought with a price.' 1 Tim. ii. 6. ἀντίλυτρου ὑπὲρ πάντων, 'a ransom for all.' The Greek words clearly denote the substitution of one person in the place of another. 1 Pet. i. 18. ἐλυτρώθητε, 'ye were redeemed..... with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb.' Rom. v. 10. 'we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.' iv. 25. 'for our offences.' 1 Cor. xv. 3. 'for our sins.' 2 Cor. v. 21. 'for us.' Tit. ii. 14. 'for us, that he might redeem us.' See also Gal. i. 4. Heb. vii. 22. 'a surety.' x. 12. 'one sacrifice for sins.' v. 29. 'who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing.' It is in vain that the evidence of these texts is endeavoured to be evaded by those who maintain that Christ died, not in our stead, and for our redemption, but merely for our advantage in the abstract, and as an example to mankind.[8] At the same time I confess myself un <419> able to perceive how those who consider the Son as of the same essence with the Father, can explain either his incarnation, or his satisfaction.

For all mankind. Rom. v. 18. 'the free gift came upon all men.' 2 Cor. v. 14. 'if one died for all, then were all dead.' If this deduction be true, then the converse is also true, namely, that if all were dead, because Christ died for all, Christ died for all who were dead; that is, for all mankind. Eph. i. 10. 'that he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;' all things therefore on earth without a single exception, any more than in heaven. Col. i. 20. 'by him to reconcile all things.' 1 Tim. ii. 4. 'who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.' Compare also v. 6. Heb. ii. 9. 'for every man.' See also 2 Pet. iii. 9. Further, Christ is said in many places to have been given for the whole world. John iii. 16, 17. 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' vi. 51. 'the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.' See 1 John iv. 14. They however who maintain that Christ made satisfaction for the elect alone, reply, that these passages are to be understood only of the elect who are in the world; and <420> that this is confirmed by its being said elsewhere that Christ made satisfaction for us, that is, as they interpret it, for the elect. Rom. viii. 34. 2 Cor. v. 21. Tit. ii. 14. That the elect, however, cannot be alone intended, will be obvious to any one who examines these texts with attention, if in the first passage from St. John (for instance) the term elect be subjoined by way of explanation to that of the world. 'So God loved the world' (that is, the elect) 'that whosoever' (of the elect) 'believeth in him should not perish.' This would be absurd; for which of the elect does not believe? It is obvious therefore that God here divides the world into believers and unbelievers; and that in declaring, on the one hand, that 'whosoever believeth in him shall not perish,' he implies on the other, as a necessary consequence, that whosoever believeth not, shall perish. Besides, where the world is not used to signify all mankind, it is most commonly put for the worst characters in it. John xiv. 17. 'even the Spirit of truth, whom the world can not receive;' xv. 19. 'the world hateth you;' and so in many other places. Again, where Christ is said to be given for us, it is expressly declared that the rest of the world is not excluded. 1 John ii. 2. 'not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world;' words the most comprehensive that could possibly have been used. The same explanation applies to the texts in which Christ is said to lay down his life 'for his sheep,' John x. 16. or 'for the church,' Acts xx. 28. Eph. v. 23, 25. Besides, if, as has been proved above, a sufficiency of grace be imparted to all, it necessarily follows that a full and efficacious satisfaction must have been made for all <421> by Christ, so far at least as depended on the counsel and will of God; inasmuch as without such satisfaction not the least portion of grace could possibly have been vouchsafed. The passages in which Christ is said to have 'given a ransom for many,' as Matt. xx. 28. and Heb. ix. 28. 'to bear the sins of many, &c. afford no argument against the belief that he has given a ransom for all; for all are emphatically many. If however it should be argued, that because Christ gave his life for many, therefore he did not give it for all, many other texts expressly negative this interpretation, and especially Rom. v. 19. 'as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;' for no one will deny that many here signifies all. Or even if the expression for all should be explained to mean for some, or in their own words, for classes of individuals, not for individuals in every class, nothing is gained by this interpretation; not to mention the departure from the usual signification of the word for the sake of a peculiar hypothesis. For the testimony of the sacred writings is not less strong to Christ's having made satisfaction for each individual in every class (as appears from the frequent assertions that he died for all, and for the whole world, and that he is 'not willing that any should perish,' 2 Pet. iii. 9.) than the single text Rev. v. 9 is to his having died for classes of individuals; 'thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.' It will be proved, however, that Christ has made satisfaction not for the elect alone, but also for the reprobate, as they are called. Matt, xviii. 11. 'the Son of Man is come to save <422> that which was lost.' Now all were lost; he therefore came to save all, the reprobate as well as those who are called elect. John iii. 17. 'God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world,'(which doctrine, nevertheless, must be maintained by those who assert that Christ was sent for the elect only, to the heavier condemnation of the reprobate) 'but that the world through him might be saved;' that is, the reprobate; for it would be superfluous to make such a declaration with regard to the elect. See also John xii. 47. vi. 32. 'my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven;' 'you,' that is, even though ye 'believe not,' v. 36. 'he giveth,' that is, he offers in good faith: 'for the bread of God..... giveth life unto the world,' that is, to all men, inasmuch as he gives it even to you who believe not, provided that you on your part do not reject it. Acts xvii. 30, 31. 'now he commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.' Those whom he will judge, he undoubtedly calls to repentance: but he will judge all the world individually; therefore he calls all the world individually to repentance. But this gracious call could have been vouchsafed to none, had not Christ interfered to make such a satisfaction as should be not merely sufficient in itself, but effectual, so far as the divine will was concerned, for the salvation of all mankind; unless we are to suppose that the call is not made in earnest. Now the call to repentance and the gift of grace are from the Deity; their acceptance is the result of faith: if therefore the efficacy of Christ's satisfaction be lost through want of faith, this does not prove that an effectual <423> satisfaction has not been made, but that the offer has not been accepted. Heb. x. 29. 'who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace.' 2 Pet. ii. 1. 'even denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction.' Forasmuch then as all mankind are divided into elect and reprobate, in behalf of both of whom Christ has made satisfaction, he has made satisfaction for all. So far indeed is this satisfaction from regarding the elect alone, as is commonly believed, to the exclusion of sinners in general, that the very contrary is the case; it regards all sinners whatever, and it regards them expressly as sinners; whereas it only regards the elect in so far as they were previously sinners. Rom. iii. 25. 'to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.' 1 Tim. i. 15. 'this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' But it is objected, Christ 'does not pray for the world,' John xvii. 9. This is true of that particular prayer, which was dedicated chiefly to the benefit of his disciples; but on the cross he prayed even for his murderers, Luke xxiii. 34. 'Father forgive them.' He exhorts us likewise by the mouth of the apostle, 1 Tim. ii. 1, &c. 'that supplications be made for all men;' and for this especial reason: 'for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.' They also object Tit. ii. 14. 'who <424> gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works;' 'a peculiar people,' not therefore the whole of mankind. I reply, that redemption is not purification; Christ has redeemed all transgressors, but he purifies only such as are zealous of good works, that is, believers; for no works are good, unless done in faith. All are redeemed, even those who know not of it, or who are yet enemies and sinners, Rom. v. 6-8, 10. but none are purified, except their wills be consenting, and they have faith; as Scripture everywhere testifies. Ezek. xii. 2, ; 'they have ears to hear, and hear not, for they are a rebellious house.' Matt, xxiii. 37. 'how often would I have gathered thy children together..... and ye would not.' Luke vii. 30. 'the Pharisees rejected the counsel of God against themselves.' John v. 34, 40. 'these things I say, that ye might be saved..... and ye will not come to me that ye might have life.' Acts vii. 51. 'ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.' 2 Thess. ii. 10. 'because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.' Acts x. 43. 'through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.' xv. 9. 'purifying their hearts by faith.' Rom. iii. 22. 'by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned-: through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.' Gal. iii. 22. 'the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.'

<425>

The complete reparation made by Christ. Heb. x. 14. 'by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.' 1 John i. 7. 'the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.' Tit. ii. 14. 'that he might redeem us from all iniquity.' Heb. i. 3. 'when he had by himself purged our sins.' vii. 22. 'by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.' ix. 14. 'how much more shall the blood of Christ..... purge your conscience.' He made full satisfaction, because such was the will of his Father, who said 'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased;' implying that he had himself sanctified and sealed him to his office.

That the satisfaction made by Christ was the effect and end proposed by the whole of his ministry, appears from the following passages.

First, of his humiliation, Isai. liii. 4-11. 'by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.' Rom. iii. 25. 'to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness.' v. 9. 'being now justified by his blood.' 2 Cor. v. 21. 'he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' Eph. v. 2. 'Christ hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.' 1 Pet. ii. 24. 'who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.'

Secondly, of his exaltation. Rom. v. 10. 'much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' viii. 34. 'who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even <426> at the right hand of God, who maketh intercession for us.' 1 Cor. xv. 17. 'if Christ be not raised..... ye are yet in your sins.' Heb. ix. 24. 'Christ is entered..... into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.' 1 Pet. iii. 21. 'the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.' 1 John ii. 1. 'we have an advocate with the Father.'

The effect of Christ's satisfaction is sufficient to produce the reconciliation of God the Father with man. John vi. 37, 39. 'all that the Father giveth me shall come to me.' Rom. v. 10, 11. 'when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.' 2 Cor. ii. 16. 'to the other the savour of life unto life.' v. 19. 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.' Eph. i. 6. 'to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.'

The second object of the ministry of the Mediator is, that we may be conformed to the image of Christ, as well in his state of humiliation as of exaltation. Rom. viii. 29. 'to be conformed to the image of his Son.'

In his state of humiliation. Rom. vi. 4. 'therefore we are buried with him.' v. 5. 'for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death-.' v. 8. 'if we be dead with Christ-.' v. 11. 'reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God-.' viii. 17. 'if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.' Gal. ii. 20. 'I am crucified with Christ..... but Christ liveth in me.' 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. 'if we be dead <427> with him, we shall also live with him.' Philipp. iii. I0. 'that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.' Col. i. 24. 'who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.' 1 Pet. iv. 13. 'rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also.'

In his state of exaltation. Matt, xxvii. 52, 53. 'the graves were opened.' John xii. 32. 'I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me'. xiv. 2-4. 'I go to prepare a place for you..... and I will receive you unto myself.' xvi. 7. 'it is expedient for you that I go away-.' xvii. 22. 'the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them.' Rom. iv. 25. 'who was raised again for our justification.' vi. 4. 5. 'like as Christ was raised up from the dead-.' 1 Cor. xv. 13. 'if there be no resurrection from the dead, then is Christ not risen.' v. 20. 'the first-fruits of them that slept.' Eph. ii. 5, 6. 'God hath quickened us together with Christ..... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' Philipp. iii. 21. 'who shall change our vile body-.' Col. i. 18. 'the first-born from the dead.' iii. 1, 2, &c. 'if ye then be risen with Christ-.' 1 Thess. iv. 14. 'even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.' Heb. x. 19, 20. 'having boldness to enter into the holiest-.' 1 Pet. i. 3, 4. 'which hath begotten us again by a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from the dead.'

<428>

So far, therefore, as regards the satisfaction of Christ, and our conformity to his humiliation, the restoration of man is of merit; in which sense those texts are to be understood which convey a notion of recompense and reward. Matt. v. 12. 'rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.' Rom. ii. 6. 7. 'who will render to every man according to his deeds; to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.' 2 Cor. iv. 17. 'for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' Philipp. iii. 14. 'I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' 2 Thess. i. 5-7. 'which is a manifest token of the righteous judgement of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer; seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest with us-.' 2 Tim. iv. 8. 'there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.' Heb. vi. 10. 'for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love.' 1 John i. 9. 'if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just.' Rev. iii. 4. 'they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.' Nor need we fear, lest in thus believing we should lend any support to the doctrine of human merits. For our conformity to the image of Christ is as far from adding anything to the full and perfect satisfaction made by him, as our works are from adding to faith: it is faith <429> that justifies, but a faith not destitute of works: and in like manner, if we deserve anything, if there be any worthiness in us on any ground whatever, it is God that hath made us worthy in Christ. Col. i. 12. 'giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance.' 2 Thess. i. 11. 'we pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling.' See more on this subject in Chap. xxii. on Justification.

On the other hand, so far as regards the election of Christ to the office of Mediator by God the Father, and our own election to life by the same Father, the restoration of man is purely of grace; whence the Father is so often said in the gospel to have given those that are the Son's to the Son, and the Son to those that are the Son's.

The fable of a purgatory, in which, as the Papists feign, the sins of men are cleansed and purged away by fire, is refuted by many considerations, but above all by that of the full satisfaction of Christ. For (besides that there is no mention of any such place in Scripture) if it be true that the blood of Christ has made complete expiation for us, and purified us thoroughly from all stains, it follows that there is nothing left for the fire to purge. To those who understand the fire mentioned in 1 Cor. iii. 13, 15. of a real fire, I reply, that the apostle is not here speaking of the flames of purgatory, but of a metaphorical fire, appointed to try, not mankind in general, but the false teachers, whose doctrine the day, that is, the light of truth, shall declare, whether it was on the one hand disguised and impaired by false ornaments, or whether on the other hand it remained neglected <430> and without cultivation. Like the fiery trial mentioned 1 Pet. iv. 12. it proves us in this world, not purges us in the next. Besides, all retribution, all endurance of good or evil subsequent to this life, is deferred till the day when Christ shall sit in judgement, 2 Cor. v. 10. 'that every man may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad' And if it be true, as shown in a preceding chapter, that the soul as well as the body sleeps till the day of resurrection, no stronger argument can be urged against the existence of a purgatory. Lastly, it is certain that to those who are to be saved there is nothing intervening, except death, between 'the earthly house' of this life, and 'the house eternal in the heavens', 2 Cor. v. 1. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 'there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.'

[1]

It has not been questioned whether the soul of Christ descended into hell, (as seems to be implied in the words of Milton) which 'no Christian can deny,' says St. Augustin, 'it is so clearly delivered in this prophecy of the Psalmist (Psal. xvi. 8-10.) and application of the apostle (Acts ii. 25)' but the controverted point has been, what that hell was into which he descended. See the various opinions stated at large, in Burnet and Beveridge On the Third Article; Pearson, On the Creed, Fifth Article; see also Bp. Horsley's Sermon on 1 Pet. iii. 18-20 Vol. II. 145.

[2]

.....All power

I give thee; reign for ever, and assume

Thy merits. Paradise Lost, III. 317.

[3]

Regardless of the bliss wherein he sat

Second to thee. Paradise Lost, III. 408.

..... Who into glory him receiv'd

Where now he sits at the right of bliss.

Paradise Lost, VI. 891.

[4]

This alludes to the doctrine of the Ubiquitarians, who held the omnipresence of the human body of Christ. The opinion seems to have been first maintained by Brentius, one of the earliest reformers, in 1560. Luther favored it in his controversy with Zuingle, but subsequently acknowledged its difficulties, especially as connected with the corporal presence in the Eucharist. After his death it was again advanced by Brentius, supported by Chemnitius and Andræas. Curcellæus, Instit. V. 15. 9-15. argues against the doctrine.

[5]

Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

With thee thy manhood also to this throne;

Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign

Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man.

Paradise Lost, III. 313.

[6]

Die he or justice must; unless for him

Some other able, and as willing, pay

The rigid satisfaction, death for death.

Paradise Lost, III. 209.

..... So Man, as is most just,

Shall satisfy for man.

Ibid. 294. Compare also XII. 415-419.

[7]

The law of God exact he shall fulfil

Both by obedience and by love, though love

Alone fulfil the law. Paradise Lost, XII. 402.

[8]

Giving to death, and dying to redeem.

Paradise Lost, III. 299.

Which line is thus explained by Warburton. 'Milton's system of divinity taught, not only that man was redeemed, but likewise that a real price was paid for his redemption; dying to redeem therefore signifying only redemption in a vague uncertain sense, but imperfectly represents his system; so imperfectly, that it may as well be called the Socinian; the price paid (which implies a proper redemption) is wanting. But to pay a price implying a voluntary act, the poet therefore well expresses it by giving to death, that is, giving himself to death; so that the sense of the line fully expresses Milton's notion; heavenly love gave a price for the redemption of mankind, and by virtue of that price really redeemed them.'

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

Privacy Statement

  • University of Oxford
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • JISC