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At last he triumphantly concludes with respect to 65 the Doctrine of Christ's Sacisfaction, or the
Necessity of his Death, as a Propitiation for “ Sin, and the principal Ground of our Accepta
ance with God, he has said enough to fubvert " and destroy this Hypothesis, under all the Ap
pearances and Constructions of it, among the “ several Schematists and Faith Mongers *
- But if Example is all the saving Virtue of Chrift dying for the Sins of the World, What a miserable short Scheme of Salvation and Redempcion is this? Every Mother's Son of the many past, present, or future Generacions of Men who have, do, or shall not learn and copy this faluciferous Example, are lost and undone ; Sincerity in doing their best to please God in the Circumstances they are placed under, can stand them in no stead. Is this stingy Representation of God's Wisdom, Goodness, and Love of the World, reasoning rightly upon either of them, or depreciating and reproaching all and every of them in a shameful Manner? The Deiftical Projects of Salvation used to be more liberal to the Goodness of God at least; What is the Meaning then of this sudden Alteration, for the worse, in our present Projector? Though nothing can be plainer from innumerable Places that he means nothing by the Death of Christ, but as an Example, Martyr or Witness to the Truth, yet, excluding all other Benefits of his Death and Paffion, he has the Assurance to insult and deride the rich Favour and superabounding Love of God to Mankind, in that Dispensation of 70sus Christ, in whom we have Redemption through
bis Blood, even the Forgiveness of Sins, according to the Riches of bis Grace; his Explanation of which Words are," In or by whom, i, e, by Jesus “ Chrift, in consequence of his perfect Obedi“ ence unto Death, we are redeem'd or delivered " from the Dominion and Condemnation of Sin; “ by the rich Favour and supera
bounding Love “ of God, as manifested to Mankind by his Son “ Christ in the Gospel *." And to make it the more impossible for any other Benefit to derive upon Mankind, he afferts very roundly, " That all that was done or fuffered by him was “ necessary to himself, and upon his own AcSh.count t." In defiance of the Scripture Act count, which never once intimates that he died for himself, or on his own Account, but always, and every where expresses it, that he died for usin ibe Just for the Unjuji, &c. by way of Atonement, Propitiation, &c.
In order to contravene this commonly received Doctrine, and undermine the general Hope and Faith of Chriftians, he proceeds by two Methods, first, by changing and resolving the literal Meaning of Scriptural Expressions into a figurative foreign Sense : Secondly, by offering at fome Reasons, such as they are.
I. He maintains that Propitiation, Atonement, Purchase, Ransom, Price of Redemption, &c. are all figurative Expressions, Metaphors, and Allegories I. But surely all Mankind must allow in all serious Writings, that the literal Sense is the most obvious, and the first that presents, andought
Page 123, 124. + Page 153, 154 16!, 229. and other places.
. Page therefore constantly to be receiv'd and maincain'd in Interpretation as true and undoubted, unlefs very good Reasons appear to the contrary, such as are allowed by all wife Men to decide between, and give the Preference to the Letter, or the Figure. But in such Writings the former always keeps its Place of the latter, unless there is fome Contradiction implied to the Attributes of God, natural or moral; to the eternal Distinction of Good and Evil, or the Nature of Things: If nothing of this is the Case (and that it is not the Case, will be seen under the Head of his Reasons) then the literal Sense is intitled to an universal Reception, not only because of its first common presumptive Right of being the true De lign of the Writer, but because, in equity also, there is no exception as to its being dilagreeable to any other Truth.
With respect to this unfair Socinian Liberty of interpreting Scripture, the Words of that great Reasoner Archbishop Tillotson, are remarkable, “ There is no end of Wit and Fancy, " which can turn any thing any way, and can " make whatever they please to be the Meaning “ of any Book, though never fo contrary to the 66
plain Design of it, and to that Sense, which
at the first Hearing and reading of it, is “ obvious to every Man's common Sense *." He had before call'd it violent, ftrained, wonderful and incredible, and adds presently after,
6. That no Doctrine whatsoever can have any Foundation in any Book, if this Liberty 55 [of Figure and Allegory] be allowed.
Tillotson's Works, Folio, Vol. I. Page 421.
Is it not a very hard Cafe with Scripture? That this Author, who by his assumed 'Privilege of double Intender in 'interpreting the Old Testament *, can readily make any thing of Scripture, and as he affirms the literal Sense ab: surd, and the allegorical the only rational one t; and as the famous Author of the Grounds, &c. on the contrary affirms, the allegorical figura. tive Interpretation to be the absurd Sense; both these Evidences (deep Reasoners as they would be esteemed) agree in one common Design, 'tis true, against Christianity, but then the Witnesses should agree a little better together, and not contradict one another, before any Credit should be given to either of them. But as this singular . Evidence against it, neither shews Wit, nor Confiftency, in bungling and jumbling the literal Fact and Metaphor together, those Quakers must be allowed to outstrip him in both, who carry the Metaphor througbout, making both the Death and Resurrection of Christ to be no more than allegorical. He is very liberal with his dignifying Appellation Enthusiast, upon those Christians who embrace the literal Sense, but he ought to consider, whether the general distinguish'd Characteristick of an Enthusiast from a sober Thinker, is not taken from his Affectation and Addictednefs in turning the plain literal Sense of Divine Scripture into Figure and Allegory; not being contented to be acted by Religion, and submit to the plain Meaning of Words, but he must needs actuace Religion, and impose a new Sense, that he may strike out a new Religion ; how far this fits our Author is left to others to give their Opinion.
+ Page 157
* Page 249.
Besides it is literally true and plain, that if the Sentiment of Christ dying as a Martyr to the Truth of his Doctrine, or the figurative Evafion of his dying a Sacrifice, Propitiation and Atonement had obtain’d in the apostolical Times, how could it be truly alledged with regard to Jew and Greek; that his Death was a Itumbling Block to one, and foolishness to the other?
II. He offers at some Reasons in support of his Opinion, which I might proceed to consider with respect to what he says, that the Death of Christ as an Atonement or Propitiation in the proper Sense“ is
" is absurd, impossible, and contrary to 66 the Nature of God, to the Nature of Man,"
and to the necessary Reason, and moral Fit“ ness of Things." But I may be excused from answering in this place, having so copiously done it in the two preceding Volumes. Wherein is shewn the most perfect Harmony between Rectoral Justice and Mercy, and all the Divine Artributes and Perfections ; how much they are all adorned, illustrated, and recommended to the Love, Fear, and Adoration of Mankind; where it appears, that Remission of the Penalcy upon sufficient Satisfaction (if he will have it called fo) is an Act of Justice, in a different and truer Sense than he represents *, it being the Performance of a Promise to those who embrace the Covenant, and claim the Justice of Promise, without any need of mentioning Equivalents, and, at the same time, though in a different Respect, is an Act of Grace, by preferring that Method of