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Dr. WHITBY very often speaks of what he calls a freedom ad utrumlibet, without necessity, as requisite to law and commands; and speaks of necessity as entirely inconsistent with injunctions and prohibitions. But yet we read of Christ being the subject of his Father's commands. (John x. 18. and xv. 10.) And Christ tells us, that every thing that he said or did, was in compliance with “ commandments he had received of the Father;" (John xii. 49, 50. and xiv. 31.) And we often read of Christ's obedience to his father's commands, (Rom. v. 19. Phil. ii. 18. Heb. v. 8.)
The forementioned writer represents promises offered as motives to persons to do their duty, or a being moved and induced by promises, as utterly inconsistent with a state wherein persons have not a liberty ad utrumlibet, but are necessarily determined to one. (See particularly, p. 298, and 311.) But the thing which this writer asserts, is demonstrably false if the Christian religion be true. If there be any truth in Christianity or the holy scriptures, the man Christ Jesus had his Will infallibly and unalterably determined to good, and that alone; but yet he had promises of glorious rewards made to him, on condition of his persevering in, and perfecting the work which God had appointed him ; (Isa. liii. 10, 11, 12. Psa. ii. and cx. Isai. xlix. 7, 8, 9.) In Luke xxii. 28, 29, Christ says to his disciples, “ Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me.” The word most properly signifies to appoint by covenant or promise. The plain meaning of Christ's words is this : “ As you have partaken of my temptations and trials, and have been steadfast, and have overcome; I promise to make you partakers of my reward, and to give you a kingdom; as the Father has promised me a kingdom for continuing steadfast and overcoming in those trials.” And the words are well explained by those in Rev. iii. 21. “To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me on my throne ; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." And Christ had not only promises of glorious success and rewards made to his obedience and sufferings, but the scriptures plainly represent him as using these promises for motives and inducements to obey and suffer; and particularly that promise of a kingdom which the Father had appointed him, or sitting with the Father on his throne ; (as in Heb. xii. 1, 2.) “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set dow' the right hand of the throne of God.”
And how strange would it be to hear any Christian assert that the holy and excellent temper and behaviour of Jesus Christ, and that obedience which he performed under such great trials, was not virtuous or praiseworthy ; because his Will was not free ad utrumque, to either holiness or sin, but was unalterably determined to one; that upon this account there is no virtue at all in all Christ's humility, meekness, patience, charity, forgiveness of enemies, contempt of the world, heavenly-mindedness, submission to the Will of God, perfect obedience to his commands unto death, even the death of the cross, his great compassion to the afflicted, his unparalleled love to mankind, his faithfulness to God and man under such great trials; his praying for his enemies even when nailing him to the cross; that virtue, when applied to these things is but an empty name ; that there was no merit in any of these things; that is, that Christ was worthy of nothing at all on account of them, worthy of no reward, no praise, no honour or respect from God and man; because his Will was not indifferent, and free either to these things or the contrary; but under such a strong inclination or bias to the things that were excellent, as made it impossible that he should choose the contrary; that upon this account, to use Dr. Whitby's language, it would be sensibly unreasonable that the human nature should be rewarded for any of these things.
According to this doctrine, that creature who is evidently set forth in scripture as the first-born of every creature, as having in all things the pre-eminence, and as the highest of all creatures in virtue, honour, and worthiness of esteem, praise and glory, on account of his virtue, is less worthy of reward or praise, than the very least of saints ; yea, no more worthy than a clock or mere machine that is purely passive, and moved by natural necessity.
If we judge by scriptural representations of things, we have reason to suppose that Christ took on him our nature, and dwelt with us in this world in a suffering state, not only to satisfy for our sins, but that he being in our nature and circumstances, and under our trials, might be our most fit and proper example, leader and captain, in the exercise of glorious and victorious virtue, and might be a visible instance of the glorious end and reward of it; that we might see in him the beauty, amiableness, and true honour and glory, and exceeding benefit, of that virtue, which it is proper for us human beings to practise ; and might thereby learn, and be animated to seek the like glory and honour, and to obtain the like glorious reward. (See Heb. ii. 9,-14, with v. 8, 9. and xii. 1, 2, 3. John xv. l). Rom. viii. 17. 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. 1 Pet. ü. 19, 20. and iv. 13.) But if there was nothing of any virtue or merit or worthiness of any reward, glory, praise, or commendation at VOL. II.
all, in all that he did, because it was all necessary, and he could not help it ; then how is here any thing so proper to animate and incite us, free creatures, by patient continuance in well-doing, to seek for honour, glory, and virtue ?
God speaks of himself as peculiarly well pleased with the righteousness of this distinguished servant. (Isai. xlii. 21.) “ The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake.” The sacrifices of old are spoken of as a sweet savour to God, but the obedience of Christ as far more acceptable than they. (Psal. xl. 6, 7.) “ Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire : Mine ear hast thou opened [as thy servant performing willing obedience ;] burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required : then said 1, Lo, I come (as a servant that cheerfully answers the calls of his master :) I delight to do thy will, o my God, and thy law is within mine heart.” (Matt. xvii. 5.) « This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” And Christ tells us expressly, that the Father loves bim for that wonderful instance of his obedience, his voluntary yielding himself to death, in compliance with the Father's command, (John x. 17, 18.) “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life :No man taketh it from me ; but I lay it down of myself--This commandment received I of my Father."
And if there was no merit in Christ's obedience unto death, if it was not worthy of praise, and of the most glorious rewards, the heavenly hosts were exceedingly mistaken, by the account that is given of them, (Rev. v. 8–12.) "The four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours :-and they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain.And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
Christ speaks of the eternal life which he was to receive, as the reward of his obedience to the Father's commandments. (John xii. 49,50.) "I have not spoken of myself ; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak : and I know that his commandment is life everlasting : whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”—God promises to divide him a portion with the great, &c. for his being his righteous servant, for his glorious virtue under such great trials and afflictions, (Isa. liii. 11, 12.) “ He shall see the travail of his soul and he satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous serrant
justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death.” The scriptures represent God as rewarding him far above all his other servants, (Phil. ii. 7.-9.) “ He took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross : wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name.” (Psal. xlv. 7.) “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness ; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
There is no room to pretend, that the glorious benefits bestowed in consequence of Christ's obedience, are not properly of the nature of a reward. What is a reward, in the most proper sense, but a benefit bestowed in consequence of something morally excellent in quality or behaviour, in testimony of well-pleasedness in that moral excellency, and of respect and favour on that account? If we consider the nature of a reward most strictly, and make the utmost of it, and add to the things contained in this description proper merit or worthiness, and the bestowment of the benefit in consequence of a promise ; still it will be found, there is nothing belonging to it but what the scripture most expressly ascribes to the glory bestowed on Christ, after his sufferings; as appears from what has been already observed : there was a glorious benefit bestowed in consequence of something morally excellent, being called Righteousness and Obedience ; there was great favour, love, and well pleasedness, for this righteousness and obedience, in the bestower, there was proper merit, or worthiness of the benefit, in the obedience ; it was bestowed in fulfilment of promises, made to that obedience ; and was bestowed therefore, or because he had performed that obedience.
I may add to all these things, that Jesus Christ, while here in the flesh, was manifestly in a state of trial. The last Adam, as Christ is called, (1 Cor. xv. 45. Rom. v. 14.) taking on him the human nature, and so the form of a servant, and being under the law to stand and act for us, was put into a state of trial, as the first Adam was.-Dr. WHITBY mentions these three things as evidences of persons being in a state of trial (on the Five Points, p. 289, 299.) namely, their afflictions being spoken of as their trials or temptations, their being the subjects of promises, and their being exposed to Satan's temptations. But Christ was apparently the subject of each of these. Concerning promises made to him, I have spoken already. The difficulties and afflictions he met with in the course of his obedience, are called his temptations or trials,
(Luke xxii. 28.) “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations or trials." (Heb. ii. 18.) "For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted (or tried] he is able to succour them that are tempted." And (chap. iv. 15.) “We have not an high-priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” And as to his being tempted by Satan, it is what none will dispute.
The case of such as are given up of God to Sin, and of fallen
Man in general, proves moral Necessity and Inability to be consistent with Blameworthiness.
Dr. WHITBY asserts freedom, not only from coaction, but necessity, to be essential to any thing deserving the name of sin, and to an action being culpable; in these words, (Discourse on Five Points, edit. 3. p. 348.) “ If they be thus necessitated, then neither their sins of omission or commission could deserve that name: it being essential to the nature of sin, according to St. Austin's definition, that it be an action à quo liberum est abstinere. Three things seem plainly necessary to make an action or omission culpable; 1. That it be in our power to perform or forbear it: for, as ORIGEN, and all the Fathers say, no man is blameworthy for not doing what he could not do." And elsewhere the doctor insists, that " when 'any do evil of necessity, what they do is no vice, that they are guilty of no fault,* are worthy of no blame, dispraise, or dishonour, but are unblameable.”
If these things are true, in Dr. Whitby's sense of Necessity, they will prove all such to be blameless, who are given up of God to sin, in what they commit after they are thus given up--That there is such a thing as men being judicially given up to sin, is certain, if the Scripture rightly informs us ; such a thing being often there spoken of: as in Psal. Ixxxi. 12. “So I gave them up to their own hearts' lust, and they walked in their own counsels.” (Acts vii. 42.) “Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven.” (Rom. i. 24.) " Wherefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” (Ver. 26.) “For this cause God gave them up to vile affections.” (Ver. 28.) “And even as they did
* Discourse on the Five Points, p. 347, 360, 361, 377, + 303, 326,329, and many other places. | 371. $ 304, 361.