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SERMON III. The true Christian Doctrine of the
Satisfaction of Christ vindicated.
ACTS XX. 28.
purchased with his own blood. SERM T HE whole verse runs thus, 'Take III. I beed therefore unto your selves, and to
all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost
himself is God's; he was himself in the power Se r M. and at the command of God, and so was his III. blood, and therefore it was the blood of God. m If you urge that thus it could not be said to be his proper blood, the answer is that proper
S no more than his own ; and his own fignifies no more than what is in his poffeffion. No other answer in truth ought to be given to this, than that if it be so, it is not in the power of language to express this doctrine to us upon supposition it were true ; and that we never know when we understand any thing that is said in scripture. My design is not to insist on the divinity of Christ here. Their evasion of the other thing contained in the words is much of the same nature : It is true, say they, he purchased or bought the church with his own blood, because by that he obtained power of delivering the church from punishment, and bringing them to heaven. If you urge that according to themselves he bought that power at least; their perpetual answer is that he bought or purchased nothing properly, that it is nothing but a mere figurative way of speaking, and could never be applied to the blood of Christ in any propriety of speech. Now upon this principle there is nothing in the Apostle's argument.; they must look to the flock of Christ because he hath obtained power to take care of them himself. This indeed is a very figurative way of persuasion without a motive : But upon the true principle of the Vol. I. : E
Ş E R M. christian church the argument is very strong
III. and powerful; for so they were to take care W of their flocks because they cost so dear.
They were in truth and reality purchased with a price of inestimable value, no less than the blood of a divine person, who was himself very God, and therefore called so in this text..
In discourfing of this part of the great mystery of our redemption, I shall observe the same method I have already done in other parts of it, namely to set down the opinion of the Socinians concerning satisfaction; that by bringing the controversy on its true foundation we may cut off every thing superfluous, and discuss it with more brevity and perfpicuity. In plain terms they flatly deny the word, as not being in scripture ; and for the thing itself, Socinus reckons it among those things, qua plane impossibilia funt. And adds a little after, quare nequeo satis mirari quid iis in mentem venerit qui nobis primi iftam satisfactionem fabricarunt. (Socin. de Ser. par. iii. cap. 6.) They allow all that can be demanded in the death of Christ, but any virtue or power in it with respect to God.
The frequent mention of our redemption by his death in scripture is not, says Socinus, ut alicujus ad nos redimendos occultæ virtutis quam mors Christi babeat, et quam omnes per je perspicuè non videant, admoneamur, (Socin. de Serv. par. ii. p. 147.) As far as satisfaction implies the performing those conditions which are required by God, and so fulfilling Ser M. his desire, they allow it. Nay they will allow III. the strict propriety of the words redemption in and purchase in every instance but one, and say that this price is payed to no body. (Socin. de Serv. par. i. p. 143.) His blood is a price, say they, non ex parte Dei, for it was he that gave it; and therefore he could not accept it : But however it is such a price as purchases (i. e) obtains salvation in respect of us. (Socin. de Serv. par. ii. cap. 2. p. 144.) In short, you can hardly ask them any thing which they will not allow, till you touch upon any secret hidden virtue in the sufferings of Chrift; or any true or real value in themselves with respect to God, by way of compensation to his justice ; or a means of preserving any of his attributes inviolable in the salvation of sinners.
They argue from reason, and the nature of God that the doctrine of satisfaction is impofsible. They raise many seeming absurdities and contradictions in it, and then find themselves under a necessity of turning all the scripture expressions relating to it, into metaphor and analogy: And from thence again, by a shameful circle in arguing, besides a gross mistake of the analogy visible through all their works, they make this inference, that therefore there is nothing in them but figure, and that they import nothing that is true and real in respect of God. Socinus argues that the word redemption is never used in a true
ŞER M. and proper sense. Quamvis videatur metaIII. phoricè fortaffis id pole fieri. And again, bu
j us verbi metaphoricus ufus frequentiffimus eft.
(Socin. de Serv. par. ii. cap. 1. p. 141.) And in the same chapter after he has argued this fufficiently, Ego verò non ita bebetem te else sat scio, ut verbi redimendi metaphorâ agnitá, non videas etiam eâdem metaphorâ Christum diétum fuisse redemptionis noftræ pretium. adeò ut si de vero pretio fit fermo necesse hit illud Satanæ perfolutum. (Crell. respon. ad Gr. cap. 8. p. 178.) And again, ideo in hac redemptionis noftræ metaphorâ Deus non confderatur, &c. and so on. And Volkelius, speaking of the scripture phrases which express redemption by the blood of Christ, argues thus, quos quidem loquendi modos metaphoricos plane esse inde patet, quod nullus oftendi poteft cui pretium perfolutum fuerit ; ut quidem in propriâ redemptione fieri neceffe eft. * And afterwards says he, Quod si quis proprietatem vocabuli nimium urgere velit is non animadvertit quod ipse Deus et Moses populum Ifraeliticum redemiffe dicantur. (Volk. lib. iii. cap. 18. p. 208.) I need not multiply quotations to this purpose ; whosoever is acquainted with the Socinian tracts will find they run altogether upon this strain. I shall only observe that instead of the word satisfaction, which they explode, they for the most part
use the words liberatio, and redemptio. · And now we may justly wonder by what strong delusion men have been carried on to