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a sacrifice for sin, was really subordinate to his action in granting the remission of sins, as it certainly is; yet it will not follow, that his giving Christ to be a sacrifice for sins, was a reason with him, for granting the remission os sins: on the contrary, it will follow, that his granting, or his intention to grant, the remission of sins, was a reason with him, for giving Christ to be a sacrifice for sins. For if this is not allowed, the subordination of the action of giving Christ to be a sacrifice for sins, to the action of granting the remission of sins, will be destroyed.— If any person, in order to preserve this subordination, should allow that the granting the remission of sins was a reason with God, for giving Christ to be a sacrifice for sins; and, at the fame time, affirm, that the sacrifice of Christ was a reason with him, for granting the remission of sins; this is only going round in a shameful circle, by assigning one thing as the reason of another thing, and then assigning that other thing as the Teason of that *vhich is the reason of itself; which every body knows, is a gross absurdity in reasoning; the very same, as it Would be, to make any effect the cause of itself, that is, no effect at all.—The only reason with an intelligent mind, for performing one subordinate action preferably to any other, is, because he thinks it has a greater tendency or fitness than any other, to subserve
his his intention in the performance of the principal action to which it is subordinate action, though chosen, for the reason mentioned, preferably to any other subordinate action, is no reason at all with the agent, for the performance of the principal action to which it is subordinate. The reason, therefore, for the performance of any principal action, and the reason for the performance of any action which is subordinate to it, are, in all cases, two different things. The former is always antecedent to the latter in the order and train of the mind's thoughts: for if the reasons for the performance of principal actions did not first exist, and affect the mind, there never would, never could, be any reason at all for the performance of any subordinate action whatsoever. If so, no subordinate action is, or can be, a reason with any intelligent mind, for the performance of the principal action to which it is subordinate: consequently, God's giving Christ to be a sacrifice for sins, which is a subordinate action, neither is, nor can be, a reason with him, for granting the remission of sins, to which action the former is subordinate..
§. 15. Indeed, impotency, or a defect of power to perform the subordinate action is, in many cafes, a reason with intelligent minds, for the omission or non-performance of the principal action to which it is subordinate.
But But then, though inability to perform the subordinate action, is frequently a reason for the omission of the principal action; yet a bare ability to perform the subordinate action is, in no case, a reason with any intelligent mind, for performing the principal action: consequently, the Deity's ability to give Christ to be a sacrifice for sins, could be no reason with him, to grant the remise sion of sins. And even supposing, (contrary to all reason,) that this had really been a reason with God for granting the remission of sins, yet it would be nothing to the Z)r's purpose, because, in this cafe, the reason with God for granting the remission of sins, would not be the sacrifice of Christ; but his own power, or ability, to give him to be a sacrifice for sins.
§. 16. From the whole, (when the reasons of action have been considered in their whole extent, and in every possible view, in relation to the subject under consideration,) 'tis manifest, I think, that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ neither is, not can be, a reason of any kind with God, for granting the remission of sins. He, indeed gave his own dear son to be a sacrifice for sins. But this he did not do, with an intention that this sacrifice might furnish him with a new reason, which he had not before, for granting the remission of sins; but only with this view, that that sacrifice might be a
mean mean of rendering the conveyance or grant of this favour consistent with the end and rectitude of his moral government over mankind, or, which amounts to the fame thing, conducive, upon the whole, to the happiness of our species. The mean, in this cafe, as in all others, was chosen .for the sake of the end; and not the end, for the sake of the mean. The desire of the end was a reason with God, for choosing the mean; but the desire of the mean was no reason with him, for choosing and prosecuting the end. The mean, because it was chosen by infinite wisdom, must, in all respects, be proper, and adequate to the end intended: but still it was only the mean by which, and not the reason for which, the end was prosecuted. This way of thinking supplies us with consistent and noble ideas of the attributes of Deity, particularly, of his goodness and mercy to sinners: it is good common-fense; and, if I am not mistaken, the only scheme of thoughts that is conformable to, and consistent with, the doctrines of revelation.
I have now finished this part of my design. And in the execution of it, have shewn, I think, that the Dr's notion of the sacrifice of Christ, as being the perfect obedience dience and goodness of his whole life, has no support from these texts and facts in scripture, which he has produced as proofs and illustrations of it: that, though his notion of the sacrifice of Christ was a true and just one, yet this sacrifice, as it stands, and is circumstanced, in his scheme, has no tendency to render sinners penitent and obedient; but a direct and very strong one, to encourage and harden them in fin and impenitency, and to corrupt them more and more: and, finally, that the sacrifice of Christ, either in the Dr's notion of it, 01; in any other notion of it, neither is, nor can be, any reason with God, for granting the remission of sins: consequently, that the Dr's notion of the sacrifice of Christ is unsupported by any evidence; and that his whole scheme of man's redemption, by that sacrifice, is a contradiction to scripture, and to reason and common-sense. In examining the Dr's scripture-evidence, I have followed the dictates of common fense, and observed the rules of just and sober criticism, with the utmost candour and impartiality: nor have I overlooked or concealed any thing that appeared to me to be favourable to his sentiments; but have endeavoured, as far as I was able, to go to the very bottom of things, with a pure and disinterested view to the discovery of truth. And whether I have done justice to the subject,