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Edward Polhill on the Double Jeopardy / Double Payment fallacy

August 29, 2007

Object. 4.

If Christ died for all men, then he was a surety for all, and satisfied for the sins of all, and consequently God hath a double satisfaction; one in Christ the surety, and another in the persons of the damned, which is against the nature of his justice. In this argument are two consequences to be weighed. 1. If Christ died for all, then he was a surety for all, and satisfied for the sins of all. 2. If Christ so satisfied for the sins of all, then God bath a double satisfaction, which is against justice. As to the first consequence, I admit it as a very truth, that Christ was a surety for all, and satisfied for the sins of all; for if all did believe and repent, the sins of all should be remitted, and remitted they could not be; without a surety, and a surety making a satisfaction; therefore, such a surety was Christ for them all. As to the second consequence, if Christ satisfied for the sins of all, then God hath a double satisfaction, and that is against justice. I shall first premise some distinctions, and then answer. 1. I shall premise three distinctions.

1. Either the first satisfaction was made to the creditor or law-giver by the debtor or offender himself, or else it was made by a surety; if it was made by himself, justice forbids a second satisfaction.

2. In the first satisfaction being made by a surety, was either made by a surety of the debtor’s or offender’s own procuring, or else by a surety procured by the creditor or law-giver; if it was made by a surety procured by the debtor or offender himself, justice forbids a second satisfaction; for it is all one as if he had satisfied by himself.

3 When a surety provided by the creditor or lawgiver makes the first satisfaction, either he makes satisfaction in such sort, as that the debtor or offender shall be thereby immediately, ipso facto, without any more ado, discharged; or else e makes satisfaction in such sort, as that the debtor or offender shall be thereby discharged, but upon the performance of some conditions, and not otherwise; if the surety make satisfaction in the former way, still justice forbids a second satisfaction; but if he make satisfaction in the latter way, then upon the final non-performance of those conditions, justice may admit a second satisfaction. I will illustrate this by two instances. Suppose a man indebted to another in £1,000, the creditor procures his son to lay down the money in satisfaction of the debt, but withal it is agreed between them, that the debtor shall be discharged from his debt if he assent to this payment and not otherwise; if then the debtor dissent, the creditor may justly demand of him a second satisfaction. Again, suppose multitudes of attainted traitors be shut up in prison, and the king procures his son to suffer punishment in their stead, but withal the king and his son proclaim it as a law, that none of the traitors shall be thereby absolved, unless such as honour and do homage unto them; if any traitor refuse to do it, the king may justly exact a second satisfaction; and the reason of both is this, because the debtor or traitor not performing the conditions, can have no benefit by the first satisfaction, and therefore must be subject to a second, as if there had been no first at all. 2. These distinctions premised, I answer, men’s I sins are debts and rebellions, and satisfaction for them is due to God as the great creditor and lawgiver; but this satisfaction was not made by men themselves, but by Jesus Christ as their surety, and this surety was not procured by men, but provided by God himself; and being provided by God, he did not pay down his satisfactory blood in such sort, as that men should be thereby immediately, ipso facto, absolved from their debts and rebellions, but in such sort, as that men may be acquitted from their debts and rebellions if they re pent and believe; wherefore, if they do neither, they can have no benefit by Christ’s satisfaction, and by consequence a second satisfaction may be justly exacted from them.

Now for the more distinct clearing of this momentous objection, I shall propose four things. 1. God out of mere grace procured Christ to be a surety for men; and therefore it was in his power to prescribe the conditions, upon the performance or non-performance whereof men should have or not have benefit by Christ’s satisfaction.

2. According to this power, God hath plainly set down the conditions in the gospel, viz. “He that believes shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be condemned.”

3. These conditions being thus set down by God himself, no man falling short of them can have benefit by Christ’s satisfaction. If men will not receive the atonement, (Rom, v. 11), how can they be at peace? If they will not receive remission of sins, (Acts x. 43), how can they be pardoned? We are all in a worse dungeon than Jeremy’s, and if we will not put the cords of grace under our arms, we cannot get out; we are all servants of sin, and if we say to it, we love thee and will not go out free, we must be bored for eternal slaves. Christ hath opened the fountain of his blood, but we must wash in it, (Zach. xiii. 1); Christ hath made a purchase of souls, but we must believe eis peripoiesin psuches, to the purchasing of the soul, (Heb. x. 39) : not that faith is part of the purchase-money, but that it is the condition of the gospel, without which the glorious purchase of Christ profits not; if men live and die in unbelief, ek eti apoleipetai, there remaineth no more sacrifice for them. (Heb. x. 26). Indeed Christ offered a sacrifice for them, but ek eti, the benefit of that sacrifice cloth no more remain unto them; upon their final unbelief they have no more benefit by it than if there had been none at all for them : in which sense I understand that of the father, Si non credis, non tibi descendit, non tibi passus est Christus.

4. If final unbelievers can have no benefit by Christ’s satisfaction, then God may justly require a second satisfaction of them, because they cannot plead the first; and so it is in law as to them as if there had been no first at all. Shimei had a pardon from Solomon, but passing over Kidron lost it; and therefore (notwithstanding the same) was justly put to death for his offence: Jesus Christ as a surety made satisfaction for men, but they through their final unbelief lose the benefit of it; and therefore (notwithstanding the same) God may justly require a second satisfaction from them. It Shimei had pleaded his pardon, Solomon would have told him, That is nothing to thee, ever since thou didst pass over Kidron; and if unbelievers should plead Christ’s satisfaction, God would tell them, That is nothing to you, seeing you have lived and died in unbelief. Edward Polhill, “The Divine Will: Considered in its Eternal Decrees,” in Works, chapt 7, section 4, sub-section 3, Obj., 4., 168-169.

Edward Polhill, “The Divine Will: Considered in its Eternal Decrees,” in Works, chapt 7, section 4, sub-section 3, Obj., 4., 168-169.

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