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Abraham Booth (1734-1806) On the Sufficiency of Christ’s Death

May 21, 2009

Booth:

While cheerfully admitting the sufficiency of Immanuel’s death to have redeemed all mankind, had all the sins of the whole human species been equally imputed to him; and had he, as the Universal Representative, sustained that curse of the law which was due to all mankind; yet we cannot perceive any solid reason to conclude, that his propitiatory sufferings are sufficient for the expiation of sins which he did not bear, or for the redemption of sinners whom he did not represent, as a sponsor, when he expired on the cross. For the substitution of Christ, and the imputation of sin to him, are essential to the scriptural doctrine of redemption by our adorable Jesus.–We may, therefore, safely conclude, that our Lord’s voluntary substitution, and redemption by his vicarious death, are both of them limited to those, for whom he was made sin–for whom he was made a curse–and for whose deliverance from final ruin, he actually paid the price of his own blood.

Abraham Booth, “Divine Justice Essential to the Divine Character,” in The Works of Abraham Booth (London: Printed by J. Haddon, 1813), 3:61. [Underlining mine.]

[Notes: It should be kept in mind that Thomas Nettles, following Shedd’s overly generous representation of Owen, confusedly attempts to juxtapose Booth’s definition of Christ’s sufficiency over and against that of John Owen’s, when in fact, the two expressions (with regard to the extrinsic and external sufficiency), are theologically identical. The benefit of the comment from Booth lies simply in the fact that he explicitly connects the sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction with the imputation of sin. Booth is absolutely correct, for any man for whom Christ did not sustain a direct penal relationship, there can be no sufficient satisfaction for that man, for none of the penal barriers between God and that man have not been dealt with. The sufficiency of the satisfaction with respect to that man can be nothing but a hypothetical sufficiency. That is, perhaps in other (possible world) circumstances, the satisfaction of Christ could have been sufficient for him too.  See: Thomas J. Nettles, By His Grace and For His Glory (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House), 1986, 303 and 312-313.]

Credit to Tony for bringing this to my attention

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