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Daniel Williams (1643?-1716) on Christ Suffering the Just Equivalent Not the Idem of the Law’s Punishment

May 27, 2009

Wiliams:

1) VI Prop. It was in the Covenant of Redemption, wherein it was adjusted and agreed, what should be thus Satisfactory and Meritorious, and fo effectual to save Sinners. See Isa. liii. 10, 1 1, 12. Psa. xl. 6,7,8. Zech. vi. 13. Job. xvii. 4. The Parties in this Covenant, are the Father and Spirit on the one part; and the Son on the other. Whatever Christ suffered in time, and all the Obedience he yielded, were terms proposed to him, and accepted by

him. In that Volume were recorded, what his Work and Rewards were to be; and of the latter, the Salvation of his members is a part. What he herein submitted to, he became obliged as an act of faithfulness to perform. Whatever was herein promised him, he had a right to receive, and did accordingly claim. By this compact, he agreed to be a Subject and Servant; and hence the Law of Mediation did commence as binding. By this compact his Obedience and Sufferings became a Satisfaction, that otherwise had been ineffectual.

Satisfaction imports a refuseableness, antecedently to an agreement: And hence we may perceive, that though what Christ paid was a full equivalent, yet it was not in all things the fame in kind, as man was obliged to. True, Justice took care, that all was inserted into this Covenant, as Christ’s Work, which was necessary to the reparation of its Glory: And hence the great Essentials of the Law of Works were inserted, as Articles to be performed by Christ, viz. sinless Obedience as a man, which is the sum of the Precept, and Death the substance of the Threatening; and these to be done and suffered in this Human Nature. Nevertheless some thing in the Threatenings were incompetent to him; as spiritual Death, the hatred of God, &c. And many Precepts were not agreeable to his circumstances, all

which were omitted: Nay, many things, which the Law of Works never enjoined on men, were necessary to be done by the Redeemer, and therefore were super-added. From this Covenant arises the immediate obligation of Christ to all his Obedience, as well as the rule and measure of it; and from this his Title to all the Reward, much of which the premiant Sanction of the Law of Works never contained, and could never give a right to. Daniel Williams, “Discourses on Several Important Subjects,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 4:12-13.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

2) VII Prop. Satisfaction being to be made for innumerable Sins committed, and not only forfeited Blessings, but even greater, being to be merited, and that for many; the Obedience of Christ must exceed what the Law of Works enjoined on mankind, as the condition of its reward.

What was necessary from every single man for himself, could not by legal Justice be sufficient from one man for all others that omitted it: Now the Law required obedience to its precepts from every single man That could not merit the reward for Sinners, which was but necessary to an Innocent man’s title to the reward: But what the Law required was necessary to Innocent man’s obtaining the reward, though he had not finned before. That which was by governing Justice adjudged but proportionable to a less reward, could not merit a greater reward: But whatever the Law of Works required, was but proportioned to its lesser rewards. Lesser I call them; for though I allow them to be an eternal Felicity in another world, yet these were not Union with Christ, nor such a degree of Conformity to his Glory, &c. much less did they include the rewards promised to Christ for his Obedience, as a Name above every Name, all Judgment and Authority, with many more, all which are the reward of Christ’s Obedience. As to Expiation of Sin by punishment for Reconciliation with the offended God, the Law enjoins no such Duty, nor hinted such a thing. Its Threatening was eternal Death, as eternal: Eternity was an ingredient into the misery of every Sinner, and can be removed by nothing but the Lawgiver’s dispensing therewith, upon Considerations equally vindicating the glory of Justice, as this Eternity of Sinners torments would do: And it must be equivalent, not only to the eternal woe of one Offender, but at least of all those Sinners who escape it.

CONSIDER these and the like things, and fee, if the Law of Works (which all men were perfectly to obey,) did enjoin all that Obedience, which Christ was to yield as the condition of his reward, of which man’s Salvation is but part; especially when it is a reward adjusted by strict governing Justice, abating nothing of the meriting Price thereof. I mention these things, to let you fee the danger of confining Christ’s Obedience, to the idem of what the Law enjoined on man, or promised to him. Alas, we should be infinite Losers thereby; we could at best expect no more Happiness, than what the Law of Works promised. Nay, I think, a Redemption of Sinners in a way of Justice, would be more exceptionable than some Persons think, who dare much, because they fee too little. A Surety-ship of Christ, confined to what the Covenant of Works includes, would be an uncomfortable Doctrine.

BUT the Obedience of Christ was not only super equivalent to all that man was to do by the Law, but equal to all the reward promised in the Covenant of Redemption. The Dignity of his Person, the things he did and suffered, and the Intensity of his Obedience; his Unobligedness to do or suffer these, but on the account of glorifying God by satisfying for Sin, and opening a way for exerting Grace to Sinners; with many more, concur to aggrandize his Obedience: Of this more elsewhere. Daniel Williams, “Discourses on Several Important Subjects,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 15-17.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

3) II Prop. God is so righteous, and so jealous of the glory of his government, that his richest mercy admits the pardon of no offender, nor will grant any saving benefits to such as in the lead fail in their obedience, but on the account of a Righteousness, at least exactly adequate to what strict governing Justice did enjoin and prescribe. It must be a righteousness of obedience, as perfect as the Law-precept required of men; it must be a righteousness of satisfaction, by bearing a punishment equivalent to what the Law-threatening denounced against sinners. And because this Law in its precepts and threats was a Law to men, and they were men that transgressed; therefore Justice required, that the obedience should be yielded, and the punishment suffered, by and in the human nature. Hence even the Son of God must take our flesh, if he would be a Redeemer. The satisfaction must yield as much glory to Justice, as the Sin forgiven did injure it: The merit must be proportioned, in the Scale of Justice, to the benefit to be conferred, and that upon offenders; which rendered what was appointed to Christ, to be above what the Law required of men. Of this I have spoken somewhat already, and shall have reason again to enlarge. His righteousness is [Rom. iii. 26] declared, and he appears just, when the justifier of him that believes in Jesus. Sin must be condemned in the flesh of Christ, by [Rom. viii. 3, 4.] his dying a sacrifice for it, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.

Exh. Adore the Authority and Justice of God, notwithstanding his pardoning Mercy. The Atonement speaks it, neither is it debased by all the displays of his Grace. We are as subject to God, as if he had never spared us; and he is still as just, as if all mankind were to be damned. If you despise his Dominion, you mail find the edge of his Sword; if you reject the Atonement, the severity of his Judice will instance itself upon you. See then, that you [1 Cor. x. 22.] provoke not the Lord to jealousy. Daniel Williams, “Discourses on Several Important Subjects,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 62-63.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

4) On the other hand, Could I think, it was by the Covenant of works, that Christ was constituted our Surety, fo that his obligations to suffer the Punishment of our fins, did immediately result from that Law: And that we Sinners were Principals in Redemption work, and Christ such a Surety as to be a joint Party with us in that work of Redemption: And that the Law of works required the Divine Nature, to give a value to what it accounted to be Righteousness: And lastly, that this Law promises Pardon to Sinners, for the sake of a Mediator’s sufferings: I should then agree with Mr. Lobb, that we satisfied for our sin, died and obeyed in Christ’s Person, and he and we paid the idem. Nay, I should be a full Crispian, and say, I was justified at the time of Christ’s Death; I had nothing to do to become a partaker of the effects of that Death; I was as righteous as Christ: And so should deny any proper forgiveness; nay, and own, that Christ was really a Sinner; for I am sure, the Law could immediately oblige no other to die.

But I must disagree with Mr. Lobb and them, Because I am well persuaded, that God never proposed the work of Redemption to condemned Sinners, but to Christ our Mediator: Also, that to the Redemption of Sinners, God in Justice requiring for the honor of his violated Law, that a perfect: obedience, and the suffering of what was equivalent to its threatened Punishment, should in the Human Nature be submitted to by the Redeemer; our blessed Mediator obliged himself to yield that obedience, and to bear those Punishments, upon condition that such Sinners should be forgiven in his Right, who should comply with the Gospel-terms agreed upon between the Father and him; and pursuant hereto, our Mediator did in our Nature perfectly obey and suffer the Punishment of our fins, whereby he had a Right to a believer’s Pardon, and believers do obtain it in the way above described: And lastly, I am sure the Law of works never promises Pardon to Sinners for the fake of Christ’s sufferings; the Payment of the full Idem was impossible, (though there was a supra-equivalent;) and the Law accounts that Righteousness perfect:, which an innocent holy Creature renders, though he have not the Divine Nature to give that value to his obedience, without which very thing we had been entirely lost. Daniel Williams, “Some Animadversions on Mr Lobb’s Defence of the Report by D. Williams,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 453-455.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

5) [9.] Did Christ suffer the idem, that is, all the fame for Kind, which the Law threatening against Sinners included? This Mr. Lobb affirms, and I deny, as inconsistent with the nature of Satisfaction, which is not a Solution of all the same in Kind. Or did Christ: suffer some of the fame things in Kind, and a full Equivalent to what he did not suffer in Kind? This Mr. Lobb denies, and I affirm. I grant, that Christ endured bodily Death, inward Terrors, and many other things of the same sort, as we were to suffer. But (to name no more) I deny, that he endured & Spiritual Death. Did he lose the Image of God, and was he spiritually dead in sin, by being deprived of the Holy Spirit? or was the Return of that Spirit, as to sanctifying operations, penally denied him at any time? Yet Mr. Lobb will grant this to be included in the Curse of the Law; and the threatened Death in that Curse is commonly divided into Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal, as three Species thereof. If he objects, It was impossible, Christ should die a Spiritual Death: I answer, If it be true, (as he faith,) that Justice required the whole idem to be suffered in Kind, though not in circumstances, and that without it Justice could not be satisfied; it follows then, that Christ was not fit to be a Redeemer, because he was not capable to bear all for Kind which the Curse included; and by his assertion, Christ is not a complete Redeemer, because he was not under a Spiritual Death, through the absence of the Holy Spirit. And hence, Justice is still unsatisfied; with several such Consequences, which might be justly urged in this case against him; but are strangely argued by him, to prove Christ a Sinner, (for that’s his scope,) though he leaves us in the dark how he became such, and chimes some frightful words backward and forward, which conclude nothing like his being such. But in lieu of both, he makes our Christian Cause indefensible against the Socinians, that he may brand us with Socianism among the ignorant. Daniel Williams, “A Postscript Added to The Third Edition of Gopsel-Truth stated &c.,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 519-521.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

6) Error 15. Christ’s Sufferings were not a full Satisfaction to Justice, nor was the Price of our Redemption fully equivalent to the misery we deserved: But God might accept as a redeeming Price much or little as himself judged fit, and might be satisfied with any fort of Affliction laid on Christ: Nor did Christ satisfy the rigor of divine Justice, but the Will of God, considered as at once merciful as well as just; (that is, Mercy abated to Christ in the terms of Satisfaction, what Justice demanded.) Lib. iii. cap. 2. §. 8, 9. cap. 22. §. 2. I. 23. §. 6.

Truth. THOUGH the great Mercy of God appeared in his being willing to admit, accept, and provide Christ our Mediator to make Satisfaction for our Sins; yet God our just Governor would have it, that the terms of Satisfaction proposed to our Mediator should be such, as strict justice demanded for the honor of his violated Law, and securing the ends of his Government; which terms were no lower, than that he should suffer what was fully equivalent to the Punishments they whom he was to redeem deserved to endure: And as our Lord Jesus did suffer in kind much of what we deserved to suffer; so he suffered (considering the Dignity and Innocency of his Person,) what was in the intrinsic Value fully equivalent to such of our deserved Punishments, as he was not capable of suffering in kind. Nay, the Price of our Redemption paid by him, was not only equivalent to what the Law of Works required of us, but it was supra-legal, that is, far exceeded what any Sinners were thereby obliged to; nor fee we how a full Satisfaction for all our Sins could be otherwise made. Daniel Williams, “An End to Discord,” in Works (London: Printed by James Waugh, at the Turk’s Head, in Lombard-Street. 1750), 5:55-56.  [Some spelling modernized; underlining mine.]

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