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Joseph Truman (1631-1671) on Christ Suffering the Tantundem, not the Idem of the Law’s Punishment

October 16, 2009

Truman:

Object. Here the Antinomians object: What do you talk of terms and conditions? Is it not injustice to refuse immediately to justify the party; immediately to pardon and acquit the offender for whom the price was paid? And is it not injustice to set them terms and conditions of their benefit by the price paid for their Justification and Salvation, so as without the performance of them they shall have no benefit by the said price?

Answ. It is not injustice. That which misleads Men, and makes them think otherwise is, their looking to God as if he was properly a Creditor; whereas he is Governor, our sins are not properly debts owing to God, but so called Metaphorically because in some things alike, they subject us to danger and trouble as debts do; and they look upon Sinners as Debtors, and Christ was a Surety properly. Get these things well into your minds, and you may see through these mists.

First, Labor to understand this, that the case here is not properly the case of Debtors, but of offending Subjects; and God is not to be looked upon properly as a Creditor, but as a Rector, Governor, Legislator; and the person Christ sustained, and the part he acted in his Sufferings, was not in a strict sense (though figuratively once so called) that of a Surety paying the debt it self, and discharging the Bond by paying the very thing itself in the Obligation; but of a Mediator, expiating guilt, and making reparation to Justice some other way, than by the execution of the Law; yea, endeavoring that the Law, the Legal threat, might not be executed, by making amends for the non-execution of it.

Secondly,  Get this into your minds; that the Sufferings of Christ were not properly an execution of the Law (though they may be figuratively so called) but a Satisfaction to Justice, that the Law-threat might not be executed. The Sufferings of Christ were not the very individual things threatened: for it threatened the offenders should die and be damned. “Cursed is everyone that continues not,” &c. “In the day thou eats, thou shalt die.” So that it was not Christ was threatened, but we; for he was not the offender. His Sufferings therefore were not idem, but tandundem, not proper payment, but a valuable consideration, or you may call it a refusable payment, though it be not properly payment at all; not solution, or payment in the strictest sense; but a Satisfaction in the strictest sense. The essence of which lies in this, that it is justly and refusable. In payment of Debts, the most Laws admit payment by a Substitute, and take it as all one account of law, whosoever pays it, so it be but paid; yea, in many cases though it be by another without Debtors knowledge; it was paid by the same person in Law, though not by the same natural person: and if any Laws do lay any stress on the person of the Debtor, so that it shall be judged no payment except paid in person, such are hard laws, and against natural equity; so that  though payment should justly according to such Municipal Laws be refusable: But it is quite otherwise in all Law and natural Equity in the case of obedience and punishment: For here the Laws do justly and equitably determine the very person that shall obey or suffer; and allow not any delegation, as doing or suffering by another; so that if another suffer, it is not the same in Law; if the penalty be suffered by another natural person, it is suffered by another person in Law: And here, Dum alius solvit, aliud solvitur; therefore such suffering of another contrary to Law may be a satisfaction that the Rector may with honor not execute the Law, but cannot possibly by an execution of the Law, the idem, the same threatened.

Joseph Truman, The Great Propitiation; or Christ’s Satisfaction and Man’s Justification by it, Upon His Faith; that is Belief of, and Obedience to the Gospel (London: Printed by A. Maxwell, for R. Clavell, in Cross-key Court in Little Britain), 87-73.  [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting, and underlining mine.]

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