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to mean, " The suffering in person or property which is annexed by law or judicial decision to the commission of a crime, offense, or trespass, as a punishment." This definition not only gives the general, and, therefore, the correct use of the term, but very exactly represents the consciousness of men. Simple suffering is not punishment. A being may suffer, when he is not punished. We naturally and necessarily connect with the term the idea of fault, blameworthiness, moral delinquency, on account of which suffering is inflicted upon an offender, and, as so inflicted, is punishment. This is what men mean by the term. It implies ill. desert in the subject.
The Reviewer of Beman on the Atonement, remarks: " It is illdesert, and not the general good, which every man feels in his own case, is the ground of his just liability to punishment.") Whose ill-desert ? His own, not as innocent, but as an offender. And if so in respect to himself, has he not the same intuitive conviction in respect to every other being? The innate sense of justice which affirms this doctrine, does not also affirm that A, being innocent, may be punished for B, being guilty: it affirms punishment only where the ill-desert exists. The crime, the ill-desert, the penalty, imply the same person-the criminal. So intimate is the connection between these ideas, that men spontaneously reason from the one to the other Job's three friends were disposed to regard him as a criminal in explanation of his providential sufferings. When the barbarians saw the viper fastened upon the hand of Paul, they at once supposed him to be a murderer. Acts 28: 4. They saw, as they thought, the exhibition of punishment, and instantly inferred its antecedent, crime in the subject punished. The law of this inference was in their own minds.
The learned and technical use of the term by civilians and legal commentators, conforms to the common idea. Blackstone thus defines punishments: “Evils or inconveniences consequent upon crimes and misdemeanors, being devised, denounced, and inflicted by human laws, in consequence of disobedience or misbehaviour in those, to regulate whose conduct such laws were respectively made." Burlamaqui, formerly professor of natural and civil law at Geneva, thus presents the doctrine of penalty : "Sanction is that part of the law which includes the penalty enacted against those who transgress it. With regard to the penalty, it is an evil with which the sovereign menaces those subjects who should presume to violate his laws.” Michaelis, the learned commentator upon the laws of Moses, observes : “By the term punishment, therefore, all mankind understand something which has for its object, not properly the amendment of the culprit
Pres. Board's Edition of Old and New Theology, p. 10. • Commentaries, vol. iv., p. 6. • Natural Law, vol. 1, p. 47.
himself, but the determent of others from the imitation of his example.” It is here implied that this “ something” applies solely to the culprit himself. Mr. Barnes quotes the language of Lord Coke: “Nemo punitur pro alieno delicto,” i. e. no one is pun. ished for another's sin; also that of Grotius : “No one is to be punished beyond his ill-desert.”? If not beyond, then surely not except for his ill-desert. Should he suffer without ill-desert, that suffering would not be punishment in the proper sense of the term. We quote these legal authorities, not to determine a theological question, but to show the correct use of an important term according to the general sense of mankind.
To this we add the usage as found in the writings of professed theologians. The younger Edwards observes: "An innocent person may choose to be made the subject of sufferings, in the stead of a criminal. Therefore, though sufferings which he chooses to endure, be inflicted on him, no injustice is done him; nor will it be pretended that this procedure is according to strict distributive justice, which requires the criminal to be punished, and not his substitute."3 In his Sermons on the Atonement it is everywhere implied, that punishment applies only to a criminal; and that the atonement of Christ is not punishment, but a substitute“ to maintain the authority of the Divine law.” Andrew Fuller has-expressed the same idea with great clearness : “Real and proper punishment, if I understand the terms, is not only the infliction of natural evil for the commission of moral evil, but the infliction of the one upon the person who committed the other, and in displeasure against him. It not only supposes criminality, but that the party punished was literally the criminal. Criminality committed by one party, and imputed to another, is not a ground for real and proper punishment."" Dr. Lightfoot, one of the Westminster divines, held the same doctrine : “Was Christ so much as punished by God? Much less, then, was He overwhelmed by the wrath of God—damned by God. Was a lamb punished that was sacrificed ? He was afflicted, but not punished ; for punishment argues a crime or fault preceding. Were the sad sufferings of Christ laid on him as punishments ? Certainly not for His own sins; no, nor for ours neither. He suffered for our sins-bare our sins; but His sufferings were not punishments for our sins.” President Dwight remarks: “Strict justice demands the punishment of the sinner only, and can in no sense require the punishment of another in his stead.” “ In refusing to render it (obedience) we are criminal; and for this criminality
· Commentaries on the laws of Moses, vol. 4., p 460.
merit punishment. The guilt thus incurred, is inherent in the criminal himself, and cannot in the nature of things be transferred to another."! Mr. Barnes in his response to the seventh charge of Dr. Junkin, quotes several authorities on this subject. Dr. Owen : “There can be no obligation to punishment where there is no desert of punishment." "The guilt of sin is its desert of punishment. And where this is not, there can be no punishment properly so called.” Turretin : “ The justice of God does not inAici punishment, except on him that deserves it." Ridgely; “Guilt is an obligation or liableness to suffer punishment for sin committed." According to these views, if Christ suffered punishment, then in some way the “ desert of punishment” must have been conveyed to Him; otherwise His sufferings would be “no punishment properly so called.” Dr. Richards, late Professor of Christian Theology in the Seminary at Auburn, observes : Sin, guilt, ill-desert, are, in the very nature of things, personal ; and punishment pre-supposes guilt, and guilt in the subject : neither the one nor the other is properly transferable.” Dr, Woods of Andover, observes: “So, when Christ has come and suffered that which answers the ends of justice in the Divine government, the necessity of punishment, so far as those ends are concerned, is superseded. And if any of us should say, that our sin was im- . puted to Christ, our meaning must be, that Christ suffered on account of our sin, in some sense, as He would have suffered if our sin had been imputed to Him; though a real imputation of our sin to Christ, in a literal sense, would have been a palpable inconsistency in a government founded in justice and truth." Why an inconsistency? Because justice requires the punishment of the criminal, and him only.
In these extracts we cannot fail to observe the ordinary, and we may add, the necessary idea of punishment, implying criminality in the subject. The case of the innocent suffering for the guilty, or by virtue of some connection with the guilty, is an entirely different case from that of the guilty suffering for their own sins. The two are essentially unlike in elementary ideas, and can nev. er be described by a common term. The one is punishment; the other is not. To quote the language of Magee : “Guilt and punishment cannot be conceived but with reference to consciousness which cannot be transferred.” Destroy the consciousness of moral evil, and you destroy man's capacity to conceive of himself as being punished, though he might have the consciousness of suffering. The idea must exist in his bosom that he is an offender, as the indispensable condition of the other. i. e. that he is capable of being
'Dwight's Theology, 1830, vol. 2., pp. 219, 306.
punished. Dr. De Witt in a discourse on the necessity of the atonement, remarks, " But if it (sin) deserves no punishment, it is
, no moral evil;" for desert of punishment is essential to our notion of moral evil;- that is, the two ideas are inseparably connected, imply each other; and for aught we can see, the moral evil must exist where the desert of punishment exists, and the desert also in the same person who is punished for the moral evil.
Those theologians who insist that Christ suffered the penalty of the law, evince the common belief in regard to the nature of pun. ishment. They do no not represent Him as suffering this penalty, considered as innocent, but in the eye of the law as guilty, in the sense that he was legally obligated to suffer it. This is accomplished by imputing the sins of the elect to Christ. Mr. William Rushton, in his strictures upon Andrew Fuller, observes : “An innocent person may suffer, but an innocent person cannot properly be punished: nor can justice admit that an innocent person, considered as innocent, should suffer in the room of the guilty To harmonize Christ's endurance of the penalty with this view, he maintains the positive “ transfer of sin itself” to Him, as the necessary antecedent of punishment.' Dr. Crisp held imputation to be an actual transfer of character, and thus laid the basis for inflicting the penalty on Christ. The language of Luther, though it appals us, is perfectly consistent with the doctrine that character and punishment go together. " And this, no doubt, all the prophets did foresee in spirit, that Christ should become the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, rebel, blasphemer, that ever was or could be in this world.” “If thou wilt deny him to be a sinner and accursed, deny also that he was crucified and dead.” “But if it be not absurd to confess and believe that Christ was crucified between two thieves, then it is not absurd to say, that he was accursed, and of all sinners the greatest." Here Luther has the common and correct idea of punishment, and fully expresses it. Dr. Junkin declares that the death of Christ “was one of the strongest manifestations of injustice that ever was made, unless imputation be admitted:"; implying that Christ was punished, but that he could not be, considered as innocent.
The imputation of sin to Christ, as contended for in modern times, is not a transfer of character. It is a legal imputation, by which Christ, for the purpose of penalty, is taken to be the offender, is deemed guilty without personal ill-desert, in the sense of being justly liable to punishment as truly as if He had committed the sin. Whether such a procedure is admissible in the govern
1 Murray Street Lectures, p. 152.
ment of God, is not now the question. If the law can assume, contrary to the fact, that our sins are Christ's, so as to make Him in strict justice penalty liable for them; and if, acting upon this assumption, it punishes Him for those sins; then it does not punish him as an innocent person. In legal vision, at the moment in which He suffers, he appears as an offender, and not “the just for the unjust;" He has so taken our sins that they subject him in strict justice to the penalty. According to this view a legal obligation to punishment without ill-desert, takes the place of ill-desert, and not only justifies but demands the punishment. Hence, even this theory recognizes the doctrine of inflicting punishment where, and only where, the crime which is its legal occasion, is deemed to exist, and never upon a person considered as innocent. If there be any flaw in the process, it is in the doctrine of a putative offence. For aught we can see, it is as difficult to impute sin as the antecedent and necessary ground of punishment, as it would be to punish without the imputation. But if the law can admit of a putative offence, then it inflicts veritable punishment according to the true idea of its nature.
Thus we have gained the idea of punishment as it necessarily exists in the human mind. Crime is the antecedent and ground. Our intuitive sense of justice demands that this crime should be that of the person who is punished. Imputation is an effort to satisfy this sense, either by an actual transfer of character, or by assuming that the innocent is guilly.
If it be said, that the innocent are sometimes punished as the guilty; we answer, that this is either by a mistake or by cruelty, and that neither is possible in the government of God, though possible in that of man. If it be said that the innocent are sometimes punished with the guilty; we reply, that the former may suffer by 'their connection with the latter in a social system, but we deny that this suffering is punishment according to the universal idea of the word. The case of a man suffering for his own sins, and that of another suffering with him by virtue of some social connection, are two different cases in point of fact; and though we should apply a common term to both, still the things are essentially unlike, and must so appear the moment they are analyzed.
Hence, we confess our inability to conceive of Christ as punished, as in the strict sense the subject of penalty, when making the atonement. In express allusion to this transaction, Peter tells us : “ Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust." Could that which is claimed to have been the penalty of the law, have been justly enforced against him, in opposition to his own will? We suppose all will reply in the negative. The voluntariness of Christ is plainly indispensible to the atonement. Punishment, however, may be enforced against the guilty, either with or without their consent. He who is the proper subject of