Once more, A debt may be charged upon the principal debtor, after a Surety’s satisfying the obligation, in case the Surety’s name was not at first in the same obligation, but is admitted afterward by voluntary contract, covenant, and consent. For, there the covenant is the only determining rule of all matters concerning the discharge. Why are they not sacrificed and glorified immediately after their coming into the world (these being effects of the death of Christ) but because the covenant provides otherwise.

In the name of Jesus Christ (as as surety) had been originally or at first in Adam’s obligation, then more might have been said for an immediate discharge upon his payment of our debt, and suffering death, but this was not the case, for if it had, then his suffering death had been necessary and unavoidable, though no New Testament had ever been made, yea, the making of it had been unnecessary, vain and useless.

Whereas it was extremely necessary, there could have been no transferring of our guilt to him, without it, and his submitting to death was by voluntary contract, Joh. 10: 17,18. And his name not being at first in our bond, hence, his payment was a refusable transaction.

It was by an act of free grace that he was admitted to undertake for us, and his payment accepted in our stead, and so though he paid the idem, the same that we did owe, yet there was nothing contrary to justice or equity, if the Father added terms than before, and so no need that we should be ipso facto discharged. And the law passes sentence not only upon sinful actions, but upon the persons for them, Gen. 2: 17, Gal. 3:22. And, therefore, no justification, till delivered out of this state, which is at union with Jesus Christ and faith.

Samuel Petto, The Difference Between the Old and New Covenant Stated and Explained (London: Printed for Eliz. Calvert, at the Sign of the Black Spred-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls, 1674), 282- 284. [Some minor reformatting; italics original; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

[Note: 2) Petto’s claim here runs counter-intuitive to a natural sense of justice for what it means to make a payment of the exact same kind as demanded in the original obligation. It would mean that given that the transaction has been “re-termed,” due to the surety’s name added after the creation of the original obligation, the creditor is free to add further conditions. Imagine a man orders his meal while in a restaurant. After eating, it turns out the man has left his wallet at home. His friend steps in and offers to pay the original debt. But now the manager decides to increase the debt by adding an invented surcharge. Such an increase would be counter to our natural sense of justice, given that the payment by the second party was exactly of the same kind as due in the original obligation. In this scenario, the only thing that has been “re-termed” as it were, is not the payment, but he who makes the payment. 2) Further, imagine this scenario. A man stands before a judge. It is determined by the judge that the man must pay a fine. However, he cannot, so a benefactor steps in and pays the fine. Yet, upon receiving the payment–which was the same as due in the original obligation–the judge continues to hold the original party in debtor’s prison. What sense of justice could warrant to judge to hold the man in prison until some other, extraneous, condition was met? See the further explanation by John Gibbon. 3) These questions and problems remain unless we are careful to distinguish between a properly pecuniary satisfaction versus a properly penal satisfaction, along with the issue of what “satisfaction,” itself, means. My suspicion is that Petto blurs the line between a pecuniary and penal satisfaction. And so, while Petto could just assert all that he has asserted here, there does remain the question and problem of its coherency, or lack thereof. Compare on this the comments by John Gibbon among others.4) It would say that Petto’s position is a mediating position on this subject, as Petto rejects the commitment to an ipso facto remission, which sets it apart from Owen on this point. 5) To his credit, Petto does move the conversation in a better direction, contra Owen, in that he allows for new conditions being added to original obligation. These condition cut-off certain entailments such as eternal justification and the idea of ipso facto remission.]

This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 11:54 am and is filed under The Distinction Between Equivalency and Identity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed at this time.