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would have all this done"- viz., those who were given to Christ. Then he observes—“a strange gift it was, which he must yet pay for, and must cost more than they were worth; and yet he takes them as a gift and favor from bis Father.” “So as Mediator (and though a Mediator) he saves not A man, but whom his Father gave hiin, nor puts a name in more than was in his Father's BILL. You

may

observe how careful he was in his account, and how punctual in it. John xvii, 12. He is exact in his account as appears, in that he gives a reason for hirn that was lost, that he was a son of perdition, and so excuseth it.” In b. i. chap. 9, he represents Isa. xlix, as "the draught of the covenant, or deed of gist betwixt Christ and his Father for us”—and then says, “His Father offers (as it were) low at first, and mentioneth but Israel only as his portion. Then as he [Christ] is thinking them too small an inheritance, too small a purchase for such a price."-"God therefore answers him again, and enlargeth and stretcheth his covenant further with him.” In the next chapter he says, that “Christ laid down a price worth all the grace and glory we shall have.”

The next author is Dr. John Owen, the Lebanon of English theology. The great extent of his learning, his accurate sagacity in searching the workings of the heart, and the prominence which he has given to the person of Christ, have recommended his works to such acceptance and circulation, as to give their own hue and character to much of the theology of his country. But the principle of a commercial atonement, of paying quid pro quo, is interwoven with his whole system of divinity, as Phidias's name in the shield. Take a specimen, or two, from his 'Death of Death,' &c.* “God spared not his own Son, but gave him up to death for us all—that he made him to be sin for us—that he put all the sins of all the elect into that cup which he was to drink of; that the wrath and flood which they feared

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* Owen's Death of Death,' b. iii, chap. 9, or WORKs, vol. v. p. 384, 385. See also p. 339, 340.

did fall upon Jesus Christ"_"so all the wrath that should have fallen upon them, fell on Christ, &c."-He charged upon him, and imputed to him all the sins of all the elect, and proceeded against him accordingly. He stood as our surety, really charged with the whole debt, and was to pay the utmost farthing." "The Lord Christ (if I may so say) was sued by his Father's justice unto an execution, in answer whereunto he underwent all that was due to sin, &c.”—“Christ underwent not only that wrath (taking it passively) which the elect were [actually) under, but that also which they should have undergone, had not he borne it for them.”

I have quoted enough. An atonement of such a commercial character is made to appear a measure of niggard calculation, and dribbling mercenariness. It will be a glorious day for the doctrines of the gospel, and for practical godliness, when commercial views of the death of Christ shall be rejected both by Christian divines and Christian churches.

CHAPTER VII.

ON THE ATONEMENT IN ITS RELATION TO THE

PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

SECTION I.

All Providence centering in the Atonement.

I have already considered the atonement in its relation to all works of God, considered as the productions of his wisdom, power, and goodness, and as the abodes of intelligent beings, and theatres of divine dispensations. In that chapter, no immediate regard was had to the administrations of providence in this world. In order, therefore, to a due examination of the atonement in all its bearings and influence, we shall now proceed to consider it in its relation to the providence which God exercises over our world.

PROVIDENCE is that wise oversight and holy care which the blessed God exercises over all beings, so as to preserve, direct, and order, all their agencies, for the good of his whole empire, and for the display of his own glory. It is the divine disposal and administration of all the works, and of all the events of time. Time is always shifting its scenes, and, in every change,

, is producing fresh characters, and successive works. Every moment of time is thronged with agents, and crowded with events. All things, and all beings are at work, and are at work for God, under his cognizance, management, and control. All are working out some amazing plan, of which the operations of every individual is an underplot, and of which, the progress and the upshot shall be according to the wisdom of God, and the good pleasure of his will,

The foundation of providence is the existence of God. If there be no God, there can be no providence. Providence without the oversight of infinite intelligence is a fortuitous concourse of events, a series of plots without a meaning. Heathen historians, both ancient and modern, would be puzzled to answer the questions.—What can be the meaning of their histories? For what purposes have all these events come to pass ? What is to be the final upshot of all the movements and changes in dynasties and empires ? History without a providence is an idle tale, a cypher without an integer, a number of unconnected links, but no chain. Divine providence, on the contrary, gives unity, worth, energy, and weight to all the events of history, by connecting each and all with the infinite superintending mind of God.

As heathen philosophers rob bistory of its importance and glory, by separating it from the providence of God; so, many Christian divines rob providence of much of its beauty and worth by severing it from the mediation and the atonenient of Christ.

It has long been the fashion in theology to consider the divine government, as consisting of three kingdoms or provinces, called the kingdom of nature, the kingdom of providence, and the kingdom of grace. The same fashion has represented the kingdom of grace alone, as connected with the atonement of Jesus Christ; supposing the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of providence to sustain no relationship to his mediation. I believe such distributions of the divine empire to be human, unscriptural, and, therefore, untenable. The advancement of natural pbilosophy has banished from the science of chemistry the old orthodox principles of “the four elements,” and it is now full time that the progress of scriptural theology should have abolished the human arrangements of the three divine kingdoms. If, however, these arrangements only mean that nature, providence, and grace are imperia in imperio—wheels within a wheel, works and events of various diameters thrown around one Centre, and that centre, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, such distribution and such language would be admissible.

It is making either of these provinces independent of the central throne, that makes such a division inadmissible and blameable.

To separate nature and providence from the mediation of Christ, is to put asunder what God has united. What is nature but the original constitution of all things? What is the original constitution of all things, but the state in which they were created by Christ, and for Christ? And this is mediation. What is providence? Is it not Christ upholding all things, and governing all things? Is it not all things consisting and holding together in Christ? Providence, then, alienated from the mediatorial administration of Christ, is not the providence of the scripture. And nature separated from the work of Christ is not the course of nature," mentioned in the scripture as a theatre for the scenes of redemption; and as an apparatus of means for the good of them that love God.

Nature, providence, and grace, then, are three immense wheels in one machinery,—the cogs, and revolutions of each, catching and influencing those of the others, and all put in motion by the blood of the great atonement. God does not one thing as the God of nature, another thing as the God of providence, and a third as the God of grace. Such language is just as proper as that he does one thing as the God of vegetation, another as the God of geology, and a third as the God of astronomy; or one thing as the God of the earth, another as the God of the moon, and another thing as the God of the sun.

He is of one mind, and his system is one. Any one of his dispensations, like a stone thrown into a lake, produces, according to its weight and importance, circles which tell on other portions of his works, and in other places of his dominion.

The atonement of Christ is an event to which all providence refers. “The hour” of atonement was the hour for which all hours were made. It was the hour

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