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obedience he gave a demonstration to the universe, that he did not wish to save sinners, by breaking through the laws and principles of moral government, but by honoring and establishing them, as the immutable and indestructable elements of the divine empire.

4. An impression of the evil of sin is calculated to be made by the atonement, by its showing at what infinite expense God has been to oppose its progress. The magnitude and strength of an embankment are solid proofs of the power of the tide which they are intended to check. And the length and breadth, and the height and depth of the atonement, bespeak the wide extent of evil against which it was raised. Sin is evil alone, unmixed with any good. It is every way evil. Examine it on every side, and the more it is explored, the more evil it appears. God has provided various means to oppose and prevent its progress, but the atonement of his Son is the greatest and the noblest of them all. The history of Christianity shows that

. nothing is so calculated to check and destroy sin as a full and faithful exbibition of the cross of Christ.

Had it not been for the atonement the ravages of sin would have gone on in an interminable progression of wide-spread and cumulative evils. Sin would have become the pilot of wrecks without a shore to strand on,--the Polyphemus of a valley of dry bones,—the real Upas of the universe. Through the atonement millions of the tossed and shattered barks of Eden, can now throw an anchor to a rock of strong consolation; the Spirit of peace takes the place of the devouring usurper, and breathes life, and health, and joy over all the plain; and the tree of life stretches forih its branches, bearing leaves for the healing of the nations.

The human mind finds it almost impossible to follow out the endless workings of an evil principle, or to take in a Universe of horror. There is one fact that may assist our conception of this terrible subject. It is the incursions and ravages of sin notwithstanding the provision of an atonement. Sin, after all awfully prevails.

Few transgressors come to hate sin, and love the

government. Of those who do come, none come of their own accord; they are all drawn by the exercise of sovereign influences. Some presume that God is so exclusively merciful, that he will never execute the

, penalty which he has threatened. Others fancy that the atonement has made a kind of commercial payment and satisfaction for their sins, and that they are no longer responsible for them. They are warned, and exhorted, invited and urged to forsake sin; nevertheless they sin with a high hand, laugh at every remonstrance, ruin their own souls, desolate the creation, and assail every perfection in the Godhead.

Against all this God has reasoned with mankind, by the public sufferings of his own Son. He asks them, "If these things be done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?” “How shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation?” For such provisions and remonstrances to be despised, and despised by such a creature as man, seems to merit the most marked infliction of his displeasure. Had it been possible for another god to invade and injure his government, it would have been an aggression to be expected from a peer in infinity; but to be openly insulted by a worm of the earth to have the rod and the staff” of his own tender mercies converted into spears to assault himself-to have the dreadful denunciations of his law, and the gracious invitations of his gospel, to be treated as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal, must be the acme of wrong. It is the higher of the highest towerings of wickedness, around which the thickest and the heaviest clouds of vengeance would gather, and “rain down snares and fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest.”

19

SECTION II.

The Atonement, an expedient instituted instead of the

Punishment of Sin.

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In the chapter on the atonement in its relation to the divine moral government, I promised to take up the subject of this section. We have already seen that threatnings are indispensably necessary to the administration of moral government—that distributive justice requires the literal execution of these threatenings, but that public justice can suspend their execution, if some expedient can be found that will as fully answer the ends of government.

We have also seen that the scriptures represent the atonement of Christ as such an expedient substituted instead of the infliction of the threatened penalty. I will now proceed to illustrate this.

I. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered as if he had been a sinner.

The sufferings of Christ were perfectly novel to the universe-a new phenomenon in the moral constitution. They posed and amazed all angelic Intelligences. The annals of moral government supplied no precedent of suffering, brit in connection with sin. Angels had witnessed sufferings before, but never unconnected with sin. The sufferings of the Holy One of God was, therefore, to them, a problem which they could not solve, and into which they desired further to look.

Jesus Christ suffered as one condemned of men. He was numbered among the transgressors. He suffered frorn man as if he had been an offender and a criminal. He was charged with crimes of a high and offensive enormity. He was publicly arraigned as a blasphemer of God, a subverter of religion, a seducer of the people, a rebel against Cæsar, a vile impostor, a notorious malefactor. His merciless persecutors said to Pilate, “If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee,” John xviii, 36. In this character, and under this ignominy he died, by the hand of legal authority, the death of a condemned criminal.

The most amazing circunstance connected with his death was, that he suffered as one disowned, reprobated, and “forsaken of God.” He was despised and rejected of men. At the same time, “it pleased the Lord to bruise him.” God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." He delivered him up for us all, to be treated as a sin-offering—as a sin-expiatora lustration for the world. He became a curse for us; exposed to reviling, and scorn, and malediction; devoted and accursed, anathematized to reproach and shame, as one infamous and execrable, deserted and rejected of God. O! how great is the mystery of revealed godliness.

Sufferings are incident to sinners only. How then did the holy Son of God come into contact with suffering?–Did he ever sin? No—he was holy, undefiled and separate from sinners. On what principle, then, can the sufferings of Christ be in harmony with God's eternal justice in moral government, and with his ineffable love to his own beloved Son? There is but one principle revealed that will reconcile them, and that is the principle of substitution—the substitution of vicarious sufferings. In this arrangement the sufferings of "the Just,” are substituted instead of the sufferings due to the unjust;”—"the Just” is treated as if he had been "the unjust;"—the Son of God suffered as if he had been a transgressor. Christ did not suffer as a transgressor, but as if he were a transgressor. Cain suffers, not as if he were a transgressor, but as transgressor. Christ suffered not as a transgressor, but as if he were one. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. He is often said to have suffered for sin, that is, as if he had been a sinner.

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The doctrine of the New Testament concerning the vicariousness of the sufferings of Christ is summed up in 2 Cor. v, 21. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through him." The advocates of a limited substitution of Christ for the persons of the elect, often represent Christ as bearing, not the effects of sin, but actually the very guilt of sin. This arises from a misunderstanding, and a consequent misapplication of the term guilt. The term guilt has various meanings. It sometimes means, consciousness of having done wrong. It means also, desert of punishment, arising from a consciousness of crime. Sometimes the term, guilt, is used for liableness to punishment, independent of consciousness of crime.

The Schoolmen had three different designations for these various applications of the term guilt. The consciousness of having done wrong, they called, reatus culpa. The deserving of punishment, they called, dignitas pæne or, meritum pæne. The liableness to punishment or sufferings independently of having done wrong, they called, reatus pænæ. The person in any of these circumstances, they called, reus. When Joseph's brethren thought themselves verily guilty about their brother, they considered themselves as rei culpæ, conscious of crime, and meriti pene, deserving of punishment. The children who suffered in the destruction of Sodom, and in the gainsaying of Corah, were rei

pana, liable to the punishment, though no one could regard them, as either rei culpe, conscious of crime, or meriti pæne, deserving of punishment. This was precisely the case of the scape-goat. He was neither reus culpæ, nor meritius pænæ, but he was treated as "reatus pænæ."

This I concieve to be the meaning of the above text. In the language of the Schools, I would read it thus. “He hath made him to be reatum pænæ for us, who knew no reatum culpæ, that we might be non rei poenæ through him.” Or, in plain English, let it be para

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