Sayfadaki görseller

and muscular strength to sustain it. Then, Christ was able to bear this storm which would have destroyed the human race, merely because he was God. I appeal to all

' my readers, whether they have not had such thoughts about the death of Christ? My reader will find that he did not come by these thoughts from reading the scriptures: they can be traced to some excellent divine, to some popular preacher, or to some sweet singer of our Israel. All such imaginations proceed on the opinion, that Christ suffered or sustained every drop of the identical shower that was to have fallen on the elect. This argument can never be valid for the divinity of Christ, for were there no greater reason for Christ's being God, than that he might be able to bear under the storm, God, no doubt, could have imparted to an angel sufficient strength to sustain any infliction.

3. It is inconsistent with substitutionary atonement as MORAL MEANS, to be peculiarly designed for particular persons. In the arrangements of providence, every one will allow, that God designs the light of the sun as means to enable all men to do the duties of the day; and the man would not be deemed sane, who at sunset would argue, that God had not that design towards those who had turned out to be idle loungers and slothful servants, that he had really and truly, only designed it for those who had done their work. In like manner will men consent that God had designed the brazen serpent to cure all who were bitten in the wilderness; nor will any one reason, that it was specifically designed and purposed only for those who were actually healed. Men will not argue so perversely in such instances, because they have no theological system to maintain. Yet, because sinners perish by rejecting the

. atonement, men will persist in arguing, that was actually designed for those alone who accept it.

4. The bearing of this principle of substitutionary sufferings on the principal controversies connected with the atonement, shows how opposed it is to particular redemption. If an ultra Calvinist can gain the point,

that Christ suffered the identical punishment threatened in the law, he has entrenched the doctrine of particular redemption within lines that are impregnable. For he will argue—thousands will suffer this punishment themselves, which could never again be inflicted, if the substitute had borne it for them. They themselves bear it, _ergo, He did not bear it. If the Arminian concede that Jesus Christ endured the identical curse of the law due to the sinner, he must with it give up the general call of the gospel, and the obligation of the sinner to accept salvation. If the wrath due for sin to all mankind has been endured by Jesus Christ, there is nothing in revealed theology that will vindicate the justice of inflicting it again. On this hypothesis it is undeniable, that if the wrath shall actually be inflicted on the culprit, no one else could ever have previously borne that wrath for him. All on the left hand of the Judge in the last day, will endure a wrath that was never inflicted on another instead of them. You can suppose that an Arminian brother had been calling on some of those very persons on the left hand to believe that Christ had already suffered the curse of the law for them--and now they cannot fail to perceive, either that that doctrine was not true, or that the second infliction is unjust.

An atonement consisting of substitutionary sufferings will be opposed both by the ultra Calvinist, and by the Socinian. The Socinian will oppose it because it silences all his objections against redemption through the merits of Christ. If he be not allowed for his weapons—the wrath of the God of love,—the transfer of moral character, the infliction of legal punishment on the innocent, his gauntlet can grasp no other. The doctrine of a substitutionary atonement, not only blunts, but breaks and shivers, these favorite and long-used lances of Socinianism. The ultra Calvinist will oppose this doctrine, because he thinks it will spring a mine under particular redemption. Though this principle will completely subvert the opinion of particular redemption, I most confidently believe that it will not in the least affect the doctrine of personal election. Particular redemption and sovereign election are supposed to be alter et idem, because they regard the same persons; but the difference between them as measures in a moral government, is infinite. The doctrine of particular redemption, like the doctrine of “divine right” of despotism, is a figment; but sovereign election is like “particular providence," a Fact in the divine government, which no controversy can shake. Sovereign election is the exercise of the Governor's prerogative, but particular redemption divides the empire of God into a system of "castes."





The Atonement rendering the Salvation of all Men


If my reader has ever asked himself seriously, “Can a sinner like me be saved," or, "Is it likely that I shall be saved?" the matter of this section cannot fail to interest him. To such a reader I would answer in the words of Him who came to save—“The WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED. I hope my reader has considered what were the circumstances which rendered his salvation difficult and improbable. A sinner will never value the salvation of the gospel, till he perceives, and feels, and confesses the circumstances which made his salvation apparently impracticable and unattainable.

There are two great and awful obstacles in the way of saving any offender against the divine government. These are, the wicked enmity of his own heart against God, and the Honor of the divine law. These two obstacles will never be removed by man, for enmity will never change itself into allegiance, and repentance will never of itself restore and sustain the honor of the law. What, then, shall we do to be saved? The marvellous light of the gospel breaks in upon our bondage, and shows that these obstacles can be removed, and that “THE WORLD MIGHT be saved."

1. The obstacles to salvation on God's part have actually been removed by the atonement of Christ.

The obstacle in God's way was not the want of a disposition to save men, nor the literal claims of the penal sanctions of the law. The obstacle to salvation on his part was that which prevented Darius from saving Daniel, the want of an honorable medium for the expression of mercy consistently with the honors of the law. Darius after a long inquiry could not find such an expedient, but our God looked into his own fold, and found there the Lamb of burnt-offering, his own Son, whom he sent forth as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, that He might be a “Just God and a Savior.”

God did not remove this obstacle by an arbitrary exercise of omnipotent power, but by an apparatus of means, and this splendid apparatus of means is the atonement of his own Son. The atonement has removed the obstacles on God's part, because it has honored the law of God. This substituted expedient has the same effects on the community, as if the threatened penalty itself had been literally inflicted on all the transgressors; and all the perfections of God, which are, in other words, the principles of his government, are honored in being exercised and expressed through the medium, and for the sake of such an atonement.

If the moral Ruler himself had not provided such an expedient as the atonement, no sinner would ever have been saved. Man could never have invented such a measure; and had he invented it, he could never have supplied the costly and magnificent furniture of it, the sacrifice without spot or blemish, the satisfaction that the authority of the law should not be relaxed by saving criminals. If this point can be gained, the entire bindrance on God's part is fully removed, and it is now the message of the gospel to set forth, that this point has been gained, and that sinners can be honorably saved.

Since God has introduced such a measure as this into bis government, all obstacles on his part are removed

« ÖncekiDevam »