Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

poses as to the extent of the atonement will be then unravelled, the grand problem will be solved. Follow the condemned rejecter of the gospel to the everlasting fire. Amid all his wailings and lamentations, no such sentiments as these escape his awakened conscience“Well, it turns out, after all the offers and invitations of the gospel, that I was never atoned for; Christ, it is now clear, never died for me If I had believed him to be my Savior, I should have believed what, as is now proved, was not true. Yet, I am here in torments, because I did not believe what the upshot proves to be a positive untruth." Oh, no, no! 'The language of the sinner will be “I destroyed myself.” “I have no cloak for my sin.” “I would have none of his ways." “I loved darkness rather than light; here I find my condemnation-not in God—not in the atonementbut in MySELF; it is here the worm that dieth not, finds all its venom."

VII. The exhibition of Christ to every sinner as having died for him, is the most powerful motive to personal and universal holiness.

1. It will make God appear more amiable in his estimation. Without this exhibition he has narrow, tracted, and suspicious thoughts of God; as if he were capricious, arbitrary, and partial. But the God who "loved the world," must be amiable and lovely. The Jehovah who will have all men to be saved, is no respecter of persons. The high and lofty One who swears, 6 As I live, I will not the death of a sinner," must be worthy of all love.

2. It will sweeten common mercies to him. At present he thinks his mercies have no connection with the death of Christ, and consequently he feels no gratitude to Christ for them. He regards them as some "uncovenanted" largesses thrown about him unaccountably. The gospel teaches him to see "the image and superscription" of "CHRIST CRUCIFED" around every mercy; and then every mercy has new charms for him, it is more dear and precious, more sweet and lovely in

con

[ocr errors]

his estimation. He will now become concerned to turn every mercy to the best account, to do the most good with it, and count it of worth only as it is of use for the cause of Christ, both in his own heart and in the world.

3. It will greatly embitter sin to him. Now he has only the slavish motive of punishment to induce him to avoid sin, and he never sees sin in connection with Jesus Christ. The gospel unmasks sin, and exhibits it to the sinner as the murderer of his best Friend, as a grievous wrong and insult to a Redeemer, who gave his life a ransom for him. In such connection with the cross of Christ, sin will appear "exceedingly sinful."

4. It will convince him how entirely salvation is of sovereign grace. It shows that God required no motive to induce him to have mercy on man; but that he only wanted an honorable medium for exercising it with safety to his government. He was as merciful without an atonement as with it, but without it he could not show himself merciful to offenders. The atonement does not provide that now God must save, or be unjust; for salvation is of free, unconstrained grace.

,

. 5. It will persuade him how groundless and unreasonable is DESPAIR. To the trembling and the fainting the gospel says, “One died for all-whosoever will, let him come-him that cometh I will in no wise cast out.” No melancholy person has ever doubted whether a remedy has been provided, or whether it were sufficient. His doubts have been, about his own interest in the remedy, which he thinks to be peculiar, and limited to some class. The gospel authorizes him to say, “Who loved me, and gave himself for me."

6. It will demonstrate the folly and guilt of presumption. Many have the full assurance of presumption, but not that of faith or hope. The mere belief that a remedy will cure, will never effect the cure, unless the remedy be taken. He will feel that a salvation neglected will save no man.

7. It will show the full certainty of the salvation of every one who believes in Christ. “He that believeth shall be saved." Here is no uncertainty. It is the language of every perfection in God—of every decree in the divine purposes—of every drop of the blood of atonement—of every promise in the Bible-of every syllable in the intercession of Christ-and, of every fact in the history of redemption; all reverberate, "He that believeth shall be saved.

CHAPTER XI.

ON THE ATONEMENT IN ITS RELATION TO THE

WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The Holy Spirit has been exercising a distinct and individual agency in every dispensation of moral government, and the whole exercise of this agency is, what I mean by, the work of the Spirit. As the Father, so the Holy Spirit, exercises no agency but in connection with the great atonement of the Son. The Father has given all things mediatorially to the Son, and of these the Holy Spirit takes, in the exercise of

his agency.

[blocks in formation]

The personal Agency of the Holy Spirit in connection

with the Atonement.

I. The Holy Spirit has made the doctrine of atonement the cardinal and principal subject of divine revelation.

The primary revelation, immediately after the fall, announcing that “the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head," contained the great elements, and the living germs of this great doctrine, and foretold a gracious deliverance from evil to be effected through mediatorial interposition and sufferings. All the future and progressive influences of the Spirit only unfolded and more fully developed the power and beauty of this first truth. The whole scriptures are the history of the developement of this doctrine, that, “in all things the

atonement might have the pre-eminence.” The atonement is the sum of every message from God to man, and the spirit of every promise, the mark of every prediction, the substance of every ceremony, the burthen of every psalm and spiritual song.

In every age good men became great in proportion to their growth in the knowledge of the doctrine of salvation by a Mediator. I might mention Abel and Noah, Job and Abraham, men who knew that their Redeemer lived, and who became great as they had clear views of salvation by ransom,

and thus “saw the day of Christ.”

Moses was great as God's messenger to the Israelites, to expound to them the way of acceptance with God through a sacrificial Victim. Among the constellation of the prophets, Isaiah shines a star of the first magnitude, pointing directly to Bethlehem, more than any others of bis age. I am often ravished with the vision of Malachi, who with an eagle's gaze beheld a beautiful and glorious system of righteousness and good-will, in the midst of which he saw the Mediator, as the centre of harmony to the whole-the Sun of the glorious system.

Clearer views of the atonement made John greater than all the prophets that preceded him. They had seen victims that brought sin to remembrance every year, and they had predicted a Victim to come, but he pointed to “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." The apostles themselves grew in their knowledge of this doctrine, after the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Before this day Peter scarcely understood it, especially not when he said to Christ, “Far be this from thee, Lord.” But after receiving the Holy Ghost, he preached this doctrine clearly and powerfully, and, taking his stand on the broad basis of the atonement, he directed all to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is in the knowledge of this doctrine that the apostle Paul appears transcendently great. So great was his admiration of this stupendous doctrine, in its length, and

« ÖncekiDevam »