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bring us to God.” “ For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

The arguments by which this doctrine is supported may be reduced to three : First, Some kind of atonement for sin was necessary on the principles of abstract justice. Secondly, The holiness of God required satisfaction for transgression. And, Thirdly, None but an innocent man like Jesus, could be a substitute or proxy for the guilty.

I. First, That some kind of atonement was necessary for sin, appears from the best apprehensions we can form of perfect justice. It is a maxim of all law that punishment is due to guilt. No contrition, no subsequent goodness, nothing which it is in the power of man to perform, can undo a wicked action, or put him into a condition similar to that of an innocent person. How deep soever may be his regret, how exemplary soever his future course, nay, if it even exceed in virtuous endeavour all his former life, still the guilt of his offence remains, and punishment is due for his misdoing. The punishment may be remitted, but it is only at the mercy and discretion of the judge. Now, when a judge pardons a criminal, no one views him in the very same light which he did before, but he associates with him the offence that has been forgiven. An offender, therefore, is still an offender, however largely he may partake of his judge's clemency. The very act of forbearance extended to him is a virtual declaration of his criminality. Pardon implies guilt.

In this view you have a faithful picture of mankind, who, being transgressors from the womb, were all guilty before God, and their being spared any immediate and afflicting chastisement only showed how mildly they were dealt with. Mercy to them was not justification or acquittal, but benevolence and patience in their Almighty Judge. For a time this mercy could not but be felt, and the extension of it even to the utmost limits of human life, might be regarded as a boon of an extraordinary kind, and affording present relief from impending judgment; but when this life was past, and the anxious and trembling soul looked forward to its destiny, in a future state, (for a sense of immortality was natural to it,) it could not but be alarmed for its condition, and must have necessarily felt the want of expiation for its guilt. The burden of sin still pressed upon it. How could it meet that God to whose judgment it was liable, and undergo that punishment which it was sensible it deserved ? It had done nothing to take away its guilt. It could do nothing effectual. The guilt still remained notwithstanding its repentance and reformation; and the judgment, whatever it might be, which such guilt deserved, was still ready to be executed. If it escaped it in this life, there was the more cause to apprehend it in the life to come. God is just. Perfect equity and perfect holiness are the attributes of his nature.

Was there not, then, something wanting to relieve the soul in this hour of jeopardy and distress, and, by placing a bar between the justice of God and the


criminality of man, to stop the effect of that judgment which must otherwise overwhelm the culprit and sink him in despair ?

II. For in the Second place, The holiness of God required satisfaction for transgression. Something must be done to appease the divine displeasure. There are, indeed, persons of refined and philosophical ways of thinking, who object to the idea of God's requiring any satisfaction for his offended majesty, and will not allow that a perfect being can be wrought upon by the advocacy of another. It is true, the divine being is without passions like ours, and his happiness cannot depend on the acts of his creatures; but if his attributes be all consummate, there seems to be a difficulty in conceiving how perfect justice could be satisfied for an offence without an adequate offering What that offering should be, the offended party is the most competent to judge. To forgive an offence without any satisfaction being made, is not justice but mere mercy, and mercy without justice leaves an impression of weakness. God's laws had been broken by his erring creatures.

To vindicate the honour due to his holy name, and to teach men the fearful nature of transgression, such a trespass could not be passed over with impunity. The life of every man was forfeited by the transgression, for that was the penalty affixed to it from the very beginning of the world. Does it seem consistent with the government of a wise and just being, however gracious and merciful, to take no notice of an offence

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of such great magnitude, but to overlook or forgive it on the mere contrition of the offenders ? Is it not far more natural to expect that he should proceed to fulfil his threat, and demand of the guilty violator of his laws, the punishment denounced by those laws? If, then, death was to be the punishment inflicted, we come at once to the principle of an atonement, inasmuch as every offering unto death for sin, implies an expiation for the party under judgment. What a vast mercy, therefore, it was in God, instead of taking away the forfeited life of his prostrate and penitent creatures, to send his own Son into the world to make the required atonement, and, by one offering, to redeem them from the curse under which they groaned, and to procure their acquittal. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”—By this it is evident that our redemption is not a mere act of arbitrary power, forgiving iniquity out of regard to its feelings, and not being governed by any consistent rule, but it is the result of a price paid for it in the person, and by the substitution of another. And such is the nature of this transaction, that every one is considered as standing in the very same light as if he had paid the penalty in his own person. The merit of the sufferer is imputed to him, so that in a legitimate and efficacious sense he has actually died, has actually been buried, and has actually been raised to life again. The acts of Christ are made, by grace and transmission, the acts of every believer in Christ; and as our blessed Lord did and suffered all that the justice of God required of us, every one is regarded by God as having done the same. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

III. An atonement, then, being necessary, both on account of the inveterate nature of sin, and on account of the offended Majesty of heaven, it remains only for us to consider, whether the blessed Son of the Virgin was sufficient to make it. None but an innocent person could be a substitute or proxy for the guilty.—Now it is recorded of him, that he was not born after the ordinary course of human generation, but was the holy fruit of a Virgin's womb, being begotten by the Holy Ghost. He had, therefore, no natural father, and brought with him, into the world, no contracted stain. quently, pure of the guilt of Adam's transgression, and was, moreover, innocent of all actual offence. He did no sin, but was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” He was a lamb without blemish and without spot.—If a perfect being required a perfect victim to make expiation acceptable, no other person was ever found who possessed this qualification. All the world was concluded under sin. Where, then, could a victim be found meet for such a sacrifice ?-Christ, therefore, stands in a

He was,


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