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Look again at the great and mighty truths of the New Testament. See them in their healthiness, vigor, and beauty, in the ministrations of the apostles, in the religious affections of the primitive churches, in the masculine energies of the Reformation, and in the glow and power of modern Revivals. Then look at them in the ice-bound realms of Socinian theology, and how wan, and cold, and dead, and putrid are they! If they glow- it is not with the charming glow of healthy lifeblood, but with the clammy warınıh of controversial heat. If they move, it is not with the vigorous stirrings of an internal vitality, but with the galvanic convulsions of a fitful elocution. If they preserve their form and fashion, it is because a cold and indurating philosophy has embalmed them. They are the same truths, but they have been separated and banished from Christ, whose person is the Sun of Revelation and whose atonement is the Heaven of Truth.
The Lord Jesus Christ is represented in the scriptures as the Magazine and Repository of all truth, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There is not a truth pertaining to God and man, to eternity and time, but is connected with him. To the inquiry of the church and of the world, “What is truth ?” the Mediator replies, “I am the TRUTH." The truth is in Jesus as it is in no one else.
In no one else is the truth perfect, complete and full. In no other is it clear, unadulterated. In no one else is every truth; every truth in its due proportions; every truth in all its power and bearings; every truth, in full harmony with every other truth. In Christ is, the truth, the truth coinpletely, and the truth exclusively. The truth as it is in Jesus is sincere without falsehood, genuine without counterfeit steady without perfidy, real without fiction, exact without error. In him it is right without any wrong, honest without fraud, perfect without mutilation,
It is this connection of every truth with the mediation of Christ, that makes real Christianity to be not afraid
of the progress of any class of truths. Sometimes in the infancy of any given Science, plausible theories are advanced as having a tone of contradiction to Scriptural verities, but the discipline of a mature philosophy never fails to show that the contradiction is not real. Truth in man, is partial, sectarian, and jealous; but truth in the Christian system is full, universal and free; and no more fears the developements of any truths, than the mighty ocean dreads the digging up of new wells, or the Sun the new discoveries of optics.
IV. The atonement is inseparably connected with all practical truth.
The atonement is the centre of duties, as well as of doctrines. This is clearly proved and illustrated in the Apostolic epistles. The New Testament writers, after laying down the "doctrine of the cross," erect a peerless structure of holy duties, and practical truths. They exhibit the atonement as establishing, every duty required in the moral law; and they preach the moral law as establishing every duty required in the Gospel.
The atonement "destroys” no command. It “makes void” no duty. The gospel of the atonement brings a new class of duties to bear on the sioner, as believing in Christ, repenting for sin, &c. These are duties which the moral law, as such, never could ask of any man. But now, since the provisions of the divine government has annexed these requirements to the atonement which has answered all the ends of the law, the law unites with the gospel in making thern obligatory upon every sinner who hears them.
Some declared foes, and some false friends of the atonement, have represented it as destroying all practical truth and duty. The atonement on the contrary, distinctly recognizes all the practical truths of the moral law as still binding on all-shows the reasonableness of the demands of those practical truths,—and enforces them with an accumulated amount of arguments and motives.
The gospel connects every practical truth, with the atonement of Jesus Christ. Observe how the apostles teach the most plain and common duties of life; such as the duties of husbands and wives, the duties of parents and children, the duties of masters and servants, of kings and subjects, &c. To enforce these duties, they do not go for arguments to the law of nature, to the claims of relationship, or to political economy; nor do they confine themselves to the moral law. No; they go at once to the mediation of Christ; husbands are to love their wives because Christ loved his church, and servants are to obey their masters that they may adorn the doctrine of God their Savior in all things.
They teach that these practical truths are to be performed by the assistance of the grace of Christ; that the practice of such truths is to be the effect of faith in Christ; that these duties are to be done in the name of Christ; that they are acceptable to God only through the merits of Christ; and that they will be rewarded by Jesus Christ himself. In duties as well as in doctrines, the apostles knew nothing but Christ, and him crucified. It was the cross of Christ that gave the name and the designation to their system-it was "the preaching of the cross. The opponents of practical truth they called, "the enemies of the cross of Christ;" and the renunciation of holy duties, they regarded as making the cross of Christ of none effect."
If these hints will be regarded as sufficiently defined to pencil out the lines of connection between the entire circle of truth,—whether in predictions and types, or in doctrines and duties,—and the great atonement of Christ, their end will be answered.
A limited Atonement inconsistent with the whole Sys
tem of Divine Truth.
I. An atonement limited to a certain number of sinners is inconsistent with the truths revealed in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Scriptural prophecy supplies us with the best specimens of the theological principles of the church of God under the patriarchal and Jewish dispensations. It should be borne in mind, that the prophets promulgated their principles and sentiments, "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" and that, consequently, their doctrine was "the mind of the Spirit.” These holy men of God seem sometimes not to have understood at once the fulness, the extent, and the majesty of the stupendous doctrines wich they announced. They therefore investigated, “inquired, and searched diligently what the Spirit of Christ, which was in them did signify, when it testified about the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Such a “diligent search,' conducted under such auspices, would be likely to terminate in a correct knowledge of the truth of the case. These doctrines of prophecy, Jesus Christ himself opened and expounded as teaching that he ought to suffer and enter into his glory. These are the very doctrines which the apostles preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; and it is into these doctrines that the angels desire to look. These doctrines, therefore, deserve to be regarded by us, in this inquiry, as legitimate sources of inform ation on the theological creeds of the Jewish prophets.
The true doctrines of the prophets teach us, that the benefits of the death of Christ were of universal extent. It was prophesied that in the Seed of Abraham, that is in Christ, all the nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen. xx, 18. Gal. iii, 16. The meaning of this is, that Jesus Christ in his work and offices would be, a
Blessing, unto all the nations of mankind. In harmony with this are the very numerous prophecies which relate to the call of the Gentiles. Isajah predicted that God gave his Son to be a Salvation unto the end of the earth, Isa. xlix, 6. Joel prophesied that the influences of the Spirit should be “poured upon all flesh,” Joel ii, 28, 29. The aspect of the whole of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah,--an epitome of the divinity of the prophets,- is unlimited and universal.
The word "ALL" bas often been most uncandidly and dishonorably tortured and wrested, to mean a generality of kinds and degrees, and not a universality of the mass of the human race. Prophecy, however, supplies us with one text at least, that has bid stubborn defiance to all theological tortures. It is Isa. liji. 6, “ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us ALL. Some of the advocates of particular atonement have challenged their opponents to present one single text in which the word "all” means indisputably every individual of the human race. Here it is. The word “all” in the last part of the sentence means the “all” mentioned in the first part; and both mean the "every one,” in the middle portion of the
If you apply to the word "all” in the first sentence, the torturous criticisms which are generally employed on the word "all” in the last sentence, you offend equally against sound interpretation, theological fairness, and logical deduction.
Let us now see how these doctrinal prophecies were understood by the apostles who preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Peter, after “inquiring” into the testimony of Moses and “all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after," uses these remarkable words; "Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, “and in thy seed, shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him