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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 nego lected 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."
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
The personal Agency of the Holy Spirit in connection
with the Atonement.
1. 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 his 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 breadth, and height, and depth, that he counted all things but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of it, and made the cross of Christ his only boast and glory.
All these good men attained to this greatness through the influences of the Spirit, whose work has always been to glorify the person and the atonement of Jesus Christ. All his work is connected with the atonement. All that the holy men of God have spoken concerning it, are ascribed to his inspiration. The gospel of the atonement is peculiarly the ministration of the Spirit. Ministerial gifts for expounding and exhibiting the atonement, are at the disposal of the Holy Spirit; and the rejection of the atonement is branded as the sin against the Holy Ghost. These, and such considerations, , show of what importance the atonement is held among the doctrines of divine revelation, 1 Pet. i, 10—12.
II. In the arrangements of this great scheme, the work was assigned to the Holy Spirit of forming the character of the Mediator, that he might be a fit person to make atonement.
It is not meant here to refer to the divine character of the Mediator, but to the character of his mediatorial person, as God and man, or the Word made flesh. Suppose the question to be asked in heaven, “Who will be suitable to make this atonement?” The reply would be, “Not one of the rebels, for that would savor of rebellion -the person must be perfect in the sight of God, and yet a friend to sinners. None but the "JUST” could be admitted to die for the unjust. An intercessor or advocate for sinners, must have a relative worthiness of his own to plead; and such has “Jesus Christ, the righteous." The formation of this worthiness of mediatorial character in the person of Christ is ascribed to the Holy Spirit, Isa. xi, 1–5; 1xi, 1-3.
When the Holy Spirit is said to have been given to Christ, I understand that the peculiar attributes ascribable to the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity were made to assemble and appear in the character of the