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4. The atonement will appear honorable and glorious, even in the destruction of those who reject it. The apostles' ministry was to God a sweet savor of Christ, even in them that perish, and so is the atonement itself. Its great and distinguished ends will have been answered, in the glory and the harmony of the divine perfections, in the eternal condemnation of sin, in the honor and safety of the divine government, in the "many crowns” of the Mediator, and in the salvation of countless millions of the human race. All holy and blessed intelligences will own and approve the justice of the condemnation of all the despisers of the way of salvation, and their punishment will be for ever, to the universe, an awful monument and example of the evil of sinning against God. In the fixing of the eternal state of the universe, all holy intelligences are represented as singing, “AMEN, ALLELUIA, WORTHY IS THE LAMB."

CHAPTER XV.

ON THE MORAL GRANDEUR OF THE DOCTRINE OF

THE ATONEMENT.

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No one can rise from reading the New Testament without the conviction that the death of Jesus of Nazareth is the most prominent subject of it. The language of one of the apostles expresses the sentiments of all of them, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ." In the New Testament the ministry of the apostles is designated with marked emphasis, and bold peculiarity, "he preaching of the Cross,” that is, the report and promulgation of the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion. They openly published the crucifixion of Christ as the most remarkable Fact in the history of God's government.

The CRUCIFIXION of Christ was of such offensive peculiarity that the enemies of the gospel had singled it out as being most notoriously prominent in infamy. It was the death of a criminal, of an odious traitor or a detestable impostor. It was the death of a SLAVE. It was the death, of all others, held by the Jews as alone cursed-cursed by the execrations of a temptuous rabble, and cursed by the frowns and maledictions of heaven. The Jew and the Gentile alike viewed such a death with ineffable scorn, and with a contempt that thrilled the whole frarne into rage. Nevertheless the apostles themselves placed this most offensive subject first and foremost in the topics of their ministry. They unflinchingly and calmly preached "Christ and him crucified," not Christ and him glorified, but Christ and HIM CRUCIFIED. They did not

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take their standing on sunny spots in the history of their master, but they planted their banner in the REPROACH of Christ,” and invited to it the gaze and the scrutiny of the world. The accents of derision and taunt which jarred against their high and noble cause, were echoed back upon the world in tones of increased volume and power, till the ends of the earth caught the joyful sound.

Let us accompany the apostle Paul when about to soar into the bright effulgence of this glorious subject, and when about to train the vision of the young offspring of his ministry to sustain the splendors of the “marvellous light.” What an array of means he presents to them as necessary to the process of training them for his high contemplation! He first bows his knees unto the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant them, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might, by his spirit, in the inner-man, that Christ might dwell in them by faith, that they might be rooteid and grounded in love. And what is all this preparatory training and mustering of energies for?—“That they might be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” Oh! for an angel's wing and an angel's vision to survey this vast and stupendous theme, whose breadth takes in every intelligence and every interest, whose length reaches from everlasting to everlasting, whose depth fathoms the lowest state of depravity and misery, and whose height throws floods of glory on the throne and the crown of Jehovah.

Then, there must be something of infinite worth, dignity and grandeur in the love and the death of Jesus Christ above all others. If the Lord Jesus were only a saint, a divine messenger, or a holy martyr, what is there in his love or his death above any other. Imagine for a moment all this apparatus of means and training instituted to contemplate the death of Moses or

Isaiah, or John the Baptist, and into what sesquipedalia verba, will these elevated words of truth and soberness dwindle. Why should it be a stumbling block to the Jews, or an offence to the Greeks, that Christ died, any more than the fact that John the Baptist died or that Socrates died? Did the apostles preach that Christ died a martyr to his message? And did not John the Baptist and Socrates die so? The entire structure of the New Testament is founded on the fact that the apostles solemnly announce the death of Christ to be a stupendous EXPEDIENT of infinite wisdom for saving sinners with honor to the divine government, they proclaimed the erucifixion of Christ to be a lustration, a propitiation for the sins of the world. They went forth determining to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Hear their frank and manly confession:-“The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and Christ the wisdom of God." 1 Cor. i, 22–24.

A ministry that rejected the atonement would never have used the language of the apostles. Never were a band of men so enraptured with their subject, and never was there a subject so calculated to enchant the mind or ravish the affections of the heart.

1. The atonement gives us the most enlarged views of the person of the Son of God.

The scriptures avow that “great is the mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the flesh." The person of Jesus Christ is unique in the universe--unparalleled in the forms and tribes of being. All forms and grades of existence meet in Him. In Hin the Godhead lives in union with rational life. His character is not that of his NATURE. His character is moral and official; yet his nature as God and as man is pure, unmixed, and individual. His character and person once passed through a process of accountableness, trial, and discipline, and now sus.

SIN.

tain the official employments of Mediator, Intercessor, and Savior. Yet he is God over all, blessed for ever. He well deserves the name “Wonderful.” His person was constituted for his work and office, and, but for the atonement, such a personage would not have been presented to the notice, the admiration, and homage of the universe. Divest this personage of his atoning office, and he is "WONDERFUL" no longer. 2. The atonement has fixed an eternal stigma on

The destruction of fallen angels, the expulsion of our first parents from Eden, the devastations of the flood, &c., were but hints of God's aversion to sin. The notice which God took of sin in the death of his Son is the most marked and the most signal. For the offended to call in the mediation of a third party-that third party to be a person of high worth and dignityand that exalted person to transact the affair of the reconciliation publicly before a whole community—is a demonstration that the offence is regarded as of high criminality and demerit. This is, indeed, the secret of men's opposition to the atonement-it makes too much of what ihey call human frailties and foibles-but what God calls crime and treason. Every thing in the atonement is against sin;—there is nothing in it to extenuate sin. They who see most evil in sin, see most worth and grandeur in the atonement, and they who most love and admire the atonement most hate and abhor sin.

3. The atonement is the most splendid and magnificient vindication of the honor of divine government. All the judgments with which God has visited this world are vindications of his government; they have shewn on what side God is,—they have proved that sin cannot be traced to him—they have signified that God will at all hazards defend his law; but the atonement of his Son is the most amazing of all his measures.

The annals of his empire present nothing like it. It is so magnificent that angels look to it with admiration. When the Mediator finished this vindication, the physical universe did it hoinage, and mantled in sackcloth, bowed

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