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value than the original penalty, because it contains in its arrangement a greater number of motives to deter from sin, and to attach the subjects to the goveroment. It is invested with this kind of value by the introduction of amazing sufferings. I say, this kind of value; because I do not consider this value essential to the atonement as it works upwards towards the divine perfections, but I consider it as auxiliary to the atonement, as it works downwards, towards the feelings of the sioner.

The great sufferings of the Son of God were not intended, nor were they calculated to affect the character of a single attribute in God; but they are intended, and eminently adapted 10 affect the disposition and the character of the sinner. Hence arose the necessity and suitableness of perfecting the atonement by sufferings. The sufferings of one so illustrious in rank and worth, of one so full of love to the offender, of one so much abhorring sin, of one so much honoring the law—and such sufferings—are more adapted to deter men from sin, than the tidings, or even the sight of the sufferings and torments of all the fallen beings of the universe.





The whole character of God concerned in the


The divine perfections are those properties, attributes, and dispositions of the divine nature which form the character of God, and are made manifest in his works, and in his conduct towards the universe. We ascertain the properties and qualities of a king's mind by the institutions and laws established and promulgated in his government. Should any event transpire in the kingdom which might appear incompatible with this declared and well known character, every subject would be concerned to know, how far the king himself was concerned in that event, and by what measures he could vindicate and maintain his character notwithstanding such an event.

Let us suppose a case. In the history of the empire it is recorded that vast many of the inhabitants of one of the provinces revolted, and that the king immediately condemned them to perpetual bonds and punishment. Sometime afterwards, the inhabitants of another province renounced their allegiance to his throne; but, instead of being like the others summarily punished, a flag of truce is sent to their province, and a message of reconciliation addressed to the rebellious offenders. When such a measure would become known, it would involve the character of the king in great mystery, if not in contradiction. The revolters who had been summarily punished would say, “The king has changed his mind. There is no such wrong, after all, in the revolt; the king has thought better of it, and we have been harshly and cruelly treated.” The subjects that continued in their loyalty would say, "This is mysterious. Here is the same law broken as in the former revolt in the other province, yet the same punishment does not follow. Perhaps the king sees now that such a law required too much, and that the infliction of its penalty is too severe. Peradventure, probably, the penalty shall never again be executed in any case. The indulged offenders would say, "This very message implies that the king himself sees that we had some grounds for our rebellion, that it was unwise to make such a strict law for us, and that the punishment is greater than our insurrection deserves. And as this message comes altogether unsought, we may now be sure, that the king has deterrnined never to inflict such a severe and disproportionate punishment again.”

In such circumstances the character of the king would appear, even to some of his friends, as clouded, if not eelipsed. It is true, it would become the subjects to consider that they might not know all the state of the case, that they do not know all the arcana imperii of the administration. And their confidence in the king should not be weakened when they hear that he has appointed a day when he will fully and amply vindicate his character and government. More especially would we expect their confidence in the king to be strengthened when it was proclaimed to them from the throne, that he was about to introduce speedily into his administration a measure that would effectually maintain, vindicate, and explain, his whole character as connected with the events that had puzzled them. Such a measure would shew that the king was concerned for his character among his subjects, and that he wished the validity of such a measure to be tried, more by its bearings on the royal character, than by its influence on the respited offenders.

Such an expedient, we have seen, was introduced by Zaleucus into the government of the Locrians. And such a measure has, we think, been introduced by God into the adıninistration of his morał government; and this measure is the atonement of his own Son.

The intrusion of sin into the universe, and the discrepancy in the divine administration towards fallen angels and fallen men, were calculated to obscure the character of God. His justice appeared fickle and capricious; his forbearance and elemency seemed unaccountable and unreasonable. Therefore the atonement was introduced, “to declare bis RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins that are past, through the FORBEARANCE of God—that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”

Hence the atonement is a measure inseparably connected with the whole of the divine character, and involves the honor of every attribute in God. It is a safe ground for the public exercise or display of every divine perfection, and it is an honorable medium for expressing the glory of every attribute. As the relation of the atonement to the divine perfections has been, we think, much misunderstood and misrepresented, our examination of such an aspect of it should be careful, serious, candid, and scriptural.


Wrong views of the relation between the Atonement

and the Divine Perfections.

In the holy seriptures the atonement is never represented as calling into exercise any divine perfection which it does not suppose to be in exercise before.

By exercise I do not mean expression. Probably


grace to the unworthy, and mercy to the miserable, would never have been expressed but for the atoneNevertheless, that atonement supposes

that grace and mercy were previously in exercise, suggesting and providing such a measure for the honorable deliverance of the unworthy and the miserable. In the case of Daniel, the mercy of Darius was in exercise, though it was not expressed. The satisfaction which Zaleucus provided in the case of his offending son, was not the means of calling his mercy into exercise, but the medium of publicly expressing it.

The moral governor of the universe was as much disposed and inclined to grace and mercy without an atonement as with it, provided they could be expressed with honor to the government, and with safety to the public good. Grace and mercy are, as well as justice and truth, attributes essential to the nature and character of God. Hence the scriptures represent the atonement as the means of expressing, not the cause of exciting, the exercise of any divine perfection. When the atonement is represented by men as exciting in God an inclination to be merciful, and as producing a disposition to save, it is, in other words, adding a new persection to God, of which the absurdity and the blasphemy are equal. God gave his Son to be an atonement, because he had loved the world: and redemption is through the blood of his Son, according to the riches

of his grace.

The atonement is never represented in the scriptures as changing or modifying the nature of any divine attribute.

In the theology of popular declamation, and in some of our hymns and spiritual songs, God is often exhibited as maintaining inexorably every jot of the utmost claims of strict justice, as unflinching in his anger and severity, as high-toned and unbending in his wrath and fury against the sinner, and then, by mercy's exhibition of the atonement, he is calmed, assuaged, pacified, and ready to forgive. This is the kind of theology that is

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