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to the system. The whole arrangement forms one mediatorial constitution. The system of the universe was not even contemplated irrespective of a Mediator. The principles of mediation pervade the whole of it, entering into its creation and sustenance, government and restoration, and into its eternal deliverance and glorification.

The entire arrangement of all the affairs of the universe is to be regarded as one grand mediatorial system, the ground and foundation of which is the atonement of the Son of God.

By saying that mediation is essential to the system, I mean that it is on account of the atonement, as the ground of a compensative administration, that God carries on the affairs of his government. The whole of the manifold wisdom of God, exercised in the universe, is regulated entirely "according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.Eph. iii, 9, 10, 11.

To ask what would have become of the moral universe, had no atonement been appointed, is just as rational as to ask, what would have become of the material universe, had the principle of gravitation not been appointed. All the proceedings in the moral universe take for granted a mediatorial constitution, just as those in the physicial creation suppose gravitation.

In the scriptures the Lord Jesus Christ is often represented as “The ELECT,” “The chosen of God," the only begotten, the first-BORN of many brethren.” The people of God are represented, as "chosen in him," and for his sake. The whole universe is described as under his sway: for he, as "the head of all principalities and powers, ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”

It is one of the most prominent articles in the doctrines of the apostle Paul, that the atonement of Christ is the foundation of all the divine counsels, &c. that the whole system of the moral universe is one entire mediatorial constitution. “We know that (the universe] all things work together for good to them that love God, to them

BELOVED.

who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the FIRST BORN among many brethren. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him, in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted IN THE

IN WHOM we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath PURPOSED in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of time, HE MIGHT GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in HIM.

Whom he hath set at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put ALL THINGS (the universe] under his feet, and gave him to be the Head

ALL THINGS to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that FILLETH ALL IN ALL.” Rom. viii, 28, 29. Eph. i, 3–10, 20–23.

These beautiful passages exhibit the mediation of Christ as the centre of all the counsels and all the works of God—the Sun around which all the divine purposes and all the divine operations move.

The apostle John likewise represents all the divine purposes as being administered in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ. In the fifth chapter of the Apocalypse, the divine purposes and counsels concerning the universe, are considered as a book sealed with

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seven seals, the contents of which were to be developed and administered by one in the midst of the throne, who was a Lamb as it had been slain. The giving of the book to the Lamb represents the committing of the whole of the divine measures and counsels to the Son of God. The Lamb who takes the book is in the midst of the throne, in the very source and centre of all authority and favor in the universe. In that centre of the universe he is “a Lamb as it had been slain,” a Lamb of atonement, the centre of the administration of all moral measures, to which all the plans, and all the decrees, and all the works, and all the ways of God have constant reference.

SECTION II.

The Atonement an Expression of the Divine

Counsels.

The atonement is, itself, one of the counsels of God, and should be considered as a specimen of all his counsels; an index to their course, and a sample of their character.

The atonement is a public expression of the benevolence of the divine decrees.

In the atonement of his Son the eternal and blessed God unbosoms his purposes, and says, “Fury is not in me;" “I know the thoughts which I have thought concerning you, thoughts of peace and not of evil." Nothing can be so revolting to humanity, and sò repugnant to a heavenly mind, as an hypothesis that supposes the great God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, from eternity brooding over a scheme or counsel of evil against the creature.

The counsel of God, ordered in all things and sure, is a counsel of peace, and not of evil. The evil is not in the counsel; “For God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that in two things

by which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation.Where, then, do men find despair? Where do they find perdition? Certainly not in the counsel of God; for in this there is nothing but “strong consolation."

God has no counsel against the salvation of any sinner. Let some one point out to us where that counsel is revealed. Let some sinner be mentioned who has perished in consequence of such a counsel. The whole counsel of God is for good, and for good only. It says, “Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Is it possible that God may have any secret counsel opposed to this public declaration? Has he any decree against his promises? Has he any purpose that contradicts his oath? I trow not. He cannot deny himself.

If nothing else will prove that the decrees of God, are not thoughts of evil, let the condescension of Bethlehem-let the death of Calvary, prove it: believe it for the very work's sake. The Son of God was delivered to death “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” And how did this counsel run? Take a specimen. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Does the cross, then, express any thoughts of evil against the sinner? No; but it bears an inscription written with the blood of atonement, and addressed to men of all languages, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out.' As the atonement itself is a measure of pure

benevolence, it is, as such, a specimen of all the counsels of God. Hear what the author of the atonement, says, “This is the condemnation,”_not that there is a forbidding attribute to destroy man—not that there is a settled decree of reprobation gone forth,—but, "that

light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.”

Hence, it is charged against the Pharisees as a heinous crime, that they "rejected the counsel of God against themselves," to their own ruin. This charge alleges that every thing in the counsel itself is for the benefit of the sinner, and nothing against him; that all the benefits of the counsel are freely and sincerely offered to the acceptance of the sinner; that the sinner voluntarily, but most perversely, rejects these benefits of the counsel; and that such a rejection makes the sinner, and the sinner alone, the author of his own ruin. The purpose, design, and tendency of the atonement, is "Not to condemn the world, but that the world through hirn might be saved.The supposition that there are, notwithstanding, some decrees secretly opposed to this avowed design of the atonement, is unreasonable, improbable, and impossible.

The atonement may be considered, farther, as an expression of the non-interference of the divine decrees with the liberty of moral agents.

The whole work of the atonement, from the incarnation of Christ to his ascension, was accomplished without interfering with the free agency of any one being. Its operation in moral government, and its application to man by the Holy Spirit, are carried on without infringing at all on human liberty. And as is the character of the atonement itself, so is the character of the couvsel concerning it.

No advocate of liberty can wish for a freer range for the freedom of the will, than the Jews and the Gentiles had, when the Son of God was engaged in the work of making an atonement; and yet in the whole transaction the counsel of God stands, and free agency is perfectly unconstrained. “For of a truth, against the holy child Jesus, whom God had anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever the hand and the counsel of God had determined before to be done." We

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