« PreviousContinue »
us; and what are they ? In the lan- foolishness, while unto them who are saguage of Dr. M. “God hath set ved, he is wisdom and righteousness and
sanctification and redemption." What forth his Son as a propitiatory sac
says Paul to the Corinthians ? “I am de. rifice, through faith in his blood, for termined not to know any thing among an exhibition of his own righteous- you, save Jesus
Christ, and him CRUCI. ness in regard to the remission of sins,
FIED.” Why Christ CRUCIFIED? Why committed in past ages, through the tyr, a prophet? Plainly because, whatev
not Christ a teacher, an example, a marmerciful forbearance of God.”p. 13. er was done by Christ in all these char“ In this text Paul declares, ex- acters, it would have utterly failed to acplicitly, what was the immediate ob- complish the design of saving men, unless
his expiatory death had also taken place. ject of Christ's atoning sacrifice ;
Christ crucified then, is the very point that is, what effect it had in the
on which hang ultimately all the hopes of economy of redemption, or how it our sinful race. pp. 46, 47. laid a proper foundation for the
pardup and salvation of sinful men.”
Salvation by grace, then, on the p. 8. It was a transaction of such ground of the atonement as fits sole a nature, and such were its effects, procuring cause is a theme on which " that God might be, and might now
these writers have but one senti
ment. be seen to be, a righteous moral
It is needless to add that governor, and at the same time be theirs is the sentiment which prethe justifier of all that believe in vails among the orthodox throughJesus Christ." This sentiment Dr.
out our country. M. declares to be at the foundation
5. We come now to the last topof his discourse ; and from a labour
ic on which we shall compare our ed and very critical investigation, he authors for the purpose of showing attempts to show that it is the senti- their agreement, viz. the practical inment of his text. He asserts more fluence of the atonement, or the efover, that he cannot with some
fect it is adapted to produce on the modern writers, believe that the moral feelings, not only of our race, death of Christ was merely a trag. but of all intelligent beings to whom ic scene intended to affect us and the story of our fall and redemption
shall ever come. bring us to repentance,-he believes it to be the meritorious, the sole
Although Dr. D. has not dwelt ground of justification.'
at length on this particular part of That Dr. D. holds the same doc- the subject, still, that he has exalttrine is perfectly evident. And
ed views in regard to it, cannot be though he has nowhere urged it by doubted by any who will attentivea laboured process of argument,
ly read his sermon. That he considyet bis whole sermon goes on the
ers the atonement to be as fully adassamption of its truth. This does equate to secure the good order and not, indeed prove it true, but it does happiness of God's kingdom as the prove that Dr. D. believes it to be execution of the law upon trans80, and this is all we are now con
gressors would be, or, in other cerned to know.
words, well adapted for a “substiTurn now to Prof. S.'s first re.
tute in the place of that execution,” flection, and we have a develope. is manifest from the spirit which ment of bis sentiments on this point. pervades all his remarks. The rend
ing rocks,--the quaking earth,—the The doctrine of the atonement is a fundamental doctrine in the Christian
opening graves,--the darkened sky,-
system. It is not merely or principally in
the groan that broke from Calvary ; Jesus as our teacher, our example, or as these tell to his mind God's abhor. having sealed the truth of his testimony rence of sin; and to this scene he by his own blood, that we are ealled to would doubtless point the transbelieve; but principally in him, in that very character in which he was to the gressor to teach him the greatness of Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks that abhorrence.
If the lightnings of Sinai, and the account but of limited value, and it is by fiercer flames of hell. reveal the divine no means certain, that he may not be in indignation at sin, this indignation shines duced by some consideration, and that not. in still brighter and more tremendous of infinite value, to sacrifice them alto. colours from Calvary. There indeed, the gether.....But let as suppose now, that whole character of [the] Deity has a signal the Mediator was in dignity and power on and transcendant display. Justice appears a level with God the Father, and in an more awful, as well as more amiable, by equal degree possessed of all divine at. its connexion with boundless mercys and tributes, and that he condescended to mercy appears at once more venerable unite himself with a mortal man; and in and more attractive, by its union with in- this state submitted to be reviled, and flexible justice. p. 9.
loaded with insults, and persecuted even
unto death ; and we have an exhibition at In speaking of the scene on Cal- which the universe may justly stand ama. vary Dr. M. says,
zed. pp. 28, 30. Its direct operation was on the feel
Prof. S. reserves this part of the ings and the apprehensions of beicgs at subject for his concluding refleclarge, who are under the moral govern. tion; though it seems to have been ment of God. It was a transaction with. out a parallel in the history of the di
difficult for him to restrain the arvine government. The Son of God, the dor of his mind so long. While he Lord of glory, veiled in a human body, mused, the fire burned ; and having fulfilling all righteousness, -expiring a
at length gone through the discusmidst the mockery of Jews, and the insults of a Roman soldiery, presents an exhib- sion of his subject, he throws off the ition of such a nature as must strike every shackles of logic, and in the fullness intelligent beholder with astonishment.... of his soul speaks of the efficacy of As soon as the import is made known, it Jesus' dying love. produces, and actually has produced, the effect designed. For the preaching of the The eternal Word, God manifest' in cross, the mere statement of what Christ the flesh, presents to the moral sympathies has done and suffered for the salvation of of our race, higher excitements to virtue men, has impressed and converted all the
and piety, and more powerful dissuasives nations which have been favoured wit
from sin, than any other consideration it. And the truly pious in all ages of the which the Christian religion proffers.. . Church, though diffcriog greally in their "Greater love than this hath no man, that conceptions of the nature and operations he lay down his life for his friends :" but of Christ's sacrifice, have united in ad. Christ has far surpassed this. The same miring the wisdom of this plan of re- apostle says, " When we were enemies, demption. They have felt that it display- we were reconciled to God by the death ed, -though unable perhaps to tell how, of his Son." Here then is a consideration the righteousness as well as the goodness which will make every heart to vibrate, of God. It has actually led them to new that is not lost to all sense of gratitude and udoring views of the divine Being; and of mercy. How many thousands and has caused them to feel, that this way have heard the thunders of Sinai unmovof salvation exhibited to them the most eil; and even while their awful power constraining motives to forsake iniquity has made the very ground to rock, how and return to the love and service of their many have turned a deaf ear to all the Maker. pp. 22, 23, 27.
admonitions and threatenings which they Suppose now, (continues Dr. M.) the Me. conveyed, and grown more desperate in diator to have been a mere man, an emin. their resolutions to persist in rebellion ent prophet perbaps; and that he endured against God; who have yet been melted what the gospel relates; what was there down under the proclamation of Jesus' here more than has often occured? Will dying love, and fallen humble suppliants this effectually secure a reverence for the at the foot of his cross. ... I appeal jaw? Would it not rather encourage to fact. When the missionaries of the transgression. "-Suppose then, as United Brethren undertook to preach the have supposed, that the Mediator was the eternal power and Godhead of the Deity, highest and noblest created or derived be- as displayed in the creation, to the poor ing in the universe ;-still he is a creature, benighted Greenlanders, they listened, and therefore infinitely beneath the rank they gazed, they turned away with silent of God himself. Now if the honour of neglect. The faithful disciples urged on his law, and the good order and happiness them still more vehemently the attributes of his kingdom, when weighed in his bal- of the Creator and Judge of all, and their ance, are equivalent only to such suffer. moral accountability to him. They lisa Ings of such a creature, they are in bis tened, but their hearts remained like the
eternal ice with which their region is sideration agree with each other overspread. Compassion for their perisha perfectly. Shall we prosecute the more urgent still. One other chord there inquiry then, wherein do they was, which perbaps when touched, might differ ;-or, under the apprehenbe made to vibrate. They touched it sion that it will only occasion sur. with a faithful hand. They proclaimed prise, shall we rather relinquish it? to the poor, gazing perisbing heathen: We might, indeed, well relinquish a Saviour, ing for them. They pointed them to his it; for it must
seem quite gratuitous bleeding hands ; his wounded side; they to ask for differences where there bid them look to that Lamb of God which is so much agreement. But we are taketh away the sin of the world. The sight prostrated them to the earth. Their
met with consequences of a disastubborn hearts melted like wax before greement, either supposed or real, the fire. They fell at the foot of a dying too painful to allow us to sbrink Saviour's cross, and exclaimed: Lord from the undertaking, however Jesus, save us or we perish forever!
needless it might otherwise appear. Yes, and millions of the ransomed, who have gone to Zion with songs and We have seen the christian public everlasting joy upon their heads, can tes. thrown into commotion ; and have tify to the power of this mighty truth on heard one minister of the New Tes. their rebellious hearts. . Speak ye tament, charging upon a brother a redeemed, encircling his throne above, and casting your crowns at his feet; is not crime no less than that of preaching this he who drew your souls to him by another gospel. We feel compelbonds stronger than death ; which many led, therefore, to come to the busiwaters could not quench; nor floods
ness of ascertaining, if possible, drown? Hark! I hear the notes of that song which fills all the regions of heaven what the difference is of which so with harmony. It echoes back even to
much has been said ; and which, in this distant world : “ THOU WAST SLAIN consequence of so much said, has AND HAST REDEEMED US TO GOD BY been the occasion of such exciteTHY BLOOD, out of every kindred and
ment. tongue and people and vation, and hast made us kings and priests unto God for
From the comparison we have gone ever and ever.” O for a heart and tongue through with, it is obvious that the to unite with this grateful, happy throng, question which involves the diffiand begin on earth the notes which we hope to sing through everlasting ages in culty, must be of a subordinate kind. the world above ! pp. 48, 49, 50, 52.
So in fact we find it. It is a philo
sophical We have now seen, from what great question whether the suffer
query, arising out of the we hope has been a fair exhibition ings of Christ did actually make of their sentiments, that these wri
atonement. ters entertain perfectly harmonious writers fully agree: for so the
That they did, these views, in regard to the necessity of scripture tells them. But how comes an atonement - the fact that an
this to pass ? — What is the modus,atonement has been made, the char
“how were these sufferings thus effiacter of the Saviour, as possessing cacious ? It is on this point, if on a human and divine nature,--the
any, that different opinions are fact that the atonement is the only
maintained ;-it is on this point if on ground of salvation, and the suffi- any, that Dr. M. and those who ciency of the atonement to answer
agree with him, are thought to be fully the end to be secured by exe
in error. But the question now in. cuting the penalty of the law on troduced, unlike that out of which transgressors. And now we ask if it arises, is one on which, in the these are not the great and leading opinion of most theologians, the points of doctrine which the subject scriptures are silent.* We stand, embraces? Do they not constitute then, on philosophical ground; and the whole subject, so far as it is
we are glad that we have all arrived clearly a matter of revelation? Yet on all these, the writers under con- * See Butler, Magee, Veysio, ect.
bere before there was any falling bosom of spotless purity must have been out by the way.
a stranger. However high, then, his sufWould our límits allow, we should ferings mounted, they could not have been
the same in kind as those of the wicked in now proceed to give a minute analy; the world of misery." Nor can we well sis of all the views which Dr. M. conceive how they could have been the has advanced in his discourse. But same in quantity, as they deserved whom
he redeems. as we have already seen his views jo general, on all the leading points, After stating his reasons for this and as in them he accords perfectly opinion, he adds : with Dr. D., we shall exhibit his
When I say then, that Christ in his views only on the point of differ
sufferings was our substitute, I do not ence.
mean that he actually suffered torments How comes it to pass, then, that the same in kind and quantity as were due the death of Christ procures the to sinners. salvation of the sinner? Is it in
Since, then, all are agreed that in consequence of bis enduring all the making an atonement, the Saviour misery which the sinner would have did not endure the same sufferings suffered under the execution of the in kind and quantity, that transgres. law ?- This, most manifestly, he sors would have endured under the could not do. How could the spot- execution of the law,-wherein conless Saviour feel that remorse of sists the equivalency of the atoneconscience, which will make the ment? According to Prof. S., sinner's cup of suffering so bitter?
An equivalent, is of two sorts. The The sufferings of the Saviour were
first has respect to kind and quantity, and not the same in kind, then, that the requires equality or sameness in regard sinner would have endured. Nor to both. The second is where the substiwere they the same in quantity. have done in the place of which it is put,
tute answers the same end, as that would To prove this, requires no mathe
or a higher end of the same nature. p. 10. matical calculation. That the Savjour did not suffer in bis divine na
In which of these senses, then, did ture is certain. That he could not the sufferings and death of Christ in his human nature, endure the constitute an equivalent for the
of the law ? Not in accumulated suffering of all who execution were exposed to the sentence of the the first sense, says Prof. S. : law, even for a limited time, is When I say that Christ in his sufferscarcely less certain. Much less ings was our substitute, I do not mean that could he endure, in a few hours,
those sufferings were an equivalent of tho
first kind for the penalty remitted.' such an amount that this accumulation, though endlessly increasing, Not in the first sense, says Dr. would never exceed it. Thus far M. Speaking of the atonement, he we have the views of Dr. M., and says : thus far surely, they accord per- It did not consist in the execution of fectly with the sentiments of Dr. D. the law on any being whatever, for it was Look at Dr. D.'s own language.
a substitute for the execution of it. As to his sufferings, we contend not But yet it was in the first sense, that the Redeemer endured precisely the says Dr. D., for he remarks :same misery, in kind and degree, to which the sinner was exposed, and which he
We are constrained to conclude that must otherwise have endured. This was
his sufferings were a substantial execuneither necessary bor possible.
tion of the law. And what are Prof. S.'s senti. The phantom then,--for if this ments on this point ?
is the difference of opinion it is This sting, (the sting of a guilty con
very shadowy,-is at length detect
ed. We have at last come to the science,] the holy and spotless Saviour pev. er felt; this was an agony to which his point of disagreement ;-the point
on which Dr. D stands alone; and tial execution of the law, a real en. we leave it for those who will ex. durance of the penalty, so far as amine for themselves to say, wheth- the nature of the case admitted or er it is with Prof. S., Dr. M. or required he seems to us either to himself, that he is most at variance. use language which conveys no For what have they said which he very definite idea, or to be inconhas not admitted ;—what premises sistent with himself, rather than to have they asserted which he does advance
any opinion opposed to that not claim? They have said that of Dr. M. and Mr. S.; for if the the sufferings of Christ were not the misery be not the same, either in same in kind and degree as would kind or degree as the penalty, it have been endured by transgres- must be somewhat difficult to see sors under the execution of the law. how it can be the endurance of the And has not Dr. D. said the same? penalty. But it is not simply on
the ground of the quotations made, As to his sufferings, we contend not that the Redeemer endured precisely the
that we speak of discord. It is same misery in kind and degree to which rather in view of conclusions, prethe sinner was exposed, and which he sented near the close of Dr. D.'s must otherwise have endured.
sermon; for in this part of it, he What is their conclusion ?-_That proceeds on the supposition, that the law was not literally executed. the law was literally executed upon And what is his ?
the Saviour; and in proportion as
he advances, the difference between In as much as the scripture expressly him and Dr. M. (for Prof. S. had declares that, in redeeming us from the law, he was made a curse for us, we are
not yet appeared) seems to widen constrained to conclude that his sufferings till at last they have the appearance were a substantial execution of the law; of being diametrically opposed to a real endurance of the penalty, so far as each other. the'nature of the case admitted, or require
We are aware that Dr. M. has ed.
been understood to deny the viHere, then, is the length and carious nature of the atonement. breadth of the difference between As a specimen of his declarations Dr. D. and the Professors at Ando- which are supposed by some to ver. And if we are not greatly mis- amount to such a denial we cite the taken this is the only point of dif- following. ference to which reference can be made. Nor should we have thought how this exhibition was a display of the
The only difficulty is to understand that there was even here a differ- righteousness of God. To solve it, some ence that could be called disagree- have resorted to the supposition that the ment, had we not been compelled Son of God became our sponsor , and satto find such a difference somewhere. suffering in our stead. But to this by
isfied the demands of the law on us, by And when we look at the positions pothesis there are strong objections. To which are admitted in common, and suppose that Christ was really and truly the manner in which the opposing our sponsor, and that he suffered in this
character; would involve such a transfer sentiments are asserted, we confess
of legal obligations and liabilities and that it is against our better convic. merits, as is inadmissible: and to suppose tions that we speak of discord. any thing short of this, will not explain For when we find Dr. D. denying the difficulty. For if, while we call him that “ the Redeemer endured pre
a sponsor, we deny that he was legally
holden or responsible for us, and liable in cisely the same misery in kind and equity to suffer in our stead, we assign no degree to which the sinner was ex- intelligible reason, why his sufferings posed,” we trace on this point an
should avail any thing for our benefit, or exact agreement between our au
display at all the righteousness of God.
Besides, this hypothesis,-like all the oththors ; and when he says, that the
ers which suppose the Son of God to hare sufferings of Christ were a substan- first entered into a close, legal connexlos
p. 8. 9.