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it devises a way in which the innocent may suffer a certain amount of misery which was due to the guilty, would hardly excite, as the gospel does, the wonder and admiration of the angels of heaven." —Beman,
But we cannot pursue this part of the subject further.
III. The adaptation of the death of Christ as a substitute for the penalty
We have already forestalled much that belongs to this section, in our remarks on the design of penalty. A few words only we add. Keep in mind that the atonement was not needed as a compensation to Deity for his favor; not to appease any divine wrath; not in any way to effect a change in the disposition, or moral feelings, of the Godhead; but primarily for the support of law, as a substitute for the penalty, during a dispensation of pardon. The crowning glory of the Redeemer's achievements is, that "honored the law." But how can a moral law be honored? The answer is at hand :-By keeping its precepts, and by the due administration of its promised rewards to the obedient; or, in default of obedience, by the full and exemplary infliction of the penalty. But where the precept is violated and the penalty waived, and pardon offered to the guilty penitent, how then can the law be honored? In general terms we may answer: By producing the same impressions upon the minds of the governed, by some other means, which the literal and regular administration of law would effect. In order to this, Christ accomplished two objects. First, he illustrated the moral excellence of ihe precept in his life, demonstrating its perfect fitness to exalt and make happy the moral subject. He proved the fitness of the divine law to man's moral, and social, and physical constitution, and by his life gave afresh the divine approval to it as our rule of conduct, and the divine pledge that it would not be changed in its nature, or abated in the ratio of its requirement. Secondly, his death became, by the Father's appointment, an expression of the evil of sin, of the divine abhorrence of it, and of the unalterable purpose of God to insist upon obedience and punish future transgression. The penalty reveals God's hatred of sin by actual infliction; the death of Christ effects the same end by offering a pledge that God has not unconditionally abrogated the penalty, nor abandoned his own law. “TO GIVE PROOF that he will punish,” says President Griffin, “is certainly disclosing everything of God which PUNISHMENT ITSELF can reveal."* “I perceive important reasons," says Dr. Richards, “why God's clemency should not be exercised toward man, without an adequate atonement for his offense. This course, while it magnifies his mercy a thousandfold, finds its justification in creating in the mind of every rational being a GREATER CERTAINTY that punishment will follow transgression, than if pardon had been extended upon mere clemency."* This is the point. God might have written this truth in burning letters over the vast arch of heaven, he might have uttered it in the voice of “seven thunders” from the sky; but Infinite Wisdom saw, such was the constitution of man, such the laws of moral evidence, such the avenues to the heart and sensibility, that nothing could produce those deep, abiding, practical impressions upon our race, so effectually as the humiliation, the spotless life, the sufferings and death of “the Only Begotten of the Father.” These impressions produced, the law being honored, the ends of penalty being answered, and the integrity of government asserted, the obstructions to the divine clemency would be removed, and the grace of pardon would freely, because it could now consistently and safely, flow forth to every penitent believer in Christ.
* On the Atonement, p. 25.
The atonement, then, may be considered both as a scheme of government, and as a system of moral means. As a government measure, it removes those obstructions which public justice would oppose to an exercise of clemency to the guilty; as a system of means, it is adapted to exert a moral, reformative influence upon man.
In order to render the atonement efficacious, the following requisites must be met :
1. It must be by the formal appointment of the supreme legislative power. It must be a government measure. Thus the Scriptures represent the Father as APPOINTING, ANOINTING, and SENDING his Son to accomplish this work.
2. The mediating person must be such as shall be fully capable of sustaining the responsibilities of government on the one hand, and sympathizing with man on the other. To be capable of the former, he must be God; to be capable of the latter, he must be
So our Mediator is “God manifested in the flesh.” The dignity of such a person imparted value to his sufferings,-not a commercial, but a moral, value. The dignity of his person, and his official designation to this work, gave his sufferings a high significancy; they were God's “declaration of his own righteousness in granting remission of past sin."
3. Although the mere quantum of suffering was not the highest
* Thoughts on Atonement, unpublished MS.
quality, or consideration of value, yet they must be in that degree of intensity which is suited to the awful import and object of their appointment.
4. The nature of the sufferings must be of a character to illustrate the evil of sin, and the divine opposition to it, and the certainty of its punishment. How peculiarly marked were the Saviour's sufferings in all these respects !
5. They must be endured "For sin;" that is, in the stead of those sufferings due to the sinner. They must be distinctly and publicly understood to be substitutionary. Not vicarious punishment, but vicarious suffering.
6. They must be voluntary on the part of him who suffers.
7. The case must be such as to admit of a compensative arrangement, whereby the person suffering, as a moral being of unexampled virtue, shall be rewarded. Christ, “ for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross.” “God, also, hath highly exalted him.”
8. The evil to be prevented and the good to be secured by this measure, must be such as to justify the greatness of the means employed.
Geneva, N. Y., April 15, 1846.
Art. V.-1. An Epitome of the History of Philosophy; being the
Work adopted by the University of France for Instruction in the Colleges and High Schools. Translated from the French, with Additions, and a Continuation of the History from the Time of Reid to the Present Day. By C.S. HENRY, D.D., Professor of Philosophy and History in the University of the City of NewYork. 2 vols., 18mo., pp. 311, 276. New-York: Harper &
Brothers. 1841. 2. The Philosophy of History, in a Course of Lectures.
FREDERICK VON Schlegel. With a Memoir of the Author, by James Burton Robertson, Esq. 2 vols., 12mo., pp. 319,
302. New-York : D. Appleton & Co. 1841. 3. Philosophy of History. Methodist Quarterly Review for July,
1842. Art. IV.
A WRITER of eminent ability, but of erratic genius, has defined philosophy, “the science of life.” As such it comprehends all sciences and all systems. As such, in its highest and best acceptation, it is the echo of primeval tradition, the coadjutor and expounder of revelation, the never silent voice of God. It is the nurse that guides the steps of infant humanity, the teacher that instructs its youth, the prophet that points its manhood to a higher and more glorious destiny. It walks hand in hand with the Bible, in simple and beautiful harmony-a text and a commentary, which, rightly understood, illustrate and adorn each other.
Unfortunately, the greater number of philosophical writers, in their attempts to solve the abstruse problems of the science of life --the nature, duties, and destiny of man-have overlooked this mutual relation and dependence, and even shown a disposition to avoid the lights of revelation. So self-confident is their pride of intellect, that they bury in the earth a rich legacy of wisdom, and disdain to employ any capital which their own industry has not accumulated. They close their windows to keep out the sun, and then grope in darkness for treasures, which a single beam of light would reveal. The ancient heathen philosophers relied on reason alone, because they had no other guide in their researches, save a few scattered rays of old tradition refracted into fantastic shapes and hues, by the medium through which they had passed. The modern, and self-named Christian philosophers, undismayed by the fruitless toil and wild vagaries of their less fortunate predecessors, reject the proffered clew to the labyrinth, and persist in unaided efforts to explore its bewildering mazes. What wonder if they grope along the same dark path, with toil equally fruitless, into vagaries equally wild? Neophytes of a holy priesthood, they refuse to open the volume which unfolds the mysteries of their order, or to know anything which themselves do not discover. What wonder if they “darken counsel by words without knowledge,” and hurry themselves and others into inextricable error ?
Philosophy, living and life-giving, has two functions. It must teach men how they ought to live, and how to live as they ought. Such a philosophy, if we may use a mathematical illustration, is the product of two factors-revelation, a constant co-efficient; and reason, a variable. By operating with the variable alone, the speculative intellect has never been able to develop a formula, which satisfies the conditions of humanity, and is applicable to all its wants. Plato, whose transcendent genius constructed a system of wonderful extent and beauty, was tolerably successful in showing men how they ought to live, but signally failed in persuading them to live as they ought. Like the Apollo Belvidere, exquisite in finish, perfect in symmetry, godlike in expression, but cold and motionless, it was animated by no fire from the celestial altars. There it stood, and there it still stands, a miracle of art, life-like, but not living. A philosophy which combines no elements drawn from the infallible and authoritative, though it may recognize a God of its own conception, is essentially godless; and a godless philosophy is as inert and powerless as would be a godless universe. Its heralds cannot command, for they hold in their hands no warrant signed and sealed in the chancery of the Infinite. Its precepts issue from a court whose jurisdiction is limited and incompetent, and no eternal sanctions compel their execution.
But philosophical opinions, however false, if they once obtain currency in practical life, exert no feeble influence upon the ages and nations by which they are adopted and applied. The filial ethics of Confucius checked, in the Chinese mind, every impulse toward improvement, and bound it fast in a kind of static equilibrium. The sensualism of Epicurus, after degrading Grecian morals, passed into Italy, where it speedily made its own exposition in Roman selfishness, injustice, and corruption. The materialists and ultra-spiritualists of the modern schools, who profess faith in God and his written word, and yet, by giving these no prominent place in their systems, virtually deny both, have brought the speculative intellect of the present age into a state of oscillation between atheism and pantheism, and reduced the practical intellect to a condition of cold, selfish, faithless, heartless egoism.
Now we want a philosophy that shall infuse into society a more benignant spirit. "Man was made for himself,” said Epicurus. “Man was made for himself," echoes this amalgam of Epicurus and Midas, which we call our age. True ; but for something
“Man was made for God,” cried the Stylite, as with contemptuous eye he looked down from his column upon toiling, suffering humanity. “Man was made for God," answered the monk, as he barred the portals of his cloister, and left the world to struggle and welter as it might. True; and for something more. Man was also made for man. His duties are three-fold : God, to himself, and to his race. But this triad is a unit. He who
performs his whole duty to one of the three, cannot but perform, at the same time, his whole duty to the other two. The great practical error lies in the false estimate which men make of the value and relation of duties; and its consequence is the introduction of conflict where God established harmony.
The vital elements of a philosophy, we do not say of a philosophical religion, but of a religious philosophy, which shall renovate and exalt society, are contained in the books of revelation. These elements, we may venture to predict, will be some day combined, not with the visionary speculations of the oriental