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FROM THE DIVINE PROMISE.
had promised to reward with the most signal honour, may suffice to satisfy us in reference to its efficacy. In Isaiah liji. 10—12, we read as follows, according to Bishop Lowth’s rendering of the passage: "If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice, he shall see his seed which shall prolong their days; and the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hands. Of the travail of his soul he shall see, i.e., the fruit, and be satisfied; by the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many; for the punishment of their iniquities he shall bear. Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his portion; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Now, our Lord did make his soul a propitiatory sacrifice. He performed fully his part in the great work of human redemption. “He was faithful to him that appointed him," says the apostle, “even as Moses was faithful in all his house." And shall he not then receive his reward? As the great Captain of salvation, shall he not be permitted to lead many sons to glory, for the joy of doing which he despised the shame, and endured the cross? How can it be doubted ?
4th. The direct declarations of the inspired volume are such as to leave no doubt of the efficacy of the atonement: Isa. liii. 5, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Again, ver. 10—12, Rom. v. 8—10, “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Eph. i. 6,7, “ To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Col. i. 19, 20, “For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell. And, having
FROM HIS RESURRECTION.
made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Heb. ix. 11--14.)
5th. The resurrection of Christ demonstrates the efficacy of his atonement. The load of our guilt sunk him to the dust of death. How, then, could he have risen again, had not that guilt been cancelled by his death? If the tomb had held him as its prisoner, it must have been because he was foiled in his attempt to effect our release. Hence the apostle, writing to the Corinthians, says, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain ; your faith is also vain, ye are yet in your sins;" i. e., under the guilt and power of sin. And he adds, that if this be the case, then “they who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” But this is not the case.
The Redeemer could not be holden of death. He threw open the gates of the grave. He rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and thereby proved, by resistless power of evidence, that he had “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” It is of importance to observe here, that the evidence afforded by the resurrection of Christ in support of the efficacy of his atonement, is strengthened by the consideration that the power of the Father was exerted in effecting it. “ The God of your fathers,” said Peter to the high-priests, “raised up Jesus.” “God raised him from the dead, and gave him glory.” Now, is it conceivable, let me ask, that such would have been the conduct of the Father, if the atonement of the Son had been insufficient, and inefficacious ? Would he have thus honoured the surety, if the surety had not honoured the law? Would he have exalted him, as the reward of his work, if that work had been inadequately performed? Would he have given the sinner's surety this full and complete discharge, if the surety had not paid the sinner's debt? It cannot be conceived of for a moment. No proof can be more conclusive than the one now contemplated, that the atonement of Christ is possessed of infinite efficacy; we may adopt, accordingly, the triumphant language of the apostle, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."
THE EXTENT OF THE ATONEMENT.
I need not say that no point of Scripture doctrine has given rise to more disputes than the subject on the consideration of which we are about to enter. On the one hand, it has been asserted, that the love of God in the gift of his Son had for its objects only the elect, that Christ gave himself for them exclusively,—that in no sense has he made atonement for others; and that, consequently, none but the elect either will, or can, partake of those spiritual and everlasting blessings which flow from what he has done. On the other hand, it is contended, that God loved the whole world,—that Christ made an atonement for the whole world; and that if any are not saved by him, it is because they do not comply with the conditions on which the actual enjoyment of the blessings purchased by him for all men is suspended. Now, if it were not almost presumption to express such an opinion in reference to a point on which men of the greatest talents and learning, and, I may add, piety too, are to be found in a hostile attitude, I should say that things have been advanced by both parties in the controversy which it will be difficult to reconcile with the word of God. It is not uncommon in controversy for both of the parties engaged, regarding each other's sentiments as dangerous, to recede in some measure from the doctrine of Scripture, in their mutual desire to avoid what they regard as contrary to it. They fix their thoughts too exclusively upon the conceived error; their minds are thus partially withdrawn from the standard of truth ; and they depart
in some degree, by almost necessary consequence, from the truth itself. The remarks which I have to make upon this subject will perhaps be best presented in the form of a series of propositions, beginning with those which are less disputable, and proceeding to others which will serve more fully to exhibit the doctrine of Scripture in reference to it.
1st. The sacred writers invite all men to come to Christ, and to secure, by that act, those blessings which flow to sinners through the channel of his atonement. In the support of this proposition I need not enlarge. Is. lv. 1, “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” “ Come unto me,” said our Lord, “all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." “ Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” “ The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. xxii. 17.) The attempts of certain individuals to show that these are not indiscriminate invitations—that they are addressed to certain characters, or to individuals in certain states of mind, exclusively, and so afford no warrant to others to make application to the Saviour for the blessings of redemption, are so directly opposed to every just principle of interpretation, that I do not feel called upon to spend one moment of time in exhibiting their fallacy. It is only necessary to say that the language is in exact agreement with the manner in which indefinite, unlimited invitations, to become possessed of any blessing, are, in the every day intercourse of life, addressed to men; all who choose, or will, may go and receive it.
2nd. A refusal to go to Christ, and so to receive the blessings of his salvation, is the ground upon which censure is passed upon sinners now, and it will constitute the foundation, or cause, of their condemnation hereafter. John iii. 18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the only-begotten Son of God:” rer. 26, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;
but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." In harmony with these general statements, we find our Lord strongly censuring the Jews for not believing on him, (John v. 39, 43: vide also chapter xv. 22. 24,)—upbraiding the cities where most of his mighty works were done, (Matt. xi. 20. 24,)-weeping over Jerusalem, (Matt. xxiii. 37,) and saying, “ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” The same conduct, on the part of sinners, will constitute the ground of condemnation hereafter. This assertion assumes that all will not be ultimately saved by Christ,-a fact of important practical bearing upon our subsequent remarks, and supported by the testimony of experience, and Scripture. How often do we see men terminating a course of rebellion against God in a manner worthy of the flagitiousness of their lives,-dying as the fool dieth,—entering with the utmost degree of unconcern into the presence of Him who has declared that he will render unto all men according to their works! And, if we believe the testimony of Scripture, we can entertain no hope in reference to their eternal state. They must be "cast into hell, with all the nations that forget God;" and the cause of their destruction will prove to be their rejection of offered mercy. John iii. 19, “ This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness, rather than light, because their deeds were evil." In harmony with this declaration of our Lord, the apostle assures us, (2 Thess. i. 7.9,) that, at the last day, “ the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” From these propositions it seems to me to follow as a necessary consequence, and which I state as the
3rd Proposition, that while, on the one hand, the Saviour cannot have intended to secure the salvation of all men by the act of offering up himself a sacrifice for sin,- yet that