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sacrifice, and that the sacrifice might be acceptable and meritorious by virtue of its union with the Deity. Au angel, nay, all the angels in heaven would not have been a sufficient sacrifice for man: the guilt is infinite, and the atonement must be infinite too; therefore, none but an infinite being could become the victim. "Herein is love," unparalleled love, "not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation of our sins."
Yon sacred victim bleeding on the brow
He sheds his blood, and justice asks no more:
And while his matchless glories, all unveil'd,
He bore the load-he groan'd-he bled—he died;
And, by his death, he took away at once
The guilt and shame of all his chosen race.
Those who deny the grand doctrine of the atonement, rob the gospel of every thing that is precious and valuable in it: yea, they frustrate the grace of God, and destroy the great design of the in
carnation, the sufferings, and the death of Christ. But we may venture to assert, that no other method could account for the transaction. Here let us recollect the language of inspiration: "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich." 2 Cor. viii. 9. Behold the God, throwing aside the robes of his glory and assuming humanity!—Behold the man, poor, afflicted, despised, persecuted, arrested, scourged, condemned, crucified! Let us not view this affecting scene in a transient or thoughtless manner. Pause and reflect on the scenes of disgrace and of agony, and then ask, What was the grand cause? Was it merely to give a pattern of patience and fortitude in suffering?
Let us attend to the language and the conduct of this sufferer. Come hither, and approach the garden of Gethsemane; look yonder, and see him stretched on the ground; hark! does he triumph and brave all the terrors of approaching death? No: hear his groans: My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.-Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." And his sweat was like great drops of blood, falling down to the ground. Follow Jesus to Calvary-there he cried out, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani! My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Whence all this terror of mind? What could extort these strong expressions of anguish from the lips of an innocent person? Behold Paul and Silas, bound and in a dungeon, and yet singing the praises of God. Behold pious Cranmer and Ridley, clapping their hands in the flames. Hear the triumphant language of Bilney, when his body was half-consumed in the fire: “Behold, O ye papists, ye look for miracles, behold one here; I feel no more pain than upon a bed of down-it is to me a bed of roses."
Now if Jesus did not bear the sins of a guilty world--if he died only as an example, and as a martyr in the cause of truth, how can we account for that extreme anguish? nay, how can we account for bis suffering and death at all? This is a knot which all the sophistry of boasting rationality cannot untie. Most assuredly, if Christ died not as our propitiation, to obtain a righteousness sufficient to justify the believing sinuer, then Christ is dead in vain.
But the Calvinistic view of this subject solves every difficulty, and assigns the most important and satisfactory reason for this stupendous method of redemption; and the whole scheme is worthy of a God, and admirably calculated to humble man, exalt the Saviour, and promote holiness. Then let every heart and every voice say-God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Anon.
When the scripture speaks of reconciliation by Christ, or by his cross, blood, or death, it is commonly expressed by God's reconciling us to himself, and not by his being reconciled to us; the reason of which seems to be, because God is the offended party, and we are the offenders, who as such have need to be reconciled to him; and the price of reconciliation, by the blood of Christ, is paid to him, and not to us.
It is a reconciliation that results from God's gracious providing and accepting an atonement for us, that he might not inflict the punishment upon us which we deserved, and the law condemned us to, but might be at peace with us, and receive us into favour on Christ's account; for this reconciliation, by the cross of Christ, is in a way of atonement or satisfaction to divine justice for sin; and with respect hereunto, we are said to be reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, while we were enemies, which is of much the same import with Christ dying for the ungodly, and while we were yet sinners; and our being reconciled to God by approving and accepting of this method of reconciliation by Jesus Christ, and on that encouragement, turning to him, is distinguished from his reconciling us unto himself, and not imputing our trespasses unto us, on account of Christ's having been made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. This is called, Christ making reconciliation for iniquity; and answers to the ceremonial and typ:cal reconciliation, which was made by the blood of the sacrifices under the law; and which was frequently styled, making atonement for sin, and an atonement for their souls. Dr. Guise.
Were believers more fully acquainted with the dying love of the Saviour, and the infinite efficacy of his atonement, their dependance
on him would be more steady, and their love to him would be more fervent; and were this the case, how patient would they be under all their afflictions-how thankful in all their enjoyments-how ardent in all their devotions-how holy in all their conversation-how peaceful and spiritual in their minds-how joyful in the prospect of death and of a future world! Then would their lives be useful to others, and happy to themselves. The Saviour's purchase of them, by a price so great as his own most precious blood, would be the fact upon which they would chiefly delight to think and meditate. Denton.
Mr. Hervey, that great luminary of the Church of England, just before his death, writing to a friend, whom he wished to engage in defence of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, against the Socinians, in conclusion says, I am now reduced to a state of infant weakness, and given over by my physician. My consolation is to meditate on Christ, and I am hourly repeating those heart-reviving lines of Dr. Young:
This, only this, subdues the fear of death;
And what is this? Survey the wond'rous cure;
My species up in arms! not one exempt!
The Son of God having made atonement and reconciliation with divine justice, and being returned to his Father, from whom he came; be thus addresses him-first for himself, and then for his church and people, whom he had redeemed and saved from the wrath to come.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world; but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also that shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.