Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

number of sinners, for whom it may have pleased God that his Son shall be a substitute. If nothing more is intended by general, or unlimited atonement, than this, there will be no longer any dispute upon the subject. But it is demanded; “ for what end was Christ born of a woman, and made under the law, in the form of a servant ?” All answer, he was united to humanity, that he might be made perfect” as a Saviour, who could obey and suffer. “ For what end did he obey and suffer ?")

Answer by the Hopkinsians. He obeyed and suffered that an innocent person, divine in his attributes, might manifest in the clearest manner God's infinite abhorrence of that infinite evil, sin; so that, after this exhibition, made by the sufferings of the Son of God, whose obedience might have excused him from all natural evil, should God release the sinner from damnation, and freely bestow on him unbought blessedness, no rational being in the universe could think God reconciled to disobedience, or unmindful of the dignity of his law, government and character.

Answer by the Calvinists. Christ obeyed and suffered, that he might fulfil the conditions of the covenant of redemption, and glorify the justice, as well as the mercy of Jehovah, in procuring such pardon and righteousness for the elect, as should in the view of the unyielding law, avail for their justification. The obedient life and the sufferings of the Son of God, therefore, had this specific object, the justification of the elect. To all the elect, and to no other persons did God originally design to extend the atonement. This doctrine is clearly taught in that truly Calvinistic confession, which was last quoted,

“ This was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation : that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father; that he should confer upon them

faith, which, together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to . the end, should at last bring them, free from every spot and blemish, to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence for ever."

R. D. C. Canons, Head 2. Art. 8.

Another question must be proposed. “In what sense did Christ obey and suffer in the stead and room of the sinner?" The learned and venerable Dr. West answers for one party, that Christ was so substituted for the sinner, “ that the same disposition of the Deity, which would have appeared in the death of the sinner,” was 66 exhibited in the death of Christ,” so that now God can save any, or all sinners, without disgracing his throne.

In opposition to this substitution of one exhibition for another, speaks an English Divine; who maintains such a reality of obedience and suffering, as effectually secures the actual justification of all, for hom the death of Christ was an atonement. “ I cannot but think they are in some degree guilty,” of depreciating the merits of Christ, “ who will by no means allow that Christ bore the idem, the same death, the same curse that was threatened in the law, as due to sin, and to us for it.

What was that part of the sentence of the law, that was gone out against sin, which he did not submit unto ?”

Rawlin on Justification, p. 185.

“ The law found him in the sinner's place, and then God spared not his own Son: justice found him charged with the sinner's guilt, and then it stirred up all its wrath ; awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man that is my fellow : nor did it withdraw its terrors till he could say, it is finished."

Rawlin on Jus. p. 98.

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ The whole weight of our controversy with the Socinians, upon the doctrine of Christ's satisfaction hinges here: they will readiy grant, that what Christ did in his sufferings and death was for our good; for our benefit and advantage; and that the effects

thereof might some way or other extend to us. But I think we are able to prove with the clearest evidence out of the scriptures, that his obedience and sufferings were not only for our good, but strictly and properly on our behalf, and in our stead: that he died not only as a martyr to bear witness to the truth, and confirm the doctrine which he preached; nor only as an example of that resignation and submission to the 'wiil of God, under the heaviest and most unmerited sufferings;" nor merely as an exhibition of the wrath of God against sin in general; “ but as a sacrifice and substitute, charged with our guilt, and bearing that punishment, which was due to our sins, that so he might make full and proper satisfaction to God for them.”

Rawlin on Jus. p. 91.

Had not Christ been by substitution legally guilty, the inflic. tion of pain upon him had been unjust: but, “he who knew no sin in his own person, is said to be made sin for us, by the imputation of our sin to him; that we in a parallel way, by the imputation of his righteousness to us, might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Rawlin, p. 123.

Hence it is argued, that it would be an act of injustice to Christ, and of despite to his righteousness not to justify every one for whom he died to make atonement: wherefore it is said, (1 John i. 9.) “ he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

To this representation it is objected by the Hopkinsians, that sinners are released from all obligations to obedience, by this idem per idem, this algebraical equation of an atonement;" that the offers of salvation are unscripturally restricted; and that should all sinners be required to believe, they would many. of them be required to believe a lie, and therefore unbelief in all the non-elect can be no sin.

These objections are by the Calvinists thụs obviated.

The law is of eternal obligation as a rule of conduct, but believers are not under it as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned. Christ has atoned for all the sins which will actually be committed by the believer, and not for those

which might be committed by him, were he not restrained by the fear, law, and providence of God. Hence, it is as proper to exhort a justified person to obey, as an elected person to make his election sure, or a regenerated person to persevere to the end. Would you say to a child of God, “ take heed that you do not fall away,” and yet refuse to say, “ beware that you do not sin, so that there is no more sacrifice for you?”

See Con. C. Scot. Con. P. C. U. S. Say. Plat. chap. 19. sec. 6. and Rawlin on Justification, p. 241.

It may also be remembered that the love of Christ constrains to obedience, and is the strongest bond of moral obligation.

a

In proposing to sinners the terms of reconciliation, the Calvinists do not require their hearers to believe a falsehood. Sinners are assured, that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wil. derness, so the Son of man was lifted up, for this purpose, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have eternal life, John iii. 14, 15. They are told, that if they believe, they shall be saved ; that ample provision is made for every person who shall at any time possess a contrite heart; and that such as come to Jesus shall in no case, for any crime, be rejected. Are sinners required to believe a lie, when required to believe, that the provision made by the atonement is as ample as the wisdom of God saw necessary, and as the petitions for pardon will ever require ? What can a sinner be under the necessity of knowing besides this, that every person, who feels his need of a Saviour, and from the heart says, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” shall find complete justification? We conclude then, say the Calvinists, that it is scriptural to declare, that the atonement by Jesus Christ, comprehends whatever is done or suffered by him, to procure, by merit, the justification of the elect:

a

OR,

“ It is that which effectually removes the offence of sin, and procures for the sinner reconciliation with God.”

Christian's Magazine, Vol. 3. p. 37, We conclude, say the Hopkinsians, giving their definition that the atonement is simply an exhibition of justice and mercy in the person of Jesus Christ, in consequence of which, God can pardon any number of sinners, but is bound by no obligation of justice to save any one for whom Christ died.

NOTE B.

A DISCOURSE IN FAVOUR OF AN INDEFINITE

ATONEMENT. *

WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN; ESPECIALLY OF THOSE

WHO BELIEVE." 1 Timothy iv. 10.

In attending to these words, our FIRST inquiry will respect the import of the expression, all men : our SECOND, the sense in which Christ is the Saviour of all men : and our THIRD, the propriety of calling Jesus the Saviour especially of believers.

1. What are we to understand by the words, allmen? We grant, that according to the customary use of language, they do not necessarily imply every individual of the human race; for the word all is not unfrequently used in a limited sense. Matt.

“ Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized.All, here,

iii 5.

It is the design of this discourse to exhibit, briefly, what is said in favour of the last definition in the preceding note.. Any person who wishes a more elaborate display of the sentiments contained in this performance, may consult “ An Essay on the Atonement,” lately published in this city. He who would read something more ingenious and argumentative, but equally erroneous, is referred to a volume entitled “Sermons, Essays, and Extracts, by various authors: selected with special respect to the great Joctrine of the Atonement.”

« AnteriorContinuar »