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peace, of hope, and of salvation. Such is the great principle, and such is the character of God, developed in the atonement. What, therefore, shall be felt by him who looks up with faith to the sufferings of the cross? Shall he not bow down in humble acknowledgment for the blessing he has received ? Shall he not be awakened to a deep and holy sense of the ingratitude of sin ? Shall he not be cheered and strengthened in his pilgrimage by confidence in the mercy which has reconciled him to his Maker? Shall not his love ascend in adoration to Him by whom he is so much beloved ? And shall not his heart glow with brotherly affection towards those his fellow creatures, who, subject to the same condemnation with himself, have been saved by the same hand which was stretched out for his own salvation, and conducted to the same tabernacle of hope in which he himself is given to abide? Going forth in this temper, and with these emotions, from the scene of Calvary, he shall be prepared to contend with and to subdue the evil spirit of the world. The groundwork shall be laid in his heart, of all virtues and all graces, evangelical and moral. He may sometimes slumber and sleep in the infirmity of his nature; but he shall possess, in his own bosom, a source of high thoughts and inspiring motives; and he shall proceed, with alacrity and trust, to finish the race which is set before him, and to assure to himself, through Christ his Saviour, the crown which is promised to every upright and faithful disciple of the Gospel.

The beauty, sublimity, and influence, of the whole New Dispensation, are intimately connected with these views of the doctrine of Atonement. If Christ be regarded as a mere man commissioned only to reprove and enlighten the world, his sufferings and

death must be considered as, comparatively, of little importance to mankind. We should, on such a supposition, possess no adequate measure of the justice and benevolence of God, no sufficient testimony of the heinousness and danger of sin, no decisive evidence of the divine pardon; and there would have been no sensible and palpable representation of the character of the Almighty, and no visible interposition of his purity and justice, to give efficacy to precept, and to bring it home to the heart. The lofty language in which both the Old and the New Testament advert to the death of Christ, as a sacrifice essentially necessary to the salvation of man, would become little more than high sounding and unmeaning words; and that cross, which angels are said to con template with amazement and awe, would be regarded rather as an evidence of the sin by which it was erected, than an august display of the co-operation of the divine attributes for the restoration, the peace, and the happiness of the world. Whereas, from the doctrine of atonement, every page of the gospel derives new force, and a new sanction. The lofty allusions to the sufferings of Christ are sustained and verified. The ideas which we are taught to entertain of the character of God, elevate and purify our affections; and the Gospel, instead of being a mere scheme of preceptive wisdom, enforced by severity of command, or by unpurchased amnesty, and involving more feeble and less affecting motives ; appears to be a scheme which, laying the foundation of faith and of obedience in the heart, and at once illustrating the divine mercy, and vindicating the divine justice, is calculated, while it excites the best and purest of all affections, to remove that distemperatur of sin which mere amnesty could not heal, and which, until healed, must involve the misery, the degradation, and the punishment of the sinner.

How many awful and affecting considerations, then, are involved in the expiring exclamation of Christ-It is finished !-At that moment the face of nature was changed. The earth quaked. The grave yielded up its dead. The sun was darkened. And the throne of the powers of hell was overthrown. . At that moment, too, the disorder and derangement of the whole moral world were repaired. The purposes of Grace, manifested to the Father, were fulfilled; and the dispensations made to a chosen people were perfected by a more ample and more glorious revelation. All that the prophets bad foretold of a Prophet to come greater than they, and of a new religion to be sealed by his blood, and exemplified by his life, was finally verified. All that was required to propitiate the Deity, and to save the sinner, was visibly accomplished. The sacrifice was offered. The atonement was made. The gates of the paradise of heaven were opened to a redeemed and accepted world. A new tree of life sprang up and tendered its fruits to all nations, and the voice of invitation issued from the Gospel,—“ Take, eat, and live for ever!”

Compared with this atonement, so sublime in the long series of divine interposition by which it was preceded ; so gracious and merciful in the saving influence which it was to extend to all generations of men; and so august, so affecting, and so awful, in the views which it discloses of the nature of God; how little and how worthless appear the most perfect devices of all other religions to satisfy the justice of the Almighty, and to absolve the sinner from the

penalty of sin! The ablution and the sacrifice, the ceremony and the fast, the pilgrimage and the

penance, may attest the belief of the transgressor that some expiation is necessary for the transgression ; but redemption is not to be bought at so vile a price. The observances of superstition are worthless in their nature, and, therefore, unprofitable in their effects ; and are but the frail expedients which fear adopts with feeble and ambiguous hope, or the fallacious resources to which the sinner applies in his distress, because he knows of no better means to appease the terrors of conscience. How can such things procure life to a world that is dead ? If they contain nothing in their own nature worthy of divine acceptance, how shall they be of efficacy“ to take away sin,” and to restore the peace of the guilty, by restoring them to God? If they be too poor to ransom the individual transgressor, how shall they redeem all past, present, and future generations, and reconcile mercy to unnumbered criminals with justice to their unnumbered crimes ? Whereas, in the atonement by Christ, whatever of mystery it may involve, a perfect satisfaction is offered to the insulted majesty of God. The ransom is as precious, as the sins to be ransomed are unbounded and offensive. Man is consequently saved. The apparently conflicting attributes of God are reconciled; and a new order of grace, and mercy, and pardon, is finally and effectually established upon everlasting foundations.

But let it not be supposed that the sinner who has been thus redeemed, may persevere with impunity in sin. The penalty which he had incurred is paid. The way which had been closed against him is opened. The heaven, which he had forfeited by his rebellion, is restored. But it is with himself to reject the offer, and perish; or to accept it, and live. The Gospel, instead of affording hope for the encouragement of his transgression, affords it only for the encouragement of his obedience. The amnesty by which he is to be saved, is an amnesty of covenant, and the covenant includes, on his part, righteousness, holiness, and faith. The sinner, therefore, unless he forsake his sins, must await their punishment. From him, if incorrigible and obstinate in his course of guilt, has departed the grace of that redeeming mercy, which descends in health, and comfort, and trust, on the children of obedience. He has rejected the offer of divine goodness. What remains but the verdict of divine justice ?

We need scarcely inquire how far, to the pure and holy, the redemption of the Gospel is peace and hope. If they behold the justice of God in the satisfaction which has been made for sin, they behold also the mercy by which the satisfaction has been accomplished. If they look with awe to the cross of Christ, they may look also with humble and confiding trust. They are admonished, indeed, of the danger of guilt, but they are instructed in the promises which confirm their obedience. The reverence and love kindled in their hearts by the blessings which they have received, contribute to restore within them the likeness of God, and

proportionally to confirm and augment their happiness. In all circumstances they may recollect with gratitude by whose blood they were bought; and in prosperity they may heighten and hallow their enjoyments, in adversity soothe and tranquillize their afflictions, in temptation renew and confirm their strength, in death fortify and cheer their spirit, by those inspiring anticipations which the atonement of Christ has autho

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