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be endured; and both in the nature by which it was first dishonoured: because angelick obedience to the same commands, would not answer the requisitions of a statute given a3 the rule of human duty. As, therefore, we are all breakers of the divine law, and as no future conformity, to its precepts, were it absolutely perfect, can compensate for this violation, we are all inevitably undone, if not interested in the righteousness and propitiation of Jesus Christ. ; . .
Of the need we stand in of this propitiation,
and of that righteousness there can be no doubt,
if the remarks made on the divine law, and the
divine government be accurate. By the law,
we are told, is the knowledge of sin. By this
rule we discover what is duty or, in other
words, what is prohibited—what is commanded,
and the penal sanction by which obedience is
enforced. In the scriptures of truth, the fatal
consequences of our apostasy from God are
affectingly described; and the plan formed by
infinite wisdom and infinite goodness for our
delivery from eternal ruin graciously revealed. So that while we sorrow after a godly sort, we are not like those that have no hope: we have, it is true, destroyed ourselves, but in the Lord are our help and our deliverance found.
Cheering, however, as this delightful truth certainly is, yet it is too commonly neglected or despised. Men are unwilling to think themselves so degenerate as represented by the sacred writers, or to believe there is that intrinsick evil in sin which is constantly affirmed. Hence the objections against the spirituality, purity, and extent of the moral law—the substitution and the atonement of Christ; and also against other glorious truths inseparably connected with the redemption of man—but these objections must be considered in my next. Till then, believe me very sincerely,
— Man disobeying,
Disloyal break* his-fealty, and sins
That a condemned rebel should reject a pardon, which exempts from sufferings and from death; that he should ungratefully treat with ridicule or with insult the herald who announced the merciful intelligence, and obstinately choose rather to run the risk of escaping deserved ruin by his own projects, than to accept deliverance by the merciful interposition of his prince, is a phenomenon in the criminal world, that must excite astonishment and nonplus credibility.
But what less do those who disregard the righteousness and the atonement of Christ? who represent the scriptures that inculcate the salutary doctrine as absurd, and who presumptuously seek to escape final perdition on the ground of personal worthiness? Few, indeed, will be found hardy enough to commend the conduct of such a contumacious wretch, though they manifestly act on the same principle. It can scarcely be imagined that those persons to whom Solomon (or rather Solomon's antitype) has reference, were so audacious as to declare in so many words—that they paid no regard either to the reproof or counsel of God: and yet their conduct is interpretatively exhibited to shew that this was the genuine language of their tongues and of their hearts. 'Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates; in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning; and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you, I
will make- known my words unto you—Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.'
I know it has been asked, Is not God infis nitely merciful; may he not therefore glorify his name in saving sinners on the ground of mere mercy without the intervention of an atonement? If the reasoning in my last be just, certainly he cannot—and this will appear veryevident, if it be considered that merey has