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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 infinitely 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 very evident, if it be considered that inercy has
regard to the object as miserable--not to his guilt, which is the source of his misery. . .
"To pardon sin, as an absolute act of mercy, would be a total neglect of holiness, which is no more possible with God, than it is to put forth acts of power without wisdom. Now, the manifestation of divine holiness, in relation to guilt, can cnly be in the infliction of deserved penalty. . As he cannot act powerfully without the exercise of infinite wisdom ; so he cannot act mercifully without manifesting his infinite holiness. But to forgive sin, as an act of absolute mercy, would not be an act of holiness, and therefore 'no' such act of absolute mercy is possible with God.' .
Besides, if an atonement for sin be not indispensably necessary to forgiveness, the incarnation—the life-the sufferings and the death of Christ were superfluous: because whatever was requisite to qualify a sinner for the enjoyment of heaven might, on this hypothesis, have been effected by the agency of the Holy Spirit. " But, in addition to this gracious
work of the divine Comforter, there are other offices to perform. He is to take of the things of Christ, and show them to the church: to bring all things, in reference to his mediation, to remembrance; and to apply his blood to the conscience, which operations necessarily involve an atonement. If the way was so short, that by pure favour, without satisfaction, sin might have been pardoned; why, says Dr. Bates, should the infinite wisdom of God take so great a circuit?.-The apostle Paul supposes this necessity of satisfaction as an evident principle, when he proves wilful apostates to be incapable of salvation, because there remains no more sacrifice, for sin :' for the consequence were of no force, if sin might be pardoned without sacrifice, that is, without satisfaction. . . . .
If Jesus Christ satisfied not for us, says the eloquent Daille, what mean the prophets and apostles, who proclaim at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of all their preaching, that he died for our sins, was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our ini
quities: that the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed: that his soul was made an offering for sin: that he is our propitiation, through faith in his blood: that he is the Lamb of God, ' which taketh away the sin of the world : that he offered up himself a sacrifice for sin, and sanctified us by this oblation, and purged away our sins by hiinself.'
There are but three ways in which a sinner can hope to escape final perdition : namely, by personal conformity to the moral law, the absolute mercy of God, and the atonement of Jesus Christ.
As to the moral law, that excludes all expectation of blessedness. “As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse : for it is written, cursed is every one that conti. nueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. But all have sinned and come short of the