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of grace teaches, that God would not have been just, had he bestowed or tendered them on any ground, short of a sufficient exhibition's being made on man's behalf, of justice and righteousness, to magnify the divine law. Here the infinite riches of grace are exhibited ; that God wo::ld not only pardon and save lost man; but would be at the infinite expense necessary to open the way for the proper bestowment of pardon and salvation. But could any thing be equal to this redemption from hell, and title to heaven, short of an infinite atonement, and an infinite righteousness ? A foundation short of this must have been infinitely insufficient for the eternal superstructure, which was to be built upon it. To say, that God might, in order to confer on his Son an infinite honor, determine, that an atonement and righteousness, which a finite Son could effect, should be declared and viewed as of infinite avail, appears preposterous. For it must, aiter all, appear to the intelligent universe, that the ground presented, as the only foundation of the pardon and salvation of guilty man, is in fact finite. This must of necessity operate to the amazing dishonor of God.
All the torments of the miserable in hell cannot, in any conceivable time, atone for their sins. The certainty of this appears from the fact, that the damned must suffer forever. Can it be admitted as possible then, that the sufferings of a Saviour, who is only derived and dependent, can make an adequate atonement for the sins of the whole world ? and this too, in so short a time, as Jesus of Nazareth suffered ? The idea, of resolving this thing into the divine sovereignty, or suggesting, that God has a right to say, that the atonement and righteousness of his own finite dependent Son, shall be viewed as of infinite avail, can never satisfy a rational being. For the question will arise, Why might not God as well pardon and save, without any atonement made, or righteousness wrought out, in behalf of man? Or if something done, which is finite, may be pronounced sufficient, why might not an Angel have done the work of the finite Mediator? which work, at God's sovereign word, should be pronounced sufficient for the salvation of lost man ? Yea, why might not God as well dispense with all his exhibitions of justice and propriety, in his vast kingdom ; and let a system of merely “arbitrary words be substituted in their stead? Is not God's infinite authority sufficient to have those words believed, though all his administration be in contradiction to them? Could he not work miracles, and cause all his subjects to believe his contradictory assertions ? Many such questions occur to the mind, on the suggestion, that God may say, that a finite Son shall make an adequate atonement ; or shall do what shall be esteemed sufficient for the eternal salvation of his Church.
But we must remember, that God's government is for the benefit of his finite creatures. And they must be able eventually to discern ap uniformity and fitness in all his works. One thing must be proportioned to another; and the divine administration must accord with the principles of truth. and justice ; or his glory will be proportionably diminished. Words, without corresponding deeds, are falsehoods. But God cannot lie, neither in word nor deed. Christ's atonement and righteousness then, must be infinite.
But how could a finite Saviour make an infinite atonement ?. Yea, how could such an one make any atonement at all ? Or how could he work out a righteousness for others ? Must not a derived
being owe personally to God, according to the immutable religion of nature, as well as of Revelation, all the service, that he is able to render ? Every dependent being must owe to God the love and service of his whole heart, soul, strength and mind. How then could the righteousness of a derived being be of avail for any one beside himself? much less of that intinite avail, needed for the salvation of the fallen world ? Yea, how could it be “ the righteousness of God ? How could Christ be, 6 Jehovah our righteousness ?”
To render a derived Saviour adequate to the work, for which Christ was designed ; or to give an infinite weight to his atonement, righteousness, and administration ; the advocates for such a Sariour must have recourse to the indwelling of the fulness of the Father in Christ. In this case, the suficiency of the Mediator is rested on the infinite fulness of Divinity, that dwells in him. But if recourse must be had, after all, to the infinitude of the indwelling Divinity, in the derived Son of God; what is gained by supposing the nature of Christ, that actually suffered, to be superior to human nature ? Nothing is gained, except that small addition of merit, which may be supposed to result from the superiority of this derived nature over human nature. But how triding musť this be, when compared with the infinitude of the indwelling fulness of the Father, on which dependence is really made ? This infinitude of merit needs no such addition. Infinity of merit must be sufficient without it. Such an addition goes not to the point, on which dependence is finally made, the infinitude of the indwelling fulness of the Father. But no Trinitarian doubts but the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ. The Trinitarian rests the infinitude of the atonement on the underived Deity, who dwells in the man Jesus Christ. And the opponent (who believes at all in an atonement) must have recourse to the indwelling fulness of God, in Christ, to render his atonement of sufficient avail. What then has he gain, ed by representing Christ as possessed of a nature superiour to all creatures, aside from the indwelling fulness of God? For he does not with this find Christ adequate to the work of mediation, without the indwelling fulness of God. And the Trinitarian finds Christ fully adequate to the work, with the indwelling of his proper Deity, without supposing his created nature to be more than human.
The sentiment, that to atone for the sins of the world, the sufferings of the Saviour must, in some sense be deemed infinite, most clearly lies at the foundation of the Christian system. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission." And this blood must be of infinite avail. It must be (as we are taught by inspiration to view it) - the blood of God.” “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood;"' (Acts XX. 23.) The ears of some are woun led by the phrasc, the blood of God. I believe as much as they that the invisible God is an infinite Spirit: And that a pure Spirit hath not flesh and bones,or blood. Yet I feel myself fully warranted to use the phrase, the blood of God; to say that this atoned for sin ; and that without the shedding of such blood, there could be no remission. The abundant language of the Bible, representing Christ as God, and yet as dying for sin, warrants the phrase, the blood of God, as that which has ransomed fallen man. And the text, in Acts xx. 23, just quoted, fully warrants it.*
* The correctness of our reading of this text, is hy some called in question. In some manuscripts of the New Testament, it
The sufferings of Christ m'ist have been the sufferings of God in a sense, that was either real, or constituted. A person really divine either must exhibit himself as capable of suffering, and really sufering for sia; or else he must adopt a creature into such a constituted union with himself, as that huin this divine and this created nature shall go to constitute one complete Person : And the sufferints of the created nature shall be esteemed as the suderings of the whole Person, or the sufferings of God. There is no other possible sense, in which
is found), “Feed the church of the Lord, which he hath purchased with his own blood." And in some, “ Feed the church of the Lord and God.” But I am satisfied with our reading, for the following reasons :
!. It accoris with the tenor of the Bible, to speak of the chirch as the church of God; and to call Jesus Christ, God. I hare alreally shown in this section, and mean to show more fully, that Christ is abundantly called, and represented to be, God; both in the Old and New Testaments; the mighty God, the great God, the true Gail. The reading, therefore, “Feed the church of Gul, which he hath purchased with his own blooil," fully accords with the general language of the Bible, And the sentiment ofihis reading forms a hinge, on which hangs the ealvation of the Church. For there can be no medium be. tween the blood of God, and that of a mere creature. But if there be no atonement made for sin, but what is made by a mere creature, where is the foundation of the Christian's hope? Admitting the reading, “the church of the Lord, which he purchased with his own blood,” nothing is gained by the opponent. For we are, in that case, warranted, by the whole tenor of the Bible, to annex to the term Lord here, its highest sense, Jehovah, who is the mighty God. He has redeemed the church by his own blood. The church, then, is bought with the blood of God. The propriety of the phrase is founded in the constituted oneness between the second Person in the Trinity, and the man Jesus Christ, as will be shown.
2. The reading " the church of God,” is found in eight manuscripts. And the following ancient fathers have quoted the text accorảing to our reading : Epiphanius, Basil and Ambrose in the fourth century: Cassian, Ibas and Celestine, in the fifth : and Fulgentius, Primesius, and Bede, in the sixth. See Pano-. plist for April, 1811, page 503.