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it was merely expedient. The Socinians deny that Christ died a vicarious sacrifice to make any atonement for sin. They say, that God is bound to forgive sinners upon the ground of repentance only ; and that he does actually forgive them on that ground. But there are many Trinitarians, who believe that Christ did make atonement for sin, who yet suppose that bis atonement was not absolutely necessary, but only expedient. They suppose, that God might have pardoned and saved sinners without any atonement, if he had pleased ; and that he pleased to pardon and save sinners through an atonement, merely because it was the most expedient or best way of saving them, but not because it was the only possible way. It is granted, that there was no more necessity of God's saving sinners at all, than there was of giving them existence ; and certainly there was no necessity of giving them existence. For his own pleasure they are and were created, But after he had given then existence and they had become sinners, it was morally impossible, that he should pardon and save them without an atonement. It did not depend upon his mere pleasure, whether he should save them, with, or without an atonement. On supposition, he determined to save them, an atonement was as necessary, as his own immutable justice. There was no other possible way of saving them. Christ himself supposed ; for he said to God in the prospect of his sufferings, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” There is no reason to think, that God would have subjected the Son of his love to all the pains and reproaches of the cross, to make atonement for sin, if he could have forgiven it, without such an infinitely costly atonement. It is easy to see, that if the atonement of Christ was founded on the immutable justice of God, it was as necessary as his immutable justice.
6. If the atonement of Christ was necessary entirely on God's account, then we may safely conclude, that it consisted in his sufferings, and not in his obedience. His obedience had no tendency to display di
vine justice, which was the only end to be answered by his atonement. His obedience was necessary on his account, to qualify him for making atonement for the disobedient; but his sufferings were necessary on God's account, to display his justice. Accordingly we find all the predictions and types of Christ, under the Old Testament, represent him as a suffering Savjor. And in the New Testament, he is represented as making atonement, by his blood, by his sufferings and by his death. It was by his once offering up himself a sacrifice to divine justice, that he made a complete atonement for sin.
7. It appears from the nature of Christ's atonement, that God can consistently pardon any penitent, believing sinners on that account. By putting Christ to death on the cross, by his own hand, he has declared his righteousness to the whole universe in the remission of sins. He can now be just and be the justifier of every one that believeth. He can now as consistently pardon one penitent sinner as another ; and he is as willing to pardon one penitent as another. He now commands all men every where to to repent and assures them, that, if they do repent and believe, they shall be saved, through the redemption that is in Christ. When the eyes of sinners are opened to see the native corruption of their hearts and the sinfulness of their lives, they are ready to think and say, that they are too guilty and ill-deserving to find mercy in the sight of God. But such views and feelings are totally groundless and sinful. God invites and requires all sinners, without distinction, to accept of pardoning mercy. He is as ready to shew mercy to the Gentile, as to the Jew; to the greatest as to the smallest sinner ; to the oldest as to the youngest sinner, upon the terms of the gospel. Paul, though the chief of sinners, found mercy.
Christ says, “he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And again he says, “All, that the Father hath given me, shall come to me ; and whosoever cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." But,
8. None can come to Christ and accept of pardoning mercy on account of his atonement, without accepting the punishment of their iniquities. The great design of the atonement was, to show that God would be just in inflicting eternal punishment upon the transgressors of his holy and righteous law. Sinners can see no beauty or excellence in the character and conduct of Christ in condemning sin in the flesh, by his suffering and death on the cross, until they have learned of the Father their just desert of the penalty of his law and cordially approve of it.
Then they will see, that there is no other possible way of obtaining pardoning mercy, than through the atonement of Christ. They will see, that they must completely renounce all self-dependance and self-righteousness and rely alone upon the atonement of Christ as the ground of pardon and acceptance in the sight of God. Though Paul once thought, that in respect to obedience to the law, he was blameless and stood high in the divine favour ; yet as soon as he became acquainted with the justice, spirituality and extent of its precepts and penalty, all the hopes he had built upon the law died and left him in despair. So that he was constrained to say, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” Christ told sinners, that “the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” No other foundation of pardon can any man lay, than that God has laid in the atonement of Christ. Sinners must trust in him alone for forgiveness, for it is only for the sake of Christ, that God can forgive iniquity, transgression and sin and save the guilty from the wrath to
But God is now ready to forgive all who feel the spirit and speak the language of the publican ; “ God be merciful to me, a sinner.” *
THE MOSAIO DISPENSATION ABOLISHED BY THE
HEBREWS, X. 9. ----He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
The apostle wrote this epistle for the particular benefit of the believing Jews. They had been educated under the Mosaic dispensation. They firmly believed the divine mission of Moses. They said, “We know that God spake unto Moses." They considered the Old Testament as given by divine inspiration and elothed with divine authority. They found a difficulty, therefore, in reconciling the law with the gospel, or the Mosaic dispensation with the Christian, which seemed to be inconsistent with each other. The difficulty, however, did not arise from any real inconsistency between the law and the gospel; but from their ignorance of the nature, design and meaning of the law. They did not know, that their laws were in their own nature temporary, that their rights and ceremonies were altogether typical and that the whole Mosaic dispensation was designed to prepare the way for the coming of Christ and the universal spread of the gospel. Had they understood these things, they would have found no difficulty in reconciling the doctrines, precepts and institutions of the christian dispensation with those of the Mosaic, under which they had lived and by which they had been bound. To clear up these points the apostle wrote this epistle, which is a plain commentary upon the laws of Israel and very instructive to both Jews and Gentiles. To accomplish this purpose, ,
his method is easy and natural. He begins: with illustrating the divine nature and the divine authority of Christ, by which he was superior to Moses and all the prophets.
"God who at sundry times and divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” From the divinity of Christ & his supremacy above all the proph. ets, he justly infers, that the Jews ought to regard his commands rather than the commands of Moses. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,consider the apostle and bigh priest of our profession Christ Jesus ; who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. Moses was verily, faithful in all his house as a servant, but Christ as a Son over his own house."
After this, the apostle proceeds to explain the rites and ceremonies of the law and shows that they were altogether typical of Christ and the gospel. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of the things, can never with these sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." He now expressly asserts, that Christ was authorized by the Father, to set aside the Mosaic dispensation and establish his own. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body bast thou prepared me : in burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come, (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above, when he said, sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offerings for sin thou wouldst not, neither hadst thou pleasure therein, which were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” Though there had been a patriarchal dis pensation, yet the Mosaic dispensation was the first