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in attending to this important question, are calculated to impress our minds with the infinite mercy of God, in producing an all-sufficient atonement, and freely of fering salvation to us all-with our infinite obligations to Jesus Christ, for the things he has done and said to purchase mercy for sinners with the awful wickedness and inexcusableness of the impenitent and unbelieving, whose blood must be upon their own headswith the mercy of God, in reclaiming any from their obstinate perverseness to himself-with the indispensible duty of all who hear the gospel, to repent and believe without delay with the reasons which sinners have to tremble at their guilt and danger-and with the peculiar obligations of those whom God has renewed, and adopted into his family, to admire distinguishing grace, and be constant and zealous in his service. And let the world admire the compassion, and obey the gracious exhortations of God, who says, I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
The Sufferings of Christ, a Gain to the
(From the Theological Magazine.)
IF the sufferings of Christ, a person of infinite dignity, were an evil equal to that which the sufferings of all mankind would have been, had Christ never died for sinners; what benefit, on the whole, it is asked, accrues to the universe from his sufferings?
To this it may be replied, that, if the purposes of divine goodness and love are answered in the happiness and good which are actually produced and enjoyed in the system, we are, of course, to estimate this good by the quantity of happiness which is to be enjoyed. Consequently, the evil, which is considered as lessening the good, is also, on the other hand, to be estimated by its quantity. And, according to this rule of estimation, the sufferings of Christ are followed by an overbalancing and far greater good. For, in whatever other respects the sufferings of Christ are to be considered as an infinite evil, it may safely be concluded they were not infinite in quantity; but will be, in this respect, much exceeded by the happiness and enjoyment of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ. The happiness and good, which will be the fruit of the sufferings of Christ, as they will be continually increasing in degree, and endless in duration, may be strictly said to be infinite; and therefore, the evil of Christ's sufferings will be overbalanced by the good which will be enjoyed by those who are saved by him.
The sufferings of Christ, considering his infinite dignity and excellence, may properly be said to be an infinite evil. They manifested a displeasure, in the divine mind, sufficient to produce the eternal torments of sinners, had it fallen upon them. Nevertheless, the divine displeasure, which appeared in these sufferings, is not to be estimated merely by their quantity there are other considerations, of still greater weight, to be taken into the account. The merit, or value, of the sufferings of Christ, as a testimony of hatred of iniquity, arose more from the dignity of his person, and the exellence of his character, than from the degree of pain which is endured. These suffer
ings, considered in respect of their measure and quantity, may, therefore, be overbalanced by the happiness and enjoyment of those whom Christ has redeemed from death. So that, in this respect, it may appear that the sufferings of Christ have occasioned a great accession of good to the system.
But this is not all. Christ enjoys, in his own përson, a full reward for all the sufferings he endured.So that, aside from the happiness of the redeemed, considered as their own personal felicity, the sufferings of the Son of God are completely compensated in his own felicity.
Christ is as susceptible of reward, as of sufferings. However great his sufferings were, he is capable of a reward, which will fully balance them. Were he capable of going through infinite sufferings, he is equally capable of enjoying an infinite reward. If his sufferings were to be considered as an infinite evil, because of the superlative excellence of his person, the reward, which he, himself, reaps and enjoys, is, for the same reason, to be considered as an infinite good.
In whatever point of light the subject be viewed, it will appear, that the sufferings of Christ, though awfully great and extreme, though infinite indignity was offered to his person and character, were, nevertheless, no loss of good in the system; but so far from it, that all the good which the redeemed will enjoy to eternity, all that weight of glory which will be conferred upon them, is so much gain to the universe, and overplus of good, accruing from the work and sufferings of Christ.
IT is said by the opposers of the doctrine of atonement, that it is unjust, that an innocent person should suffer in the stead of a guilty one. Yet these same gentlemen hold, that our Lord Jesus Christ did suffer for the benefit of guilty sinners, by setting them an example of patience and persevering obedience under the greatest trials; by dying a martyr to the purest morality, and by teaching a future state of rewards and punishments by his own resurrection; thus laying a foundation for preaching the gospel, and leading sinners to repentance, that in consequence of this they might be pardoned and and saved. Now, why is not this as inconsistent with justice, as that Christ should die to make atonement for sinners, in order to their pardon and salvation? In either case, the innocent suffers for the guilty, the death suffered is the same, and the end is the same, the salvation of sinners.Suppose my neighbour is a murderer, and he must die on the gallows, unless he repent; or unless satisfaction be made for his crime, by the hanging of another person. Now, would it not be as really unjust to hang me, in order to lead him to repentance, that his life may be spared, as it would be to hang me as a substitute for him, that the same end might be obtained?-Let the candid decide.
On the Nature of the Satisfaction, rendered in the Atonement.
(From the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine.)
Question.-How doth Christ execute the office of a
Answer.-Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself, a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice.
THE method of salvation, through the atonement of Christ, displays the infinite wisdom and goodness of God. It is suitable that we should endeavour to gain a right view of this atonement. For it is a fundamental docrine in the christian scheme, and a misconception here, may lead to consequences of a dangerous and destructive tendency.
We may believe that Christ, by his sufferings, hath endured the penalty of the law, in such a manner, as in this respect fully to satisfy divine justice. But the nature of this satisfaction, becomes a subject of inquiry. And it will be found that it does not necessarily terminate in the happiness of all the human race, but is rather an encouragement to the sinner, to set about the work of his salvation.