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be granted without an atonement, it makes not the demerit of his personal character and conduct the greater: or if it be granted on account of the atonement of Christ, it makes not the demerit of his personal character the less. Therefore as the good of pardon is the same, in whatever way it be granted, and the personal character of the sinner pardoned is the same; the distance between the good of pardon, and the demerit of the sinner's character is also the same, whether he be pardoned on account of the atonement of Christ, or ab. solutely, without any atonement. Of course the pardon of the sinner is not an act of greater grace to him personally, if granted without regard to any atonement, than if granted from regard to the atonement of Christ.

But perhaps the meaning of the question stated above, is, Whether, if the sinner had been pardoned, without an atonement, it would not have exhibited greater grace, in the divine mind, or greater goodness in God; and whether in this mode of pardon, greater good would not have accrued to the universe. The answer to this question wholly depends on the necessity of an atonement, which I have endeavoured briefly to show, in the preceding discourse. If an atonement be nenessary to support the authority of the law and of the moral government of God, it is doubtless necessary to the public good of the moral system, or to the general good of the universe and to the divine glory. This being granted or established, the question just now stated, comes to this simply; whether it exhibits greater grace and goodness in the divine mind, and secures greater good to the universe, to pardon sin in such a mode, as is consistent with the general good of the universe ; or in such a mode as is inconsistent with that important object ?-a question which no man, from regard to his own reputation would choose to propose.

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In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. HAVING, in the preceding discourses, considered the particulars at first proposed, which were, That we can obtain forgiveness in no other way, than through the redemption of Christ, The reason or ground of this mode of forgiveness—and the consistency between the complete atonement of Christ, and free grace in forgiveness—The way is prepared for the following inferences and reflections :

If the atonement of Christ be a substitute for the punishment of the sinner according to the divine law, and were designed to support the authority of that law, equally as the punishment of hell; then we may infer, that the atonement of Christ does not consist in shew. ing, that the divine law is just.— With regard to this, I venture to assert two things That the obedience and death of Christ do not prove, that the divine law is just--That if they did prove this, still merely by that circumstance they would make no atonement.

1. The obedience and death of Christ do not prove, that the divine law is a just law. The sufferings of Christ no more prove this, than the punishment of the damned proves it. The former are the substitute of the latter, and were designed for substance to prove and exhibit the same truths, and to answer the same ends. But wbo will say that the torments of the damned prove the justice of the divine law? No more is this proved by the sufferings of Christ. If the justice of the divine law be called in question, the justice and moral perfection of God is of course equally called in question. This being the case, whatever he can say, whether by obedience or suffering, to testify the justice of the law, must be considered as the testimony of a party in his own cause; and also as the testimony of a being whose integrity is as much disputed, as the jus. tice of the law. It cannot therefore be received as proof in the case. The testimony of God, whether given in obedience or suffering, so long as his character is disputed, as it will be, so long as the justice of his law is disputed, proves neither that the law is just, in realitų, nor that it is so in his own estimation. A being of a disputed character may be supposed to testify, both contrary to reality, and contrary to his own knowledge. And as the character of the Deity is disputed, by those who dispute the justice of the divine law; so there is the same foundation to dispute the character and testimony of the Son of God. Therefore the obedience and death of Christ do not prove, that the diTine law is just.

2. If the obedience and death of Christ did prove that the law is just; still by this circumstance, they would make no atonement for sin. If it were a truth, that the obedience and death of Christ did prove the divine law to be just, and merely on that account made atonement, the ground of this truth would be, that whatever makes it manifest that the law is just, makes atonement.

The esfence of the atonement, op this hypothesis, is placed in the manifestation of the justice of the divine law. Therefore this manifestation, how. cver, or by whomsoever it be made, is an atenement:

But as the law is really just, it was doubtless in the power of infinite wisdom to manifest the justice of it, to rational crealures, without either the obedience or the death of Christ, or of any other person. If it were not in the power of infinite wisdom to manifest the justice of the divine law, without the death of Christ; then if Christ had not died, but all men had perished according to the law, it never would have appeared that the law is just. But bare attention to the law itself, to the reason, ground, and necessity of it, especially when this attention is excited, and the powers of the mind are aided, by even such a divine influence, as God does in fact sometimes give to men of the most depraved characters; is sufficient to convince of the justice of the law. But there can no dispute, whether the sanctifying and savingly illuminating influ. ences of the spirit of God, without the obedience and death of Christ, would convince any man of the justice of the law. We have no more reason to dispute this, than to dispute, whether the angels who kept their first estatc, did believe the justice of the law, before they were informed of the incarnation and death of Christ. According to this hypothesis therefore, all that was necessary to make atonement for mankind, was to communicate to them sanctifying grace, or to lead them to repentance ; and as to Christ, he is dead in vain.

Besides ; if the obedience and death of Christ did ever so credibly manifest the justice of the law, what atonement, what satisfaction for sin, would this make? how would this support the authority of the law ? how would this make it to appear, that the transgressor may expect the most awful consequences from his transgression? or that transgression is infinitely abo-minable in the sight of God? And how would the manifestation of the justice of the law, tend to restrain men from transgressing that law? Whatever the effect of such manifestation may be on the minds of those innocent creatures, who have regard to justice or moral rectitude ; yet on the minds of those who are disposed to transgress, and have lost the proper sense of moral rectitude, the manifestation would have no effectual tendency to restrain them from transgression : therefore would in no degree answer the ends of the punishment threatened in the law, nor be any atoneanent for sin.

Perhaps some may suppose, that what hath now been asserted, that the death or atonement of Christ does not prove the justice of God and of his law, is inconsistent with what hath been repeatedly suggested in the preceding discourses, that it is an end of the death or atonement of Christ, to manifest how hateful sin is tó God. If the death of Christ manifest God's hatred of sin, it seems that the same event must also manifest God's love of holiness and justice. In answer to this, I observe ; that the death of Christ manifests God's hatred of sin and love of holiness, in the same sense as the damnation of the wicked manifests these, viz. on the supposition that the divine law is just and holy. If i: be allowed the divine law is just and holy, then every thing done to support and execute that law, is a declaration in favour of holiness and against sin; or a declaration of God's love of holiness and of his hatred of iniquity. Both the punishment of the daynned, and the death of Christ declare God's hatred of all transgressions of his law. And if that law be holy, to hate the transgressions of it, is to hate sin, and at the same time to love holiness. But if the law be not holy, no such consequence will follow: it cannot, on that sup

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