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CALVINISM, as recently modified, differs from the earlier Calvinism in these points:--First, as to the reference of the atonement, which is held to have been for all men, and not for the elect only. Secondly, as to the need be for an atonement, which is not regarded as arising out of the demands of distributive and individual justice, requiring that each man should receive his due desert, according to an eternal necessity in the divine nature, as maintained by Owen and Edwards; but is held to arise out of the demands of rectoral and public justice, which necessitate God, as the moral governor of the universe, if He extend mercy to sinners, to do so only in a way that will preserve inviolate the interests of His moral government. Thirdly, as to the nature of the atonement,--Christ's sufferings for our sins not being held to be the endurance, on the part of the Saviour, of the same punishment, or of punishment equivalent in amount of suffering, with that to which those for whom He suffered were exposed, but to be the substitution of other sufferings for the threatened punishment, which substituted sufferings were equivalent in reference to the result in relation to God's moral government;--and Christ's meritorious obedience not being held to be the fulfilling of the law in our room and stead, so as to provide us with a righteousness to be imputed to us, investing us with a right to the reward of righteousness,--but a moral excellence giving a moral virtue to the atonement whereby it is made a fit ground on which may be rested all acts of grace and clemency towards sinners, and all bestowal of favours upon them.


Fourthly, as to the results of the atonement, that it does not of itself, and by its own nature, secure salvation to any, but only is an adequate provision for the salvation of all, free to all, effectual to salvation in the case of those who are disposed by the sovereign grace of God to avail themselves of it.

These points of difference involve others as implied in them. Thus the idea of imputation of guilt and righteousness, viz. of our guilt to Christ, and of Christ's righteousness to us, as this imputation was held by Owen and Edwards, is rejected as untenable;--"Guilt and merit not being transferable,--but only their consequences." (Payne, 254.) The idea of a legal claim to salvation, which we have just seen commended as the full meeting of the instinctive legalism of the human heart, is rejected as destroying the gracious character of the gospel dispensation;--and, most important of all--the relation of the atonement to the divinity of Christ, is altogether differently conceived of; for whereas, in the earlier Calvinism the divinity of the Saviour is contemplated as making possible infinitely great sufferings endured in time,--the needed substitute for sufferings that would have been infinite in that they would have been eternal,--on this system the divinity of Christ is regarded as giving infinite value to any suffering of His; so that the value of the sufferings would be infinitely great though its amount were infinitely small.

The assumed advantages of this system as a modification of the earlier Calvinism are chiefly these,--First, as to the extent of the atonement. To teach that Christ died for all is consonant with the most obvious meaning of the language of the inspired writers,--which cannot be brought to utter a limited atonement without much forcing. While, besides, an 77 universal atonement is an adequate, and the only adequate foundation for the preaching of the Gospel as good news of salvation to all:--and they dwell with much force on the kind of mental reservation which the older system ascribes to God in inviting all to partake in what is only prepared for some, because the some only will accept the invitation. Secondly, as to the need be for atonement. A necessity for an atonement arising out of rectoral or public justice, is felt less repulsive than one that implies a demand in the divine nature for a certain amount of suffering as the punishment of a certain amount of sin. Thirdly, as to the nature of the atonement. All that men have revolted from in the idea of the Son of God being actually in His Father's eyes as a criminal through imputation of man's sin, and being punished accordingly, is thought to be avoided; as well as all that is of the nature of legal fiction in imputation of guilt to an innocent being, or of righteousness to a guilty being. Fourthly, as to the results of the atonement. They dwell largely on the manifestation of the divine character, and on the vindication of the divine judgment on sin, as well as of the divine sovereignty in the salvation of those who are saved,--seeing that those who perish, perish, not because a salvation was not provided for them, but because they would not accept of it. Owen had said in a passage already quoted, that "to affirm Christ to die for all men, is the readiest way to prove that He died for no man in the sense Christians have hitherto believed, and to hurry poor souls into the bottom of Socinian blasphemies." Here, that Christ died for all men is maintained; but, at the same time, "the objections of the Socinian" to "redemption through the merits of Christ," are held to be "all silenced."--"If he is not allowed for his weapons the wrath of a God of 78 love,--the transfer of moral character,--the infliction of legal punishment on the innocent, his gauntlet can grasp no other. The doctrine of a substitutionary atonement not only blunts but breaks and shivers these favourite and long used lances of Socinianism." (Jenkyns, 317.) But, doubtless, Owen would regard this as a victory obtained only by concessions;--for Owen would say, that the doctrine that Christ died for all men is combined with the distinct concession, "that He died for no man in the sense Christians have hitherto believed;"--and he would be entitled so to reply, at least in reference to the sense attached to the word atonement in the discussions between himself and Arminians.

With much in what seems to be the mental history of this modified Calvinism I have full sympathy. The constraint felt in preaching Christ to all, while believing that He only died for some, is easily understood; while, doubtless, Owen's arguments for a limited atonement, if the atonement had been what, in the controversies between him and Arminians it was on both sides assumed to be, were unanswerable as arguments whatever scriptural difficulties they might involve. Again, in the concession which seems made to Socinians, on the subject of the untransferable nature of guilt and merit, and the difficulty of assuming that by a legal fiction God sees things other than as they really are, I concur with them, although I feel that there are important principles in Edwards' argument on the substitution of Christ for us, to which they do not seem to me to give due weight; and, although the even stronger language of Luther as to Christ's identification of Himself with us, instead of repelling me, as it does them, is to my mind a very near approach to truth; and I am disposed to think was spiritually, though not intellectually, 79 truth in him. But I have much more sympathy in their difficulties than satisfaction in the way in which they have dealt with them.

Believing that Christ died for all, and perceiving that the conceptions of the nature of the atonement from which the earlier Calvinists reasoned, did indeed imply, if logically followed out, that He only died for some, the teachers of this modified Calvinism have seemed to themselves to have found a solution of the difficulty, in their conception of rectoral or public justice as what called for an atonement for sin. But, surely, rectoral or public justice, if it is to have any moral basis--any basis other than expediency--must rest upon, and refer to, distributive or absolute justice. In other words, unless there be a rightness in connecting sin with misery, and righteousness with blessedness, looking at individual cases simply in themselves, I cannot see that there is a rightness in connecting them as a rule of moral government. "An English judge once said to a criminal before him, 'You are condemned to be transported, not because you have stolen these goods, but that goods may not be stolen.' " (Jenkyns, 175, 176.) This is quoted in illustration of the position, that "the death of Christ is an honourable ground for remitting punishment," because "His sufferings answer the same ends as the punishment of the sinner." I do not recognise any harmony between this sentiment of the English judge and the voice of an awakened conscience on the subject of sin. It is just because he has sinned and deserves punishment, and not because he says to himself, that God is a moral governor, and must punish him to deter others, that the wrath of God against sin seems so terrible--and as just as terrible. As little is this sentiment in harmony with what the words teach, "The wages of sin is death."


Owen and Edwards do not err in believing, that the righteousness of God connects sin with misery, as by a righteous reward, irrespective of state reasons. Their error is, I believe, twofold,--concluding as to that award beyond what they had light for their guidance,--and--and this chiefly--not seeing any hope for the sinner in the very righteousness of God,--as if the righteousness of God would have full satisfaction in reference to the unrighteous, in their being miserable. "Good and righteous is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners the way which they should choose."

Rectoral justice so presupposes absolute justice, and so throws the mind back on that absolute justice, that the idea of an atonement that will satisfy the one, though it might not the other, must be a delusion.

The recommendation of the distinction sought to be drawn has been, that it seemed to harmonise an atonement for all, with the ultimate punishment of those who do not accept of that atonement;--that is to say, as Calvinists pressed the point on Arminians,--the punishment of many whose punishment Christ had previously endured: this stronghold of Calvinism it seemed to overturn. But as long as Christ's sufferings are held to be penal, which, even when the old form of words is most departed from, is the expression still used, I cannot see what difference it makes, whether they be held as by Owen, to have been the same that those for whom he suffered were obnoxious to;--or as Baxter, with Grotius, held,--equivalent;--or as Dr. Jenkyns holds, "different in nature and kind,--in quantity and degree." If they were penal, then, that those for whom He suffered should be punished themselves, must still suggest the idea sought to be avoided, of sin twice punished.

Nor is the difficulty less because, not regarding our 81 sins as imputed to Christ in the sense of the elder Calvinists, objection is made to speaking of Christ as punished for our sins; the expression being substituted, that what He suffered was the punishment of our sins. This distinction, introduced by Andrew Fuller, is adopted by Dr. Payne, who would press it further than Fuller; and I suppose that it is contemplated by Dr. Jenkyns when he says, "Christ's sufferings were not a punishment." (p. 292.) But Dr. Payne recognises our sins as imputed to Christ in the sense of "inflicting upon Him the punishment due to them" (p. 260) ; and Dr. Jenkyns, while at as much pains to bring out the difference between what Christ suffered and what those for whom He suffered were exposed to suffer, as Dr. Owen is to bring out, if he could, an identity, (being indeed quite successful in this, while Owen is altogether unsuccessful), yet regards "made a sin offering for us" (in 2 Cor. 5 and 21) as equivalent to "made liable to punishment for us" (p. 287),--and enlarges on Christ's "suffering as if He had been a sinner." (p. 284.) If Christ was "made liable to punishment," if He was "treated as if He were a sinner," that is, if God so treated Him--for the misapprehensions of men are nothing--then, to say that He was not punished though the punishment of our sins was endured by Him, however it is a softening of expressions, is not to any real effect so to modify the idea of atonement as to do away with the difficulty of a double punishment for sin.

This distinction between being punished, and enduring sufferings which are a punishment, is adopted in connexion with the denial of the imputation of our guilt to Christ, and in this view is held to remove the difficulties of one class of objectors,--although to call sufferings a punishment while the sufferer is not regarded as punished, involves new difficulties. But, 82 the change on which most weight is laid, is in the view taken of the relation in which the sufferings endured are represented as standing to the divinity of the sufferer. That the personal dignity of the Saviour is the important aspect of the incarnation in relation to the atonement, is much insisted on. Divinity as a capacity for enduring infinite penal infliction, is an idea which is recognised as rightly offending. Divinity as giving infinite value to any measure of humiliation or suffering condescended to, is urged as what should recommend itself as a far more worthy conception. How far removed from either conception the truth of the case has been,--how far different from a capacity of enduring infinite penal infliction, or a giving infinite value to penal suffering, however small its amount, has been the relation of the divinity of Christ to His sufferings in making propitiation for our sins will, I trust, be made clear in the sequel.

But there are two points in relation to the sufferings of Christ, as spoken of in these two forms of Calvinism severally, which appear to me deserving of our special attention, viz. that the language employed in speaking of the part of the Father in relation to these sufferings, is much the same;--and that, the details specified, when details of the elements of suffering are ventured, are much the same, or at least are of the same nature.

1. The language of the later Calvinists in speaking of the part of the Father in relation to the sufferings of Christ, is not essentially different from that of those whose system they feel it necessary to modify.

President Edwards is quoted by Dr. Stroud (who dedicates his book to Dr. Pye Smith) as representing Christ as "suffering a positive infliction of divine wrath," which to teach, he esteems chargeable with error,--"not to say absurdity." (p. 209.) These are some of the 83 sentences which he quotes. "Revenging justice then spent all its force upon Him on account of our guilt, . . . and this was the way and means by which Christ stood up for the honour of God's justice, viz. by thus suffering its terrible executions: for when He had undertaken for sinners, and had substituted Himself in their room, divine justice could have its due honour no other way than by His suffering its revenges." Yet Dr. Stroud himself says, "A transition more sudden or violent than that which took place from the seraphic discourses and devotions of Christ after the paschal supper, to the horrors of Gethsemane, can scarcely be conceived. That He was about to suffer from the immediate hand of God is implied by His prediction to the apostles on the way. In the absence of all external infliction, the cup of trembling which was then presented to Him by the Father, and which He so earnestly petitioned might if possible be withdrawn, could have been no other than the cup of the wrath of God, "the poison, whereof drinketh up the spirit' " (p. 215): and he quotes with approbation from Rambach, a passage in which he speaks of our Lord as having "to suffer all the floods of the divine wrath to pass over Him, which would have overwhelmed our Saviour's human nature, had not the divinity within Him supported it in this terrible trial." Dr. Pye Smith says, ''Jesus Christ voluntarily sustained that which was the marked punishment of sin." (p. 35.). "The tremendous manifestations of God's displeasure against sin, He endured, though in Him. was no sin: and He endured them in a manner of which those unhappy spirits who shall drink the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God will never be able to form an adequate idea." (p. 42.) Dr. Jenkyns says, "The most amazing circumstance connected with His death was, that He suffered as one disowned, and reprobated, and forsaken of



God, &c. (p. 284.) "The just is treated as if He had been unjust, the Son of God suffered as if He had been a transgressor." (p. 285.) Dr. Payne ("On the reality of the atonement") concludes, that the sufferings of our Lord were "dreadful beyond conception," and resulted from intense mental suffering, from the burden of our guilt which rested upon Him, from that light of His Father's countenance which then suffered a total eclipse," in relation to which he quotes Psalm lxxxviii. 4-7, concluding with the words, "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves."

2. But the other point to which I would direct attention, is more striking still; viz. the oneness of character in the elements of suffering which they specify.

What are the "revenges of divine justice," and "its terrible executions," which were in Edwards' contemplations when he employed those general expressions which have exposed him to the charge of error, nay, absurdity? The only direct dealing of God with Christ which he specifies, is purely negative;--"God forsook Christ and hid Himself from Him, and withheld comfortable influences, or the clear ideas of pleasant objects." This negative wrath, if the expression is not a contradiction, is indeed represented as being in order that the positive elements of suffering present should act with unmitigated power; and what were these? First, God hid Himself from Christ "that He might feel the full burden of our sins that was laid upon Him. But how laid upon Him? "His having so clear an actual view of sin and its hatefulness, was an idea infinitely disagreeable to the holy nature of Christ; and therefore, unless balanced with an equal sight of good that comes by that evil, must have been an immensely disagreeable sensation in Christ's soul, or, 85 which is the same thing, immense suffering . . . Thus Christ bore our sins; God laid on Him the iniquities of us all, and He bare the burden of them." Secondly, God thus dealt with Christ, that "He might suffer God's wrath." But again, how?--"His suffering wrath consisted more in the sense He had of the other thing; viz: the dreadfulness of the punishment of sin, or the dreadfulness of God's wrath inflicted for it;" viz. on those on whom it is inflicted. "Thus Christ was tormented, not only in the fire of God's wrath, but in the fire of our sins; and our sins were His tormentors; the evil and malignant nature of sin was what Christ endured immediately," i. e. in being realised by Him as an object of mental contemplation,--as well as more remotely, in bearing the consequences of it," i. e. the sense of these consequences as endured by others. "Thus Christ suffered what the damned in hell do not suffer. For they do not see the hateful nature of sin; . . . and as the clear view of sin in its hatefulness necessarily brought great suffering on the holy soul of Christ, so also did the view of its punishment. For both the evil of sin and the evil of punishment are infinite evils, and both infinitely disagreeable to Christ's nature: the former to His holy nature, or His nature as God;--the latter to His human nature, or His nature as man . . . Christ's love brought His elect infinitely near to Him in that great act and suffering wherein He specially stood for them, and was substituted in their stead; and His love and pity fixed the idea of them in His mind, as if He had really been they; and fixed their calamity in His mind, as though it really was His. A very strong and lively pity towards the miserable, tends to make their case ours; as in other respects, so in this in particular, as it doth in our idea place us in their stead, under their misery, . . . as it were feeling it for them, actually suffering 86 it in their stead by strong sympathy." On Satisfaction for Sin, § 9, 1.

I am quite sensible of the injustice done to the remarkable passage from which I quote, by thus curtailing it. But I have given enough of it for my purpose in quoting it; viz. to shew that, however strong or startling Edwards' general expressions as to Christ being, in consequence of the imputation of our guilt, subjected to "the revenges of divine justice," there is, when he explains himself, nothing of the nature of legal fiction in his conception of the way in which Christ bore the burden of our sins; as neither is there anything of the nature of the actual going forth of divine wrath against the holy one, because of His standing in the room of sinners, in what is called "His endurance of wrath;" but that the whole suffering conceived of, is resolved into a vivid perception and realisation of the hatefulness of sin, and of the greatness of the wrath to which it has exposed sinners; these two ideas affecting our Lord in the measure of His infinite holiness and love. So strictly has Edwards, in endeavouring to imagine ingredients to fill a full cup of suffering, adhered to the limits which he recognises in saying that ''Christ suffered the wrath of God for men's sins in such a way as He was capable of, being an infinitely holy person, who knew that God was not angry with Him personally, knew that God did not hate Him, but infinitely loved Him." It is, indeed, a great relief, to see this great and good man, while dealing so much in the language of what seems legal fiction in that high region in which fiction can have no place, when he comes to explain the facts of Christ's actual experience, as they were conceived of by him, saying nothing that implied, either that God looked on Christ in wrath, or that Christ felt as if He did. And, when I use the word "explain," I am very 87 far indeed from intending to suggest any attempt to soften, or explain away. Edwards is in no way attempting to make his doctrine less obnoxious: on the contrary, as in the choice of general expressions he selects the most extreme, so in setting forth the elements of the Saviour's sufferings, he is making out the strongest case that he can, within the limit which he has recognised.

The teaching that substitutes, "enduring the punishment of our sins," for, "being punished for our sins," has still, to seek for elements of penal suffering;--and the same relief which is felt in interpreting the general expressions of Edwards in reference to the divine wrath which Christ suffered, by the details of Christ's actual sufferings which he specifies, is again experienced in passing from the general expressions of the modified Calvinism to the illustrations of these which are offered. The "wrath" or "malediction," as he more frequently expresses it, which Dr. Stroud contemplates, is "the loss for a time of all sense of God's friendship, all enjoyment of His communion" (p. 192),--which, the consciousness of sinlessness remaining, and there being no misconception assumed as to the Father's true estimate of Him as the holy one of God, however it would be suffering, could with no propriety be called malediction and wrath. Dr. Pye Smith's specification of the elements of suffering, is strikingly like that of President Edwards, both in the limit recognised. "He suffered in such a manner as a being perfectly holy could suffer" (p. 41), and in the moral nature assigned to the suffering, as arising from holiness and love realising the evil of sin, and intensely interested in those who were its victims, (p. 42.) The elements which Dr. Payne finds in our Lord's sufferings, are also intense views of the evil of sin, combined with the withholding of counterbalancing support (p. 181);--and, though he speaks of 88 the "penal elements" in our Lord's cup of suffering, and recognises the withholding of those manifestations of supreme complacency in His character and conduct which He had previously enjoyed, as in itself a most distressing testimony of the divine anger against sin, and probably implied in the language of the prophet, "It pleased the Father to bruise Him," which thought he adopts from Dr. Dwight, he proceeds to object to Dr. Dwight's representing the hidings of God's face as implying "the suffering of His hatred and contempt," saying, "No sober minded man can admit this. The fact of the case most unquestionably is, that the Father did not despise Him,--was not angry with Him when He hung on the cross. Never, indeed, did He regard Him with such ineffable complacency. How then could He manifest that displeasure which did not exist?" (p. 182.) Dr. Jenkyns says, as what he regards as a mitigation of Christ's sufferings, (as to which, he rather says what they were not, than what they were),--"His sufferings were not a punishment. His consciousness of personal rectitude, and His confidence in His Father, never forsook Him. In the darkest hour of His anguish, His assurance of God's approbation and acceptance was in the highest exercise,--'Father,' He said, "into thy hands I commend my spirit.' " (p. 292.)

My quotations are necessarily brief, but the references will guide those who may be disposed to verify the correctness of the impressions which these quotations convey. What remains with me, after fully weighing all that either school of Calvinists have felt warranted to present to our faith in picturing the actual elements of the sufferings of Christ, is the conviction, that they have not ventured to assume anything as to the actual consciousness of Christ in suffering, or as to the actual mind of the Father towards Him, while it pleased 89 the Father so to bruise Him, or as to His own apprehension of the light in which His Father saw Him, in His dealing with the Father, and the Father's dealing with Him in reference to our sins, which at all accords, either with the older idea of guilt being imputed to Him, and therefore wrath going forth upon Him--the wrath due to guilt--or, the new idea of His being treated as if He were guilty, as if He were a transgressor. Elements of great sufferings are specified,--by some with more definiteness than by others; the former writers also giving more prominence to the Saviour's sense of the eternal misery to which sin had subjected sinners;--the latter, more to His sense of the sin itself;--elements of suffering are specified, all of them at least conceivable,--of suffering, some call infinitely, others, indefinitely great. But however these accord, and they do, so far as they go, accord with the idea of sacrificial atoning suffering, they do not accord with the penal character ascribed to them. Yet this penal character ascribed to these sufferings, without necessity as respects their own nature,--I believe in contradiction to their own nature,--is that very thing which had originated the difficulty as to the universality of the atonement; and, as appears to me, leaves it a difficulty on the system of the modern, as much as of the elder Calvinists.

But, my objection to the conception of rectoral or public justice, as that in which the necessity for the atonement has originated, is much more serious than its inadequacy to remove difficulties as to the universality of the atonement. My great objection is that, equally with the view for which it is offered as a substitute, it takes a limited, and,--in respect of the important elements which it leaves out of account,--an erroneous view of what the atonement was intended to accomplish.


If my readers have entered into my objections to the mere legal character of the atonement, as we see it in the system of the elder Calvinists, they will see that, in respect of these objections, the modified Calvinism has no advantage. An atonement which has conferred on those with reference to whom it was made a legal standing of innocence, as having had their guilt already punished, and of righteousness as having a righteousness already wrought out for them; and an atonement whose result is merely to lay a foundation on which God may proceed to pardon sin, and to treat as righteous, are alike purely legal atonements, that is, atonements, the whole character of which is determined by man's relation to the divine law.

Dr. Wardlaw asks,--man having sinned, "what is to be done? The unconditional absolution of the transgressor would be a flagrant outrage on the claims of retributive justice;--his annihilation would be a tacit evasion of these claims,--while, if the law has its course, and the demands of justice are satisfied by the infliction of its penalty, he is lost for ever,--eternal life forfeited, and eternal death endured. Here, then, is the place for atonement,--what is it?" (p. 10.) He then, quoting from Dr. Alexander, says,--"In its simplest form the problem of a religion may be expressed thus: Given a Supreme Deity, the Creator and Governor of all things, and an intelligent creature in a state of alienation and estrangement from his Creator;--to determine the means whereby a reconciliation may be effected, and the creature restored to the favour and service of God." This statement of the question he adopts--adding, "The problem to be solved is this. How may this be accomplished honourably to the character and government of the Supreme Ruler?" He then quotes several definitions of atonement, among 91 these, this from Dr. Jenkyns, "Atonement is an expedient substituted in the place of the literal infliction of the penalty, so as to supply the government just and good grounds for dispensing favours to an offender;"--and this from Andrew Puller, "That a way was opened by the mediation of Christ, for the free and consistent exercise of mercy in all the ways which sovereign wisdom saw fit to adopt." The definitions are all to the same effect, and all accord with what I have said of the legal character ascribed to the atonement,--so that, retrospectively, it but meets a demand that pertains to the character of God as a Lawgiver, and prospectively, is related to the mercy He may manifest, only in the way of making such manifestation of mercy consistent with the interests of His moral government, and promotive of them.

But the problem which the work of God in Christ solves, however it includes, goes far beyond that stated by Dr. Alexander, or recognised in these definitions. In the light of the Gospel we see, that our need of salvation, and our capacity of salvation as contemplated by the Father of our spirits, involved the problem,--not "how we sinners could be pardoned and reconciled, and mercy be extended to us;'' but, "how it could come to pass, that we, God's offspring, being dead, should be alive again, being lost, should be found." "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem us who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." It was as employed "in bringing many sons to glory, that, it became Him, of whom are all things, and by whom, are all things, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Nothing can illustrate the way in which this purely legal view of the atonement works, and what is its 92 development, better than the conclusions at which Dr. Wardlaw has arrived, and which he expresses in commenting upon the words "to put away sin." "The expression is significantly general. And, for my own part, I am unable to discover any valid objection to our stating the design of the atonement in this form: That it was an atonement for sin, an atonement whose value was so unlimited, so strictly and properly infinite, that on the ground of its merits, had God willed it, fallen angels might have been saved as well as fallen men; nay, had there been a thousand rebel worlds, the inhabitants of them all." (p. 107.) Thus he concludes,--contemplating the atonement as simply a grand moral display, illustrative of God's condemnation of sin and delight in holiness. And such a display it undoubtedly is,--but it is much more than this--neither is it even this healthfully and truly, apart from those specialities in man's condition, and from that divine purpose concerning man, by which its nature and character have been determined. How different from this abstract atonement for sin, is the specific reference to the condition of human spirits in the words, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit."

The objection to both forms of Calvinism on the ground of the narrow and exclusively legal basis on which the necessity for atonement is placed, is instructively illustrated by the relation in which the atonement is represented as standing to justification by faith. We may here take President Edwards as the representative of the earlier Calvinism, and Dr. Payne as the representative of the modified Calvinism.


Both Edwards and Payne regard the work of Christ as the meritorious ground of justification. Both regard faith as that by which the individual is so connected with that work as to be justified on the ground of it. Both are alike solicitous to exclude the faith present in justification from being itself in any measure included in the ground of that justification; while, at the same time, both regard this faith as what has a rightness in itself, and as what is due from man as the right reception of the gospel. Payne, indeed, treats faith more as an intellectual act that Edwards does. But, still, he objects to putting it on a footing with the ordinary case of belief under the power of evidence; in doing which he thinks some others have erred. The difference between their several systems is connected with the idea of imputation. As Edwards holds man's guilt to have been imputed to Christ when He suffered for sin, so he holds Christ's righteousness to be imputed to believers, making them personally righteous in God's sight,--which imputation he holds, not only to clothe their persons, determining the complacency with which God regards them, but also, all their virtues and graces, giving them a value beyond their intrinsic value. Payne on the other hand, as he rejects the conception of imputation of guilt, rejects also that of imputation of righteousness, and holds, "that to be in a justified state, is not either to be pronounced just, or to be made actually just,--for both are impossible in the case of a sinner,--but it is to be treated as if we were just: or rather, perhaps, to be in the state of those whom God declares that He will treat as if they were just, i. e., it is to be in the faith of Christ; for the divine declaration is, that believers are the persons who shall be treated as if they were just." (p. 333.)

Whatever difficulty attaches to the idea of imputation, 94 this way of escaping from it is to me very unsatisfactory. The idea "that guilt and innocence or sin and righteousness are transferable in their effects but untransferable in themselves,'' which underlies the whole system of modern Calvinism on this subject, and is the ground on which Dr. Payne, while rejecting the expression "imputation," continues to use "treated as if,'' seems to be tenable, if tenable at all, only if we exclude from our consideration all the more important effects of sin and righteousness.

As respects the sinner's relation to God, the effect of sin which is most important is, the displeasure awakened in the divine mind. But, Christ is not held to have been really the object of the divine displeasure through the relation in which He stood to us and our sins, however, expressions have been used which, apart from the details offered in explanation, might seem to contain that assertion; and Dr. Payne has not only asserted the very opposite to have been the case, but has asked, and the question is unanswerable,--"How could God manifest that displeasure which did not exist?" Neither God's displeasure, nor, therefore, anything expressing God's displeasure, are we to conceive of as included in the alleged transferred effects of sin. But what in all our Lord's sufferings can be rightly spoken of as "transferred effects of sin"? were not these sufferings in their nature altogether determined by what He was who suffered? and is not the fact that Christ's sufferings were in reality the effects of holiness and love, and not transferred effects of sin,--discernible in all the attempts which we have seen made to specify the elements of His sufferings?

But, are the effects of righteousness more transferable? It is, indeed, far less repulsive to think of these as transferred to us than to think of the effects of sin as transferred to Christ; as it is also far less repulsive 95 to think of Christ's righteousness as imputed to us than to think of our sin as imputed to Christ,--to think of God as well pleased with us for Christ's sake than to think of God as contemplating Christ with displeasure for our sake. But are the effects of righteousness transferable any more than the effects of sin? The root matter here is God's favour, as there it was His displeasure. Is the favour of God--that favour which is life--thus transferable? nay, is any real fruit of righteousness as respects the experience of the human spirit in its relation to God, and intercourse with Him; or in its relation to man, and what man is to man through love; or in the mind's self-consciousness, and inward peace and harmony,--is any real fruit of righteousness in any of these aspects of the subject--and these are the fundamental and alone important aspects of it--transferable any more than righteousness itself? or, are any of these at all separable from righteousness? If, indeed, we descend to a lower region, it is at least intelligible how certain benefits may be conceived of as conferred for Christ's sake--though it would be far from correct to speak of these as ''effects of righteousness transferred," or, of their bestowal upon us as a treating us as if we were righteous. But is there place for anything so outward as this in the matter of justification? Surely, a justification which does not introduce into the divine favour, into the light of the divine countenance, is no justification at all.

The strict maintenance of the idea of imputation enables Edwards to give to the expression, "for Christ's sake," an amplitude of meaning that, as respects justification, may seem to meet all the exigences of the subject. If God sees us as clothed with the righteousness of Christ, he may be conceived of as smiling on us with the smile of favour proper to that righteousness: and 96 to this the faith of the elder Calvinists rose. But, if this idea of imputation is given up, then, whatever else may be supposed to be given for Christ's sake, nothing that is suggested by the words "the favour of God which rests upon Christ," can be conceived of as so given.

Dr. Payne quotes Mr. Bennet as "having happily and satisfactorily shewn, that 'the practice of conferring favours upon many, from regard to, and as an expression of approbation of, some eminently distinguished individual,' may be regarded as a law of the divine government: while, on the other hand, the procedure supposed, viz. CONSIDERING a person what he really is not, and then TREATING him as if he HAD been what he is not, has no analogy in any part of the divine conduct." (p. 263.) No doubt this is true. But we must not forget the high region in which we now are, and that, not of secondary gifts, but of that life which lies in God's favour, are we speaking. This we receive through Christ, or we receive nothing; and in reference to this, any correct use of the expression, "for Christ's sake," must have a far higher meaning than these analogies furnish. Abraham believed God, and was called the friend of God, and his descendants received many favours for his sake;--but were they for his sake "friends of God," or "treated as friends of God," apart from their participation in that reality in respect of which he was the friend of God? "They who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."

Edwards ascribes the place which faith has in justification simply to this, that it connects the individual with Christ. Payne says, "If we are justified solely on the ground of the perfect work of Christ, there is nothing to prevent the justification of all men, without a single thought or act on their part, but the rectoral character and relation of Jehovah, which renders it 97 necessary that some rule of justification should be enacted, that the justice of the Divine Being may be rendered apparent by His bestowing it upon those, and those only, who comply with that rule. Now, it is manifest that any requisition (and it must be a requisition on account of the rectoral character of God) would secure this object; it might be love, for instance." But to this, i. e., making it love, the objection, he says, would be, that this justification might appear to be by works, but faith is not liable to this objection, because it "cannot be confounded with fulfilling the law." Yet Dr. Payne has just been employed in objecting, and not without reason, to the idea, that faith is as it were a new law. Now certainly there is no conception of the relation of faith to justification which seems so fitted to suggest that objectionable idea as the conception which Dr. Payne has expressed in the words just quoted:--for if faith is a requisition, compliance with which is required that the justice of the Divine Being may be rendered apparent in His distinguishing of individuals in the bestowal of justification, then what is more natural than to feel that the new law of faith is that under which we are, compliance with which is righteously acknowledged by including us in the number who shall be treated for Christ's sake as if they were righteous, and non-compliance with which shall infer condemnation? That it seems to Dr. Payne that the moral Governor of the Universe was "free to adopt any rule--only it must be some fixed and declared rule," indicates a greater departure from the consideration of the nature of the case than I can well understand. Surely the conception of Edwards, that faith is connected with justification, because it connects with Christ, commends itself much more,--as it also is, in my apprehension, more fitted to secure the end--which both seek to attain, 98 viz. that the meritorious work of Christ should be really the believer's felt ground of confidence towards God, and not his own faith. It may seem, indeed, as if this were secured on Dr. Payne's system by its being a part of the gospel believed, that the work of Christ was the meritorious ground of justification,--as well as on President Edwards' system, by its being a part of the gospel believed, that we are made righteous and are accepted because of the imputation of Christ's righteousness; and, no doubt, in strictness of thought it is a contradiction to say, that I am trusting to Christ's work as the ground on which God treats me as if I were righteous, and, at the same time, that I esteem my own faith that ground, as well as it is a contradiction to say, that I am trusting to the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and, at the same time, to my own faith. But I cannot in either case forget that my faith is that which has individualised me,--and the remembrance of this is, as it seems to me, less likely to produce a self-righteous feeling, if I am thinking of myself as clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and in the mind of the Father identified with Christ, than if I am thinking of myself as by my faith introduced into the circle of those with whom, according to the rule of government which He has revealed, God will, for Christ's sake, deal as if they were righteous. For, in proportion as faith is contemplated as a requisition made in order that it may be the basis of a judgment, and is not felt to be simply the natural and necessary link connecting us with Christ, there is an opening afforded for the coming in of self-righteousness.

But the fear about self-righteousness arises entirely from not seeing, that the true protection from self-righteousness is found in the very nature of faith. The true faith precludes self-righteousness, because that 99 which it apprehends is the Father revealed by the Son. He who beholds the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, is saved from self-righteousness by the native power on his spirit of the glory which he beholds. He is in the presence of the true God, truly known, and "no flesh shall glory in His presence." It is an error to hold the connexion between faith and justification to be arbitrary, but it is a deeper error not to see, that faith excludes boasting, not by the arrangements of a scheme, but by its being the knowledge of the true God. To take precautions that the confidence towards God which arises in faith shall not be self-righteous, is to me as monstrous as it would be to take precautions that light should not be darkness. Indeed, this is the very thing which, in taking such precautions, is done--done in reference to the highest, the absolute light--the light of eternal life.

This serious error would never have been fallen into, if the atonement had been seen in its prospective relation to the gift of eternal life in Christ, and as that by which God has bridged over the gulf between what we were through sin, and what, in the yearnings of His Father's heart over us, He desired to make us. "This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Less than our being alive in that eternal life which is sonship, could not satisfy the Father of our spirits; nor, as orphan spirits, as in our alienation from God we are, would less than the gift of that life have met our need. And the faith which apprehends this gift as given, excludes boasting, because it occupies the spirit, not with itself, but with the gift which it apprehends. For the gift is given; and he that understands what it is, and apprehends it as given, is altogether filled with the excellent grace wherein he stands, rejoicing in it, and conforming himself to it; 100 and thus, seeing the Father as He is revealed by the Son, and apprehending the Son as the living way to the Father, and as the Lord of his spirit, he welcomes the Son to reign in his heart, and in the spirit of the Son cries, "Abba, Father." And the confidence towards the Father in which he so worships, is not only sustained by the faith of the Father's delight in the perfection of sonship as it is in Christ, but also belongs to the very nature of the spirit of sonship, as it is a response to the Fatherliness that is in God; for the feeblest cry of faith is a cry in Christ, and one with and a part of that which is in its absolute perfection in Christ; sharing in His preciousness to the heart of the Father. So sharing, not through any process of fiction or imputation--as men have spoken--but through a process strictly natural, and which commends itself to us as inevitable.

Now, because of the very near approach to this which is in the conception of Edwards, though the legal light in which he has so exclusively seen the atonement has kept him intellectually (though I do not think spiritually) away from it, I would prefer the language of Edwards, notwithstanding the tone of legal fiction which it has, to what, in seeking to avoid fiction. Dr. Payne and others have substituted. It is really true, that he that comes to God in Christ, comes invested with the interest to the Father's heart of that sonship in which he comes, and finds that sonship a living way to the Father--an actual getting near to God. Therefore, rightly in his own thoughts, because truly in the Father's thoughts, is such a worshipper as one on whom that very favour rests, which rests upon Christ. So that I cannot help feeling, in reading President Edwards' representations of the way in which Christ's righteousness invests with its own dignity and worth, not only the persons, but the feeblest graces of 101 those who are in Christ by faith, that what he says is substantially true, must be true, although not in the way of the fiction of an imputation; and I am persuaded that, if he had seen the atonement as that by which the Father of spirits bridges over the gulf between the condition of rebellious, alienated children, and the condition of reconciled children trusting in the Father's heart, and reposing on His love, instead of seeing it in the legal aspect in which he has so exclusively viewed it, he would have conceived truly, and spoken unobjectionally, of God's imputation of righteousness, and of our acceptance for Christ's sake,--as we have seen Luther does.

Dr. Payne may feel that this standing of sonship given in Christ, and revealed for faith to apprehend and enter upon, is uable to the objection that he urges against the idea that the atonement confers legal rights; which idea, while it has had acceptance with others, appears to him destructive of the grace of the Gospel. And, no doubt, if the absoluteness with which God bestows a gift, leaving it for him on whom it is bestowed simply that he should receive it and use it according to its nature--if this takes from the free grace of God in bestowing, the objection lies equally against anything actually given, and as to which it is not merely the fact that God has put it in His own power to give it if it should please Him. But Dr. Payne himself is not able so to order his words as to escape all the objectionableness that he finds in the language of others. As the most guarded and unexceptionable statement he can offer of the relation of Faith to Justification, he says, "Faith justifies by bringing an individual into that body, to every individual of which the blessing of justification is secured by the promise, and covenant, and oath of God." (p. 322.) But wherein does the having a thing through faith "secured to me by 102 the promise, and covenant, and oath of God," differ from having through faith a legal right conferred on me. He quotes Bishop Hopkins, as using the language of right in pleading with God on the ground of the work of Christ, and contrasts his expressions with those of David, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;" and no doubt the contrast is striking and instructive. But the oath of God, that if we comply with the required condition of faith He will treat us as if we were righteous, might justify, in the believer, the language of which Dr. Payne complains, as well as the doctrine of legal right objected to, David's language--the language of true faith--the language of the spirit of Christ in man--is, and ever must be, free from all legal taint, simply because it is the language of truth, expressing in him who is led by the spirit of truth, a confidence in harmony with the truth of things--a confidence in which confession of sin is combined with filial trust in the Father's heart.

No part of this system presents a more instructive development of the working of this conception of rectoral justice,--and of rectoral justice, not only as distinct from fatherly love, but also from absolute justice as contemplated by Edwards,--than the arbitrary character already noticed as ascribed by Dr. Payne to the relation of faith to justification. For while the relation of faith to sanctification is recognised as a relation in the nature of things, its relation to justification is held to be arbitrary--and, in connexion with this distinction. Dr. Payne objects to Dr. Russell's saying that, "the whole efficacy of faith in the matter of justification arises from its object.'' To this Dr. Payne objects, as embodying "the error of forgetting that man needs a change of state as well 103 as a change of character," i. e.. justification as well as sanctification. I would quite object to regarding such a change of state as amounts only to the "being treated as if we were righteous," had such a thing been possible, as at all filling up the words "from being unjust becoming just." But the truth is, that the relation of faith to justification is as absolutely one in the nature of things as its relation to sanctification. The purpose of God that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Christ, has a far deeper and more perfect fulfillment than this scheme recognises; and to understand that fulfilment, we must learn with Luther to conceive aright of that glory for Himself in man which God contemplated when He proposed to justify the ungodly by faith. We must discern the relation in which the human spirit has come to stand to the Father of spirits, when man is apprehending and believing the testimony of God, that He has given to us eternal life in His Son,--we must see the glory that God has in this faith--how, where it exists, God is in His true place in the heart of man, and man is in his true place in relation to God--how man has come to be nothing--how God is now all in all--how all trust in the flesh, all self-righteousness has ceased to be--how trust in the Father's heart has come into being, and is the commenced breathing of the breath of eternal life. Of this which faith is accomplishing in the human spirit, of this which is the glory which God has in our having faith in His Son, we must have some discernment, that we may understand how God is just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. If the weakness and scanty measure of this faith, as it is found in those that believe, render what Luther calls God's imputation necessary,--if, in order that the righteousness of God in our acceptance may be 104 fully discerned, the nature and development of faith, as these are seen in Christ, must be considered rather than the measure of our faith,--this we can understand. For we may say that the dawn of the life of Christ in us is to the heart of the Father but a hope and promise, as the infant is to the parent the promise of the future man. The illustration is indeed imperfect, because this dawning life is Christ in us, of whose fulness we are receiving. But the important point is, that the joy of the heart of the Father over those who are alive to Him through faith in the Son, is simply and purely joy in the reality of the life of sonship quickened in them, and is not sustained by anything of the nature of fiction or imputation; and that it is in this view of what in faith is accomplished as to the real living relation of man to God, that we are to see the justification of God in man's justification by faith. For do we not feel that, if the Eternal Father is satisfied, then must the Judge of all the earth be satisfied,--that the provision which secures the fulfilment of the longings of the Father's heart, must secure the highest ends of rectoral government? "My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found"--answers all things.

Dr. Payne teaches that "the judicial sentence is not revealed to the conscience, but contained in the Scriptures," that sentence being, "that all who believe in the Son of God are justified." And this he teaches both in opposition to the doctrine of the eternal justification of the elect, and to that of an act of God in reference to the individual taking place in time, according to the definition of the Assembly's Catechism, (p. 234-239.)

It accords with his conception of the relation between faith and justification as being arbitrary, that the justified should have no other knowledge of their being justified than as an inference from their having 105 complied with the arbitrary condition revealed. But if the faith that justifies be the faith that apprehends the gift of sonship, and cries, Abba, Father, then must justification be revealed in the conscience--even there where condemnation had been revealed, and where need of justification had been revealed. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of His." "As many as are led by the spirit of God they are the sons of God," and, "the spirit beareth witness with our spirits that we are the sons of God." This is equally remote from the assumption of a special personal revelation of the fact of justification, and from resting in an inference from the declarations of Scripture, that those who believe are justified; for what it amounts to is simply this,--that in "counting faith for righteousness" God recognises it as what it truly is,--and therefore, that He not only in His own mind pronounces this condition of faith our right condition, but also by His spirit utters this judgment in our own hearts.

Let us trace one step further the different developments of the faith of an atonement which merely meets the demands of divine justice, either absolute, or rectoral; and of the faith of an atonement through which we have the adoption of sons.

The faith that apprehends the gift of eternal life, is eternal life commenced. The faith that apprehends the gift of the Son, utters itself in the cry, Abba, Father: Therefore, in the deepest sense, the Son of God has left us an example that we should walk in His steps. In the highest path that our spirits are called to tread, that is to say, in our intercourse with the Father of spirits, the foot-prints of Jesus are to guide us; our confidence is to be the fellowship of His confidence; our worship, the fellowship of His worship:--for sonship is that worship, in spirit and in truth, which the Father seeketh.


But if, according to the system of the earlier Calvinists, we draw near to God in the confidence of the legal standing given to us in Christ, and not as drawn to God and emboldened by the Fatherliness of the Father's heart revealed by the Son; or if, according to the system of the later Calvinists, we draw near, having mental reference to an atonement which has furnished a ground on which God may skew us mercy, and not in the light of an atonement by which we see ourselves redeemed from the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, then is our walk with God,--if such it can be called,--no longer a being led by the spirit of Christ, neither are our spiritual steps in His foot-prints;--for our experience is no repetition of, no fellowship in His experience, nor the breathing of our new life the free breathing of the life of sonship,

I have given to this modified Calvinism a large space, but not larger than the acceptance which it has met with may justify. It has necessarily arisen from the purpose with which I have noticed it, that I have dwelt on that in it to which I object, rather than on that in it with which I agree;--but I cannot pass on without bearing testimony to the clearness and power with which its teachers expose much of that which is untenable in the earlier Calvinism, especially on the subject of the extent of the atonement. But, as I have endeavoured to shew, what is negative is more satisfactory than what is positive--their breaking down than their building up. They have shed no light on the nature of the atonement that renders their faith in the universality of the atonement more consistent than that of the Arminians, with whom Dr. Owen contended; still less have they done anything towards freeing the doctrine of the atonement from its exclusively legal character, or that has connected it 107 more intelligently with the purpose of God in redeeming us who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. So that whatever foundation for a trust in God's mercy this system may offer, it may be said as truly of it as of the earlier Calvinism, that strictly adhered adhered to, and all consciousness that does not exactly accord with it being rejected, our walking in the footsteps of the Son in His intercourse with the Father,--in other words, our participation in the life of sonship, and all direct dealing on our part with the Father's heart as the Father's heart,--in other words, all experimental knowledge of God, would become impossible.

I say "strictly adhered to." But in truth, in men's actual, living dealing with God, neither form of Calvinism, however it may have possession of the intellect, affects the spirit of Christ; whose identity as in the head and in the members abides,--whose cry, Abba, Father, is one and the same as to the nature of the confidence which that cry expresses, being alike faith in the heart of the Father, whether as that is perfect in the eternal Son who ever dwells in the bosom of the Father, or as it is quickened by Him in those to whom He reveals the Father, giving them power to be the sons of God.

But a true conception of the work of Christ must be in perfect harmony with the nature of that eternal life--the life of sonship--which is given to us in Christ. The atonement by which the way into the holiest is opened to us, must accord with what that living way is, and with what it is to draw near to God in that way. The sacrifice for sin by which the worshippers are sanctified, must accord with the nature of the worship--that worship which is the response of the Spirit of the Son to the Father: God is a Spirit; and they that worship


Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth,--the Father seeketh such to worship Him.

The persuasion of being in some measure in that light as to the nature of the atonement in which this unity is seen; the desire to teach what I seem to myself to have been taught; the hope to be enabled of God so to do;--these are the feelings under the influence of which I am now writing.--I have dwelt so long on what others have taught, believing that it would appear that they have not made my present endeavour superfluous, and hoping so far to secure the interest of my readers, that they will at least feel that further light is desirable, whether a ray of such further light be in these pages or not.

But that no misconception may be entertained as to the sense in which I use the word "desirable," I may state here first, what light I recognise the atonement to have shed on men's minds, even while it has been, as appears to me, so imperfectly understood; and further, what there has been in the means of grace which men have been enjoying, to make up for the short coming that has been in their apprehension of the atonement, and even to neutralise practically elements of error.

As to the first point, it is clear that these two rays of divine light have been shed on the spirits of all who have believed in the atonement, in whichever of the forms of thought which we have been considering, or in whatever kindred form of thought it has been present to their minds,--viz. 1st, the exceeding evil and terrible nature of sin; and 2nd, the pure and free nature, as well as infinite greatness of the love of God. I mean that the human spirit that saw the atonement in relation to itself, has, of necessity, been filled with an awful sense of the evil of sin, and with an overwhelming sense of the love of God.


That the atonement should tell with its full power as to the latter of these, (and indeed as to both), the use of the pronoun "our," which Luther so insists on, must be known. But with some of this power, and that power increasing as the approach to personal appropriation has been nearer, must the atonement ever have been realised by human spirits. Of the cords of love by which God is felt to draw us when the atonement is believed, Gambold has said, "When we learn, that God, the very Maker of heaven and earth, in compassion to us fallen and wretched creatures, (who did no more answer the law of our creation,) and to make propitiation for our sins, came down, conversed, suffered, and died as a real meek man in this world; that by the merit of this act we might be everlastingly relieved, pardoned, and exalted to greater privileges than we had lost: what must be the effect, but an overwhelming admiration, an agony of insolvent gratitude, and prostration of our spirit in the dust before our Benefactor?"

Nor is the power of the atonement to impart an awful sense of the evil of sin less certain, and that, not only as testifying to the divine judgment on sin, but also as by the excellence of pure unselfish love which it vindicates for God, awakening in the human spirit the sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin as rebellion against God.

But further, not only have these rays of the light that is in the atonement been reaching men's spirits even when that doctrine has been most clouded; much also of that light of life which is in the atonement, which men from their limited or erroneous views of its nature have failed to receive from it directly, they have still, so to speak, had refracted to them from the writings of those inspired teachers, who themselves were in 110 its full light. In this way, though not seen in the atonement itself, perceptions of God's purpose for man as revealed in Christ have been attained, which men have proceeded to add to their system, and even to connect with the atonement, though not as its due development and what its very nature implied.

Thus, with the earlier Calvinists, while that legalism which was in their views of the work of Christ, hindered, as we have seen, their perceptions of the relation between the atonement and the law of the spirit of the life that is in Christ; viz. sonship, still,
the purpose of God that we should be sons of God, was recognised as taught in the Scriptures, and adoption was both added to justification in the system formed, and also connected with the atonement as a part of what Christ's work had purchased for those for whom He had given Himself. So also of sanctification, and of all things, in short, pertaining to life and to godliness; they were all recognised as entering into God's gracious purpose in Christ, and as received through Christ,--and were also connected with the atonement as purchased by it, though this connexion was in an arbitrary way; the real connexion between the atonement and the eternal life given in Christ not being understood.

So also in the modem Calvinism, although the necessity for, and nature of the atonement, are exclusively referred to the character of God as a moral governor, bound by the obligations of rectoral justice, a large benevolence, not to say a Fatherly heart, is recognised as availing itself of the removal of the legal obstacle to its outflowing.

The history of Christianity affords many illustrations of the divine life that abides in the disjecta membra--the fragmentary portions of divine truth, and which so 111 vindicates its divine character in spite, not only of men's misarrangements, but even of the admixture of error. This power, which is seen to belong to portions of truth put out of the place they have in the divine counsel, and even mixed with error, is mainly to be referred to conscience, and the light that is from God in every man; for great as are the obligations of conscience to the Scriptures, not less assuredly are those of the Scriptures to conscience, by which men's power to pervert the Scriptures has been partly limited and partly neutralised. But this comforting fact is also partly to be referred to the awe with which the Scriptures are regarded, and which forbids the practical contradiction of them in those who use them reverently as a lamp for their feet and a light for their path; and this even where practical conformity with the Scriptures is practical contradiction to men's own systems. Thus, however conclusive the arguments of Dr. Payne or Dr. Jenkyns appear, when exposing the wrong footing before God on which sinners are made to stand, when taught to think of all they ask as what they have a legal vested right to obtain, the serious and devout among those who hold the doctrine objected to, are not found to be in consequence less lowly, or humble, or less frequent in the use of the most heart-broken pleadings of the psalms in their actual intercourse with God. Thus also are the conclusions we would draw, as to the results of believing that Christ died only for some, seemingly practically contradicted by the love to all men by which many are seen animated who have adopted that error. Thus again are antinomian systems seen combined with tenderness of conscience, and the anxious desire for entire conformity with the will of God. These facts arise, I say, partly from the power of conscience, and partly from this divine excellence in 112 the Scriptures, that, being pervaded by the truth of the will of God, in all variety of form, as doctrine, precept, example, that truth, though excluded by a wrong system from portions of the word, meets the human spirit at other points; and, so, the practical teaching of an apostle may neutralise a misconception on our part as to his doctrines, or an error as to one doctrine be counteracted by the full reception of another:--a misapprehension, for example, of that which is taught when it is said, that "God justifies the ungodly who believe,'' by the apprehension that "without holiness no man may see God."

Yet are we not on this account the less earnestly to labour to attain to the apprehension of the unity and simplicity of truth. Therefore, while we should be thankful for the power which the atonement has over men's spirits, even when only partially understood and in part misconceived of, and thankful that justification, adoption, and sanctification are recognised in men's systems, though the relation in which these stand to the atonement be artificial rather than natural, yet should we feel it desirable to attain, if it may be, to that fuller apprehension of the great work of God in Christ which will render it to us a full-orbed revelation of God, and a manifestation, not of the rectitude of the moral Governor of the universe merely, but of the heart of the Eternal Father,---connecting itself naturally with our justification, adoption, and sanctification, and all that pertains to our participation in the eternal life which is the gift of the Father in the Son.

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