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MY conception of the nature of the atonement, and of its relation to the remission of sins and the gift of eternal life, being now before my readers, I might stop here, and leave it to receive that measure of consideration which, in the naked statement of it, it may be felt to claim for itself. If it come with that self-evidencing light to others, with which it has come to me, it will not only commend itself as the truth, but also, by its light, reveal the root of error in any erroneous view which it may find in possession of the mind. Yet I cannot conclude without pointedly directing attention to some of the aspects in which it contrasts with the system with which it will be most compared.

1. Understanding the words, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God," to be the key to the atonement, and to contemplate that Eternal Will of God, in respect of the nature of which it is true that "God is love;" and that therefore the doing of this will by Christ is to be seen in this, that love was the law of the spirit of the life that was in Him; which took form in its outcomings according to its own nature, and as the path in which the Father led Him gave it development and manifestation,--the conception of the atonement received in tracing the work of redemption, has been full of light.

For, however imperfectly I have executed the high task which I have attempted, I hope it has been felt 315 that the path in which I have led the reader has been one in which the mind has advanced in conscious light. I do not, of course, mean the light of the conviction that what I have set forth as the atonement, has been the atonement; this has been my own consciousness, and may, I trust, have been that of many of my readers: but I mean a conviction distinct from this, and which, I hope, has been felt even when that further conviction may not have been imparted, viz., the conviction that all the elements of the work of Christ stated, were really present in that work; are seen clearly to have arisen out of the life that was in Him; and are all what, in the light of that life, we can as to their nature understand, though their measure be beyond the grasp of our capacity. For this has been so, whether these elements in the work of Christ do, or do not, constitute its atoning virtue.

Now this is an important point of contrast between what has now been taught, and the conception of the atonement as Christ's being, in respect of the imputation of our sins, the object of the Father's wrath; and so bearing, as our substitute, the punishment of our sins. Whatever light may be recognised in that system as shining from the work of Christ's as a whole, the great central fact in it is so represented, as to remain necessarily shrouded in darkness. But what our Lord would feel in bearing our sins as His doing so has now been represented, we can in measure enter into; and that, too, a measure which must enlarge, as the life of Christ progresses in us: while, as to its fulness, as it is our blessedness, in contemplating the work of our redemption, to be occupied with the height, and depth, and breadth, and length of a love which passes knowledge; so is it also to an experience of suffering and self-sacrifice on our behalf, which passes knowledge, 316 that our faith is directed; the measure as the nature of Christ's sufferings being that of the divine love which experienced them.

But the difference is immense, even the difference between light and darkness, between knowing in measure what passeth knowledge, and not knowing at all: and this, and nothing less, is the difference between, knowing, as to their nature, the elements of Christ's sufferings, being ourselves called to the fellowship of them, and knowing nothing of their nature at all. And, assuredly, whatever elements of Christ's sufferings are still held to be what we are to understand, and to share in, that special suffering which was proper to the assumed consciousness of having our sin imputed to Him, and its punishment inflicted on Him; that which is represented as the personal sense of the Father's wrath coming out on Him personally,--the wrath of God coming forth on the Son of His love: this is, and must be to us, simply darkness--a horror of darkness, without one ray of light.

The conception that Christ suffered as our substitute--so by His suffering superseding the necessity for our suffering, itself implies that the sufferings of His which such expressions contemplate, must remain in the nature unknown to us; an experience in our Lord's humanity which, though it has been an experience in humanity, we have not been intended to share in: a conception that seems to me improbable in the bare statement of it. For an experience of the Son of God in humanity not within reach of man's vision as partaking in the divine nature, is to me what there is a strong presumption against. How much that deeply-meditating believer in Christ, President Edwards, has ventured to expect in the way of understanding the elements of Christ's sufferings, we have seen above; 317 while we have also seen how unsuited to his conception of their being penal sufferings, the sufferings which he has specified are, though altogether in accordance with the conception of the atonement now advocated. But all beyond what he has thus specified, which the words "the Father's wrath," may be expected to suggest, however awful it must be supposed to be, must be felt to remain--necessarily to remain--unconceived of. Men's minds are indeed accustomed to this darkness as resting upon the central point in the great work of redemption. Yet surely it is a presumption in favour of the view of the atonement now taken, that it makes that central point no longer darkness, but light--the light of the life of Christ concentrated in His death; or rather present in His death, in a fulness which sheds back light on all His life.

;2. The life of Christ being the light of life to us, and the atonement being the form of that life, it must needs be light, and not darkness. That which sheds light on all else must needs be light in itself, and be visible in its own light; as we not only see all things by the light of the sun, but also the sun itself. Further, that in the nature of the atonement, which imparts to it this character of light, also imparts that of simplicity and unity.

Although I have found it necessary to consider the work of Christ in the two aspects of a dealing with man on the part of God, and with God on behalf of man; and in the two references of a retrospective relation to the remission of sins, and a prospective relation to the gift of eternal life; I trust the unity and simplicity and natural character of a life has been felt to belong to all that has been thus traced. It is all grace reigning through righteousness unto eternal life. All is in harmony with the purpose, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O


God;" and is its natural development terminating in its perfect accomplishment. An unbroken testimony on the part of the Father to the beloved Son in whom He is well pleased; an unbroken consciousness in the Son as hearing the Father's voice, abiding in the Father's love, strong in the strength of the life that is in the Father's favour, able to drink the cup of suffering given Him to drink because receiving it from His Father's hand, the last utterance of His inner life in man's hearing being the words in death, "Into thy hands, O Father, I commend my spirit;" from first to last the Son doing nothing of Himself all His speaking because of an inward hearing of the Father, all His works the doing of the Father that dwelleth in Him, all His strength the strength of faith, all His peace, all His joy,--peace and joy in conscious oneness with the Father, all His consolation in the prospect of desertion drawn from the assurance, that, though all forsake Him, He is not alone, because the Father is with Him; the bearing of the heavy burden of our sins, accomplished in the might of a hope sustained by the consciousness that what of pain they were to His heart, they were also to the Father's heart; that what of interest we were to His heart we were also to the Father's heart: therefore His separating between us and our sins. His intercession, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,"--a separating, an intercession, in the assurance of the response of the Father's righteous mercy:--in this I say is unity, and harmony, and divine simplicity. We can trace all this back to the purpose, "Lo, I come to do thy will." Had it been given to us to hear the expression of that purpose, and were it permitted to us to follow its fulfillment with a perfect spiritual vision, all would be seen to be in accordance with it, and to be made clear 319 to us, step by step, by its light. The path thus trode we should expect to find all lying within the light of the Father's favour; and it has been so. Suffering and sorrow we should not anticipate, apart from what we might understand of the nature of sin, with which the Son of God was come to deal in the might of the eternal righteousness; but for suffering and sorrow and self-sacrifice in accomplishing the end of righteous love, we should understand that love was prepared; and if any difficulty should be felt as to suffering coming to the holy One and the true, it must pass away,--I can only express my own experience by saying it has passed away, in contemplating these sufferings as they arise, and in considering and apprehending their nature; the unity with the Father out of which they spring, the unity with the Father in which they are born; and the justification of the Father in relation to them, in their divine fitness to accomplish the ends of the Father's love in sending the Son to do His will in humanity, and reveal His name to men,--even as they were thus justified to the sufferer Himself, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name."

What is thus seen endured in conscious oneness with the Father, as a necessary element in the Son's glorifying of the Father, and in the strength and with the comfort of the Father's acknowledgment, we can believe in as a cup which the Father gave the Son to drink, and which the Son welcomed from the Father's hand. But if we are asked to see the path which the Son is treading in doing the Father's will, declaring His name, as, at a certain point, passing out of the Father's favour into His wrath; and that a demand is made on us for the faith of a consciousness both in the


Father and in the Son, in their relation to each other, which would make this statement a reality: or if the conception be not that of transition,--but that we are asked to combine with the faith of a favour always resting upon the Son, the faith of a wrath from the Father as also proceeding forth upon Him; however other grounds for this faith may be urged, or whatever weight may be asserted for them--which question I am not at this moment considering--it is clear that the unity and harmony and natural character of what we have been contemplating as the fulfilment of the purpose, "Lo, I come to do thy will," is marred, and the commendation on this ground at least, of that which is presented to our faith, ceases.

3. This unity and simplicity and natural character of the atonement, contemplated as the form which the life of love in Christ took--the natural development of the incarnation--is still further commended to us by its imparting a corresponding unity and simplicity to the relation of the atonement to Christianity. If the atonement be the form which the eternal life took in Christ, that eternal life which the Father has given to us in the Son, then, as the atonement is the development of the incarnation, so is Christianity the development of the atonement; and this is only what the words, "I am the vine, ye are the branches," express.

The fitness of all the elements that have been now recognised as present in the personal consciousness of Christ in humanity in making His soul an offering for sin, to enter into the experience of Christians, and be the elements of their lives, must have been commending itself to the reader as we have proceeded. These elements of our Lord's consciousness as the rays of the light of the life that was in Him, have that relation to us and our state, that, shining in us in faith, they 321 necessarily reproduce themselves in us, that is, according to the measure of our faith; man and God, sin and holiness, becoming to us in the light of Christ what that light reveals them to be, and the confession of sin and the choice of holiness, self despair and trust in God, springing up in us: a confession of sin in unison with Christ's confession of our sins, a trust in God quickened by the faith of His trust in the Father on our behalf, and laying hold on that in the Father's heart on which His intercession laid hold. The atonement thus through faith reproduces its own elements in us, we being raised to the fellowship of that to which Christ descended in working out our salvation. "We are crucified with Christ" in actual consciousness, as we were in the death of Christ for us in the counsel and grace of the Father: "Nevertheless we live; yet not we but Christ in us."

Let our minds rest on this unity between the atonement and Christianity. How natural a sequel to the atonement is Christianity thus seen to be! Christ's work shared in through being trusted to, or rather trusted to with a trust which is of necessity a sharing in it. No need here to watch ourselves that we may not only trust to Christ, but also receive Him as our life; for in the light in which we are, these are but two forms of expression for one movement of our inner man. For, as I would ever keep before the reader's mind, trust in the work of Christ is, in its ultimate reference, trust in that fatherly heart in God which that work reveals, and such trust is the pulse and breath of our new life--the life of sonship.

But this natural relation of Christianity to the atonement, and which I believe to be a part of the simplicity which is in Christ, disappears when we would pass to Christianity from that other conception 322 of the work of redemption according to which the atonement and the life given to us in Christ are totally distinct and diverse in their nature; so that we are taught to keep them distinct in our thoughts, trusting to the one while we welcome the other.

To any seeking a clear, intelligent consciousness in religion, the complexity of this teaching appears to me to involve practical difficulties which have been unaccountably little felt. As to the sufferings of Christ, whatever sufferings of His may still be considered as what we are to share in, (and the words "if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him," must be held to imply that such sufferings there are,) it is clear, that sufferings assumed to have been the punishment of our sins, endured by Christ as our substitute, we cannot be intended to share in, not even though, as to their outward form and circumstances, they should be repeated in our history; for still they would not be sufferings endured as the wrath of God and the punishment of sin, inflicted on us as having the guilt of sin imputed to us. Indeed, were we to see one professing trust in Christ, suffering with this consciousness, we should feel that he was therein denying Christ, and making His death for sin of none effect. Therefore any consciousness that is ascribed to Christ, on the assumption of His being consciously bearing our sins as what the Father imputed to Him, and what drew forth the Father's wrath upon Him personally, must be excluded from what the example which Christ is to us comprises.

But even as to the righteousness of Christ as that is conceived of, how was He in fulfilling all righteousness, as His doing so is represented in this system, an example to us? He is supposed as one under the law, to be consciously engaged in meeting its demands, 323 working out a legal righteousness to be imputed to us. But this is not a consciousness which we are supposed to be called to share, being not under the law but under grace. So while His righteousness is represented as a perfect legal righteousness, it is as such put in opposition to the righteousness contemplated for us, which is the righteousness of faith. Now I am not at present considering the objections otherwise to this manner of conception; I here consider it only in relation to the recognition of Christ as our example, and I request those who, while adopting these distinctions, propose to themselves to follow Christ as an example, to consider how, adhering to these distinctions, they can attempt to follow Christ as an example in relation to His inner life--the springs of His action--the conscious rightness of His righteousness--His conscious confidence towards God--His walk with God. I do not see how they can do so with conscious inward consistency. No doubt Christ did fulfil the law--did fulfil all righteousness; not, however, in a legal spirit, but as the Son of God following God as a dear child. Therefore, in the true conception of this matter there is no practical difficulty, Christ's righteousness as the form of the law of the spirit of the life that was in Him, being, in the strictest and most absolute sense, an example for us who have the life of sonship in Him, and in whom the righteousness of the law is to be fulfilled in our walking in His spirit.

The complication introduced in consequence of this departure from the simplicity of the truth, is obviously still further increased when we add to the assumed presence in Christ of the sense of an imputation of sin, the presence in us of the sense of the imputation of righteousness; a consciousness which could have had nothing corresponding with it in the consciousness of Christ.


But, in whatever way these practical difficulties in walking in the footsteps of the Son of God, in the highest sense which these words can bear, may be dealt with, the fitness of the atonement, as now contemplated, to be reproduced in us, and, on the other view of its nature, its unfitness to be so reproduced, are alike clear; and, apart from other and more fundamental aspects of the subject, I certainly feel that greater simplicity, a more natural character in the transition from the work of Christ to our calling as Christians, is a consideration to which weight is due.

4. I say ''apart from other and more fundamental aspects of the subject." For, while it certainly accords to my mind with the assumption that the true conception has been reached, that the atonement is thus seen filled with the light of the life of Christ--characterised by the simplicity and unity proper to a life--and standing to Christianity in the natural relation of the life that is in the vine to the life that is in the branches; yet these appearances are comparatively superficial, and must be delusive, however beautiful, unless the atonement which they commend is in harmony with the divine righteousness, and such as meets the demands of the eternal laws of the kingdom of God. Therefore an appeal to these must still remain.

I have already expressed my accordance with President Edwards in his founding on the absolute righteousness of God, and my greater sympathy with him than with those who ascend no higher than what they express by the words "rectoral justice." Doubtless what meets the requirements of absolute righteousness must secure the interests of rectoral justice; while it is not easy to see--I cannot see--how the interests of rectoral justice can be felt secure if the requirements of absolute righteousness are compromised, or even are 325 not seen to be taken into account. But in whichever relation the atonement is contemplated, the superiority of the moral and spiritual atonement, which I have now attempted to illustrate, seems to me clear. That such an atonement lay within the limits of the principles of eternal rectitude on which Edwards builds, we have seen in the alternatives which he states. And, being contemplated as within these limits, I have no doubt that, if realised, its higher character must be recognised. I would indeed rather speak of its exclusive claim to meet adequately the demand of the eternal righteousness; but its higher character as a meeting of that demand is beyond question; and, if so, then also its superiority as that moral demonstration and vindication of God's rectoral government which the teachers of the modified Calvinism regard as what was called for.

This much I feel justified in saying, even looking at the question with exclusive reference to the honouring of the divine law. But when we consider, that the highest honouring of the law cannot be recognised as an atonement for sin apart from the prospective result contemplated,--as, indeed, but with a view to such a result an atonement could never have been,--the natural relation of the atonement to Christianity now illustrated, and which in its first aspect so commends itself to us, is seen, when more deeply considered, to be of fundamental importance.

Some, I know, are so far from feeling that a natural relation between the atonement and Christianity is necessary, or to be looked for, that they draw back from the attempt to trace such a relation as what they would call reducing the work of atonement to the mere setting an example before us,--and, considering the associations which exist with making the example of Christ the sum and substance of Christianity, great 326 jealousy on this subject may well be excused. Yet that jealousy may go too far. If to represent the atonement as what we are intended to participate in, having its elements reproduced in us, be to lower the conception of an atonement, must it not be held also that it is a lowering of our conception of the divine nature to say that the gospel contemplates our participation in it--that it is a lowering of our conception of what is said when it is said "God is love," to speak of men as "dwelling in love," and so "dwelling in God?" I know that such thoughts of the relation of the human to the divine may be so entertained as to lower our conceptions of God, rather than to raise our conceptions of that to which God calls man; but that the latter, and not the former, ought to be their operation, is unquestionable. So of the atonement as now represented, if it has been a form which the eternal life took in Christ, a form determined by the nature of that life and the circumstances in which it was developed, it follows, that in the measure in which we partake in that eternal life, we shall partake in the atonement, and have it reproduced in us: though not with the same personal consciousness as in the Saviour, who, as I have said, came down in saving us to that to which in being saved we are raised. But so to conceive is surely not to have our conceptions of the atonement lowered, but only our conceptions of Christianity exalted. And let not the expression "example" turn us away. For as to the dignity that may belong to an example let us remember the exhortations "Be ye followers of God as dear children," "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."

But, indeed, apart from this, the truth is that the use of the expression "example" is misleading. The relation of our participation in the atonement to the 327 atonement, is radically a different thing from what the words "following an example" suggest. Each slender branch, each leafy twig of the tree, with its fruit-blossom or ripened fruit, may recall the plant in its first form as a single stem, yet with all its proper nature and beauty already visible in it, with that richness of leaf, and blossom, and fruit which belongs to the first development of the life of plants; but these reproductions of the original plant in its branches are not individual, independent, self-reliant plants. It drew, as it draws, its life from the ground; they draw their life from it: Christ is the vine: we are the branches. As it is no depreciating of the life seen in the plant while yet a single stem, to say, that that same life is the contemplated life of its future branches; so neither is it a depreciation of the atonement to say, that that eternal life which glorified God, and wrought redemption for man, in the personal work of Christ on earth, is the same that is to be seen bearing fruit to the glory of God in us in our participation in redemption. Such conceptions neither depreciate the atonement nor affect the absoluteness of our dependence on Christ; on the contrary, the relation of the branch to the vine alone represents that dependence adequately. And this will, I trust, meet a difficulty which really arises from feeling the expression "example" suggestive of individuality, and individual independence, as if we were to be individually each another Christ, and our participation in the atonement itself an atonement, our participation in the propitiation itself a propitiation.

But, it is not only that this recognition of a natural relation between the atonement and Christianity is in itself no objection to the view which implies it, and can only under misapprehension of what is taught, be regarded as reducing the work of Christ to a mere 328 example. The truth is, that the discernment of this natural relation becomes essential to our faith in the adequacy of the atonement in proportion as we see the subject of atonement in the light of God. No doubt the perfect response from humanity to the divine mind in relation to our sins, which has been in Christ's confession of our sins before the Father, has been the due and proper expiation for that sin,--an expiation infinitely more glorifying to the law of God, than any penal suffering could be; but that confession, as it would not have been at all, but in connexion with that intercession for the transgressors which laid hold of the divine mercy on our behalf, so neither would it have been the suitable and adequate atonement for our sin apart from its fitness to be reproduced in us, and the contemplated result of its being so reproduced. No doubt the perfect righteousness of Christ seen as the perfection of sonship in humanity, and acknowledged in the words, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," is a higher, righteousness than obedience in any legal aspect of it; and, if fruits of righteousness could be dispensed to us, either in connexion with imputation, or without imputation, on the ground of the righteousness of another, otherwise than in the reproduction of that righteousness in ourselves, here was the highest righteousness, the divine righteousness in humanity: but that righteousness could never have been accounted of in our favour, or be recognised as "ours," apart from our capacity of partaking in it; that is to say, apart from its being a righteousness in humanity, and, therefore, for all partaking in humanity.

In order that the importance of this natural relation between the atonement and Christianity may be clearly seen, the relation in which the joy of God in Christians stands to his perfect delight in Christ, must be understood.


I have already had occasion to express my objection to what is held on this subject in connexion with imputation of righteousness, or the transference of the fruits of righteousness, assumed to be implied in justification by faith. There has been in this matter a subverting of the natural relation of things, which has caused much darkness. The end has been represented as valued for the sake of the means; not the means for the sake of the end. The very excellence inherent in the means has partly led to this. When we look at the work of Christ, viewed simply in itself, it is seen filled with a divine glory, and a moral and spiritual excellence is felt to belong to it so great that God alone can perfectly appreciate it. To say that it is the Eternal Will of God fulfilled, is to say that it is in itself infinitely acceptable to God. When, then, the remission of our sins, and the gift of Eternal life, are preached to us in connexion with that excellent glory to God in humanity, we feel that any acknowledgment of it that can be, is to be looked for; and, also, that nothing granted on the ground of it can be otherwise than safely granted, for that mercy flowing through such a channel must be holy: so that we easily receive the statement, that pardon of past sin, and prospective blessings, are all given to us for Christ's sake, and because of the perfect atonement which Christ has made for our sin, and God's perfect delight in him; and this, if we are in the light of God in the matter, we cannot do too readily or too confidently. And yet our lack of spiritual discernment, and of participation in the mind of God, combined, also, I would say, with our unenlightened sense of the evil and danger of our condition as sinners, may lead to our resting in notions of the meaning of the expression, "for Christ's sake," which are superficial and even erroneous. And this is 330 sure to be the case if we enter not into these two great truths, viz.

  1. Though, in a true sense, and one which it is most important that we should apprehend, remission of sins, and the gift of eternal life, are presented to our faith as resting on the atonement, and as the redemption which Christ has accomplished for us; yet is the ultimate ground of these, and of the atonement itself in its relation to these, to be seen in God, who is to be conceived of, not as moved to give us remission of sins and eternal life by the atonement, but as self-moved to give us remission of sins and eternal life, and as giving them through the atonement as what secures that what is given shall be received, on the ground of that in God which moves Him to this grace, and in harmony with His mind in bestowing it. So that to stop at the atonement, and rest in the fact of the atonement, instead of ascending through it to that in God from which it has proceeded, and which demanded it for its due expression, is to misapprehend the atonement as to its nature, and place, and end. It has been truly said, that men have perverted creation, and, instead of using it as a glass through which to see God, have turned it into a veil to hide God. I believe the greater work of redemption has been the subject of a similar perversion. It is the commendation of the light in which Christ's doing of the Father's will, Christ's declaring of the Father's name, has now been contemplated, that, as I have said, it ever raises the mind to the Eternal Will, the Unchanging Name.

  2. As it is thus necessary, in order that we may not misunderstand the expression ''for Christ's sake," that we ascend from the work of Christ, and through it, to that in God because of which that work has itself been, and to which, therefore, we must refer all


that springs out of it; so is it necessary that, on the other hand, we descend from the work of Christ to its results, and, viewing these as its fruits, see that work as means to an end, and, therefore, as having its ultimate value in the sight of God in the excellence of that end, and its adequacy to accomplish it. This going forward to the result is inevitable if we go back to where redemption has its origin in the divine mind. We cannot stop between. For the work of Christ, while of infinite excellence in itself, has its special value as the work of redemption in the excellence of its result. If Christ were a mere man, His excellence in Himself, could such excellence have been in a mere man, would have been enough to satisfy the mind as to God's glory in Him: but, seeing the perfection of sonship--like the perfection of fatherliness--as divine, and eternal, and, as respects the Son of God, only manifested in humanity and not then come into existence, this divine excellence in humanity in the person of Christ, is seen as in humanity with a view to results in all humanity. Therefore these results are not to be regarded as excellent in the sight of God, and justified because of that divine excellence in humanity; but rather the existence of that divine excellence in humanity is to be seen by us in the light of these results, and God's ultimate glory in it is to be seen in them. This is saying no more than what our Lord plainly teaches, when He says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches. Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit.''

Now the origin of the atonement in God, and its result in man, have been kept constantly before the mind in the view now given of the nature of the atonement; and any misconception of the expression "for Christ's sake" has been precluded: as it is also obvious, 332 that all practical using of the atonement as now represented--all turning the knowledge of it to account in our personal intercourse with God,--must be in the way of an ascending through it to that in God from which it springs, and a yielding ourselves to God to have that which it has contemplated accomplished in us.

This movement in our inner being--this moulding of us to itself--the atonement, apprehended by a true and living faith, necessarily accomplishes; and its tendency to secure this result, is one element in our faith, when we first believe; as also the experience of this power in it is the great subsequent strengthening of our faith. Ascending upwards to the mind of God, into the light of which the atonement introduces us, and descending again to the ultimate fulfilment of that mind in men washed from their sins in the blood of Christ, and made kings and priests unto God, and reigning with Christ, we not only feel a harmony and simplicity and beauty in the natural relation of the atonement to Christianity, but we are also conscious to finding in that natural relation a chief and most sure ground for our faith in the atonement, and in remission of sins, and eternal life, as presented to us in connexion with it. Every time we are enabled, in spirit and in truth, through participation in the spirit of Christ, to confess sin before God, and meet His mind towards sin with such a response as, in the faith of pardon and liberty of sonship, we are enabled to give, we have a clearer glimpse of the excellence of Christ's expiatory confession of our sins, and of the righteousness of God in accepting it on our behalf, to the end that we might thus share in it. Every time we lisp, in whatever feebleness, the cry, Abba, Father, having that cry quickened in us by the revelation of the Father by the Son, we see with the peculiar insight which the experience of the 333 fulfilment of the divine counsel in ourselves can alone give, the excellence of that kingdom ordained in the hands of a Mediator, according to which eternal life in the Son is the Father's free gift. But this direct occupation of our own conscience with the elements of the blood of Christ, and with the nature of the hope in God in which He tasted death for every man, is a source of deep certainty as to the glory of God in our redemption through Christ, which exclusively belongs to the view of the atonement, according to which our trust in it is necessarily fellowship in it--that fellowship a light in which the sure grounds of our trust are ever more and more clearly seen. For this character can only belong to an atonement, whose nature admits of its reproduction in us, so that its elements become matter of consciousness to ourselves.

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