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to how many it is to be applied, or what portion of mankind were, as its fruit, destined to salvation by the eternal purpose of God, cannot be understood from the atonement itself. The satisfaction which it renders for sin, not being like the payment of a debt, inconsistent with, but only the necessary condition of, forgiveness, the atonement of itself involves the actual salvation of none. Certain indeed it was, that this measure of infinite wisdom and goodness would not be without fruit; but to render the atonement effectual, other agencies and influences, those especially of the renewing and sanctifying Spirit, must be employed. In respect to its application or success, the atonement will be coincident in extent with that of the Divine purpose. But the atonement proper, the atonement in itself, or its efficacy precisely as an atonement, hath an amplitude and a sufficiency equal to the value of the blood of Christ-the infinite merit of his sufferings and death. The overture of salvation to man is limited in Scripture to no age, no country, no class, no number; it is made, not to as many as God secretly intends to make willing to accept it, but with the same earnestness to those who are not made willing; nothing limits it but incorrigible obstinacy of heart in those by whom it is not received. The boundlessness of the overture hath an adequate ground in the atonement, whose breadth and length are also without bound.
22. Again, the atonement is adapted to have influences and effects ulterior to the salvation of men. By the discoveries which it makes, the lessons of wisdom, justice, purity, power, and goodness which it inculcates, and the manner in which it enforces them, it is suited to be the teacher of the world and the ages—the great light, the central sun of the moral creation. The impression of necessities which it makes the necessity that the conduct of the Most High be always as becometh His essential majesty and dignity; that order be preserved in the Divine kingdom; that the displeasure of God against sin be rerealed; and the necessity of punishment, or else of satisfaction, in order to this revelation; and the other mysterious necessities which are shown in making satisfaction ;-how fitted is a measure of this import and this power of enforcement, to uphold the universe in love and allegiance to him, by whose infinite goodness it was devised and accomplished? That it is not hidden from any part of the creation, and that it is, in fact, the pillar and ground, the strength and security of the moral empire of the Almighty, the bond of eternal union and harmony among angels and men, and all the sons of light, is a scriptural asseveration concerning it, which hath a high ground of probability in itself.
23. The distinguishing traits of evangelical piety appear in high relief in the light which shines from the atonement. It is this doctrine which gives evangelical godliness or piety its peculiarity. That piety takes from the atonement its entire image and fashion, its every line and point, as the clay receives whatever is engraved on the seal. The atonement in evangelical doctrine is a fulness that filleth all in all. It is the ground of all, it sustains all, it permeates all, it gives life and form and power to all. It has the same pre-eminence and' importance in the piety which corresponds to this doctrine as its just counterpart. The impress of the atonement on the soul and the character is the sum, the all of evangelical piety. That piety is nothing else than the doctrine of Christ, co-existent and co-eternal with God; Deity incarnate; incarnate Deity suffering for the sins of men, the just instead of the unjust ;—this doctrine written on the heart by the spirit of the Living God, and exhibited in the life and conduct. We have not time to examine this subjective image particularly—the sense of mystery and wonder, the humility, the annihilation of self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and selfwill, the filial dread of the Divine majesty, the contrition and brokenness of heart, the sense of the evil of sin, the love and delight in Christ, the love and gratitude to God, the peace, the joy, the hope, the praise, and other traits comprised in it. But one thing we cannot forbear to observe: that there is in the piety which answers to the atonement as the image to the seal, an absolute, overwhelming conviction of the final and aggravated condemnation of unbelievers. That the atonement, with all its inherentevidences of divinity, and all the testimonial signs and wonders, and other outward proofs by which it is confirmed, should not be received by those to whom it is offered ; that this great salvation should be neglected, this only means be despised, by which man could be saved; how appalling the thought, how full of amazing terror! How shall they escape, where shall they appear, who tread under foot the atoning blood of the eternal Son of God !
There is a piety whose most distinguishing characteristic seems to be aversion to that which is termed Evangelical. It has many recommendations. It melts with tenderness, it bows with reverence, it smiles with complacency, it rejoices with confidence and hope, at its own religious views. It often discourses with fluent, and gentle, and tasteful language, in praise of itself; and it certainly hath many fruits of natural goodness and self-culture to boast of. But so indifferent, so inimical is it to the majesty and glory of God, that when the great Device is mentioned, by which alone it was made possible to keep the Divine honor unsullied and immaculate, while grace is shown to men, then this piety is ready to cry out, “away with it, away with it,” as the Jews expressed their scorn of the Son of God, when Pilate brought him forth to them, saying, “ behold your king.” No wickedness moves its indignation sooner or more profoundly than the doctrine of the atonement.
If that doctrine be true, of what avail will his piety be, “ when God taketh away the soul ?"
THE BIBLE EVERYTHING OR NOTHING.
By Pror. Tayler Lewis, LL.D., University of New York.
Our world and race will doubtless make progress if God wills it; and just as fast and as far, and in the exact proportion as the purposes of His moral government may require. It is only when the ground of this is regarded as something purely physical, or as existing in the nature of things, or in an universal development, and in connexion with a view of God that regards Him either as a part, or as the inseparable pervading energy, or vis efficiens of the whole, that the doctrine becomes absurd and atheistical. It is then progress in an endless line, having reference to nothing out of itself regarded as absolute and immovable. In it there could be no points of rest, nothing finished, no absolute perfection for the whole, no relative perfection that could ever be hoped to be reached, for any of the parts. Neither could there be strictly any ends ; all things are only media; singly and collectively they are means to something beyond, and still beyond ad infinitum, for ever and for evermore. We do not use the terms higher and higher, for these imply, at least, fixedness in one direction, and an immovable standard from which this direction, as onward or backward, upward or downward, may be rightly determined. According to another and far more satisfactory view, the universal movement may be contemplated under the idea of a sphere, having an everlasting radiation of every part to and from a fixed centre. Here everything intended for an end may be supposed to attain some final position; and, in some unchanging relation to such centre, and to the whole, to reach, at last, its own relative perfection. All true progress, then, would be towards such a centre, or rather to some fixed points in relation to it.
If this be a true view of the actual progress of the things or entities of which the universe is composed, much more may it be maintained in respect to the mind's advance in truth and knowledge. There must be some central truth or truths for the rational soul, according to our nearness to which, all other truths falling within our visible horizon may be seen without parallax, in their true positions, and in their relative importance; thus also furnishing a fixed standard by reference to which the true station of all physical, moral, or intellectual development may be rightly estimated as belonging to the really advancing or retrograding scale.
We may say then, that our world and race will make, and do make, actual progress towards this relative perfection of being, just so far as is consistent with those never-moving purposes which lie far beyond the mere natural system, and which finally terminate in that great and necessary end of all existence, the moral glory of God. Unless, however, we suppose some truth and some knowledge to be fixed, without progression, as an immutable standard for us, the question must ever recur- - What progress, and towards what?
These are points which the most zealous advocates of the unmeaning popular doctrine do not care to settle, and in fact, on their favorite hypotheses, never can setHe. But unless this is fixed, nothing else is, or can be determined. A physical advance may be a moral regression ; intellectual or merely scientific progress may be a religious deterioration. A race exceedingly rude in respect to science and philosophy may be far nearer to God, and the central truths on which His throne eternally rests, than one in possession of the highest natural knowledge, and the most refined natural enjoyments.
Without, therefore, at all denying that there are certain aspects in which the doctrine may be most true and important, still we say that its highest meaning is only to be ascertained by a continual reference to certain positions which must, for us at least, be regarded as immovably settled. We must stand somewhere, and measure from some fixed meridian. Otherwise our progress would be like that of a ship in the trackless ocean, without compass or quadrant, sun or star, or any means of estimating her present position, or her point of departure, or her true line of present direction. In such a sense, everlasting progress is everlasting imperfection, an everlasting unsettling of all past positions, without security for the permanency of any others to which this unregulated advance may at any time arrive. Everything is reached only in order to be immediately left as belonging to the useless, imperfect, and shadowy past. Such a doctrine denies the glorious and comforting truth that there is for man a relative perfection, in which, as his fixed and final state, he may at last attain to his eternal blessedness. “They who believe have entered into rest.” We deny not that there is a progress for us, even in those departments of theology which have long been regarded as settled; but if it possesses any comfort for the soul, it must be only in the hope of its own termination in the surer conviction of some truths which shall, at length, be regarded as immovable and unchangeable, not only in their essence but also in their aspect; and by reference to which the relative rank and value of all other truths may be finally and satisfactorily determined.
The question, however, still recurs- Is there such progress, as an actual fact, in respect to the great truths of God's existence, his moral attributes, and our moral obligations ? With all the aid of colleges, and elaborate systems of moral philosophy, and the teachings of theological seminaries, and with all the polemical metaphysics of religious controversy, does the man, on these points, ever get much, if any, beyond the vivid first impressions of the religiously taught child; especially when through the blessing and grace of God, they have been powerfully stamped upon his young serious spirit? When we truly believe that “God is, that He is the rewarder of such as seek Him," that he is the punisher of those who break His holy laws, that He loves the obedient and is angry with the wicked—are we clearly conscious of any real additions in after years, to this department of our theology? Do we ever, on these points, get much in advance of our catechisms; or is there not suggested the religious experience of some of the best and wisest of Christians, when it is asserted, that growth in grace, and in true religious knowledge, is marked by a return to the truthfulness, and simplicity, and awful vividness of their first moral impressions, before discussions about the extent of the universe and moral evil considered in reference to it, and the irrationality of sin had merged the heart in the head, and the warmth and light of the conscience in the coldness of the intellect.
What is God ?-is a question, which, in better and more truly religious days, was so often asked in the catechetical circle of the parish, the family, and the school. It was answered— God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Let us suppose that this has been once vividly impressed, as we have every reason to believe it often has been impressed, on the young and intelligent spirit—what essential addition is then really made to it by subsequent reading
and study on the Divine attributes, the Divine personality, the Divine love, the Divine justice, the Divine benevolence? They may serve to deepen the impression; or they may, —and this, alas! we have great reason to fear, is too often the case-tend to weaken and obscure it; but what additional element, or what new aspect even, do they impart to the truth itself? What clearer light ever dawns upon the mind from the anxious study of Kant, or Cousin, or Coleridge, or Howe, or Chalmers, or Dwight, than comes to us vividly and distinctly from this simple and scriptural answer of the catechism ? So likewise, in respect to the nature and consequences of moral obligation; the church and the world abound in books on these subjects,-on the social evil of sin as measured by the extent of the universe, and the obstacles to the common enjoyment that would be the consequence of its toleration. How much, too, has been written on the doctrine of physical consequences and consequential punishment? And yet, what is there in it all, which so awes the soul, and so evidences itself to the conscience as the very truth of God in all the simplicity of thought and language, as the answer to