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Christ, on account of sinners themselves. But the apostle assures us in the text, that an atonement was necessary on God's account, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

II. I proceed to show why the atonement of Christ was necessary on God's account, in order to render it consistent with his amiable and glorious character to extend pardoning mercy to this fallen, guilty, perishing world.

If we can only discover why Adam, after he had eaten the forbidden fruit and incurred the penalty of the divine law, despaired of pardoning mercy, we can easily see why an atonement for sin was absolutely necessary, in order to render it consistent for God to exercise pardoning grace to sinners. Adam knew that God was perfectly good, and that his perfect goodness would necessarily dispose him to do good, not only to the innocent, but to the guilty. Why then did he despair of mercy ? The only reason was, that he knew that God was just, as well as good, and that it was morally impossible that he should exercise his goodness inconsistently with his justice. This banished from his mind every gleam of hope. The more he realized the goodness of God, the more he realized the justice of God; and the more he realized the justice of God, the more he despaired of pardoning mercy. For he could not see how it was possible that God should be just to himself and to his law, and yet pardon his transgression; nor was there an angel in heaven who could see how this could be brought about. vant who has disobeyed a good master, is more afraid of being punished than a servant who has disobeyed a bad master. A child who has disobeyed a good parent, is more afraid of being punished than a child who has disobeyed a bad parent. The reason is the same in both cases. The servant and the child know that goodness implies justice; and justice is a disposition to punish. Adam knew that the perfect goodness of God implied his perfect justice; and that his perfect justice implied an inflexible disposition to punish the guilty. It is not probable that Adam thought of an atonement; and if he did, he could not see how an atonement could be made ; and therefore he utterly despaired of pardon and salvation. As Adam could not see how God could consistently forgive him without an atonement, so none of his posterity can see how God can consistently forgive them without an atonement. He was a true representative of all who should be and now are in his state of guilt and condemnation. As God could not have been just to himself in forgiving Adam without an atonement, so he cannot be just to himself in forgiving any of his guilty posterity without an atonement. And as God did determine to show mercy to sin

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ners, so it was absolutely necessary that Christ should make an atonement for their sins. The atonement of Christ was necessary entirely on God's account. The necessity of Christ's atonement, in case God determined to save sinners, originated entirely in his immutable justice. He must be just to himself; that is, he must display his essential and amiable attribute of retributive justice, in pardoning or justifying those who deserve to be punished. There was nothing in men that required an atonement, and there was nothing in God that required an atonement, but his justice. All the moral persections of the Deity are comprised in the pure love of benevolence. God is love. Before the foundation of the world, there was no ground for considering love as divided into various and distinct attributes. But after the creation, new relations arose; and in consequence of new relations, more obligations were formed, both on the side of the Creator and on that of his creatures. Before created beings existed, God's love was exercised wholly towards himself. But after moral beings were brought into existence, it was right in the nature of things that he should exercise right affections towards them, according to their moral characters. Hence the goodness, the justice, and mercy of God are founded in the nature of things. That is, so long as God remains the Creator, and men remain his creatures, he is morally obliged to exercise these different and distinct feelings towards them. He must be disposed to do good to the innocent, to punish the guilty, and at the same time, to forgive them. Now there never was any difficulty in the way of God's doing good to the innocent, nor in the way of his punishing the guilty; but there was a difficulty in sparing and forgiving the wicked. God's goodness is a disposition to do good to the innocent; his justice is a disposition to punish the guilty; and his mercy is a disposition to pardon and save the guilty. The great difficulty, therefore, in the way of man's salvation, was, to reconcile God's disposition to punish with his disposition to forgive; or in other words, to reconcile his justice with his mercy. This was a difficulty in the divine character, and a still greater difficulty in the divine government. For God had revealed his justice in his moral government. He had given a law to man, and in that law had clearly exhibited bis justice. In the penalty of the law he had declared that the transgressor deserved eternal punishment; that he had a right to inflict eternal punishment; that he had power to inflict eternal punishment; and that he had a disposition to inflict eternal punishment. There was a clear and sull exhibition of retributive justice, in the first law given to man. “ In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.This law, clothed with all the authority of God, man violated, and exposed bimself to the awful penalty. And in consequence of this single act of disobedience, bis posterity became involved in the same state of wretchedness and guilt. What now could be done? It is easy to see that justice might be done without the least difficulty; for this had been done in a similar case. The fallen angels had been doomed to hopeless ruin, for their first offence. But how could pardoning grace be displayed? This none of the intelligent creation could tell. The angels of light could not tell; for they had seen those who kept not their first estate, excluded from heaven, and the door of mercy for ever shut against them. Man could not tell. He knew that the sentence of death was passed upon him, which might be justly and immediately executed. How then could grace be displayed consistently with justice? This question God alone was able to solve. He knew that he could be just to himself, if his justice were displayed by the sufferings of a proper substitute in the room of sinners. He knew that the sufferings of a substitute in the room of sinners, would both display his justice, and support the honor of his law and government. And as he saw that such a substitute was necessary, he appointed Christ to take the place of sinners, and to suffer and die the just for the unjust. Christ was the Son of his love, the second person in the sacred Trinity, and equal with himself in every divine perfection. He was the only substitute to be found in the universe, who was competent to the great work of making a complete atonement for sin. Him therefore the Father set forth to be a propitiation, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins. And though he was once “in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and becarne obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” that he might taste death for every man.

“For it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” It was indispensably necessary that Christ should suffer, when he took the place of sinners to make atonement for their sins. For suffering is the penalty which God threatens to inflict upon transgressors of his law, to display his vindictive justice. It was only by causing Christ to suffer in the room of sinners, that God could display his vindictive justice towards them. Accordingly we read," It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief;" and that “ he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” By inflicting such sufferings upon Christ, when he took the place of a substitute in the room of sinners, God as clearly displayed his hatred of sin and his inflexible disposition to punish it, as if he had made all mankind personally miserable for ever.

It is agreeable to the common opinion and practice of mankind in war, to hold prisoners as hostages; so that in case the enemy violate the law of arms, by abusing or putting to death the captives taken, they may justly retaliate, by treating the hostages as the abused captives were treated. So General Washington proposed to act, when a British officer, contrary to the law of nations, killed Captain Huddy, an American officer, after he had surrendered. He determined to put Captain Asgill, a British officer whom he had in his hands, to death, in the room of the man who killed Captain Huddy. And had he actually done this, he would have displayed his just displeasure against the murderer and all who justified and protected him. Or in other words, he would have done justice to himself, by making it appear that he meant to maintain the dignity of his character as a commander-in-chief, and to support his authority in punishing all who should dare to violate the law of arms. He would not, indeed, have done distributive justice to the murderer, nor have prevented his being put to death, if he could have been found and apprehended.

Just so, God, by subjecting the Son of his love to death in the room of sinners, could display his immutable disposition to punish sin, in the most striking and awful manner. Accordingly, when Christ actually took the place of sinners, and poured out his soul unto death on the cross, his sufferings in their room as clearly displayed the vindictive justice of God to angels and men, and the whole intelligent creation, as if he had made them all personally miserable for ever. By subjecting Christ to sufferings and death on the cross, God has done justice to himself, and made a complete atonement for sin. He, not Christ, made the atonement. He bruised him, and put him to grief; his sword pierced his heart, and shed his blood on the cross. the prophet predicted: “ Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” This prediction Christ applied to himself just after he had instituted a standing memorial of his death, and just before his sufferings began in the garden. “ Then saith Jesus unto his disciples, all ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." Christ knew that it was absolutely necessary that the Father should put him to death, in order to display his justice in the forgiveness or remission of sins. And it was on this ground solely, that he cordially submitted to die on the cross. This he expressly declared before he suffered: “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.” It was the Father that made atonement for sin, by putting Christ to death on the cross by his own hand. By making his own Son a substitute for sinners, and putting him to death in their room, he declared his righteousness to the whole universe, so that he can now “ be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” This was the great and important end to be answered by an atonement. And in order to answer this end, Christ's atonement was absolutely necessary.

IMPROVEMENT.

1. If the atonement of Christ was necessary entirely on God's account, that he might be just in exercising pardoning mercy to penitent and believing sinners, then it was universal, and sufficient for the pardon and salvation of the non-elect, as well as for the pardon and salvation of the elect. Some believe and maintain the doctrine of a limited atonement. They suppose that Christ died to make atonement for the elect, exclusively of the non-elect. This opinion appears to be founded on a wrong notion of the nature and design of the atonement.

It was designed to maintain and display the justice of God in the remission of sins. And if it has rendered it consistent with the justice of God to exercise pardoning mercy to one sinner, it has rendered it equally consistent with his justice to exercise pardoning mercy to all sinners. The atonement of Christ has the same favorable aspect upon the non-elect as upon the elect. It opens as wide a door of mercy to the one as to the other. It removes all natural obstacles out of the way of the salvation of either, because it renders it consistent with the justice of God to pardon and save a part, or the whole of mankind, according to his sovereign pleasure and eternal purpose. The atonement of Christ has laid God under no obligation to save one of mankind, but left him at full liberty to save a part, or the whole of the human race. It is generally allowed that God does in the gospel offer salvation to all; but how can he consistently offer salvation to all, if Christ has not made atonement for all ? If Christ has not made atonement for the non-elect, it is no more consistent for God to offer salvation to the non-elect, than to offer salvation to the fallen angels, for whom, all will allow, he has made no atonement. Besides, the scripture not only represents God as inviting all men to accept of pardon and salvation through the blood of Christ, but represents him

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