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nings, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, were in honour of the divine law; which was by God promulged to an assembly of men, women, and children, containing near three million. An affair so grand as this had never before happened in this lower world. And all the variety of temporal curses enumerated and denounced against the transgressor, and all the variety of temporal blessings reckoned up and promised to the obedient, were in honour of the divine law. And the law being written with the finger of God on two tables of stone, laid up in the ark, and placed in the holy of holies, under the mercy-seat, the dwelling place of the God of Israel, was in honour of the divine law. And so were all the sacrifices of atonement, the altars, the Priests, especially the High-Priest, dressed in his holy robes, holiness to the Lord written on his forehead, the names of the twelve tribes on his breast and on his shoulder, the blood of atonement in his hand, entering once every year into the holy of holies, into the immediate presence of God, to make atonement. Nor could any transgressor of the law, under that dispensation, obtain remission of sins without shedding of blood. A plain acknowledgment, that his blood deserved to be shed, who transgressed the law. And so a practical declaration that the law was holy, just, and good.
And answerable to the spirit of that dispensation, the whole congregation of Israel were by the divine direction led, on their entering into the holy land, to Mount Gerizzim and to Mount Ebal; and while the curse of the law against the transgressor was proclaimed aloud, all the congregation answered, Amen, as a most public and solemn declaration, that the law was holy, just, and good. Nor could a Jew without this acknowledgment, with any consistency, present a bull or a goat, to die in his stead, and make atonement for his sins.
But all the honours done to the divine law under that dispensation were but shadows, but mere shadows. They had no substance in them. They were acknowledgments too mean to be of any avail. They were of no weight at all to counterbalance the reproach cast on the divine Majesty by sin. And therefore the blood of bulls and goats could not
take away sin. Yea, Lebanon was not sufficient to burn, nor all the beasts thereof, sutficient for a burnt-offering.
Wherefore the Son of God, antecedent to his incarnation, is introduced, saying to his Fatber, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire. They had no dignity, no worth, no virtue, and could not answer the end. Mine ears hast thou bored, as the Jewish master did his servant's, who of his own free will said, I love my master and will be his servant for ever. O, eternal Father, I have offered to become thy servant in this great work, and thou hast accepted the offer, and bored mine ears. Then said I, lo, I come, I delight to do thy will ; yea, thy law is within my heart.” Compare Exod. xxi. 5, 6. Ps. xl. 6, 7,8. Heb. x. 5, 6,
Him, therefore, did God set forth to be a propitiation, to declare his righteousness. And because he thus voluntarily espoused the honour of his Father's government, and condemned sin in the flesh on the cross, because he thus loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore was his Father well pleased, smelt a sweet savour, exalted his Son, and became propitious to an apostate, sinful, guilty world, through him. For he, being God as well as man, was worthy, was of sufficient dignity, and his obedience and sufferings of sufficient weight in his Father's sight.
The import of that perfect obedience to his Father's will, in our stead, through the greatest trials, which the Son of God incarnate performed, was, that “God was worthy of supreme love and honour, and of universal obedience, from his creature man.” The import of his sufferings in our room, in which he was made a curse to redeem us from the curse of the law, was, that “the curse of the law was strictly just, and such as became his Father to threaten and to execute." The import of his appearing in the presence of God in heaven, with his own blood, to make intercession for transgressors, is, that " he does not, nay, cannot, desire any favour to be shown to sipners under a notion that the law is too severe: but only as being considered holy, just, good, and glorious, worthy to be magnified and made honourable by the blood of the Son of God.” And the justice of the divine law will appear in a striking light, when he who thus honoured it in his own per
son on the cross, and thus honours it at his Father's right hand in heaven, appears to put it in execution at the last day on his near relatives, bis brethren according to the flesh; who would never own the goodness of the law, nor take the blame of their disaffection and rebellion to themselves, and on this foot despised and rejected the glorious grace of the Gospel. And all holy beings will echo to the last sentence, and with the highest approbation join to cry, AMEN, HALLELUJAH : while the smoke of their torment ascends for ever and ever.
Thus the whole mediatorial scheme is designed, and in its own nature adapted, to do honour to the divine law.
And to do honour to the divine law was the only thing that rendered the mediatorial office and work of Christ needfui in order to the salvation of sinners. For God was not an unrighteous Being, and so could not be disposed to hold his creatures bound by a bad law, unless his Son would die to procure their relief. Nor was the goodness of the divine nature so small, that he could not find in his heart to show mercy to sinners, unless bis Son, to move his compassions, would die for them on earth, and piead their cause in heaven. Had the law in fact been bad, it had been the most honourable thing in the divine Majesty to have laid it aside expressly as such, and no mediator had been need ful in the case; and had there been no bar in the way of the honourable exercise of divine grace to a guilty world, infinite goodness, by a sovereign act, might at an infinitely less expense, have pardoned and saved all the human race, and all the labours and sufferings of his Son to make atonement had been needless. God did not want a heart to do us justice. Nay, God had an heart overflowing with infinite goodness; witness the gift of his Son. And so no mediator was needful to move the divine compassions, much less to prevent his being too severe with us. Yea, a mediator for any such purposes had been an infinite reproach to the deity. A mediator therefore was needful, in order to the salvation of sinners, for no other purpose, but to do honour to the divine law, which we had dishonoured by our sins. And thus he asserted the divine character, vindicated the rights of the Godhead, declared the righteousness of the divine government, condemned sin, laid all the blame of our disaffection and rebellion at our own door, while he obeyed and died in our room and stead, that we through him might be saved. But, ,
I. If Christ died to do honour to the divine law, then there is no glory in the gospel only on supposition that the law is a glorious law. For not one of the divine perfections are manifested in the death of an incarnate God to do honour to the divine law, if the divine law was not worthy of this honour. It was no act of wisdom in God to give his Son to die to do honour to that which deserved no such honour. . It was no act of holiness, justice, or goodness. It was neither to the honour of God, nor needful the salvation of men. And,
If not one of the divine perfections are manifested in the death of Christ, only on supposition that the law is a glorious law, not one of the divine perfections can be seen in tbis affair, only in a view of the glory of the law. No glory can be seen in the atonement, only as the law appears to be a glorious Gospel. To every one at enmity against the divine law, the glory of the Gospel will be bid ! And,
+ If God's law requires, on the penalty of eternal destruction, that which is in its own nature sinful, then it is a wicked law. But that which is “contrary to the law of God,” is in its own nature sinful : for sin is a transgression of the law. But, according to Mr. Cudworth, the law requires what is “ contrary to the law of God," what “ clashes with our duty." (P. 222, 223, 224.) There fore, according to him, it is a wicked law. But if it is a wicked law, God is obliged in justice to repeal it. But to give his Son to die, to do honour to a wick. ed law, of all things in the universe, would be most contrary to all the divine perfections. In this view of the law, therefore, not one of the divine perfections can be seen on the cross of Christ. What, then, does Mr. Cudworth mean by “ loving God for his own loveliness as thus discovered by the Gospel, every di. vine perfection being discovered as harmonizing in the salvation of the guilty by Jesus Christ ?" (p. 225.) when on his scheme there is not one divine perfection manifested, nor any loveliness of the divine nature discovered. Yea, if the law had been what Mr. Cudworth says it is, it had been in its own nature an infinitely wicked thing for the Son of God to die to do it honour. It had been to do honour to a wicked law; which is the same thing as to do honour to wickedness ; which is an infinitely wicked thing. What then does Mr. Cudworth mean, by “ loving God for his own loveliness !” Why, he believes, that by means of Christ's death, his sins are pardoned, and God becomes his particular friend, turned to be entirely on his side, “ disposed to make him happy, and oppose whatever is contrary to his happiness :” (p. 221. 223.) " and this appears lovely to him, and is all the idea of the loveliness of the divine nature he can conceive 11. If the excellency of the divine law, as a perfect rule of right, holy, just, and good, was the only thing that rendered the death of Christ needful in order to the salvation of sinners; then a view of the excellency of the divine law, as a perfect rule of right, holy, just, and good, and an answerable view of our own character and state, is the only thing that can lead us to see our need of the atonement of Christ. We cannot see our need of Christ's atonement, unless we see that which renders his atonement needful; but the excellency of the divine law was that which rendered the atonement of Christ needful: therefore we cannot see our need of the atonement of Christ, unless we see the excellency of the divine law. A sinner frightened with the apprehensions of eternal burnings, may see bis need of deliverance, without any idea of the need of an infinite atonement in order thereto.-And,
To say, " that the divine law is holy, just, and good, in our view, but not glorious ;” is to say, “ that holiness, justice, and goodness, in our view, are not glorious attributes :" and if so, then neither does God deserve our love, nor is his law worthy to be honoured on the cross of Christ, in our view.
So long as we are at enmity against the law, so long as the divne appears to be an inglorious, unlovely, undesirable law; not perfect in beauty, without a blemish, with application to ourselves : even so long our need of Christ to die in our stead, to do honour to the law, will be undiscerned.
of ; (p. 221.) for he loves himself, although he appears perfectly stupid to the honour of the divine character in imputing such wickedness to the Deity, as requiring what is “ contrary to the law of God, and clashes with our duty." And he can be rarished to think his own happiness secure, although so blind to the beauty of the divine character, as to feel disposed, to declare before the world, that it is “ utterly impossible” to love it. And pray, now, how does Mr. Cud. worth do to keep from plunging headlong into downright infidelity? How can he believe that the Son of God became incarnate, and died to do honour to a law so unreasonable and wicked, as to require what“ is inconsistent with the original constitution of a reasonable creature, and contrary to the law of God ?" Why, indeed, he feels, or rather pretends to feel, no difficulty in the way. For he can, in express contradiction to himself, without a blush, pronounce this very law “ holy, just, and good.” “ This does not infer that the law was too rigorous," says he, “no, far from it, this is only Mr. Bellamy's forced conclusion.” (P. 226.) But not a word does he say to show wherein my conclusion was forced, or to free his own scheme from this glaring inconsistence.