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To decide concerning the wisdom of the diyine counsels, it must be confessed, lies beyond the province and the ability of man.The atonement, in particular, is a mystery whose depth we cannot fathom, and to attempt to comprehend it, entirely, or to explain all the reasons of adopting such a method of salvation, would be presumptuous and foolish.But, at the same time, God has not, so far, withdrawn himself from human eyes, as not to allow room for the exercise of those faculties which he has given us, or for a modest inquiry into the reason of his ways. Thus, although many wise and important reasons for the atonement of Jesus lie hid in the bosom of the Eternal ; yet those proofs of wisdom which he has been pleased to reveal, and which lie within our comprehension, it is our duty to

and to admire. One instance of wisdom, which was far beyond the reach of men, or even the wider “ken of angels," was the discovery of a method whereby justice might be satisfied, and mercy glorified, sin punished, and the transgressor saved. This was to effect what, to our conceptions, would, without a revelation, appear a contradiction or impossibility. It was an instance, also, of the

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greatest wisdom, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin by the same nature by which they had been introduced into the world ; to recover heaven in that form of flesh in which the title to it had been first forfeited ; and to destroy the works of the devil by that death which he had planned as the total overthrow of Christ's kingdom. The same nature which bred the mortal poison, expels it, and the stripes laid on Christ's body heal the wounds which sin bad made in our soul. When the enemies of Jesus saw him nailed to the cross, and expiring on the accursed tree, they believed their schemes crowned with the most complete success, but they were, then, more effectually promoting his interest than when they carried him in triumph, and with hosannas into Jerusalem. The counsel of God was thus fulfilled. He bringeth light out of darkness, and order out of confusion.

In short, it was an instance of consummate wisdom to appoint the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, to be Mediator. By him God made the world, and without him was not any thing made which was made. Of every thing which he had made he had said, that it was good, but a fatal change was

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soon introduced, and manifold evils abounded which threatened the total ruin of his works, He beheld, with concern, his fair creation laid waste by the cruel spoilers, sin and death, he had compassion on the works of his hands whom he saw falling a prey, one after another, to their irresistible power. How natural was it for him who had created the human race, and who took an interest in their happiness, to become their Redeemer ! How proper to snatch his subjects from destruction, and recover by purchase those who, formerly, were his own by creation !

The atonement of Christ manifests, in a striking manner, God's holiness and hatred of sin. By it's light we see, that, God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and that sin is abominable in his sight. It is evident how much injustice is done to this attribute of Deity by the scheme of salvation opposed to the doctrine of atonement. To receive a guilty sinner into favour, and an impure one into communion, is unworthy, even, of a good man; and shall a man be more pure than his Maker? God had already testified his holiness and his hatred of iniquity by the condemnation of the fallen angels, by the exclusion of our first

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rents from Paradise, by the curse entailed upon every thing, on account of their transgression, by the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, by the deluge, which destroyed the old world, and by many other signal judgments. But, in the atonement and death of Christ, his indignation against sin is more manifested than in any other of his works. Here, an infinite

, Being suffered, and infinite sufferings were endured. But, by these means, God's holiness is made consistent with the communication of happiness to the sinner. For, by the imputation of the merit of Christ's atonement, the guilty are made righteous in the sight of God, and, by the communication of the graces of the Spirit which he hath purchased, the impure are made spotless and holy.

We may add, that, the faithfulness of God is secured, and, indeed, illustriously displayed by the atonement. He had declared, both by the law of nature which was given to every man, and by repeated revelations, that death wages

of sin. He had, also, promised salvation to his elect. If Christ had made no atonement, his word would not have been confirmed, his purposes would not have stood sure. But he hath now endured the punishment

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threatened, he hath now purchased the salva: tion promised.

Lastly, the divine power is evident in the atonement. It appears both in inflicting and in bearing so great a punishment. Nothing less than infinite power could enable the human nature to support that immense load of suffering and wrath which would have overwhelmed the whole creation. God, farther, discovered his power by raising Christ from the dead, and by making his atonement powerful for the pulling down of strong holds, and for bringing many sons unto glory. Thus says the Apostle Paul : “ We preach Christ crucio fied, to them who are called the power of 6 God.”

2. The atonement of Christ is not only glorifying to God, but it is also entirely adapted to the condition of human nature. Man had, not only, revolted from his Maker, and incurred his displeasure, but also reduced himself to a state of the greatest disorder, wretchedness, and guilt. He had lost his original righteousness, every faculty of his soul was corrupted, and it was morally impossible for him to do a good action. For those who have been accustomed to do evil, can no more learn to

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