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with pleasure ? Ought not such reflections to embitter every sinful delight, and render every transgression abominable in our sight?
In like manner, how much ought we to condemn ourselves, and to be grieved for our folly and iniquity! “ They shall look upon “ him whom they have pierced,” says the Prophet Zechariah, (Chap. xii, 10, 11,) “and “they shall mourn for him as one mourneth “ for his only son, and shall be in bitterness as
one that is in bitterness for a first born.”. When our Lord suffered, the inanimate creation seemed to sympathize with him. The sun was shrouded in darkness--all nature was convulsed—the solid rocks were torn asunder—the holy temple was rudely shook, and the dreadful scene was completed by the waking, even, of the dead. Shall we, then, be unmoved ; we, who are the cause of Christ's sufferings, and most nearly interested in the event of them. Shall we not, rather, awake from our fatal lethargy, and bid adieu to the pleasures of sin; pleasures vain and idle, and hateful to God?
I observed, lastly, under this head, that, the atonement of Christ has a great influence towards making us forsake our sins, and follow holiness. This is represented, in almost every page of the New Testament, as the effect of Christ's death, and as one of the ends for which he died. Thus says St. Paul : Tit. ii. 14.— 6. Who
himself for us that he might re“ deem us from all iniquity, and purify unto “ himself a peculiar people zealous of good 66 " works.” 2 Tim. ii. 19.-“ Let every one " that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity.” Col. i 21, 22.-" You who " were sometimes alienated and enemies in
your minds by wicked works, yet now hath “ he reconciled in the body of his flesh through “ death, to present you holy, and unblama
ble, and unreprovable in his sight.”
I know that the doctrine of atonement has been perverted, by some of its pretended friends, to purposes destructive of godliness ; and this has been objected to it, by it's enemies, as, necessarily, arising from the doctrine itself. But who would not rather adopt the language of St. Paul ? “ Do we then make void the “ law through faith? God forbid ; yea, we " establish the law." For never was the law so magnified, or made so honourable, as by that obedience which Christ gave to it as a part of his atonement : and though we are, now,
exempted from obedience as a condition of life, yet, as has been, already, shown, we are under stronger obligations to obey the law, as a rule of conduct, than we were ever under before. “ If we are crucified with Christ, “ then we are dead to sin : how, then, shall “ we, that are dead to sin, live
any longer " therein ?"
From what has been said, it appears how illfounded those objections are which represent the system of the orthodox christian as unfriendly to the interests of morality. It represents man, indeed, in his present fallen and degenerate state, as unable to think a good thought or to do a good action.
It does not, however, discourage him from the attempt, but, on the contrary, furnishes him with higher powers,
derived from a nobler source, and calls
upon every man to exercise the grace which is in him. It teaches us, that, our faith and repentance have not the smallest efficacy in procuring our salvation ; but, it never yet taught, that, the unbeliever and the impenitent would enter into the kingdom of heaven.
represents some as chosen to life, and others as given over to reprobation ; but it is ignorance of it's nature to suppose, that, it consid
ers predestination as inconsistent with the most perfect freedom of actions, or, that it represents
, the foreknowledge of God as the cause of the future salvation or condemnation of men. It teaches us, that, we are not justified by works; but, it does not teach, that, works are unnecessary to salvation ; on the contrary, it declares, that, without holiness no man can see God. It informs us, that, Jesus Christ obeyed the law in our name, and in our room ; but, at the same time, it lays us under the strictest obliga. tions to obedience ; the obligations of duty to a Lord and Master ; of gratitude to a benefactor ; of love to a friend; in short, of
every principle which can operate upon a reasonable being. But I cannot, without doing injustice to so important a subject, omit showing, how, it is an inducement to the practice of some particular virtues.
The atonement of Christ ought to lead us to love one another. This is the natural effect of our love to Christ : if we love the master, we will also love his servants : if we love him who begot, we will also love those who are begotten. Besides this, if Jesus loved any so much as to die for them, will we counteract the intentions of his affection so far as to hate
or persecute them? Will we despise, or, treat harshly, those saints who are dear in God's sight? Thus does St. Paul reason: “ We that " are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the s weak ; for even Christ pleased not himself, “ but as it is written, the reproaches of them “ who reproached others fell upon me.” Can we hear our Lord
say, “ this is my command“ ment, that
love one another, as I have “ loved you,” and, “hereby shall all men “ know that ye are my disciples, if ye love “ one another,” and, yet, hate, defame, or injure our neighbour or our friend ! Can we read the exhortation of St. Paul, “ walk in, “ love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given “ himself for us an offering and a sacrifice, for
a sweet smelling savour,” and pay no attention to the advice? Can we duly weigh the reasoning of St. John : ” Beloved, if God so “ loved us, then ought we also to love one “ another : hereby we perceive the love of “ God, because he laid down his life for us ; “ wherefore we ought to lay down our lives “ for the brethren;" and yet be uncharitable to the needy, or withhold our hand from our brother in distress?