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views, it will be perceived, it derives from the atoning character of his previous death. But, this reasoning apart, it must be obvious to all, that, admitting the death of Christ to have been necessary to his resurrection, had this been all that was necessary, nothing more than the simple fact of his death would have been required. The simplest form in which this could have occurred would have served all the purpose. It would have sufficed to have died in ease and in honour. The magnitude and severity of his previous sufferings, the agony, and torture, and ignominy, and bitterness of death by crucifixion, are thus all unaccounted for, and inexplicably gratuitous. Being uncalled for by the necessity of the case supposed, they are still unexplained on the principles of divine equity, and some other view is necessary to be taken of them.
Nor will the theory of example supply the desideratum. Much stress has been laid on this, as if the whole design of Christ's sufferings and death was to set mankind a pattern of fortitude, and resignation, and patient endurance. On the supposition that he made atonement for sin, he certainly did set such an example; but not otherwise. Put the case that he suffered not as a legal substitute for sinners, and what an example have we before us! The innocent subjected to the most cruel and excruciating sufferings! Perfect obedience rewarded with the most terrible punishments! The greatest holiness doomed to the greatest anguish!—an example which we hesitate not to pronounce frightful, disgusting, detes
table, and impossible under the moral government of a righteous God. Put the case that Christ suffered not the wrath of God for our sins, and we scruple not to say that he failed to set us the example supposed. His mental agony, the anguish of his soul, the fearful bitterness of his cries and his prayers, the bloody sweat of the garden, and the piteous exclamation of the cross, are, on this supposition, out of all proportion to the intensity of the external causes which we observe in operation. The desertion of his friends, and the cruelty of his enemies, might surely have been borne with more equanimity of soul. Many martyrs have been treated with greater external severity, and yet have manifested under it all more apparent magnanimity and comfort, and have expired in triumphant anticipation of heavenly glory: whereas Jesus died amid the horrid darkness of desertion, and complaining, in accents of inconceivable bitterness, of being forsaken by God. Who will say, after this, that he died only to set mankind an example of patience and resignation? Neither should it escape notice, that, if the whole design of Christ's sufferings was to exhibit an example, it was impossible that those who lived in preceding ages could be benefited by it. It will be admitted that the work of Christ had a retrospective virtue; the law was only a shadow of good things to come, of which the substance was Christ; the patriarchs beheld his day afar off and rejoiced. But to the efficacy of an example it is essential that it exist prior to the benefit which it confers. Its influence cannot
be retrospective; it cannot be the subject of beneficial anticipation. It may also be observed here, that the theory we are now examining tends to preclude all but adults from the benefit of Christ's sufferings and death. If these were simply exemplary, it follows, of course, that only such as are capable of imitating, can derive advantage from them. Thus infants can reap no benefit from the sufferings of Christ; and all who die before they are qualified to study the example exhibited in his history must necessarily perish:-a conclusion which would go directly to destroy the dearest hopes of bereaved Christian parents, did not such know assuredly that it is in direct contradiction to the testimony of him who said, 'Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.'
. Such are the theories to which the enemies of the doctrine of atonement have had recourse, with the view of accounting for the sufferings of Christ. How entirely they fail, the preceding observations may help us to judge. They leave the facts of the case, in all their peculiar features, wrapt in inextricable mystery. The solution of the difficulty is to be found in the doctrine of Christ's atonement. Admit this and all is clear. Considering that he bore our iniquities, that he suffered the wrath of God, that he was exposed to all the direful consequences of God's manifested displeasure at guilt, that he drank the bitter cup of penal woe, in short that he gave his soul an offering for sin-considering this,
the mystery of his intensest suffering is explained; the bitter anguish, and bloody sweat, and awful desertion, and final cry, give us no difficulty; all is natural, and easy, and consistent. On every other supposition, however, the whole is involved in impenetrable clouds. Can we hesitate, then, what view of the subject to adopt? Truly we must say, CHRIST SUFFERED FOR SINS, THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD!
PROOF-THE APOSTOLICAL WRITINGS.
THE evidence we are now to bring forward is not inferential, like that formerly adduced. It is direct, conveyed in plain didactic statements; statements, indeed, so plain, numerous, and unequivocal, as not to be mistaken without the most obstinate resistance of the light. In this department the evidence is so abundant, scattered over so wide a field, and so diversified withal, that it is not possible to convey a definite idea of it, without having recourse to a process of classification.
There are, first of all, those passages in which express mention is made of atonement or reconciliation, as effected by Christ. In our version, the former term occurs but once in the new testament:-'We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received THE ATONEMENT (T xarahhayv.)” But the original word occurs in other passages:-'And all things are of God, who hath reconciled (narahλážavros) us to himself by Jesus.
1 Rom. v. 11.