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ing obedience, the other denouncing punishment on the guilty violator. Corresponding to these, there is a twofold view to be taken of man's relation to the law, consisting in an obligation to obey the precept, and an obnoxiousness to suffer the penalty in case of transgression. Man's subjection to the law, again, may be viewed in three lights,-natural, federal, and penal. Natural subjection to the law arises necessarily out of man's circumstances as a moral creature, and cannot be increased, or diminished, or nullified, by any thing which is done either by himself or by another in his stead: it remains unalterably the same at all times, and abides through eternity: it belongs to man as a moral being, and continues during the period of his existence: it could not be obliterated, but by an entire change of nature, which is tantamount to an annihilation of his existence. Federal subjection springs from the covenant form of the law, in which the fulfilment of duties is enforced, not merely by a threatening of punishment, which seems to be essential to the very nature of a law, but by a promise of reward which the abstract view of law does not necessarily require. This belongs not to man as a creature, but as a party in a voluntary transaction or economical arrangement, the obligation of which is supposed to cease when the object for which it has been entered into has been accomplished; that is to say, when the condition of the convenant is fulfilled. Penal subjection consists in an obligation to suffer the punishment due to the breach of the law, and is incurred by a violation of
its requirements. These different kinds of subjection are founded on different views of the divine character, and are alike indispensable, excepting on the principle that the claims of Deity are answered. The first is founded on the nature of God, and is necessarily immutable. The second is founded on the will of God, and can only be dispensed with by a fulfilment of the whole condition of the covenant. The third is founded on the retributive justice of God, and can cease only when the penalty has been fully borne.
Fallen man is to be regarded as under subjection to the law of God in these three lights:-naturally, federally, penally. He is under natural subjection, as a creature. He is under federal subjection, as included in the covenant which God made with Adam in his character of legal representative of his posterity. He is under penal subjection, as involved in the guilt resulting from the violation of the original covenant engagement, and from his own actual transgression.
Now, man's need of salvation arises out of his inability to meet this threefold obligation of God's holy and righteous law. He is under subjection, but he cannot fulfill what that subjection supposes to be required of him. He is under natural subjection; but he cannot meet the requirements of the law, because morally depraved. He is under federal subjection; but he cannot yield the perfect obedience which is the condition of the covenant, because he is without strength. He is under penal subjection; but he can
never fully endure what the sanction of the law prescribes, because the punishment it denounces is everlasting.
The salvation of man must, therefore, include two things:-deliverance from the federal and penal obligation of the law, and qualification for the fulfilment of that natural obligation from which there can be no deliverance. To qualify man for complying with what his natural obligation to the law imposes, is the work of the Holy Spirit, in regeneration and sanctification. To deliver man from the federal and penal obligation of the law, is the work of Jesus Christ. But the work of Christ, it will thus be seen, must consist of two parts, or rather is to be viewed in two lightsas a satisfaction to the federal demands of the law, and as a compliance with its penal sanction. The former is necessary to give man a title to the life promised in the covenant, and is effected by positive obedience to the whole precepts of the law. The latter is necessary to free man from the death or curse denounced in the covenant on human disobedience, and is effected by suffering the whole amount of the penalty. Now, it is the last of these objects which is contemplated by the atonement, and hence the necessity of restricting its matter to suffering.
It is not to be understood, that, in making this distinction between the positive obedience and penal suffering of Christ, it is meant to be insinuated that these were ever actually separated from one another. Is Christ divided? No, by no means. The work of Christ is one, although it may be advantageously
viewed in different lights, or as including different parts. It is not supposed, that in some acts he obeyed, and that in other acts he suffered only. Obedience and suffering are different views, or, if you will, different parts of his mediatorial work; but they are inseparable from one another-inseparable in covenant, in act, and in consequence. They are inseparably connected in the covenant, both being included in the stipulated condition which he engaged to fulfill, namely, that he should make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in an everlasting righteousness. They were inseparably united in what he did;-while he suffered he obeyed, and while he obeyed he suffered; he became obedient unto death. They are inseparable in the consequences of his work; that is to say, no one ever reaps the fruits of the one, without reaping also those of the other; whoever is delivered from death, is made a partaker also of life; whoever is freed from condemnation, is put in possession of a valid title to glory; whoever receives forgiveness of sins, obtains, at the same time, inheritance among them who are sanctified. Yet, though thus indissolubly united, they are nevertheless distinguishable from one another; and the work of the Redeemer admits of a corresponding distinction, in the aspects in which it may be viewed. The formal matter or substance of Christ's atonement is, thus, his sufferings, by which he fulfilled the penal obligation of the law, and procured the pardon of sin or deliverance from guilt; as distinguished from his formal obedience, by which he complied with the preceptive demands of the law, and in virtue of which
his people are regarded as righteous and entitled to glory.
II. The whole of Christ's sufferings are comprehended in the matter of his atonement.
It was not by those of his soul to the exclusion of those of his body, or by those of the latter period of his life on earth to the exclusion of those of an earlier date, that he effected the purchase of our salvation. All were necessary, from his birth to his death, from the feeble cry of infancy to the piercing complaint of desertion. From the benevolence of God we conclude, that not a single pang was inflicted more than was requisite. Every pain he endured, every grief which he felt, constituted an indispensable part of that sacrifice by which he made reconciliation for the iniquities of his people. All his sufferings were of a vicarious, none of them of a personal nature. In every case he suffered for us, never for himself; he suffered, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.
Some have held the opinion, that as a creature, Christ was under natural obligation to the law for himself. This we reckon an objectional statement, as it overlooks the circumstance that he had no personal existence as man, and it is a person alone that can be the subject of a law; as well as that his being under the law naturally for himself as a creature, must have disqualified him for coming under it federally for others as a surety. But even were it admitted that he was under natural subjection to the law on his own account, it is never supposed by any that