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more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then is it no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.” As the sinner is reluctant to admit the doctrine of his guilt and helplessness,—that is, to admit that he deserves to perish for ever, and might justly have been left to perish without any gospel, and that God might righteously leave him to his own corruption to perish even in the presence of the remedy,—so he finds it hard to admit that he is dependent on a sovereign will for regeneration in order to his being effectually drawn to the Saviour. Yet this latter doctrine is presented in our Lord's teaching as the necessary complement of the former. The cpening of blind eyes
the Christ of God,” is the sovereign work of God, and an act of grace to be remembered to ages of ages. Blessed art thou, Simon, Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." And the whole doctrine of man's helpless demerit and God's sovereign grace is fixed as a nail in a sure place, by that comprehensive question of the apostle, “Who maketh thee to differ?”
3. But further, the doctrine of the atonement, as the distinguishing glory of the method by which grace saves, was an essential part of our Lord's testimony. From the beginning, God had made provision for exhibiting the deadly nature of sin, even while saving the sinner, and so magnifying His own grace. The earliest revelations showed that sin was no light thing, as some of our modern drawing-room theologians believe, to be blown away with philosophic abstractions and beautiful words about high ideals and innate capacities; but an evil so malignant ud powerful, that nothing but the special manifestation of Infinite Wisdom and Infinite Strength, joined with Infinite Grace, could destroy it, and yet save the sinner,-an evil, moreover, incurring and involving necessarily the curse of the Most Holy. From the first hour in which faith in a Messiah was implicitly or expressly required in order to salvation, the Church was taught that it was in the very nature of things impossible that any sin could escape the Divine vengeance, and that if the sinner was to escape, the curse must be borne by some one able and willing to become his Substitute. Hence the Apostle's words in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "without shedding of blood is no remission,” are but the formal expression of an idea that had been familiar to all true religious worship, since the time that Abel offered the firstlings of his flock in faith. Under the Old Dispensation, animal sacrifices, as instituted by Jehovah
Himself, showed at once that sin must bear its own penalty, and that Divine grace admits of its transference, for this purpose, from the sinner to a substitute. Obviously, however, those sacrifices were nothing more than types of the Great Sacrifice. Hence we are prepared for hearing, at the close of that dispensation, the words of John the Baptist, as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” In the enlightened view of those who realised that the sacrificial ritual was but the shadow of better things to come, this was the Gospel, indeed, -the joyful sound of hopes long deferred, but now realised, long hidden behind the veil of type and symbol, but now made manifest. The Great Substitute had now voluntarily appeared, to bear the curse that would otherwise have crushed His people for ever, and to deliver the guilty, while He vindicated the righteousness and truth of the Eternal Godhead. Not the Jewish nation only, but the whole world, was by that voice called upon to witness the stupendous fact, that God had at length provided Himself "a Lamb for a burnt offering,” in the person of His beloved Son, in Whom He was well-pleased.
Jesus Christ accepted that testimony to Himself, and proclaimed His own sacrificial character expressly and frequently. He said His mission was “to give His life a ransom for many,” according to the prediction of Isaiah, that He should“ bear the sins of many," and according to the doctrine of substitution that was implied in every atoning sacrifice of old, the sins of the offerer being regarded as transferred to the victim. To give His life thus, a ransom, was one express purpose for which He came; and not only so, but it was the will of the Father in sending Him as the Good Shepherd, to give His life for the sheep, that He should thus redeem His people. “I have power,” He says, “to lay it down, and I have power to take it again ; this commandment have I received of My Father.”
True and natural exegesis shows, not perhaps beyond the possibility of rationalistic cavil, but, at all events, beyond all rational doubt, that these texts teach a real objective atonement by the Lamb of God. The end of His mission was not to show that He could die if need be, but because there was need, recognised from eternity in His purpose of grace, He came to die.
In the silent testimony of His death itself, we have the most powerful confirmation of his doctrine of the atonement. The very
fact of His death serves to fix His relation to sin. He did not die for sin in Him ; for it is admitted on all hands, even by rationalists, that He was personally sinless and blameless. He must, therefore, have died for sin on Him—that is, laid upon Him or imputed to Him. For between death and holiness, as such, there is no conceivable connection; but between death and sin the connection is necessary and inseparable. To assert, as is sometimes done, that Christ, though personally holy and having no connection with sin, even by imputation, died to show God's abhorrence of sin, is to outrage thought and reason. The death of a holy being, as such, could not, by any possibility of rational thought, be supposed to show God's abhorrence of sin. It would rather, indeed, suggest that it was possible for God to abhor holiness !
If it be alleged, against the doctrine of substitution, that Christ merely came, in submission to the Father's will, to set an example of self-sacrifice, then the question naturally arises, Why did the Father will that Christ should die ? Does not Scripture, from which we get all our trustworthy information about Christ, teach that it was because He had been eternally appointed to stand in the place of His people and die for their sins ? And as He voluntarily emptied Himself, according to His gracious engagement, assumed human nature, and died under the unutterable wrath and curse of God,—thus shielding their life with His own, and effecting their salvation by exhausting in His death the penalty of their transgression,-did He not exhibit self-sacrifice in the grandest conceivable form ? The rationalistic idea of self-sacrifice, placed side by side with this, must quickly fall into the dust in its own lifeless and senseless imbecility, like the great idol of the Philistines before the ark of God. On evangelical principles, we can understand Christ's agony in the garden, the darkness that surrounded Him upon the cross——the very sun refusing to shine upon his Maker when He was “ made sin ”–His loud cry, “My God! my God! why has thou forsaken Me?” and His triumphant shout, “It is finished,” ere He gave up the Ghost. In all this, rationalism sees only a man,—the best man, indeed, but still only a man,—who is the helpless or all but helpless victim of malignant Jewish rulers, and of an infuriated and senseless mob; while the Church of God sees the all-sufficient Saviour, at once God and Man, deliberately accomplishing, through the instrumentality of His foes, His eternal purpose to expiate sin and bring in everlasting righteousness, as the divinely appointed Substitute for His people.
The doctrine of the atonement must needs have occupied a
prominent place in Christ's discourse, after His resurrection, to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. The necessity for His suffering was the first subject on which He instructed them“Ought not Christ to have suffe. ed these things ?” “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” It is not hard to conclude, that in expounding the sacrifices of old, He expounded them as having immediate reference to His atonement. Nor is it hard to conclude that, in referring to such evangelical predictions as those in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, he was as far as possible from teaching that His having“ laid upon Him the iquities of us all” meant only His setting an indefinite example of selfsacrifice! So, when He appears to John in Patmos," washing from sins in His own blood,” and “ redeeming by His blood,”not by His example,-are the prominent truths of His last testimony on earth ; and hence we hear the Church of God as with one voice, saying, “Thou art worthy
for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood.” And with regard to this, as well as to every other truth of that testimony, He solemnly threatened, that if any man should add to, or take away from, His words, God should add to him the plagues, and take away the blessings, written in His Book. So central, indeed, and vital is this doctrine, that if any man wilfully takes it away out of the sphere of Christian belief and experience, by tłiat very act he takes away his own rart out of the Book of Life, and elects to remain,-unconsciously, perhaps, but no less really, under the condemnation of violated law, and under the still more scathing ccademnation of a rejected Redeemer.
While the atonement appears in Christ's testimony as a wholly satisfactory expedient for the removal of the sinner's guilt, He bears witness also to an equally necessary and equally satisfactory expedient for the removal of the sinner's helplessness, namely
4. The work of the Holy Ghost in regeneration and sanctification. From the view that Christ presented of the spiritual, or rather, the wholly unspiritual, condition of man as a fallen being, it follows that the power of God is needed to effect a change, for our Lord says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” best results of the most ambitious effort of the carnal man to raise himself, independently of supernatural grace, are but carnal still. In order to a spiritual result, there must be a new spiritual principle. That,” and that alone,“ which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Hence the great Prophet taught that a man must be “ born of water and of the Spirit” before he can even “see the kingdom of God,” or “enter” it by faith. The process by which these results are achieved may vary very much, circumstantially, in the experience of different souls, and yet is substantially the same in all. The Spirit takes the word and applies it for conviction of sin, reveals our guilt and danger, shows, perhaps, the futility of trusting in anything but the blood and righteousness of Emmanuel, by allowing us to try a number of human devices for pacifying and purging the conscience, then gives spiritual life and opens the eyes to see spiritual things, so revealing Christ that the whole horizon of our consciousness is lighted up with His glory. And as the heaven-born soul looks up, its language is that of a heavenborn faith, “ Truly in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.”
The life thus communicated is sustained by the same Spirit of Life. The secret at once of the reality, the power, the progress, and the permanence of the spiritual life, is that it is, in a very obvious sense, a Divine life—the continued result of the indwelling of God the Spirit, binding the soul by the bond of a common Divine indwelling to the living Saviour. He that is joined to the Lord is" thus “one spirit.'
one spirit.” For our Lord says of that Spirit which dwells immeasurably in Himself :-"He dwelleth with
you and shall be in you."
II. THE MANNER OF CHRIST'S TESTIMONY to these leading doctrines of His own Gospel was in harmony with the intrinsic importance of the MATTER.
1. As the personally Divine, and Divinely - commissioned Revealer of the Divine Will, “ He taught,” necessarily, “as One having authority.” It would not have been becoming either to Himself as the Great God, or to His mediatorial commission as the Elect Servant and Ambassador of the Great God, to speak in any lower tone than that of supreme Lordship over mind, heart, and conscience. And, accordingly, we find in His teaching none of the hesitancy of mere opinions, but, invariably, the immeasurably dignified assurance of infallible wisdom. Entrusted, like the old Testament prophets, with a Divine commission, He never spoke as if His utterances admitted of argument or of opposition. His message was delivered, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear, as God's message. From this, however, it does not follow that He was exactly on a level, personally and officially, with the heaven-sent prophets of old. The authority of their message was derived from Him. He held, so to speak, the high