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self; and had he not been so he could not have stood as the substitute of others; he must, in this case, have had to answer for himself: but, while free from all personal guilt, he was pleased to take upon him the guilt of his people, and in the character of their surety or substitute was it that he suffered the penalty of the law. The law held him guilty as standing in the room of the guilty, and in this character he suffered. Such a union subsisted betwixt Christ and his people as to lay foundation for a reciprocal proprietorship, in consequence of which, while he was made sin for us,' we are 'made the righteousness of God in him.' Nor let it be said, that this supposes God to have treated Christ as something different from what he was,—as guilty when he was not guilty, which would be essentially unjust. By no
He was not personally guilty, and God did not treat him as personally guilty : but he chose to take upon him our guilt, and God treated him, not as one who had made himself guilty by personal transgression, but as one who was the representative of the guilty, standing in their place, and bearing their sins in his own body. Such was the light in which God viewed him; and, viewing him in this light, to inflict on him the sufferings due to human
more restrained than the ordinary acceptation of the same words. If it were to be wished that, in all such cases, we had words appropriated only to the particular objects : but the usage of language (quem, penes arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi,) forbids such a wish. If scepticism or rashness should raise a cavil, we can only reply, that the cavil is unreasonable. No man ridicules mathematical terms, because, in many instances, they are the words of common life employed in a very restricted signification.'-Smith on Sacrifice, &c., p. 284.
guilt involved no infringement of legal rectitude or justice.
4. It ought also to be considered how far the circumstances of Christ's suffering for guilty men under the sanction of divine authority, and by his own voluntary agreement, go to do away with the present objection.
An innocent person's being compelled to suffer for the guilty involves the highest injustice; but Christ voluntarily substituted himself in the room of his people ;—he took upon him their sins; he bowed his neck to the yoke; he laid down his life, no one took it from him, but he laid it down of himself. It was a deliberate act, the result of solemn purpose, and not the sudden impulse of transient enthusiasm. He had a perfect right to dispose of himself as he thought fit, being under no antecedent obligation to law, but possessing an absolute independence, and being at perfect liberty to give his life a ransom for many. I have power to lay it down,' says he, ‘and I have power to take it again.'—-Nor was this wonderful act of voluntary condescension without the sanction of supreme authority. Although a private person, heroic and benevolent enough to offer himself as a substitute for the guilty, could be found, it is clear that, to the consequences of such surrender being perfectly just, the transaction must receive the sanction of the offended lawgiver. He alone has a right to say whether he will admit of the proposed commutation, as he only can judge whether such a procedure may be conducive to all the ends of justice. While, therefore, Christ gave himself for our sins that he might redeem us from the present evil world,' he did so according to the will of God even our Father;' and, when about to enter on the last awful scene of woe, he was heard to say, 'As the Father gave me commandment, so I do; arise, let us go hence. The innocent suffering for the guilty involuntarily and without the countenance of legal sanction, may be allowed to be inconsistent with reason and with the goodness and justice of God; but the same cannot surely be said of the innocent suffering for the guilty with the full approbation of supreme authority, and in a manner which is perfectly voluntary.
5. The futility of the objection will still farther appear, if it can be shown that, by the innocent suffering for the guilty, the ends to be subserved by punishment are more fully attained than by the suffering of the guilty for themselves, while at the same time, no injury is done either to the law or to the sufferer.
That no injury is done to the law or to the sufferer, in the present case, appears from what we have already adduced. It remains to be shown, that the ends to be accomplished by suffering the punishment of the law, are much more completely subserved by the substitutionary scheme than they could otherwise have been. “The matter may be illustrated thus,-A rebel is taken, tried, and condemned. As he is led out to punishment, the king's son,—the heir of his crown, steps forward and proposes to purchase the life and liberty of the rebel, by having the sentence transferred to himself, and consenting to undergo its infliction. His father consents, and his offer being accepted, the law has the same hold upon him that it had upon the rebel, while upon the latter it ceases to have any farther claim. And though it be now his own son upon whom the sentence is to be inflicted, the king abates not one iota of its severity, but causes it to be carried into execution to its fullest extent. This shows on the part both of the father and the son, how highly they prize the safety of the rebel.
It shows the unpardonable guilt of rebellion, that even the heir to the throne cannot deliver the rebel otherwise than by undergoing his sentence. It shows the majesty of the government, and the sanctity of the law in a much more striking manner than the death of the rebel himself could have done, when the king's son is spared nothing of what the rebel was doomed to
If such be the case,-if by the method of a vicarious interposition rather than by suffering righteous vengeance to fall where it was personally due, the ends of God's holy government are attained, not only equally well, but unspeakably better ; if the rectoral honour of the Eternal Sovereign is more inviolably preserved and exhibited ; if sin is held up to the moral universe as more deserving of abhorrence and execration ; if the designs of wisdom, justice, and mercy are more amply and effectually accomplished, who will presume to say that the divine Being was not at liberty to adopt this method without subjecting his procedure to the charge of inconsistency and injustice? Nay but, О man, who art thou that repliest against God?
16 Dods on Incarnation, &c., pp. 236, 237.
6. It ought, moreover, to be taken into consideration, that, in respect of the substitutionary sufferings of the Son of God, the case admits of such a compensative arrangement as to prevent all ultimate injury to the party concerned.
The idea here suggested deprives the objection before us of all force, and this idea is so happily stated and illustrated by one of the greatest ornaments of our age, that I cannot resist presenting it in his own nervous and felicitous language. However much we might be convinced,' says Mr Hall, ' of the competence of vicarious suffering to accomplish the ends of justice, and whatever the benefits we may derive from it, a benevolent mind could never be reconciled to the sight of virtue of the highest order finally oppressed and consumed by its own energies; and the more intense the admiration excited, the more eager would be the desire of some compensatory arrangement, some expedient by which an ample retribution might be assigned to such heroic sacrifices. If the suffering of the substitute involved his destruction, what satisfaction could a generous and feeling mind derive from impunity procured at such a cost? When David, in an agony of thirst, longed for the water of Beth