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furnished a greater measure of guilt; but it could not have impressed on the mind any stronger conviction of the graciousness of God. If we ascend the scale of being, and suppose an incarnate angel to become the victim, the measure by which we may estimate the guilt of sin increases, to be sure, in a very high degree; but still, there is nothing in such a sacrifice which speaks in unequivocal language of the exceeding goodness of God. Although the sufferings of the angel were considered to be perfectly voluntary, it would not alter the view of God's character: Our gratitude would indeed be called forth by the goodness of the angel; but forgiveness still would seem a cheap and easy thing on the part of God, whose creative fiat could call into existence millions of brighter spirits. That God in human nature should himself become the victim, is a scheme which indeed outstrips all anticipation, and baffles the utmost stretch of our minds when we labour to form an idea of perfect benevolence and perfect holiness; but yet it is the only scheme which can fully meet the double object of strongly attracting our love to God, and at the same time of deeply convincing us of the danger and baseness and ingratitude of sin. This gives us a measure by which we may estimate both the Divine goodness and our own guilt. It is indeed an exhibition of "love which passeth knowledge." But yet, when the conscience comes to be fully enlightened, nothing short of this marvellous exhibition can produce peace. When a man is once

thoroughly convinced that sin consists in a choice of the heart different from the will of God, even although that choice does not vent itself in an external action, he must feel that he has accumulated, through the past days of his life, and that he is still daily accumulating, a most fearful weight of guilt. A day of retribution approaches, and he must meet God face to face. A simple declaration of forgiveness on the part of God, would certainly in these circumstances be most comforting to him; but still it would be difficult to persuade him, that the Holy One who inhabitetheternity, could look with kindness on a being so polluted and so opposite in every respect to himself in moral character. Until this persuasion takes hold of his mind, he can neither enjoy real peace, nor be animated with that grateful love which can alone lead to a more perfect obedience. The surpassing kindness and tenderness demonstrated in the cross of Christ, when understood and believed, must sweep away all doubts and fears with regard to God's disposition towards him, and must awaken in his heart that sentiment of grateful and reverential attachment which is the spiritual seed of the heavenly inheritance. "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his living love."

It seems to me, that the Scriptural statement of this doctrine is in itself the best answer that can be made to Socinians. If Christ was only an inspired teacher, his death is of very


importance to us; because it gives no demon-
stration of the kindness of God, and therefore
can neither give peace to a troubled conscience
nor excite grateful affection; and also, because
it gives no high measure of the guilt and dan-
ger of sin, and therefore cannot impress us
strongly with a sense of its inherent malignity.
We thus lose the whole benefit of Christianity
as a palpable exhibition of the Divine charac-
ter, and are thrown back again on the ineffi-
ciency and vagueness of abstract principles.
In this view, likewise, all those passages of
Scripture in which our gratitude, our reveren-
tial esteem, and our filial confidence, are so
triumphantly challenged on the ground of the
death of Christ, become empty, unmeaning
words: For, if Christ was not God, there is no
necessary or natural connexion between the
belief of his death and the excitement of such
sentiments in our hearts towards God; while,
on the supposition that he was God, the con-
nexion is most distinct and unavoidable. In
fact, if Jesus Christ was a mere man, the great-
est part of the Bible is mere bombast.
man who disbelieves the inspiration of the Bi-
ble, this of course is no argument.
But surely
he ought not, in a matter of such unspeakable
importance, to reject a doctrine which may be
true, without examining it in all its bearings.
He ought not to take the account of it upon
trust, when he has the record itself to apply
to. He is right to reject an absurd statement;
but he is wrong to decide without investigation
that this absurd statement is contained in the

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Bible. Let him consult the Bible,-let him
consider what this doctrine declares of the
character of God,-let him trace the natural
effects of its belief on the character of man,-
let him understand that it expands our ideas of
the Divine holiness by the very demonstration
which attracts our love, that it quickens the
sensitiveness of conscience by the very demon-
stration which gives peace to the conscience,
-and he may continue to reject it; but he
will not deny that there is a reasonableness in
it-that it contains all the elements of a per-
fect doctrine-that it is most glorifying to God
and most suitable to man. To sum up my ob-
servations on this subject: The doctrine of
the atonement, by the incarnation and death of
Christ, is illustrative of the Divine mercy, and
vindicative of the Divine holiness; it is a foun-
dation of hope before God, amply sufficient for
the most guilty of men; and it is fitted to im-
plant in the vilest heart which will receive it,
the principles of true penitence and true grat-
itude, of ardent attachment to the holy char-
acter of God, and of a cordial devotion to his

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The hallowed purpose of restoring men to the lost image of their Creator, is in fact the very soul and spirit of the Bible; and whenever this object does not distinctly appear, the whole system becomes dead and useless. In creeds and confessions, this great purpose is not made to stand forth with its real prominency: its intimate connexion with the different articles of faith is not adverted to; the point of

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the whole argument is thus lost, and Christianity is misapprehended to be a mere list of mysterious facts. One who understands the Bible may read them with profit, because his own mind may fill up the deficiencies, and they may prevent upright persons who hold a different creed from entering into establishments, and they may stand as doctrinal landmarks; but they are not calculated to impress on the mind of a learner a vivid and useful apprehension of Christianity. The object in them is not to teach religion, but to defend it; and whilst they keep their own place, they are beneficial. But any person who draws his knowledge of the Christian doctrines exclusively or principally from such sources, must run considerable risk of losing the benefit of them, by overlooking their moral objects; and, in so doing he may be tempted to reject them altogether, because he will be blind to their strongest evidence, which consists in their perfect adaptation to these objects. The Bible is the only perfectly pure source of Divine knowledge; and the man who is unacquainted with it, is in fact ignorant of the doctrines of Christianity, however well-read he may be in the schemes and systems and controversies which have been written on the subject.

The habit of viewing the Christian doctrines and the Christian character as two separate things, has a most pernicious tendency. A man who, in his scheme of Christianity, says, "here are so many things to be believed, and here are so many to be done," has already made a

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