« PreviousContinue »
and if they are not brought out of that state, it must be perpetual and eternal. The soul of the sinner is, by virtue of the force of moral death itself, lost to all moral life and power to acquire moral life, only by the redeeming influence and power which accompanies God's moral administration, founded on the redemption of Christ, and employed to effect the salvation of those who believe in him.
I now proceed with my next argument in proof of the endless duration of the penalty of the divine law, founded on the
NATURE AND DESIGN OF THE ATONEMENT. In our last argument, we proved the eternity of the penalty in two ways. 1. By its inseparable connection with a changeless law. 2. By its own nature, death : death being necessarily eternal in its own nature. It follows, that those on whom this penalty falls, must be holden of its power eternally, unless delivered by a pardon. But if this is effected at all, it must be done in one of three ways. 1. By some provision of the law itself, or 2. By the exercise of mere prerogative, or 3. By an atonement that shall make satisfaction, or present a consideration in view of which the sinner may be released from the grasp of the penalty, in harmony with the claims of justice and the honor of the law.
But we have already seen, the law affords the transgressor no relief; and St. Paul says, “if there had been a law given that could have given life, then righteousness should have been by the law ;" equivalent to a positive declaration, that there is no law that can give life to the sinner. Recollect this declaration : there was, and is no law given, that can give life to the sinner: if there had been, or is such law, then righteousness should have been by the law. But because there was no such law given, Christ was introduced to do what the law could not do. I ask if the conclu. sion is not irresistible, that if Christ had not interposed for our relief, inasmuch as the law provides no salvation, sinners must have perished forever? That is, the penalty of the law is eternal.
The second method of saving sinners named, is the granting of pardon on prerogative. To the salvation of the sinner on mere prerogative or clemency, there are insuperable objections found in the essential and rectoral justice of God. Should Mr. A. dispute this, I am prepared to sustain my position at a proper time. Moreover, his moral attributes stand directly in the way of such a method of salvation. For instance-God is holy; his holiness required just such a law as he has enacted, enforced by a penalty which is death. But if his holiness requires the law, it also requires the infliction of its penalty upon the sinner. Hence, it must stand directly opposed to the unconditional pardon of the sinner. That holiness which requires the law, will not admit of the repeal of the penalty. The same remarks may be made in respect to the goodness, wisdom, and justice of God. The har.
monious action of these attributes, led to the enactment of a law, the penalty of which was death ; and as God is always the same, these attributes can never consent to the repeal of tħat law, and as no sinner can be pardoned on prerogative, without a repeal of the law with respect to him, hence this method of salvation is wholly inconsistent with the character and government of God.
If the law is right in its princip!es, it must be right in its consequences. If it was righit to enact the penalty, it must be right to inflict it. If be right to inflict it, it must be certainly wrong to grant an unconditional pardon. Pardon by mere clemency, is therefore impracticable, under the government of God. This brings us to the only valid ground which the nature of the case admits of, viz: if the sinner be saved at all, it must be by pardon granted in view of a satisfaction, of such a nature as will honor the law, and secure the ends of the divine administration, while the sinner is released from the penal consequences of sin, and allow, ed, if he will, to resume his allegiance to God. Such is the moral condition of man as a sinner, and such the necessities of his case, from which there is no relief, except in the doctrine of atonement.
I know what my friend will say here. He will say that the law is satisfied with the punishment of the sinner himself, that the ends of justice are attained, and the satisfaction required is given in this way; but when he takes this ground, let him understand that this is getting righteousness by the deeds of the law, and St. Paul denies this to be possible. Moreover, let him remember that the penalty is death, and that it is eternal ; hence if the sinner must satisfy for his transgression by enduring the penalty, he can have no hope of salvation.
Now, if we can show that it was the design of Christ's advent to save man from this condition-and that there is no other way of deliverance except through Christ, we shall have driven another nail in a sure place, and con ed the doctrine of the eternity of the penalty of God's law, beyond the power of successful contradiction.
The proposition which I shall maintain here, is, that it was the object of Christ's advent to our world, to make an atonement for the sins of men, in view of which the penalty might be waived, and a dispensation of grace and pardon be granted to a guilty world. But as my time is nearly out, I will not enter upon this subject until I speak again, when I can finish what I have to offer without interruption.
As I am now upon an argument from the atonement, and shall have occasion to refer again to the Greek word “uper," I will in this place notice more fully than I have done elsewhere, a criticism of Mr. Austin, on this word. His object is to disprove the obvious fact that the word “ uper" is employed in the scriptures to signify " in the place”_"stead"--or " behalf of,”-and hence, when found in connection with the death of Christ for sinners,
the meaning is that Christ died in the room-stead—or place of sinners, or in their behalf, so as to exonerate them from the necessity of giving penal satisfaction in their own persons. The following passages show the manner in which the word is used. 2 Cor. v. 21.-" He was made sin for (uper) us." 14th verse, " if one died (uper) for all, then were all dead." John xi. 50. " It is expedient for us that one man should die for (uper) the pecple.” Rom. v. 6; 1 Peter ii. 21, iii. 18th and many other places. În the last place referred to, it is said, “ Christ hath once suffered the just (uper) for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."
Now, all the proof we have that "uper” does not signify in the stead and for the benefit of others, is found in the naked" ipse dixit” of Mr. Austin. The very examples he has adduced to vindicate his position, prove that while the word is sometimes used in an accommodated sense, that is, in a sense inferior to its real primary signification, nevertheless, when used with reference to the death and sufferings of Christ for sinners, the sense is, that Christ died to save sinners from death-that he suffered to relieve them from suffering: If the reader or hearer will examine the passages brought forward as examples, he will find abundant reason to justify this remark. Moreover, the gentleman virtually gives up the point, by admitting the word means "in behalf of" He quotes Robinson as authority : and I will neither dispute the authority, nor the definition. Though " uper" admits a more extended signification, yet, if I can have the one here admitted, it is all I ask to make out my case. Webster says—"behalf, denotes substitution, or the act of taking the part of another. This is precisely what I contend for. Christ was substituted in the sinner's place, and so acted in his behalf, that he has "r deemed him from the curse of the law, - being made a curse for him." Hence the celebrated Tholuck remarks in his comment on Rom, v. 8th, “ While among men there is none who will thus die for the innocent, and not many who will die for a benefactor, the holy one submits to death for sinners, for those who had offended against God himself. It was a noble demonstration of God's love, that while men were all involved in a situation of revolt from him, he suffered Christ to appear among them, who, in order to break the power of evil, took upon himself the consequences of sin, even death and all its pains." Also the distinguished and very learned Dr. Knapp, commenting on the same verses—"This cannot mean that by his death Christ gave men an example of firmness, or sought to reform them. For in verse 7th we read: There are but few instances among men (like that of Damon and Pythias) of one dying for an innocent friend : and indeed the examples are rare of one dying (as Peter was willing to do (uper kristau) for Christ.-John xiii. 37.) or even for a benefactor (agathos.) But there is no example of one dying for rebels and criminals, to rescue them from the death which they deserved ; and
yet so did Christ die for us.” Paul could not have expressed his meaning more clearly. Accordingly he says, 2 Cor. v. 14, “ Did one die for all, then were all dead." With these remarks we dismiss this criticism, and think we shall not have occasion to return to it again.
Belore I set down, however, I will call on the gentleman again, to announce his views to the anliene:', respecting future punishment. Does he believe sinners will be punished after the present life? If so, where will they be punished? Does he believe there is a place in the future world, denominatel hell? If there is, how will he get sinners out of hell, after they have become inmates of that place of punishment? If there is no such place as hell, where, ani how are sinners who die without repentance, punishel in the future world ? Any information on these points will be thankfully received.-[Time expirel.
[MR. AUSTIN'S FOURTII REPLY.] Gentlemen :- The sixth argument which Elder Holmes advances in support of the affirmative, he attempts to draw from the Nature of the Divine Law. God's Moral Law he declares, is a transcript of his own divine mind. In his article in the Methodist Review, to which reference has frequently been made, he says, the law is “ an emboliment of the moral perfection of God," and is "the expression of the infinite and eternal mind, with respect to himself, and all created dependencies.”--(Review p. 417.) Mr. Holmes also quotes from Wesley as follows: “ The law of God is a copy of the eternal mind, a transcript of the divine nature; yea, it is the fairest offspring of the everlasting Father,' the brightest efflux of his essential wisdom, the visible beauty of the Most High."
I concur decidedly in these views of my friend and his father Wesley. Unquestionably the Divine Law is a transcript of the nature and the moral perfections of its author. But from these premises, I draw a conclusion very different from that at which my opponent arrives. What is the nature, the moral perfcction, of God? We may enter upon long details in reply to this inquiry. But we can find no better answer than that furnishel us by the Apostle John, who sums up the whole compass of the Divine Nature in the single declaration "God is Love!!! The Elder may not like this definition, in this connection; but it is that which Deity has furnished us himself, and we are bound to receive it as the truth. If Love is the perfection of God's nature, and if his Law is a transcript of that nature, then it must necessarily be a law of Love. And if it be a law of Love, then the penalty must accoril with the dictates of Love. For penalty is but a part of law, and is designed simply to carry out the intention of law. How, then, can any thing grow out of God's law, or its
penalty, which will result in fixing the disobedient in a state of sin and woe. The Apostle declares that love worketh no ill to its neighbor." The whole purpose of the Divine Law, is to carry out the promptings of the Creator's infinite love towards
Its enactments and penalties are designed for man's good --to turn him from darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from that which entails wretchedness, to that which imparts the highest felicity. Such being the intention of God's law, before my friend can show that it will entail endless wretchedness on any of those over whom it is exercised, he must first show that it is an imperfect law-that it fails in accomplishing the object for which it was established. In fine, he must show God's love, in adopting its plans to confer happiness on its objects, has committel a blunder so egregious and monstrous, as to pursue a course which does work ill to its neighbor—and that in seeking to make men everlastingly happy, it has been so short-sighted as to take a course which results in consigning them to everlasting misery!
Will my friend acknowledge that God's law was originally designed for the good of all, individually and collectively, or will he not? This is a plain question and admits of a clear and dis. tinct answer. I hope he will summon courage to give us a reply in his next speeeh, that shall come directly to the point, without any circumlocution, or any dodging the point in a long harrangue of words which have no bearing. I want him for once, clearly to define his position on this subject. If he believes the law of God was not designed to promote the good, and secure the final happiness of all men, then he steps upon the old Calvinistic platform, and virtually embraces the doctrine of Election and Reprobation. But if he acknowledges the Divine Law was originally designed solely to secure the everlasting felicity of every human be. ing, then I ask him to show why God executed that law in such a manner, or annexed such a penalty to it, as to result in engulphing countless millions in endless woe—a condition directly the opposite of that for which he enacted the law, and at which he was continually aiming in putting it in force ? Moreover, if such will be the result of the operation of the law, will he show us how to avoid the conclusion, that there must have been no foresight in originally enacting the law, nor the least wisdom in putting it into practical execution.
No truth can be more apparent, than that the views entertained by my opponent, degrade the government of Jehovah to an equality with man's, in every thing imperfect, short-sighted, unwise, weak and feeble. Is there a person in this audience, who does not clearly see, that the whole aim of Elder Holmes is to prove that God's law is so blind and unwise as while striving to promote the happiness of men, it stumbles into measures which destroys that happiness forever? Can any one fail to discover that his success This debate depends entirely upon his convincing the people, that God's gov