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ment upon Adam himself, and not upon Christ, or any other substitute. It was morally impossible for God to lie, or falsify his word of truth, to save Adam or the whole human race from eternal destruction. But if we suppose that God did not pledge his veracity in the first threatening to Adam, then we can clearly see that there was room for the interposition of a mediator, to make atonement for sin, and open a door of mercy to this fallen world. The construction, therefore, which has been given in this discourse, of the law of Paradise, is not only true, but highly important, because it removes an objection against the whole plan of redemption through the mediation of Christ, which cannot possibly be removed by the common construction of that law.
4. We learn from what has been said concerning the law of Paradise, that there was an absolute necessity of an atonement for sin, in order to the restoration of Adam and his sinful posterity to the moral image and forfeited favor of God. Though God was under no obligation to pardon and save Adam after he had sinned and deserved endless ruin, yet if he did pardon and save him, it was necessary that something should be done to display that vindictive justice which had been expressed in the threatening of eternal death. But on the supposition that only spiritual death was threatened, it is difficult to see any need of an atonement, in order to the pardon and salvation of sinners. Accordingly we find that those who suppose spiritual death was the only thing threatened to the first transgressor, maintain that no vicarious sufferings were necessary, in order to make atonement for the sins of the world, and that no such vicarious sufferings have been made by a mediator or substitute. But this opinion seems to militate against the whole current of scripture, and to render the whole plan of the gospel needless. For the apostle says, "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." And again he says, "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." If God could have consistently forgiven Adam after he had transgressed his law, without an atonement, he surely might have regenerated him without an atonement; for regeneration is an act of mere sovereignty, and not an act either of justice or injustice. God could have regenerated him without an atonement, as well as he could at first create him in his own moral image, without an atonement. The whole necessity of an atonement, therefore, originated in the moral impossibility of God's pardoning Adam after he had threatened him with eternal death, consistently with his attribute of vindictive justice. As soon as Adam had transgressed the positive command of God, he was conscious that his spirit
ual death was not the punishment threatened, but the very thing for which he was threatened with eternal death. And it was the consciousness of his own ill desert, and of the vindictive justice of God, which alarmed his fears, and made him hide himself from the presence of the Lord. He knew that God was perfectly good, and consequently merciful; but he could not see how he could show him mercy consistently with his justice; and despairing of mercy, he fled from justice. This conduct of Adam clearly shows that he supposed God threatened him with eternal death for his first transgression, and that he could not see how it was possible for him to obtain mercy consistently with divine justice, without an atonement for the sin which he had committed, and by which he deserved eternal destruction. We may, therefore, safely understand the law of Paradise in the same sense in which Adam understood it; and infer from the threatening of eternal death for his first transgression, that there was an absolute necessity of an atonement for sin, in order to render it consistent with the justice of God to forgive and save any transgressors of his holy and righteous law.
5. If the law of Paradise threatened Adam with eternal death or everlasting punishment for his first transgression, then it was necessary, not only that some atonement should be made in order to the pardon and salvation of sinners, but that an atonement should be made by sufferings. Those who suppose that nothing but spiritual death was threatened to Adam for transgressing the divine law, suppose that no other atonement was necessary, but what might have been, and has been made by obedience. If their premises were true, their inference would be pretty natural. But it appears from what has been said, that their premises are not true. It was not spiritual, but eternal death, which was threatened for the first offence. And it was the vindictive justice of God, which he expressed in that threatening, that rendered an atonement for sin absolutely necessary, in order to the pardon and salvation of sinners. We cannot discover the nature of Christ's atonement, until we have discovered the necessity of it. But when we have found what rendered his atonement necessary, we may easily determine how he made it. If the necessity of his atonement was founded in the vindictive justice of God, then nothing he did could make the atonement, but what manifested that very vindictive justice which God expressed in his first threatening to Adam. And as it was not the obedience, but sufferings of Christ, which manifested the vindictive justice of God; so it was not his obedience, but his sufferings, which made the atonement for sin.
Now if we search the sacred scriptures upon this subject, we shall find clear and decisive evidence that Christ made atonement, not by obeying, but by suffering in the room of sinners. The apostle Peter says, "Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust." If one innocent person suffers for another innocent person, he does not suffer in his room. If a noble patriot sacrifices his ease, his interest, or even his life, for his country's good, he does not suffer in the room of his country. But if an innocent person suffers for a guilty one, he may be said to suffer in his room. Suppose a father and son were in an army, and the son should do something worthy of stripes, and be condemned to suffer, and the father should voluntarily take the stripes due to his son; in that case, the father would properly suffer in the room of his son. So when Christ the just, suffered for the unjust, he suffered in their room. In this sense the scriptures represent Christ as suffering for sinners, to make atonement for them. They represent the sufferings of Christ as the most prominent and essential trait in his mediato. rial character. We are told, "Those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled." When Moses and Elias appeared in heavenly glory on the mount of transfiguration, with Christ and a select number of his disciples, the subject of their discourse was not the life or obedience of Christ, but his vicarious and propitiatory death. "They spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." And when the apostles went round the world preaching the everlasting gospel, the burden of their discourses was, Christ crucified, or the cross of Christ. There is a vast variety of plain texts, which ascribe the atonement of Christ to his sufferings and death on the cross.
This is the import of all such passages of scripture as speak of his bearing the sins and iniquities of men. The prophet Isaiah uses this mode of expression in the fifty-third chapter of his prophecy. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." "And he bare the sins of many." The apostle Peter, speaking of Christ's sufferings, uses the same phraseology: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." "So Christ," says the apostle Paul, "was once offered to bear the sins of many." To bear sin, in the sense of scripture, is to suffer on account of it. God said to Moses," Thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death." If a person's bearing 61
his own sin or iniquity means his suffering for it, then Christ's bearing our sins and iniquities must mean his suffering on our account and in our stead.
Other passages of scripture represent the sufferings of Christ as a sin-offering or sacrifice. It is said, "It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin." It is said, "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." The apostle says to christians, "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savor." The epistle to the Hebrews abounds with similar expressions. Christ "needeth not daily as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once, when he offered up himself." "Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer." "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once, in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God." "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." If the sacrifices for sin under the law were designed to typify the atonement of Christ, as the apostle here asserts, then he died in the room of sinners, and made atonement for them by making his soul an offering for sin, and shedding his blood on the cross. For when a Jew offered a sacrifice for sin, he stood and confessed his sins over it, and after he had slain it with his own hand, the priest took the blood of the bullock and made atonement for him. This signified that the transgressor deserved to die, but was spared through the atoning blood of the victim slain in his room. Such sacrifices clearly typified Christ, who was to make atonement for sin, to satisfy divine justice in the room of sinners.
This sentiment may be still farther confirmed, by all those passages of scripture which speak of Christ's death as a ran
som, a propitiation, and a price of redemption. "Even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Christ "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity." "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold-but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." "And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." By such a great variety of expressions, the inspired writers have given us sufficient evidence that Christ made atonement for us by suffering, bleeding and dying on the cross. Neither his obedience to his parents, nor his obedience to the moral law, nor his obedience to the ceremonial law, nor his obedience to his Father's command to lay down his life, made the atonement for us; but it was his suffering and dying on the cross in our stead.
Finally, this subject teaches us the necessity of preaching the law, in order to preach the gospel. Some seem to imagine that the gospel may be as well and even better preached without the law, than with it. But this is a very erroneous and absurd opinion. Without seeing the nature and extent of the law, it is impossible to see the nature and design of the gospel. If there had been a law given, which could have given life to the transgressors of it, there would have been no occasion for the gospel, which opens the only door of hope to the guilty. Men must see that they are actually condemned by the law, before they can see their need of the gospel. Men must see the justice of the law, before they can see the grace of the gospel. Men must love the law, before they can love and embrace the gospel. The law runs before the gospel, through the whole Bible. It was through the medium of the law, that the gospel was preached to Adam. It was through the medium of the law, that the gospel was preached to Abraham. It was through the medium of the law, that the gospel was preached to David. Hence he said, "The law of the Lord is perfect,