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efficacy throughout, corresponding to the twofold need of sinners. We need not only a removal of God's disfavor, but his positive approbation. How can such sinners as we are get it? How, in the view of conscience, can it be right for us to have it?
In answering these questions we will pursue a path similar to the one followed in treating of punishment, but leading, of course, in the opposite direction.
I. What does righteousness deserve ?
Righteousness deserves APPROBATION, unqualified, effective, supreme. Whether a reason can be given for this or not, conscience affirms it with the clearness and quickness of intuition. This is enough for our present purpose.
What does a righteous person deserve? He deserves a reward; but, as we have said in regard to punishment, only as a means — the means of making approbation effective and personal.
Now if righteousness, considered by itself, receives an adequate seal of approval through the atonement, then the general purpose of rewards is fulfilled. And who can doubt that it has received such a seal ? Who can doubt that the perfect rectitude of all human beings, followed by the rewards of heaven to their merits, would have been a less powerful approbation of righteousness than the manifestation made by the Incarnate Son, and the eternal glory that follows? But we need not put the choice between rewarding all, on the one hand, and the incarnation, on the other. Man having fallen, any suitable rewards were impossible. Where was the righteousness to reward? God could give a law, but who would keep it? He could fully show his approbation of righteousness only by the appearance of his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased. Thus “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.” Sin so deep as man's was is as fatal to a system of rewards as to a system of punishments. The atonement was needed to fulfil the end of the former as much as of the latter.
But how about the personal ends of rewards? How is this reached in the atonement system? We answer: By faith. Just as the sinner says: do not suffer for the condemnation of my sins, but I humbly accept the condemnation that comes through the sufferings of Christ,” which is faith “resting in the blood ”; so, in view of Christ's righteousness,
he says: “I possess no righteousness that can be rewarded, but I endorse, and love, and trust in that righteousness which is worthy of the highest reward,” which is faith resting on the righteousness of Christ. By faith we trust in Jesus, not as a mere person, but as the one wlio possesses a pure and spotless righteousness, the only one who deserves heavenly bliss. When we think of heaven as a reward, we think of Jesus, and of his transcendent worth. Then it is right for us to enjoy heaven because we accept it as the reward of righteousness. Our acceptance of Christ points us out as proper participants in the glory which is his well-earned reward. The righteousness is not ours by achievement, but ours by dependence. The position of a sinner enjoying the fruits of Christ's merit is nowise repugnant to conscience, for there is a reason for it. It is not a case of partiality. He stand among the lovers of righteousness, himself not righteous inherently, but in the depths of his soul, adherent to righteousness and the righteous Lamb of God. For no other sinner would it be right, even if it were possible, to enjoy that bliss which is the reward of Jesus. Thus “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
We close with a few words on the satisfaction of divine justice. The human conscience, if it is anything, is a copy of the divine conscience. We are like God in our perception of right and wrong and our sense of justice. This is our foundation for the knowledge of God's moral attributes. But we must be sure to draw our conclusions from an unperverted conscience. If we have done so in the preceding pages, it follows that the satisfaction which divine justice receives in the atonement arises from its overwhelming con
demnation of sin, and a corresponding approbation of righteousness; sin being reprobated with a moral force exceeding that which would attend the everlasting punishment of all sinners, and righteousness being vindicated with a glory that could hardly beam from rewarding a universe of righteous
Here is one of the wonders of redemption, that even salvation can be made to satisfy justice. The Eternal Monarch, humbling himself to save rebels, accomplishes in his infinite condescension more for justice than if he had bared his right arm for justice without mercy. The loving heart, shrinking from the pain of punishing, accepts the pain of humiliation, and saves the lost.
Is not then God's so-called “obligation ” to make atonement just this, that being able to satisfy his attribute of justice by the atonement, it cannot be that his other attribute of love should fail of the satisfaction of saving sinners? It must be that he who can, will make atonement. In other words, the atonement is God-like.
CONSCIENCE, ITS RELATIONS AND OFFICE.
BY REV. JOHN BASCOM, D.D., PROFESSOR IN WILLIAMS COLLEGE.
We are sometimes startled by the profound significance of words, by the precision with which they etymologically penetrate to the root of the idea indicated, and lay open its essential features. It seems, either as if those who first applied them must have possessed wonderful insight into things, or as if, by some force or law of growth in themselves, they had come to cover and hold with strange perspicuity the germs of knowledge. Thus the word “ consciousness” expresses a sort of double knowing — a knowing with one's self, a knowing that one knows, which is the essential feature of what it designates. This two-sided character of knowledge, by which
it awakens the mind to the inner and the outer at once, by which, in the same act, it contains both the object and subject of thought, and is able thus to resolve the simple phrase "I know," into the two "I know," and "I know that I know,” is the peculiar and subtile feature of mental phenom
Herein are not two acts of knowing, but each act, that it may be an act of knowledge, implies the recognition by the mind of its own processes, a union of these inward to the centre of thought, as well as outward to its object a knowing together, a bi-polar knowledge pointing in two directions.
From this word another, closely allied, yet radically distinct, has sprung by gradual separation - conscience. Designating the faculty by which we discern right and wrong, it also implies a second or double knowing, a knowing of action in its moral as well as in its natural qualities. There is here even more perfect accuracy of thought than in the word “consciousness.” There is strictly no additional, no second act of knowledge in consciousness. We merely mark by the word one of the two aspects which belongs to every simple act of knowing or of feeling. The conscience, on the other hand, does give a second, a more penetrative perception ; we know within ourselves, with ourselves, that an action, previously seen by the eye and recognized by the intellect in its motives and consequences, is right. This idea of conscience, testified to by the etymology of the word, as that of a power which imparts a direct knowledge of moral quality, we accept ; and proceed to inquire into the relations and offices of this faculty.
T'he first of these relations is that of conscience to our moral nature. This power by which we perceive the right, is the foundation of morals in our constitution, - is that, and that only, which imparts moral quality to our actions and to our feelings. Without this perception, moral action or affection is impossible; with it, a moral element enters freely into our whole intellectual and emotional life. The perception itself, though simple, has both an intellectual and an emotional element. These are inseparable. The oughtness and
the rightness are but the two phases under which the one idea develops itself — the expression of the effect of the moral quality of action on the feelings and perception respectively. The sense of obligation cannot exist, cannot arise, without the intuition to which it is attached ; the intuition cannot be present without bringing with it the obligation. The only oughtness, the only coercion of law and interior pressure of authority, is that of conscience. The only intuition which reveals duty, declares what it is, and guides us into it, is that of right given by the conscience.
This faculty, so single in its perception, gives a law to action, and thus through disobedience, the occasion of the feelings of guilt, shame, apprehension, remorse, and through obedience a sense of approval, of ineffable satisfaction. In the disobedience of another, it gives the occasion of contempt, dislike, indignation ; in the obedience of another, of admiration, trust, sympathy, love. So far as this quality is present, and it pervades all rational action, it furnishes the ground for a new, a moral element in our feelings; and thus these become affections instead of mere passions. Love without the beauties of moral worth to call it forth and sustain it, is a passion ; with these, an affection. Our moral nature, our moral affections are not, then, so much a certain portion of our faculties as our whole nature made capable of a moral mood by the possession of the one faculty, the one power of perception expressed by conscience. This one faculty at once lifts our entire nature into a higher realm, makes it capable of new perceptions, new judgments, new feelings, brings it under a nobler law, lays upon it great responsibilities, and wraps up in its ordinary action issues of infinite compass and reach.
A second relation of this power is to our intellectual nature. The conscience is an intellectual faculty; its action is one of knowing. Of it itself, little more needs to be said or can be said, than that it is the ability of directly perceiving a single, simple, original quality. It does, however, stand in peculiar relations to the other intellectual faculties, quicken