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pothesis. Brute animals, indeed, when falling victims to the sacrificing knife of a Jewish priest, could have no intention to expiate the offences of one or another, on whose behalf they were offered; but, with regard to Jesus Christ, it was absolutely otherwise. For his language was, A body hast thou prepared me-Lo, I come to do thy will, O. God
Christ loved us, and hath GIVEN HIMSELF for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. To be voluntary in suffering, to bear imputed sin, and to intend, in dying, to make reconciliation; were essential to his death, as a sacrifice, and an atonement. Because his death, detached from these considerations, was neither an atonement for transgressors, nor a sacrifice to God; but merely making his exit like one of the martyrs. Otherwise, it might be maintained, that he made an atonement for multitudes of sinners, without knowing whom, and without intending it. Whereas, the language of Jesus is; I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep—The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Besides, did this novel sense of the word application, give a just view of the fact, why might it not be said, “ As, from eternity, the Son of God intended, by his own atoning death, to save Paul; so, from eternity, that Apostle had the atonement of Christ applied to him?' Thus confounding an immanent act of the divine will, with a transient act of divine power: or, in other words, the intention with the execution. Nay, why may we not, on the same principle maintain, that the Holy Spirit, having an immutable intention to deliver Paul, by the word of truth and his own sacred energy, from
ignorance, from unbelief, and from the dominion of sin; the intended illumination of his mind, and renewal of his heart, were applied to him, long before the glorified Messiah exclaimed, Saul! Saul ! why persecutest thou me?
That our Lord had a completely wise and most serious intention, in laying down his life to make an atonement for sinners; neither the perfection of his character, nor the nature of the case, will suffer us to doubt. But this very consideration forbids our supposing, that he made an atonement with his own blood, for any to whom he did not intend it should be applied; or that he died as a sponsor for any
of those whom he did not intend should live through him. Deliberately and voluntarily to die for another, is an affair so extremely serious, that it requires the very highest degree of love to be exercised, and the kindest possible intention respecting the object beloved. For otherwise, it might well be demanded, To what purpose this waste of love?
With regard to what has been commonly and properly called, the application of the atonement; the following thoughts, perhaps, may deserve notice.
The position against which I militate, confounds that work which is peculiar to Christ, in the execution of his priestly office, with the work of the Holy Spirit; and the fruit of sacrificial blood, with the effect of a sacred energy. For nothing is more plainly revealed in Scripture, than that the only atonement for moral guilt, was made by Jesus Christ--by, his blood-by laying down his life in
the stead of sinners--and by being made a curse for them. Whereas the application of the atonement is, by the Holy Spirit enlightening the mind, awakening the conscience, and converting the heart. Or, it is by the Holy Spirit, through the gracious gospel, practically convincing a sinner of the allsufficiency, suitableness, and freeness of the atonement; by which the blood of sprinkling is brought home to the soul, the heart is purified from an evil conscience, and the conscience is purged from dead works, to serve the living God. *
Again: The atonement was made without us; the application of it is by a work within us. By the atonement, the objects of divine mercy were reconciled to God when they were enemies: by the application of it their hearts are conciliated to his character; they become his friends;t they cry Abba, Father, and enjoy communion with him. In making the atonement, Christ sustained the curse of the law for us: in making the application of it, the Holy Spirit writes the law on our hearts. Finally: By the atonement, we are secured from the wrath to come: by the application 'of it, our hearts are in some degree prepared for the heavenly state. Thus evidently does it appear, that the application of the atonernent, though essentially necessary to our salvation, should be carefully distinguished from the atonement itself. Let the application in question be called, if you please, believing in Jesus receiving the reconciliation-or. the conversion of a sinner to Christ and 'to holiness; but let it not be identified with the atonement.
* Heb. xii. 24. 1 Pet. i. 2. Heb. x. 22. ix. 14. * Rom. v. 10.
But, is it not strange and unnatural, to connect the idea of peculiarity with an application of the atonement; while implicitly denying that any such limitation attaches to the work of atonement ? As it is natural to suppose, that our Lord's atonement, whatever limits may attend its application, should virtually prescribe those limits; it seems unreasonable to imagine, that its application should impose limits, which would not otherwise have existed. Besides, as in the order of nature and of operation, the atonement must precede its application; so, whatever peculiarity there is in the latter, must be included in the former: or else the atonement by blood, and the application of it by power, must wear different aspects, and be at variance. The one, for aught appears to the contrary, is general and unconfined, except by the limited extent of the human species: the other is particular, and it should seem, peculiar to God's elect.
Now this has very much the appearance of the Dutch Remonstrant, or Arminian redemption. For thus Arminius himself: “I affirm that redemption is obtained for the whole world; for all and every man: but applied to believers and the elect only. Thus also Grevinchovius : "God intended the impetration of redemption, by the death of his own Son, for all and every one-After that redemption was obtained and finished, it remained entirely with God to apply, or not to apply it, according to his own will. Nor was the application of it properly the end of its impetration ; but a right and authority to apply it, according to his own most free determination, to whomsoever he pleased.'*-1 must not, however, be understood as insinuating, that the persons to whom I advert are to be considered as Arminians. By no means.
* Affirmo redemptionem impetratam toti mundo, et omnibus singulisque hominibus esse, solis autem credentibus et electis applicatam. Contra Perkins. p. 197. Apud Peltium, Harmonia Remonstrantium et Socinianorum, p. 138. Lugdun. Batav. 1633.
For the Arminian system contains a great variety of articles which they detest: None, however, except a Universalist, will deny, that the application of our Lord's atonement, or of redemption by his blood, is limited to a part of mankind.
Further: If, as this position supposes, the atonement made by our Lord for sinners, and its application to sinners, be not commensurate; and if the particularity of the atonement consist in the sovereign pleasure of God, with regard to its application; we are necessarily led to conclude, that the love of God to miserable sinners is more fully manifested in applying the atonement, than in our Lord making the atonement. Or, in other words, that we have more abundant reason to admire the Father's love, in the gift and work of the Holy Spirit, than in the gift of his own Son, and in delivering him up to the death of the cross. Because, on the hypothesis opposed, there is nothing in the atonement of Christ that infallibly ascertains its application to all those for whom it was made; and
* Intendit Deus redemptionis impetrationem per mortem Filii sui pro omnibus ac singulis-Postquam impetratio præstita, ac peracta esset, Deo jus suum integrum mansit, pro arbitratu suo eam applicare, vel non applicare; nec applicatio finis impetrationis propriè fuit, sed jus, et potestas applicandi liberrimo sue placito, quibus, et qualibus vellet. Contra Amesium, p. 7, 8, 9. Apud Peltium, ut supra, p. 126, 127.