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mankind never heard a word about it, and died without having their ears saluted with the joyful sound? If the atonement had really been made for all, would not that infinite love which provided it for all, have so ordered, that all should have come to the knowledge of the delightful fact? Did an infinitely wise Jehovah provide this most costly and magnificent feast, for millions and millions in every age of the world, to whom he never sent an invitation, to partake of it; and whom he suffered to live and die in absolute ignorance of its existence? Incredible!
But one advocate of an indefintie atonement says, a door of hope for all men;" and another, “That all men being placed in a state of probation, have an opportunity to secure their eternal salvation." Indeed! The heathen then, who never heard the gospel of the grace of God, have notwithstanding their stupid ignorance and debasing idolatry, a door of hope set open before them; and those who never heard a syllable about the atonement, have an opportunity for securing their salvation ! Who taught this doctrine? Not inspired men. They teach very differently. They have no such favourable views of a state of heathenism. Listen to the Evangelist Matthew: “The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” Hearken to Paul: “For whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”-Romans X. 13, 14.
“ Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision in the flesh made with hands; that at that time ye were withont Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no HOPE, and without God in the world.” Surely these texts do not teach us that the heathen have a door of hope set open before them; and that all heathen have an opportunity of securing their salvation.
But the friends of the new scheme will say, The atonement is vne thing, and the Divine intention is another; and that the atonement ought to be considered abstractedly from the purpose of God. The atonement abstractedly considered! A grand mistake. It cannot be thus contemplated; it was the purpose of God that made the death of his Son an atonement; and consequently if you view his death apart from this purpose, you can see no atonement. In the cross of Christ thus contemplated, you may behold suffering and ignominy; you may behold a display of fortitude and patience: but you can see no atonement. To discover this, you must ask, why on Calvary was exhibited that amazing spectacle? why did the Son of God submit to such bitter agonies and overwhelming shame? for until these inquiries be answered, and Jehovah's design in the crucifixion of his own Son be ascertained, you can contemplate no atonement. The death of Christ is an atonement, because his Father designed it to be - an atonement; so that the atonement necessarily involves in its idea, that of Jehovah's intention, in bruising his Son and putting him to grief.
You see a man presenting to another a valuable jewel, but you are ignorant of his intention. It is a gift, or it a ransom? It is impossible for you to tell. But you are informed it is a gift.-Immediately you connect in your mind the jewel with the intention of the donor. Or you are informed it is a ransom; and then you immediately connect the jewel with the intention of its owner, to deliver prisoners from captivity and bondage. So that both a gift and a ransom, necessarily involve the idea of the intention, for which a sum of money or a jewel is presented by one person to another. Thus stands the matter in relation to the death of Christ. While you contemplate it abstracted from the divine intention, it will suggest to you no other ideas than those of pain, ignominy, patience, and fortitude; but when you contemplate this mysterious occurrence, in connection with the Divine intention to make the blood of Christ a propitiation for sin, you bekold the great atonement.
As then the atonement necessarily involves the Divine intention in relation to the death of Christ, we are authorized to ask the friends of an indefinite scheme a question on the subject.Do you believe that the Father delivered up his Son, and that the Son delivered up himself to an accursed death, with an intention to save all mankind? To answer this question affirmatively, would be to establish universal salvation; because the covenant of God must stand, and he will do all his pleasure. But they have already answered answered the question in the negative. They believe that the Father gave to his Son in the covenant of redemption particulaí, definite number of the human race to save; and thai for these, and for these alune, did the Son die with
the atonement, as in the case of most adults, the subject is not altered; the truth remains the same; the atonement is limited, definite. You may call it otherwise; you may call it general, you may call it indefinite. But it retains its true character. It is what the Divine purpose has made it definite, limited; not indeed in its value, which is unlimited and infinite; but in its application, and in respect to the intention of the Father who appointed, and of the Son who made the atonement.
Another proof of this point will be found in the meaning of the word atonement. Its proper signification is, agreement con cord, expiation, reconciliation. Accordingly we find this meaning to the original Greek terms: katallage, in Rom. v. 11, translated atonement, properly signifies reconciliation. So it is rendered in other places; and in correspondence with its cognate verb, which is translated reconciled.
The Hebrew term kopher, translated atonement, is derived from a verb that signifies to cover; and therefore, when it expresses the effect, it signifies a covering; and when it expresses the cause, it signifies that which covers sin, and thus removes the Divine displeasure from the offender.
In strictness of speech we ought to distinguish between the death of Christ, and the atonement; just as we distinguish between a cause and its effect. The death of Christ is one thing, and the atonement is another thing; the former being the cause, and the latter the effect. In human language it is not unusual for the cause and its effect to receive the same denomination.Thus the sensation produced, and the fire which produces it, are both, though very different things, denominated heat. So also cold signifies the cause of a certain sensation in the human frame, and the sensation itself.
Here then we see the reason why the death of Christ has been called atonement: it is so denominated because it produces atonement, or reconciliation between God and sinful man; and as it has produced this glorious effect in millions of instances, it is justly entitled to this appellation. So it may be called in reference to all who have been or who shall be, atoned for, reconciled to God; but with what propriety can it be so denominated in reference to individuals who never will be reconciled to an offended God by its influence. In truth, the death of Christ is an atonement to no man, before it has been applied and produced its effect, then, and not till then, is it an atonement to him. You may call the death of Christ a satisfaction to public justice, an amends for sin, a substitution for our sufferings; still this reasoning will apply. It cannot be a satisfaction for those who perish for ever under the hand of Divine justice; it cannot be an amends for the sins of those in respect to whom it never produces this effect; it cannot be a substitute for the sufferings of those who suffer for ever under the penalty of the law.
We have admitted the merits of Christ's death, or of the atonement, to be infinite, and that if applied, it would save millions more than shall ever be saved; but it will not follow that the atonement was made for those who will never be saved. The earth is large enough to have sustained many millions of inhabitants more than have ever lived on it, and probably to sustain millions more than will ever descend from Adam: but on this account it cannot, with any propriety, be said, that it was made for human beings who shall never be created. The sun is large and luminous enough to send his beams to more planets than exist in the solar system, and to enlighten and warm their inhabitants; but, on account of his greatness and grandeur, it could not be said with any propriety that he was formed to enlighten and warm inhabitants of planets that shall never be created. So it is with the atonement; although sufficient in value for all, yet it was made only for those to whom it shall be applied, only for believers to whom the death of Christ shall become an atonement; and not for sinners to whom it has not been, and never will be, applied; not for unbelieving sinners, to whom the death of Christ is not, and will never be an atonement, or a cause of reconciliation.*
In conclusion, after all that has been said on this point, we are willing to admit, that between the friends of a defnite, and the friends of a general atonement, the difference is rather verbal than real. They both agree in their views of the nature of this mysterious transaction. With them we wish to have no dispute. But between the advocates of the definite and the advocates of the indefinite scheme, the difference in regard to their respective
* But our brethren ask, Do not all men partake of benefits resulting from the death of our Redeemer? Are they not in better circumstances than they would have been placed, if no atonement had been made for our fallen race? Does not the commission given by Christ to his ministers, authorize them to preach the gospel to all mankind? Are not all who hear the gospel invited and commanded to come to Christ? And will not the guilt and punishment of those who perish in Christian lands be greatly increased by their rejecting the offers of salvation through a Redeemer? All this we readily admit; but, as views of the nature of the atonement, is great, as will hereafter appear.
On the extent of the atonement, I have insisted so largely, because, as you know, our opponents attempt to disparage our doctrine, by representing their views as more liberal than ours; but it has, I trust, been shown, that the atonement they advocate, though called universal, is not more extensive in fact, than the atonement we advocate; and that their doctrine on the subject has no advantage whatever in this respect, over that which we maintain
Summary of Religious Intelligence.
EUROPE. Britain.-Owing to the general depression of the times, but more peihaps, to the late difficulties respecting the circulation of the Apocrypha. with which our readers are already acquainted, the receipts of the BRITISA AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY have fallen short of the last year's receipts, by about £10,000, or above $40,000. The Report of the LONDON RELIGIOUS Tract SOCIETY, presented at their 27th anniversary: states that the issues of the society's publications during the last year, exceeded in value those of the preceeding, by nearly $9000.
The total number issued from the society since its organization, exceeds eighty millions.-The London MissionARY SOCIETY have at present, engaged in Missionary work in different parts of the world 89 Missionaries, besides native teachers.
The English Home Missionary Society employs 40 missionaries 31 of whom preach in 867 villages, and in 24 counties, among a population of 146,330 souls, to 20,000 hearers. They have 63 Sunday Schools, in which 3062 children are ght by 314 teachers. There are 201 villages yet des. titute in the vicinity of their stations-villages in which evangelical truth is not proclaimed by any denomination ; and as far as their numbers could be computed, these alone contain 64,613 inhabitants. In 9 stations the returns are not calculated.
Scotland.-During the past year, the Church of Scotland, both by an act of the General Assembly, and by the personal zeal and activity of her ministers, has shown a warmer and more decided interest in the spiritual concerns of her own people at home, as well as in the souls of our brethren abroad. We are happy to see this, as she has long stood aloof, and as a Church, taken comparatively little interest in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom.
" For the lioration the Highlands, all lasses of Christians both Churchmen and Dissenters, have united, and of late years made great exertions. The Highland Missionary Society has a number of Missionaries who are constantly labouring amongst them in word and doctrine. There are also a number of preachers in connexion with the United Associate Synod, who are engaged in this good work, and who successively visit those places that are destitute of the means of grace, both on the main land, and amongst the islands. The School Society, also, which has for its object the moral and religious improvement of our Highland youth, is, we are happy to state, succeeding beyond expectation. They have at present, not fewer than one bundred and twenty school stations, in different parts of the Highlands.