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waiting the call of the Master, dwell much on the sufferings of Christ. Their mind fixes there—there their heart reposes

upon its rock.

If we examine into the nature of those systems which are false, we shall find, invariably, that the amount of their falsehood is in very near proportion to the degree in which they have fung the sufferings of Christ into the shade. It is instructive to notice how nearly, on this point, false religion resembles no religion at all. The corruptions of Christianity (those which are fatal) have all arisen from the desire to explain Christianity in such a way, as to suit an unrenewed heart. And hence, these corruptions, when they have not been able to make headway by an infidel's denials, have resorted to such explanations, as virtually amount to the same thing. They have left Christianity nothing but her name and bones. They have made her a labelled skeleton; and their act would not be so bad as it is, if the label were true. They have explained the facts laid down in the New Testament, both doctrines and history, in a mode well calculated to leave an unconverted sinner at ease in his sins, resting on his own righteousness. And hence, whatever difference there may be between the mental system of an unconverted sinner, and any of these corruptions of Christianity, for the heart they are very much alike. Indeed, they leave the heart to its own native tastes, to its native irreligion and enmity against God. The one may do it by indifference, the other by falsehood; but they both do the same thing. And the point where both fail fatally, is very comnionly the precise point we have named, the sufferings of Christ. From this point, the heart of an unconverted sinner and the heart of an atheist turn away. They repose somewhere else than on the eternal rock. We

propose therefore, in this article, to name some ideas respecting the sufferings of Christ. We believe the doctrine of his sufferings vitally important in religion. We entertain the opinion, that that system of theology (whatever its name or form) will be most correct and beneficial, which really places the sufferings of Christ in the right spot, and employs the doctrine in the right way. We entertain the opinion also, that if in recent times any advance has been made in the mode of handling the truth of God, and bringing it to bear more directly upon the hearts and consciences and hopes of men, so as to promote revivals of religion, by conspiring with the Holy Ghost to convince sinners, at once, of their undone condition, and of the open and blood-stained way into the full and free favour of God; we entertain the opinion that this improvement has all been occasioned by that grace, which has brought men (ministers and people) to have more just views and sentiments about a suffering Christ. And still farther we have an opinion, that evangelical religion among all our churches has more to fear from that in difference and those errors which make little of the sacrifice of Christ, than from all other obstacles which the carnal heart presents. And still beyond this, we entertain the opinion that, if great multitudes in our churches shall ever reach, on earth, a very mature and happy degree of sanctification, and shall live as Christians ought to live, very exemplary, very useful and very happy lives—the light of God's countenance shining on them, and the fear of death lost in the sweet hope of heaven—it is our opinion that these benefits will greatly result from a more just, more confiding, filial and tender regard to a dying Christ.

At another time we may speak perhaps of the sufferings of Christ, in some of the different relations of that great fact ; but for the present we confine ourselves to the necessity of Christ's sufferings. We propose some thoughts on this subject.

It would be easy to name, in the ordinary manner of publications such as this, some writers whom we deem peculiarly happy in the manner in which they have treated this subject; and other writers whom we deem unfortunate or erroneous. But the object we have in view does not demand it. That object will be more likely to be effected by avoiding the odium which attaches to such a procedure. We will only remark, in general, that we think it augurs well for the cause of evangelical religion, that so many of our recent publications have special reference to the atonement, and treat the subject in so solemn and tender a manner. There are some facts, and many principles now advocated, which seem to forebode that all evangelical denominations will yet meet round the cross, with one heart, one hope, one song.

I. The indispensable necessity of the sufferings of Christ, appears to be very clearly evinced from the manner in which the divine writers have uniformnly spoken upon the subject. It were easy to give a multitnde of instances; let one suffice. It is only named as an exemplification of their ordinary sense. Virtually the same thing is contained in a thousand other passages.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, makes a plain announcement of the idea we have mentioned, in the second chapter. He says (speaking of Jesus Christ), “ In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

Now we do not mention this passage as containing a proof in itself (though it certainly contains one)—nor do we name it as a text which we propose to explain and apply in the ordinary form of sermonizing. But we desire to direct attention to the mode of the author's procedure ; and we name this passage for the purpose of noticing in what manner the Holy Spirit led Paul to reason and feel about the sufferings of Christ. His mind and heart both felt the full necessity of the sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered up. And on that ground he mentions it here ; not so much in the way of teaching a truth, as in the way of using a truth, essential to the very system of religion he was enjoining.

This is manifest from the connection and the clauses of

the passage.

The passage is most intimately connected with the things laid down in the preceding chapter. There the inspired writer demonstrates in his own way (and no man could choose a better way)—he demonstrates the Deity of Jesus Christ. In this chapter he commences a personal application of the doctrine ; that is, the greater and more solemn obligation of accepting him as a Saviour, since he is “God," whose “throne is for ever and ever." And he goes on to enforce faith in Jesus Christ by three remarkable considerations.

First, that the strict justice of God, which, under the ancient dispensation, inflicted "just recompense of reward”. upon disobedience, cannot be expected, surely (when Jesus Christ himself has come into the world), to be less strict upon those who "neglect so great salvation.” In this consideration the Deity of Christ is necessary to its force; it would have no force without it; and in a moment afterwards the author connects Christ's "glory and honour” with the idea of his “tasting death for every man.” So important and needful does he esteem the sufferings of Christ.

The second consideration to enforce faith, is the testimony given of God~"signs, and wonders, and miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost." These were given at the birth of Christ, attended him through his life, and accompanied those who preached, after him, the special efficacy of his death. And it is not to be forgotten, that some of the most remarkable of these miracles constituted the amazing realities which hung such magnificence of wonder and awe around the dark hour of his crucifixion. That crucifixion is set forth in its importance by the emblems of omnipotence. The apostle considers it the vital matter.

The third consideration is, that this coming and crucifixion of Christ Jesus is the positive realization of that which God had foretold and promised, and the light of which was really the only light that beamed any where on the fields of the ancient dispensation. With this view, the inspired a postle quotes from the eighth Psalm, “ Thou madest him a little lower than the angels,” or (as it might be translated), “ for a little while inferior to the angels.” “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” And he goes on to apply this to Jesus Christ, especially to Jesus Christ as a sufferer; and, by a common sense argument, shows that it can

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have no other application. He appeals to facts: he wants us to use our eyes, " for,” says he,“ we see not yet all things put under him," that is man. The eighth Psalm has had no such verification. How then bas it been verified? What do we see? “We see Jesus, who” in fact “ was made for a little while inferior to the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." Christ's sufferings and death, with the apostle, appear to be every thing : all else revolves around this centre : and then, to connect this exaltation of Christ with the humiliation of his crucifixion, where it belongs, the divine writer links the parts of his argument together. He has said, that "for the suffering of death death tasted for every man-Jesus Christ is crowned with glory and honour.” He takes up that idea, and carries it back among the now illuminated wilderness of the ancient promises. “It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” His death fits him to be a perfect Redeemer. He came down to the nature and the place of men. “He is not ashamed to call them his brethren.” This is one link in the chain of argument; and the apostle makes it draw after it the whole burden of the ancient economy, and all the grace of the ancient prophecies and promises ; for he immediately quotes from the twenty-second Psalm, which commences with the Saviour's exclamation upon the cross, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" in which Psalm Christ ealls his redeemed ones his “ brethren ;” and then, the eighth of Isaiah is quoted by the apostle, “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me !" Fit exclamation for Jesus Christ to make over the communion table! Thus, by carrying back the light of the Christian dispensation, among all the dimness and darkness of the ancient dispensation, and finding in the facts of the crucifixion (for this is the very point) an entire realization of what God had promised from the beginning, and what patriarchs, and seers, and prophets had rejoiced in, the author enforces faith in Christ crucified, THIRD SERIES, VOL. II. NO. Iv.


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