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the sufficiency of his sacrifice. Substitution it is not; nor is faith needed to connect man with Christ; his dying is already our dying, and the efficacy of his work depends not on any penalty inflicted and removed, but on the submission of the will of our Lord to the will of the Father. Christ's life is merely a glorious exhibition of a filial spirit; in his death that spirit is seen in all its perfection. This is its meaning no more. When men persecute you, pray for them. When God seems to desert you, still trust him. Not your will, but his be done. That, they say, is the lesson of the Cross. That, the sacrifice that is to save!
7. Other views go further and introduce a new thought. Men owe everything to him, to his death in part, but not chiefly; nor ought we too closely to define our obligations. He is our teacher, our example, and his death is as instructive as the lessons of his personal ministry. It marks God's disapprobation of sin, as do our own sufferings. It is no sufficient atonement for a broken law-no solemn or perfect vindication of the divine character. Ideas of sufficiency or satisfactoriness are inadmissible. And yet, as Israel was delivered for Abraham's faith, and Job's three friends were accepted through Job's sacrifice; and as in Roman law there was a legal fiction (called acceptilatio) whereby a payment in part secured from a creditor a complete discharge, as if the debtor had paid in full, so here we are saved through Christ-we need not say how. We are saved, and it is through Him.
These theories all fail through defect--some of them also by positive error, but all also through defect-each teaching, however, some truth. Christ's death is the most tragic scene the world ever witnessed. It is an evidence of his sincerity, as his resurrection is an evidence of the divinity of his mission and a pledge of our own resurrection. Christ did interweave the lessons of all ancient sacrifices with his teaching, and then realised them in his death. One truth taught in the Cross is, that the fleshly in man must be crucified before the spiritual can be perfected. In the Cross we have a figurative representation of how the Divine may be brought into most humbling contact with the human, and then emerge in all its glory. The filial submission and self-surrender of
. Christ are seen in the garden and on Calvary. The race is benefited by our Lord's teaching, and in ways we can but imperfectly describe by his dying. All these statements are true. But they fail to represent the entire truth. It is as if each theorist had found a set of facts too numerous for his powers, and so had reduced them till they were within his grasp. Each bas selected but one or two of the qualities of our Lord's work, and in his anxiety to exalt it, or in his inability to seize more, has disowned or dishonoured the rest. These differences on the doctrine of his death arise in part from the very diversity of its claims, and the true measure of those claims is to be ascertained, not by denying those theories entirely, but by combining them, and by adding the one truth which all disown or overlook, but which is essential to give harmony and force to the rest.
8. In addition, then, to much that has been set forth in preceding theories, we hold that Christ died "to be a sacrifice, not only for the original guilt, but for the actual sins of man;” and “ that by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, he hath fully satisfied the justice of the Father.” (Articles, Church of England, Art. 2. Westminster Confession, vii. 5.) Such is the peculiarity of the last system-the point in which it differs from those systems which affirm that punitive justice, vicarious suftering, substitution and satisfaction, are human inventions unsanctioned by
Scripture. But let it be carefully marked, this last theoryincludes much that is taught in the preceding theories. Christ's death does contain themes of deepest natural pathos. It is a revelation of God and man, and an attestation of his own sincerity and of the Father's approval. It absorbs, and fulfils, and terminates the sacrificial rites of all nations. It is a symbol of the crucifying of the flesh, and of our dying with Christ unto sin. It is a “reconciling manifestation of humanity in union with divinity." He is one with us; and the moral influence of his submission and self-abasement is essential to the efficacy of his work, both with God and man.
These are portions of preceding theories. We deny none of them. We hold and strenuously maintain them all. We confess even that they set forth angles or corners of truth which have been too often forgotten. Only, we add—that violations of law must be punished ; that some righteous and adequate expression of the Lawgiver's abhorrence of sin is inseparable from his holiness; that the doctrine of substitutionary suffering is found in nearly all systems, “it has struck its roots deep into human nature,” is formally taught in the Mosaic law, is reiterated again and again in the gospel ; and that Christ's sufferings are ever spoken of as of infinite worth, as punishments, and as at once propitiating God and expiating sin. Add further, that this plan of propitiation originates with
. the love of the Father while it illustrates his holiness, and is carried out through the willing self-sacrifice of the Son, and brings with it the influence of the Holy Spirit, and our theory is complete. On any other system, the God-like attribute of justice is disowned. Divine holiness, of which the abhorrence of sin in one form is rendered impossible, and large portions of Scripture, are robbed of their significance; portions, moreover, which must be admitted to be at once the most touching and the most sublime. Hold any one of these earlier theories to the exclusion of the rest, and it will be difficult to read Scripture with intelligence and reverence. Combine them, giving due prominence to the last, and all will be plain.
If there be truth in these representations, it follows that the preaching of the Cross is demonstrably fitted to produce the mightiest results. It stirs the whole mind; it excites our natural sympathy; it is a lesson on Scripture evidences; it strengthens the hope of immortal life, and solves a thousand difficulties in relation to it; it proves what God requires and what man is and deserves; it is a manifestation of the sanctity of law and of the tenderness and philanthropy of the Lawgiver ; a model of self-sacrifice and the strongest motive to it; an assurance, given in facts, of God's pity and of Christ's sympathy. I do not mean that, as human nature is, the preaching of the Cross will of itself produce spiritual results, but it is eminently adapted to produce them; and while the accompanying energy of the Spirit of God, the true author of every holy change, is a matter for additional thankfulness, it becomes us to recognise the glorious adaptedness of the instrument he wields. Failing to recognise it, we overlook one of the most important of the laws of God's procedure, and we dishonour Christ. The Cross acts on men's hearts not magically but through the truths it sets forth; and in honouring it we honour our Lord.
Ought we not also somewhat to extend our views ? Christ's death is a sacrifice for sin. That is its grand distinction. But it is more. And he will be the most effective teacher of that truth who combines with it so much as is true in other theories. The neglected truths of any gospel ministry are helps to error, and they will be used against us.
Let the Cross be introduced in our preaching, in all the connections in
GOD HELP THE POOR.
Yonder a woman goes,
Ragged and old,
Barefooted, o'er the snow,
Famished and cold :
How her poor children cling
To her side shivering,
Chickens beneath her wing
Doth she enfold !
Fast falls the sleet and rain,
Slowly they go,
By forest-side, sheltered plain,
Wailing their woe:
City street now they see,
Here they roam wild and free,
Are they not flesh as we?
Night spreads her sable wing,
Where can they lie ?
Sorrows like theirs must bring
Tears to the eye ;
Full the cloud-torrent falls,
Each to his Maker calls,
“ Lord! let me die!”
Ye whom the heavens bless,
Give from your store ;
'Twill ne'er make your treasures less, Deep his despair ;
Must make them more ;
For he that gives cheerfully,
God loves so tenderly;
Give to them ! pray with me,
God help the poor!
HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE BIBLE.
To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
I am, my dear Sir, yours very truly,
CHARLES WILLIAMS. Whatever differences of opinion there may be respecting the somewhat intricate question of inspiration, all Christian men agree in this, that in the Bible
we have the word of God. Doubtless, except Judaism be based on a lie and Christianity on a fiction, the word of God did come to prophets. Jesus also spoke that word. It was the business of apostles to publish and explain the revelation from heaven. This word is in the Bible. It is by a moral necessity infallible. For “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” The devout mind cannot doubt, and dares not controvert, the divine utterance. And should it pass comprehension, or apparently involve insoluble difficulties, the frame of mind alone adapted to such a circumstance is that expressed in Paul's exclamation of astonishment, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" When the Lord God speaks, his servants listen. From his fiat there is no appeal. To men, “ Thus saith the Lord,” should be at one and the same time the end of strife and the warrant of faith.
There is however another authority, supposed by some to rival, if not to supersede, that of the Bible. Human consciousness is exalted to the chief place on the judgment-seat. This is by no means a novel, but rather an old pretension. In the third century Plotinus taught, “ Consciousness is the sole basis of certainty. The mind is its own witness." Eckart, in the fourteenth century, held and inculcated, “The inner voice is the voice of God.” Jacob Behmen, the renowned German cobbler and mystic, wrote of himself, two centuries later, “ In my own mind I find all that Moses and the prophets, Christ and the apostles, have taught.” Schleiermacher makes Christian consciousness the test both of facts and of opinions. Francis Newman, and not a few who unlike him still have a place in the churches of our land, hold a similar view. The tendency to this conclusion is indeed common to all ages, and is always quickened by spiritual revolutions. It is a following of the light within, and therefore a protest against the authority of ecclesiastics without. And such is the narrowness of the human mind, that it rebounds from the one extreme to the other, as though incapable of a middle course. Pursued to its logical consequences, and reduced to its simple form, this doctrine asserts the mind to be the mirror of the universe; to contain within itself the germs or principles of all knowledge, whence may be inferred the real naiure and character of all things exterior to the mind. It is argued, that this conscious. ness has an authority, by virtue of which it can set aside the teachings of our sacred books, and assume the direction of our faith and practice. A brief examination of this claim is the object of this paper.
Consciousness, in the larger sense in which moral and religious writers use it, signifies the agreement of the original dictates of the human heart with truth. It is the utterance of man's common nature, the revelation of God in him. To this the Apostle Paul alludes, “ When the Gentiles which have not the law (as given by Moses), do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the works of the law written in their hearts." Men, therefore, have a rule of life within themselves. Consciousness is an authority, recognised by the Bible, and is within its own province as truly a revelation from God as the Ten Commandments or the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount. Our business is not to question the claims of consciousness, but to discover what it takes cognizance of, and when this primeval and universal law is promulgated.
Consciousness can bear no direct testimony to facts not common to all men. If a sufficiency of evidence, whether testamentary or otherwise is immaterial, be brought forward in support of any assertion, a rational man is bound to give his assent thereto. Consciousness cannot contradict such assertion, seeing it relates to something without and beyond the mind, concerns what occurred (it may be) in another age, at another place, and to another individual. Let any one, who has neither read nor heard of the subject, try to produce from his consciousness the history of a nation, or the biography of a man, and the result will be a romance, a fiction, not a narrative of facts. In one mind only is the universe mirrored. And this ancient, though modernised idea, that consciousness is the test of facts, is the assertion of the oft-revived dogma which says, “ Mine eye and the eye of God are one eye. We have one vision, one knowledge, one love." In brief, the claim put in on behalf of human con
sciousness, and which practically overrides the authority of historical facts, stands or falls with Pantheism; that is to say, it has no foundation either in reason or in experience. : Driven from this position, the champions of the supposed dominancy of consciousness retreat to another, and contend that consciousness is the test, if not of historic fact, at least of moral truth. To this stronghold, reader, advance, and see if it be impregnable. And first, how know we when consciousness speaks? In other words, how can we distinguish the utterances of consciousness from those of tradition, prejudice, and education ? Consciousness, as has been seen, is a revelation of the divine will in man, the inner voice which echoes the voice of God, the law written in the human heart. It is therefore the common attribute of our common nature. If this be a correct description of consciousness, its declarations must be dogmatic, for the law is made up of dogmas; they must be immediate, for if there be any logical process, they are neither a first belief nor a legal institute ; and they must be universal, for if there be any in whom they are not found (of course, often like the inscriptions on the rocks of the eastern wilderness, they may be only legible when the tablets of the heart are cleared from overgrown weeds), they are not the common property of the race. These dogmatic, immediate, and universal utterances of humanity are few. And not only so, but not one of them, with which the writer is acquainted, bears at all upon the revelation of the divine will in the gospel. Christianity is more supernatural in its truths than in its facts. The fatherhood of God, the divine readiness to forgive, salvation through the work of Christ and by the Holy Spirit, free justification on believing in Jesus, and their kindred doctrines, are so far removed from the consciousness of man, that he could not have found them out, and finds it difficult to understand them. Here is light from heaven. So that till it be shown that human consciousness can discover supernatural as well as natural truth, it cannot be exalted above the Bible. The truths, like the facts, of the sacred Scriptures, come from without the province in which consciousness reigns supreme. It is therefore impossible that consciousness should be able to pronounce upon
them. But consciousness and the Bible cannot be rivals. Alike speaking the word of God, each delivers a message peculiar to itself. Consequently, he who would place consciousness above the Bible, to exercise authority upon it, shows that he understands the character and office of neither; while he who would suppress the voice of consciousness, because God has spoken from Sinai and Calvary, proves himself equally ignorant of these two great promul. gators of the divine will. Both have a place in that grand system of revelations, of which God is the centre and the light giver, and to which we are indebted for our moral being, our present salvation, and the hope of holy happiness in the future. The Bible can have no rival. It stands alone, and in its own sphere possesses an authority exclusive and supreme.
COLONEL HUTCHINSON. Ir the reader should ask who was Colonel Hutchinson, his question may be answered in three or four ways, each reflecting honour on the name. In the first place, he may be informed that Colonel Hutchinson was a gallant soldier who served the Parliament from the very outbreak of the revolution until the Protector's reign, and remained faithful to his republican principles as long as he lived under the “glorious restoration." In the next place, it may be said that he was a holy man of God, attached originally to the Independent body, but that during the progress of the revolution he became a Baptist. Lastly, it might be further rejoined, that though he had a comely person, and, according to the statement of
VOL. II.-NEW SERIES.