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present work is devoted, as they belong to scripture, or the writings of the AntePopery or Romanism, rather than to that Nicene church, are mere innovations which form of Catholicism which assumes the the Anglican.cannot embrace without desertnature sometimes of Anglicanism, and some. ing the first principles of his system. For times of the Church-system in this country. , such doctrines the Romanist may be able to Confining myself within these bounds, the argue very plausibly, and perhaps may questions which will fall to be discussed coalesce very naturally with certain tenets respect the following points :-The rule of of Anglicanism ; still there is this against religious faith and practice ; the Catholic them, that they are unauthorized by the church ; the functions and claims of the only standard to which a consistent Anglican clergy; the means by which men become can appeal. There is thus, as it appears Christians, and especially the ground of a to me, an inseparable barrier between the sinner's acceptance with God; the end of Anglican and Romanist systems, which can be the Christian life, and the means best adapt- overcome only by the one or the other of ed for the securing of that end. On all these parties deserting its distinctive printhese vital points, errors of a most perni. ciples. I believe Mr. Froude wrote quite cious kind seem to me to be entertained by sincerely when he declared, I never the advocates of Anglo-Catholicism, as I could be a Romanist ; I never could think hope to be able to show in the course of the all those things in Pope Pius's creed ne. present inquiry," pp. 16, 17.
cessary to salvation.'". We cannot, from what we know of the There is an exuberant candour in all this ; Tractarians, go all the length of the author and the recorded sentiments of some of the in his defence of them against the charge of earlier writers in the Tracts would doubtless concealed Romanism. But as we intend, in sustain its substantial accuracy. But there is a future number, to follow Mr. A. through this flaw in it considered as an argument, that his able exposure of their unscriptural the Tractarians profess as entire a subjection tenets, we think it but right that we shoald to the authority of the church, as do the Ro. give to his opponents the benefit of his very manists, and were a general council, consist. charitable view of their present position, ing of those whom they now recognise to be “ If it be," says he,“ a mistake to regard
members of the Catholic church, to stereothe doctrines of the Oxford tractarians as type their dogmas to the world, we believe novelties in the Anglican church, it is on the whole would be regarded by them as the other hand an act of injustice to these apostolic. The unity of the church, accordwriters to represent them as secretly favour ing to their notion, thus restored, would be ing the system of Romanism, and earnestly a law of infallibility in reference to all her labouring to bring this country once more
decisions. We feel, too, that the mere faet under the yoke of Rome. Such assertions of the Tractarians condemning the additions are continually made by certain of their of Rome to the Ante-Nicene creed, is fall opponents, but, as it appears to me, unfairly of suspicion, while we detect in their writ. and without truth. That as Catholics they ings every essential feature of Popery ; and have more in common with the church of remember that they must in some degree Rome than Protestants in general have
oppose Rome, or quit their present standing that they have occasionally expressed them
in the English church. We fear they would selves with incautious reverence towards
go much further, if the loaves and fishes that church, -and that the effect of all this
were removed out of the way. But there is on certain minds that are caught by appear
technical accuracy in Mr. Alexander's disances, and do not stop to reflect before they tinctions; we fear, alas! that the practical act, may have been to induce such to be. difference between Rome and the Tractacome proselytes to Romanism,-are facts rians is but the shadow of a shade. which may be admitted, without the conse
(To be concluded in our next.) quence necessarily following, that the An. glican system is only a modification of Romanism, and that the Anglican divines DisCOURSES on the NATURE and EXTENT are only Romanists in disguise. The prin
of the ATONEMENT of CHRIST. By ciple of the Romanist is implicit deference
RALPH WARDLAW, D.D. to the church's dogmas, at whatever period
Glasgow: Maclehose. these may have been issued; the principle Controversy is not in itself to be depreof the Anglican, is implicit deference to the cated; it is only opposed to the highest indoctrines of the church while she was yet terests of those who engage in it, on the one. Whether this ground be tenable or awful subject of religion, when it is connot is another question ; but assuming that ducted in a litigious spirit, for the purpose it is, the Anglican has sufficient reason in of serving a party, to gratify the pride of principle for stopping short of Romanism. victory, or to obtain personal aggrandizeÎn this case, all doctrines held by Romanists, ment. Yet, even when it has been most for which no authority can be pleaded from abused, it has ended in the clearer mani.
festation and ultimate triumph of right principles. Nothing is so apt to rouse at tention and elicit truth as discussion. In the beautiful language of Bishop Horne, “ all objections, when considered and answered, turn out to the advantage of the gospel, which resembles a fine country in the spring season, when the very hedges are in bloom, and every thorn produces a flower.” It must, however, be acknowledged that the meekness of wisdom, and not the wrath of man worketh the righteousness of God; and though a bitter spirit in conducting a religious controversy may be overruled, its direct tendency is to dishonour truth and to injure the cause it so unworthily advocates. The Christian dis. putant who maintains the Christian temper when assailed with harsh epithets in place of hard arguments, is sure to command the sympathies of his impartial readers ; and if they are not convinced by his reasoning, they are conciliated by his spirit. But it may be observed, that the calmest reasoners are usually the strongest ; that violence as often betrays weakness; and that those who condescend to employ the rhetoric of abuse, are for the most part very indifferent lo. gicians.
In all the controversies in which the esti. mable author of the discourses before us has been engaged, his great superiority over his opponents has arisen from the calm clear daylight of his mind, associated with the gentleness of Christ; and whether victo. rious or not--and we know not an instance of bis failure-he has uniformly secured to himself one triumph, the triumph of temper.
On the present discussion he was com pelled to enter in self-defence. The im putation of unsoundness in the faith, and that on a cardinal article of divine truth, the doctrine of the atonement, having been indiscreetly cast upon him by brethren whom he beld and still holds in high estimation, Dr. Wardlaw, not for his own sake merely, but for the sake of his ministerial usefulness, which, so far as the imputation might either be believed or suspected to be true, could not fail to be affected by it; and for the sake of the truth of God, which he considered to be impugned, if the views he entertained on the great subject in question were such as are given in the inspired standard, felt it to be his duty to take the field and contend “ earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints."
Many of our readers are probably aware that, in connexion with the ecclesiastical controversies of Scotland, there is going on a theological discussion as spirit-stirring, though less agitating on the nature and ex. tent of the atonement of Christ. Great good, we doubt not, will arise out of it.
The efficacy of all Christian teaching under God depends upon the light in which this fundamental article of our faith is regarded, and the manner in which it is exhibited in our public ministrations. If this be misunderstood or perverted, the whole system of divine truth suffers deterioration. Unscriptural views of the atonement must materially affect our views of the state of the unconverted, and the ministry of the gospel in reference to that state.
It appears that the notions of the atonement entertained by many of the orthodox ministers of the secession church are perfectly inconsistent with the free, full amplitude of evangelical invitation to sinners for whom Christ died, which characterized, the apostolic ministry; and yet that, in despite of these notions, these good men do nevertheless equal their inore enlightened and scriptural brethren in preaching a full and free salvation to all ; while, to cover their own inconsistency, they charge those brethren with unsoundness on the cardinal doctrine of the atonement, and Dr. Wardlaw espe. cially, as “ a kind of origo mali in the seces. sion church, as having contributed to shake the orthodoxy of its ministers, to introduce as a consequence, painful and schismatic controversies, and, in a word, to poison the springs of truth in that large, respectable, and eminently useful body of Christians.” Hence the present volume, which comes most opportunely as a light shining in a dark place. It is the clearest statement of the nature and extent of the great doctrine of atonement that we have ever seen ; and the argument, from whatever source derived, is full and coinplete, while the opposite systems, so long maintained as orthodox, and still pertinaciously adhered to by many, are utterly demolished. We doubt not but that our“ Old Correspondent," whose “Re. marks on a Letter touching the Controversy in the Secession Church of Scotland," appeared in our number for June, will be pleased to hear himself convinced, by a train of argumentation which logical minds can well understand and appreciate.
The work consists of seven Discourses, which were delivered to the author's own congregation. In the first, Dr. Wardlaw propounds his well-known views on the nature of the Christian atonement. After some preliminary and important observations on the general subject, he inquires “ What is the atonement which, according to the Chrislian scheme, has actually been made ?" and, in answer to this inquiry, he justly says, “ The whole Bible bears us out in affirming it to have been atonement by sacrifice in other words, by substitution and vicarious suffering. Of this the Bible is full."' Hay. ing established this at some length, the author remarks, that “in such an atonement
there are obviously pre-supposed certain already specified is too lofty for the loftiest attributes of the Divine character. These of created natures. No creature could ever are especially righteousness and mercy.” be invested with such a trust. The finite " The atonement is the manifestation of could never give an adequate manifestation righteousness and mercy in union. It is of the glory of the Infinite. To suppose the the suggestion of love ; the invention of Infinite nominating one of his own depenwisdom; the vindication of justice ; the way dent creatures to the task, and to the honour for the honourable exercise of pardoning of adequately compensating for the wrong grace. This is the invariable represen- done to his name and government by the tation of the matter in the Bible. Nowhere rebellion of other creatures against his rightis the Divine Being represented there as ful supremacy, involves a contradiction from loving men in consequence or on account of which our judgments indignantly revolt." the atonement." Haring cleared away the Much more that is valuable follows this, misapprehensions sometimes entertained on which well deserves to be read with prothis point, and others of a similar nature on found attention. reconciliation, as the effect of the atonement, The influence of such a spectacle as the the writer concludes the first discourse. atonement effected by Immanuel on those The important topics discussed in the se who are privileged to witness its saving cond, are the proper value of the atonement, manifestation must be great, and is that or the question, Whence arose its suffi. alone which could bring pardoned rebels ciency? The true sense in which Divine back to that affectionate allegiance to their justice was satisfied by it; in whose behalf almighty Creator which his glory and their the satisfaction was made, or for whom happiness equally demand. Christ died, which in other words is the “Admit," says Bishop Horsley, “that inquiry, Whether the atonement was limited either a perfect man or an incarnate angel or universal. The whole value of the had been able to pay the forfeit for us; and atonement is derived from the Person who suppose that the forfeit had been paid by a made it—who "put away sin by the sacrifice person thus distinct and separate from the of HIMSELF." "It implies the incarnation Godhead ; --what effect would have been of Deity, or, as Bishop Horsley states it, produced by a pardon so obtained in the “ The doctrine of the incarnation in its mind of the pardoned offender? Joy, no whole amount is this :-—that one of the doubt, for an unexpected deliverance from three persons of the Godhead was united to impending vengeance-love for the person, man, i. e., to a human body and to a human man or angel, who had wrought the desoul, in the person of Jesus, in order to liverance-remorse that his crimes had inexpiate the guilt of the whole human race, volved another's innocence in misery; but original and actual, by the merit, death, and certainly no attachment to the service of the sufferings of the man so united to the God. Sovereign. The deliverer might have been head. This atonement was the end of the loved; but the Being whose justice exacted incarnation ; and the two articles recipro. the satisfaction would have remained the cate; for an incarnation is implied and pre object of mere fear, unmixed with love, or supposed in the scripture doctrine of atone. rather of fear mixed with aversion. Pardon ment, as the necessary means to the end.". thus obtained never would bave inflamed the It is this which stamps upon the atonement repentant sinner's bosom with that love of its true value" a value," says Dr. Wardlaw, God, which alone qualifies an intelligent “ which is strictly and properly infinite." creature for the enjoyment of the Creator's " The sacrifice," he adds, “ was not merely presence. This could only be effected by of Divine appointment, but itself Divine.". the wonderful scheme in which mercy and And it must have been so in the very nature truth are made to kiss each other ; when the of the thing when we consider the design of same God who, in one Person, exacts the atonement in reference to God, and in its punishment; in another himself sustains it; influence upon those who derive their sal. and thus makes his own mercy pay the satisvation from it. Atonement is “ the public faction to his own justice." vindication of the Divine righteousness, the Under the inquiry, In what sense was the maintenance in all their unsullied dignity of atonement a saTISFACTION to Divine jus. the honours of the Divine throne in extend. tice after some discussions of an abstract ing mercy to the guilty.” Now, where kind, the author considering justice accordamong all the creatures of God, could one ing to the ordinary definition of it, as the be found able to accomplish a purpose like attribute that gives every one his due, obthis? “Not only," says Dr. Wardlaw, in serves that it has been divided into various pursuing this argument, “ does every intel. kinds, and that they have been designated, ligent creature lie under its own obligations, vindictive, commutative, distributive, and -works of supererogation involving an in- public. The first he sets aside, because the finite absurdity even in creation's highest epithet vindictive properly applies, not to departments; but the purpose of atonement the desert of the sufferer, or the righteous
ness of the infliction, but to the spirit and that, few as they may be, who may be said temper of the party by whom the punish- to hold it from examination and conviction, ment is awarded and executed.” “It is the yet in the conceptions of many, as indicated spirit of selfishness—and of selfishness of by the terms in which they are wont to exthe worst description-of malignant selfish. press themselves, there is latent a great deal ness. It cannot, at all events, have any too much of its pitiful pounds-shillings-andplace in the government of God: and pity it pence principle. is, that in any minds there should ever, from The second of these schemes Dr. Wardlaw the mere want of reflection, be the most dis views in connexion with the third. To the tant approximation to such an idea of justice differences of the two theories, as stated by as subsisting in the character, and exercised one of his opponents, who is regarded by in the administration, of the universal Ruler." him as “an excellent and able writer," he Dr. Wardlaw urges well-founded objections says, “I have little or no objection to offer," against the first three descriptions of justice, The difference is by this writer, Dr. Symingand adheres to the last. « It is to public ton, thus described,—“On the extent of justice," he tells us, “that in substitution Christ's atonement, the two opinions that and propitiation, the satisfaction is made." have ever divided the church are expressed To the beautiful illustration of this which in the terms definite and indefinite. The follows we can only refer. As it regards the former means that Christ died, satisfied Dicontroversy - the third inquiry, namely, vine justice, and made atonement only for whether the atonement was limited or uni. such as are saved. The latter means that versal, is the most important, and is treated Christ died, satisfied Divine justice, or made with admirable skill. The different theories atonement for all mankind, without excepwhich have been held by theologians, with tion, as well those who are not saved as their respective classes of adherents, on the those wbo are. The one regards the death question of the extent of the atonement, of Christ as a legal satisfaction to the law the author states to be three in number and justice of God, on behalf of elect sinners; the first is the theory of eract equivalent ; the other regards it as a general moral vinthe second, the theory of infinite sufficiency, dication of the Divine government, without but definite intention, or limited destina- respect to those to whom it may be rendered tion; and the third, that of indefinite, or effectual, and of course eqnally applicable universal atonement, with gracious sove- to all.” As to the wording, this is not the reignty in its effectual application. The statement which any writer holding the latter last of the three is the one which Dr.Wardlaw theory would make. It is the truth, but holds to be most in harmony with Scriptural not the whole truth. It has, however, representations, and which he has main drawn forth from Dr. Wardlaw an exbibi. tained and defended completely to our satis tion of his views, based on Holy Scripture, faction. The first is summarily dismissed, in which we equally admire the comprehenchiefly on the ground that it has ever ap siveness and the precision, the grandeur of peared to the author infinitely derogatory to the scheme, and the acute definiteness of the the majesty of the Godhead, and to the Divi. distinctions which, in its combination as a nity of the mediatorial substitute, bringing whole, reveal at once its symmetry and its down the transcendent magnificence of the strength. Various objections fatal to the plan of mercy to a matter of mercantile cal definite theory Dr. Wardlaw urges against culation of debtor and creditor account. it, and then he propounds his own, which Under this head, Dr. Wardlaw remarks, regards the atonement as a great moral vin(and the statement is sufficient to cut up by dication of the Divine character, and espethe roots the theory of exact equivalent,) cially of the Divine righteousness; not “ On the ground of the infinite worth of the binding God to pardon any, but rendering it Redeemer's sacrifice, arising from the Divi. honourable to his perfections and govern. nity of his person, limitation in sufficiency ment, should he so will it, to pardon all ; becomes in the nature of things an impossi. leaving no insuperable barrier in the way of bility. If the atonement was in its nature the pardon of any, whether arising from Divine, then was it in its nature unlimited; limited sufficiency in the atonement itself, and they who adopt the theory of exact or from such restriction in its destination equivalent, must undertake the contradictory as leaves the claims of justice unsatisfied task of limiting infinitude.” The two or except within the limits of that destination; three pages devoted to this point might be both of which suppositions involve natural easily expanded into a volume, and are very impossibility ; from the existence of no suggestive of irresistible arguments to minds atonement beyond a certain extent; he refond of an elaborate process of reasoning gards it, in a word, as an all-sufficient geneDr. Wardlaw is indeed of opinion that he ral remedy, of which the effectual applicahas said more than enough of this theory, tion remains in the hands of the Divine more than it deserves - but that he has sovereignty. In this statement there is no. been induced to do so, by the apprehensions thing inconsistent with the doctrine of per
sonal and unconditional election ; on the con- their final causes, or the ends which they trary, it is the only view that can render it are designed to serve, we are too prone to unconditional, and the effect of pure mercy. look to these ends as they relate to the crea. Dr. Wardlaw assumes the Scriptural au. ture, and to forget that there is an end thority for this doctrine, while he observes, which necessarily takes precedence of every. “ The whole controversy between the advo. thing of this kind. I refer to the mani. cates of a limited, and the advocates of a festation of the glory of God. This must universal atonement, has been summed up ever stand first and supreme." Having in the one question, Whether, in the pur. premised this, the writer goes on to exempose of God, according to the order of plify it in the design of God in the creation. nature, election precedes atonement, or * His infinite mind determined to fill it atonement precedes election ?'' The reasons with his glory; that is, to make that infiassigned for the adoption of the latter view, nite and essential glory which belonged to namely, that atonement precedes election, his nature visibly apparent, and such maniare incontrovertible, especially that which festation bears a necessary proportion to two connects the Mediator with election. Re. things,-to the number of objects in which ferring to the text, John xvii. 6, “ Thine it is discernible, and the number of intelli. they were, and thou gavest them me," the gent beings capable of discerning it. Both Doctor asks, “Who speaks? the Son of were therefore included in the plan of creaGod. In what capacity? Beyond a doubt, tion; and both were subservient to the great in his capacity of Mediator. How, then, primary purpose. On a similar principle, could they be given bim in that capacity, I imagine, we should regard the purposes unless he was first regarded in that capa. and plans of God towards our fallen world. city? He behoved to have been contem- Here is a revolted province of his vast plated as Mediator, that is, the plan of moral empire. He determines to make it mediatorial substitution must have been be the theatre for another manifestation of bimfore the eye of the Father, ere they could be self; to fill it too with his glory. The disgiven to bim as the stipulated reward of the play is to be one of a new and different work which, in the fulness of the time, he kind. It is to manifest the attributes of was to accomplish.” And again, in the next his character, as they form the principles, discourse, adverting to the same point, he and regulate the conduct of his moral governsays, “In wbat beautiful harmony the lan. ment: so that to those • Morning Stars' guage of Scripture appears to be with this that had "sung together'—those Sons of arrangement; the Mediator never being God' that had shouted for joy,' when the represented as chosen and appointed for the foundations of the earth were laid, -to those elect, but the elect as chosen in the Medic principalities and powers in the heavenly ator, which appears evidently to involve the places,' there might be presented a view diassumption of his pre-appointment, and of verse from all that they had ever witnessed the means of their honourable deliverance before, of the manifold wisdom of God,'having been, in the act of their election to of that wisdom under an aspect of it altogeit, present to the Divine mind."
ther new, working out new ends by new and The two grand arguments in favour of the appropriate means,-ends beyond example universal extent of the atonement and its glorious and worthy of their Divine Proposer, application by a gracious sovereignty, in the and means possessing, in the moral world, fulfilment of a decree inscrutable to all as perfect and beautiful an adaptation to beings but the one in whose mind it origin their object, as any in the whole range of ated, are, first, the twofold design of the the physical universe to theirs. When their scheme of atonement, corresponding to the own rebellious compeers had been banished twofold relation in which the Divine Being from the abodes of purity and bliss, and stands to our own race, and to the intelli- cast down to hell,'-- they had seen, with gent creation at large, to the universe of ac- holy and submissive awe, the stern award of countable creatures, the twofold relation of punitive justice,- Jehovah's love of rightemoral Governor and sovereign Benefactor ; ousness in his vengeance on those who had and the second is that derived from the uni. cast off the yoke of allegiance to Himself versality of the invitations and offers of the and to its principles. Now, they were to gospel, and the ground of this universality witness a fresh display of the same righteas it appears in the scheme of definite, and ousness, but a display of a widely different in that of indefinite atonement.
kind; of righteousness, not alone, but in In working out the first of these argu- glorious combination with mercy,-of holiments, there is not only a great power of ness and grace,- of light and love,- in a reasoning displayed, but it is rendered cap. scheme, of which the unfolding and contivating by the devout eloquence with which summation should give an expansion and it is brought home to the heart. After elevation to their conceptions of Deity, ensaying, “I apprehend that, in contem- larged and lofty as they had been before, plating Divine transactions in regard to transcending what they had ever experienced,