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and the harmony of his attributes; it brings out the divine character in brighter and lovelier forms to the view of other worlds; and while it justifies the song of the angels at the Redeemer's incarnation, it constitutes a subject into which the angels desire to look, and in the contemplation of which they will advance from glory to glory through eternity.
2. Antinomianism throws around the mediation of Christ an air of inconsistency: Practical Christianity exhibits it as entirely consistent.
The former renders it inconsistent, the latter consistent, with the moral government of God, with itself, and with Scripture.
Antinomianism exhibits the mediation of Christ as at war with God's moral government, and even actually subverting it. The law of God, as it is written on the conscience, and as it is more legibly and fully written in his word, is the grand rule, the only rule, which he has ever prescribed to the intelligent creation; and as this has its foundation in his own infinite perfections, it must be at once perfect and immutable; and of course, as the same Being is the author both of the law and the gospel, it is impossible that the mediation of Christ which constitutes the substance of the gospel, should, in the least degree, impair the authority of the law. But, upon the principles of Antinomianism, the very design for which Christ died was to abrogate the law as a rule of life; and his death was a virtual proclamation to at least a portion of his intelligent creatures, that they are absolved from the obligations of obedience. And hence it is common for Antinomians, taking shelter under a sad perversion of Scripture, to speak of the moral law as a yoke,—a burden too heavy to be borne,-and of those who acknowledge it, as being in a state of ignoble bond
age, thus virtually imputing injustice and tyranny to the Lawgiver. And it is scarcely necessary to add that they generally evince as little regard for the law in their lives as by their lips; and even in the midst of the most high handed rebellion against God, they sometimes triumphantly point to the death of Christ as the price of their liberty to continue in sin. Upon their system, -Christ, instead of honouring the law, gained a victory over it; and in his mediation we contemplate nothing less than a conflict between grace and justice, in which the former came off triumphant, and the latter was trampled in the dust. As God's law is the basis of his moral administration, and as the Antinomian view of Christ's mediatorial work goes to set that law aside, I ask whether God the moral Governour and Christ the Redeemer are not hereby represented as having conflicting interests; and whether, upon this principle, the claims of the former have not been yielded in a manner that is equivalent to yielding up the throne of the universe?
Practical Christianity, on the other hand, exhibits the mediation of Christ as in perfect harmony with God's moral government; nay, as vindicating its claims and sustaining its interests. The violated law makes its demand upon the sinner for the blood of his soul; and Christ interposes to save him from the curse, and exalt him to glory and honour. The grand obstacle which lay in the way of the sinner's salvation was the dishonour which had been done to the law: this dishonour Christ undertakes to retrieve, actually does retrieve, by his obedience and death; thus honouring the law, in his mediatorial capacity, both in its penalty and its precept. In consequence of his interposition, God can now be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly: the sinner
can be saved, and yet the honours of the law remain inviolate. Nay, I venture to say that the mediation of Christ, on the principles of Practical Christianity, sheds new lustre upon the law; for it is an open declaration to the universe that there was no sacrifice which God deemed too expensive to make for its preservation.— Does the Christian then, when he looks at the cross, feel his sense of obligation to the law grow weaker, and is he ready to plead for his continuance in sin that grace may abound? So far from it that the majesty of the law never appears to him so great, or its claims so imperative, or his transgression of it so criminal, as when he contemplates it in that very sacrifice which is designed to deliver him from its curse.
Antinomianism farther exhibits the mediation of Christ as inconsistent with itself. The Antinomian, in common with all others who acknowledge the truth of Christianity, professes to regard the mediatorial work of Christ as involving only a benevolent instrumentality; but if the view which he takes of the law be correct, it surely involves more of cruelty than benevolence. For he regards the law as despotick in its claims he considers it desirable to be free from them; and he triumphs in a professed assurance that the gospel has made him free. If such then be the character of the law, justice required that it should have been repealed; and it was not only unjust but cruel that such a mighty sacrifice should have been required in order to avert the threatened punishment. I say then that the Antinomian view of the mediation of Christ involves a gross self-contradiction it compliments that as a benevolent measure which, after all, was the most unrighteous and arbitrary infliction which the universe ever witnessed.
Moreover, the mediation of Christ, upon this system, becomes self-contradictory, inasmuch as it professes to provide for the safety of the sinner, while it leaves the elements of misery in his bosom. What is it, think you, that constitutes Hell? I do not pretend to say how much of torture there may be growing out of the external circumstances in which the sinner may be placed; but, rely on it, he carries about with him in his corrupt nature the materials for an undying agony.There is that within him, which, if not arrested, will rankle, and rage, and subject him to inward torture, so long as he has a being. Now Antinomianism sees in the mediation of Christ provision for the sinner's safety, while yet it recognises no adequate provision for removing the only cause of his danger. It pronounces him free from the guilt of sin, and yet leaves him under the tyranny of his corrupt inclinations. Suppose I were languishing under the power of some fatal disease; and a physician were to stand up before me and declare that I was perfectly secure from all future suffering, while yet he did nothing to arrest my malady ;—should I not have reason to say that he was trifling with my misery; that his declaration that I was secure from suffering, and his conduct in leaving my disease to take its course, involved a palpable contradiction? But no greater contradiction surely than the mediation of Christ involves, provided it declares the sinner free from the consequences of his sins, while yet it leaves him the subject of an inherent pollution.
Practical Christianity imparts to the mediation of Christ, in both these respects, a beautiful self-consistency. While she regards it as a scheme of the highest benevolence, she contemplates the law as of such paramount importance to the interests of the universe, and as so
embodying the perfections of its all-wise Author, that she sees no injustice in maintaining it even at such mighty expense; especially as the sacrifice of the Son of God was perfectly voluntary, and was made in view of the glory that should follow. And then again, she views the mediation of Christ as a thoroughly remedial system;-as not merely pronouncing the sinner safe, but as actually securing his safety upon the best of all grounds; as not merely declaring him an heir of Heaven while yet the elements of Hell are in his soul, but in forming within him the temper of Heaven, and thus giving him an inward and rational pledge of future glory. She knows nothing of that wretched mockery of human hopes which separates the justifying righteousness of Christ from the sanctifying influence of his Spirit; the security of the sinner before God from that "holiness without which" the Apostle declares that "no one can see the Lord."
I observe, once more, under this head, that Antinomianism exhibits the mediation of Christ as inconsistent, Practical Christianity as consistent, with the whole tenour of the word of God. The prophet Isaiah, ages before the Messiah's advent, predicted of him that He should "magnify the law and make it honourable."And when he actually appeared, he held such decisive language as the following:-"Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." What purpose do the Scriptures represent Christ as accomplishing in his prophetical character? The Apostle declares that "the grace of God hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we