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his own yearning love. It is not only that he open, but they see not; they roll at random --will or may bring his other sheep home to the lightless, lifeless. The parched lips utter at fold: he must bring them. He has laid this intervals a faint, uneasy shriek. Thus has the necessity upon himself in the well-ordered cove- infant lain for several days and nights. The nant, and the self-imposed necessity is sweet to sun has set once more upon the scene, and the his soul. “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ?” city lays itself down to rest. But that mother The Good Shepherd does not know how to rests not; although her head is weary, she does abandon any of his flock. The whole body of not lay it down. Why? Ah! she must sit the ransomed is in Scripture expressly said to be there, and hold her child in the safest place, and " the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” A look into those eyes that give her back now no part of his own fulness would be wanting, if he answering look; she must sit and hold the child should leave any fragment behind.
till she see the end. An overmastering love Shreds from this divine necessity of doing compels her, and will take no denial. It is a good drop down from the Head, and beautify the “must” of this kind, but mightier, that binds life of the members; as rays from the sun glitter the Good Shepherd to bring the most distant on the leaves of the grove or on the pebbles of and most feeble sheep home to the fold. the beach. These things that “must be”—these mother forget ? She may; but thy Redeemer inevitable deep necessities -- are the most lovely will not forget thee, O Zion! The high-priest features of the free. Here is a mother with a stood in the midst of Jordan till all the people sick infant on her knee. The infant's eyes are passed over.
SALVATION ACCORDING TO LAW.*
BY THE REV. JAMES GALL,
HY must Jesus die ? Could not God forgive own penalties as inexorably as if there were no social
our sins, and take us to heaven, without and no moral administrations above them. They will laying our iniquity on his Son ? Could he do execution alike upon the greatest saint and the
not close the account of our transgressions greatest sinner. The Social laws, in like manner, are without carrying the balance anywhere? It would ap- | inexorable, and vindicate their own authority; the man pear not; for there are some things that men can do who neglects his business, or is surly to his customers, that God cannot do, and this is one of them ; not be- will lose his trade, even though he taught a Sabbathcause law is above God, but because God is to himself school, and devoted himself to works of charity and uselaw.
fulness. The Moral laws, too, are equally intlexible, The author remembers the pleasure with which in so that the immoral man must be miserable, even early life he read “Combe's Constitution of Man," and though he were ledged in a palace, and commanded the the profound conviction with which the reading was ac- resources of an empire. According to Mr. Combe, a companied, that Combe's philosophy might be right, and man may be prosperous in one administration and yet Combe himself be wrong. His argument was in- ruined in another, smiled upon in one administration tended to prove that there can be no lawless mercy with and frowned upon in another, beautiful in one adminisGod; and that if man is to be saved in any case, it tration and deformed in another. What a magnificent must be by some means by which the inexorable de- idea ! how simple is its solution of a thousand difficulties, mands of law shall be fully met and satisfied: and he and how boundless the region which it opens up for justifies God's government by showing that he has exploration ! different administrations of law, each of which vindi- We feel strongly disposed to concede to Mr. Combe cates the inviolability of its own jurisdiction, without the entire principie which he demands, not only in resuspending or violating the laws of the others. The i gard to the co-ordinate jurisdiction of God's different PHYSICAL laws, he says, are inviolable, and inflict their administrations, but even the absolute inviolability of
law. Even in regard to the physical laws, we can now “The Gospel of Christ and the Omnipotence of Prayer Consistent with Law." By the Rev. James Gall. James Nisbet and
(thanks to Mr. Combe) afford to rest our defence of Co., London. - This little book, eminently relevant to the times, miracles, not on the violability of law, but on the posis the reprint of a few chapters from the author's larger work,
sible action of a higher co-ordinate administration. “ Primeval Man Unveiled,” published anonymously, which was reviewed in this magazine, March 1871.
But waiving at present the question of miracles, we
accept Mr. Combe's principle as applicable especially to may be carried, it must inevitably remain on the hands the moral administration, whose laws are at least as in- of God. exorable as the physical laws, and from that we infer We are apt to misunderstand the obligations of a the absolute necessity of an atonement for the salvation judge, by considering the duties of those who are not of man.
judges. In the ordinary dealings of men, they never All God's works are according to law; it is his fail to make the distinction. If a man be not a judge method, and the more we study it, the niore do we see he may forgive as much as he chooses, because he is not its absolute necessity as a covenant between God and responsible for the administration of justice ; but if he creation, without which there could be no independent be a judge, what he has to do is to administer law; and action among the creatures, far less any responsibility. if in any case he, as a judge, does not award the penalty It is God who makes the gunpowder explode according which the law requires, to that amount he himself is to law in the assassin's pistol, or who makes the poison guilty. The unavenged crime for which the criminal is operate according to law in the body of his victim: and set free remains in the hands of the judge quite as much if he did not do so—if, in every case, he introduced his as if he punished an innocent man for a crime of which own moral perceptions and sovereign will, so as to de- he was not guilty. In so far as we are not judges, it is termine whether or not he would modify or suspend the well for us to have mercy, because God has not delegated law of his own administration-the act would be the act to us the avenging of crime. Our brother who injured no longer of the creature, but of God.
us did not offend our justice, but God's, and therefore he Belief in law is an instinct of our nature, but it is says, “ Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." stronger in some men than in others. In some it is so God, and God only, is judge, and for that reason he is weak that they seek an explanation of all extraordinary the more pledged to the punishment; the administraphenomena in the sovereign will of the Deity; in others tion of justice being his special and official function. it is so strong as to assert its absolute inviolability, Passing into the hands of God, as judge, it will meet which no evidence could contradict. They are quite with the same infinitely accurate amount of penalty that prepared to admit the goodness, mercy, and justice of distinguishes his physical administration. This is a God; but they feel that these must act, not in violation duty for which man is utterly incompetent. of, but according to, law. Such a mind was Hume's; How, then, can man be saved ? Man has sinned, and and there can be little doubt that, in his celebrated God, being judge, must not only punish the sinner, but argument against miracles, he drew his inspiration from must award the punishment with infinite exactitude, a deep-seated and intuitive conviction of the inviolability according to the infinite perfection of his justice. If of law; and that when he elaborated it into a logical man is to be saved, it must be according to law, and by shape, it must have been to his own mind the least means which are consistent with the most perfect justice. satisfactory form into which he could put it. His con- Such is the declaration of Scripture, and it finds an victions rested on the assurance of what is the deepest echo in the natural conscience, as that which alone of all intuitions, which even he could not destroy, “Let would be suited to the character of God. We feel, i God be true, and every man a liar;” but he preferred doubt, that mercy is more lovely than justice ; but we to that a halting logic, which had to go begging for its also feel that it is not so absolutely indispensable ; and major proposition, because he had to remember that he unless it can be exercised in consistence with justice, its at least professed to be an atheist.
exercise would cease to be a virtue, and would partake Why then did Christ die? We answer, because God's very much of the character of a crime. Unless God can moral government is even more sacred and unbending be just at the same time that he justifies the ungodly, than his physical; and if in the physical administration man's salvation would be altogether impossible. we expect no lawless mercy with God, in his moral The Scripture represents the atoning death of Christ government it is still more impossible. So long as divine as a solution of the difficulty, and as the means by which justice follows with inexorable punishment every viola- justice is satisfied, and the sinner saved. The general tion of the moral law, and so long as that punishment principle upon which this scheme of redemption is based is adjusted with infinite accuracy, according to the nature is perfectly intelligible, and when applied to mercantile and amount of the transgression, God's justice is vindi- transactions is perfectly satisfactory. But there is a cated notwithstanding the existence of any amount of difference between mercantile justice and criminal jussin. The one being exactly the equivalent of the other, tice, which does suggest a difficulty, and raises the nothing remains on the hands of God to defile the spot- question whether this atonement be really a satisfaction less purity of his administration.
of justice, or whether it be not opposed to that instincSupposing, then, that God were to pardon sin, allow- tive sense of right and wrong with which God has ing the demands of love to neutralize the demands of endowed our natural conscience, and which we puust justice, how is the equilibrium to be restored ? Here is suppose to be in harmony with his own character. If the sin, where is its equivalent? The balance must be une man owes a certain sum of money, and another man carried somewhere; and if there be no equivalent of pays it for him, justice is satisfie 1, and the deitor is punishment --no place where the outstanding balance entitled to receive a discharge in full. But crime cannot
be dealt with in this manner, for reasons which are too been equally impossible, because the death of the husobvious to require an argument. It would be no satis- band would have been as contrary to law as the recovery faction to justice if an innocent man were to be put to of the wife, unless the transfusion had taken place by death in order to enable the judge to set a murderer means of the union. free; and therefore the theory of mere suBSTITUTION is It is thus in all God's administrations : there can be not enough to explain the efficacy of the atonement, on no salvation without substitution, and there can be no the supposition that it is according to law.
substitution without union. A life-buoy will not susSome theologians have attempted to meet this diff- tain a shipwrecked sailor unless he be united to it; but culty by saying that, although such a transaction would if the union has been formed they become as one, and be a violation of justice on the part of man, it is not so the life-buoy will sink exactly to the same extent that on the part of God, because he is a Sovereign as well as the sailor is lifted up. The life-buoy becomes the suba Judge. But this does not meet the case, because it stitute of the sailor; but the substitution cannot take confounds the functions of the judge with those of the place according to law unless there be union. The floatsovereign. If the sovereign could do justice in saving a ing of the sailor, unless he had been attached to the lifecriminal by putting an innocent man to death, he could buoy, would have been a violation of the laws of nature, do justice quite as well, if not better, by pardoning the and the sinking of the life-buoy, without the sailor heing criminal without inflicting death upon a substitute. united to it, instead of being a satisfaction to the law,
But the Scriptures do not represent the efficacy of the would have been a double impossibility. atonement as a mere substitution, although in our theo- The objection which has been raised to the doctrine logical systems the idea of substitution is generally of the atonement, as opposed to our instinctive sense of placed in the foreground. In Scripture the grand idea justice, is founded on a misapprehension of its nature ; presented is not so much substitution as union; and and the moment that we introduce the idea of union for every passage in which substitution is presented as the objection ceases to have force. In so far as there is the theory of salvation, there are ten which represent it no union there can be no substitution according to law, under the idea of a union. In fact, without union there or consistent with justice ; and if the Scripture had could be no substitution according to law.
represented the atonement as a substitution without There is a story told of a lady who was given up by union, it might not have been very easy to reply to the her physicians; and when the fond husband asked them objection. But Scripture does not represent the gospel if there were really nothing that could by possibility save as a substitution without union : there is union; and her life, they replied that she was dying for want of unless it can be shown that the union is not such as to blood, but, if that could be supplied, it was possible that satisfy law—that is to say, unless it can be shown that she might live. The husband in a moment bared his it is not a real and personal, but only a theoretical and arm, and bade them take from his veins whatever quan- ideal union-the objection cannot be held to have any tity was necessary for the purpose. We are told that force. Now, the Scripture asserts that the union bethe communication was forn.ed, the blood was transfused tween the Saviour and the saved is not only a real and from the strong body of the husband, and made to flow personal union, but a union so complete that it is cently into the veins of his wife. The consequence was described as being not so much a union as a unity. The that she revived and lived. Here there was no miracle unity which exists between Christ and his people is -no violation of the physical laws. The lady should spoken of in the most absolute terms. He is the vine, have died but for the transfusion, and, in that case, the they are the branches ;* he is the head they are the laws of nature would have been satisfied ; but these laws members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones ;t were equally satisfied when the blood flowed into her they are one with him, he being in them, and they in body, and she revived.
hin. I Such references might be multiplied to any In this incident we have an illustration of the mode of extent, because the Scripture is full of them, both in salvation by Christ, in which the law is satisfied, and type and doctrine. the sinner saved. There is indeed in the atonement a S, far from this union being merely metaphorical and substitution, because in reality the just suffers for the fictitious, it is as real and as personal as that which subunjust, and the innocent Jesus becomes the substitute sists between the spirit and the body of the man himof the guilty sinner. But there must be more than sub- self. The Spirit of Christ actually enters into and stitution ; there must also be union, for without union dwells in the body of the man at and after his converthere could be no substitution according to law. In the sion, changing his character and intiuencing his motives, case of the lady, union without substitution would have so that he becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost. “What! been useless, because the mere forming of the communi- know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy cation without the transfusion of the blood would not Ghost which is in you ?” (1 Cor. vi. 19.) “Now, if any have been enough: the husband must be weakened that man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” the wife miglit he strengthened, and the blood which was gained by the one must be lost by the other. But, on
* 1 Cor. vi. 15; xii. 27. Eph. v. 30. the other hand, substitution without union would have # John xv. 4. 1 Cor. vi. 17.
* John xv. 5.
(Rom. viii. 9). Of course this is a mystery, but it is a questioned the truth of what God affirmed; and although mystery well known to every one who has undergone the argument itself might be correct in principle, the the change, although it may be perfectly unintelligible conclusion happened to be wrong; and if any man Fento others. “ The natural man receiveth not the things tures to reject the gospel on the ground that substitution of the Spirit of God : neither can he know them, because does not satisfy his ethical sensibilities, his soul will they are spiritually discerned ” (1 Cor. ii. 14).
not the less be lost because he had not rightly underIf this, then, be the nature of the atonement, and if stood the theory upon which the gospel is founded. He this union be real and personal, and not merely legal or has no right to expect that God will work a miracle to metaphorical, the death of Christ must necessarily be a save him from the consequences of his mistake. When complete satisfaction to justice, not in theory only, but he sends a gracious message of mercy to mankind, all in fact. When the head was crucified, the menibers that we have to do is to believe and obey ; if we reject must be reckoned as having died; when the head rose his overtures, we do so on our own responsibility. from the dead, the members could no longer be held as But to come to this question of possibilities, we ask, prisoners; and when Christ ascended to heaven, every How can we know what is possible and what is impossible member of his body was entitled to regard it as bis in a matter so deep as the mystery of Christ's person, and home. If the head be in heaven, the members may for so unknown as the constitution of our own being? There a time be on earth ; but they cannot remain there, far are elements introduced in connection with the union less can they ever be in hell.
between Christ and his people which we do not and canTaking for granted, then, that the Scripture repre- not understand, and whose bearings we can know only in sentation is true-and it would be foolish to make Scrip- so far as they are revealed. The person of Christ is an ture responsible for a theory which it does not assert- unsearchable deep, but there are facts regarding it which the death and resurrection of Christ render the salva- we do know, and which are sufficient to cover all the tion of his people not a possibility orily, but a necessity difficulties. We know that by means of his humanity it according to law. Either the connection must be became possible for him to suffer and to die ; and we severed, or Christ's people must be admitted to heaven : also know that, because of his divinity his person was if he be the head and they be the members, where he is possessed of an existence which is superior to time, so there must they be also.
that he could truly say, “Before Abraham was, I AM." When Noah went into the ark, no miracle was needed It would be presumptuous for us to speculate on the infor his salvation. He and the ark were dealt with as a fluence which this eternity of being had upon the relations unity, because it bore his weight, and he was lifted up which he sustained to those who are saved, or attempt to by its buoyancy ; it was subjected to the storm without, explain how it is that the efficacy of the blood shed on he was sheltered in its chambers within. The effect Calvary reached backwards to Abel and all the Old Testamight be said to be substitution, but the cause was ment saints, and forward to the latest convert wto shall union. If that union had not existed--that is to say, lay his burden on the great Burden-bearer. If Christ had if he had not been in the ark, and if he had tloated and been a mere man, this, of course, would have been inthe ark bad sunk, such a result, instead of being a possible ; but because he is God as well as man, the argusatisfaction to law, would have been a double miracle. ment enters 'a region where we cannot follow it, and In like manner, if there were no union between Christ faith is content to receive simply that which is revealed. and his people, his death and their salvation, instead There is, in some way or another, such a union between of being a satisfaction to justice, would be a double out- the Saviour and the saved as is sufficient to account rage.
for the sufferings of Christ on the one hand, and for the If it be objected that there is not, and cannot be, justification of the sinner on the other. such a real and personal union between Christ and his Perhaps this may suggest to those who may be trusting people as to constitute identity, and thus satisfy law, to the general mercy of God, that mercy to any one not we are entitled to reply, “ Vain man would be wise, united to Christ is an utter impossibility. Out of Christ though man be born like a wild ass's colt.” The former there is no mercy, and can be no mercy, else Christ died ohjection was competent, because God has given us a in vain. There would have been no necessity whatever conscience, and he appeals to that conscience for a vin- for an atonement in such a case, because if God could be dication of the justice of his administration. We have, merciful to any one out of Christ, he might have been therefore, every reason to expect that the justice which merciful to all. Those, therefore, who are trusting to he administers should not be inconsistent with that in the general mercy of God, and are conscious that they are stinctive sense of justice which he transcribed from his not united to Christ, must be labouring under a very own moral nature upon ours. But when we step be- dangerous mistake. There can be no lawless mercy with yond that province, and enter on the region of facts and God, and this would be a violation of law which we have possibilities, presuming to determine what can and what no right to expect. Both Mr. Combe and Mr. Hume tell cannot be, we have clearly gone beyond our depth, and us that it is impossible--so impossible, that it is actnally have no ground to stand upon.
incapable of proof; and even though an angel fron Even the first objection was a perilous one, because it heaven were to tell us that God forgave the sinner
without punishing his sin, we must not believe him. inflict their own penalty, without regard to moral characOur sins, in order to be forgiven, must be conveyed some- ter. Why is cancer incurable, and why does the person where ; the only place to which they can be conveyed who is poisoned die ? Simply because it is a law. And is the person of Christ, and the only means of convey- so do the moral laws ensure that “the soul that sinneth, ance is union. If they are not so disposed of, and yet it shall die," and all that is needed to ensure that soul's remain unpunished, they would stain the justice and destruction is that it should be LET ALONE. Whatever the throne of God, which is impossible.
men may think of the severity or the unmercifulness of
this moral administration, no one can say that it is not Here, too, we have an explanation of that which other- awfully intelligible, and dreadfully consistent. wise would be inexplicable-the line drawn between the But why should it be called unmerciful ? We do not saved and the unsaved. An eternal heaven and an eternal speak of the physical laws so. The child of a profligate hell, with no intermediate state between them, are tre- man inherits a body full of weakness and suffering. mendous contrasts. But in a world containing such an Does God work a miracle to save him ? Ask Mr. Combe. infinite variety of moral character, shaded off by an al- He does not; and yet we do not say that God's physical nost infinite variety of degrees, it would be impossible administration is unmerciful, because the law inexorably to draw a well-marked line of demarcation between the inflicts its own punishment. It is true that in the higher righteous and the wicked. Commencing with the very administrations we should expect a more loving regimen best and most exemplary of the human race, we go down, than in the lower and less important; but no man can by the most delicate gradations, to the very lowest and complain that, in introducing this element of mercy, most degraded of our species. But who will undertake there should be the same infinity of justice, and the to say how good a man must be before he can be sure same inviolability of law. The plan and mode of that he will be received into heaven, or how wicked a salvation revealed in the Bible may contain many unman must be before he is certain to be cast into hell ? known and mysterious elements, but this one grand Where is it possible to draw the line? There is no feature which it presents of its having been framed in conceivable point where, if the line were drawn, justice the interests of and recognizing the inviolability would not be outraged. The difference between the worst of law, commends it to the veneration of mankind. of those who should be saved, and the best of those who “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten should be lost, would be so slight, and the distinction Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, so delicate, that no human mind could appreciate it. but have eternal life.” That God could give up his It cannot be that the infinite justice of God, which, in Son to suffering and shame for the sake of his ruined bis physical administration, is so perfect, and measures creatures, but COULD NOT, by any means, pardon them out its penalties to the very millionth part of a grain, by a violation of law, does not convey to us the idea of can be so grossly rough and inconsiderate in the higher a remorseless tyrant, or an insensate God, but rather and nobler sphere. The supposition is so monstrous, that of a Being who commands at once our highest adthat it would be a libel, not upon God only, but upon miration and adoring love. the most incompetent judge that ever sat upon the According to the Bible, then, it is easy to understand bench, to suppose that he could measure out justice why a man is lost; it is because he is not in Christ, and after such a fashion.
all that is necessary to ensure his ruin is that he should But this is not the Bible doctrine of salvation, and be LET ALONE. Like a man who is wrecked, and floating therefore it cannot be responsible for the absurdity. The on a plank in the wide ocean, he perishes simply because line which it draws between the saved and the unsaved he is not rescued from his danger, and because no lifeboat is a reasonable and intelligible line, approved not only by comes that way to save him. No one would accuse God cvery principle of philosophy, but by common sense. of injustice, in allowing the physical laws to take their The line which it draws is as grand and as broad as that course, supposing the shipwrecked mariner to be allowed which separates life from death, between which there is a to perish ; but in this higher administration God did gulf as deep as that which separates between heaven and provide a lifeboat in his Son, for perishing sinners, and hell. According to the Bible, a man is saved, not because bade the mariners go out to every creature, and entreat he is better than others, but because he is in Christ, and them to come in. Eighteen hundred years have passed, because Christ is in him ; and a man is lost, not because and these unfaithful and unmerciful mariners, although he is worse than others, but because he is not in Christ, they had the lifeboat in their hands, have not gone ont and because Christ does not dwell in him. Man, being to save the lost ; and the consequence is that, whereas a sinner, must die, not by the sentence of a judge only, ALL might have had the gospel offered to them, if the but by the operation of a law; and when he dies he mariners had done their duty, thousands have never descends into hell, because there is no other place to heard the joyful sound. But what shall we say of those which he can go, unless some one interfere to save him. to whom the gospel has been preached, and the offer Every sin that a man commits is a moral poison that fur- made, but who, because they did not believe, would not ther corrupts his moral nature, and ensures his death; accept it, and are LET ALONE? They may, indeed, be open the same principle that the physical laws inexorably | virtuous, and moral, and benevolent; but because they