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reference of its saving intention. The former embraces the entire human family, without distinction of character or condition ; the latter has respect to those in whom the saving effects of the divine kindness are realised. Both references are equally the result of eternal, special ordination. As to the universal aspect of the atonement, it is obvious that it is fallen man's cause it espouses; in his common nature it was achieved; and the majesty of the law he has violated, it maintains, and has exhausted its sanctions. Consequently, the nature of the relation it assumes towards mankind as such is, that it is a sufficient cause of peace between them and their offended Sovereign, on account of which he can treat with them his rebel subjects, and receive them into his favour on their acceptance of the terms he proposes. Or, the nature and extent of its reference to man may be stated thus :— The atonement fully answers and honours all the legal causes which interdicted the promulgation of the overtures of divine mercy to man, and the communication of its benefits; and it produces ample legal reasons for the announcement to all men of the gracious purposes of heaven, and the conveyance of redeeming influences. The atonement has reference to man's state, character, and destiny. As to his state, it presents an ample reason for the removal of his guilt, and the revoking of his sentence of condemnation. To his character it bears the relation of a mighty moral power fitted for its regeneration. As to human destiny—to him who hears and credits not the report of the divine propitiation, it bears the relation of an immediate ground of condem. nation, and of fearful aggravation of the wretchedness of his eternal experience; and to him who believeth it is the cause of exaltation to glory. Respecting angels, the atonement relates to them all. The nature of its aspect to the apostate legions is that of antagonism of their wicked principles, machinations, and works: to the holy hosts of heaven,—that of a new relationship, a glorious seminary of instruction, a scene of active occupation, and a source of pure enjoyment.
The Atonement bears a universal reference to mankind.—Having laid down first principles and explained terms, we proceed to state the position we intend to illustrate and prove, namely, the universality of the reference of the atonement to the human race. The nature and extent of the reference we express in the following terms :- The atonement of Christ satisfactorily answers and honours all the legal reasons which interdicted the promulgation of the overtures of divine mercy, and the communication of saving benefits to the human family: and produces ample legal reasons for the conveyance of the gracious intentions of the rectoral Governor of the universe to all men. This is our proposition.
Nature and providence furnish a presumptive argument of the truth of our position.-In proof of our position, we appeal, first, to two great departments of the divine workmanship-creation and providence, premising that we employ the term creation or nature to designate this lower world under the conditions of the fall, and the operation of the remedial system, and providence or the divine government of it as adapted to these conditions.
The principle of the argument.-Our proposition implies a vast amount and wide extent of benevolence. The amount is not doubted
by any believer in the divine word; the extent is in question. But we have already assumed that benevolence is the originating principle of the whole purpose of God; and it will not be deemed an undue extension of this principle to add, that benevolence pervades all the departments and operations of that purpose, and displays itself in all its results—scatters its blessings as copiously and widely as it is possible it should. This may be designated the principle of universal benevolence. This principle the Divine Being has adopted in the two grand departments of his works to which we now appeal. If this can be made apparent, we shall be furnished with a strong presumptive proof that the atonement is founded on the same principle, and illustrates it: and, consequently, discloses as large an amount and as extensive a range of benevolence, as is compatible with the nature of the case.
Nature is based on the principle of universal benevolence. The intention of nature is universal benevolence. Its beneficence knows no limit short of the impossibility of farther extension. All its laws, physical, organic, intellectual, moral and religious, are purely benevolent. All its institutions are the same: and facts abundantly attest how extensively its kindness is diffused. Light and heat are beneficent agents; a fertile soil is an indispensible blessing; and diversity of hue, form, and scenery, is a rich feast to the imagination. But it has been proved by mathematical demonstration, that the earth occupies a position in reference to the sun, the best possible for his diffusing the greatest amount of light and heat, and, consequently, of fertility and beauty, over the largest portion of a revolving sphere. The different degrees of light and heat apportioned to different regions of the globe, the diversity of its soil, and of course, the unequal amount and variety of its productions, are benevolent institutes. They give occasion to the exercise and development of those principles of the human mind, which constitute economics by which the treasury of the world is converted into the common store-house of the family of man. The implantation of an infallible instinct in the brutal tribes for the selection of their food, the construction of habitations, and securing their retreats; the furnishing of them with suitable means of preservation and defence; and their allocation in countries and climates adapted to their constitutions where they find appropriate sustenance, evince their universal welfare to be a ruling term with the Creator.
Heaven and earth conspire to supply men with food, clothing, accommodation, and instruction. The presence of those animals in the places where their aid is peculiarly necessary to him, for food, labour, and clothing, bespeaks a benevolent regard to the human race. The adaptive power of man's body to the diversity of climate and aliment found on the globe, is a striking demonstration of creative beneficence. While the rein-deer and camel cannot exchange countries, man, who is destined to be the lord of the whole earth, enjoys health and comfort in the torrid zone, and under the regions of a Lapland winter. The exact adaptation of his intellectual and moral constitution to external nature is a still more remarkable specimen of divine benevolence. The social and religious systems are peculiarly benignant and diffusive of happiness. The former is the linking together of men's interest and welfare, giving rise to the intercourse of man with his fellow, and the interchange of kindly feeling and good offices : involving the family relation which is the scene of the growth, maturity, and solace, of the friendly affections ;-in itself a terrestrial paradise, where the fruits of purity still ripen, and the dews of peace distil on man's troubled spirit. The religious sentiments vindicate their title to the appellation benevolent. They are the threefold cord of love, veneration, and hope, by which the Almighty Father of the human family binds them to himself, and attaches them with devout allegiance to his throne ; while they are the medium of communion with his all-venerable attributes. In fact, all the principles of nature, and their combinations, are purely benignant and diffusive of happiness. “The heavens declare God's glory; the earth is full of his riches, and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
Providence is based on the principle of universal benevolence.-Providence is the administration of the physical and spiritual laws of creation; and implies the rule and preservation of its subjects. Its intention and operation are entirely benevolent. It extends its kind regards to all the creatures. The desire for enjoyment is amply furnished with the means of its gratification. The soil, under the genial influence of the heavens, and the ministering hand of culture, teems with plenty. The bowels of the earth, and the depths of the sea, surrender their treasures to skill and enterprise. The winds and waves, moving by turns in all directions, waft the stores of every land to the shores where they are needed. The working of the moral, social, and religious institutes is thoroughly blissful. The rewards of virtue, or the happy influence of obedience to moral law; the satisfaction and tranquillity of conscience, following the bonest discharge of duty; the consequent health and fortitude of the soul, and its preparation for action, are obvious indications of goodness. But the punishments of vice-the upbraidings and turmoil of the inward monitor, the loss of self-respect attendant on crime, the disapprobation of fellow-men, and the frowns of the divine majesty, are equally demonstrative of the guardianship of providence over our happiness. The practical blending of affections and interests in the wedded state, the legitimate exercise of parental authority, the love of brothers and sisters, give a healthy tone to the mind, prove a defence against the calamities of life, and irradiate with a lustre every surrounding object, and every returning day, and stamp with the signet of benevolence the native influence of the family compact. The due operation of the religious affections is preeminently benignant. The confidence inspired by belief in the presence and guardianship of our beavenly Father ; the humbling and solemnizing influence of reverence of his character and authority; the soothing and ennobling power of divine love in the heart; the security with which its possessor pillows his head on the boson of the pacified divinity; the philanthropic action to which it prompts, and the exhilarating nature of hope, are indications of benevolence in the operation and results of the religious sentiments too obvious for comment.
The benevolence of Providence superior to that of nature.- We expect a man-his powers continuing in a state of vigour and activityto give a fuller and more splendid display of his genius at every successive grand application of his talents. And we have assumed the principle, as consonant with the divine wisdom, that the revelation the divinity deigns to give of himself is progressive and accumulative. Hence, we calculate on finding a larger exhibition of his character in providence than in creation, and of course a greater amount of benignity-not in the principle, nor in the number of creatures to whom it ministers, but in its more numerous acts of beneficence to all its subjects, and in the kind aid it extends to multitudes whom nature has either partially or altogether left destitute. Creation indeed being immediately addressed to the senses, at first view more powerfully strikes the mind than providence. It overwhelms the imagination with the immensity of the power that called its materials into being; of the wisdom that arranged them in masses, and in the endlessly diversified forms of vegetative, animal, and rational life; and of the goodness that prevades the whole. But whatever benevolence, wisdom, and power, were employed in the production of all things, must be esercised in their preservation. Nay, more, the acts of these attributes in providence are incessant: they are extended over the entire period of life, are renewed every moment of the creature's existence; and consequently all but indefinitely exceed in number the sum of nature's beneficent deeds. And that benevolence which maintains and prolongs a happy existence, and constantly furnishes fresh means of enjoyment, shines with a broader and more attractive lustre than in calling it into being. But providence, as adapted to the state of a fallen world, is a still more splendid illustration of the magnitude and diffusiveness of the divine benignity. The plan of providence consists in the moral might of wisdom and goodness it exhibits in giving full scope to the free agency of its subjects, and in directing and binding, with perfect ease, all their purposes and acts, however violent, blasphemous, and contradictory, to the promotion of the one stupendous beneficent design of its Author. It vindicates its reigning principle of benevolence in bringing out of the Babel of a fallen world's iniquitous schemes and works of darkness, the order of purity and truth; in hurling back the consequences of crime on the heads of its perpetrators; in confounding them with their own machinations; and in employing the productions of their own guilt as the means of pouring the blessings of goodness into the lap of innocent sufferers. Creation is simply the production of what is good. But providence is more than the collservation of that good : It is the over-mastering of what is evil, without doing violence to the constitution of the creature : the wielding of the elements of radical unmixed evil for the punishment of its authors,
and the pressing of them into the service of its principle of universal • benevolence as the auxiliaries of its achievement. “He maketh the
• wrath of man to praise him ; and the remainder thereof he will re
In fine, how vastly does providence multiply the blessings of nature ! To how many whom nature has discarded does it minister of its substance! and how surpassing in value are the means, peculiarly its own, of moral and intellectual culture! How incalculable are the benefits knowledge has created! How prodigiously have science and art multiplied and diffused the resources of enjoyment! Sum up, if you can, the benefits of the plough, the ship, the manufactory, the steam