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can be no more; therefore all sins radiant infinity; although the differare equal.” Let us see whether ence between these be infinitely inthis will stand the test of examina- finite. tion. It can be demonstrated, that It is sufficiently manifest, that we the least particle of matter, is dwi- are not able to form any adequate sible ad infinitum; and a sphere notion of infinity. But it will by which would fill the orbit of Her- no means follow, that therefore, we schel is no more than divisible to are incapable of reasoning accuinfinity, however inexplicable this rately respecting it. Is not God may seem to be. But as the infinite himself, are not all his attributes divisibility of matter is now dis- infinite? Yet may not our ideas and puted, we shall take the
reasonings respecting him and them cupied by any portion of matter. be correct as far as they go? Are About the infinite divisibility of this, our reasonings concerning the phetheoretically, there will be no dis- nomena of the physical universe, one pute. An inch of a line, possesses whit the less conclusive, that we are this property as well as the diame- utterly ignorant of the essence of ter of the orbit of Saturn; yet it matter, or the radical basis in which will not hence follow that these two its properties inhere? lines are equal. Every schoolboy It is not at all maintained, that knows, that in attempting to reduce any act of a finite being, can be the vulgar fraction one-third to a absolutely, or in any sense, infinite. decimal fraction of equal value, the A human action, in a strict and acdecimal approximation will issue in curate sense, is neither virtuous, an infinite series, which though eter- nor vicious.
It is the principle nally approaching, will never reach from which it proceeds, the end in the point of absolute accuracy. Let view, and its relation to the moral him take the one-half of the former law, that entitle it to the epithet of fraction, viz. one-sixth, or virtuous or vicious. A mere phytwelfth, or one-twenty-fourth, and sical act, independently of these, is he will find them all possessed of the neither morally good, nor morally same property, infinite divisibility. evil. The acts of stoning Naboth Will he therefore infer, that they and Achan, were, in a mere physiare equal? Again. Every person cal point of view, as much alike, as who has any accurate conception of it is possible to conceive. Yet the a mathematical solid, knows it pos- one was vicious, the other, virtuous,
three dimensions, length, entirely upon the principle above breadth, and thickness, and that mentioned. We do not therefore each of these three is as absolutely assert, that any human action is ininexhaustible by any finite process,
finite; but we do assert, that sin is as are the whole three united. No an infinite evil, inasmuch, as it is a more, therefore, will it follow, that violation of an infinite law, rebelbecause every sin is infinite objec
lion against an infinite God, and protively considered, that every sin is ductive of infinite mischief. The equal, than that the least assign- law I have just now mentioned, is able portion of space is equal to the as infinite as its archetype; its esvolume of the universe; because sence, love, is a unit. Against this the least, as well as the greatest, is every sin is directed, and consein its nature equally possessed of in- quently is a violation of the whole finite divisibility. From the above law. For, “whosoever offendeth in reasoning, it will follow, that mere one part, is guilty of all.” linear infinity is as inexhaustible, This same principle may be illusor rather as interminable, as cubi- trated by a familiar example in the cal ; or, if I may be allowed a more following manner,
Blame attaches appropriate, though unusual term, to the wanton abuse of any part
even of the inanimate creation. It duty depend upon the knowledge
of the agent. If this definition were tures. Should this abuse be extend- true, then the most atrocious crimes, ed to any useful animal, my horse the murder of the saints of God, the for instance, the wrong is greater. most horrid blasphemies against the The guilt increases with the "as- Son and Spirit might not only be cending scale of dignity of the in- perfectly innocent, but constitute jured object. Ascend in this gra- the most meritorious conduct. “ The dation, to our own kind; our ser- time will come,” saith our Lord, vant, equal, or superior; say the “ when they that kill you,
will think supreme magistrate: the offence is
they are doing God service.” We graduated by the dignity of rank conclude, therefore, that the law of occupied by the individual in the God is infinite-the commandment scale of being. Conceive it to be exceeding broad. carried up to the Great Supreme, What pity that some of the sinwhere all our sins ultimately land, cerest friends of the doctrine of the magnitude of the offence be- atonement by the blood of Christ, comes infinite, because, the being have, by their admission of the offended is infinite. But as all are finite extent and demerit of moral sinners, all are naturally under an evil, brought themselves into such infinite load of guilt, which the jus- a predicament, that to be consisttice of God necessarily requires to ent, they must abandon, on the one be expiated.
hand, the eternity of punishment; The law of God is the rule which or, on the other, the deity of Christ. must necessarily for ever regulate Predicated on the finite guilt, they the relation between God as the present us with a finite ransom..
' moral governor, and man as the ra- This finite ransom, they tell us, is tional subject. This law is as per- just commensurate with the numfect as its original. Take any other ber of elect individuals, multiplied standard of moral rectitude, and into the quantity of the guilt of you are immediately led into inex- each. Had there been one elect tricable difficulties. Look, for a soul more, Christ must have suffered moment, at the definition given by more; if less, less, in proportion to a modern advocate of Universalism. addition or subtraction of the debt (Ballou's Lect. page 15.). “Sin is to be paid ! the violation of a law which exists Let us examine this doctrine. in the mind, which law is the im- What was the penalty annexed to perfect knowledge men have of mo- the covenant of works. It could ral good.” Not to mention the not be formally eternal death. Had atheistical principle couched in this been the case, nothing short of these words, in making man his the eternal death of the surety could own law, lord paramount of his own have achieved the ransom. Such actions, and consequently divesting an idea would meet merited reprohim of all responsibility, this defini- bation, from every sober Christian. tion makes error and ignorance, the Eternal death arose, not from the standard of truth and rectitude! nature of the thing, but was altogeAccording to this definition, the ther consecutive on the finite capanứmber of laws must be infinite and city of the culprit. In order to the infinitely varying; for this law, viz. salvation of the sinner, the covenant “Man's imperfect knowledge,” of grace required a substitutional may be infinitely different in differ-equivalent. Could this have been ent individuals at the same moment, given by the suffering humanity of and also, in the same individuals, our Lord ? The humanity of our at different times. It confounds Lord, in all its exquisite suffering, vice and virtue, in making sin and and nothing in him but humanity
could suffer, the divinity being im- than infinity, taken from infinity, passible, could have made no more will leave an infinite remainder. atonement for our sins, than the And consequently in the blood of a bullock or a goat smoking 5th place. The punishment of on the worldly sanctuary. The sin, upon the footing of personal exvalue of our Lord's sacrifice on the piation, must be eternal. The finite cross, therefore, must have arisen
resources of the culprit can never from something elsehis deity. To meet the infinite demands which the this is to be referred the very es- inexorable justice of God has filed sence of the worth of the sacrifice he against him. No payment he can offered. Give up his divinity, and make, can, ever, in the smallest dethe notion of an atonement is a gree, diminish the principal. This mere chimera. Were Jesus the
would be to suppose an exhaustion of most exalted creature God ever infinity by finite deductions, which made, or could make, (reverence !) is absurd. The want, therefore, of he would have been as utterly in- infinite intensity in the suffering, competent to make an atonement must be balanced by an eternity of for our sins, as would have been the duration. Here we find, as usual, offering of the meanest reptile on reason and scripture leading us to the divine altar. If, therefore, the the same conclusion. Their worm whole virtue, value and worth of shall never die; their fire shall Jesus' passion, arises from the deity never be quenched; depart from of his person; whence his blood is me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, called the blood of God; how shall prepared for the devil and his we form an estimate of the value angels. No limits, therefore, can be of that divinity! Who will dare to set to punishment, upon the founbring his scale and graduate by any dation of personal expiation. numerical admeasurement, or com
S. B. W. pound ratio of time and intensity, the value of the sufferings of Jesus; i. e. the value of his divine person,
Thoughts on Revivals of Religion. without which his sufferings could This is certainly a subject of have had no worth?
some importance. The avidity with 4. The expiation of this infinite which pious people receive narraguilt, admits of no compromise. tives of religious revivals clearly The debtor must continue in duress, evinces, that, in their judgment, until the last farthing of the debt “times of refreshing from the preshall have been liquidated. It is sence of the Lord” are devoutly to true, some have objected to the pro- be wished. Christians
differ priety of considering sin as a debt; in their views, concerning the nabut while we find in that perfect ture of a genuine revival; but the model of prayer, prescribed by our thing itself all will readily acknowLord, to his disciples, “Forgive us ledge to be desirable. ; The diverour debts, as we forgive our debt- sity of opinion which obtains, on ors,” we need feel no reluctance in
this subject, among the friends of viewing sin as a debt due to di- Christianity, is, perhaps, rather apvine justice. Now, I have already parent than real. In our apprehenobserved, that in the liquidation of sion, it arises partly from a want of this debt, any thing like compro- agreement, in regard to the meaning mise, is utterly inadmissible. Any of certain terms and phrases, compartial payment of an infinite debt, monly used on topics of this kind, would be equivalent to nothing. In- and partly from a neglect to distinfinity is an incommensurable prime, guish the effects of a divine influmeasurable only by itself; i. e. by ence on the heart, from those exinfinity. Any thing less, therefore, cesses of passion, or extravagances of conduct, which sometimes at: sort, should be the constant aim of tend a real work of grace, and ministers and other experienced which ought to be ascribed to the Christians. No intelligent friend . ignorance and depravity of the hu- to revivals approves, or countenanman heart.
ces fanaticism, or the violation of Every denomination of Chris- church order; nor should he be tians have a set of phrases, or forms rashly charged with such a design. of expression, against which other On the other hand, we should not denominations are very apt to en- suppose that a temperate remontertain some prejudice : Hence a strance against those disorders that mere strife of words is often mis- sometimes
in extensive retaken for a doctrinal difference, vivals, implies hostility to a work of where none exists in fact. If you grace, or a cold indifference to the choose to distinguish what I call a saving power of true religion. revival of religion, by another name, While we would resist confusion be it so; I will not contend with and all infringement of that wise you about the name, provided you and wholesome order, which Christ concede that the work intended has appointed in his church, we deto be designated thereby, is of God. precate a languid monotony of feelCall it, if you please, an awakening, ing, on the momentous concerns of an outpouring of the spirit, a dis- the soul. “Let all things be done play of redeeming mercy, a shower decently and in order ;” but “let of gracious influence, an ingather- us not sleep, as do others.” The ing of souls to the Saviour, or an day of grace is a short term; and extension of the power of godliness; the bliss of heaven is suspended on any of these phrases would be suffi- its religious improvement. It is ciently intelligible, and might be our seed time for eterņity : “He used interchangeably, without de- that soweth to his flesh shall, of the triment, so far as we can perceive, flesh, reap corruption ; but he that to the cause of vital piety. If soweth to the spirit shall, of the Christians would take a little more spirit, reap life everlasting.” pains to understand one another, The writer of these thoughts is and agree
to construe each other's far from thinking that no souls are language and conduct fairly and converted to the Lord, or that nocharitably, might they not offer to thing is done towards the edifying God their joint supplications for the of the body of Christ, where there revival of religion, with as much are no special revivals of religion. consistency and cordiality, as they He firmly believes that, wherever do for the coming of the Redeemer's the pure gospel of the grace of God kingdom ?
is preached, it proves, to some of We should be careful also, to dis- the people, "a savour of life unto tinguish the genuine effects of a life.” À portion of the seed, wheredivine influence on the minds of ever it is faithfully dispensed, falls men, from those wild excesses of into good ground, and bears fruit. feeling, and extravagances of con- He is well aware, too, that a large duct, which often attend strong proportion of real believers have religious excitement. Considering been brought to the knowledge and what human nature is, we should love of the truth, not, indeed, withexpect some departures from Chris- out deep conviction of sin, and tian decorum, where large numbers a feeling sense of their lost and of careless persons, many of them helpless condition by nature, but in very ignorant of divine things, are circumstances which have excited roused to a deep and awful concern no great degree of attention, even about the salvation of their souls. in the church to which they belong. To prevent or correct evils of this God's methods in turning sinners
from the error of their ways, are prayer for a blessing on the ordivarious; and it were arrogance in nances of the gospel, and on all us to say, that he is limited in his charitable exertions to diffuse the gracious influence, to any particu- light and consolations of evangelilar set of means, appearances, or cal truth: There you will see some instruments. We rejoice, as do of the most irreligious persons rethe angels, at the repentance of one
claimed from their evil courses, and sinner, whoever or whatsoever may licentious habits : There you will have been the means of his reco- see whole households, in some invery from a state of condemnation stances, devoted to God in Chrisand spiritual death. While one tian baptism, their dwellings conhere, and another there, are brought verted into Bethels, and consecrated home to God, under the gentle by daily prayer and praise : There droppings of the sanctuary, we you will hear the people say, one to charge our souls not to “ despise another, “Come, let us go up to the the day of small things;" yet, we house of God, and he will teach us do long, and will pray to see sin- of his way, and we will walk in his ners flying to Jesus, “ as clouds, paths :" There you will find many and as doves to their windows." Andrews and Philips endeavouring,
However gently and silently some by friendly entreaties, by letters, may be reduced to the obedience of by religious books and tracts, to faith, and enfolded in the arms of bring other Peters and Nathaniels to redeeming love ; ordinarily, the the knowledge of Him who is the translation of souls, from darkness
, the truth, and the life :" There to light, and from the bondage of you will see animosities among iniquity to the glorious liberty of kindred and neighbours 'buried at the sons of God, is attended with the foot of the cross,-pride, envy, an awakening sense of sin, and and evil surmisings giving place to with a change of temper and con- concord and brotherly kindness : In duct, which cannot be easily con- a word, you will find more addicealed : And where considerable tions made to the communion of the numbers become subjects of this church, of hopeful subjects of savchange, at the same time, and in the ing grace, in a few months, than same congregation, or neighbour- had been made, in the same conhood, there is what we call a revi- gregations, enjoying the same means val of religion. There we behold of religious improvement, for many the stately steppings of Zion's king, years. the conquests of his grace--the It is a painful truth, indeed, trophies of his power—and the pre- which experience and observation cious fruits of his travail of soul, oblige us to admit, that some perwhen he sweat in Gethsemane, and sons, who are awakened, on such died on Calvary, “the just for the occasions, are not converted in 'unjust, that he might bring us to heart unto God; and, therefore, afGod."
ter appearing to run well, for a Let revivals be tested by their little season, they relapse into their fruits; and we doubt not that real old habits of negligence and sin. Christians of every name will be These are they whose "goodness is constrained to hail them, as bless- as the morning cloud, and the early ings from the Lord. Visit those dew, which passeth away:" they favoured congregations, where the seem to begin in the spirit, but end special outpouring of the spirit, in the flesh: These are the characas we believe, is experienced, and ters designated by the stony ground, you will find the happy subjects of in the parable of the sower : « But hope in Christ, abounding in every he that received the seed into stony good word and work,-earnest in places, the same is he that hearet).