MORAL GOVERNMENT.---No. 18.
I have already anticipated many things that might be said under this head, some of which I shall glance at again, and to which several other considerations may be added.
1. The Atonement renders pardon consistent with the perfect administration of justice.
2. The Atonement, as it was made by the lawgiver, magnifies the law, and renders it infinitely more honorable and influential than the execution of the penalty upon sinners would have done.
3. It is the highest and most glorious expedient of moral government. It is adding to the influence of law the whole weight of the most moving manifestation of God, that men or angels ever saw or will see.
4. It completes the circle of governmental motives. It is a filling up of the revelation of God. It is a revealing of a department of his character, with which it would seem that nothing else could have made his creatures acquainted. It is, therefore, the highest possible support of moral government.
5. It greatly glorifies God, far above all his other works and ways.
6. It must be to him a source of the purest, most exalted, and eternal happiness.
7. It opens the channels of divine benevolence to state criminals.
8. It has united God with human nature.
9. It has opened a way of access to God, never opened to any creatures before.
10. It has abolished natural death, by procuring universal resurrection:
1 Cor. 15:22. 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'
11. It restores the life of God to the soul, by restoring to man the influence of the Holy Spirit.
12. It has introduced a new method of salvation, and made Christ the head of the New Covenant.
13. It has made Christ our surety:
Heb. 7:22. 'By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.'
14. It has arrayed such a public sentiment against rebellion, as to crush it whenever the Atonement is fairly understood and applied by the Holy Spirit.
15. It has procured the offer of pardon to all sinners of our race.
16. It has been the occasion of a new and most aggravated kind of sin.
17. It has, no doubt, added to the happiness of heaven.
18. It has more fully developed the nature and importance of the government of God.
19. It has more fully developed the nature of sin.
20. It has more fully developed the strength of sin.
21. It has more fully developed the total depravity and utter madness of sinners.
22. It has given scope to the long-suffering and forbearance of God.
23. It has formed a more intimate union between God and man, than between him and any other order of creatures.
24. It has elevated human nature, and the saints of God, into the stations of kings and priests to God.
25. It has opened new fields of usefulness, in which the benevolence of God, angels, and men may luxuriate in doing good.
26. It has developed and fully revealed the doctrine of the Trinity.
27. It has revealed the most influential and only efficacious method of government.
28. It has more fully developed those laws of our being upon which the strength of moral government depends.
29. It has given a standing illustration of the true interest, meaning, and excellency of the law of God. In the Atonement God has illustrated the meaning of his law by his own example.
30. The Atonement has fully illustrated the nature of virtue, and demonstrated that it consists in disinterested benevolence.
31. It has forever condemned all selfishness, as entirely inconsistent with virtue.
32. It has established all the great principles and completed the power of moral government.