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Extent of the Atonement.

Extent of the Atonement.

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" And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but
also for the sins of the whole world." FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN, ii. 2,

" And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but
also for the sins of the whole world." FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOHN, ii. 2,

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 03, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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EXTET OF THE ATOEMET.BY REV. ERSKIE MASO, D.D.," And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, butalso for the sins of the whole world." FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. JOH,ii. 2,amplitude and all-sufficiency of God s provision for the lost, is a no less important article of the Christian faith, than the fact itself, that such aprovision has been made. Every one must feel, themoment the subject is laid before him clearly, thatthe value of the atonement, to any one, is inseparable from its sufficiency for all. To tell me in mysorrows, under a sin-oppressed conscience, that provision is made for forgiveness, and yet to cast suspicion upon its fulness, is but- to awaken a hope,the warrant of which is uncertain, because it leavesme entirely in the dark upon the question, whetherthat provision is within my reach. There is nothing here to relieve my straitened spirit, nothingto authorize my confidence ; so far as all practicaleffects are concerned, I am in very much the samecondition as before the announcement of pardon,through the atonement, was made. Better not sayany thing of forgiveness of sin, if in the samebreath you must suggest^ a doubt as to the possi.272 EXTET OF THE ATOEMET.bility of my forgiveness. You do "but make mycase the more wretched, as you awaken a hope onlyfor the purpose of destroying it.
The great question which throws its overwhelming burden upon the mind, in view of its spiritualrelations, is, after all, a personal question it relatesto my own individual circumstances and hopes ;The value of the gospel, therefore, to me as a sinner, grows out of the answer which it furnishes tothis question. The mere fact that God can forgivesin, is nothing, except as it is brought home to myown personal interests. The pages upon whichthat fact is announced, may beam with the bright andthe beautiful, but if they do not bring home to me,as an individual, this truth as a certainty, that Godcan be just and forgive my sin, they have no brightness and beauty for me ; they do but put me in thecondition of the famishing wretch, who is told of abundance, but not that he may touch it, or the victim of some dreadful disease, who is told of a certain remedy, but not how he may reach it.The question, then, as to the extent of the atonement, is not a question, as some men would have usbelieve, of mere speculative theology, but one of vastpractical interest. Every man can understand itsimportance, if he will but observe how the wholeaspect of the gospel will vary ; how its power overhis own spirit will be increased or diminished, according to the views which lie may take of thissingle question ; and I cannot, therefore, think thatI am giving myself up to a useless task, or onewithout its interest to all my hearers, when I under-EXTET OF THE ATOEMET. 273take to agitate, for the purpose of reaching a satisfactory conclusion, the inquiry as to the extent of the atonement of Jesus Christ.I need not say to nay hearers, that in taking up
this subject, we are entering upon disputed ground.The Christian world here presents to us oppositeextremes of opinion, as well as diversities. If weexcept, on the one hand, those who put a limitationupon the intrinsic value of the Redeemer s sacrifice,who by a kind of arithmetical process, estimate theworth of atonement by the number of those whomit actually saves ; and on the other hand, those whoinfer universal salvation as a necessary consequencefrom the atonement of Jesus Christ extremes of opinion held by comparatively few in the Christian church, and with neither of which we can sympathize the remaining discrepancies are, I apprehend, for the most part, the result rather of misapprehension, than of any opposition of view. It isperfectly obvious, that the same object will strikepersons differently, as they look upon it from dif ferent points, and consider it in different relations ;while if they look upon it in the same light, they areperfectly harmonious in their views. So the manwho looks at the sacrifice of Christ, in view of some secret purpose of God, and of the actual results which shall flow from it, becomes the sternand unflinching advocate of limited atonement,and seems to be directly at war with another, who,looking at the intrinsic nature of the sacrifice of OChrist, and its adaptation to other and larger, andmore general results, becomes the no less stern and18274 EXTET OF THE ATOEMET.unflinching advocate of unlimited atonement, whilein reality the difference of opinion between themis not what at first sight it might appear to be.

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