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The Atonement

The Atonement

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BISHOP HEBER.


ROMANS, vi. 3, 4.

Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ, were baptized into His death 9 Therefore we are buried
with Him by baptism into death, that, like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life.
BISHOP HEBER.


ROMANS, vi. 3, 4.

Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ, were baptized into His death 9 Therefore we are buried
with Him by baptism into death, that, like as Christ was raised
up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 17, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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THE ATOEMET. BISHOP HEBER. ROMAS, vi. 3, 4. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death 9 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. ST. PAVL in these words, and in the chapter from which they are taken, is providing against an abuse which (even in the earliest and golden age of Chris- tianity) some mistaken Christians had begun to engraft on its doctrines, and which had been urged, with some show of plausibility, as an objection to those doctrines, by the enemies of the new religion. He had, in the preceding chapter, explained, in a clear and striking manner, the general fact on which are grounded the most important peculiarities of our creed ; that our justification is not purchased by any virtues or merits of our own, but that it is the free gift of the Most High, through Jesus Christ His Son. And he had illustrated the greatness of * Preached before the University of Oxford, 1818, and at Cuddalore, 1826. VOL. VI. Y 322 The Atonement. [BISHOP the mercy which God, for His Son's sake, had shown to the world, by comparing it with the de- gree of severity which, for Adam's sake, the same
 
God had formerly thought fit to exercise towards us. " The sentence," St. Paul had argued, " which, in the case of Adam, was passed for one man's sin on the race of mankind in general, was no more, after all, than (even if such a sentence had not been passed in the first instance) the subsequent crimes of each of Adam's descendants might, in his own person, have justly called for. But, in the case of Christ, a benefit was conferred on the whole race of mankind for the sake of one man's obedience, to which the whole race of mankind were so far from having any meritorious claim, that all men and every man had been committing actions which me- rited the direct contrary. So that though death, in point of fact, reigned over the world in conse- quence of Adam's sin, not in consequence of your sin or mine, yet were the sins of each of us and of each of Adam's descendants so great as to have called down such a sentence on our heads, if that sentence had not been previously passed on us ; while, on the other hand, the gift of eternal life, which is offered to us all in consequence of Christ's merits, is offered, not merely without regard to the deserts of each particular man, but absolutely in spite of them. " Where sin " then " abounded, grace did much more abound." The mercy of God was more powerful to save us from death than our offences were to seal and confirm the doom of death HEBER.J The Atonement. 323 which had been passed against us ; and not only the natural liability to death which we inherited from our first parents, but those additional claims which death had acquired on us in consequence of our personal transgressions, were cancelled and done away " through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Here, however, it was,
 
that the abuse of which I have spoken occurred, as well as the objection which, in consequence of that abuse, was advanced against the Christian doctrine. " If," it was argued, " the blessing of everlasting life is offered to us through Christ, not only without regard to our merits, but actually in spite of our sins, what necessity, what obligation have we to be virtuous? If, do what good works we may, we can do nothing to merit heaven, then, verily, we shall have purified our hearts in vain, and vainly washed our hands in innocency ! If, do what sins we please, the blood of Christ^ and the grace which He has purchased for us are sufficient to render us acceptable in the sight of God, why then do we deny ourselves those pleasures to which our nature is inclined ; why crush those passions which gnaw the bosom which confines them, but of which the wildest and most profligate indulgence is atoned for by the common Saviour of all ? Does not, ac- cording to St. Paul's own statement, the greatness of our undeserving enhance the splendour of the mercy shown us ? Let us, then, give this glory to the Most High I By making ourselves more vile, Y 324- The Atonement. [BISHOP let us render His condescension the more wonder- ful ! Let us sin, that grace may abound ! " It is hard, indeed, to believe that tenets so con- trary to the tenour and temper of the Gospel of Christ, so repugnant to the common sense of man- kind, and to all the reasonable fears and instinctive feelings of our better nature, can ever have been, seriously and in simplicity, taught or believed by

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