THE ATONEMENT AS IT REMOVES THE OBSTACLES IN THE WAY OF PARDON.
Col. i. 20.—"Having made peace through the blood of his cross."
In the last discourse I entered on the consideration of the atonement as an arrangement, under the Divine administration, for giving to a mind troubled with the consciousness of guilt a sound and permanent peace. I stated that the atonement is a device in the Divine government by. which God designs to evince the benevolence of his nature in the pardon of the guilty, while at the same time he manifests a due regard to law, to truth, and to justice. The atonement, as then remarked, is founded primarily in the benevolence, and not in the justice of God; or it is a way by which benevolence can be manifested without impairing or endangering the interests of justice. As ■viewed by one who is condemned by his own conscience, and by the law of God, by one who feels that he is exposed to the Divine displeasure, and who is conscious of the need of pardon, which is the true point of view from which to contemplate the sacrifice made by the Lord Jesus Christ, the atonement has two aspects :—one, as it shows a sinner that God is willing to pardon; the other, as it removes the obstacles in the way of pardon.
The former of these points was then considered. I showed, (1,) that it is the expression of mere benevolence—guilty man having no claim to any such interposition; (2,) that it is the highest proof of benevolence which God could furnish; and, (3,) that it is benevolence shown to the whole race, and that, therefore, any and every sinner is free to avail himself of all the benefits of it.
I proceed now to consider the atonement in the other aspect mentioned, as removing the obstacles to pardon. It is important to our purpose to keep in remembrance this point, that we are considering the case of a sinner conscious of guilt and danger, and inquiring whether he may be pardoned and saved. Such a man wishes the assurance that he may be forgiven; he desires to understand how it is that the atonement avails to secure his pardon. He wishes to know that God is willing to forgive; he wishes to sec how it is consistent for a God of truth and justice to do it. The former inquiry is answered by the fact of the gift of a Saviour, and by the Divine invitations; the latter is the point that now presents itself for our consideration.
In this inquiry there are two points: —I. What are the hindrances to the pardon of a sinner? and, II. How does the atonement remove those hindrances, and give peace to the mind of the guilty ?
I. The first inquiry is, What are the hindrances to the pardon
of a sinner f
I have already, in the former discourses, said enough to show you that those hindrances, whatever they may be, do not consist of any unwillingness on the part of God to pardon the guilty; and that, whatever may be the effect of an atonement, it is not intended to change God; or to make him a different Being from what he was before; or to buy him over to mercy; or to make a Being—before stern, inexorable, and unforgiving— mild, gentle, merciful, and kind. If any such ideas were involved in the atonement, I do not see how it would be possible for the human mind to embrace it.
Laying all such ideas out of view in contemplating the atonement, I will proceed, in as plain and simple a manner as is possible, to state what are the real hindrances to the pardon of a sinner.
They are such as arise from the nature of moral government, and are found under all forms of administration. In all governments there are great difficulties in regard to pardon, and more embarrassment is felt in adjusting it aright, than perhaps on any other subject. It is supposed, indeed, in all governments but those of tyrants, that there would be cases where pardon would be desirable; where the law, if suffered to take its course, would seem to be severe; where the real welfare of the community would be promoted, as well as the promptings of humanity obeyed, by extending forgiveness to the guilty; and where it would be desirable to leave a discretionary power on this subject to the executive officer of the government—to the sovereign power whose law has been violated. But it has never been found practicable to adjust this satisfactorily under any human administration, or to free the subject from difficulties.
The difficulties in the case—and in stating these, I am stating what exist under all forms of government, parental, civil, and Divine—are such as I will now refer to. (1.) One is, where pardon is never exercised; where it is a settled and unchanging maxim of the law, that no offender, under any circumstances, is ever to be forgiven. This might be, although I am ignorant that even under the darkest forms of tyranny any such principle has been avowed as the settled maxim of the administration, however it may have been practically acted on by some, as under the government of Draco, or under some forms of Oriental despotism, or by the Papal communion in the times of the Inquisition. But still it is conceivable that it might be, and such a government, without any mixture of the element of benevolence, would be severely and sternly and wholly just. But almost any form of tyranny would be less dreadful than this; for justice would establish its dominion at the expense of some of the finest feelings of our nature, and violate some of the plainest dictates of our moral being. There are cases, even cases of undoubted violation of law, where pardon is desirable; where all the benevolent feelings of a community would be gratified by forgiveness ; and where all the tender feelings of humanity would be outraged if pardon were never extended. In the case of a single individual offender in Great Britain, thirty thousand signatures were easily obtained asking for the pardon of a man who had, in a single case, committed an offence against the laws of the land: in all communities there are cases in which the purest and best citizens are willing to unite in such petitions. All communities, as already remarked, entrust a pardoning'power to the executive or the judges. As human nature now is, no man would wish to live under a government where it was an assumed principle that pardon was never to be extended to the guilty; no man would contribute his influence to organize a government under which no guilty person might ever,hope to be forgiven. This difficulty is one that would arise under a government that was severely and sternly just. (2.) A difficulty not less, but of an opposite character, would exist if it were an admitted principle that all the guilty were to be pardoned; that every offender against the laws was to be forgiven, and was to be permitted to go at large. This too might be; but all can imagine what would be the effect of such an administration. This, not less than the former, would violate deep principles of our nature; this, more than that, would endanger the welfare of a community. For, if there are principles in our nature which would make it desirable that some should be pardoned, there are principles which demand that some shall be punished. If all were pardoned, if all the guilty were suffered to go at large, what man's property would be safe—what man's reputation—what man's life ? What would be the condition of things in this or in any community, if all jails and penitentiaries were thrown open, and if all convicted and unconvicted felons were sent forth upon the community ? Who would lie down calmly at night ? Who would not gather up his property and flee from such a land ? Law would he a bugbear; and every form of crime would be committed under the sanction of a spurious and wretched benevolence. This difficulty would arise if justice were never executed, and all the guilty were pardoned: and as a case has never occurred where it was an assumed maxim that none were to be pardoned, so in our world the case of a government has never occurred where it was an assumed maxim that pardon is to be extended indiscriminately to all. Yet, (3), there is another difficulty still. It is this: pardon in all cases does so much, even under the best arrangements that governments can make, to weaken the strong arm of the law. The influence in every case where it can be exercised is to lessen the moral power of the law ; to diminish the public respect for its sanctions ; to make offenders cease to dread the punishment which it threatens; and in general to produce a want of respect for the law in a community. It is of the nature of a public proclamation that crime may be committed in some cases with impunity; and as the cases are not specified, and as no one is excluded, the practical effect must be that each offender, whatever crime he may commit, will feel that lie may he among the number of those who will escape the infliction of the penalty. Two things operate widely in every community to induce men to feel that the laws may be violated, and that crimes may be committed without the danger of punishment:—one is, the hope that so generally prevails among that class of men, that they will escape detection; the other,—a feeling, perhaps, as effective in producing conscious security,—is the hope that, if the crime is brought home to them, they may be pardoned.
What is needed in the case is, some arrangement that shall prevent this effect, and yet make pardon practicable and proper ; that is, something that shall do honour to the decisions of the law, and that shall at the same time meet the promptings of benevolence; in other words, that shall secure respect for the law and the government, and yet shall make it consistent, practicable, and safe, to pardon an offender. This effect will be secured if the sanctions of the law—considered as designed to express the views of the lawgiver as to the evil of the offence, or as designed to restrain from sin, or as designed to reform offenders, or as calculated to subserve any other purpose contemplated by the infliction of penalty—can be secured, while at the same time the government is free to indulge the promptings of humanity, and to release an acknowledged offender from the infliction of the penalty. These objects, so different in their nature, have never been blended in a human administration. As the one or the other has prevailed, government has manifested a character either of severity or weakness ; of tyranny or feebleness ; of blood, like that of Draco, or of imbecility, where there is neither respect for the law, dread of punishment, nor restraint on crime.
In all human governments hitherto—and what has been true heretofore in this respect will be true to the end of time—there have been substantially but two cases in which the executive is entrusted with the power of pardon. The one is, where the sentence of the law may be regarded as too severe; that is, where, to use the words of Blackstone in reference to the provisions of a court of equity—" Since in laws all cases cannot be foreseen or expressed, it is necessary that when the general decrees of the law come to be applied to particular cases, there should be somewhere a power vested of defining those circumstances, which, had they been foreseen, the legislator himself would have expressed."—Com. i. 62. Such cases occur under all forms of human government, and under the best administration of the laws, for there are mitigating circumstances which could not have been foreseen in framing the laws ; and as law is general in its nature, and not framed with reference to particular cases, the well-known maxim of the law, Summum jus summa injuria est, is often illustrated in the actual administration of justice. There is a propriety, therefore, that a power of remitting the penalty—improperly called a pardoning power— should be lodged in the hands of the executive in a state. And yet it is to be observed that this is not, in any proper sense of the word, pardon. It is simply a declaration, made under the authority of law, that the sentence in the case was too severe; that the penalty appointed should not be inflicted; that, in fact, no such crime as that of which the alleged offender has been convicted has been committed ; and that of right he ought to be discharged. It might be true that some offence has been committed, and that it would have been right to have inflicted a lighter penalty, but the so-called act of pardon in this case is a proclamation that this penalty has not been deserved, and therefore it is clear that there has been no act of pardon as such. It is simply an acknowledgment of the imperfection of the best forms of human administration, and an act at the same time setting the government right, and the alleged offender right, before the community. Whatever honour is done to the law in the case is not in conncxion with pardon, but it is a declaration that the law has made arrangements, so far as practicable, by which undeserved penalties shall not be inflicted.
The only other case of pardon in a human government occurs where an undoubted crime has been committed; where the offender has been tried, convicted, and sentenced; where it would be right to inflict the penalty of the law, and where, notwithstanding this, the law has entrusted the exercise of pardon to tho discretion of the executive. Such cases, it must be admitted, often occur. Men of acknowledged guilt, after conviction as the result of a full and fair trial, and long before the term of sentence expires, are discharged from prison and turned upon the community practically unpunished according to the just notion of the law, and without the slightest evidence that the punishment, as far as inflicted, has had any reforming power. Nothing is done to prevent the effects of pardon noticed before; nothing is done, so far as the pardon is concerned, to maintain the authority of law; nothing is done to reform the offender; nothing is done to deter others from the commission of a similar offence. It is simply a proclamation that crime may be committed with impunity. To whatever it may be traced, whether to the weakness of the executive, or to the prevalent sentiments in a community demanding the frequent exercise of pardon ; or to what may be regarded as the promptings of humanity or benevolence; or to a weakened sense of justice—to a feeling that punishment is essential tyranny, and that all punishment is a violation of the dictates of humanity— it is, in fact, a public proclamation that crime may be committed without the dread of punishment—a practical relaxation of all laws, and a practical invitation to all men to commit the crimes to which their passions or their supposed interests may prompt.
In all the devices of human wisdom; in all the forms of administration originated by man ; in all the history of the world hitherto, it has never been found practicable to introduce an arrangement like that which is contemplated by the atonement. In no court of justice has such an arrangement ever been attempted, and no legislator has introduced it into the administration of the laws. Sensible as legislators and judges have been of the defects in the administration of law just noticed, they have never attempted, as a fixed and permanent arrangement, to introduce a device like that of the atonement. A debt may indeed be paid, and the obligation will be discharged; but no provision has been made by which respect may be shown to the penalty of law, and yet pardon be extended to acknowledged offenders. Whether it has been that legislators have been insensible to the evils now adverted to; or whether they have been disposed to make an experiment to see whether those evils might not be avoided; or whether they have despaired of finding any means by which due honour may be done to the law while the guilty man is acquitted, it is not material now to inquire. The fact is undoubted. No such arrangement has ever been made. History furnishes no traces of such a provision, and no court of justice has ever resorted to it in the administration of law. No one has been appointed, as a permanent legal arrangement, to suffer in the place of another; nowhere does law contemplate the acceptance of substituted sufferings in the place of those incurred by the guilty. The only things done by a human government in the case are the two already referred to: to wit, where an offender is pardoned, as it is termed, because the sentence was too severe; and where one guilty of undoubted crime, and deserving the infliction of the penalty, is discharged without any attempt to maintain the authority of law.
Now it is clear that in the Divine administration pardon can never be extended in either of these forms. It cannot be supposed that in an act of pardon the all-wise Legislator would practically acknowledge that the sentence of the law was too severe—that is, that it was unjust,—and that the offender would be discharged on that ground ; nor can it be supposed that an acknowledged offender would be acquitted without any respect shown to the law, or any arrangement to prevent the effects on the individual himself, or on the community, of acquitting the offender. It cannot be supposed that God would make either a practical proclamation that his own law was stern and severe, and that its penalty ought not to be inflicted; nor can it be supposed that he would make a practical proclamation that his law is to be disregarded in his own mode of administering it, and that it may become an understood maxim that crime may be committed under his administration with impunity. To suppose this would be to charge on the Divine administration all that has been found to be weak, defective, inefficient, if not partial, in human governments. Whether we may be able or not to see how this difficulty is met, and how these evils are prevented, we may be certain that in a perfect government the difficulties will be met, and that some arrangement will be devised by which the evils may be prevented. This leads us,
II. In the second place, to inquire, How the atonement meets the difficulties referred to—or how it removes the hindrances to the pardon of a sinner.
This inquiry is practically whether the atonement so meets the claims of justice, or so evinces respect to the law, that the great ends of moral government can be secured when the penalty is remitted, or when the sinner is pardoned. If these ends can be secured, it is clear that the offender may with propriety be pardoned; and clear also, that, if■ this is done, his agitated and troubled mind may be at peace. If by the atonement God can as certainly and as fully evince his hatred of sin, and his respect for law, and prevent the evil effects of sin, as he could by the punishment of the sinner himself, then it is plain that the great purposes contemplated by the law and by the appointment of a penalty are accomplished. There are, then, in connexion with this, two subordinate inquiries:—What is shown by punishment? and, Can this be shown by the atonement ?
(a) What, then, is shown by punishment ? What is contemplated by the appointment of penalty ? What, in respect to moral government, is secured when the penalty of law is inflicted ? In what light does it represent the lawgiver, and what light does it throw on his purpose in appointing the penalty ? To these inquiries the brief and obvious answer is, that the penalty affixed to a law expresses the view of the lawgiver in respect to the evil of the offence. So far as it is penalty, its design is to convey that idea, and nothing else. It is simply the measure of his estimate of the nature and desert of the crime. The penalty must be appointed, moreover, by the lawgiver himself, and must express his sense of the nature and desert of the act of transgression. No one can control him in this ; no one can properly estimate the justice of the penalty, unless he is able to comprehend the nature and tendency of the offence as truly as the lawgiver himself; and no creature therefore, in respect to the Divine administration, can possess the qualifications which may be requisite to judge of the propriety of the penalty affixed to law. Much indeed of the design and the effect of punishment may be seen, but there may be depths in regard to it which no created intellect can as yet fathom, and there may be collateral purposes to be accomplished by it which a creature cannot comprehend. The main and central idea however is, that it shows the sense of the lawgiver in respect to the evil of transgression. It is an illustration and a declaration of the view which he takes of it from the stand-point which he occupies as the head of the government, or as presiding over the interests of those who are subject to his administration. The security that the penalty will be just and equal—that it will not be severe or partial— that it will be commensurate merely with the desert of the offence—that it will not be too intense in degree, or too prolonged in duration—is to be found, not in any control which the subject of the law has over it, but solely in the wisdom, the equity, and the benevolence of him who appoints it. It is plain that if the view thus entertained of the evil of transgression can be evinced either by the sufferings of the offender himself, or by anything substituted in the place of those sufferings that shall convey the same practical impression, the great ends of penalty will be accomplished, and the infliction of the penalty on the offender himself may in the latter case be remitted.
(b) This leads, then, to the only remaining inquiry, whether the evil of sin as designed to be expressed by the penalty of the law can be so evinced by the substituted sufferings of another, or by the atonement, that in respect to the offender himself penalty may be properly remitted; and so remitted that he himself can feel that the same testimony has been borne to the value of law, and to the evil of sin, which would have been furnished by his own personal sufferings. In other words, is it practicable or possible for an offender troubled with the remembrance of personal guilt, and realizing that he is justly exposed to the penalty of a broken law, to feel the same calmness and composure, or the same freedom from apprehended punishment, which he would have felt if it had been possible for him to bear the penalty himself, or which he would if the offence had never been committed ? If sin were a debt in the literal sense, it is easy to see how this effect might follow;—for it is conceivable that a debt might be so paid by another as to meet all the claims of justice, or to discharge the entire pecuniary responsibility, so that the debtor himself would feel that there was no claim of the law upon him, and so that there would be created in his bosom the highest sense of obligation to him who had interposed to relieve him of a claim wliich he was unable to meet. It is to be admitted, however, that sin is not precisely of the nature of a debt; and it is to be admitted that there must be other elements in an atonement than those which are involved in the payment of a debt. Can the great end contemplated by the appointment of a penalty, or by the infliction of punishment —to wit, the expression of the Divine view of the evil of sin—be so accomplished by the substituted sufferings, that I, a guilty man—a helpless sinner—an acknowledged violator of law—one feeling that he deserves the infliction of such a penalty as the Lawgiver shall judge to be necessary for the maintenance of moral government—can feel that the great purpose of penalty in respect to me has been accomplished, and that I may now be properly treated as if I had not offended ?
As this inquiry pertains to the very essence of the Christian scheme, as it bears on the feelings of the guilty, and relates to a question which must always occur to the mind of the guilty, it is proper to refer to a few facts and principles which may tend to illustrate and answer it.
(1.) As a matter of fact, under the Divine administration, the evil of sin or crime is perhaps more frequently seen by the effects produced on those who are innocent than by any direct and immediate effect on the guilty themselves. It is somehow a great principle under the Divine government, that the effects of our conduct often pass over from the offender himself to those who are associated with him; and that when we undertake to estimate the evil of the offence, or to obtain a just measure of the crime, we more naturally look to those effects than to anything which has as yet occurred to the offender himself. Nay, the mind of the offender himself may be more deeply affected as to the evil of the crime committed by the sufferings which he perceives that his conduct has caused to others than by any pain or piivation which he himself has endured. Society is full of instances of this kind, and perhaps in the case of a large portion of the crimes committed in a community, the actual amount of suffering endured by the offender himself is small, if it might not even be said to be trifling, as compared with the sufferings which the offence has brought on others. The man who suffers in a penitentiary, solitary and alone, perhaps learns to bear the punishment inflicted with patience, or sinks into insensibility or stupidity, or invents some mitigation of his own sufferings; but while thus insensible comparatively to the effects of his own crime, and to the evil of the offence, his conduct may have brought the grey hairs of a father or a mother to the grave, or the sorrows of a broken-hearted wife, sister, or daughter, may be the public testimony to the evil of the offence, and may do more to impress a sense of that evil on the community than all that he endures in the loneliness and forgetfulness of his dungeon. Now, if we suppose that it had been designed beforehand to make an arrangement which would most deeply impress upon the community the evil of the offence committed, we should say that apparently the design was to show that evil to the largest extent by the collateral and incidental sufferings that would come on the innocent. The point now is not to inquire into the reason of this arrangement, or to show its justice ; but simply to advert to the fact that the evil of transgression may be seen in a very high degree, and so as possibly to affect the mind of the offender himself by the sufferings which a certain course of conduct would bring on the innocent. If we suppose that those sufferings were in any sense voluntarily assumed, the principle would not be varied; for still the whole effect might be in some way to illustrate the evil of the offence, or to divide with the offender the sufferings produced by his crime.
(2.) The great doctrine of the Christian atonement is, not that ' there was any natural connexion between the sinner and the Redeemer; not that, as in the case above supposed, the consequences of the sinner's offence passed over by any natural law to the Saviour, so as to involve him in poverty, pain, and death, but that by a voluntary arrangement he was willing so to take the place of the offender that, as in the case of natural relationship, the evil effect of transgression should be illustrated, and the Divine sense of the nature of sin should be manifested by his sufferings as if they had been endured by the sinner himself. In other words, such an amount of suffering was appointed, and was submitted to, as would to the sinner himself, and to the uerse at large, be a just measure of the Divine sense of the evil of transgression, and in this respect accomplish the same effect as if the sinner had himself endured the penalty of the law.
(3.) In the work of the atonement as viewed by the sinner under conviction for sin, looking at the Redeemer as suffering in his . stead, the great idea which is presented to his mind is still that which is manifest in the personal sufferings produced by sins, and in the voluntary or involuntary sufferings endured by others on our account—to wit, the connexion between sin and suffering. It is seen there, as elsewhere, that the only cause of suffering is sin. The Redeemer suffered from no other cause. There was no other conceivable reason why he should suffer. There is no statement made—no intimation whatever—that he did suffer from any other cause. No reason can be given, drawn from any views of the Divine government which we can obtain, why the sufferings of the garden and the cross came upon him, unless it was from some connexion with sin. Without such a connexion, and without some design of evincing the nature of sin by his sufferings, it would be impossible to vindicate the Divine character in permitting these sufferings to come upon the only Being in our world who has been in all respects perfectly innocent. The Scripture statement, moreover, everywhere is, that he did thus suffer on account of sin :—that he " died the just for the unjust;" that he was the " propitiation for our sins;" that " the chastisement of our peace was upon him;" that " the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all;" that " hy his stripes we are heajed ;" and that " he died for our offences, and was raised for our justification." The point of the remark now made is, that this may he so perceived by the mind itself to be the design of the Saviour's sufferings, that one who is conscious of guilt may see that in those sufferings there has been a real expression of a Divine sense of the evil of sin, intentionally made, an expression as real, though it may not be in the same form, as if the sinner himself had endured the same sufferings as a part of the penalty of the law.
(4.) One other remark only it seems necessary to make to complete the statement of the effect produced by the atonement in giving peace to a mind troubled with the consciousness of sin: it is, that the sufferings endured by the Redeemer in the place of the sinner are fitted to make a deeper impression on the uerse at large than would be produced by the punishment of the sinner himself. If a sinner is lost, he is so in more senses than one ;—lost not only to hope and happiness, but also in the sense that his individual sufferings may make little, if any, impression on the uerse at large. He has in himself no such rank, or dignity, or exaltation, and he sustains no such relations, as to attract attention beyond a very limited sphere. The aggregate sufferings of the guilty may, indeed, make a deep and wide impression ; but the sufferings of an individual must be limited in the sphere of their influence, and the moral effect will be comparatively unfelt. Few of all the creatures that God has made will be aware of his suffering, and even on those few the impression produced will be comparatively slight. None of these remarks, however, apply, to the sufferings of the Redeemer, considered as endured in the place of sinners. His exalted dignity as the Son of God ; the adoration paid him by the angelic hosts; his rank and office as Mediator; the changes that may have been produced in heaven by his incarnation; his poverty and lowliness of estate on earth; his life of weariness and toil; and pre-eminently his sufferings on the cross, were all fitted to attract the attention of the uerse at large, and to produce a deep impression on distant worlds. Far as those wonderful events were known,—and if he was, indeed, the incarnate Deity, they would be known throughout all worlds,—the inquiry must have occurred, why he stooped to so low a condition ; why he endured so many sufferings in his life; and why, as a malefactor, and between malefactors, he died on a cross. Whether the design of that death was known to other worlds at the time it occurred, cannot indeed now be ascertained; but it will be ultimately known that it was intended to express, to the utmost degree possible, the Divine sense of the evil of sin—the very object which would be accomplished by the punishment of the sinner himself. Throughout the uerse, therefore, an impression would be made by the atonement of the evil of sin, more deep and lasting than would be produced by the natural course of the administration of justice ; and if that impression is secured, it is clear that every obstacle to the pardon of the sinner is removed, and that he may be forgiven without any of the incidental evils against which it has been impossible to guard in the exercise of pardon by human governments.
If this is so, the troubled conscience may have peace. All has been done that can be done to show the evil of transgression, and to prevent the consequences which would flow from the exercise of pardon were it granted without an atonement. All has been done that needs to be done to express the Divine sense of the value of law, of the ill-desert of transgression, and of the magnitude of an offence against the government of God. God has shown that while he pardons he is not indifferent to the claims of his own law, and that while he " justifies the ungodly," he has a supreme regard for truth and holiness, and will maintain the interests of justice at all times, and at every sacrifice. The pardoned sinner, therefore, may have peace. He is not only assured of pardon, but he is assured that it is extended in such a way that the honour of God is maintained, and the great interests of the uerse secured. He can see that the obstacles which existed to the exercise of pardon have been wholly removed, and removed in such a way that every interest of justice is safe. Sunken, degraded, and lost as he is; conscious of deep depravity and of ill-desert; feeling that his appropriate place would be with the lost; and feeling too—for that can never be forgotten—that he will always retain the recollection of his having been a violator of law, and that he can occupy only a very humble place before the throne,—yet he may feel also that God is glorified by his salvation, and every attribute of the Deity illustrated and magnified by his admission into heaven. He enjoys the favour of God, not because God disregards law, but even while he shows his respect? for it, and magnifies it. He becomes an heir of glory, not by any favouritism that is regardless of justice and of the rights of others, but while the rights of others are as much respected as his own, and while they are rendered still more secure by the method of his own salvation. He enters heaven over no prostrate law; he dwells there not in defiance of the claims of justice; he wears a crown of glory not tarnished by the conviction that it is bestowed in violation of right; but while associated for ever with unfallen beings, with the angels that have not left " their first estate,"—he feels that he is there in virtue of a righteousness not less glorious than theirs, for it is the righteousness of the■ Son of God. The atonement has thus removed the obstacles to the way of pardon ; the agitations of guilt in the soul die away; light, hope, and joy break in upon the mind, and the sinner finds peace.