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consciousness of a Divine and Supreme Mind, the wrath of law, or the love of lust?

So the Scriptures represent the matter; and upon the preacher's thorough belief in the strict metaphysical truth of this biblical idea of God, and his solemn reception of it into his mind, in all its scope and elements, with all its implications and applications, depends his power and energy as a religious thinker and speaker. He must see for himself, and make his hearers see, that God is just that intensely immaculate Spirit, both in his complacency and his displeasure, in all his personal qualities, and on both sides of his character, which revelation represents him to be. No other energy can make up for the lack of this. With this though his tongue may stammer, and his heart often fail him, the preacher will go out before his accountable, guilty, dying fellow-men, with a spiritual power that cannot be resisted.

For man's mind is startled when the Divine individuality thus flashes into it, with these distinct and definite emotions. "I thought of God, and was troubled." The human spirit thrills to its inmost fibre, when God's personal character darts its dazzling rays into its darkness. When one realises, in some solemn moment, that no blind force or fate, no law of nature, no course and constitution of things, but a Being as distinctly self-conscious as himself, and with a personality as vivid in his feelings and emotions towards right and wrong as his own identity has made him, and made him responsible, and will call him to account; when a man in some startling and most salutary passage in his experience, becomes aware that the intelligent and the emotional I AM is penetrating his inmost soul, he is, if ever upon this earth, a roused man, an earnest, energised creature. All men know how wonderfully the faculties of the soul are quickened, when it comes to the consciousness of guilt; what a profound and central activity is started in all the mental powers by what is technically termed "conviction." But this conviction is the simple consciousness that God is one person, and man is another. Here are two beings met togethera holy One, with infinite and judicial attributes, and a guilty one, with finite and responsible attributes-the two are in direct communication, as in the garden of Eden, and hence the shame, the fear, and the attempt to hide.

If, however, it is supposed that there must be some abatement and qualification in order to bring the biblical representation of the Deity into harmony with some theory in the head, or some wish in the heart, it loses its incisive and truthful power over the human mind. If the full-orbed idea be so mutilated that nothing but the feeling of love is allowed to enter into the nature of God, the mind softens and melts away into moral imbecility. If nothing but the emotion of displeasure makes up the character of the Deity, as was

the case, to a very great extent, with the sombre and terrible Pagan religions, the mind of the worshipper is first overwhelmed with terror and consternation, and finally paralysed and made callous by fear. But if both feelings are seen necessarily to coexist in one and the same eternal nature, and each exercised towards its appropriate and deserving object, then the rational spirit adores and burns like the seraph, and bows and veils the face like the archangel.

2. In close connection with the doctrine of the living God, the Bible teaches the doctrine of the guilt of man; and this is the second element of force and fire, alluded to by the prophet in his interrogatory.

We have already spoken of the close affinity that exists between a vivid impression of the Divine character, and the conviction of sin. When that comparatively pure and holy man the prophet Isaiah, saw the Lord, high and lifted up, he cried, “ I am a man of unclean lips." And just in proportion as the distinct features of that Divine countenance fade from human view, does the guilt of man disappear. But here, again, as in the preceding instance of the Divine emotions, the difficulty does not relate so much to the bare recognition of the fact, as to the degree and thoroughness of the recognition. We have noticed that there is a natural proneness to look more at the complacent, than the judicial side of the Divine nature; to literalise and emphasise the love, but convert the wrath into metaphor and hyperbole. In like manner there is a tendency to extenuate and diminish the degree of human guilt, even when the general doctrine is acknowledged. To apprehend and confess our sin to be our pure self-will and crime, is very difficult. We much more readily acknowledge it to be our disease and misfortune. Between the full denial, on the one hand, that there is any guilt in man, and the full hearty confession on the other, that man is nothing but guilt before the Searcher of the heart and Eternal Justice, there are many degrees of truth and error; and it is with regard to these intermediates that the preacher especially needs the representations of the Bible. It is by the dalliance with the shallows of the subject, that the public religious address is shorn of its strength.

The Scriptures, upon the subject of human guilt, never halt between two opinions. They are blood-red. The God of the Bible is intensely immaculate, and man in the Bible is intensely guilty. The inspired mind is a rational and logical one. It either acquits absolutely and eternally, or condemns absolutely and eternally. It either pronounces an entire innocency and holiness, such as will enable the possessor of it to stand with angelic tranquillity amidst the lightnings and splendours of that countenance from which the heavens and the earth flee away; or else it pronounces an entire guiltiness in that presence, of such scarlet and crimson

dye, that nothing but the blood of incarnate God can wash it away. The Old Testament, especially, to which the preacher must go for knowledge upon these themes, because the old dispensation was the educational dispensation of law, is full, firm, and distinct in its representations. Its history is the history of an economy designed by its rites, symbols, and doctrines, to awaken a poignant and constant consciousness of guilt. Its prophecy looks with eager straining eye, and points with tremulous and thrilling finger to an atoner and his atonement for guilt. Its poetry is either the irrepressible mourning and wail of a heart gnawed by guilt, or the exuberant and glad overflow of a heart experiencing the joy of expiated and pardoned guilt.

And to this is owing the intense vitality of the Old Testament. To this element and influence is owing the vividness and energy of the Hebrew mind,-so different in these respects from the Oriental mind generally. The Hebrews were a part of that same great Shemitic race which peopled Asia and the east, and possessed the same general constitutional characteristics. But why did the Hebrew mind become so vivid, so intense, so dynamic, while the Persian and the Hindoo became so dreamy, so sluggish and lethargic? Why is the religion of Moses so vivific in its spirit, and particularly in its influence upon the conscience, while the religions of Zoroaster and Boodh exert precisely the same influence upon the conscience of the Persian and the Hindoo, that poppy and mandragora do upon his body? It is because God subjected the Hebrew mind to this theistic, this guilt-eliciting education. From the very beginning, this knowledge of God's unity and personality, of God's emotions towards holiness and sin, was kept alive in the chosen race. The people of Israel were separated purposely, and with a carefulness that was exclusive, from the great masses of the Oriental world. Either by a direct intercourse, as in their exodus from Egypt, with that personal Jehovah who had chosen them in distinction from all other nations; or else by the inspiration of their legislators and prophets, the truth that God is a Sovereign and a Judge, "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and that will by no means clear the guilty," was made more and more distinct and vivid in the Hebrew intuition, while it grew dimmer. and dimmer, and finally died out of the rest of the Oriental populations. This education, this Biblical education of the Hebrews, was the source of that energy and vitality which so strikes us in their way of thinking, and modes of expression, and the absence of which is so noticeable in the literatures of Persia and India.

And here it is obvious to remark upon the importance of a close investigation of those parts of the Old and New Testaments which treat of the subject of atonement, as antithetic to that of sin and guilt. For this doctrine of expiation, in the Christian system, is

like a ganglion in the human frame; it is a knot of nerves; it is the oscillating centre where several primal and vital truths meet in unity. This single doctrine of sacrificial oblation is a vast involution. It implies the personality of God, with all its elements of power. It involves the absolute self-will and responsibility of the creature in the origin of sin. It implies the necessary, inexorable nature of justice. And if we analyze these again, we shall find them full of the "seeds of things;" full of the substance and staple of both ethics and evangelism. Those portions of the Bible, therefore, which treat of this central truth of Christianity, either directly or indirectly, should receive the most serious and studious investigation. The Mosaic system of sacrifices should be studied until its real meaning and intent is understood. The idea of guilt-and we employ the word in the Platonic sense-and the idea of expiation, as they stand out pure and simple, yet vivid and bright, in the Prophets and Psalms, and in their inspired commentary, the Epistle to the Hebrews, should be pondered until their intrinsic and necessary quality is apprehended. For there is danger lest the very ideas themselves should fade and disappear, in an age of the world, and under a dispensation, in which there is no daily sacrifice, and frequent bleeding victim, to remind men of their debt to eternal justice. The Christian religion, by furnishing the one great sacrifice to which all other sacrifices look and point, has of course done away with all those typical sacrifices which cannot themselves take away guilt, but can remind of it.* And now that the daily remembrancers of the ritual and ceremonial are gone, the human mind needs more than ever to ponder the teachings, and breathe in the spirit of the legal dispensation, in order to keep the conscience quick and active, and the moral sense healthy and sound, in respect to the two great fundamental ideas of guilt and retribution.

It has been an error more common since the days of Grotius, than it was in the time of the Protestant Reformation, that the doctrine of the atonement has been explained and illustrated too much by a reference to the attribute of benevolence and the interests of creation, and too little by a reference to the attribute of justice and the remorseful workings of conscience. There is hazard, it is conceived, upon this method, that the simple, uncomplex ideas of guilt and atonement, as they operate in the very moral being of the individual sinner, and as they have their ground in the very nature of God, should be lost sight of, and the whole transaction of reconciliation be transferred into a region with which he ought ultimately, indeed, to be familiar, but which, during the first exercises of an awakened soul, is too distant for a vivid apprehension and impression. Man must in the end, indeed, come to understand the "In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year."— Heb. x. 3.

bearings of the sacrifice of the Son of God, upon what Chalmers calls" the distant places of God's creation;" but he will be more likely to attain this understanding, if he first comes to apprehend its bearings upon his own personal guilt and remorse, and how the blood of the Lamb expiates crime within his own burning selfconsciousness. For guilt and expiation are philosophical correlates, genuine correspondencies, set over against each other, like hunger and food, like thirst and water. "My flesh," saith the Atoner, "is meat indeed; my blood is drink with emphasis." He who knows, with a vivid and vital self-consciousness, what guilt means, knows what atonement means as soon as presented; and he who does not experimentally apprehend the one, cannot apprehend the other. If, therefore, any man would see the significance and necessity of sacrificial expiation, let him first see the significance and reality of crime in his own personal character and direct relationships to God. The doctrine grasped and held here presents little difficulty. For the remorse now felt, necessitates and craves the expiation; and the expiation now welcomed, explains and extinguishes the remorse.

Now, it is the peculiarity of the Biblical representations of this whole subject, that it handles it in the very closest connection with the personal sense of sin; that is to say, in its relation to the conscience of man on the one side, and the moral indignation of God on the other. In the Scriptures, the atonement is a "propitiation;" and by betaking himself to it, and making it his own spontaneous mode of thinking and speaking upon this fundamental doctrine, the preacher will arm his mind with a preternatural power and energy. Look at the preaching of those who, like Luther and Chalmers, have been distinguished by an uncommon freedom and saliency in their manner of exhibiting the priestly office and work of Christ, and see how remarkably the Old Testament atonement vitalizes the conception and the phraseology. There is no circumlocution nor mechanical explanation. The remorse of man is addressed. The simple and terrible fact of guilt is presupposed, the consciousness of it elicited, and then the ample pacifying satisfaction of Christ is offered. The rationality of the atonement is thus seen in its inward necessity; and its inward necessity is seen in the very nature of crime; and the nature of crime is seen in the nature of God's justice, and felt in the workings of man's conscience. In this way, preaching becomes intensely personal, in the proper sense of the word. It is made up of personal elements, recognises personal relationships, breathes the living spirit of personality, and reaches the heart and conscience of personal and accountable creatures.

Is not, then, the word of God as a fire, in respect to this class of truths, and its mode of presenting them? As we pass in review the representations of God's personal emotions and man's culpability, which are made in those lively oracles from which the

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