Great Quotes

If God is, dominion must belong to him. If he were not Lord, he would not be God. But God is, and “He is Lord of All.” An absolutely supreme dominion is his by right, and in fact. But the sovereignty he has and exerts over his intelligent creatures is not solely that of a proprietor, but also that of a moral governor. As such he subjected man to a law which is holy, just, and good. This law may be taken as a transcript, so far as any law can be, of his own nature; and it may be confidently concluded that, while he will suffer none who are subject to this law to break a single precept ‘with impunity, he himself, in any of the acts of his sovereignty, will never violate its principles. In the outworking of his sovereignty, then, there will be nothing unholy, unjust, nor evil. If, therefore, nothing apart from God controls his sovereignty, the immutable excellencies of his own nature will ever secure its beneficial exercise. “Thou art good,” said the Psalmist, “and doest good.”

Seizing thus on this fundamental truth of God’s nature, we may grasp with unmistaken certainty the fixed relation of that truth to all God’s acts, and may hold fast our confidence against all the opposition of apparent contradictions. For the existence of apparent contradictions we do not deny. To do so would be fanaticism. No man can open his eyes without seeing such presentments. He cannot but see that, however much power has been exerted to preserve physical order in the universe, moral disorder abounds ; that if some of the angels have been upheld to keep their first estate, others of them were left miserably to fall; and that moral order has been overthrown in the person of the father of our race with fearfully calamitous con-consequences to all his posterity.

Losing sight of God’s sovereignty herein, men have come to deny his excellency, and the necessary result of assuming these false premises has been the adoption of the fool’s conclusion, “There is no God.” If, say they, God is good, he is not almighty; or if almighty, he is not good. Ignoring thus God’s sovereignty, and judging only from appearances, their reasoning to them is irrefutable. Their mistake lies in ignoring the lordship of God. Only as we acknowledge the sovereignty of God exerting almightiness under the direction of wisdom and holiness and justice and goodness, both as to way and end, can the mind find rest. Simple faith in God, in other words, is here the only anchor of the soul. This gives quiet.

Divine sovereignty is especially illustrated in the existent occasion for the atonement, in the admission of a substitute, in the provision of the Substitute, and in the appointment of the beneficiaries…

But divine sovereignty has more than admitted an atonement; the Sovereign has provided the Substitute. Milton, having introduced the Father as admitting a substitute for offending man, represents the Supreme as asking the assembled choir of heaven where such a one might be found, having a “charity so dear,” as to be-come a substitute, and who, being tiling, should be able to “pay the rigid satisfaction, death for death.”

“He asked, but all the heavenly choir stood mute, And silence was in heaven.”

To have admitted a substitute, without providing one, would have left the sinner in helpless ruin. But offended Majesty provided the Substitute. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” —” He spared not his own Son.’

It will appear from this that if the great business of reconciliation through the atonement of Christ be represented as a merely personal affair of sacrifice and propitiation between the Father and the Son on behalf of others, the representation will be false and misleading. In the atonement of Christ it is not to be considered that the Father is determined to have a personal revenge on sinners; that the Son, moved with pity towards them, is willing to interpose himself and to let the Father’s revenge be wreaked on him ; that the Father is pleased, therefore, to wound his innocent Son in their stead and to satisfy his vengeance and pacify his wrath; and that, his vengeance being satisfied through the shedding of innocent blood and his wrath relieved, he is willing to release the offenders from the pains of hell and to advance them to the pleasures of heaven. Such a representation may befit a pagan atonement, but by no means clear the guilty; but the object of the punishment is not to wreak a personal revenge and to appease a personal fury, and so to obtain such a personal consolation as a gratified revenge affords; but to vindicate holiness, righteousness, and goodness, in the justification of the ungodly.

God willed to lave mercy. This mercy is a natural element of his goodness; and the purpose to shew mercy is a sovereign outcome of his goodness. But in order to vindicate his justice and holiness as represented in his law, he, in showing mercy, admits and provides a Substitute who makes a proper atonement for those to whom mercy is shown.  Hence the admission of an atonement and the provision of the Substitute are at once the manifestation and the commendation of his love. The Judge, indeed, punished the Surety, and vindicated the Lawgiver in the atonement of Christ; but here everything is official. Of the personal God in the whole of this wondrous transaction, it should ever be proclaimed that, “Yea, he loved the people!”    Israel Atkinson


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