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Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) on the Death of Christ

July 16, 2008

Opening remarks:

The following file contains a list–not exhaustive–of various statements from Thomas Chalmers on the extent, even the nature, of the expiation of Christ. A few points should be noted before reading and before the reader makes a judgement on this matter.

1) For a corroborating source, see the posts here wherein it is argued that Chalmers was an Amyraldian (see here).1 Calling Chalmers an Amyraldian is itself an unhelpful descriptor as there is no evidence that Chalmers assented to the classic Amyraldian distinctives2. But be that as it may, this blog does posit certain assertions regarding Chalmers. My one concern regarding some of the quotations and references from Chalmers at this site is that I do think even Owen could have expressed the same wording and sentiments, and so perhaps they are not as conclusive in identifying Chalmer’s position on the extent of the atonement.

2) Regarding Chalmer’s use of unlimited redemption language, I am not sure the following citations conclusive, as there are possible ways to interpret these which do no entail unlimited redemption. They are published here for consideration.

3) Regarding Chalmer’s expiation language, here I think the case is far more conclusive. Chalmers expresses himself at this point in two basic ways. Firstly he will use the more traditional and technical phrase “sins of the world” which he will connect with “expiation,” “propitiation,” even “atonement.” Yet he will also use a simpler construction such as ‘atonement for the world,’ or ‘the world’s atonement.’ I have combined both these expression clusters under the same header as it clearly is using the latter as short-hand for the former. I should add, that these short-hand forms do indicate that Chalmers was not seeking to simply express the broadness of Scripture, i.e., its own terms. What is interesting in such assertions, is that this reduces Chalmers’ expression of nominalism, where terms like world and mankind have in name only the appearance of universalism. While this may be true for some of the earlier Puritans, there is no evidence that I can see that Chalmers is engaging in this sort of nomimalist “code.” Indeed, it is clear in some of the following that Chalmers wants to be very clear that universal terms denote an inclusion of all the particulars of the species to which they reference.

4) If a reader finds documentation from Chalmers where he expresses a clear limitation in the nature of the expiation and the related extent of its ‘sin-bearing’ (i.e.., whose sins did Christ bear, or for whose sins was he punished), I will reconsider my understanding of Chalmers and take him off the list of classic and moderate Calvinists.

5) As the reader engages the following quotations from Chalmers, it will be more than apparent that he, first and foremost, sought to ground his theology in the revelation of God to mankind, both general and special. Chalmers is not interested in starting from the speculative decretal perspective.

6) The quotation blocks are long in order to avoid accusations that I have taken him out of context. What is more, some of the following quotations are long simply because of the length of Chalmers’ run-on sentences. In one instance, however, I decided to truncate one  sentence. I have still yet to nail down some items of interest, which when found will be added. Further, the bibliographical sources are self-evident. Most of the original spelling has been retained, though some words have been modernized. I have endeavored to verify all my bibliographic citations. All underlining is mine, italics is Chalmers. Corrections regarding typos are welcome.

No actual universal redemption:

1) I would again revert to this topic with the view of making you clearly understand the distinction between one kind of universality and another the universality of redemption effect, and its universality in point of proposition. And again, there is a distinction in regard to the first of these–the universality in point of effect, which I beg you will keep in mind. Most of the Arminians agree with all the Calvinists in not allowing the universality in point of actual effect, but they do not agree with the Calvinists in affirming any want of such universality in point of necessary effect. There is an actual limitation, they admit, upon the universality, but no necessary limitation. There stands, they contend, nothing like a fatality in the way of its being universal. In short, they contend that there is no predestination, no antecedent decree upon the subject. They, generally speaking, admit that all historically, or in point of fact, will not be saved; and that, so far from there being an actual universality, the number really and indeed saved will fall greatly short of the whole family of mankind; but then they affirm, that what this number shall be is not a matter of predetermination, but a matter of contingency–that it is not determined beforehand by God, but depends on the course that shall be taken by the self-determining power of man, in the exercise of that liberty which, in the meta physical sense of the term, they most zealously assert for him. On this particular point the Arminians and the Calvinists are at issue; and there are certain ultra-Calvinists, who understand the limitation of the decree, or the limitation caused by the predestination of God, in such a way as not only to deny the universality of redemption, in the first general sense of the phrase, but to deny it in the second general sense also that is, they not only deny, in toto, the universality of the Christian redemption in point of effect, but they even deny it in point of proposition. In virtue of their notions on the subject of election, they not only believe in the absolute impossibility of the gospel salvation being ever realized by all, but they even feel restrained from proposing it to all. In laying the very first overtures of Christianity before the people, there is often mingled–I think most injudiciously and unwarrantably mingled a most perplexing reference on their part to the doctrine of election, and often a positive discouragement, amounting in some instances to positive prohibition on the great bulk of the people from entertaining the subject at all, saying, that for aught they know, they may have no part whatever in the matter. I must do my utmost to clear the whole matter of this disturbing and complicating influence; and meanwhile I satisfy myself with announcing, that I know nothing of more vital importance to the efficacy of your preaching, than your proceeding, as I believe you fully warranted by Scripture, on the free and boundless universality of the gospel salvation in point of proposition, and that you fall short of your commission as the heralds of God’s mercy to the children of men, if you ply riot, with the assurances and the honest assertions of His good will, one and all of the human family.

Before terminating this subject, I should like particularly to make you understand in what respect I agree with the statement of Dr. Whitby, and, in fact, with all that is ascribed in the text book to universal redemptionists, in the most important, that is, in the practical sense, of these affirmations, and how, consistently with this, I hold by the Calvinistic doctrine of an absolute predestination. I should hold it a most grievous effect of that doctrine on your conduct of the business of the pulpit, if you did not address all men, as the subjects of the proposed pardon and justification–if you did not assure them of a reconciliation on their turning to God, and having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ–if you did not, for this purpose, urge them so to turn, and expound to them, affectionately as well as fully, the truth as it is in Jesus–if you did not tell them, just as these universal redemptionists do, that their salvation depends on their faith. The remedy, in fact, is much more extensive in proposition than it is in effect. It may be held out, and honestly held out, in proposition, to all, while at the same time, and effectively, it is limited to those who repent and believe, while most assuredly all who do so repent and believe shall be saved. And it is also quite true, that though the offer of redemption were rejected by all, there is a sense in which that redemption might still be called universal. The offer could not have been given without it; and now that Christ hath died, the offer might be made to one and all of the species. The qualification which I want you to lay on certain passages in the text-book, where the tenets and views of the universal redemptionists are explained, is not so to understand it as if there were not Calvinists who did not subscribe, and that most cordially, to much that is there ascribed to them, and I fear so ascribed to them as to give you the impression that the Calvinists stand opposed to the whole of it. You will act the part of unfaithful representatives of the King of heaven; you will have put a sore misrepresentation on the terms of that embassy wherewith He has intrusted you, if you do not make open proclamation of the gospel as a universal offer, and do not make use of this moving argument with one and all of your hearers–that in relation not to some one, but to every one, God is waiting to be gracious. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:432-435.

World’s redemption (general statements):

1) There are even other securities for this than those on which I have insisted–other aspects in which the sure and well-ordered covenant may be regarded other evolutions of its solidity and strength, that might well cause the believer to rejoice in it as in a treasure the whole value of which is inestimable, and to delight himself greatly in the abundance of peace and of privilege that with Christ are invariably made over to him. For will God stamp dishonour on this His own great enterprise of the world’s redemption? Will He leave unfinished that which He hath so laboriously begun? Will He hold forth the economy of grace as an impotent abortion to the scorn of His enemies; and more especially of him, against whom the Captain of our salvation has gone forth on a warfare, to root up his empire over the hearts of men and to destroy it? Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:161.

2) Upon the evidence of testimony–upon the credit they give to the authors of the books they have read, and the belief they put in the record of their observations. Now, at this point I make my stand. It is wonderful that God should be so interested in the redemption of a single world, as to send forth His well-beloved Son upon the errand; and He to accomplish it, should, mighty to save, put forth all His strength, and travail in the greatness of it. Thomas Chalmers, “The Extent of Divine Condescension,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:53.

3) Oh! with what veneration, and gratitude, and wonder, should he look on the descent of Him into this lower world, who made all these things, and without whom was not anything made that was made. What a grandeur does it throw over every step in the redemption of a fallen world, to think of its being done by Him who unrobed Him of the glories of so wide a monarchy, and came to this humblest of its provinces, in the disguise of a servant, and took upon Him the form of our degraded species, and let Himself down to sorrows and to sufferings and to death for us! In this love of an expiring Saviour to those for whom in agony He poured out His soul, there is a height, and a depth, and a length, and a breadth, more than I can comprehend; and let me never from this moment neglect so great a salvation, or lose my hold of an atonement, made sure by Him who cried that it was finished, and brought in an everlasting righteous ness. It was not the visit of an empty parade that He made to us. Thomas Chalmers, “The Extent of Divine Condescension,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:54.

4) This objection about the narrowness of the theatre, carries along with it all the grossness of materialism. To the eye of spiritual and intelligent beings, it is nothing. In their view, the redemption of a sinful world derives its chief interest from the display it gives of the mind and purposes of the Deity–and, should that world be but a single speck in the immensity of the works of God, the only way in which this affects their estimate of Him is to magnify His loving-kindnesswho, rather than lose one solitary world of the myriads He has formed, would lavish all the riches of His beneficence and of His wisdom on the recovery of its guilty population.

Now, though it must be admitted that the Bible does not speak clearly or decisively as to the proper effect of redemption being extended to other worlds, it speaks most clearly and most decisively about the knowledge of it being disseminated amongst other orders of created intelligence than our own. But if the contemplation of God be their supreme enjoyment, then the very circumstance of our redemption being known to them, may invest it, even though it be but the redemption of one solitary world, with an importance as wide as the universe itself. It may spread amongst the hosts of immensity a new illustration of the character of Him who is all their praise ; and in looking towards whom every energy within them is moved to the exercise of a deep and delighted admiration. Thomas Chalmers, “Knowledge of Man’s Moral History in Distant Places of Creation,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:65-66.

5) We shall not affect a wisdom above that which is written, by fancying such details of this warfare as the Bible has not laid before us. But surely it is no more than being wise up to that which is written, to assert, that in achieving the redemption of our world, a warfare had to be accomplished; that upon this subject there was, among the higher provinces of creation, the keen and the animated conflict of opposing interests; that the result of it involved something grander and more affecting than even the fate of this world’s population; that it decided a question of rivalship between the righteous and everlasting Monarch of universal being, and the prince of a great and widely-extended rebellion, of which we neither know how vast is the magnitude, nor how important and diversified are the bearings: and thus do we gather, from this consideration, another distinct argument, helping us to explain why, on the salvation of our solitary species, so much attention appears to have been concentrated, and so much energy appears to have been expended. Thomas Chalmers, “Contest for the Ascendency of Man Among the Higher Intelligences,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:95-96.

6) Ere we can admit this, we must forget the whole economy of our blessed gospel. We must forget the legislations and the cares of the upper sanctuary in behalf of our fallen species. We must forget that the redemption of our world is suspended on an act of jurisprudence which angels desire to look into, and for effectuating which, the earth we tread upon was honoured by the footsteps not of angel or of archangel, but of God manifest in the flesh. Thomas Chalmers, “On Cruelty to Animals,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:499.

7) When they read of Christ having taken upon Himself the burden of our condemnation, of His dying an expiation for our offences, of His having become sin for us though He knew no sin, and all that a God of everlasting and unchangeable justice might at the same time be a Saviour–there is in all this so much to pacify the fears of guilt even in the full view of Heaven’s august and inviolable sacredness, that the spectacle of the Cross, and the wondrous harmony which it exhibits of the truth and the mercy that meet together there, is not only fitted to draw all men towards it, but to convince them of its being indeed the power of God and the wisdom of God for the redemption of a world that had wandered away from Him–a method devised in love by Himself for the recovery of His strayed children. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:440.

Sins of the faithful:

1) But it cannot surely be viewed in this light, in reference to those of whom the Bible says that unto them there is no condemnation–in reference to those who savingly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so have the benefit of that expiation which He hath rendered, and of that everlasting righteousness which He hath brought in. It cannot for a moment be thought that any suffering of theirs is at all requisite to complete that great satisfaction which was made on Calvary for the sins of the faithful. It is said of Him, who by one offering hath perfected the work of our reconciliation and made an end of iniquity, that He trode the winepress alone, and that of the people there was none with Him. To Him belongs the whole glory of our atonement. He bore it all, for He looked and there was none to help, He wondered that there was none to uphold ; and then did His own arm bring salvation. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:3.

Sins of the wicked:

1) The burden of all this was made to fall upon the head of our blessed Saviour, who indeed took it upon Himself; and, by magnifying the law, took off indignity from the Lawgiver. Truly He pleased not Himself, when, under the heavy load of the hour and the power of darkness, His soul became exceeding sorrowful, and He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Surely if Christ thus bore the sins of the wicked, we might well bear the infirmities of the weak. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:515.

Sins of a man:

1) II. We now proceed, in the second place, to the object of the gospel message–men–a message of good-will to men. We think that much is to be gathered, from the general and unrestricted way in which this object is stated. The announcement which was heard from the canopy of heaven, was not good-will to certain men to the exclusion of others. It is not an offer made to some, and kept back from the rest of the species. It is generally to man. The generality of the term tells us that no one individual needs to look unto himself, as shut out from the good-will of his Father in heaven. Let him be who he may we cheer him on to confidence in God’s good-will to him; and we do so purely and singly in virtue of his being a man. We see no exception in the text; and we make no exception from the pulpit. We find a general assurance in the word of God; and we cast it abroad among you, without reserve and without limitation. Where it is to light, and who the individual whose bosom it is to enter as the harbinger of peace we know not–but sure we are that it can never light wrong; and that wherever faith in God is formed, it is followed by the fulfilment of all His promises. We know well the scruples of the disconsolate; and with what success a perverse melancholy can devise and multiply its arguments for despair. But we will admit of none of them. We look at our text, and find that it recognizes no outcast. By one comprehensive sweep it takes in the whole race of man; and empowers the messenger of God, to ply with the assurances of His good-will, all the individuals of all its families. We see that there is no straitening with God–that favour and forgiveness are ready to come down abundantly from Him upon every son and daughter of the species–that His mercy rejoices over all–and that in pouring it forth over the wide extent of a sinful creation, the unbelief of man is the only obstacle which it has to struggle with. Tell us not, in the obstinacy of your distrust, that you are such a sinner–all your sins, many and aggravated as they are, are the sins of a man. Tell us not of the malignity of your disease–it is the disease of a man. Tell us not of your being so grievous an offender that you are the very chief of them. Still you are a man. Christ knew what was in man ; and He knew all the varieties of case and of character which belong to Him. And still there must be something in His gospel to meet all and to make up for all–for He impairs not b one single exception, the universality of the gospel message, which is goo&-will to man. We again lift in your hearing the widely sounding call. Look unto Him all ye ends of the earth and be saved. If the call be not listened to, it is not for want of kindness and freeness and honesty in the call-it is for want of confidence in the called. There is no straitening with God. It is all with yourselves. It lies in the cold and dark and narrow suspicions which stifle and fill up your own bosoms. The offer of God’s good-will is through Christ Jesus, unto all and upon all them that believe. We want to lodge this offer in your hearts, and you will not let us. We want to woo you into confidence, but you remain sullen and inflexible. We want to whisper peace to your souls; but you refuse the voice of tho charmer, let him charm ever so wisely. We stand here as the ambassador of a beseeching God, and we are charged with His freest and kindest invitations to one and to all of you. We do not exceed our commission by a single inch, when we tell of God’s good-will to you, and that nothing is awanting but your good-will towards God, that you may obtain peace and reconciliation and joy. All who will may come and drink of the waters of life freely. God fastens a mark of exclusion upon none of you. He bids us preach the gospel to every creature; and every creature who believes will be saved. He has no pleasure in any of your deaths. Believe and ye shall be saved. Draw near unto God and He will draw near unto you. Turn ye, turn ye, why will you die? We speak in the very language of God, though we fall infinitely short of such a tone and of such a tenderness as He has over you. If you think otherwise of God, you do Him an injustice. You look at Him with the jaundiced eye of unbelief. You array Him in a darker shroud than belongs to Him. You mantle one of the attributes of the Divinity, from the view of your own mind. You withdraw your faith from His own declaration of His own name, as the Lord God merciful and gracious. Instead of yielding the homage of your confidence and your affection to the true God, you superstitiously tremble before a god of your own fancy. You put all the earnest and repeated assurances of God’s actual revelation away from you; and nourish in your hearts such a cold and distant and timid apprehension of the Deity, as, if persisted in, will land you in an inheritance among the unbelieving and the fearful. Thomas Chalmers, “On the Universality of the Gospel Offer,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 237-238.

Sins of men (sample):

1) This dispensation of mercy is compassed about with all the securities of a covenant. Never was transaction between one Being and another more richly guaranteed. The very designation of a promise, as applied to the offered blessings of the gospel, carries the obligation of a contract along with it. It invests man, to whom the promise is made, with a claim; and it stakes the truth and justice of the promiser to the fulfilment of it. But when to this we add the firm securities which have been established by the Mediator of the covenant–when we look to Him as having borne all the debts of sin, and satisfied all the demands of righteousness–when we recollect not merely that mercy had been promised, but that a ransom has been found; that the punishment which our Saviour did sustain, when He once offered Himself for the sins of men, cannot, even in justice, be executed over again ; that the reward which He won, not for Himself but for others, cannot even in justice be withheld from them ; then never, may we safely conclude, never was title-deed to any inheritance so impregnably valid, as that title-deed which believers do possess to an inheritance of glory; and the framing of which constitutes the main skilfulness which so often in the New Testament is ascribed to the economy of the gospel. Thomas Chalmers, “The State of the Unconverted,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:182.

Sins of the world:

Sermons and Discourses

1) And it was not till the light of Scripture, beaming with its own direct radiance, and powerfully reflected from the pages of Augustine, shone up–on his inquiry–not till he came within view of that great sacrifice which was made once for the sins of the world–not till the imaginary merit of human actions was all swept away, and there was substituted in its place the everlasting righteousness which Christ hath brought in–not till he saw the free and welcome recourse which one and all have upon this righteousness by faith; and how instead of springing from the toilsome but polluted obedience of man upon earth, it comes graciously down in a descending ministration from heaven, upon those who believe,–Not till then, could he behold the reparation that was commensurate with the demand and the dignity’ of God’s violated law. Thomas Chalmers, “On the Respect Due to Antiquity,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 1:248.

2) There are certain generic words attached at times to the overtures of the gospel, which have the same twofold power of spreading abroad these overtures generally among all, yet of pointing them singly at each of the human family. The “world,” for example, is a word of this import; and Jesus Christ is declared to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. After this, man, though an inhabitant of the world, and, as such, fairly within the scope of this communication, may continue to forbid himself, but most assuredly God has not forbidden him. The term “sinner” is another example, as being comprehensive of a genus, whereof each individual may appropriate the benefits that are said in Scripture to be intended for the whole. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came info the world to save sinners.” Still it is possible, as before, that many a sinner may not hold this saying to be worthy, or, at least, may not make at the subject of his acceptation. His demand perhaps is, that, ere he can have a warrantable confidence in this saying for himself, he must be specially, and by name, included in it; whereas the truth is, that to warrant his distrust, his want of confidence after such a saying, he should be specially, and by name, excluded from it. After an utterance like this, instead of needing, as a sufficient reason of dependence, to be made the subject of a particular invitation, he would really need, as a sufficient reason of despondency, to be made the subject of a particular exception. Is not the characteristic term, “sinner,” sufficiently descriptive of him? as much so, indeed, as if he had been named and surnamed in Scripture. Does it not mark him as an object for all those announcements which bear on sinners, as such, or sinners generally? The truth is, if we but understood the terms of this great act of amnesty, and made the legitimate application of them, we should perceive that, to whomsoever the word of salvation has come, to him the offer of salivation has been made–that he is really as welcome to all the blessings of the New Testament, as if he had been the only creature in the universe who stood in need of them; as if he had been the only sinner of all the myriads of beings whom God hath formed; and as if to reclaim him, and to prevent the moral harmony of creation from being stained or interrupted by even so much aa one solitary exception, for him alone the costly apparatus of redemption had been reared, and Christ had died, that God might be to him individually both a just God and a Saviour. Thomas Chalmers, “The Effect of Man’s Wrath in the Agitation of Religious Controversies,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 1:264.

Select Works

3) The promise given to Adam brightened into a more cheering and intelligible hope, when renewed to Abraham in the shape of an assurance that through one of his descendants all the families of the earth were to be blessed; and to Jacob, that Shiloh was to be born, and that to Him the gathering of the people should be; and to Moses, that a great Prophet was to arise like unto himself; and to David, that one of his house was to sit upon his throne for ever; and to Isaiah, that one was to appear who should be a light unto the Gentiles, and the salvation of all the ends of the earth ; and to Daniel, that the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for Himself, and that through Him reconciliation was to be made for iniquity, and an everlasting righteousness was to be brought in; and to John the Baptist, that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand, and the Prince of that kingdom was immediately to follow in the train of his own ministrations; and to the apostles in the days of our Saviour upon earth, that He with whom they companied was soon to be lifted up for the healing of the nations, and that all who looked to Him should live; and, finally, to the apostles after the day of Pentecost, when–fraught with the full and explicit tidings of a world’s atonement and a world s regeneration they went forth with the doctrine of Christianity in its entire copiousness, and have transmitted it to future ages in a book of which it has been said, that no man shall add thereto, and that no man shall take away from it. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:4-5.

4) Let the same consideration uphold such that upheld the mind of the apostle. All that you possibly can do for the purpose of substantiating a claim upon Heaven is but the weakness of man idly straining after a salvation which he will miss. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and however simple the expedient, the power and the promise of God are on the side of your obtaining salvation which will certainly be accomplished. The Syrian was affronted when told to dip himself in Jordan for the cure of his leprosy; and to many in like manner is it a subject of offence when told to wash out their sins in the blood of the atonement, calling on the name of the Lord. But the same power which gave efficacy to the one expedient gives efficacy to the other; and in such a way, too, as to invest that method of salvation which looks meanness and foolishness to the natural eye with the solemn, venerable, imposing character of God s asserted majesty, of God’s proclaimed and vindicated righteousness.

And here let us remark the whole import of the term salvation. The power of God in the achievement of it was put forth in something more than in bowing down the Divinity upon our world, and there causing it to sustain the burden of the world’s atonement–in something more than the conflicts of the garden or the agonies of the cross–in something more than the resurrection of the crucified Saviour from His tomb–in something more than the consequent expunging of every believer s name from the book of condemnation, and the inscribing of it in the book of life. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:38-39.

5) This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Set forth before the eyes. The term propitiation is this same with what in the Old Testament is translated mercy-seat. On the great day of atonement it was sprinkled with the blood of an appointed sacrifice. “And then I will meet thee,” says God to Moses, “and will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat.” It rather, however, signifies the offering itself than the place in which the blood of the offering was sprinkled. You know what it is to make the Being whom you have offended propitious. The propitiation is the offering by which propitiousness is obtained. Jesus Christ, in dying, rendered a propitiation for the sins of the world; and you in particular have the benefit of this propitiation: He be comes your propitiation upon your having faith in His blood. There is a general faith which respects the whole testimony of God, that, if true and not counterfeit, will also respect all the particulars of that testimony. Still, however, there is a danger in connecting our reconciliation with this general faith; for there may be a delusive vagueness you will observe in the matter, and the attention may fail to be exercised on that distinct truth with which reconciliation has most expressly and immediately to do. Let it be well remarked, then, that in this verse propitiation is rand to be through faith in His blood. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:113.

6) The point insisted on by the apostle here is that Christ died for us when we were yet enemies in our heart toward Him. But it should also be kept in mind that His was no ordinary death, that they were not the pangs of a common dissolution which extorted such agonies of fear and such cries of bitter suffering, and drew out on the person of our Redeemer both in the garden and upon the cross such mysterious symptoms of distress too exquisite for human imagination, of an endurance far deeper than we have any conception of. It is evident from the whole history of the hour and the power of darkness, that though He had the whole strength of the Divinity to uphold Him there was a struggle to be made, and a hostility to be baffled, and an awful enterprise of toil and of strenuousness to be gone through, under the severity of which our Saviour had well-nigh given way–that ere the victory was His, He had to travail in His strength, and to put forth all the greatness of it; and warring with principalities and powers, had, in the words of Isaiah, to tread in the wine-press alone, and trample on His enemies with fury, and to stain His raiment, and to wield the arm of His supernatural might, ere He brought down to the earth the strength that was opposed to Him. It should be recollected that the death of Christ was not in semblance merely, but, in real and substantial amount, an atonement for the sins of the world that He tasted death not as an individual, but tasted it for every man–that on Him was laid the accumulated weight of all that wrath which an eternity would not have expended on the millions for whom He died–that there was the actual transference of God s avenging hand from the heads of the countless guilty He has redeemed to the head of this one innocent sufferer–and that from the moment He was led as a lamb to the slaughter to the moment of His crying “It is finished,” and when He gave up the ghost, there was discharged upon the head of this great Sacrifice all the vials of a wrath which the misery everlasting and that of a multitude which no man could number, could not have exhausted; there were condensed upon His soul all the agonies which but for Him the vast family of the redeemed would have borne. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:200-201.

7) This argument obtains great additional force when we look to the state of matters in heaven at the time that we upon earth were enemies, and compare it with the state of matters in heaven now that we are actually reconciled, or are beginning to entertain the offers of reconciliation. Before the work of our redemption Jesus Christ was in primeval glory, and though a place of mystery to us, it was a place of secure and ineffable enjoyment–insomuch that the fondest prayer He could utter in the depths of His humiliation was, to be taken back again to the Ancient of days, and there to be restored to the glory which He had with Him before the world was. It was from the heights of celestial security and blessedness that He looked with an eye of pity on our sinful habitation–it was from a scene where beings of a holy nature surrounded Him, and the full homage of the Divinity was rendered to Him, and in the ecstasies of His fellowship with God the Father all was peace and purity and excellence it was from this that He took His voluntary departure, and went out on His errand to seek and to save us. And it was not the parade of an unreal suffering that He had to encounter, but a deep and a dreadful endurance–it was not a triumphant promenade through this lower world, made easy over all its obstacles by the energies of His Godhead, but a conflict of toil and of strenuousness–it was not an egress from heaven on a journey brightened through all its stages by the hope of a smooth and gentle return, but it was such an exile from heaven as made ills ascent and His re-admittance there the fruit of a hard-won victory. We have nothing but the facts of revelation to guide or to inform us, and yet from these we most assuredly gather that the Saviour, in stepping down from the elevation of His past eternity, incurred a substantial degradation–that when He wrapped Himself in the humanity of our nature He put on the whole of its infirmities and its sorrows–that for the joy which He renounced He became acquainted with grief, and a grief too commensurate to the whole burden of our world’s atonement–that the hidings of His Father’s countenance were terrifying to His soul; and when the offended justice of the Godhead was laid upon His person, it required the whole strength of the God head to sustain it. What mean the agonies of the garden? What mean the bitter cries and complainings of abandonment upon the cross? What meaneth the prayer that the cup might pass away from Him; and the struggle of a lofty resolution with the agonies of a mighty and unknown distress; and the evident symptoms of a great and toilsome achievement through out the whole progress of this undertaking; and angels looking down from their eminences, as on a field of contest, where a great Captain had to put forth the travailing of His strength, and to spoil principalities and powers, and to make a show of them openly? Was there nothing in all this, do you think, but the mockery of a humiliation that was never felt–the mockery of a pain that was never suffered–the mockery of a battle that was never fought? Yes, be assured that there was on that day a real vindication of God s insulted majesty. On that day there was the real transference of an avenging hand from the heads of the guilty to the head of the innocent. On that day one man died for the people, and there was an actual laying on of the iniquities of us all. It was a war of strength and of suffering in highest possible aggravation, because the war of elements which were infinite. The wrath which millions should have borne was all of it discharged. Nor do we estimate aright what we owe of love and obligation to the Saviour, till we believe that the whole of that furywhich if poured out upon the world would have served its guilty generations through eternitythat all of it was poured into the cup of expiation. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:212-214.

8) But this is just because Christ has in the greatness of His love for us traveled through the depths of all this endurance–just because in the agonies of the garden and the sufferings of the cross were concentrated the torments of millions through eternity–just because, in that mysterious passion which for us He underwent, He with tears and cries and anguish unutterable forced the way of reconciliation–and we who are dead with Christ partake in all the triumphs of this sore purchase, but not in the pains of it, and have now our feet established on a quiet landing-place. And the sanctifying influence to which we now advert, and which no real believer can withstand, is gratitude to Him who hath wrought out for us so mighty a deliverance. It is the respondency of love from our hearts to that love which burnt so unquenchably in His, and bore Him up under the burden of a world’s atonement. It is the rightful sentiment, that now we are not our own, but the ransomed and redeemed property of another. This touches, and touches irresistibly, upon him who rightly appreciates all the horrors of that ever lasting captivity from which we have been brought, and all the expense of that dreadful equivalent which Christ had to render–and he thus judges, that as Christ died for all, then were all dead ; and He died that those who live might live no longer to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:329-330.

9) Why, my brethren, it is nowhere said in the Bible that Christ so died for me in particular, as that by His simple dying the benefits of His atonement are mine in possession. But it is everywhere said in the Bible, that He so died for me in particular, as that by His simple dying the benefits of His atonement are mine in offer. They are mine if I will. Such terms as whosoever and all and any and or, every one, bring the gospel redemption specifically to my door; and there it stands for acceptance as mine in offer, and ready to become mine in possession on my giving credit to the word of the testimony. The terms of the gospel message are so constructed that I have just as good a warrant for reckoning myself dead unto sin, as if, instead of the announcement that God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation for the sins of the world through faith in His blood, I had been the only sinner in the world; or I had been singled out by name and by surname, and it was stated that God had set forth Christ a propitiation for the sins of me individually, through faith in His blood. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:338-339.

10) You will observe here, that the first step was to make ample reparation for the injuries sustained by the law; and so by satisfying its rights, making a full vindication of its righteousness. Ere the sinner could be operated upon so as to be transformed, the law which he had broken, it would appear, behooved to have compensation for the outrage done to it. There was a need be that the threatened penalty should not be arrested, but have its course–that it should break forth into the open and manifest discharge which might announce to the world both the evil of sin and the truth and justice of that God who had uttered His proclamations against it: And there seems to be a further, though perhaps to us an inscrutable propriety, in the chastisement of our peace having been borne by one who bore our nature–in the Son having been sent under no other likeness than the likeness of sinful flesh in humanity having had to suffer the vengeance which humanity incurred. And though it required the strength of the Godhead to bear the burden of our world’s atonement–yet seemeth there to have been, in order to the effect of this great mystery, some deep necessity that we cannot fully penetrate, why it should be laid on God manifest in the flesh, and who took not upon Him the nature of angels, but the nature of the seed of Abraham.

And so the incarnate God suffered for our world. For this purpose did He become flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. There were laid upon Him the iniquities of us all; and from the intelligible symptoms of a sore and cruel agony which even the divine energies of His nature did not overbear, may we conclude that the ransom has been fully paid–and so the worth and authority of the law have been fully magnified. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:496.

11) The hope of the gospel is not a floating and vague and aerial speculation, which is merely addressed to the contemplative faculties, and over which a man may luxuriate in a sort of indolent elysium of the fancy; it is a hope that turns immediately to a practical account, and if real will urge forward, and that immediately, in a practical direction. The hope of unspotted holiness in heaven leads to the toils and the trials and the purifications of holiness upon earth. This is the life on which a man enters, and that in good earnest and in a real spirit of business, on the moment that his mind is taken possession of by a true faith in the gospel. It is when we know the truth that the truth makes us free. It is when we look to the fulness of that propitiation which was made for the sins of the world, and feel how under its blessed operation all sense of guilt and of reckoning is made to disappear from the conscience–it is then that we are loosed from the bond of despair, and can see that there is a hope in the new obedience of the gospel. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:63.

12) In the one sense all who are here present may be made to pass among the called simply by sounding forth among you the offers and the invitations of grace–simply by bidding, as we are fully warranted to do, each and all to put his confidence in the blood of Christ, and so have his sins washed away simply by coming forth with the assurance, which we cast fearlessly abroad in the hearing of the people, that there is no man, be his guilt what it may, whom God will not welcome into peace with Him, would he only draw nigh in the name of that great propitiation which has been rendered for the sins of the world. In this sense every one of you is called. But it must be clear to your own experience, that there is the widest possible difference between one class and another as to their reception of this call–that on some it falls in downright blunt-ness, and moves them not out of the deep unconcern and lethargy of nature–whilst others recognise it as a voice from heaven, aud are awakened thereby to a sense of reconciliation, and feel a charm and a preciousness in the doctrine of that Cross, whereon the enmity between God and a sinful world was done away; and through the faith which they are enabled to put in the word of this testimony, are translated into a felt peace and friendship with that God who turns away His displeasure from them on the moment that they turn away their distrust from Him. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:98-99.

13) In this verse the apostle makes a special application of what he had said immediately before, to himself and his disciples. ‘What shall we say to these things?’ What inference shall we draw for ourselves from this train of reasoning? He takes encouragement from it, you will observe. It is both to him and to his followers a cheering contemplation, which it only could have been on the presumption that they had part and interest in that election of which he had spoken already, and to which he afterwards recurs in the course of his argument. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ is a consideration that stands obviously allied in the mind of the apostle with the question of–Who shall lay anything to the charge of God s elect? He must have believed then in his own election, and that of the converts whom he addresses; or, if he did not know it as a certainty, he at least grasps at it as he would at a strong and pretty confident probability. Now, how is it that any man arrives at this conclusion? And while all have a warrant to rejoice in that offer of salvation which in fact is universalwhile any of our world may look unto Him who is set forth as a propitiation for the world’s sins and be lightened thereby–while each and every of our species may respond unto the gift of eternal life that is held out for the acceptance of as many as will; and may, without let or hindrance, draw nigh and touch that sceptre of forgiveness which now hath been made to stand forth in the sight of the whole human family–while thus it is, that all without exception are invited to take comfort in that redeeming love which prompted God to send His Son into the world, that whosoever receiveth Him might along with Him receive peace and pardon and reconciliation–Whence comes this peculiarity in the case of Paul and of his correspondents, that they here take comfort not in the redeeming but in the electing love–that they indulge in strains of gratitude not because of the part they have in that book of revelation which circulates at large among mankind and is addressed unto all, but because of the part they have in that book of life where the names of the blessed have been enrolled from before the foundation of the world–not because they have been spoken to in that language of welcome, which under the economy of the gospel hath gone forth among the sinners of all degrees and of every denomination; and because they have been singled out as the objects of a favoured and friendly destination, that was coeval with the first purpose of the Eternal Mind, and reaches from everlasting to everlasting? Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:125-126.

14) With this view of the Godhead, and which we hold to be the scriptural one, let us look unto that great transaction on which all the hopes of our sinful world are suspended. The Father sent His Son for our sake to the humiliation and the agony of a painful sacrifice. There is evident stress laid in the Bible on Jesus Christ being His only Son, and His only beloved Son. This is conceived to enhance the surrender, to aggravate the cost as it were of having given up unto the death so near and so dear a relative. In that memorable verse where it is represented that God so loved the world as to send His only begotten Son into it, I bid you mark well the emphasis that lies in the so. There was a difference, in respect of painful surrender, between His giving up another more distantly as it were connected with Him, and His giving up one who stood to Him in such close and affecting relationship. The kin that He hath to Christ is the measure of the love that He manifested to the world in giving up Christ as the propitiation for the world’s sins. What is this to say, but that in this great and solemn mystery the Parent was put to the trial of His firmness that, in the act of doing so, there were a soreness and a suffering and a struggle in the bosom of the Divinity that a something was felt like that which an earthly father feels when he devotes the best and the dearest of his family to some high object of patriotism. God in sparing Him not, but in giving Him up unto the death for us all, sustained a conflict between pity for His child, and love to that world for whom He bowed down His head unto the sacrifice. In pouring out the vials of His wrath on the head of His only beloved Son in awaking the sword of offended justice against His fellow in laying upon Him the whole burden of that propitiation by which the law could be magnified and its transgressors could be saved in holding forth on the cross of Christ this blended demon stration of His love and His holiness, and thus enduring the spectacle of His tears and of His agonies and cries, till the full atonement was rendered, and not till it was finished did the meek and gentle sufferer give up the ghost: At that time when angels, looking down from the high battlements of heaven, would have flown to rescue the Son of God from the hands of persecutors think you that God Himself was the only unconcerned and unfeeling spectator ; or that, in consenting to these cruel sufferings of His Son for the world, He did not make of His love to that world its strongest and most substantial testimony?

It blunts the gratitude of men when they think lightly of the sacrifice which God had to make when He gave up His Son unto the death; and, akin to this pernicious imagination, our gratitude is further deadened and made dull when we think lightly of the death itself. This death was an equivalent for the punishment of guilty millions. In the account which is given of it, we behold all the symptoms of a deep and a dreadful endurance–of an agony which was shrunk from even by the Son of God, though He had all the strength of the Divinity to up hold Him–of a conflict and a terror and a pain under which omnipotence itself had well-nigh given way; and which, while it proved that the strength of the sufferer was infinite, proved that the sin for which He suffered in its guilt and in its evil was infinite also. Christ made not a seeming but a substantial atonement for the sins of the world. There was something more than an ordinary martyrdom. There was an actual laying on of the iniquities of us all; and however little we are fitted for diving into the mysteries of the divine jurisprudence–however obscurely we know of all that was felt by the Son of God when the dreadful hour and power of darkness were upon Him yet, we may be well assured, that it was no mockery–that, some thing more than the mere representation of a sacrifice, it was most truly and essentially a sacrifice itself–a full satisfaction rendered for the outrage that had been done upon the Lawgiver–His whole authority vindicated, the entire burden of His wrath discharged. authority vindicated, the entire burden of His wrath discharged. This is enough for all the moral purposes that are to be gained by our faith in Christ s propitiation. It is enough that we know of the travail of His soul. It is enough that He exchanged places with the world He died for; and that what to us would have been the wretchedness of eternity was all concentred upon Him, and by Him was fully borne. The suretiship was an equivalent for the debt, and the ransom laid down was an adequate price for the redemption achieved by it. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:132.

15)

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

“FOR us all.” The apostle may perhaps be confining his regards in this clause to himself and to his converts, to those of whom he had this evidence that they were the elect of God–even that the gospel had come to them with power and with the Holy Ghost and with much assurance. But, notwithstanding this we have the authority of other passages for the comfortable truth that Christ tasted death for every man–and so every man who hears of the expiation rendered by this death hath a warrant to rejoice therein; and that He is set forth a propitiation tor the sins of the world–and so it is competent for every one the world to look unto this propitiation and be at peace; and that He gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time and so might each of you who hears this testimony embrace to for himself, and feel the whole charm of his deliverance from guilt and from all its consequences. Christ did not so die for all as that all do actually receive the gift of salvation; but He so died for all, as that all to whom He is preached have the real and honest offer of salvation. He is not yours in possession till you have laid hold of Him by faith. But He is yours in offer He is as much yours as anything of which you can say I have it for the taking. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:134.

16) Now, to rectify this impression and restore you to a juster sense of that great Being with whom you have to do, I would have you to gather from Scripture the part He has taken in the whole recovery of our fallen world. The pity of God has in fact been working upon our side from the very outset of the human apostasy; and you do Him wrong–you bear in your heart the hardest and most injurious thoughts of Him, if you conceive of Him otherwise than as one bereaved of His family, and bent on the object of calling them back again. It is true that, for what in reference to the government of His moral and intelligent creation may significantly enough be called reasons of State–it is true that, to uphold the dignity of His throne–it is true that, to vindicate the attributes of His nature, and to save the universe which He had thrown around Him from the spectacle of a dishonoured law and a degraded Sovereign,–there behooved, ere sin could be passed by, there behoved to be a sacrifice. But with whom did this way of reconciliation originate? With God Himself who found out the ransomwith Him who so loved the world as to send His only begotten Son into it. At whose expense was the sacrifice made? Had the Father, think you, to bear none of it, when He spared not the Son of His love, but delivered Him up unto the death for us all? Was there no struggle, do you imagine, in the bosom of the Divinity, when He thus surrendered the object of His dearest affection, and laid upon Him the full weight of the world’s atonement? In the sufferings of Christ will you overlook the palpable expression of regard for our alienated species manifested by Him who consented to these sufferings?–and after looking to this transaction in all its relations and its bearings, will you refuse to allow that, while judgment is the strange though needful work of the Almighty, mercy after all is His darling attribute; and that to strike out an open conveyance by which it may be poured exuberantly over the face of the whole earth was indeed a grand design in that economy of redemption, which Himself did frame and which Himself hath instituted. All along He has taken a direct and an interested part in the object of our world’s restoration. He did not wait in passive and unmoved indifference till another should interfere; or cherish the stern purpose of revenge within His bosom till another should step forward and satiate the wrath that else was unappeasable. The truth of Heaven, we admit, and the stable interest of Heaven’s high monarchy, did require an expiation; but it was the love of God Himself that prompted the undertaking–it was in love that He prosecuted it through all its obstacles and its hard necessities–it was in earnest busy and persevering love that He carried forward the enterprise from one step to another; and no sooner was the atonement rendered, and the great moral difficulty resolved whereby a just God might reinstate the sinner in acceptance who had made open defiance to the authority of His moral government–no sooner were the great sanctions and securities of this government provided for than He opened the prison-door of the grave and raised to His throne of Mediatorship the once crucified but now exalted Saviour no sooner was the plea of His everlasting righteousness brought in, than Himself laid hold of it; and it is now His delight to use it for the purpose of our vindication–so that God Himself asserts for us the merits of His Son s obedience; and, instead of dissevering Him from the work of our salvation, we have the warrant of apostolical example for saying that God Himself affirms our cause, and that it is God Himself who justifies. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:172-173.

17) ‘For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.’ And here this matter of not eating flesh, in itself a perfect trifle, is made to rank with a virtue of the very highest order–the imitation of Christ. The quotation here given is from Psalm Ixix. 9, the first part of which verse is applied by the apostle John to our Saviour; and the latter in this place by the apostle Paul. There was no pleasure in those reproaches of men, which were borne by our blessed Lord in the work of seeking after and saving them–when He endured the contradiction of sinners, and despised the shame of it. But a still more emphatic application of these words to Jesus Christ is to be found in that vicarious sacrifice which He underwent for the sins of the world–even those sins wherewith so much reproach and dishonour had been cast upon God. The burden of all this was made to fall upon the head of our blessed Saviour, who indeed took it upon Himself; and, by magnifying the law, took off indignity from the Lawgiver. Truly He pleased not Himself, when, under the heavy load of the hour and the power of darkness, His soul became exceeding sorrowful, and He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Surely if Christ thus bore the sins of the wicked, we might well bear the infirmities of the weak. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:515.

18) Would not the man whom we had injured, and of whom we had good reason to be afraid, did he stand before us with an angry or menacing countenance–would not he be the object of our dread and disquietude, and this simply on our view of the objective? And on the other hand, did his countenance bespeak a readiness for peace and pardon, would not terror give way to confidence, and that simply too on our view of the objective? And does the Lawgiver make no such exhibition of Himself in the gospel of Jesus Christ, when He looks compassion on the children of men, or sets forth His own Son as the propitiation for the sins of the world? But there are sounds as well as sights of encouragement, words which are the direct bearers of comfort to the soul, a proclamation of amnesty as well as a flag of amnesty; and which, as coming from without, are objective things external to ourselves, and, apart from ourselves, fitted to light up an immediate gladness in our bosoms, did we but open our eyes or our ears to them–as surely as when the wise men from the east saw the star over Bethlehem, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy; or as surely as the shepherds who first heard the proclamation of good-will from the sky, and saw the babe in the manger, glorified and praised God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:523-524.

19) We there read of a struggle which the Captain of our salvation had to sustain, when the lustre of the Godhead lay obscured, and the strength of its omnipotence was mysteriously weighed down under the infirmities of our nature–how Satan singled Him out, and dared Him to the combat of the wilderness–how all his wiles and all his influences were resisted–how he left our Saviour in all the triumphs of unsubdued loyalty–how the progress of this mighty achievement is marked by the every character of a conflict–how many of the gospel miracles were so many direct infringements on the power and empire of a great spiritual rebellion–how, in one precious sea son of gladness among the few which brightened the dark career of our Saviour s humiliation, He rejoiced in spirit, and gave as the cause of it to His disciples, that “He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”–how the momentary advantages that were gotten over Him, are ascribed to the agency of this infernal being, who entered the heart of Judas, and tempted the disciple to betray his Master and his Friend. We know that we are treading on the confines of mystery. We cannot tell what the battle that He fought. We cannot compute the terror or the strength of His enemies. We cannot say, for we have not been told, how it was that they stood in marshalled and hideous array against Him:–nor can we measure how great the firm daring of His soul when He tasted that cup in all its bitterness which He prayed might pass away from Him; when, with the feeling that He was forsaken by His God, He trode the wine-press alone; when He entered single-handed upon that dreary period of agony, and insult, and death, in which, from the garden to the cross, He had to bear the burden of a world s atonement. We cannot speak in our own language, but we can say in the language of the Bible, of the days and the nights of this great enterprise, that it was the season of the travail of His soul; that it was the hour and the power of darkness; that the work of our redemption was a work accompanied by the effort, and the violence, and the fury of a combat; by all the arduousness of a battle in its progress, and all the glories of a victory in its termination: and after He called out that it was finished, after He was loosed from the prison-house of the grave, after He had ascended up on high, He is said to have made captivity captive; and to have spoiled principalities and powers; and to have seen His pleasure upon His enemies; and to have made a show of them openly. Thomas Chalmers, “Contest for the Ascendency of Man Among the Higher Intelligences,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:94-95.

20) Let them learn a higher reverence for the eternity of those beneath them, by thinking of Him, who, to purchase an inheritance for the poor, and to provide them with the blessings of a preached gospel, unrobed Him of all His greatness; and descended Himself to the lot and the labours of poverty; and toiled, to the beginning of His public ministry, at the work of a carpenter ; and submitted to all the horrors of a death which was aggravated by the burden of a world s atonement, and made inconceivably severe, by there being infused into it all the bitterness of the cup of expiation. Thomas Chalmers, “Vitiating Influence of the Higher Upon the Lower Orders of Society,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 3:231.

21) Let the sinner, then, look to God through the medium of such a revelation; and the sight which meets him there, may well tame the obstinacy of that heart which had wrapped itself up in impenetrable hardness against the force of every other consideration. Now that the storm of the Almighty s wrath has been discharged upon Him who bore the burden of the world’s atonement, He has turned His throne of glory into a throne of grace, and cleared away from the pavilion of His residence all the darkness which encompassed it. The God who dwelleth there, is God in Christ; and the voice He sends from it, to this dark and rebellious province of His mighty empire, is a voice of the most beseeching tenderness. Good-will to men is the announcement with which His messengers come fraught to a guilty world; and, since the moment in which it burst upon mortal ears from the peaceful canopy of heaven, may the ministers of salvation take it up, and go round with it among all the tribes and individuals of the species. Such is the real aspect of God towards you. He cannot bear that His alienated children should be finally and everlastingly away from Him. He feels for you all the longing of a parent bereaved of His offspring. To woo you back again unto Himself, He scatters among you the largest and the most liberal assurances; and with a tone of imploring tenderness, does He say to one and to all of you, ” Turn ye, turn ye, why will you die?” He has no pleasure in your death. He does not wish to glorify Himself by the destruction of any one of you. “Look to me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved,” is the wide and the generous announcement by which He would recall, from the very outermost limits of His sinful creation, the most worthless and polluted of those who have wandered away from Him. Thomas Chalmers, “The Gospel Dissolves the Enmity of the Heart Against God,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:134.

22) However difficult it may be to adjust the metaphysics of the question, there is one thing unquestionably, and that is, an amnesty from heaven offered without exception to all–a propitiation set forth for the sins of the world; and on which there is not one member of our world’s population, who has not a warrant to coat the whole burden of his reliance-an embassy to our alienated species of which the record has come down to us: and by which God beseeches even the guiltiest of men to enter into reconciliation. Thomas Chalmers, “The Goodness and Severity of God,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:218.

23) You know how, for this marvelous design, the economy of grace has been framed; but, knowing it though you do, there is not a believing soul that has experienced the power of this salvation, and felt its preciousness, who does not love to be often told of it. That name, which is as ointment poured forth, will always bear to be repeated in the hearing of the faithful; nor does it ever pall upon the spirit of him who hath been visited with a sense of his sin fulness, and labors under the burden of it, though frequently the utterance is given, that unto him a Saviour has been born. On him did God lay the iniquities of us all. That sword of vengeance which should have been lifted against us, He awakened in all its brightness against His fellow; and, in bowing Himself down unto the sacrifice, Jesus Christ had to bear the weight of a world s atonement. The severity of God, because of sin, was not relaxed, but only transferred, from the head of the offenders, to the head of their Substitute; and, in the depth of Christ s mysterious sufferings, has He made as full display of the rigors of His unviolable sanctity, as he would have done by the direst infliction of their doom on the millions for whom the Saviour died. Thomas Chalmers, “The Goodness and Severity of God,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:224.

24) There is no one device separate from the gospel, by which the glory of any one of these attributes can be exalted, but by the surrender or the limitation of another attribute. It is in the gospel alone that we perceive how each of them may be heightened to infinity, and yet each of them reflect a lustre on the rest. When Christ died, justice was magnified. When He bore the burden of our atonement, the truth of God received its vindication. When the sins of the world brought Him to the cross, the lesson taught by this impressive spectacle was, Holiness unto the Lord. All the severer perfections of the Godhead were, in fact, more powerfully illustrated by the deep and solemn propitiation that was made for sin, than they could have been by the direct punishment of sin itself,–yet all redounding to the triumph of His mercy. For mercy, in the exercise of a simple and spontaneous tenderness, does not make so high an exhibition, as mercy forcing its way through restraints and difficulties,–as mercy accomplishing its purposes by a plan of unsearchable wisdom, as mercy surrendering what was most dear for the attainment of its object,–as the mercy of God, not simply loving the world, but so loving it as to send His only beloved Son, and to lay upon Him the iniquities of us all, as mercy, thus surmounting a barrier, which, to created eye, appeared immoveable, and which both pours a glory on the other excellencies of the Godhead, and rejoices over them. Thomas Chalmers, “Union of Truth and Mercy in the Gospel,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:274-275.

25) If there be any truth in the law of God over the creatures whom He has formed, and if that law we have trampled upon, we are amenable to its sentence. Ours is the dark and unsheltered state of condemnation–and if there be a single outlet or way of escaping, it cannot be such a way as will abolish the law and degrade the Lawgiver–but it must be such a way as will vindicate and exalt the Deity as as will pour a tide of splendour over the majesty of His high attributes–and as in the sublime language of the prophet, who saw it from afar, will magnify His law, and make it honourable. To this way we are fairly shut up. It is our only alternative. It is offered to us in the gospel of the New Testament. I am the way, says the Author of that gospel, and by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved. In the appointment of this Media torin His death to make propitiation for the sins of the world–in His triumph over the powers of darkness–in the voice heard from the clouds of heaven, and issuing from the mouth of God himself, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”–in the resistless argument of the apostle, who declares God to be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus in the undoubted miracles which accompanied the preaching of this illustrious personage, and His immediate followers–in the noble train of prophecy, of which He was the object and the termination in the choir of angels from heaven, who sung His entrance into the world–and in the sublime ascension from the grave, which carried Him away from it; in all this we see a warrant and a security given to the work of our redemption in the New Testament, before which philosophy and all her speculations vanish into nothing. Let us betake ourselves to this way. Let us rejoice in being shut up unto it. It is passing, in fact, from death unto life; or, from our being under the law, which speaks tribulation and wrath to every soul of man that doeth evil, to being under the grace which speaks quietness and assurance for ever to all that repair to it. The Scripture hath concluded all to be under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Thomas Chalmers, “The Reasonableness of Faith,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:284-285.

26) God laid on Him the iniquities of us all; and He became sin for us though He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. That we might be freed from the curse of the law, did the only beloved Son of God become a curse for us; and on the accursed tree, did He bear the full weight of the condemnation and the penalty that we else should have borne. He was stricken for our iniquities. He was smitten for our transgressions. The chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him; and, in bowing Himself down to the burden of a world’s atonement, did He pour out His soul even unto the death for us. In that hour of darkness and mystery, when the great Lawgiver wakened the sword of vengeance against His fellow–then it was that our debt was paid to the last farthing; for then it was that the Captain of our salvation drunk to its last dregs that cup which the Father had put into His hands. Then it was that our discharge was fully made out; and, hearken to us–if ye believe not these tidings of great joy, you remain listless or alienated or heavy laden as before; but oh, the power and victory of faith! what a mountain is lifted off by it, and how the sinner’s soul breaks forth as if into a land of light and love and liberty, when, enabled to lay hold on Christ, the discharge is put into his hands, and he now rests in the assurance that all is clear with God. And there is a great deal more than the cancelment of our debt ; for He not only made an end of transgression, but He brought in an everlasting righteousness. Mark the distinct ness of these two parts of salvation. The mere blotting out of your sins might have rescued you from hell; but, alone and of itself and without something more, it would have given you no part of the inheritance that has been purchased for you in heaven. It might have shut against you the gate of hell, be cause ransomed from that awful and everlasting prison-house; but it would not have opened the gate of heaven, that the ransomed of the Lord might enter in. But, blessed be God’s eternal Son, He has finished the work which was given Him to do. He has not been satisfied with doing it by halves. He has made out for us a complete salvation. Thomas Chalmers, “On Faith and Repentance,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:302.

27) It is that portion in which the narrative of Christ s work for our justification is laid before us. It is that portion which relates to the death and the obedience of Christ. By the one He offered Himself up as a propitiation for the sins of the world; and those of the world who believe in this, have their sins remitted to them. By the other, that is by His obedience, which comprehends His death, He fulfilled the righteousness of the law; and this righteousness it is testified to us that He fulfilled in our stead; and the merit of this righteousness is imputed, and the reward of it is assigned unto all, and is upon all who believe. Thomas Chalmers, “Connexion Between Faith and Peace,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:317.

28) First, then, the whole object of faith, as the matter or the testimony of God in Scripture. So that though faith be a single principle, and is designated in language by a single term,–yet this by no means precludes it from being such a principle, as comes into contact, and is conversant, with a very great variety of objects. In this respect it may bear a resemblance to sight, or hearing, or any other of the senses, by which man holds communication with the external things that near him, and around him. The same eye which, when open, looks to a friend, and can, from that very look, afford entrance into the heart for an emotion of tenderness will also behold other visible things, and take in an appropriate influence from each of them,–will behold the prospect of beauty that is before it, and the obtain gratification to the taste,–or will behold the sportive felicity of animals, and the thence obtain gratification to the benevolence,–or will behold the precipice beneath, and thence obtain a warning of danger, or a direction of safety,–or may behold a thousand different objects, and obtain a thousand different feelings and different intimations.

Now the same of faith. It has been called the eye of the mind. But whether this be a well conceived image or not, it certainly affords an inlet to the mind for a great variety of communications. The Apostle calls faith the evidence of things not seen,”–not of one such thing, but of very many such things. The man who possesses faith, can be no more intellectually blind to one of these things, and at the same time knowing and believing as to another of them, than the man who possesses sight can, with his eye open, perceive one external object, and have no perception of another, which stands as nearly and as conspicuously before him. The man who is destitute of sight, will never know what it is to feel the charm of visible scenery. But grant him sight; and he will not only be made alive to this charm, but to a multitude of other influences, all emanating from the various objects of visible nature, through the eye upon the mind, and against which his blindness had before opposed a hopeless and invincible barrier. And the man who is destitute of faith, will never know what it is to feel the charm of the peace-speaking blood of Christ .But grant him faith and he will not only be made alive to this charm, but to a multitude of other influences, all emanating from the various truths of revelation, through this intellectual organ, on the heart of him who was at one time blind, but has now been made to see. This will help, in some measure, to clear up the perplexity to which we have just now adverted. They who are under its darkening influence, conceive of the faith which worketh peace, that it has only to do with this one doctrine, and that that one doctrine relates to Christ, as a peaceoffering for sin. Now, it is very true, that it has to do with this one doctrine; but it has also to do with other doctrines all equally presented before it in the very same record, and the view of all which is equally to be had, from the very same quarter of contemplation. In other words, the very eame opening of the mental eye, through which the peace of the gospel finds entrance into the bosom of a faithful man, afords an entrance for the righteousness of the gospel along with it The truth that Christ died for the sins of the world, will cast upon his mind its appropriate influence. But so also will the truth that Christ is to judge the world, and the truth that unless ye repent ye shall, perish, and the truth that they who have a right to the tree of life, are they who keep the commandments, and the truth that an unrighteous man shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If a man see not every one object that is placed within the sphere of his natural vision, he sees none of them and his whole body is full of darkness. If a man believe the Bible to be the word of God, he will read it; but if he read it, and believe not every one truth that lies within the grasp of his understanding, he believes none of them, and is in, darkness, and knoweth not whither he is going. Thomas Chalmers, “The Purifying Influence of the Christian Faith,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:341-343.

29) This brings us o the sacrifice which has been made for the sins of the world–to the decease which was accomplished at Jerusalem–and by which the mighty, the mysterious problem was resolved that was unfathomable to the wisdom of Nature, and that angels desired to look into. This resolves all difficulties; and now that the propitiation has been rendered, man is freely invited to rejoice in his God, and God rejoices over man as if man had never fallen. Sin is obliterated by the sacrifice that has been made for it; and now with a clear conscience becatis3 now on a consecrated way, might the guiltiest of the world draw nigh and make his requests known unto God. Thomas Chalmers, “On God’s Paternal Character,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:437.

30) And here a should be especially noticed, that the atonement made for the sins of the world, though its direct and primary object be to vindicate the truth nnd justice of the Godhead-instead. of casting obscuration over His love, only gives more emphatic demonstration of it…

The redemption of mankind was wrought out, in the midst of agonies and cries and all the symptoms of a sore and bitter humiliation. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; on Him the chastisement of our peace was laid; and when bowing down His head unto the sacrifice, He had to bear the full burden of a world’s expiation. The affirmation that God loveth the world is inconceivably heightened in significancy and strength of evidence, to him who owns the authority of Scripture, and has treasured up these sayings–that God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son; or, that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; or, that herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent His Son into the world, to be the propitiation for our sins. There is a moral, a depth and intensity of meaning a richness of sentiment that the Bible calls unsearchable, in the cross of Christ It tells a sinful world that God is righteousness; and it as clearly and emphatically tells us that God is love.

But, for the purpose of making this doctrine available to ourselves personally, we must view the love of God, not as a vague and inapplicable generality, but as specially directed, nay actually proffered and that pointedly and individually to each of us. It is not sufficiently adverted to by inquirers, nor sufficiently urged by ministers, that the constitution of the gospel warrants this appropriation of its blessings by each man for himself

This all-important truth, so apt to be lost sight of in lax and hazy speculation, may be elicited from the very terms in which the gospel is propounded to us, from the very phraseology in which its overtures are couched. It is a message of good news unto all people–to me therefore as one of the people, for where is the scripture which tells that I am an outcast Christ is set forth as a propitiation for the sins of the world; and God so loved the world as to send His Son into it. Let me therefore, who beyond all doubt am in the world, take the comfort of these gracious promulgations–for it is only if out of the world or away from the world, that they do not belong to me. The delusive imagination in the hearts of many, and by which the gospel is with them bereft of all significancy and effect, is, that they cannot take any general announcement, or general invitation that is therein to themselves, unless in virtue of some certain mark or certain designation, by which they are specially included in it. Now, in real truth, it is all the other way. It would require a certain mark, or certain designation specially to exclude them; and without some such mark which might expressly signalize them, they should not refuse a part in the announcements or invitations of the gospel. If the gospel have made no exception of them, they either misunderstand that gospel, or by their unbelief make tho author of it a liar, if they except themselves. The demand a particular warrant, for believing that the are comprehended within the limits of the gospel call to reconciliation with God. Now the call is universal; and it would rather wed a particular warrant, to justify their own dark and distrustful imagination of being without its limits. When in the spirit of a perverse or obstinate melancholy, they ask their Christian minister–what is the ground on which he would bid them in to the household of God’s reconciled family?–well may he ask, what is the ground on which they would keep themselves out? He stands m a triumphant vantage-footing for his own vindication. His, commission is to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven, and that takes them in–or to say that whomsoever cometh unto Christ shall not be cast out, and that takes them in–or behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open I shall enter into friendship and peace with him, that also takes them in–or look unto me all ye ends of the earth and be saved; there is no outcast spoken of here, and that too takes them in–or, every man who asketh receiveth; and surely, if language have a meaning, that takes them in–or Christ came into the world to save sinner; and, unless they deny themselves to be sinners, that takes them in. In a word, although they may cast themselves out, the primary overtures of the gospel recognize no outcast. They are not forbidden by God–they are only forbidden themselves. There is no straitening is only with Him. The straitening is only in. their own narrow and suspicions and ungenerous bosom. It is true they may abide in spiritual darkness if they will–even as a man can, at his own pleasure, immure himself in a dungeon, or obstinately shut his eyes. Still it holds good, notwithstanding, that the light of the Sun in the Firmament is not more open to all eyes, than the light of the Sun of Righteousness is tor the rejoicing of the spirits of all flesh The blessings of the gospel are as accessible to all who will, as are the water or the air or any of the cheap and common bounties of nature. The element of Heaves’s love is in as universal diffusion among the dwelling-places of men, as is the atmosphere they breathe in. It solicits admittance at every door; and the ignorance or unbelief of man ere the only obstacles which it has to struggle with. It is commensurate with the species; and may be tendered, urgently and honestly tendered, to each individual of the human family. Thomas Chalmers, “God is Love,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:445-448.

31) When God is seen by us in the face of Christ, He is seen in the brightness of His mercy to the sinful; but it is a mercy so accompanied with holiness and truth, so enshrined as it were in the high honours of a vindicated law, as to throw over the character of the Godhead a deeper sacredness than before. In that halo which is over the mercy-seat of Christianity, there is a radiance of all the attributes. Along with the love which gladdens every believer’s heart, there is an august and awful majesty to solemnize it, and while in this wondrous spectacle, we behold peace to the sinner–yet, seen as it is through the mystery of a world ‘s atonement, we there too behold the evil of sin in most full and appalling demonstration. While the sinner looked upon all this as the fire of Heaven s jealousy, directed against himself, to burn up and fiercely to destroy, there was but room in his heart for the one affection of single and overwhelming terror. But when seen as it is, averted from us because discharged upon Him who for our sake sustained the agonies of the garden and of the cross, he can look on without the fear of terror–yet it is impossible to look intelligently on, without the fear of deepest reverence. Thomas Chalmers, “Fear of Terror and Fear of Reverance,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:513-514.

32) And it were well for us that we remained satisfied with what God is pleased that we should know, or with being wise up to that which is written. If the question related merely to the power of God, we are apt to think that there is no limit whatever to what He simply can do. We are apt to think, for example, that God could, if He had so chosen, have lifted, by a simple act of remission, all the penal consequences of sin away from us; and have treated us as creatures who stood absolved from the guilt of all our transgressions; and have introduced us in this state into heaven; and made each of us live in a state of enjoyment there throughout all eternity. But God has other attributes than those of mere power. And, in virtue of them, He has chosen to conduct the administration of His government on certain great and unchangeable principles. And He has told us, and nothing remains for us but to take the information just as it is given–He has told us, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and no forgiveness without faith in that propitiation which is through the death of Jesus. And thus had the Son of God to bear the burden of all the vengeance that we should have borne; and to take upon His shoulders the whole weight of the world’s atonement; and to pour out His soul for us in tears and agonies and cries. And had there been no other attributes in the character of the God-head, but the simple energy of His omnipotence and the longings of His compassion, all these pains and sorrows of suffering innocence might have been spared; and, without so heavy a sacrifice, the barrier which defended the gate of paradise might have been opened to a guilty world. But the truth and justice of God demanded an expiation; and we show the docility which belongs to us, when we give our unreserved acquiescence to the recorded fact ; and like little children in humility, as we are in understanding, it is our part to take the statement as the statement is offered to us. Thomas Chalmers, “The Sin Unto Death,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:647.

33) In this walk of investigation you will soon come to be satisfied that the whole ritual of Moses is but the prefiguration, and so a prophecy, of the great sacrifice that was to be made for the sins of the world. You will thus be familiarized with prophecy in action and in symbol, as well as prophecy in language or articulate utterance. You will thus be made to perceive, as Horsley, and others of like firm and high intellect with himself, and who repudiated at the outset of their studies the notion of hidden or mystical significations veiled under the literalities of Scripture–I say, that with them you will at length be forced by overpowering evidence to admit, that there are types and allegories in the Old Testament standing related to their antitypes in the New, as the shadow is to the substance. Nay, there are set before us not only typical ordinances, but typical events and typical personages. It is thus that our Hebrew Scriptures are far more instinct with the whole spirit and doctrine of our latter dispensation, than appears on the surface, or than would strike many a reader even after his repeated perusal of these sacred writings of the Jews. Not only is the evangelical Isaiah full of Christ, but in the Psalms of David, perhaps in the larger number of them, a greater than David is there. We are quite sensible that the work of spiritualizing may be carried to a degree altogether extravagant and fanciful; yet we promise you many a precious discovery of Christ, hid, it may be, as he was for a while from the disciples with whom He companied to Emmaus, but at length disclosed to you as He was to them, after that, be ginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:199-200.

34) This should be the grand theme of your ministrations, and so much was it the capital figure in his scheme of doctrine, that Paul said to one of his churches, that he was determined to know nothing amongst them save Jesus Christ–and Him crucified. The great initial obstacle in the way of our being right with God–the knot of difficulty which has to be untied–the separating barrier, and what stands as a wall of iron between us and our reconciliation, is–How shall I, a sinner, find acceptance with a God of justice? This, if not at all times the formally uttered, is the universally felt complaint of conscious and guilty nature; and this, we repeat, can only be met and only be satisfied, by the setting forth of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for the sins of the world. It is this which resolves the question–wherewithal shall I appear before God? You appear in the name of Christ–with His death as your discharge from condemnation, and His righteousness as your right to the rewards of eternity. It is thus that He is offered, even to the chief of sinners; and it is your closing with this offer which forms the turning-point of your salvation. On the part of God it is freely held out to you; on your part it is simply laid hold of. I wish I could adequately express the naked simplicity of this transaction. It is a statement on his part ; it is a belief on yours. It is a gift on His part, it is an acceptance on yours. Like the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness, it is the presentation of an object on His part ; it is a looking to that object upon yours. It is a call or invitation on His part; it is a compliance upon yours. On His part it is a promise, on yours it is a trusting in the performance of it. No sinner needs be afraid of trusting too strongly, for the firmer the confidence on his part, the surer will be the counterpart fulfilment on the part of God, who, now that the great expiation has been rendered, can, with out disparagement to the law, extend full indemnity to them who have broken it, can be just whilst the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:237-238.

35) In these circumstances, we cannot imagine a demonstration of more exquisite skilfulness, by which all difficulties are met, and every sentiment of reverence that we associated with the Divinity, instead of being thwarted or scandalized, is exalted to the uttermost, than that furnished by the atonement of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. The penalty was not recalled, it was only transferred; and it gives a more dreadful effect and significancy to the threatenings of God, that though averted from us, they were all discharged on the head of the illustrious Sufferer, who took upon Him the burden of our obligations, and so bowed Himself unto the sacrifice. There is no affront, but the greatest possible homage, rendered by this proceeding to heaven’s high jurisprudence. It was indeed a signal triumph of the divine wisdom to find out a way by which the transgressors of the law might be readmitted into favour, and yet the law itself be magnified and made honourable. It is altogether worthy of a God–by one act to seal the pardon of the sinner, and to affix the deepest stigma upon sin. It is thus that on the cross of Christ there sits a radiance of all the attributes. Mercy and truth meet there; and the access of the offender to his reconciled God is by a way of deepest sacredness. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:496.

36) Along with the love which glad dens every believer s heart, there is an august and awful majesty to solemnize it; and while in this wondrous spectacle we behold peace to the sinner, yet, seen as it is through the mystery of a world s atonement, we there too behold the evil of sin in most fell and appalling demonstration. While the sinner looked upon all this as the fire of Heaven s jealousy directed against himself to burn up and to destroy, there was but room in his heart for the one affection of single and overwhelming terror. But when seen as it is, averted from us because discharged upon Him who, for our sakes, sustained the agonies of the garden and of the cross, we can look on without the fear of terror, yet it is impossible to look intelligently on without the fear of deepest reverence. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:511.

37) It is well to have preached the law, and so made manifest to the consciences of hearers their own condemnation. From this abyss it is the object of the restorative system propounded in the gospel to recover and to raise them. And I cannot too earnestly press upon your attention, that of this system the first and the foremost article is the doctrine of Christ crucified as an atonement for the sins of the world. I have no adequate expression for the sense which I have of the primary, the radical importance of this great truth, On the reception of which hinges, as on a turning point, the sinner’s salvation. To be with or without a belief in this doctrine, forms the grand alternative between a state of ruin and a state of recovery and it is mainly of Christ as our propitiation that we understand the two Bible sayings, placed in such emphatic counterpart to each other–”He who hath the Son hath life;” “He who hath not the Son hath not life.” With such a conviction you may well believe the anxiety I feel that this great and capital truth, even that Christ died an expiation for the sins of mankind, should, if not at all times formally pronounced, at least be presupposed and proceeded on, in every sermon that you deliver from the pulpit. It is the want or the presence of this doctrine which forms the main difference between an efficient and a useless Church. The doctrine of man’s depravity and guilt has been called the basis of Christianity, viewed as the religion of sinners; and it may be so termed, as being the basis of the sinner’s anxieties–those first impulses which lead him to grope his way for a place of deliverance and safety. But the doctrine of Christ as a propitiation for sin is the basis of the sinner’s hopes the great initial truth which first awakens him from the lethargy of despair; and which, as by the removal of a barrier that with all his strength and endeavour he never could have forced, opens up for him a way of progressive holiness, and sets him free for all the aspirations and the efforts of a new obedience. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:523-524.

38) Nevertheless the Bible, and it is of prime importance that you should make each of your hearers so understand it, is a special message unto thee–as much so as if brought to your door by a special messenger, and placed in your hands in the form of an express letter from the upper sanctuary. Its declaration, and from the mouth of Christ Himself, that he who cometh unto Him shall not be cast out–that is every way as good as a pointed and personal application to each and to every one of us. Its ” whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely,” that is a message unto thee. Its “look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved,” that too is a message unto thee. Its exhibition of the Son of God set forth as a propitiation for the sins of the world, is that also which every sinner who treads on the world’s surface has the fullest warrant to look unto and rejoice. Its “he who seeketh findeth,” its “he who asketh receiveth,” its ” come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,”–these single out every man, who chooses to entertain the overtures of the gospel, as explicitly and distinctly as did the ” Abram, Abram,” which fell in articulate language from the sky, single out the father of the faithful. These warrant our setting forth on the pilgrimage of hope with the same firm and assured footsteps that he did, and with as confident an outlook as he had on the city which hath foundations, and whose builder and maker is God. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:535.

39) Suppose, then, that you have already preached and pressed home the law upon your hearers, and that some one of them, convinced of sin, is under the guidance of this schoolmaster, earnestly and anxiously in quest of salvation, you will now have to preach Christ to him; and this surely is setcing forth an object distinct from himself and away from himself. And so God is said to set forth Christ as a propitiation for the sins of the world. This surely is an objective representation; and so, too, when you tell of God so loving the world as to send His Son into it to be the propitiation for our sins, or when you tell of God beseeching to be reconciled, and not imputing unto the world their trespasses. Thus far you deal objectively with your hearers; and in virtue of such terms as “whosoever,” or “every,” or, “any,” or “every one of you,” in all of which, and others of similar import, the overtures of the gospel are couched; in virtue of which terms, we say, you can isolate each of your hearers, and bring the whole force of these objective representations personally and individually to bear upon him. True, at the very outset he should be made aware–you cannot let him know too early–that while thus freely invited to come unto Christ for pardon and acceptance with God, every man who so cometh must for sake all. From the commencement of your dealings with him, he should be told to count the cost of his Christianity, should be fully and fearlessly told of the sacrifice which it requires, the all things which must be done away, and the surrender of the whole man to the one master, even Christ, who is a commander as well as a witness and Saviour to the people. But there is no more difficulty in saying all this within the compass of one sermon, than within the compass of one verse, in saying what our Saviour did at the outset of His ministry–Repent and believe the gospel. If there be any who are conscious of no desire to repent–of no readiness to forsake all–of no willingness to be and to do altogether as Christ would have them, and who there fore could not breathe out in sincerity the prayer–Take me, such as I am, make me such as I should be; if such be the state of any of your hearers, it will necessarily bedim the object which you are setting before them, when you speak of an inviting Saviour and a God waiting to be gracious; it will paralyze the force of these objective representations. A man cannot accept of Christ, or have a rejoicing confidence in Him, at the very time that he is conscious of no wish or no purpose to yield Him an entire obedience; or if he do have such a confidence, it must be on the strength of a delusive fancy, and not of a whole faith in a whole gospel, and therefore in the partial and broken and distorted, not in the clear and full light of the truth as it is in Jesus. Such a consciousness might well forbid any man to accept or to rejoice. But if there be no such forbidding, no such check, no such felt obstacle within, then assuredly there is no such obstacle without, and therefore let the influence of the objective truth have full sway upon us. Let your hearers be told to look broadly and openly forth upon the Saviour. Let His salvation in all its freeness and fulness be pressed upon them; and let nothing stay their hands from laying confident hold upon it. They should not even be restrained by a sense of their utter helplessness in themselves for the required services of the gospel; for even upon this, too, the force of an objective representation might be brought to bear–the assurance of a grace that is sufficient, of a strength that is made perfect in weakness. The Spirit is as free as the pardon is free; and were the whole gospel but rightly understood, it would be seen that there is not the breadth of a straw between an offered salvation and a willing people. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:566-577.

40) If we are saved then by faith alone, and yet without obedience cannot be saved–agreeably to the apostolic affirmation, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord ; if faith alone save us, and yet without a holy obedience we shall perish, must not a saving faith comprehend in it both assent and consent–the assent which it gives to the truths of the gospel, the consent wherewith it yields obedience to its lessons? Those who are desirous of warding off from the faith this inroad upon its simplicity, those who are set on maintaining its integrity without mixture as an act of the understanding and nothing more, would fain represent the obedience, or even the consent which gives birth to the purpose of obedience, as but a posterior consequent, not as a primary constituent of the faith. To make this out they tell us of the powerful effect of faith upon the affections, in that it worketh by love, and that love is the fulfilling of the law. In this reasoning they generally confine themselves to one, or at most to two propositions–the first, that Christ died a propitiation for the sins of the world; the second, that Christ hath brought in an everlasting righteousness, to the reward of which all are as welcome as if it were a righteousness which themselves had worked out, and a reward which themselves had won. Let a sinner but believe that Christ hath died for him, that He hath borne the punishment which himself should have borne, and at an expense of suffering equivalent to the torments of an ever lasting hell that, but for the expiation made upon the Cross, would have opened to receive him; that He hath averted from his person the wrath of the offended Lawgiver; and that God in Christ, now a reconciled Father, no longer imputes unto him his trespasses–let this be only believed, and it is argued, that as if by the force of a moral necessity, such a faith will infallibly beget love, even such a love as must germinate, with all the necessity of a physical law, the new obedience of the gospel. There is certainly much of truth and power in this consideration. But we have long thought that the theologians who have most dwelt upon it, have unnecessarily weakened their conclusion by confining the influence of the faith to the influence of but a single truth or single doctrine in the Bible. It is the authority of the Bible which forms the ground or principle of our faith in any one of its truths or doctrines. But this ground is obviously broad enough to sustain our faith in all the doctrines and declarations of Scripture–insomuch that if, on the principle of the Bible being the word of God, you have faith in Christ as your propitiation, you cannot miss having an equal faith in all the other known and clearly revealed truths which lie within the compass of God s written revelation. In other words, if the faith be real, it will be universal–insomuch that a real belief in any one article of the sacred record, and because of its being there, is in itself the guarantee of a like belief in all the other articles which come under notice, and stand forth as legibly and distinctly as does the first to the view of the observer. In contending, then, for the power of faith to generate obedience, why restrict our argument to the operation of a faith in but one truth, even though it be the precious truth of Christ s having died an atonement for sin, when we might call to our aid all the constraining and sanctifying influences of a whole faith in a whole Bible? We may at least be sure of such a faith, that it cannot possibly co-exist with the habit and the purpose of disobedience. A man might be fain to believe that Christ died for his sins, because he reads that Christ died a propitiation for the sins of the whole world; and he, therefore, as one of the world, takes this declaration to himself. And were this the only declaration of Scripture, were the revelation of God to man made up of but this one sentence, he would be abundantly warranted in making this special application, and so in believing, nay, trusting and rejoicing in the thought that he himself was a forgiven creature. But he could not thus trust or believe in the face of another declaration, That unless ye repent ye shall perish–if conscious to himself that there was no honest aspiration after repentance in his heart, and no work of repentance going forward in his history. Let us look on the Bible as a record of the true sayings of God, and then we must see how impossible it is that there can be a partial faith, or that there can be any such thing as believing in one declaration, and blinking another. Every honest, by which I mean every real believer, must have his eye full upon both; and then the question becomes a very plain one, How can a man be sure of salvation for himself because he believes that Christ died for the sins of the world, if he knows himself to be not a repentant sinner, and also believes that unless he repent he must perish? If for a moment he fancy himself to be sure of forgiveness in virtue of the first declaration, the second should operate as a decisive check on the presumption, and, putting the vain imaginations of a false security to flight, would demonstrate that it was but a fancy and no faith, which for the time had taken possession of him. If God had only said to Abraham, and said no more, “I will make of thee a great nation,” Abraham might have instantly and absolutely believed the promise, and been right in doing so. But God did say more. He said, “Get thee out of the country in which thou dwellest, and I will make of thee a great nation;” and then think how impossible it were, that he should believe in the latter clause of this announcement, and not proceed on the former; or that he should trust in the promise made to him, and yet not fulfil the precept laid on him. Now, it is precisely so with the precepts and promises of the gospel. Had this been a record of promises and nothing more, we might have looked only at these promises in the certainty and hope of their corning accomplishment. But it is a record both of promises and precepts; and we, looking at both, cannot possibly rely upon the one, while there is neither a desire no a purpose, nor a sincere endeavour towards the fulfilment of the other. There is, in the economy under which we sit, both an offer of salvation and a statement of certain things indispensable to salvation, and without which we shall most certainly fall short of it–as the statement, That without holiness no man can see God; and, That if we do such and such things, we shall not inherit the kingdom of God. We cannot accept of this offer, and at the same time reject these statements. The faith that were capable of such a double dealing with Scripture is really no faith in Scripture at all. A true faith not only takes up with certain parts of the Bible, but deals equally and honestly with the whole of it. The sayings which respect the efficacy of Christ s blood will not gladden it, while the sayings respecting the necessity of turning unto God, and doing works meet for repentance, look hard upon it. The real believer respects both, and proceeds upon both–taking freely the comfort of the one, and taking faithfully the guidance and direction of the other. Paul looking outwardly on the righteousness of Christ, which is unto all and upon all who believe, rejoiced in hope of the glory of God. Paul looking inwardly upon himself rejoiced in this–the testimony of his conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity he had his conversation in the world. His was a strong faith, because resting on a broad and extended basis, the basis of all Scripture. Let a part or parts of this basis give way, and the faith will give way. On the other hand, if it be faith at all, it must be a whole faith in a whole Bible. It is like the casting of a die, which closes and conforms with every part of the mould into which it is thrown. The living Christianity of a man is an accurate and full transcript of the Christianity that is graven on the tablet
of an outward revelation. His is not a fragment of Christianity, but Christianity–entire imperfect it may be, but not the imperfection that lies in the want of any essential part rather the imperfection of an embryo that is not yet matured, but has all the proportions and parts of the future plant or the future man. It were ruinous to our Christianity, did we but believe in the atonement by Christ, and not believe in the necessity of repentance. Such a partial faith as this is destructive to the very being of faith at all. The man who blinks the sayings of Scripture respecting the clean heart and right spirit and new obedience of the gospel, must be destitute of all these things ; and, knowing that he is so, will also be destitute of a good conscience. But most assuredly he who thus puts a good conscience away from him, of his faith has made shipwreck. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:572-575.

41) Be assured that the man who disregards the express telling that there is no salvation for him who is without holiness, and so makes no effort or aspiration after it, be assured of such a man, and of his seeming faith, that for him there is salvation, because of his reading that Christ died a propitiation for the sins of the world, be assured that this is but a seeming, and not at all a true faith. The man, it is said in the Bible, who believes not the record that God hath given of His Son, makes Him a liar; and the man who believes not the record that God hath given of the necessity of repentance and a new life, makes God a liar; and yet these are the men whom our antagonists would refer to as men having the faith of mere belief, and nothing more, and who undoubtedly fall short of salvation, trying thus to prove that the faith which makes out our salvation, or the saving faith of the New Testament, is belief and something more. The faith which these men profess to have in their own salvation, cannot be a faith grounded on what they have read in the Bible, and resting on the principle that the Bible is the word of God, which they hold to be infallibly true, for here are palpable sayings of the Bible which they live in the discredit of, and live in the defiance of. The Bible tells us, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven; and after this, where can be the faith of those men, or of what sort can it be, who, though unrighteous, are looking to that inheritance as their own? Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:578-579.

42) In the halo which is over the mercy-seat of Christianity, there is a radiance of all the attributes–along with the love which gladdens every believer s heart, there is an august and awful majesty to solemnize it; and while, in this wondrous spectacle, we behold peace to the sinner–yet, seen as it is through the mystery of a world’s atonement, we there, too, behold the evil of sin in most fell and appalling demonstration. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:12.

43) For what is this faith, of which some imagine that it casts virtue utterly into the shade, and reduces it to a thing of no estimation? It is belief in the testimony of God, and, of course, belief in the truth of all which is included within the limits of that testimony. There can be no real faith in any saying of the Bible, resting on the ground that God is the author of that book, which does not extend to all its sayings, and does not consent to the truth of all. If in virtue of faith you reckon it a faithful saying, that God hath set forth His Son to be a propitiation for the sins of the world; you will also, and in virtue of the same principle, reckon it a faithful saying, that God hath set Him forth an example that we should walk in His steps. Faith is represented by the orthodox as the channel through which the righteousness of Christ passes, as it were, into contact with the soul, and invests the whole man with the garment of acceptance. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:14.

44) It is needless to expatiate on the power of those terms in which the overtures of the gospel are framed, and by which, without the nomination of a single individual, each individual may hold them as pointedly and specifically addressed to himself–giving them at once a general diffusion among all, and a personal direction to every. Let me only once more enumerate them. All–“Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” Every–“Every one that asketh receiveth.” Any–“If any man open the door, I will enter with him into fellowship.” Whosoever–“Whosoever will, let him drink of the waters of life freely.” ?He, a pronoun as generic as the human family–“ He that believeth shall be saved”; World, a term co-extensive with its rational and accountable generations–“Christ is set forth a propitiation for the sins of the world.” Sinner, a designation that misses no one individual of the species–“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” I do not see how any designations or terms can at all be devised more comprehensive than these, insomuch that I hold it an indisputable maxim in theology, that the word and the offer of salvation are co-extensive the one with the other: or, of whomsoever it may be said that the word of salvation has reached him, of him also it may be said that the offer of salvation has been made unto him. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:52.

45) It is not from the secret counsels of heaven that believers extract the assurance of their faith, for of these all men are equally ignorant. It is from the open communications of that word which lies equally patent to the observation of all, and of which all are not only equally entitled but equally obliged, in point of duty, to make the same appropriation. All Scripture is profitable, but different parts of it are profitable for different ends. Now, for the specific end of conversion, the available scripture is not that Christ laid down His life for the sheep, but that Christ is set forth a propitiation for the sins of the world. It is not because I know myself to be one of the sheep, or one of the elect, but because I know myself to be one of the world, that I take to myself the calls and promises of the New Testament. There is not, we say, a human creature, whatever page in the book of destiny his name is entered upon–there is not a human creature who breathes that has not just as good a title to appropriate to himself these promises and calls. In the gospel, the flag of invitation waves in sight of the whole species. It is not inscribed there, Whosoever of the elect will; but, Whosoever will, let him come and drink of the waters of life freely. Neither do we read, Look unto me, ye specified and selected few; but, Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved. It is not in the capacity of an elect sinner, but in the capacity of a sinner, that he who is eventually saved entertains the overtures of reconciliation. These overtures are not made to him as one of the children of election; they are made to him as one of the children of humanity. It is on the stepping-stone of a universal offer that each man reaches and realizes his own particular salvation. The particular redemption of all who are saved is made good by their right entertainment of those texts which are alleged in behalf of universal redemption; and it is the very entertainment which the advocates of this doctrine would have all men to bestow upon them. And so, I am sure, would we. We should like each individual of the world’s population to assume specially for himself every passage in the Bible where Christ is held forth generally to men or generally to sinners ; and should assure him that, did he only proceed upon these, he would infallibly be saved. The advocates of universal redemption are quite at one with ourselves as to the reception which the universal offer should meet with from all men. It should meet with universal acceptance, and should be pressed, too, on universal acceptance. We are quite at one with them in what may be termed the practice of Christianization. We only differ from them when we come to speculate on the results, and connect these either with the processes of cause and effect, or with the preordinations of a God of whom we conceive that He fore knows and overrules all. We agree in respect to the part which man has to do with the question. We differ in respect to the part which God has to do with the question. There is not an Arminian or Universalist who contends more zealously than we for the duty of the preacher to urge the offers of the gospel upon every man, and the duty of every man to accept of these offers. God has made the salvation of the gospel universal in point of proposition: the fault is man’s if it be not universal in point of effect. God hath made the Sun of righteousness to arise with healing under His wings in the sight of all the nations, though we may shut our eyes against it. He hath lifted the widely sounding call, though we may shut our ears against it. He hath made demonstration of unexcepted good-will to the species–the condemnation is ours if we do not look and do not listen to it. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:182-183.

46) This view of the matter is greatly enhanced when we think of this exalted personage having descended upon our world not merely as the bearer of a message, but as the captain and the finisher of a mighty enterprise that something more than a revelation had to be made–that a work had to be done, to execute which a movement so mysterious took place in heaven as the departure thence of Him who in the beginning was with God, and was God; that in the fulfilment of His great commission He must die, and clothing Himself with the infirmities of our nature, had to incur substantial humiliation, and to undergo the agonies of a substantial and real endurance; that however inexplicable to us the principles or the causes, still the fact is palpably announced, that, with all the strength of the Divinity to uphold Him, He shrank from the burden of the sore and heavy visitation, and prayed that if possible it might pass; that what has been mysteriously called the passion of the Saviour, was not the semblance or the mockery of pain, but a deep and bitter anguish, which well-nigh overwhelmed Him; that in the decease which He accomplished at Jerusalem, the penalties of the out raged law were all absorbed, and the weight of the world’s atonement fully borne; that there was in deed and in truth a sacrifice, an actual transference of the suffering to His person commensurate to the vengeance of the guilty millions for whom He died. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:212.

47) And we are told by Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews–a part of Scripture worthy of your profoundest attention–that the tabernacle and the vessels were the patterns of things in the heavens, and as such they must form a befitting representation of these things. I will not enter into particulars, but sure I am that between the sacrifices of Judaism and the great sacrifice made for the sins of the world between the scape-goat who carried the sins of the people into the wilderness, where there was no more mention made of them, and the deliverance effected by Him who bare our transgressions, and on whom God laid the iniquity of us all between the entrance of the high-priest into the Holiest of all, the innermost sanctuary of the temple, and the entrance made by our great Forerunner into the sanctuary of heaven, the pavilion of the residence of the Most High–between the burning of incense within the house at the time when the people in the outer court were at their prayers, and the doctrine of the Saviour s merits to perfume the supplications of the faithful, and make them rise with acceptance to the throne ; between these peculiarities of Judaism, I say, and a number of their counter parts in Christianity, that might be specified, there is such a resemblance as would, on the one hand, impress on the intelligent worshipper of the old dispensation the sense and spirit of the enlightened dispensation that came after it; and as, on the other hand, affords a most delightful contemplation to the saints and Christian students of the present day, when they recognise the precious and peculiar truths of the Christian religion under the dress and the drapery of Judaism. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:278.

48) It peculiarly comports with the character of the Christian dispensation that its doctrines, just like its evidences, should be thus embodied in facts. And passing on from the fact of the death to the fact of the resurrection, you will find, in like manner, that sentiment, and principle, and doctrinal truth may be educed from it. He is said to have been raised by the power of the Father, thereby testifying His acceptance of the propitiation that had been made for the sins of the world, opening as it were with His own hand the prison door, and so signifying that the penalties which He undertook of the broken law had been fully borne, representing by symbol and by action the perfect sufficiency of that redemption on which every man is invited to rest all his dependence and all his hopes. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:283.

49) The justice of God would require no more than an equivalent for the outrage done to the authority of His government, to the high sovereignty and state of His offended attributes. The value of what was rendered would not exceed the value of what was owing on the part of them who were ransomed by it. If the blood of Christ be indeed that by which the Church was purchased, and if Christ was divine, both of which doctrines are expressly affirmed in revelation, then, on the principle that nothing more would be given in compensation for the dignity of a violated law than was enough to repair it, the inference seems plain, that nothing less than an act of expiation by Him on whose person sat the dignity of the Godhead, could effect the reunion of sinners with their God. And we now see how the law was magnified and made honourable, by a divine personage having had to bear the burden of the world’s atonement–by Christ the Son of God, and equal with God, having bowed down His head to the sacrifice. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:317.

50) The Almighty in requiting an atonement may be only acting as the supreme Lawgiver–there may have been no anger to appease by this transaction, nor personal jealousy of His own dignity, nor that desire of justice which actuates a creditor in the prosecution of a debtor, in insisting upon a surety there may have been nothing of all this, but it may have been for the upholding of the moral government, and protecting it from the inroads of that anarchy which the pardon of sin without an atonement would have brought along with it. It may have been wholly for this most worthy and beneficent object that aught like vindictive or punitive justice has been put forth in the great deed of the world s propitiation; and we cannot know whether this end might not have been answered by the transference of the punishment to the person of the exalted and withal voluntary substitute; it is for reasons not which we absolutely know to be solid and just, but which, for aught we know, may be Bolid and just, that on this question we shall resign ourselves wholly and exclusively to the testimony of Scripture. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:387-389.

51) But along with this, I can understand that the sacrificial notions of the heathen, and their familiarity with the conceptions and the feelings involved in the whole system of their sacrifices, may in millions of instances have made them far more intelligent and more willing recipients than they would otherwise have been of that gospel which set forth the great propitiation that had been made by means of an illustrious victim for the sins of the world, and preached forgiveness of these sins through faith in His blood. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:395.

52) I cannot imagine, then, a more systematic deceit to have been practised on a whole people, begun many centuries before, and persevered in through successive generations, than the deceit which the whole scheme of the Jewish polity and ceremonial was calculated to practise upon the Jewish under standing, provided that the death of Christ was not a real propitiation for the sins of mankind. Those Hebrews who were converted to the faith are told in terms the most simple and unqualified that we can possibly conceive, that Christ was offered up a sacrifice to God; and whenever the analogy is adverted to between the Jewish and this great Christian sacrifice, it is with the view of representing the latter as the antitype or the arche-type of the former, the latter as the substantial verification, the former as but the symbol or figurative representation thereof. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:396.

53)

THE PRAYER.

WE would render thanks to Thee, God, for Thine unspeakable gift, Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent to be the Saviour of the world We rejoice in the fulness of His salvation, that He has not only offered up His body a sacrifice fur the sins of the world, but that after He died and rose again, He obtained gifts for the rebellious, even that Spirit which is poured abundantly on all who believe in Him. We would conform ourselves, O God, to the whole of this economy, both trusting in that forgiveness which is through His blood, and walking in that strength by which He enables His disciples to perform all holy obedience. Be with us now and ever, for His sake.–Amen. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:414.

54) But reduce faith to its simplicity, take it in the obvious and uncompounded sense which you attach to the mere act of believing, regard it as purely a giving credit to God s testimony when He sets forth Christ as a propitiation for the sins of the world, and invites one and all in the world to cast upon Him the burden of their reliance, and then see how, by immediate transition, one might enter into peace and become a confiding, tranquillized, and happy creature, simply because convinced that the most powerful of Beings, whom he aforetime regarded as an enemy and an avenger, is pacified towards him, and now makes him a free proffer of fellowship and forgiveness. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:467.

55) There needs be nothing superstitious, or fanciful, or weak in the deeper solemnity that is visible on that impressive occasion–founded, as it may altogether be, on a deeper and more realizing sense of the great sacrifice that was made for the sins of the world. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:499.

56) In other words, you may, on this affecting occasion, hold forth to them the lesson of appropriation–assuring each, that he has a warrant for receiving, by faith, the antitypes of this sacrament, as well as the types or symbols which are employed in it, that he may view the body which was broken for the sins of the world as broken individually for him, and the blood that was shed for the remission of sins as shed specially and individually for his sins; and thus, too, by a pure act of giving and receiving, the doctrine of free grace is embodied in this most speaking and significant of all the ordinances. The minister gives, the communicant takes. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:499-500.

57) You may point to the sensible memorials of their atonement on the table of the sacrament, and assure them, with the utmost truth and tenderness, that there is nothing there which should scare them away–that the bread is but the symbol of that body which was broken for the sins of the world, and for their sins, had they but the confidence to appropriate to themselves what one and all in the world have the fullest warrant to appropriate; that the wine is but the symbol of that blood which was shed for the sins of many, and shed for their sins would they but do what many, and those the worst of sinners, have done, and they might do, would they venture the whole weight of their dependence on that foundation which God himself has laid in Zion. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:507.

Died for the world:

1) The offence of our first had entailed feebleness upon all their posterity–the whole heart was sick and the whole head was sore–and man stood the trembling victim of his own disobedience, ready to be crushed by the finger of Omnipotence, and to appease the fury of an offended Lawgiver. But a Star appeared in the east The day-spring from on high visited us. A voice was heard proclaiming glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good-will to the children of men. Our Saviour came down from heaven. He left the bosom of His father–He resigned the glories of His nature–He arrayed himself in the garb of humanity–He took upon Him the infirmities of a man–He made himself of no reputation, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And He died that we might live–He died for the salvation of a world from which He received nothing but persecution and ingratitude–He died to accomplish the benevolent purposes of heaven–He died to establish the reign of mercy and to restore the children of Adam to the smiles of a reconciled Father. You weep over the recollection of His sufferings. You rise in gratitude to the God who created, and to the Saviour who died for you. Thomas Chalmers, “The Sentiments suitable to a Communion Sabbath,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 1:422.

2) But this leads us to another topic of consideration, the priesthood of Christ. The atonement that he made for sin has a foremost place in orthodoxy. It is reiterated in all our catechisms. It forms the burden and the argument of many a ponderous dissertations. And to the popular mind, too, is it fully as familiar as to the accomplished scholar in theology. Insomuch, that scarcely an individual can be met with, even in the humblest walks of society, who does not know, and who could not tell, that Christ died for the world. But as we have often mid, there b a knowledge without consideration. Thomas Chalmers, “On the Distinction between Knowledge and Consideration,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 2:358.

3) The Saviour was rich, and for our sakes He became poor; and ere the world He died for shall be reclaimed to the knowledge of Himself, many must be His followers, who regard their wealth not as a possession, but as a stewardship. We anticipate, in time, a much higher rate of liberality than obtains at present in the Christian world; nor do we know a cause more fitted to draw it onwards, than one which may be supported visibly, without attracting a single individual to pauperism, and which, when completed permanently and substantially, will widen, and that for ever, the moral distance of our people from a state so corrupt and degrading. Thomas Chalmers, “Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 10:107-108.

Died for all:

1) The effect of His having so selected and signalized our nation is, that He has selected and signalized each individual amongst you by a pointed, a personal offer of reconciliation. This is the matter that concerns you ; and could we only prevail upon you duly to entertain this matter, we should hold it a far higher achievement than to furnish you with all the arguments, and exhibit even to your full conviction all the parts and proportions of our systematic theology. We tell you of God s beseeching voice. We assure you, in His name, that He wants you not to die. We bid you venture for pardon on the atonement made by Him who died for all men. We bid you apply forthwith to the Spirit of all grace and holiness, that you may be qualified to enter into that beatific heaven from whose battlements there wave the signals of welcome, and whose gates are widely open to receive you. We would bring this plain word of salvation nigh unto every conscience, and knock with it at the door of every heart; and commissioned as we are to preach the gospel not to a chosen few, while we keep it back from the hosts of the reprobate, but to preach it to every creature under heaven, we again entreat that none here present shall forbid themselves–for most assuredly God hath not forbidden them. But come unto Christ all of you who labour and are heavy-laden, and ye shall have rest. Look unto Him, all ye ends of the earth; and though now placed at the farthest outskirts of a moral distance and alienation, even look unto Him and ye shall be saved. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:257.

2) The controversy, I think, has assumed an unfortunate shape when stated in the terms, whether Christ died for all men, or only for those who shall finally be saved. I regret that these two terms should have been put together in this alternative method, as if the affirmation of the one necessarily involved in it the denial of the other. There is a sense in which Christ died for all menby His death He brought in an everlasting righteousness, which, in the ipsissima verba of Scripture, is unto all and upon all who believe; and our business is to urge this gospel on the acceptance of one and all. This is true; and yet it is just as true that none but they who believe shall finally be saved. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:440.

3) With this gospel, he sees the full burden of violated justice borne away from him; and God stands before him unrobed of all His severities, and tenderly inviting him to draw near through that blood of atonement which was shed, the just for the unjust, to bring the sinner unto God. Without this gospel, he may see the truth of God; but he sees it pledged to the fulfilment of the most awful threatenings against him: with this gospel, he sees the full weight of all these accomplishments resting on the head of the great sacrifice; and God s truth is now fully embarked on the most cheering assurances of pardon, on the most liberal invitations of good-will, on the most exceeding great and precious promises. Without this gospel, he may see the government of God leaning on the pillars of that immutability which upholds it. But this very immutability is to him the sentence of despair; and how can he love that face on which are stamped the characters of a stern and vindictive majesty? With this gospel, the face of God stands legibly revealed to him in other characters. That law which, resting on the solemn authority of its firm and unalterable requirements, demanded a fulfilment, up to the last jot and tittle of it, has been magnified, and has been made honourable, by one illustrious Sufferer, who put forth the greatness of His strength, in that dark hour of the travail of His soul, when He bore the burden of all its penalties. That wrath which should have been discharged on the guilty millions He died for, was all concentred upon Him who took upon Himself the chastisement of our peace, and, on that day of mysterious agony, drank, to the very dregs, the cup of our expiation. And God, who planned the whole work of this wonderful redemption; God, who in love to a guilty world sent His Son amongst us to accomplish it; God, who rather than lose His alienated creatures, as He could not strip His eternal throne of a single attribute that supported it, awoke the sword of vengeance against His fellow, that on Him the truth and the justice of the Deity might receive their most illustrious vindication; God, who out of Christ, sits surrounded with all the darkness of unapproachable majesty, is now God in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, and not imputing unto them their trespasses. His tender mercy is now free to rejoice amid all the glory of His other bright and untarnished perfections, and He pours the expression of this tenderness with an unsparing hand over the whole extent of His sinful creation; and He lets Himself down to the language of a beseeching supplicant, praying that each and every one of us might be reconciled unto Him, and, putting on a winning countenance of invitation to the guiltiest of us all, He tells us, that if we only come to Him through the appointed Mediator, He will blot out, as with a thick cloud, our transgressions; and that, as if carried away to a land that was not inhabited, He will make no more mention of them. Thomas Chalmers, “The Gospel Dissolversof the Heart Against God,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 4:132-133.

Christ died to wash away the world’s guilt:

1) This second lesson is founded on the subservience of this doctrine to the peace of the believer, even as the first is founded on its subservience to his charity. We have already said that the divinity of Christ enhanced the worth of His example, in those condescending services which He rendered to the world. We now say that His divinity enhanced the worth of that expiation, which to us is the most precious of His services. However unfathomable in all its depth that mystery might be which angels desired to look into, certain it is that the most unlettered Christian can apprehend a sufficiency, and can draw a comfort from the reflection that the Saviour who died for him was God. There is none, we deem, who has ever trembled at the thought of that offended sacredness against which he has sinned, who has not felt a most significant and a most substantial consolation from the thought that there is an equal sacredness in the atonement which has been made for sin. There is none who has been duly arrested by a sense of that guilt, against which the truth and the justice and the holiness of the Divinity are all leagued together for its everlasting condemnation, who, if a solid and satisfying hope have arisen from the midst and the profoundness of this despair, does not feel that it is intimately linked with the divinity of Him who poured out His soul unto the deatheven that the world’s guilt might be washed away. That the dignity of the sacrifice which has been made is commensurate with the dignity of the law which has been violated–that the force of the divine wrath against moral evil has had the force of a divine propitiation to neutralize–it that if the sin of the transgressor brought forth an arm of infinite strength to destroy, the sacrifice for sin is one of such prevailing force and efficacy as to have brought forth an arm of infinite strength to save him–In all this, my brethren, there is something more than the unmeaning jingle of a mere sonorous or scholastic anti-thesis. There is many a disciple who feels it to be the very aliment of his confidence and peace, that Christ is God over all blessed for ever. Amen. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:224-225.

The blood of Christ able to wash away all the sins of all men:

1) IF we assume that the sin unto death the same with the sin against the Holy Ghost–then, from what has been said in a previous discourse, it will follow that we regard those people to be on a wrong track of inquiry, who, with a view to ascertain whether they have committed this sin, look back to their by-gone history; and rummage the depositories of their past remembrance; and try to find, among all the deeds the have ever committed, that one dead of enormity, to which the forgiveness of the gospel will not and cannot be extended. There is, in truth, no such deed within the reach of human performance. The blood of Christ can wash away the guilt of all the sins of all the individuals in the assemblage before us; and, in the hearing of every one of you, do we make this free and open announcement of the gospel remedy, in all the power and preciousness which belong to it. Thomas Chalmers, “On the Nature of Sin unto Death,” in Sermons and Discourses of Thomas Chalmers, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1877), 43; c.f., Select Works, 4:636.

Other ways in which it can be said that Christ died for all:

1) As to the text which Dr. Paley quotes, that Christ died for the whole world, let it well be understood that His death is not represented as having achieved an actual pardon for the whole world, but as having achieved an amnesty which might be proposed to the whole world. But to receive the benefit of the amnesty, we must hear of it; we must understand the footing on which it is held out, and comply with the terms of it. I for one do not object to the expression of eternal life being yours in offer, but in order that it may be yours in possession, there must be an acceptance on your part, and that it is your faith in the reality of the offer which constitutes this acceptance. Christ died for the whole world, because now and in consequence of His death the offer of the remission of sins may be made, to the whole world;and when the expression is thus understood, so far from superseding, it enhances to the utmost the obligation which lies upon us to bear this precious overture of reconciliation among all the families of earth. They whom that overture never reached lie in consequence, we have every reason to believe, under a heavy destitution, which tells on their state through eternity; and they, again, whom it has reached, and who have nevertheless rejected it, so far from experiencing the benefit and virtue of the atonement by the Saviour, will entail upon them selves the burden of a sorer condemnation. That atoning death is the savour of life unto life to those only who accept of its offered benefits; to those who refuse, it will be the savour of death unto death. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Paley’s Evidences of Christianity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 6:545-546.

Christ’s death for all as the basis of the well-meant offer:

1) If by particular redemption it be meant that Christ so died for men, as that the salvation obtained by His death only took effect on a particular number, this we cannot question; but if it be meant by particular redemption that the salvation may not be made the subject of a universal proclamation, may not be tendered honestly, while urgently tendered, to all men, or severally and individually to each of them, this we promptly and indignantly deny, resenting it as we would any mutilation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is because these two propositions are so apt to be confounded that we do feel a sort of sensitive antipathy, the dread of a great practical evil, on the mention of either of them. And then what daring as well as distasteful language is often employed by the defenders of the orthodox proposition. Even when I consent to their doctrine, I abominate some of their arguments. I cannot bear this great and solemn transaction, the decease that was accomplished in Jerusalem, to be spoken of in the terms of a mercantile negotiation between the Father and the Son. I think they transgress the limits of a becoming and reverential silence when they as sign a precise arithmetical value to the blood that was shed, and then tell us that this must only form a commensurate price, or a commensurate expiation, for the guilt of those who were saved actually, else there must have been a superfluous expense of suffering–the injustice, as it were, of laying more upon Christ than He obtained a return for as the fruit of the travail of His soul. This whole nomenclature of the market and the counting-house I utterly dislike; and my repugnance thereto is not the less violent, that it bears the character of a presumptuous and inter-meddling speculation. I should feel it a most unwarrantable inroad on a region too high for us did we attempt to reason on the matters contained in the book of life. And really, if I may say it without irreverence, judging from the style of certain theologians on this topic, they seem to me as if they could scarce have spoken otherwise though they had access to a ledger-book kept in the upper sanctuary, and where the worth of the ransom, or amount of the redemption-money, and number of the redeemed, had been set off as equivalents against each other…

I have heard my deceased friend, Robert Hall, say of the great majority of evangelical preachers in England, that they were so encumbered with the dogmata of their creed, as positively not to know in what terms so to lay down the gospel as that a plain man should know how to take it up. And this dogma of particular redemption, ill understood, forms the main cause of their embarrassment. If Christ died not for all, how I can make a tender of His salvation to all? If He died only for the elect, in what terms can I declare the readiness of God to take into acceptance the multitude before me? How can I represent Him as waiting to be gracious, if, in the exercise of a discriminating grace, He has purposes of mercy only for certain some who are unknown to me, while He has no such purpose for certain others, who are alike unknown to me?…

This is a matter which belongs rather to the transaction between the Surety and the Lawgiver–a supernal or transcendental theme, therefore, and which, as lying in that direction, it is both our philosophy and our piety not to intrude into. It is our part to look in the other direction, to view it as a question between God and man, or rather as a question between God and each man individually: and it is thus, that in every case of real practical earnestness, the question is generally entertained. We read that Christ died for the world; but did He die for me in particular? Is the foundation laid in Zion by His atoning death, a foundation broad enough for me to rest upon? Are the overtures of reconciliation that have come from heaven such as I can entertain in the form of overtures addressed to myself? How can I so take them up, after being told that Christ died only for some; and it is nowhere said that I am included in the happy number? The perplexity felt by a minister in the pulpit as to the terms in which he should propose the message of reconciliation, is the very perplexity felt by the individual hearer as to the terms in which he should receive it. It is thus that the trumpet has been made to blow uncertainly; and that many a spirit, mystified and bewildered among the difficulties of a theme too high for it, has been unable to grope its way to a place of enlargement and safety.

We see no other method of resolving the perplexity than just by disentangling the celestial from the terrestrial of this whole speculation, and, foregoing all curiosity about the part which God has in it, to look singly and intently on the part which man has in it. If salvation be not destined for all, of this at least we may be very sure, that salvation is proposed to all. If Christ did not so far die for me, as that He is yet mine in possession, He at least so far died for me, as that He is mine in offer. This is truly the matter on hand; this is the word nigh unto us. I cannot run the speculation upward to the heights of the past eternity, nor onward to the depths of the future ever lasting. But with neither have I at present or practically to do.

Before terminating this subject, I should like particularly to make you understand in what respect I agree with the statement of Dr. Whitby, and, in fact, with all that is ascribed in the text book to universal redemptionists, in the most important, that is, in the practical sense, of these affirmations, and how, consistently with this, I hold by the Calvinistic doctrine of an absolute predestination. I should hold it a most grievous effect of that doctrine on your conduct of the business of the pulpit, if you did not address all men, as the subjects of the proposed pardon and justification–if you did not assure them of a reconciliation on their turning to God, and having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ–if you did not, for this purpose, urge them so to turn, and expound to them, affectionately as well as fully, the truth as it is in Jesus–if you did not tell them, just as these universal redemptionists do, that their salvation depends on their faith. The remedy, in fact, is much more extensive in proposition than it is in effect. It may be held out, and honestly held out, in proposition, to all, while at the same time, and effectively, it is limited to those who repent and believe, while most assuredly all who do so repent and believe shall be saved. And it is also quite true, that though the offer of redemption were rejected by all, there is a sense in which that redemption might still be called universal…

On entering upon this topic, I cannot but express my regret that the question between universal and particular redemption should ever have been stirred. I do not think that the interests of truth or the maintenance of essential orthodoxy required it. The controversy, I think, has assumed an unfortunate shape when stated in the terms, whether Christ died for all men, or only for those who shall finally be saved. I regret that these two terms should have been put together in this alternative method, as if the affirmation of the one necessarily involved in it the denial of the other. There is a sense in which Christ died for all men–by His death He brought in an everlasting righteousness, which, in the ipsissima verba of Scripture, is unto all and upon all who believe; and our business is to urge this gospel on the acceptance of one and all. This is true; and yet it is just as true that none but they who believe shall finally be saved. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:4254-6, 427, 429-430, 439-440.3

Removal of legal barriers (sample):

1) There are many similar testimonies, and the believer has not overlooked the preciousness of them. To him all Scripture is profitable ; and the information of those scriptures which have now been specifically cited has not been without its use in the establishment of his faith. They prove by a striking historical event that the justice of God has been satisfiedthat He has accepted of the sacrifice as a full and a finished expiationthat in releasing our Surety from the imprisonment of the grave, He has now ceased from all further legal demand upon usthat in placing Him by His own side in heaven, He testifies His complete approval of all that has been done for the salvation of the world,–in a word, that the great errand has been fulfilled; and that, with the now admitted presence of our forerunner within the veil to plead the accomplishment of it, nothing is wanting to the confidence wherewith we may now leave our cause in His hand, and look for the sure mercies of David. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:177.

2) Now, remember that in praying to be saved you just pray that such a heaven may be the place of your settlement through all eternity–else there is no significancy in your prayer. It is not enough that you seize by faith on a deed of justification. You must, with diligence and effort and all the expedients of moral and spiritual culture, enter forthwith on a busy process of sanctification. It is well that Jesus Christ hath by the expiation of the cross moved away that barrier which obstructed our access to the Jerusalem above. But now that a way for the ransomed of the Lord is open, let us forget not that it is a way of holiness. There is a work of salvation going on in heaven, by which Jesus Christ in some way that He hath not explained is there employed in preparing a place for us. “I go to prepare a place for you.” But there is also a work of salvation going on in earth, by which Jesus Christ through His word and Spirit is here employed in preparing us for the place. And our distinct business is to be ever practising and ever improving ourselves in the virtues of this preparation. It is not a selfish affection for happiness in the general which forms the leading principle of Christianity. It is a sacred affection for that happiness which lies in holiness–or rather for that holiness which, to every being possessed of a moral nature, brings the best and the highest happiness in its train. In one word, if you take the right aim for salvation, it must be a moral heaven to which you aspire; and ere you can find entrance into such a heaven you must be moralized. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 2:278.

God’s saving good-will to mankind:

1) Although the mercy of God reaches the transgressors of His law only through the merits and mediation of His Son, there is nothing in this which at all deducts from the strength of this attribute. It was not the redemption by Christ which originated the mercy of God, but it was the mercy of God which originated the scheme of our redemption. He so loved the world as to send His only begotten Son into it; and herein is love, that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. It is of the utmost importance that you give a primary, a presiding place to the kindness of God the Father in the great work of redemption. You are not to represent Him as devoid of all movement or affection of good-will to mankind till propitiated and made placable, as it were, by the sacrifice of His Son upon the cross. You must ever remember to impress it upon your people that the tender mercy of God to His strayed children lay at the bottom of the whole of this marvellous dispensation–that He felt towards them all the longings of a bereaved parent–that the mode of recovery was a method of His own devising, and instituted by Him for the purpose of finding a way by which He might reach the guilty, and put forth that mercy upon them which is the darling attribute of His nature. And because it had to devise such a way, so far on this account from its being a mercy abridged and obliterated, it was mercy in its highest possible exhibition, because a mercy that had to struggle, as it were, against the necessities of a high and holy administration–a mercy that had to scale the barrier which the truth and justice and sacredness of the divinity placed in its way–a mercy by which, rather than destroy our world, He spared not His only beloved Son; and now that the wall of separation has been taken down by Him who died the just for the unjust, a mercy is held forth to the acceptance of all, which, rejoicing in its own exuberance, goes abroad over the face of the world, and plies with its overtures of welcome and good-will all the individuals of all its families. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8:368.

Of general interest:

1) But as yet the reasoning has only had to do with actual sins; nor have we got beyond the consideration of the guilt which attaches to these, whether jointly or severally. We have said no more than that the actual sins of the many are to be judged of on no other principle than the actual sins of the few; or that the actual sins of a whole world are to be judged of and pronounced upon as are the actual sins of each and every of its single inhabitants. But it is not on the guilt as chargeable on or as implicated with actual sins, whether in the bulk or the detail, that there is any difficulty–it is in the guilt which theologians have charged upon, or have implicated with what they term original sin, that the difficulty lies. Now, we have already seen how it is that with sins, viewed not in respect of their desert, but simply in respect of their existence, the actual does merge into the original. Thomas Chalmers, “Institutes of Theology,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 7:380-381.

While therefore we cannot evade the fact that the promulgation of a law has added to the world’s guilt, and so afforded place for this reflection against God, that by a thing of His doing, even the delivery of this law, sin has been aggravated in the character and increased in the amount of it yet how completely, we ask you to attend, is the imputed severity of this proceeding, in as far as you at least are concerned, done away by the express affirmation of the verse before us that where sin abounded grace did much more abound. Thomas Chalmers, “Lectures on Romans,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 1:200.

2) I must say that I think the mode in which the Calvinistic system is stated in vol. iii. p. 53 of our text-book, is, for practical purposes, rather unfortunate. I demur not to the substantial doctrine, but to the manner in which it is here put forth, and which I think is calculated to lay a crushing arrest on the practical work of Christianization. In the first place, I do not see what business we ever had to enter at all on a speculation about the precise amount of saving efficacy that lay in the atonement by Christ, and whether it were commensurate to the salvation of all men, or commensurate only to the salvation of the elect. It is a most distasteful and a most unpractical question, that we had no call to try our arithmetic upon. The thing wherewith we have to do is, that in virtue of Christ s mediation and sacrifice, there is salvation for all who will, and most assuredly a salvation in which not a creature who places his reliance upon it will be disappointed. This is the message wherewith we are charged, and with this we are fully warranted to go round among all the families of the earth, or to give it a more familiar and business application, a message which every parish minister might carry round among all the households, and, as good Richard Baxter did in the town of Kidderminster, beseech every individual he met with to mind the things which belong to their peace. And this speculation, as put by some of the particular redemptionists, has not only an unpractical, we fear it has an antipractical effect, and more especially when coupled with the sentiment expressed in another clause of the text-book, even that it is not in the power of man to increase or diminish the number of the saved. I do apprehend that when Calvinism is put in this particular way, it may be so mistaken as to paralyze the zeal and activity of ministers for the Christianization of their parishes–of parents for the Christianization of their families–of religious philanthropists for the Christianization of their neighbourhoods, or of those who are placed within the sphere of their respective influences. I hold this way of putting things to be very unfortunate, and more especially that I think there is a method of so representing the matter as to combine the most rigid opinion on the subject of God s sovereignty and God s predestination, with the most strenuous prosecution of all those means and measures which either Scripture has prescribed or experience has confirmed as the likeliest expedients for speeding and multiplying the work of conversion in the land. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8: 448-449.

3) I think there is a light within the reach of each man which, had he improved it as he ought, would have conducted him to larger manifestations, and issued in his salvation. It is his resistance to this light which forms the principle of his condemnation in the day of reckoning. It will be found on the examinations of that day that men did not avail themselves as they ought of the knowledge they actually had, of the strength they actually had. It is this which puts a minister on high vantage-ground in reference to all the hearers of his congregation. He has a something wherewith he can ply every man s conscience there, and by which he can enlist every man s conscience on the side of religion. But the conscience often gives its testimony on the side of the minister without obtaining a practical ascendency over the hearer. It has lifted a remonstrating but not an effectual voice; and this it is which forms the material of the man’s condemnation. He was made to know, and in a certain degree, to feel what was right, and he might have followed up what he felt if he would. But he would not; and because of the moral perversity of his will he becomes a proper subject of the condemnatory sentence in the last day of account. I hold it of mighty importance to concede this to the universal redemptionists, however much it may carry the semblance of a participation in their error. But it is only a semblance, for this much can be conceded without trenching on any peculiarity of the most rigorous Calvinism. While we admit there is a light of conscience among them all enough to condemn if they will not follow its dictates, there is still room for the question, Why is it, then, one man wills, and another wills not ? On the principles of Christian necessity, or, what is better and more authoritative far, on the principles of the Bible, we can give no other answer than that it is God which makes one man to differ from another, and that it may be predicated of all men, that they have nothing which they did not receive. Thomas Chalmers, “Notes on Hill’s Lectures in Divinity,” in Select Works of Thomas Chalmers, (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, 1854), 8: 465-466.


 

1To my knowledge I have no association with the author of these articles.
2I would add that using “Amyraldian” as a descriptor is not only inaccurate, but it is also unwise, as it furthers the use of that label as “brand” for anything that does not fit modern and strict definitions of TULIP. And I am sure that were one to propose this label to Chalmers he would probably say something along these lines: “I don’t know about you, Sir, but I am definitely a Calvinist.” And in this he would have been exactly right. And lastly, by ‘Amyraldian distinctives,’ I am not referring to unlimited expiation and redemption, as these are not distinctive to Amyraut, but are shared ideas between him and many of the first generation Reformers.
3This entire lecture can be found here.

 

 

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