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Justice

Sin, the existent occasion for an atonement, we say, can find no solution of the difficulty it presents to the human mind apart from divine sovereignty. Philosophers have speculated very foolishly on this subject, fanatics have very madly raved about it, and the friends of God have very impertinently apologized for the conduct of the Lord of all about it; but after all, the fact remains just where the philosopher, the fanatic, and the friend found it, and just what that fact was, a judgment of divine sovereignty that is unsearchable, and a way that is past finding out.

Reasoning on the ways of God as the great moral Governor, it has been thought…

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In entering on this subject it seems proper to remark that in all government there must be law, by which obedience and disobedience may be known. But there is a difference between arbitrary and moral government. In an arbitrary government, laws may be established which have not the sanction of the moral judgment; and if such be the case anywhere in fact, justice will have no place there. A breach of law which has no moral sanction…

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II. There is a punishing of the disobedient. Justice and vengeance differ. Strictly speaking, there is no vengeance in God, nor does this passion form an element of justice. Vengeance, properly so called, can only be sated by the pain or injury desired to be inflicted upon the person himself against whom the fury of the avenger burns. It wholly declines the offices of a substitute if any such are offered. It steadily and sternly refuses to be pacified by the suffering or injury of another than its proper victim. If in the wildness of its rage it strikes at any relation of its object, this is simply on the ground of…

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Retribution, in reference to the atonement, is altogether necessary to the satisfaction of all parties concerned therein.

First, it is necessary to the great Fountain of justice, its Administrator, and the Guardian of its rights. If the Sovereign makes a provision for sinners by grace unknown to the law, the Lawgiver will part with none of his claims in favour of the gracious transaction. God, the Fountain of justice, be it reverently spoken, must have his own moral judgment satisfied in any atonement which…

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If it be the province of justice to give to every one his due, to reward the meritorious must be one of its obligations. The reward of Christ, as the atoning Substitute of his people, comes within this province of justice, and presents the most illustrious example of its giving to the meritorious his due. But before entering on this subject, it seems necessary we should try to understand the meaning of the word merit, and how merit itself arises.

“Those deeds are meritorious which, without or beyond personal obligation,” are performed for the sake of the benefit of others. But meritorious deeds…

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