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LECTURE X.

THE THEORY OF THE ATONEMENT: ILLUSTRATED BY THE RELATION OF OUR LORD

JESUS CHRIST TO THE HUMAN RACE.

LECTURE X.

THE THEORY OF THE ATONEMENT: ILLUSTRATED BY

THE RELATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TO
THE HUMAN RACE.

IN

N the preceding Lecture I endeavoured to illustrate

the transcendent significance and value which the Death of Christ derives from His original relation to the eternal Law of Righteousness, and especially to the penalties which menace the transgression of its commandments.

But this account of the Sacrifice of Christ, though true as far as it goes, appears to be inadequate. It leaves unexplained some of the most frequent and familiar forms under which the Death of Christ is represented in the New Testament. For although the redemption of mankind is spoken of both by Christ Himself and by His Apostles as originating in the love and righteousness of God, the language of the New Testament seems to imply that in some sense Christ died in the name of the human race. It is not God alone who has part in the great Mystery. Christ was a Sacrifice and Propitiation for us, though not by our own choice and appointment. His Death is described

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as an appeal to God's infinite mercy coming from the human race itself, or from One who has a right to speak and act and suffer as its Representative. This aspect of the Death of Christ has no place in the partial conception of it which we have reached by considering the relation of Christ to the eternal Law of Righteousness.

Again ; this partial conception of it leaves the impression on the mind that the Death of Christ had something of a dramatic character, and that its value lies in its dramatic effect. The theory—if I may so speak

-seems to be “ in the air.” If it can be shown that the original and ideal relation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the human race constitutes a reason why He should become a Sacrifice and Propitiation for our sins, the conception of His Death illustrated in the preceding Lecture will rest on more solid and secure founda. tions. I have now, therefore, to attempt to illustrate the theory of the Atonement from the original relation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the human race.

I can hardly hope that the attempt will be very successful. For this relation has never yet been clearly apprehended either by the Christian Church as a whole, or by any considerable section of it. The Athanasian conception of the Trinity has been incorporated into the very life of Christendom. The conception has been differently defined in the East and in the West; it has been greatly modified-in Europe at least -by the philosophical systems which have successively controlled the speculation of the Church during

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