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Title: The Atonement - as taught by the Church of England: A Sermon
Author: Hoare, Edward N.
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1849 J. H. Jackson edition by David Price, email

                              THE ATONEMENT,

                               AS TAUGHT BY

                          THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.

                                * * * * *

                                A SERMON,
                  ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, MARCH 29, 1849.

                                * * * * *

                     BY THE REV. EDWARD HOARE, A.M.,
                       OF CHRIST CHURCH, RAMSGATE.

                                * * * * *

                            PUBLISHED FOR THE
                    BY J. H. JACKSON, ISLINGTON-GREEN;


                                * * * * *

                             ALEX. MACINTOSH,
                        GREAT NEW-STREET, LONDON.

                                * * * * *


                     President.—REV. D. WILSON, M.A.

                      Treasurer.—GEORGE FRIEND, ESQ.


CHILDE, REV. C. F.      SMITH, REV. E.          HADOW, MR. J. E.

                        SOUTHERLAND, REV. J.    LOVELOCK, MR. E.
                        WEIR, REV. J.           MARSHALL, MR. SAMUEL.
                        WILLYAMS, REV. T. E.    PECKET, MR. GEORGE.
                        ADAMS, MR. J.           SAXTON, MR. E.
                                                SPURLING, MR. J.
HILL, REV. T. B.        ATKINSON, MR. R. M.
                                                SUTER, MR. E.
                                                REID, MR. JAMES.
                                                VENN, MR. W. W.
                                                WADDINGTON, MR. J.
                                                WESTERN, MR. W.
                                                WILKINSON, CHAS.,
SHURT, REV. T.          ESCREET, MR. T., JUN.   M.D.


                          Honorary Secretaries.

REV. J. SANDYS, M.A.                MR. D. HAZARD.

REV. R. P. HUTCHISON, B.A.          MR. W. PITMAN.



I.  That this Society be called “THE ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE.”

II.  That the objects of the Society be to awaken the attention of
Protestant Christians to the progress of Popery; to call forth and unite
their energies in opposing it; and to form a rallying-point, as well for
the defence and promotion of Protestant truth, as for the maintenance of
the Protestant principles of the Constitution.

III.  That the principal means for the attainment of this object be: the
issue of suitable publications; the enrolment of the names of members;
public meetings, lectures, and sermons; addresses and deputations to
Parliamentary representatives; petitions to the Legislature, or the
Sovereign; and correspondence with kindred Societies, with a view to
obtain and communicate information.

IV.  That the Society be conducted by a President, Treasurer, Committee,
and two Clerical and two Lay Secretaries.

V.  That Members be of two classes:—

1.  That every person contributing a Donation of Five Guineas or upwards,
at one time, or an Annual Subscription of Five Shillings or upwards, be a
Subscribing Member.

2.  That every person from among the operative classes, who shall be
recommended by two Subscribing Members, be admissible as a Free Member,
subject to annual re-election.

—And that all Members be entitled to attend the General Meetings of the
Society, and to receive the Annual Reports, and other publications, as
far as the funds will admit, preference being given to the Subscribing
Members, to whom also the privilege of voting will be confined.

VI.  That a Committee be annually elected, consisting of thirty Lay
Subscribing Members, together with all Clergy resident in the parish who
are likewise Subscribing Members of the Society, with power to fill up
vacancies.  That this Committee elect, either from among themselves or
from other Subscribing Members, District Sub-committees, with a view to
carrying out the objects of the Society generally in the parish.

VII.  That the General Committee receive the Reports of the District
Sub-committees; determine on the admission and annual re-election of Free
Members, in pursuance of Rule V.; regulate all matters of expenditure;
suggest plans for general adoption; and supply such publications as may
be required for distribution.

VIII.  That all publications circulated by the Society be first approved
by the General Committee, and bear the stamp of the “ISLINGTON PROTESTANT

IX.  That the General Committee meet on the third Monday in every month,
and oftener, if needful.  Five members to constitute a quorum.

X.  That an Annual Meeting of the Members of the Society be held in the
month of November, on such day as may be fixed by the General Committee;
when the proceedings of the foregoing year shall be reported, the
accounts presented, and the Officers and Committee chosen.

XI.  That the Secretaries shall call a Special General Meeting on the
requisition of not less than twenty Subscribing Members; that such
requisition be in writing, and specify the object for which the meeting
is to be summoned; and that not less than seven days’ notice be given, by
circular, to the Subscribing Members of the Society.

XII.  That none of the Rules of the Society be repealed or altered, nor
any new ones adopted, but at the Annual Meeting, or at a Special General
Meeting called for that purpose.

XIII.  That all Meetings of the Society be opened with prayer, and closed
with benediction.

XIV.  That it be earnestly recommended to all the members of this Society
to make its important objects and plans a subject of special and frequent
prayer, both in private and in the family.

                                * * * * *

N.B.  1.  Contributions in aid of the Institute will be thankfully
received by any of the officers.

2.  As the pecuniary qualification for Membership has been fixed at the
low rate of 5s., and as every Subscribing Member receives, in the form of
publications, considerably more than an equivalent for that sum, it is
obvious that the Society can only be maintained by the liberality of such
as can afford to contribute more largely to its Funds.

3.  All the publications of the Institute may be purchased at Mr.
Jackson’s, Bookseller and Publisher, Islington Green.

4.  Parties contemplating the formation of similar Societies in any part
of the country, are cordially invited to correspond with the officers of
the Institute, who will also be thankful for any authentic information
and friendly communication from Societies already in existence.


                                1 JOHN II. 2.


IT is impossible to overrate the deep importance of the holy subject
presented to us by these blessed words.  They lead us to the foundation
of the believer’s faith; and announce the great fact upon which our life
depends.  They bear with them all the deep interests of eternity, for
without the atonement we are unquestionably lost, while receiving the
atonement we are no less unquestionably safe.  Measure therefore, if you
can, the difference between the poor unhappy soul spending eternity in
the agonies of the damned, and a blessed spirit rejoicing before the
throne of God, and filled with delight in the unfettered exercise of holy
love, and you may thence gain a scale or standard whereby to estimate the
work of Jesus, when he gave himself as the propitiation for our sin.

May the Holy Spirit be with us and direct our investigation!  May He take
of the things of Christ, and show them unto us!  May He so solemnize our
hearts by his grace, that, in the spirit of little children, we may
search his word with meekness!  And may He so enlighten our
understanding, that we may be guided by that word into the peaceful
enjoyment of his saving truth!

We are to examine, then, the doctrine of atonement, as taught by the
Church of England; and in doing so we will endeavour to investigate the
end, the plan, and some of the leading characteristics of the work.

I.  The _end_, or _purpose_; _i.e._, the object to attain which our Lord
was made a propitiation.

This object is stated in our Second Article to be, “to reconcile his
Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original, but also for
actual sins of men.”

There is in every natural heart a deep sense of alienation from God an
irresistible conviction that the soul is not safe with him.  It pervades
all classes and all characters.  It is felt by the profligate, for
however earnestly he may strive to stifle conscience, he cannot
altogether still the conviction that the path he is treading is the way
to hell.  The moralist feels it, for with all his propriety of outward
conduct, and with all the delusive self-satisfaction which he grains from
comparing his character with that of others, there remains a still small
voice, which assures him, in language not to be mistaken, that in God’s
sight he is defective, that God’s will has not been obeyed, and that his
law has been most sadly broken.  The formalist feels it, for, while, in
the earnestness of his religion, he pursues with unremitting zeal his
appointed course of rites and services, there is still a want of peace in
the inmost recesses of his soul; there is earnestness without love, zeal
without joy, religion without peace, and active devotion without any rest
in communion with God.

Now this sense of alienation in the heart is nothing more than the echo,
or reflection, of God’s testimony in the Scripture.  There is a perfect
harmony between conscience and the Bible.  They both convey God’s
testimony, written in the one case on the secrets of the heart, and in
the other on the pages of the inspired word.  Both acknowledge the sense
of alienation.  But the Bible goes the farthest, and while the heart can
only deplore the fact, the Scriptures explain both its causes and its
remedy.  Turning, then, to the word of God, we discover that there are
two causes for this uneasiness of spirit,—our own sin, and God’s
judgment.  We are all by nature, according to our Article, “very far gone
from original righteousness;” and, according to the language of the
Scriptures, “the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject
to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the
flesh cannot please God:” words clearly descriptive of an enmity on our
part towards him.  Then, again, that same Article teaches us that “in
every person born into the world this inbred sin deserveth God’s wrath
and damnation,” in exact accordance with the same Scripture, which
declares, that “the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness
and disobedience of men;” showing that on God’s part there is a judicial
wrath, and that, as a holy lawgiver, he cannot love the guilty.  If any,
therefore, inquire the reason of this secret uneasiness in his soul, we
reply, that the cause is twofold; it is partly because his own heart is
at enmity with God, and partly because God’s holiness is at enmity with
him.  There is the corruption of his own nature which makes him at
variance with God’s will, and there is the curse of unforgiven sin, which
shuts him out from all enjoyment of God’s love.

Now the end or object of the atonement is to remove that curse entirely
and at once, so that, God being reconciled to the sinner, the sinner may
be reconciled to God, and the anxious soul restored to peace.  A regret
has been expressed that our Second Article was not worded differently,
and that it was not written, “to reconcile us to the Father,” instead of,
“to reconcile the Father to us.”  It is the wish of such objectors to
convey the idea that the object of the crucifixion was to remove one only
of the causes of separation, and to produce such a moral impression on
the mind of the spectator as should soften his heart, and do away with
his enmity towards God; they would exclude the thought of God being
reconciled to us by the satisfaction of his righteous law.  But this is
the great and primary effect of atonement, as taught in sacred Scripture.
The change in man’s heart is a consequence which follows from it, but the
change in God’s regard to the sinner is the one effect immediately
produced by it.  Its one object was to enable him to spare the sinner
without departing from his law, to give full vent to his love without
detracting from his holiness, to take the curse away that the sinner, who
deserved it, might be loved as an adopted child.  “Whom God hath set
forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the
forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness,
that he might be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in
Jesus.” {7}

Imagine yourself, then, freely forgiven, with the whole curse gone; loved
as if you had never known the smallest taint of sin, beloved by God
himself as if you had been holy even as the Son of man, enjoying access
to the throne without a fear, and welcomed by Him without a hinderance.
Imagine yourself, though lost, fallen, and guilty, thus pardoned, thus
beloved, while the holiness of God’s law remains untouched and
undiminished, and you see the end or purpose of the atonement on the

II.  What, then, was the _plan_ by which this mighty change was
effected,—by which God was thus reconciled to man?

It could not be done by the mere remission of sin, for then the law of
God would have been dishonoured, the sentence passed would not have been
executed, and the pardon of the sinner would have been a departure from
the truth of God.

The plan, therefore, which he purposed was in the person of the eternal
Son to bear the curse himself, and to make satisfaction for the broken
law.  In his holiness he could not remit it, so in unutterable love he
bore it.  What could not be done through bare remission could be done
through substitution; and the Son himself was prepared and offered as a
substitute.  There was never such a person, nor such a scheme.  In order
to represent man, he became himself perfect man.  In order to satisfy the
law, he first in his life fulfilled its holiness, and then in his death
bore its sentence.  Thus the satisfaction for sin was perfect.  The law
passed sentence on man, and man endured it.  The law claimed fulfilment,
and man fulfilled it.  The law required a worthy substitute for the whole
race, and He, with all the attributes of the Godhead, was amply
sufficient as a ransom for the world.

Thus his work is sometimes called atonement, because, by his own death,
he atoned for sin, or presented an equivalent for the sinner’s guilt;
sometimes expiation, because it expiated or took away the wrath due to
sin; sometimes it is called satisfaction, because, in his death, he
satisfied the law; sometimes oblation, because he was offered on the
cross, as the lamb was offered on the altar; and sometimes propitiation,
because the wrath of God was propitiated, so that he loves those whom
before he regarded with righteous displeasure; but in all cases the
leading idea is the same, viz., that punishment was required by God’s
righteousness, and that he endured it as the representative or substitute
of the sinner.  The satisfaction of an unchangeable sentence was its one
great object.  It was God’s act of homage to the unbending holiness of
his law.  There was in it the perfect display of two attributes, love and
justice; love which prompted him to save the ruined, and justice which
required the sacrifice, in order that the purpose of love might be
fulfilled.  Thus the atonement is the one central point in which “mercy
and truth are met together, and righteousness and peace have kissed each

III.  From this brief and general view of the doctrine of atonement, we
may proceed at once to some of the _leading truths respecting it_, more
especially dwelling upon those which form the distinctive teaching of the
Church of England, as contrasted with that of Rome.  These may be summed
up under three heads:—

(1.)  That there can be no other satisfaction for sin.

(2.)  That the satisfaction made by our Lord was complete.

(3.)  That it was final.

(1.)  And, in the first place, it must be obvious that _nothing else can
make a satisfaction for sin_.  There is in the human heart a constant
tendency to strive after some expiation, a tendency which is seen in
Heathen as well as Christian lands, and which is nothing more than the
natural effort of the unenlightened heart to shake off the burden of its
guilt.  But, before the cross of Christ, all such tendencies should at
once disappear, and the immeasurable costliness of the Divine remedy
should stamp all human schemes with nothingness.  If man could do
anything to make expiation for his sin, then why did the Son of God
suffer? why the great mystery of the incarnation? why the agony in the
garden? why the hiding of God’s countenance? and why the assurance that
sin is blotted out through the Saviour’s most precious blood?  We need
only look for a moment to the eternal divinity of the whole plan, to the
deep mystery of the incarnation, and to that marvellous fact, that in the
hour of his deepest need the Son was forsaken of the Father, to be well
assured of the most certain truth, that nothing that man could do could,
in any form or any circumstances, avail to make satisfaction for his sin.

The Church of England, therefore, has decided in the Thirty-first
Article, after describing the perfection of the work of our Lord,—“And
there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone.”  But in this
respect we are in direct opposition to the Church of Rome, for, although
its advocates admit in words the completeness of the atonement, and in
theological discussion would trace all merit to it as the fountain-head,
yet there are numberless decrees and practices which show too plainly
that many other satisfactions have been practically admitted into their
system.  For example, the Council of Trent decreed, “That such is the
abundance of the Divine bounty, that we are able to make satisfaction to
God the Father, through Christ Jesus, not only by punishments voluntarily
endured by us as chastisements for sin, or imposed at the pleasure of the
priests, according to the degree of the offence, and also (and this is an
amazing proof of love) by temporal pains inflicted by God himself, and by
us patiently borne.” {10}  Now, although in this very decree all is said
to be through Christ, it must be plain to the practical and simple mind,
that there are two new sources of satisfaction opened to the sinner,—the
voluntary infliction of penance, and the patient endurance of involuntary

With reference to the latter, it is indeed a beautiful thing to see this
fruit of the Spirit abounding in the chastened child of God; the Lord’s
love is thereby glorified, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost are brought
experimentally to the view.  But where do we read that such affliction,
or such patience, is to be regarded as expiation?  It may be like the
refiner’s fire, by means of which the Lord draws out the pure gold for
his diadem, for he says himself, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of
affliction,” but it has no connexion with expiation.  The source of
expiation is Divine justice, the means of it is punishment, and the end
is the satisfaction of the law; the source of chastisement, on the other
hand, is love, for “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth;” the means of it
may be sorrow, as the widow wept that she might rejoice over her risen
son; but the end is that we are made more like to Christ, for “he does it
for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”  Let no
afflicted believer, then, suppose that God is angry with him in his
trouble, or that by his patient endurance he can make satisfaction for
his sin.  Rather let him take his sorrow as a pledge of love, as a sweet
token that the Lord has not left him to the wanderings of his sinful
heart, but is drawing him nearer to himself, and preparing him for a
bright place in the coming kingdom of his Lord.

And as for the other idea, that our own self-inflicted pains can make
satisfaction for our sins, we need scarcely look even to the scriptural
testimony for its overthrow.  If a man were left for execution by an
earthly judge, would his sentence be remitted if it were proved that,
during his imprisonment, he had thought it right to abstain from meat?
And if God’s heavy wrath frowns on a soul, and his justice demands the
execution of his law, is it likely, I ask, that the sentence should be
remitted because the sinner has thought it right to do penance for a
week?  The Catechism of Trent even presumes to say that penance is “as it
were, a compensation for sin.” {11}  Now, what penance can make a
compensation to God? what acts of repentance are there so perfect that
they do not themselves require to be repented of? and, if any such could
be found, how could they make satisfaction for sin? how could the right
of to-day be a compensation for the wrong of yesterday?  No; if that were
our hope, we might weep till the ocean overflowed with the deep tide of
our penitential tears; we might lacerate and emaciate the poor human
frame till it could no longer contain the worn and peaceless spirit; but,
after all, there could be no peace, no satisfaction, no propitiation of
God’s justice, and therefore no relief from the weight and burden of our
sin.  No; we must abandon all thoughts of satisfaction, and throw
ourselves as we are before the cross of Christ, in a simple reliance on
the one great fact, that he, as our perfect substitute, has blotted out
the whole by his own most precious blood.  Our satisfaction is that
Christ has died, and that alone is sure to be sufficient, for it was
purposed by the Father in his own eternal counsels; our atonement has
been made by the spotless Redeemer, the eternal Son, and while we adore
its full perfection, we give up all thoughts of mixing with it, or adding
to it, the poor, defective, imperfect, sin-stricken efforts, which frail,
feeble man may strive to make in order to effect a yet further
compensation for his sin.

(2.)  It is _complete_; _i.e._, according to the language of our
Articles, it is a “perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction.”
It is amply sufficient for the completion of the purposed work, the
removal of God’s curse, and his full reconciliation to the lost and
guilty sinner.

Now, in order to this completeness there are two things plainly
necessary; viz., that it should be free in its application, and perfect
in its effect; or, in other words, that the pardon procured by it should
be both _free_ and _full_; free, for it must reach to the lowest depths
of the sinner’s fall, or it can never open the door of life to those who
are lost in sin; and full, for when it blots out sin, it must blot it out
completely, or it can never admit the pardoned believer to the peaceful
enjoyment of the love of God.

When, therefore, we speak of a full satisfaction, we include both these
truths, and in both these respects we are at direct variance with Rome.

As to the first, it is the doctrine of the Church of England that the
work wrought out by Him was so complete, that there was nothing left for
the sinner to do, in order to qualify himself for pardon, but that
salvation is offered us on the simple terms, “Believe, and live.”  “We
are accounted righteous before God _only_ for the merit of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ.” {12}

It is extremely difficult to give any short and clear definition of the
doctrine of the Church of Rome upon the subject, for it is a complicated
maze, through which her followers are obliged to tread.  But the idea
throughout is that there must be something in us, as it were, to meet the
work of atonement, some satisfaction on the part of the sinner, to
qualify him for the reception of the satisfaction of the Lord.  In words
they would state that the atonement was complete, but in its application
of it to ruined souls they neutralize the statement, by demanding
something on our part as a condition of our being pardoned through it.
It is as though the veil of the temple had been rent from the top almost
to the bottom, but still a small fragment left which the sinner must
divide, before he can go in before the mercy-seat.  It is as though there
were a debt of 100_l._, or any other sum, and the creditor said to the
debtor, Your friend has paid the whole, and you shall be free, provided
that you now pay down 1_l._  It matters not what is the character, or
what the amount of the remaining sum, which the debtor is required to pay
in order to procure the gift of proffered freedom; the simple fact of any
such demand destroys the perfection of the ransom of the substitute.  As
Hooker said of this same system, “I cannot stand now to unrip this
building, and sift it piece by piece,” and I believe there is no occasion
to do so, as none who are acquainted with Romish teaching can deny that
there is some such demand made on every adult before the Lord’s atonement
can be made efficacious for his pardon.  In some cases the thing demanded
is personal sanctification, according to which a person must be holy
before he can be justified in his Lord.  “If any man shall say that men
are justified either by the sole imputation of the righteousness of
Christ, or the sole remission of our sins, and not by grace and charity,
which is diffused in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, and is inherent in
them, let him be anathema.” {13a}  Sometimes it is good works, as in the
Catechism of the Council of Trent, which declares that through the
atonement we obtain by good works two great benefits, “one that we
deserve the rewards of immortal glory—the other that we make satisfaction
for our sins.” {13b}  The whole, it says, “depends on the merit of our
Lord’s passion;” but the good works are represented as acts on our part,
through which that atonement is made effectual to our case.  Sometimes it
is penance, through which mortal sin after baptism is said to be
remitted, and of which the Council of Trent decrees, “Whoever shall
affirm that the satisfactions by which penitents redeem themselves from
sin through Christ Jesus, are no part of the service of God, but on the
contrary, human traditions which obscure the doctrine of grace, and the
true worship of God, and the benefits of the death of Christ, let him be
anathema.” {13c}

Now believers in the Bible are not afraid boldly to say, “Let that
anathema rest on us,” for we do believe from the bottom of our heart that
the doctrine of grace is obscured and neutralized by such a system of
human satisfaction.  We believe it to be utterly impossible for penitents
to redeem themselves from sin by any satisfaction whatsoever.  “It cost
more to redeem their souls, so that they must let that alone for ever.”
We believe at the same time that there is no such satisfaction needed,
but that the whole judgment has been so completely borne, as to lay open
the treasury of life to the sinner, even in the lowest depths of his
ruin; so that when he has nothing to bring, and can have nothing, and has
no prospect of ever having anything at any future time, we can proclaim
to him in the words of the Holy Ghost, “Ho! every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

But before we quit the subject of the completeness of the atonement we
must remember its fulness or perfection towards the pardoned believer.
We have found that the completeness of the atonement is practically
neutralized by the demand of some human satisfaction, in order that the
Lord’s propitiation may be made applicable to the sinner; but now another
question arises, of the deepest possible importance,—Is the sinner, when
forgiven, forgiven completely?  Is his sin fully or only partially
blotted out?  Hitherto we have spoken merely of the man seeking
forgiveness, and found how he is required by the Church of Rome to do
something before he can reach up to the atonement; now let us proceed a
step further, and examine the case of one who has obtained it, _i.e._, of
the pardoned believer,—of the accepted child of God.  How does he stand
with reference to those sins which have been pardoned through the blood
of propitiation?  Does any portion of the guilt or charge of them lie
against him after his forgiveness? or is the whole removed and blotted
out for ever?

It may appear strange to some that I have even raised the question, for
the language of sacred scripture is so plain and so often repeated, that
those who are familiar with its pages will at once call to mind a host of
passages, which place the matter beyond the range of controversy.
“Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; and
though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.”  If they are as
white as snow, there is surely no stain left.  “I will forgive their
iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  There is therefore no
trace or recollection of its blot.  “There is therefore now no
condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.”  There cannot therefore
be a guilt or a condemnation left.  “He hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him;”
_i.e._, that the righteousness of God might be imputed to us, just as our
guilt was laid upon him; and if that is the case, can there be any
vestige left, any remnant of the stain or curse?  Surely guilt must be
gone if we stand before the throne in the righteousness of Jesus.  There
is no stain on his garment, no defect in his love.  It is perfect,
spotless, and untainted for eternity; and the believer, who is clad in
it, may cast to the winds all thought of punishment for bygone sin, and
let his soul repose in the peaceful enjoyment of unimpeded love.

But now contrast with this the teaching of the Church of Rome.  The
Council of Trent decreed, “If any man shall say that after the gift of
justification has been received, sin is so remitted to any repentant
sinner, and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out, that there
remains no debt of temporary punishment to be endured either in this
world, or in the world to come, in purgatory, before a way can be opened
into the kingdom of heaven, let him be anathema.” {15a}  You observe,
that the persons alluded to in the decree are justified believers, by
whom the gift of justification has been already received, and whose sin
is remitted; you observe also that the state of mind in which they are
described is that of true repentance, for they are said to be “repentant
sinners;” and yet the decree distinctly declares that there still hangs
over them the remaining punishment of unforgiven sin.  It is true that
the punishment is described as temporary, but the fact that there is any
punishment at all is a virtual denial of the completeness of the
atonement, for there can be no punishment if there is no remaining charge
of sin; and there can be no remaining charge, if all has been satisfied
by the blood-shedding of the Lord.

But let us refer to one other extract.  In the Catechism of Trent an
explanation is given of the doctrines defined in the decrees, and there
we find the same distinction between eternal and temporal punishments; we
find also a distinction between God’s mercy and his justice, and it says
of God, that “through his mercy he forgives sins, and the eternal
punishments due to them; through his justice he punishes the man with
punishments of limited duration.” {15b}  The justice, therefore, of God
is described as still in exercise against the believer.  The Scriptures
teach us that, being satisfied, it is enlisted on our behalf, for “if we
confess our sins,” he is not merely merciful, but “is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins.”  How, I would ask, can it be just to forgive,
because of the merit of a finished expiation, and at the same time just
to demand a fresh expiation from this forgiven sinner for his forgiven
sin? and what has become of the completeness of that satisfaction which
the Lord wrought out for us as our substitute, if the justice, after all,
be not fully satisfied, but the wrath of God still hangs over the
accepted soul?

These extracts, however, merely explain the general theory, and we shall
probably be able to understand it better if we examine an instance of its
practical application.

We shall find just such an instance in the case of purgatory.  The
Catechism of Trent declares of it, “Besides (hell) there is a fire of
purgatory, in which the souls of the pious, being tormented for a define
time, expiate their sin, that so an entrance may be opened to them into
the eternal country, into which nothing defiled can enter.”  You observe
that according to these words, the persons in purgatory are pious
believers, heirs of the kingdom, blessed spirits, who are about to reign
with Christ.  You observe, in the next place, that they are in the
torture of fire, not gently and sweetly spiritualised, but burnt up and
tortured; and you observe, in the third place, that the purpose of it is
to make expiation for their sin.  It is not to purify or refine, to
chasten, that so they may be partakers of God’s holiness; but it is to
expiate, to make atonement, to satisfy that unsatisfied justice, of which
we read in the preceding extract.  They are said to make an expiation by
torture, in addition to that which the Saviour has already made for them
by his blood.  His expiation is represented as not enough to introduce
them to the kingdom, but is said to leave them with so much of sin’s
defilement, that their own burning is required to complete the work.

Now we would earnestly put it to every conscientious Roman Catholic, Can
such a system be reconciled with the teaching of the Scripture respecting
the Lord’s atonement?  Did the Son of God really offer himself as our
ransom, and was that ransom so insufficient that our own expiation is
required still?  Did God legally declare that there is no condemnation to
them that are in Christ Jesus, and yet does he condemn those very persons
to expiating torments in purgatorial flame?  Are we made through his
atonement the righteousness of God in him, and yet are we held so
accountable for sin as to lie for centuries under his heavy wrath?  Has
he really promised, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no
more,” and yet does he remember those very sins for centuries, while, in
the exercise of unrelenting justice, he demands expiation from a
suffering soul?  Oh! no, brethren, “By one offering he hath perfected for
ever them that are sanctified:” he hath blotted out the curse, and
blotted it out completely; he hath rent the veil from the top to the
bottom, and removed all barriers between the sinner and the throne.  We
need no expiation, or satisfaction, to qualify us for the reception of
the atonement, for it reaches down to the lowest point of our ruin, and
proclaims to the most guilty, “Thy curse is borne, believe and live.”  It
needs no second expiation to fill it up and perfect it, for there is not
a spot left in the garment which he cleanses, not a sin imputed to the
blessed saint whom he justifies.  Only let each of us be found amongst
the number, pardoned through the atonement and accepted, through the
righteousness of Christ.  Then we may go without fear to the throne of
grace, and boldly cry, Abba Father; then we may feel the deepest
conviction for indwelling sin, but may rest in the fact that there is no
condemnation, and may feast the soul in the full enjoyment of everlasting
love; then we may adopt with heartfelt gratitude the ever-memorable words
of Hooker,—“I must take heed what I say; but the Apostle saith, ‘God made
him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him.’  Such are we in the sight of God the
Father, as is the Son of God himself.  Let it be counted folly, or
frenzy, or fury, whatsoever, it is our comfort and our wisdom; we care
for no knowledge in the world but this, that man hath sinned, and that
God hath suffered; that God hath made himself the Son of man, and that
men are made the righteousness of God.” {17}

(3.)  And now we may proceed to the last subject of our remark; viz.,
that this atonement _is final_, that is to say, that there can be no
possibility of repetition, no second propitiation, no re-enactment of the
scene on Calvary.

That there can be no further offering of any kind whatever, follows at
once from the perfection of our Lord’s atonement.  If the whole curse of
sin has been blotted out for ever, what place is there for any further
propitiation?  What can cleanse that which is already white as snow?
What sin can be laid on the victim, when we are made the righteousness of
God in Christ?  What can satisfy a law which has been long since
satisfied in Christ?  What can make expiation for a curse, when the curse
itself has been already blotted out through his blood?

Nor is this the inference of merely human reason.  If it were, we might
well distrust it, for what is the human intellect to dive into the
unfathomable depths of eternal wisdom?  But it is the conclusion drawn by
St. Paul, under the direct inspiration of the Spirit.  In the ninth and
tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews, he is led to the discussion
of this very subject.  If you study the passage from chap. ix. 25 to
chap. x. 18, you will observe that the whole argument turns upon this
principle, that an offering, if imperfect, requires repetition,—if
perfect, is final.  “The law,” he says, “having a shadow of good things
to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those
sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, make the comers
thereunto perfect; for then would they not have ceased to be offered?
Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more
conscience of sins.”  In other words, these sacrifices being merely
shadows, and being ineffective to the perfecting of the conscience, were
repeated year by year; but had they been perfect, they would at once have
ceased for ever.  Repetition, therefore, is the result of imperfection,
and where there is full remission, there can be no more sacrifice for
sins.  It is impossible, therefore, to admit the idea of any further
propitiation whatever, of any kind, or by any person, without throwing
reflection on that wrought out for us by the Lord.  If his work is
perfect, there can be no repetition needed; and if any fresh oblation is
still required for the putting away of sin, it can only be because there
was some defect or failure in the great work wrought out by our Lord upon
the cross.  If, as he said, it was finished then, it is quite impossible
it should be repeated now.

Still less can there be any second offering of our Lord Jesus Christ
himself.  It would be strange to suppose that there could be any fresh
propitiation made by any fresh victim, but stranger still would be the
idea that the Saviour himself, the Son of God, should again suffer for
man.  The whole plan of the Gospel from the beginning to the end is a
uniform contradiction to such a thought.  There was a long and
progressive work planned in eternal wisdom for the Holy One, of which his
incarnation, his life, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, his
mediation, and his coming reign are successive steps.  And all these are
essential to each other; his mediation, _e.g._, is essential to his
atonement, and his atonement to his mediation.  If there had been no
atonement there could have been no mediation, for there would have been
no offering to present; and if there had been no mediation, then the
atonement had been valueless, for there had been no priest to present it
before God.  So, again, with the crucifixion and the resurrection; had
there been no death there could have been no resurrection, and had there
been no resurrection, there would have been no acceptance of the perfect
satisfaction in the death.  We are therefore to regard the whole as one
divinely appointed work, and we learn that as at the appointed time it
was necessary to redemption that Christ should die, so now that the
resurrection day is past, it is no less needful that he should live.  It
would subvert the whole plan and economy of the Gospel to suppose that he
could be a second time offered.  It would utterly neutralize the
resurrection, for when he rose from the dead he was accepted in the
completeness of his satisfaction, and welcomed with the words, “Thou art
my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” {19}  It is no less opposed to
the doctrine of his mediation, for it is a living priest that we require,
and it is because he ever liveth that “he is able to save to the
uttermost all them that come unto God by him.”  And it is no less in
violation with every description of his glory, for though he appears in
heaven as the Lamb, that _has been_ slain, he has declared from that very
throne that he can be slain no more: “I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and behold I am alive for evermore.”

I need not say that these are the principles of the Church of England.
They are distinctly contained in the sentence of the Article, “the
offering of Christ _once_ made.”  Whether or not they are the principles
of the Church of Rome, I leave you to judge from the following extracts
from the decrees of the Council of Trent respecting the Mass:—

“And since the same Christ who once offered himself by his blood on the
altar of the cross, is contained in this divine sacrifice which is
celebrated in the Mass, and offered without blood, the Holy Council
teaches that this sacrifice is really propitiatory, and made by Christ
himself; so that if we approach God contrite and penitent, with a true
heart and sincere faith, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable
aid.  For assuredly God is appeased by this oblation, bestows grace, and
the gift of repentance, and forgives all crimes and sins how great
soever; for the sacrifice which is now offered by the ministry of the
priests is one and the same as that which Christ then offered on the
cross, only the mode of offering is different.” {20a}

Now looking at these words you observe that they contain two or three
most startling statements.

(1.)  That there is a propitiatory sacrifice offered continually.

(2.)  That the reason of this propitiatory sacrifice is that God is not
yet appeased, or, in other words, that the atonement is incomplete, for
it says, “God is appeased by this oblation.”

(3.)  That the victim offered is the very same, namely, the Lord Jesus
Christ.  The wafer is said to be transubstantiated into the living
person, body, soul, and divinity, of the Lord, and as such to be offered
without blood upon the altar; as is yet more distinctly stated in the
Catechism, where it says: “We confess that the sacrifice offered in the
Mass _is one and the same as that offered on the cross_; _seeing that the
victim is one and the same_; _namely_, _Christ our Lord_, who offered
himself as a bloody offering once only on the altar of the cross, _for
the bloody and unbloody victims are not two victims_, _but one only_,
whose sacrifice, according to the Lord’s commands, Do this in remembrance
of me, is daily renewed in the Eucharist.” {20b}

Now, if there be any Roman Catholic here to-night, I would most earnestly
ask of him, how such language can be reconciled with the clear statements
of the Word of God?  Mark how St. Paul, in the chapters to which I have
referred, again and again declares that there can be no fresh offering of
the Lord.  He says, in chap. ix. 26, “Now _once_ in the end of the world
hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  Can he,
then, be appearing daily in his human person, that he may be sacrificed
again?  He says, chap. ix. 28, “So Christ was _once_ offered to bear the
sins of many;” and chap. x. 10, “By the which will we are sanctified by
the offering of the body of Jesus Christ _once for all_.”  Is it
possible, then, that he should be offered every Sunday on ten thousand
Romish altars?  He says, chap. x. 12, “This man, after he had offered
_one_ sacrifice for sin, for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
How then can we believe that be is now dying as a second sacrifice upon
earth?  He says, x. 14, “By _one_ offering he hath perfected for ever
them that are sanctified,” and if that one offering is sufficient to give
to us all a full and perfect justification before God, how can those who
are thus perfected admit the idea of a second sacrifice to appease God’s
justice, and a second victim to obtain forgiveness at his hands?  No,
dear brethren, that one offering was once and for ever.  It was “eternal
redemption” that the Lord then obtained for us.  Eighteen centuries have
passed since it was offered, and have borne down in their passage
thousands and tens of thousands of happy spirits, who, washed in that
living fountain, have found a peaceful reception in the Lord.  They have
each one borne with them the sad taint of deep corruption, and have
grieved in spirit over indwelling sin.  They have been placed in various
spheres in life, some buffetted by the rough adventures of this stormy
world, some led through the fire of persecution, and called as witnesses
for Christ to stand alone in their faith; while others have been led in
the softer dealings of the Spirit by smoother paths, and to more gentle
resting-places; but all have gained their strength from one source, and
derived their peace from one truth—that source Christ Jesus; that truth
the one most certain fact, that the Lord has made on the cross a full,
perfect, and sufficient satisfaction for their sin.  Upon it they lived,
upon it they died, by it they triumphed, and through it they will all be
presented faultless at the coming.

And that fountain is as fresh now as ever; that atonement is as perfect
in its application to us as it was to them.  We too have our indwelling
sin, our deep inbred corruption, which without atonement must destroy us
for eternity, but we have the atonement, and resting in it we may be

Now the whole controversy with Rome turns on the power and application of
that atonement to the conscience of sinners.  It is not a question of
mere historical antiquity, or ecclesiastical genealogy, but one involving
the soul’s peace.  The soul needs peace, and in the Scriptures peace is
promised.  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” was the
clear and unfailing promise of the Lord.  But in order to [obtain] that
peace we must receive the atonement as God has revealed it, viz., as a
full, perfect, and final expiation for our sin.  How can there be peace
while we are striving to effect an impossibility, and to make
satisfaction to that broken law which could only be satisfied by the
blood of the Son of God?  How can there be peace while we are toiling to
reach the atonement instead of simply trusting it, and hoping by
holiness, good works, and penance to make such a qualifying
righteousness, as shall fit us for the reception of the grace of God?
How can there be peace if the justice of God still hangs over the
accepted believer, and requires centuries of purgatorial flame as a
further expiation for his forgiven sin?  How can there be peace if we are
to regard the work on the cross as still requiring repetition in the
mass, and directed to the Saviour as still offered on the altar instead
of mediating at the right hand of God?

Away then with all thoughts of any human satisfaction, of anything that
man can do to make a compensation for his sins!  Our one compensation is
the fact that the Lord Jesus has endured the curse of all.  Away with all
limits to that work of his, which may either fetter its freedom or
detract from its fulness! our hope is that it reaches down so low that
the guilty sinner need bring nothing as the purchase of his
reconciliation, and it rises so high that he stands accepted in the
righteousness of God.  Away with all thoughts of either requiring or
presenting any fresh propitiation, with all idea of offering a second
time the risen Lord, who now reigns exalted on the throne.  The one great
propitiation was enough, and we want no more.  We know that there is deep
corruption eating into the very heart’s core; we know that we cannot
stand a moment before God without atonement, but we know also—and we hope
to spend eternity in praising God for that blessed knowledge, that the
atonement then made was perfect; and that he who then died our death now
lives to perfect our life.  On him therefore we cast the whole burden,
without limitation, as without reserve, and trusting to him and his work,
we find peace and salvation for our souls.


ALMIGHTY GOD, who hast built Thy Church upon the foundation of the
Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone,
and hast promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it; we
approach Thee in the name of Him who is the one Mediator, the Way, the
Truth, and the Life.

We praise and magnify Thy holy name for Thy distinguishing goodness
towards us as inhabitants of this Christian land, and members of a
Reformed and scriptural Church.  [We adore Thy grace in that wonderful
interposition of Thy Providence, by which our fathers were rescued from
the yoke of superstitious bondage, and taught to serve Thee in spirit and
in truth.]

But we confess that we have not rendered again according to the benefit
we have received.  We have neither prized nor improved our privileges as
we ought.  [We have sinned, and our fathers have sinned, and we have
reason to fear lest there should be wrath upon us and upon our people,
and lest Thou shouldest pour out the spirit of slumber and delusion upon
us.]  Yet Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.
Remember not our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers.  Turn us
again, O Lord God of hosts; cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be

Direct our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit.  Give us understanding of
the times to know what we ought to do.  Let Thy merciful help especially
prevent and follow us as members of this Society.  May we begin,
continue, and end everything in Thee.  [Let us not contend for names and
words, but for Thy glory, and the truth of Thy Gospel.]  Grant us a
simple love of the truth, and an experimental acquaintance with it.  [Let
us not be “carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” but let our
hearts be “established with grace.”]

And let us not only believe with the heart, but with the mouth make
confession.  With meekness of wisdom may we ever be ready to defend our
principles and to protest against error.  Let us unite holy zeal,
boldness, and stedfastness, with a spirit of genuine charity.  Grant us a
right judgment in all things, Christian unanimity in our counsels, and
perseverance in well-doing.  [Keep us humble, depending entirely upon the
promised grace and help of Thy Holy Spirit, and watchful, as those who
are not ignorant of the devices of Satan.]

Raise up, we earnestly entreat Thee, champions for the truth; revive in
our days the spirit of the martyrs and reformers of old.  Spare to Thy
Church those who are zealous for Thee.  May the faithful never fail from
among us, but let the rising youth be trained to walk in the good old

And as Thou hast commanded prayers and intercessions to be made for all
men, we beseech Thee for our sovereign lady, Queen Victoria, [that she
may ever be mindful of the responsibilities of her office and the
obligation of her oath.  Bless abundantly] the Ministers of State [Guide]
and [govern] the senate of our land.  [Strengthen and encourage those
Protestant Representatives who are faithful to Thy cause; increase their
influence, and add to their numbers.  Pour out Thy Spirit upon all
estates of the realm, the clergy and the laity, the rich and the poor.
May they strive together, as members of one body, for the common faith.
Let it please Thee to comfort and succour all oppressed Protestants, and
confessors of the truth, enabling them to forgive their enemies, and to
maintain their own stedfastness.]  And very earnestly do we beseech thee
to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred and are deceived.
Strengthen such as do stand, and raise up them that fall.

[Finally, we commend ourselves and the work of our hands unto Thee,
entreating Thee to accept our persons and our services, not weighing our
merits, but pardoning our offences; and so to overrule all events,—nay,
even the errors and infirmities of Thy servants,—to the advancement of
Thy glory, and the good of Thy Church, that truth and liberty, piety and
peace, may be established among us to all generations.]

These and all other mercies we humbly beg in the name and mediation of
JESUS CHRIST, our most blessed Lord and Saviour.


     N.B.  The passages within brackets may be omitted at discretion.

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{7} Rom. iii. 25, 26.

{10}  Counc. Trent, Sess. xiv. cap. 9.  The following extracts are added,
in order to show that the Decree quoted in the text is by no means an
isolated passage.  “The punishment of penance undertaken by us averts
God’s anger, and the punishments decreed against us.”—Cat. Pars ii. 99.

Works of penance are “compensations for past guilt, and redeemers of
sin.”—Ibid. 104.

Of the mass it is said, that in it “Christians merit the fruit of his
passion, and satisfy for sin.”—Ibid. 79.

{11}  Cat. Pars ii. 29.

{12}  Art XI.

{13a}  Council Trent, Sess. vi. Can. 11.

{13b}  Cat. pars ii. 100.

{13c}  Counc., Sess. xiv. Can. 14.

{15a}  Sess. vi. Can. 30.

{15b}  Cat. pars ii. 98.

{17}  Sermon on Justification.

{19}  Acts xiii. 33.

{20a}  Council xxii. 2.

{20b}  Catechism, Pars ii. 83.

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