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CHAPTER V.

ALL SOULS REDEEMED, TO BE IN VICARIOUS SACRIFICE.

IN what is called his vicarious sacrifice, Christ, as we have seen, simply fulfills what belongs universally to love; doing neither more nor less than what the common standard of holiness and right requires. And then since there can be no other standard, and no perfect world, or society can be constituted under a different, or lower kind of excellence, it follows incontestably that the restoration of mankind, as a fallen race, must restore them to a love that works vicariously, and conforms, in all respects, to the work and passion of Christ himself. Vicarious sacrifice then will not be a point where he is distinguished from his followers, but the very life to which he restores them, in restoring them to God. What we call his redemption of mankind must bring them to the common standard. Executed by vicarious sacrifice in himself, it must also be issued in vicarious sacrifice in them.

The common impression, I am sorry to believe, is different. It belongs, indeed, to the staple matter of our theologic teaching on this subject, that, Vicarious sacrifice belongs to men. while we are to follow Christ, and copy him, and aspire to be like him, we are never to presume, and can not without great irreverence imagine, that we 106are to have any part with him in his vicarious sacrifice. We can not atone, it is said, or offer any satisfaction for the sin of the world; we are too little, and low, and deep in sin ourselves, and nothing but a being infinitely great and perfect, by an optional suffering that exceeds all terms of obligation on himself, can avail to smooth God’s indignations, and so far even our debt, as to make forgiveness possible. Therefore we are to understand, as a first principle of the Christian salvation, that Christ, in the matter of his vicarious sacrifice, is a being by himself and is not to be followed, in any sense, by us, though followed carefully in every thing else. In this very great mistake are included three or four subordinate mistakes, that required to be specially noted, and corrected by the necessary explanations.

1. That Christ, in all that pertains to his work as vicarious, acts officially, or fulfills an atoning office Christ atones not by office, but by character. wholly one side of his character as a perfect character. He does not execute what belongs to the simple perfection of his love as a character fulfilling standard obligation, but performs a volunteer office in our behalf, over and above all that is obligatory on his own account. And so, the vicarious sacrifice, being a matter pertaining wholly to his office, and not to his character, we of course can have no part in it, because we have no part in his office, and can have as little in the official merit by which God’s account is satisfied. Now the obvious fact, that which we have seen developed in the careful illustrations of the previous chapters, is that 107vicarious sacrifice belongs to no office, or undertaking outside of holy character, but to holy character itself. Such is love that it must insert itself into the conditions, burden itself with the wants, and woes, and losses, and even wrongs of others. It waits for no atoning office, or any other kind of office. It undertakes because it is love, not because a project is raised, or an office appointed. It goes into suffering and labor, and painful sympathy, because its own everlasting instinct runs that way. There can be no greater mistake, in this view, than to imagine that Christ has the matter of vicarious sacrifice wholly to himself, because he suffers officially, or as having undertaken it for his office to supply so much suffering. He suffered simply what was incidental to his love, and the works to which love prompted, just as any missionary suffers what belongs to the work of love he is in. It was vicarious suffering in no way peculiar to him, save in degree.

No further qualification is needed, unless it be to say, that effects will follow his vicarious sacrifice, that can not follow such kind of sacrifice in men. Sacrifice in us carries humbler effects. And the difference will be so great, that he will have accomplished all that can be fitly included in the redemption of the world, while the same kind of sacrifice, morally speaking, in men, will accomplish only some very inferior and partial benefits. A proportion stated between the incarnate Son of God and his infinitely perfect beauty on the one hand, and the very limited and sadly mixed virtue of a human person on the other, will represent as accurately as may 108be the comparative results of the same kind of sacrifice in both.

2. It is another of the mistakes referred to that, when vicarious sacrifice is restricted wholly to Christ, and considered The fellowship of his sufferings. wholly beyond the pale of human virtue, the restriction supposes a kind of vicarious intervention for sin that is artificial, and has no root in moral obligation. Either exceeding the law of love, or else falling short of it, he fulfills a kind of substitution that we can not share, because it is not in the range of our possible sentiment, or even intelligence. There is no koinonia for us, no “fellowship in his sufferings,” because he suffers outside of all known terms of moral obligation. Whereas we may and must have fellowship, and be conformable even unto his death, because he is himself conformed in it to the one, universal, common, standard of love. The true and simple account of his suffering is, that he had such a heart as would not suffer him to be turned away from us, and that he suffered for us even as love must willingly suffer for its enemy. The beauty and power of his sacrifice is, that he suffers morally and because of his simple excellence, and not to fill a contrived place in a scheme of legal justification. He scarcely minds how much he suffers, or how, if only he can do love’s work. He does not propose to be over-good, and to suffer optionally a certain modicum beyond what perfect excellence requires, that it may go to men’s account. He undertakes to furnish no superlative merit above all standard obligation, which, for just that reason, 109can have no perceived quality of merit. He is only just as good as he ought to be, and suffers what he ought to suffer, and has no thought of doing an artificial somewhat, in a scheme of artificial compensations, where he can be actuated by no assignable motive within the possible range of moral ideas. How far off do we place him, how poorly conceive him, when we put him thus away, and compel him to die for ends contrived, apart from all behests of character. All that is most central in his mission—the love of God in tears and deep groanings—is dried away and lost to feeling, in the sterile and dry figment we require it to be, as a mere quantitative sufficiency of pain, contributed under no assignable principle, and having no moral quality whatever.

3. Another mistake that follows, when vicarious sacrifice is restricted to Christ alone, is yet more lamentable because it corrupts the idea of sacrifice The idea of Christian sacrifice how corrupted. itself, when imposed as a condition of human discipleship. We insist, abundantly, on the necessary law of self-denial and self-sacrifice. We quote the Master’s words requiring us to follow him and bear the cross with him, or after him. There must be sacrifice we say, every Christian comes into a life of sacrifice—only not into vicarious sacrifice; that belongs to Christ alone, suffering no participation of mortals. A qualification, or salvo, that very nearly unchristianizes Christianity itself. What is the sacrifice that must not be vicarious sacrifice, but a virtue that has even lost connection with Christian ideas? It is mere self-abnegation, a loss made for the simple sake of 110losing, and no such practical loss as love encounters, in gaining or serving an enemy. It has the same relation to vicarious sacrifice that penance has to repentance. It is itself a kind of penance, or torment, submitted to by the will. It does not appear to be even suspected that such kind of sacrifice is a mode of asceticism, substituted for the sacrifice of the Gospel, and yet it can be nothing else, for the simple reason that it is required not to be vicarious. Sacrifice out of love, or because a full heart naturally and freely takes on itself the burdens and woes of others, has a positive character, and is itself the most intensely positive exercise that can be conceived. The other kind of sacrifice, that which must not work vicariously, is naked self-suppression, a merely dry and negative operation, in which the soul willfully chokes itself and gets no return, but a sense of being famished for its pains. And how much of what is so persistently taught concerning self-denial, sacrifice, taking up the cross, is, in just this manner, a departure from all Christian ideas; a wearisome, unblessed, and forced virtue, that belongs to the false gospel of asceticism. Happily the evil is mitigated by the fact that, when we go into sacrifice and suffering for others, we break away from such asceticism, without knowing it, and come into the genuine, positive kind of sacrifice with Christ himself.

4. Still another and different kind of misconception is included in the denial of vicarious sacrifice to men, in the fact that it forbids us. to think of reciprocating, in any sense, the sacrifice of Christ for us, and takes 111away, in that manner, one of the dearest, most softening and soul-renewing exercises. What should the true love in us do so naturally, and with an To be afflicted with Christ reciprocally. instinct so free, as to take all Christ’s feeling on its feeling; to suffer with him in his suffering of all kinds; to burden itself in all his burdens; to be afflicted in all the losses, apostasies, and dishonors that shame his saving work; because they wound so deeply his divine sensibility. As Christ became a suffering Saviour for our sake, so the love he begets in us will take every wrong done him as done to itself, and will gladly suffer also for his sake. Whether in fact we take it or not as a thing permitted us, to be entered into his burden as he into ours, we shall as certainly do it as we love him. Only it makes a very great difference whether we do it against some speculated doctrine of substitution that gives only him the right to act vicariously, or do it as the natural privilege and inborn right of our love. In one case, we do it feebly, or even cringingly, lest we venture too far and do some presumptuous thing; in the other we say “Let me do it, I must have it for my privilege. If Christ is afflicted for me, or in me, shall I not be afflicted for his affliction? If he is wounded by his friends, or his enemies, shall I not be wounded for his wounds? If he says, ‘my yoke,’ shall I not take that yoke upon me for his sake? Grant me this, O Saviour and Lord, to bear thy load with thee, as thou hast borne the load of my sins; to feel thy feeling, suffer in thy suffering; and, to crown all, as thou didst bear witness to the truth in 112thy death, let me not shrink from even dying to bear witness for thee.” Just this feeling it is that has animated and armed the host of Christian martyrs in all the past ages. Called to die, as they believed, for Christ’s sake, that has been enough. And how blessed and divine a thing is it always for the otherwise weak, distracted heart of a sinner, to come to the great world-containing heart of its Redeemer and have its opportunity in suffering with him! Nor is it any thing to object, that there is a genuine reality in his vicarious suffering, because, in taking our evils, he takes them off from us, while we, in taking his, remove no burden from him. Is he not as truly a sacrifice then for those who will die in their sins, as for those who take the saving benefit he brings? Besides, how does it appear that our bearing of his burdens with him takes off nothing from the weight of his burdens? When is any great benefactor more strengthened and comforted in his pains of sacrifice, than when some most dejected, weakest child of sorrow comes to bless him and asks to suffer with him? What again do we see, but that Christ himself, as in the scene of his agony, turns wistfully to his disciples, craving just this kind of sympathy and chiding them in wounded feeling that he has it not—“Tarry ye here and watch with me—could ye not watch with me one hour?” And as then he turned imploringly to his friends and besought them to watch with him, will it not be a cordial now to his often wounded compassions, when the little ones of the earth are for love’s sake wounded with him?

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In these specifications, or specified corrections, we have seen exactly what and how much is implied in the position, that we, as a race, in being restored to God, are to be perfected in the common, universal standard of goodness, and so to be established with Christ in the same way of sacrifice. We are thus prepared to open the Scriptures, and take their declarations in their true meaning. To them, accordingly, I now appeal; for it is a question resting on their simple authority, and no other.

I begin with the explicit declarations of Jesus himself. Thus, considering his own life as a ransom for sin, in the sacrifice to be made of it, he lays it Christ calls his followers to follow him. on his disciples to follow him and be, if they may, the ransom purchase of others, saying—“even as the Son of Man came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Again, citing his own cross, when, as yet, nobody understands what it means, least of all that God’s own love supports a cross of patience even from eternity, he says—“And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me.” He does not mean by this that he is under a cross of abnegation, but only that he is going to be crucified for love’s sake. For love’s sake and work, therefore, they are to suffer with him, and bear a cross after him.

He calls us in the same way to bear his “yoke” and “learn of him” in doing it; for there is a way, as he will teach, to bear love’s burdens joyfully. They shall not be dry penances or heavy laden drudgeries, he testifies, 114but only such sacrifices of joy as love itself will assume for its objects—“the yoke, therefore, is easy and the burden light.”

His death is to be the crowning fact of his sacrifice, as all agree, and yet, he does not claim any exclusive right to die in this manner, but even lays it down as the universal test of love and discipleship—“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he can not be my disciple.” Obedience unto death is to be a law for them as truly as for him.

He contrives furthermore a scene, at the close of his ministry, where the great main truth is to be acted and so made visible—I refer to the scene of washing the disciples’ feet—where his language, most carefully measured, and his action, most deliberately formal, quite exceed the supposition of many, that he is only teaching, in this way, tile single grace of humility. Neither, at this solemn, almost parting hour, can it be imagined, that he is laboring any such limited and subordinate matter. Rather is he condensing all the matter of his humiliated suffering life of sacrifice, into a single scene, or picture, or parabolic action, that he may impress it in a total application on his disciples. And so he says at the end—“Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.” In one word, for that is what he means, “as I 115have stood back from no sacrifice, or shame, for you, at the low point of your sin, so are you to seek and serve, all pride apart, the perishing brothers of your race.”

Again, if we imagine something official in his mission of sacrifice, we find him consecrating his disciples, in his last prayer, to the same mission and in fact the same office—“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through [literally in or upon] the truth.” However true the doctrine for which this is commonly cited as a proof text, nothing could be farther from any thought of his on the present occasion, than to be discoursing on the truth as a means of sanctification. He obviously means to say—“And for their sakes I consecrate myself as an offering, that they also may be consecrated and offered, in like manner, in the service, or upon the dying testimony, of the truth. So he says, “for their sakes,” as if he had come into his sacrifice, in part, that he may put them in the same—so to send them into the world, even as he was sent into the world.

Now the impressive matter, in all these citations, which might be indefinitely extended, is that Christ expects his followers to be with him at the very point of his sacrifice; just where it is even commonly assumed that we can, of course, have no part with him, and where it would even be a kind of insufferable presumption for a mortal to think of it.

We pass now to a different and more interiorly related class of citations; in which it will be seen, that the whole 116economy itself of Christian virtue is based in the principle, and flavored by the spirit of vicarious. sacrifice.

Thus it will be noted in the very first discourse of Jesus, his sermon on the mount, that he can not even Sacrifice the economic law of discipleship. get through the beatitudes, and scarcely into them, without opening to view, and turning round for inspection, this grand first principle of devotement and unselfish love. Blessed are the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful—these to him are the candidates for beatitude; and we see, from his subdued and tender manner, that he is thinking of his own sacrifice and beatitude. And thus it is that he goes directly on, to tell his friends how they will be reviled and persecuted by those whom they serve, and for his sake, adding—“Blessed are ye. Resist not evil. Smitten upon the right cheek turn the left. Robbed of your coat give up your cloak. Love your enemies, bless them which curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that (this is the argument, and how high does it reach) ye may be the children of your Father in heaven. Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” There has been much debate over this language. It means simply this; that we are to have one standard even with God, and that, a law of sacrifice and suffering patience—the same which Christ himself fulfills.

What the feeling of Christ is respecting the participation of his sacrifice by his followers, comes out even more strikingly, on a certain occasion, from the fact that 117he is drawn away to it, by his associations, without apparently any previous intention. He is led to speak of his death, and of the general principle that the good must die, in order to be fruitful—“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” And then, as if drawn along to think by degrees of others, and finally of none but others, he adds—“He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me let him follow me.” How close the relation between him and his disciples, when he calls them, in this manner, into his very death itself, and commands them to be with him, in all the sublime economy of sacrifice by which he is reconciling the world.

His apostles, accordingly, follow after, teaching, all, the same great law of sacrifice, and presenting a gospel packed with symbols of sacrifice in The apostles follow their Master. every part. This word sacrifice they apply to men as freely as to Christ himself; Paul exhorting, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” “Let no man seek his own.” “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;” Peter, when he writes, “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently, but if, when ye do well, ye 118take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps.” “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are made partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf;” John, also, when he writes, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

In these and other like passages which might be cited, from Christ and his three apostles, it is very commonly not discovered, I admit, that any such thing as a vicarious element is included in the Christian virtue. Every such conception is excluded by the reverently meant, but most injuriously false and really irreverent assumption, that nothing vicarious, whether in spirit or mode of life, is possible to a merely human being. Christ takes this whole field, it is believed, to himself, let no sinning mortal intrude! And yet, when Mock sentiment. this vicarious meaning, or element is excluded from the passages referred to, they become passages of mock sentiment only; words that have a sound, but no deep, earnest meaning. Their real and truly magnificent import is, that it lies in the very scheme and economy of the gospel, to regenerate a Christly virtue in men, a character that bears the type of Gethsemane and the cross.

Again we discover a closer, in some respects even 119more convincing kind of evidence, in the testimony given by one of Christ’s disciples out of his own human consciousness; I speak of the apostle The Pauline consciousness. Paul. The same is discoverable in others, only in a manner less striking. In later times, for example in George Fox, the Christly consciousness is revealed in a manner almost equally sublime. Now Paul is but a man, and yet he is a man so Christed, or possessed by Christ, that the very sacrifice of Christ is consciously and even visibly in him. As regards mental suffering, it is not to be supposed, of course, that Paul had any sensibility capable of as intense feeling; or any love to mankind capable of being as heavily burdened, as Christ is seen to be in what is called his agony; but in respect of mere physical suffering, I see no reason to judge that Christ made a heavier sacrifice, in his three years’ ministry and death, than his servant did, in his long, laborious, always imperiled, persecuted life and martyrdom. So deep was he in the spirit of his Master, so heartily entered with him into the burdens of love. He can not even hide it from himself that he is in his Master’s sacrifice—“Always bearing about,” he says, “in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we, which live, are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” He dares even to conceive that his suffering life is somehow complementary to that of his Master— “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind 120of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body’s sake, which is the church. Under the heading—“as workers together with him,”2 Cor. vi. he goes on to catalogue, in almost a whole chapter, these Christly losses, works, and pains, that he is bearing with Christ and for his sake. Nor is it mere bodily hardship and peril that he undergoes; we find him, at times and according to his measure, in a kind of mental Gethsemane, for the burden of love, and care, and grief for others, which has come upon him; as when he writes—“I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart; for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh.” There has been much debate over these words; but a soul that is really under Christ’s yoke, and bearing his burdens, will be deep enough in the struggle of vicarious sacrifice, to know what they mean. Furthermore, it is remarkable, that Paul has reached no such point of theologic scruple, that he can not freely apply to his own life just the same sacrificial terms that he applies to Christ himself” I am now ready to be offered.” “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.” He goes still farther, exhorting all Christians to be offered willingly in sacrifice like their Master—“And walk in love, as Christ, also hath loved us, and given himself for an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savor.”

This now is the true Christian consciousness, in all of the best and noblest human examples. The gospel of 121life takes hold of a man all selfish, a fiery and proud persecutor, and it so changes all his inward aims and feelings, that he lives no more for himself, but for others; encountering perils, pains, privations, indignities for his whole life long on their account; so burdened for them in feeling, at times, that he could even find relief in the imprecation that he might be accursed from Christ for their sake. So clearly is the Christian believer entered himself, as a matter of fact, into the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus. This is the new character it undertakes to beget in him, and the exact amount he has of Christian evidence is graduated by the amount of this new character found in his life.

I have given this large review of the Scripture citations on this subject, that it may be seen how freely, variously, constantly, they consent in the testimony, that Christianity begets, and, is to beget, in human character, the same kind of sacrifice that is found, or revealed in Christ. I have selected only a few of the passages that persist most undivertibly in this kind of testimony. It is not then by any speculation, or undue pressure on. words, that I gain this conclusion. Nothing but a theologic pressure, kept up for ages, has availed to empty the Scripture of a truth that is so plainly taught, under so great a multitude of forms, and is set even in the foreground of the Christian plan.

Arresting my argument here, I still can not close the chapter, without calling my reader’s attention to the immense loss Christianity has suffered, and is now suffering, 122in losing out the faith that Christ is to be really followed by his followers. There is little importance in The immense damage suffered here. these discussions, if they do not help the gospel to assert its true idea, and exert that practical power it has undertaken to exert on the world. And whatever hinders, or weakens that power, even though it take the name of Christian doctrine and is fairly meant as such, is about the greatest wrong that can be committed against both Christ and mankind. What then shall we think of any theologic doctrine or dictum, that makes a blank space at the very heart of the gospel, or which raises fences of obstruction, to keep men off from just that common standard of the heavenly virtue, in which all perfect minds are to meet; which breaks down the fact of community between Christ and his disciples; which says, this kind is for Christ, another for mankind; which gives him love in its genuine power, and gives them love in a sense so qualified, that all his most living and life-giving sacrifices would be stifled under it. The supreme art of the devil never invented a greater mischief to be done, or a theft more nearly amounting to the stealing of the cross itself, than the filching away thus, from the followers of Christ, the conviction that they are thoroughly to partake the sacrifice of their master. Such words I know sound harshly, but they are not harshly meant. I raise no accusation in them; for I do not, for a moment, imagine that perversity, or art, or any malign purpose has ever been concerned in the mischief referred to. I only use strong language to 123express my own strong convictions; taking this very deplorable matter simply as an example of the immense, and fearfully desolating wrong that may be done to God’s truth and the world, by t e well meant, but misguided, speculations and schemings of men, whose theories unwittingly reduce the gospel to their own measures. Having found a necessity that God’s justice should be satisfied by some given quantum of suffering, and that Christ, in his death, made the contribution for us of that suffering, and that in this fact is contained all that belongs to his vicarious sacrifice, what should they infer but that we, in following Christ, are excluded, of course, from any such kind of sacrifice? All which is done with the better feeling of reverence, that it puts the Saviour in a figure of merit so superlative!

The effect that follows is such as only can. It is as if the gift of the incarnation had been half taken back again. A wide hiatus still yawns Effects of the hiatus between us and Christ. between even the ideal of our virtue, and that of our Christ. Nor is it any thing to say, that whatever he does vicariously belongs to his office, and that we have no such office. It belongs, we have already seen, not to his office, but to his character; that is to his love, which is the spring of his character; the same, which is the root of all goodness in all good beings, drawing them as good to such as are evil, and putting them in a way of tender self-identification, that virtually assumes and bears the bad and shameful lot it compassionates. Without this vicarious property, love is not love. Pity there may be, philanthropic benevolence, 124esteem, approbation, admiration, but the vital distinction of love is wanting. It is very true that we are not to set ourselves up as Redeemers of the world. Our petty measures of quantity and character forbid such a thought; just as any feeble and low man would be only absurd, in attempting what is given to some most qualified and strongest man of his own species. Still any such feeble and low man is to be, and may truly be, in the same kind of love with one who is most qualified and strongest. Nay, if this latter has been suffering and painfully watching for him, it will even be a chief point of his benefit and the raising of his life, that he so loves the person of his benefactor as to suffer his suffering. And just so it is that Christ, in his suffering love—always a fact, and only a fact revealed in his agony and passion—gets never the just degree of power in our feeling, till we are able to love his love and suffer with him in his suffering. Here only it is that he touches us at the quick, and becomes the soul renewing power of God. Vicarious love in him answered by vicarious love in us, tiny and weak though it be, as an insect life fluttering responsively to the sun—this is the only footing of grace, in which Christ is truly received, and according to his glorious power. Hence, in no small degree, the amazing dullness of the gospel to men’s feeling, and even in men’s feeling after they seem to have believed—we wonder often how it is ourselves. It is because there is no common footing between them and their Lord; because, in his superlative merit and suffering, he takes a different plane, from which they are 125excluded. They are shut away, thus, from exactly what is most vital and most quickening in his passion. The cord of sympathy is cut, at just the point where it was to have the closest tension, and be most stringently effective.

Doubtless it will be said, in reply, that such kind of criticism is unjust. While it is very true that we exclude ourselves from any part with Christ in what is vicarious, do we not always insist that men are to follow Christ, to bear the cross, to deny themselves, to suffer wrong, to love and bless even their enemies? Undoubtedly, but how blurred, how sadly miscolored are all such teachings, when the huge exception we speak of is added. They are now to follow Christ in just that limited kind of sacrifice which he knew nothing of. They are to bear the cross for the discipline, and not for what love sees to be won by a cross. They are to deny themselves because it is good to put themselves under negation, or self-suppression—even as the monasteries kill out selfishness by the wearisome and dry torment of ascetic practices—not to deny themselves in love’s own suffering, but joyful and free ministry. They are to suffer wrong even as Christ did, only they are to do it in no such feeling as he did, when he bore the lot of transgression. They are to love and bless enemies, because it will school them in patience and humility, not as Christ bore enemies out of pure devotement to them; or they are to exercise themselves in acts of benevolence towards enemies, towards the impenitent, towards the heathen, in the name of love, 126when confessedly they are excluded from any such tender identification with their bad lot as Christ, for love’s sake, took upon him when he bore their sins.

And so it results that our discipleship, so called, is a discipleship fallen half way out of Christianity, even as our theology of the cross becomes a dry, stunted, half conception of it; reducing Christ to a mere book-account factor of compensation by suffering, and making nothing of him as the revelation of vicarious sacrifice in God; that which is the supreme fact and glory of his incarnate mission. Did we see this glory upon him, did we look upon him as sent into the world to beget us in the same character, and enter us into the same kind of life, how different our conceptions of his doctrine, how different the whole manner and power of our discipleship. The scheme, and scale, and meaning, of the gospel, as a grace related to our feeling and life, is no more the same. And the world, having such a grace installed in it, would begin, how soon, to glow, and burn, and tingle with new life in every part.

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