By Aaron Hills
OBJECTIONS ANSWERED -- BENEFITS OF ATONEMENT
I. There are those who make objections to the doctrine of the atonement.
1. It is said that it represents God as unmerciful. This objection is made on the supposition that the atonement was forced upon Jesus, and to satisfy retributive justice. This is simply an objection to the satisfaction theory of the atonement. We have objected to it, too, on grounds of Scripture and reason. No such theory of the atonement is capable of being defended rationally and Scripturally.
But the objection does not hold against a Scriptural view of the atonement. It was the exhibition of infinite mercy on the part of God. It was just because God was merciful and longed to save sinners, if he could possibly do it, consistently with the safety of his government and the good of moral beings, that he originated the scheme of the atonement. If God had not been merciful (and we mean the Triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) He would have let sinners perish without an attempt to save them. But because God was merciful He consented to let His Son die for our redemption, and the blessed Son consented to go to Calvary for our sakes.
As Finney says: "The atonement is infinitely the most illustrious exhibition of mercy ever made in the universe. The mere pardon of sin, as an act of sovereign mercy, had it been possible, could not have been compared with the merciful disposition displayed in the atonement itself (Theology, p. 279). This was mercy that cost something to God Himself.
2. It is objected that the atonement was unnecessary. The history of mankind speaks with one voice against this objection. The whole human race, widely scattered over the earth, has ever been offering sacrifices, in one universal effort to propitiate God, or somehow make amends to His dishonored government for sin. All human history shows that men have been universally conscious of being sinners, and under the government of a sin-hating God. Their spiritual intuitions seemed to teach them that they must be punished for sins, unless a substitute was found to answer to public justice. The whole race somehow had the idea, that there might be a substitute for the penalty of sin. And hence they offered their expiatory sacrifices; and every one of them was a blind, unconscious prophecy of and a mute appeal for, an atoning Christ. Every heathen philosopher would rebuke this objection, and answer it.
3. It is objected that it is unjust to punish an innocent being instead of the guilty. We admit it. But this again is only an objection to the atonement as represented by the satisfaction theory. We are not surprised that men object to it. The irrationality of that theory has created a world of infidelity, and well it might. But let not the objector suppose that, in knocking down that man of straw, he has destroyed the true doctrine of the atonement. Let it be remembered that it is impossible for God to punish any holy being. Punishment implies guilt, and there is no guilt without sin, and sin is personal and belongs only to the sinner himself.
We have said, and repeat it, Christ was not punished. It is a misuse of language to say that He was. An innocent being may voluntarily suffer for others; but he cannot be punished. Christ voluntarily "suffered the just for the unjust." He had a right to take upon Himself such vicarious suffering for the good of others. It was not punishment forced upon Him. As it was by His own will and consent, and purpose, no injustice was done to Him, or to any one.
If Jesus had no right to make an atonement then He had no right to consult His own happiness, or the happiness of others; He had no right to seek the good of sinners or the glory of God. So far as we can see or know sinners could not be saved in any cheaper way; and nothing else could bring such a harvest of adoration and praise to Jesus, or such eternal glory to the infinite God.
4. It is objected that the doctrine of the atonement is incredible. It is a natural objection. We do not wonder that men have been overwhelmed at the thought. The greatness of the idea staggers the human mind. It has utterly astonished the great thinkers of the heathen world. It would be absolutely incredible but far one blessed fact: our adorable Father in Heaven is a God of infinite love. Nothing else could have brought His Son from the skies. Nothing else would have induced Him to exchange the throne of heaven for the cross of Calvary.
"But if God is love, as He Himself declares, it is what might he expected of Him under the circumstances; and the doctrine of I he atonement is the most reasonable doctrine in the universe" (Kirmey, p. 280). Love loves to give. Love is full of pity and compassion, Love finds its life and breath and being in sacrifice. "And God so loved, that He gave" The infinite love could only be measured and set forth to an admiring and astonished universe by an infinite gift. There is no measure of love but sacrifice.
5. It is objected to the atonement that it is of a demoralizing tendency. Here again, we say, is an objection against a particular theory of the atonement, but not against the atonement itself. We have already said, and are compelled to say again, that the Satisfaction theory of the atonement does lead directly to antinomianism. We have seen it, and heard it openly.
Tell men that Jesus obeyed for them, and they are liable to conclude that they need not obey. Tell them that He was punished in their stead and that law and justice can put no claim upon them, and it will naturally, lift from their minds any fear of the wrath of God, do what they will. Tell them of "a finished salvation" secured for them before they were born, as many Calvinists do, and if it does not encourage careless living on the part of those who think they are elect, and then a moral cause does not produce its natural moral effect. Tell them that the children of God are always dear to Him, even in their sins, and that they cannot possibly fall fatally from grace, and if it would not incline them to presumptuous sins, nothing could. We do not care how much such a theory is criticized. We will join hands with anybody to point out its errors and evil tendencies.
But the doctrine of the atonement which we have advanced has no such natural tendency. It may be wickedly abused like any other of God's blessings. But its natural tendency is to cause the redeemed soul to hate the sins that caused the loving Savior so much sorrow, and that still "crucifies Him afresh and puts Him to an open shame." The manifested love of Calvary tends to excite love in return. It may be said, without fear of contradiction, that those who have the most cordially believed in the atonement have exhibited the purest morality that has ever been seen in this world; while the rejecters of the atonement tend to a loose morality. What else could we expect, in view of the moral influence of the atonement?
6. Of course, advocates of a limited atonement object to a general atonement, on the statements of Scripture that Christ died for His "friends," His "sheep," and His "church." Finney makes this answer: "Those who object to the general atonement take substantially the same course to evade the doctrine that Unitarians do to set aside the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. They quote those passages that prove the unity of God, and the humanity of Christ, and then take it for granted that they have disproved the Trinity and Christ's Deity. The asserters of limited atonement, in like manner, quote those passages which prove that Christ died for the elect, and for His saints, and then take it for granted that He died for none else. To the Unitarian, we reply. We admit the unity of God and the humanity of Christ and the full meaning of those passages which you quote in proof of these doctrines; but we insist that this is not the whole truth, but that there are still other passages which prove the doctrine of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ. Just so to the asserters of limited atonement, we reply. We believe that Christ laid down His life for His sheep as well as you; but we also believe that He "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2: 9 and John 3: 16) (Theology, pp. 280, 281).
7. It is objected to a general Atonement that it would be folly in God to provide what He knew would be rejected; and that to suffer Christ to die for those who, He foresaw, would not repent, would be a useless expenditure of the blood and suffering of Christ. We answer: (1) This objection is based upon an utterly erroneous conception of the atonement. Even Dr. Hodge admits: "All that Christ did and suffered would have been necessary had only one human soul been the object of redemption; and nothing different and nothing more would have been required had every child of Adam been saved through His blood." (2) The Atonement would be of infinite value, if no sinner were saved by it. Every moral being in the universe would be compelled to glorify God forever by admitting that God had done His best to save sinners. The cross would be an eternal monument to the fact that God had so loved His enemies that He had made every possible effort to save them from the doom of their own sins, not halting even at the gift of His beloved Son. If nobody was saved, the atonement would bring eternal glory to God. (3) Moreover, as we have previously shown, the atonement would be an infinite blessing to all holy beings, even if no sinners were saved. The holy would have by it such matchless revelations of the goodness, and grace, and mercy, and pity, and compassion, and love of God as otherwise they never could have known. The great compassion of God, in providing an atonement for sinners and offering them mercy, will forever exalt God, and strengthen His government, and therefore will be a benefit to the whole universe. (4) It would bring infinitely great honor to Jesus. Because He "humbled Himself and became obedient unto death for our sakes, wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name; that at the name (if Jesus every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil, 2:8-11).
8. To the general atonement, it is objected that it implies universal salvation. We answer, this objection, also, grows out of one of the fundamental elements of the Satisfaction theory, which is that the atonement secures the absolute salvation of all for whom it was made. As a matter of fact, it is only provisory in its nature, and, in itself alone, does not secure the salvation of anybody. It only makes it possible for God to offer salvation to everybody, consistently with His justice and the best interests of His government. He makes the offer to all. How many will be saved depends upon man's reception of the offer. If all accept, all will be saved; if half accept, half will be saved; if none accept, hone will be saved; but God is none the less glorious in making an effort to save all. But an innumerable company will be saved. "Christ shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53: 11). It will take an infinite multitude of the saved to satisfy the infinite heart of Jesus.
II. Benefits of the Atonement.
We have seen that the atonement is in harmony with the nature of God, and demanded by God's honor and the best interests of His government. We have further seen that there are no valid objections against the true theory of the atonement. The question now meets us, how we can possess ourselves of the benefits it procures for us. There are other benefits of the atonement besides an actual salvation. And there are unconditional benefits, as well as conditional benefits. Unconditional benefits must precede and prepare the way for the conditioned salvation or it could never be possible. "We are not saved in a mere mechanical way, by the operation of omnipotent power, and 'irresistible, efficacious grace; but as free agents, and on our voluntary compliance with offered terms of salvation."
Thus we may divide the benefits of the atonement into two classes: Unconditional and Conditional, and consider afterward how we may reap the blessings purchased for us by the blood of Christ. Notice then
1. THE UNCONDITIONAL BENEFITS
It is not necessary to discuss all of them at great length. A brief statement will suffice.
(1) Our very existence. It is reasonably certain that, but for the atonement, Adam and Eve would have been cut off at once, on the commission of sin, and the race would have become extinct. It is quite inconceivable that God would have allowed the race to be propagated in depravity and sin, with no provision for our salvation. Such a condition of the race would be awful to contemplate. But the day our first parents sinned a Savior was promised, and the scheme of atonement was launched. The propagation of the race in helpless moral ruin could not have been reconciled with the goodness of God. It follows that the atonement is the ground of the very existence of the race. "While existence may become an evil, in itself it may still be a good. Many a blessing of the present life may become an evil; many a blessing does become an evil. It is not therefore an evil in itself; it is still a good. The evil arises from a wrong use of it. Such use is avoidable. We are in a probationary state. The vindication of God in such an existence lies in its possibilities of good within reach of us, and of blessedness forever" (Miley).
(2) The Common Influences of the Holy Spirit. There are two central, universal facts of human nature,-first, a universal corruption of human nature through the Adamic fall; second, the compensating, universal help of the Holy Spirit, that comes through Christ. "This is the light that lighteth every man, coming into the world" (John 1:9). What the moral state of humanity would be, if it had been left to the unrestrained and unalleviated consequences of the fall, can only be conjectured. We do not know what total depravity could bring us to, into what depths of sin and alienation from God we should fall, were there no counteracting grace; for the experiment has never been tried. The race has always had the remedial influence of the Holy Spirit, steadily pulling away at our hearts to draw us back to God.
Who can guess what might be the enormities of evil from the force of habit, with no restraining Spirit; or how dead might be the conscience, with no touch of God to arouse it to life; or how dark might be the mind, with no heavenly beam to bring it light? The very thought of such a condition of universal humanity is appalling! What would the reality be?
It is this helping Holy Spirit that explains the noble characters often found in heathen lands, and the signal virtues of unchristian men. "The compunction for sin, the strong desire to be freed from Its tyranny, such a fear of God as preserves them from many evils, charity, kindness, good neighborhood, general respect for goodness and good men, a lofty sense of honor and justice, and, indeed, as the very command issued to them, to repent and believe the Gospel, in order to their salvation, implies, a power of consideration, prayer, and turning to God, so as to commence that course which, if persevered in, would lead on to forgiveness and regeneration";- all these are not the natural products of the depraved heart, but rather the fruit of that quiet operation of the Spirit, which, like the power of gravitation on the tides, is ever tugging away at man to lift him heavenward, He is ever warring against evil, ever seeking to bring us to such a state of mind that we will welcome the full dominion of Jesus Christ, Or by resisting, grieving, and quenching the Spirit, we may quench the heavenly beam, silence the heavenly voice in the whirl of pleasure and the clamor of passions, and make the conscience deaf to "the still small voice," until He speaks no more, and the heavenly beam shines no more, and the heavenly monitor pleads and warns no more, and the willful soul is left to its own depravity, to be guided by it to outer darkness and a self-inflicted doom.
A probationary economy implies the power necessary to meet the requirements; but it is a natural power plus grace. The natural power is impaired by depravity, and grace compensates for the impairment, and thus brings to every soul a fair probation.
"If," says Miley, "we hold the doctrine of native depravity, we must either admit a universal helping grace of the atonement, or deny that the present life is probationary with respect to our salvation. Such a denial must imply two things; a limited atonement, with a sovereignty of grace in the salvation of an elect part, which for them precludes a probation; and a reprobation of the rest which denies them all probational opportunity for salvation" (p. 247).
(3) If our connection with Adam brought birth in depravity for us all, so the Second Adam-Christ, by His atonement, secured birth in the realm of grace for all. This is more than an equivalent for the awful inheritance of inbred sin.
(4) If the first Adam brought upon all the curse of death, with all its pains and sufferings and horror, so the atoning Savior brought a resurrection from the dead for all. The graves will be opened, and the sea give up its dead, and we shall enter upon a new career that shall never end.
(5) If, through the first Adam, and the fall, we came into the awful possibility of eternal death for all, so through the atoning Savior we inherit the possibility of eternal life for all. This comes to every soul without any choice. It is wholly unconditioned. God meets every soul at the dawn of moral responsibility and accountability, and says, "Behold, I come to thee, with hands laden with opportunities of eternal blessedness. No matter if sin dwelleth within thee, and hell yawns for thy advancing feet, I set before thee, the open door to everlasting bliss which no power can close but thyself."
(6) If the one sin of Adam brought an awful disaster to all, without any choice or consent of ours; so the blessed atonement of Christ brought a provisional salvation from all sin to all. This comes to each one of us even though unsought. It is one of the unconditional benefits of the blessed work of Christ.
(7) All the innumerable gracious providences of God, that bring us all our daily blessings-food and drink, vitalizing air, sunshine and rain, needed rest and refreshing slumber, the joys of health, the beauty that delights the eye, the grateful sounds that salute the ear, the delicious tastes, and fragrant odors that ravish the senses, the thrill of nerve that comes from touch,--all the countless things that, in bewildering combination, make life a joy, and existence sweet, are the purchase of the atonement, the unconditioned gifts that, like God's sunshine come to evil and good, and His rain, that falls upon the just and the unjust. It can hardly be supposed that God would have lavished so many and so constant blessings upon a race of hopeless sinners, committed to eternal hatred and opposition to Him. But in the light of the atonement, and the loving purposes of salvation, which God cherishes for the race, all is plain. We can see why so much of common good comes to us all.
(8) The actual salvation of all who die in infancy seems to be an unconditioned benefit of the atonement. The fact of infant salvation is fast coming to be an accepted truth in all evangelical churches. Miley observes: "It is true that the Scriptures are not explicit on what is thus accepted in a common evangelical faith. They neither affirm the fact of such salvation nor explain its nature.
Yet when we view the question of fact in the light of the divine love, the universal grace of the atonement, and the clear intimations of Scripture, we are not left with any reason to doubt the actual salvation of all who die in infancy. There is profound meaning for (his truth in the words of our Lord: "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18: 3). There is like meaning in His other words: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19: 14). When St. Paul sets in comparison or contrast the consequences of the relations of the race to Adam and Christ, his words must mean the actual salvation of all who die in infancy. If it be not so, then there is an infinite depth of evil consequent to the sin of Adam which is never reached by the redeeming grace of Christ, and super abounding fullness, which forms the climax of this great text can no longer be true (Rom. 5: 12-21). While infants are neither guilty of Adam's sin, nor guilty on account of an inherited nature, yet they are born in a state of depravity, which is in itself a moral ruin, and a disqualification for future blessedness. In these facts lies the necessity for their spiritual regeneration. This regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit; and it is a work provided for by the atonement in Christ, as are all the offices of the Spirit in the economy of salvation.
Thus it pleases God that dying infants shall be saved through the redemptive mediation of Christ; and thus shall the song of salvation through the blood of the Lamb be forever theirs in all the fullness of its gladness and love. Here is an immediate benefit of the atonement through which very many of the race shall come to the blessedness of heaven" (Vol. II, pp. 247, 248).
On this subject, President Fairchild writes, modestly and beautifully, as follows: "The case of infants dying before moral agency begins is not set forth in the Scriptures. Our ideas on the subject must be wholly speculative, inferences from our ethical philosophy. In the first place we can affirm, without misgiving, that such an infant is not a sinner, and cannot need forgiveness; yet he may have a share in the atonement. There would probably have been no race but for this prearranged plan. Perhaps the privilege of translation to a better world, before entering upon a life of sin, is an arrangement dependent upon the atonement. If the race had been propagated without an atonement, it would have been a doomed race. No one could be punished without sin; but all, upon attaining responsibility, would fall into sin, and die without hope. We may conceive that the benefits of the atonement reach the infant in the other world. He passes into that world without an established character of righteousness; he finds himself in the society of the redeemed, of those who in this life have been recovered from sin, and forgiven through the atonement. The character and experience of these saints may be of advantage to him; he may be brought up in righteousness under their care, and thus indirectly become a partaker in the atonement. Then, directly, all the truths of the atonement, and the gift of the Spirit, become his possession; and these may be the essential means of his preservation from sin, and continuance in blessedness.
Without the atonement, heaven might have been to infants what Eden was to the human race; a place where there was no experience, and where the moral influences were feeble; but received into the family of the redeemed in heaven, these infants are surrounded by all the experiences and moral forces which have accumulated in the church below and in the church above. Thus the infant, dying before moral agency begins, may have part in the song of Moses and the Lamb (Theology, pp, 165, 166), Personally we believe that infants are not sinners in any sense of the word. They have not sinned themselves, as God declares (Rom. 9: 11), nor are they responsible for Adam's sin, nor for the depraved nature which they inherited. But that depraved nature unfits them for a holy heaven. Those who die in infancy are, by prevenient grace taken out of the world, and in the article of death will be made meet for heaven. Whatever cleansing of heart they need will be sovereignly bestowed as they pass into the next life, precisely as truly justified Christians, who have not rejected sanctification; will in death be made meet for heaven. But this is one of the unconditioned blessings of the atonement, which He who was once a babe, gladly bestows upon the infants whom He thus early adopts into His eternal home.
2. CONDITIONAL BENEFITS
Conditional benefits are those, which are supplied only on condition of the performance of some appropriate action. The blessings we have just been discussing fall to the lot of men without their effort, or wish, as the sunlight falls from heaven. But those we are about to consider, though secured for us as a privilege by the atonement, yet are not realized in actual experience, except as we ourselves comply with certain divinely appointed conditions.
A child may inherit unusual mental gifts, and ample means to secure an education from wealthy and talented parents. All this has come to the child unconditionally, and without effort. But not so the attainment of scholarship. That is conditioned on persevering study through long years on the part of the child. So there are benefits of the atonement, as we have seen, that come to us without action on our part; but the great benefits of actual salvation are conditioned on compliance with the terms of salvation. In other words
(1) The salvation procured by the atonement is conditional. Here again we enter into unavoidable conflict with Calvinism. With their system, salvation is an absolute product of Omnipotence, the result of "irresistible efficacious grace." This would practically nullify probation. But if the present life is probation, then salvation is conditioned on our own voluntary choice. All must admit that our secular life is probationary, and what we sow determines what we shall reap. So, argues Bishop Butler, our moral and religious life is probationary with respect to our future destiny. Our forgiveness and salvation are conditioned on divinely specified acts required of us, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1: 15). "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3: 36). "And they went out and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6: 12), "Verily I say unto you, except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13: 3). "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish" (John 3: 16). "He became unto all them that obey Him, the author of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9). And so it is, in passage after passage. Justification is conditioned on faith; destiny hinges on whether we do, or do not, unite ourselves to Jesus by faith. The conditionally of salvation is taught in every possible form of speech. God requires repentance and faith, assuming always that these exercises of the moral being lie within our power.
Calvinists teach that repentance and faith are wrought in us by the omnipotent efficacious grace of God. But this is absurd; for why then should God be continually commanding us to repent and believe, and laying all the responsibility on us? One gets weary of these continual perversions of truth. Finney well said that God gives repentance and faith to any one only as He gives a crop of corn. He gives the seed and soil and sunshine and rain, and commands us to make our harvest or starve. So He gives us the requisite faculties of soul, points out our sins and our peril, offers us an atoning Savior, and then commands us to repent and believe or be damned. In no other conceivable way does He give repentance and faith to men. Were it otherwise, His commands would be infinitely absurd. Saving faith is a personal act of the soul, for which we are held wholly responsible. It is contrary and contradictory to all true ideas of such an act of faith that it should be the product of an absolute divine agency.
Calvinists quote, in support of their inwrought, irresistible gift of faith: "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). The text does not support them. "Faith" in the Greek is feminine: "that" of the second clause is neuter gender, and cannot refer to faith. It is the plan of saving by faith in an atoning Savior that is the gift of God, as the Scriptures everywhere show, but the faith is not His gift. That is something for which we are responsible. Otherwise the whole idea of salvation by faith disappears, and we are saved by sheer, arbitrary Omnipotence. "We are saved by faith; but it is only as that faith is a free personal act of the soul."
(2) The same may be said of regeneration, that comes to us by the same condition us justification, "We are regenerated by the same act of faith by which we are justified. There are texts in which the former must be included with the latter, while only the latter is named. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). There could be no such peace with God for an unregenerate heart. Regeneration, therefore, must be a concomitant of justification" (Miley). "But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1: 12). "For ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3: 26). So it is that this blessing which makes us children of God is conditioned on our faith. It is not something that is absolute and arbitrary on God's part. It depends on us, co-operating with the Holy Spirit.
(3) In the same way sanctification, though, like regeneration, wrought in us, by the Holy Spirit, yet depends on our complying with certain conditions. "God gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him" (Luke 11: 13). He gives the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him" (Acts 5: 32). "We present ourselves unto God for it" (Rom. 6: 13). "We hunger and thirst for it" (Matt. 5: 6). "We believe for it, and are sanctified by faith" (Acts 15: 9 and Acts 26: 18). A multitude of other Scriptures prove that while God's Spirit cleanses our hearts, whether it will be wrought in us, depends on our own compliance with conditions.
(4) Even final perseverance and future blessedness are conditional. Of course this is not Calvinism. That system teaches, "Once in grace always in grace," no matter how disgraceful you are! But with the infallible Word, every step of salvation and every element of it is conditioned on us. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 10: 22). "Who will render to every man according to his works; to them that by patience in well doing seek for glory, and honor, and incorruption, eternal life" (Rom. 2: 6, 7). This is the voice of the Word everywhere.
And so the atonement is conditional in its result; and whether it avails for us, depends on our compliance with the conditions. If we were compelled to choose between being created as Adam was, innocent and undepraved, but also without experience, and probation decided by a single test, and being born as we now are,-in helpless childhood and cursed by depravity, but blessed with the helpful influences of the atonement of Christ, and a lengthened probation under the patient ministries, without a moment's hesitation, we should choose the latter. The grace of the Second Adam far surpasses the curse of Adam the first. It meets us at birth, follows us through life with brooding helpfulness, offers us pardon for our sins, and deliverance from inbred sin, and is more than sufficient to secure for us all an eternal heaven.
But the grace of the atonement and the Spirit's help are not so forced upon any one that his moral self-sovereignty is destroyed. In spite of the Father's love, and the Savior's atonement, and the Spirit's help, any soul may trample upon all grace, reject life, and press his way down to eternal death. Such is the awful power of self-sovereignty and moral freedom.