Dr. Samuel D. Cochran On “The Moral System And The Atonement.” -- By: George F. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 046:183 (Jul 1889)
Article: Dr. Samuel D. Cochran On “The Moral System And The Atonement.”
Author: George F. Magoun


Dr. Samuel D. Cochran On “The Moral System And The Atonement.”

George F. Magoun

If there is no moral system of God in the moral universe, then there is no atonement. There can be none. The word evidently, in this case, would be without such significance as it has ever had. For an atonement is itself a general system, plainly not a mere arrangement for an individual or certain individuals; and it can only be such in relation to a wider general system within or under which, for some sufficient reason, it has become necessary or wise. But as this reason is purely moral, viz., sin, and as the atonement must be of necessity a moral transaction, and this of an unparalleled kind, the system in relation to which it is effected can clearly be no other than a moral system. A moral atonement within and in behalf of a physical or a merely psychical system would strike thinkers as an absurdity.

If a writer, then, like that of the able and weighty volume before us,1 would have any appropriate basis for a

new handling of the great topic of Christ’s atonement, he must find it in a moral system of the universe, fairly, broadly, and thoroughly conceived and developed. Our first business, then, in reviewing so serious and elaborate a work, is with his treatment of the antecedent topic of God’s moral system. Of Dr. Cochran’s five hundred and twenty-seven compact pages, this topic occupies the first two hundred and fifteen. Those who now repudiate a moral government of God, and displace even eternal, immutable moral law with an easy-going personal relation between man and God, based on no principle but the ready and characterless production of creature happiness —if this can be called a principle—will find in this exposition a body of truth without significance and needless as to human salvation; and doubtless, also, far beyond their lines of thinking, and running too deep for their comprehension. Those, on the contrary, who think, with us, that the Scriptural truths of reconciliation, propitiation, sin-offering, redemption, ransom, mediation, and the like, indicate a system of salvation unique and peculiar to Christianity, will be glad of a discussion of the underlying divine moral system so full and many-sided as is here given.

Dr. Cochran divides his great twofold theme into four convenient and manageable divisions, thus: The Moral

System. Part i: The Moral Law and System. Part ii. The Mode of God’s Existence; Incarnation; Redemptive Plan and Eternal Purpose; Foreknowledge, Election, and P...

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