Dr. Cochran And Other Recent Writers On The Atonement -- By: George F. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:185 (Jan 1890)
Article: Dr. Cochran And Other Recent Writers On The Atonement
Author: George F. Magoun


Dr. Cochran And Other Recent Writers On The Atonement

George F. Magoun

[Continued from Vol. 46. p. 498]

In the July number of this Review for 1889, on of the ablest of recent treatises on the atonement was examined as to its theories and logic, leaving the “Scriptural Relations of Christ and His Atonement to Mankind” for later consideration. To this we now proceed, along with an examination of other volumes—now multiplying, it is hopeful to see—on the same subject. Dr. Cochran’s is, for American students and masters of theology, the most important, from its American origin and its strength of thought; and though such works are not easy to read, it is not the most difficult among them.

The first to claim attention, on the score of the earlier date of its production, is Dr. Lewis Edwards’s “The Doctrine of the Atonement” first issued in Welsh in 1860, translated into English by Rev. David Charles Edwards, Bala, 1886.1 The translator is of Balliol College, Oxford University, England; the author was president of the Welsh Presbyterian College at Bala. The recent appearance of the book in English is owing to the high regard in which it is held in Wales. It was written a quarter of a century ago from a conviction also independently expressed in his own way by Dr. Cochran. “Both sides” in the controversy on atonement, says Dr. Lewis Edwards,—

“failed to touch the soul of the question, and even forgot that it had a soul, which is, whether the justice of Gods nature demands an atonement in order to pardon sin. Instead of keeping to this point, where their real strength lay, the defenders of the old doctrine set up a sort of commercial atonement, and, by so doing, simply overthrew their own system. Their opponents contended for the theory of a governmental atonement—an atonement rendered merely to the divine government. But this did not touch the point at issue. Andrew Fuller and Dr. Williams were good Calvinists; but they erred by separating the justice of God’s government from the justice of His nature. If they, however, regarded God too exclusively as governor, without reference to His justice,2 the tendency of our days is to think of God as Father only. Both errors spring from disregard of justice as an attribute in the Godhead.”3

Dr. Edwards adopts the literary form of dialogue—between teacher and disciple—and manages it with naturalness and flexibility. But he has an order of topics of conversation, which is this: The Atonement i...

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