Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

RL THE ATONEMENT of CHRIST. [SEEM. XXXy. soner without killing him, to endeavour to falsify his prophecies of his death, and thus attempt to make void his doctrine of atonement. It is true, God, by his immediate influence on the wills of men, could have prevented these effects : But it is not the manner of God's conduct in providence to an- swer and accomplish his own predictions by such imme- diate, divine, and over- ruling restraints upon the wills of men, if it may be done otherwise. And therefore indeed, the. prophecies, and especially such as are accomplished in the same age in which they are spoken, are usually given forth in metaphors and parables, that men may not so clearly and perfectly understand them, and that God, in his moral government of the world, may not be constrained to go out of his common and ordinary me- thods, in order to bring these prophecies to pass. Answer 3. It is evident, from many expressions in the evangelists, that it was not the design of Christ, in his own life-time, to publish the grace and glory of the gos- pel, in so clear, so distinct, and so complete a manner, as he designed to have it published by his apostles after he was gone to heaven. The design of his own public ministry was rather toprepare the way for the setting up of his own kingdom in the world, than to set it up in the full glory of it in his own person. According to this view of things, his preaching was formed ; " Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ;" Mat. iv. 17. That is, the gospel state approaches, or bath approach- ed to you. The prayer he taught his disciples stands on the same foot, wherein they are instructed to pray," " Thy kingdom come." Mat. vi. 10. Therefore when he spake to the multitude, of the spe- cial glories of his gospel, and especially of his atoning sacrifice, it was generally in parables ; and when he in- structed his disciples more particularly in private, he gave them but hints of it, and told them that they should publish these things upon the house-tops after the Son of man should rise from the dead, but not before. Even just before his death, his own disciples them- selves could not bear many things that he had to teach them ; John xvi. 12. These things were reserved there- fore for the forty days communication with them after his resurrection; when he spake with them " of things