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does not follow that, in reference to the death of Christ, it imports only that
The same inference may be drawn from the use of the preposition arti, which conveys the idea of commutation and substitution.
The law says, οφθαλμος αντι οφθαλ μου, δος αντι δοντος, requiring that the man who had put out the eye or the tooth of another, should lose one of his own. To render xaxov AYTI 22190, is to do any injury to our neighbour, because he has done an injury to us. In these cases, the general idea is that of commutation. The preposition also denotes substitution and succession, or coming in the room of another. Thus, Archelaus reigned over Judea-arri ‘Headwu tw Targos QUICU—" in the room of Herod his father.”'I And in what other sense but this of substitution can we understand it in the following words ? “ The Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" δανα την ψυχην αυτου λυτρων αντι πολλων.** The preposition ascertains the action to be vicarious, to be an action performed by one person, not only for the benefit, but in the room of another, as a benevolent man would lay down the price demanded for the liberty of a captive, which the captive himself was unable to pay. The life of sinners was forfeited, and it was redeemed by the life of the Saviour. The word ausgoy signifies a price of any kind, but is limited to the sense of a ransom by the occasion, being autgav erTi Tronc, for the deliverance of many. There is a compound noun, artidurger, which is used by Paul, when he says, that Christ gave himself a “ransom for all, to be testified in due time;"# intimating, in the most intelligible manner, that his death was not merely the means, but the price of our redemption, and, consequently, that his sufferings were vicarious.
When we affirm the substitution of Christ, we suppose that our guilt was legally transferred to him, so that he was made answerable for it; and, in this respect, there is a resemblance between him and the ancient sacrifices. They were called sin-offerings, and simply anon, sin,—the same term being em
• Raphelii Annot. tom. ii. p. 253, 254.
+ De Cyri Exped.
Rom. v. 7. | Ib. 8. f Matt. ii. 22.
** Ib. xx. 28.
# De Venat. H 1 Tim. ï. 6.
ployed to denote the transgression and the oblation for it, because there was a translation of the one to the other, or the latter was considered as bearing the former. This translation was represented by a significant rite. When the priest, the ruler, or any one of the common people, brought for a sin-offering a bullock, a goat, or a kid, or a lamb, each was commanded to lay his hand upon its head ; and the meaning of the rite is evident from what was done on the great day of atonement. Two goats were then presented, of which the one was to be slain and offered for a sin-offering ; but the other was to be sent by the hand of a fit person into the wilderness, in order to represent the removal of guilt as the effect of the sacrifice. That the design might be understood, and might make a proper impression upon the spectators, " Aaron," says the law, “shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.' There seems to be an allusion to this rite, and certainly the same thing is expressed by the prophet, when he says, “ All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”+ They were laid upon him as the sins of the Israelites were laid upon the scape-goat. To the same purpose are the words of the Apostle, “ He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”ť I add the testimony of Peter: “Who his own self bare our sins in his body on the tree: by whose stripes ye were healed.”'S The sins which he bore on the cross were not his own, but ours; and “his bearing them” implies, that they had been laid upon him as a burden under which we were sinking into perdition, and from which he was graciously pleased to relieve us. It is an obvious inference from these passages, that there was a transference of the sins of men to our Saviour, as the sins of the Israelite were transferred to the animal which he brought to the altar. Christ having voluntarily engaged to give satisfaction to the Divine justice for us, they were reckoned 10 him, as a debt is reckoned to a surety when the debtor himself is insolvent, and the creditor looks to the surety for payment. God dealt with him as if the sins had been his own; he inflicted punishment upon him as if he had been the offender. This is what we mean by saying that our sins were imputed to him; he came under an obligation to bear the penalty. They were only imputed to him, but not accounted really his own. This was imp sible ; for God, who always judges according to truth, would not charge one person with having committed the sins of another. Such a charge would be false, and never was, nor never will be, made. We cannot, therefore, read without disgust and detestation the language in which some high-flyers have indulged, -men who carried every thing to excess, and exposed important doctrines to reproach, by the unguarded and presumptuous manner in which they expressed them; not hesitating to call our blessed Lord a sinner, and the greatest of sinners; and to maintain that, during his last sufferings, he was separated from God and disowned by him, and was odious and abominable in his sight. These are not the words of truth and soberness, but the ravings of impiety or insanity. Such men did not understand the translation of guilt, which merely implies an obligation to punishment, but no moral taint, and was so far from rendering our Lord an object of the displeasure of his Father, that he never was the object of higher approbation than when he was expiring on the cross. The voluntary susception of our guilt, while in himself he was
Lev, xvi. 21, 22.
| Is. liii. 6.
* 2 Cor. v, 21.
$ 1 Peter ü. 24.
perfectly pure, could not for one moment change the sentiment of entire complacency with which his heavenly Father had always regarded him. Without sin, he was a sin-offering, bearing the iniquities of those whom he had undertaken to redeem. He owed nothing to justice for himself, but he owed much as the surety of men. His death was accompanied with such circumstances as showed that it was a penal act; for, besides its shame and its torments, it was that kind of death which the law had pronounced to be accursed; and the preternatural darkness at his crucifixion, was a visible symbol of the frown of the invisible Creator.
The animal which was substituted in the room of the offending Israelite, and over which he had confessed his sin, was slain, and laid upon the altar. Life was given for life; the life of the animal, which God was pleased to accept, instead of the life of the man. " The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it unto you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls ; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."'* That Jesus Christ died, is a fact about which there is no dispute ; but, with respect to the design of his death, we have seen that his professed followers are far from being agreed. It is granted that he died for our good, that he submitted to crucifixion to attest his doctrine, and give us an example ; but that his death was a sacrifice of atonement, some men confidently deny. Upon their hypothesis, there was no material difference between his death and that of many other holy men, who laid down their lives for the truth, and at the same time, were admirable patterns of faith, and patience, and hope. We assert, that he died as the substitute of the guilty ; that death was a punishment inflicted upon him for our sins, which were the impulsive cause of his sufferings, and, in this sense, he was made a curse for us; and that the great design was, to give satisfaction to Divine justice. This view is founded upon the passages formerly quoted to prove his substitution, passages which assert, that “ he gave himself for us ;' that “ he was made sin,” or a sin-offering, “ for us ;" that “ he died for all ;" that “ he bore our sins in his own body on the tree;" that " he suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” In a case where the defence of a particular system was not concerned, it would be acknowledged to be contrary to the laws of sound interpretation to understand, by such expressions, merely that the death of Christ has been productive of some benefit to mankind. I should wish to know, from those who wrest them from their obvious sense—the sense which they have suggested to all men but themselves—in what stronger terms the inspired writers could have expressed themselves, if it had been really their design to inform us that Christ died, not only for our good, but to atone for our sins; and whether the usage of the language, and the prevailing sentiments of those for whose instruction they wrote, would have led them to employ other terms than those which they have actually employed. If their words do not teach that the death of Christ was a true and proper sacrifice for sin, we must say that this is an idea which human language is incapable of communicating. Is it pos, sible to be more explicit than Peter is, when he affirms, that Christ suffered for sin, or as a sin-offering, the just for the unjust? Surely every man must see, who has not wilfully shut his eyes, that the just One suffered in the room of the unjust; suffered that they might not suffer; that his death was vicarious, and he submitted to it that he might bring us to God, or effect a reconciliation beiween us and our offended Creator. There is no perceptible difference between his death and the legal sacrifices but this—that, in the one case, it was an animal without reason which was slain, and in the other, it was a man, the Son of the living God, who was the victim. His death was called a sacrifice,
• Lev. xvii. 11.
without the slightest hint of a metaphor. “ He offered himself," as the Levitical priest offered the goats, and lambs, and bullocks, which were required by the law," he offered himself without spot to God;" “ he appeared in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;"* to accomplish at once what was typified by the legal oblations. He was a “ Lamb slain ;" the “ Lamb of God, which took away the sins of the world.”+
Attempts have been made to neutralize the evidence furnished by these passages in favour of the doctrine of atonement. When Christ is said to have borne our sins, we are told that this does not mean that he bore the punishment of them, but that he bore them away; and that he bore them away by procuring the offer of pardon upon repentance, or by presenting motives fit to turn us from our sins, in consequence of which we are forgiven. In the fiftythird chapter of Isaiah, it is said, “ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."! In order to prove, from this verse, the propitiatory nature of the sufferings of Christ, the two words which express what he has done in reference to our sins,—193 and 530, translated borne and carried, have been carefully examined, and their import has been ascertained by a comparison of other passages in which they occur. The result is given by Dr. Magee in the forty-second note. Both signify, not to bear away, but to bear or sustain, as a person bears a burden, and this is evidently the sense in all cases where sin is spoken of; “the suffering, or being liable to suffer, some infliction on account of sin, which, in the case of the offender himself, would be properly called punishment.” “ We are told that God made the iniquities of us all to fall upon him, who is said to have borne the iniquities of many: thus is the bearing of our iniquities explained to be the bearing them laid on as a burden ; and though a reference is undoubtedly intended to the laying the iniquities of the Jewish people on the head of the scape-goat, which was done, (as is urged by Socinus, Crellius, Taylor, and other writers who adopt their notions,) that they might be borne, or carried away; yet this does not prevent them from being borne as a burden. The great object in bearing our sins, was certainly to bear them away; but the manner in which they were borne, so as to be ultimately borne away by him who died for us, was by his enduring the afflictions and sufferings which were due to them; by his being “ numbered with transgressors,” treated as if he had been an actual transgressor, and made answerable for us, and consequently wounded for our transgressions and smitten for our iniquities, in such a manner that our peace was effected by his chastisement, and we healed by his bruises ; he having borne our iniquities, having suffered that which was the penalty due to them on our part, and having offered himself a sacrifice for sin on our account.”'ll Peter alludes to this passage in Isaiah, when he says, “ that Christ- τας αμαρτιας ημων αυτος ανηνεγκεν εν τω σωματι αυτου επι το ζυλον,-bore our sins in his own body on the tree.”[ It has been contended, that the verb ay dogs.co here signifies to bear away; but literally it mears to carry up from a lower to a higher place, and is used to express the act of sacrificing : “Who needeth not daily, like the high priest—1920sger Quoids—to offer sacrifices for sins."'** It
" does not seem to occur in the sense of bearing away. In the passage under consideration, if it convey any idea beyond simple bearing, it signifies to carry up, and intimates that Christ carried up our sins to the cross, having previously taken them upon him, that he might there bear the punishment of them, as the legal sacrifices were carried up to the altar, and laid upon it, that they might be consumed.
It has been objected to the vicarious nature of the death of Christ, which
• Heb. ix. 14, 26. † Rev. v. 6, &c. John i. 29. Is. liii. 4. $ Magee on Aton, vol. i. || Magee, vol. i. p. 461. 11 Pet. ii. 24.
** Heb. vii. 27.
imports that he endured the punishment due to our sins, that he did not actually suffer the punishment to which we were liable, for his sufferings were temporary, whereas eternal death is the doom of transgressors. The objection comes with an ill grace from Socinians, who deny the eternity of future punishment, unless they mean to refute from our own principles, or to use the argumentum ad hominem ; but from whatever quarter it comes, it involves a difficulty which may occur to the attentive inquirer. It has been frequently said, that eternity is not a necessary adjunct of the punishment of sin, but arises from the limited capacity of creatures, who could not endure, in a definite time, the full execution of the penalty. I am disposed to call in question the accuracy of this statement, and to believe that it is not from the weakness of the subject that suffering will be perpetual, but because the penalty implies the final forfeiture of happiness; and that, by the constitution of things, the loss incurred is a total and irretrievable loss. Sin separates the creature from the Creator, without the possibility of reunion. Be this as it may, I remark, that, in considering the atonement of Christ, we are not to inquire what was the quantum of suffering, in order to ascertain whether it bore an exact proportion to the sufferings which would have fallen to the lot of those whom he died to redeem. Some men have allowed themselves to go into estimates of this kind, and have presumptuously, and, in my opinion, nonsensically maintained, that the sum of suffering was so nicely adjusted between our Saviour and the objects of his love, that, if there had been a single person more to be saved, his sufferings would have been proportionably augmented. They seem to have imagined, that he actually endured all the pain which the millions of the redeemed were doomed to endure throughout the whole of their being.We should scarcely have expected arithmetical calculations to be introduced into a subject so little connected with them ; but human speculations are sometimes pushed to an extravagant and ridiculous length. This comes from understanding our sins to be debts in a literal sense, and the sufferings of Christ to be such a payment as a surety makes in pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings. I remark by the way, that they have gone to the opposite extreme, who have ventured to affirm, that one drop of the blood of Christ would have been sufficient to redeem the world. They might be asked to tell us, why he shed so many drops, and even poured out his soul unto death, and whether they seriously believe that he suffered more than was necessary for the salvation of mankind ? To return to the first calculators, they entirely overlook the personal dignity of our Saviour, which must have given an unspeakable value to his sufferings; for had this been taken into the account, they would have seen, that such an accumulation of pain as they imagine was unnecessary. According to their hypothesis, the dignity of his person added nothing to the value of his sufferings, nor did they need to be enhanced by it, as they were equal in degree to the appointed sufferings of his people. We can hardly speak, without presumption, upon a subject so mysterious and awful. His sufferings were great, beyond the power of language to express, or of imagination to conceive; but if we admit that all the acts of his human nature were finite, we cannot consistently say that his sufferings were infinite in degree, and must consequently admit that their transcendent worth was owing to the union of that nature to the divine. He did not, therefore, sufler all the pains and sorrows of sinners, but he suffered what was equivalent. It was the blood of the Son of God which was shed; it was the Lord of glory who was crucified. Hence, although his sufferings were temporary, they satisfied the demands of justice, and were a valid ground upon which God might pardon the sins of believers. It was not necessary that the sacrifice should remain for ever upon the altar, because it was so superior in worth to all former saVOL. II.-10