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maintaining that there is one only may be made with confidence, for living and true God, who is self-ex- justification in respect to the stateistent, eternal, immutable, omnis- ment which has just been made. cient, omnipotent, and possessed of None who are acquainted with boundless wisdom, purity, holiness, these documents, will undertake to justice, goodness, and truth. They deny. its correctness. agree, that he is the proper object In fact, all of these various sysof religious worship, prayer, praise, tems are indebted to Christianity gratitude, submission, obedience, for most that is excellent in them. love, and confidence. They agree. Modern Judaism, although bitter in inculcating most of the moral against the religion of Jesus, has, and social virtues ; in urging upon after all, notoriously borrowed mamen the law of mutual kindness ny of its maxims of morality and and benevolence; the obligation to piety from the writers of the New parental, filial, conjugal, and social Testament. The Rabbies did, inaffection. They agree in teaching deed, find most of the important that the soul of man is immortal; principles of this nature in the Old that there is a judgment to come; Testament; but in addition to what that God will reward the good and they found there, they have secretthe evil, according to their works ly transferred to their books many in the present world; and that the things from the precepts of Jesus, only method of escape from mise- and intermixed ihem with the docry, greater or less, in the life to trines which they teach. come, is by a life of piety and virtue Mohammed confessedly did this. here, (i. e.) religious regard to. He professed to regard Jesus as a ward God, and justice and kind- true prophet, and a divinely comness toward men.
missioned teacher. The Koran is That there are Jews, Mohamme- an evident compound of the Jewish dans, and Theists, so called, who and Christian Scriptures, and of do not practice the principles which Arabian philosophy and religion, have just been presented to view, joined with a multitude of conceits is readily conceded. Is it not that originated from the enthusiasequally true, that a multitude of tic and deluded mind of Mohammed Christians, so called, are utter himself, that most distinguished and strangers to the power of the truths singular of all impostors. which they profess to believe! Modern Theism, beyond all Still, no sober man can regard this doubt, owes its best and purest as evidence that Christianity itself doctrines, both in relation to piety does not inculcate the truths which and morality, to the Christian systhey neglect. Just so in the case tem. The men who erected this of Jews, Mohammedans, and The- edifice came from the bosom of the ists, with respect to doctrines which Christian church. Indeed many of they practically neglect. These them profess to resort to the New doctrines do not the less belong to. Testament, as one of the sources of 'their respective systems of religion. evidence, from which the principles. To the system of modern Judaism, of the religion of nature may be deas exhibited in the best writings of duced. the Rabbies, to the Koran in its What wonder, then, that modern simple state, unchanged by the Judaism, Mohammedism, and Theglosses of late Mohammedan ex- ism, should accord with Christianipositors, and to Theism as exhib- ty, in so many of their precepts and ited by Lord Herbert, and by Weg- principles both of religion and mo. scheider, now professor of Theol- rality? In a greater or less degree, ogy at Halle, in Prussia, the appeal the authors of all these systems consulted the New Testament, and and is still denied. Yet even those selected from it such things, as they who deny it, must admit, that if we judged would comport with the par. who believe it are correct in our ticular views and designs which views with regard to its being a they themselves entertained. Scriptural doctrine, its importance
But however many may be the cannot reasonably be questioned. points, in which all these systems Whether salvation is vouchsafed to substantially coincide, so far as the- men, only through the medium of ory is concerned, with the Christian the atoning blood of Jesus ; or religion, yet there are other points whether this produces a direct and in which they all fundamentally dif- immediate influence at all upon our fer from it. Among the most pro- reconciliation to God; are ques. minent and important of all, is the tions of everlasting moment to eve. great' doctrine of the Atonement. ry sinner in this world of probation. Here the devotees of all these sys. Those who believe in the reality tems turn sceptics at once. The and necessity of the atonement, in offence of the cross is to them a the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, grievous offence. They reject the may well insist on the liberty of beidea of propitiating a holy God by ingin earnest, upon a question of the death of Jesus, with scorn and such a nature. The belief or recontumely. They tread under foot jection of this truth, does, in their the blood of the cross, and regard view, stand essentially connected it as an unholy thing. They scoff with the belief or rejection of a at those who admit the doctrine of Saviour ; and of course with ever. reconciliation to God by the medi- lasting happiness or misery. Shall ator's death ; and regard them as they not be in earnest then, to de. men bereaved of their reason, or as fend this doctrine when they beunder the influence of a pitiable en- lieve it; and in earnest, to inculthusiasm.
cate it upon others ? It is clear, then, that the doc- We do not offer these remarks, trine in question is one of those because we think that an apology fundamental truths, which are the is necessary, for the deep interest distinctive sign or badge of the which we feel about the subject in Christian religion, as a religion dif- question, in common with most of ferent from the others which have the churches in our land. They been named. It is one principal are offered merely to show those thing, which makes our holy reli- who may be inclined to wonder gion to be appropriately Christ- why we should make so much of ianity, and not Judaism, not Mo- this topic, that if there be any thing hammedism, not 'Theism. No won- in the Christian religion, of which der, then, that those who view the much is to be made, this is to be subject in such a light, and who regarded as one of those things. have deliberately avowed them. They are intended, also, to impress selves to be Christians, should con- still more deeply on those who betend with earnestness, nay with lieve in the great doctrine of the persevering and invincible earnest- atonement, and contend for it, that ness, for a doctrine of such funda- they have much reason to contend mental and distinctive importance. for it, and to hold it fast as the dis
The distinctive nature of it is, in- tinguishing and fundamental docdeed, too plain to be seriously cal. trine of the religion which they proled in question. The fundamental fess. importance of it, however, we know We count ourselves to be among by unhappy experience has often, those, who regard with great satis very often, been called in question, faction, the deep sensibility of the religious public, towards the doc- another. God who made man a trine in question. It augurs well rational and social being, and gave if it be well regulated. It shows him the powers of language, enthat Christians are not inclined in dowed him with the faculty of comthese philosophizing days, to be municating rational and intelligent turned about by every wind of doc- thoughts to others; specially those trine. “ Jesus Christ the same yes- which do not depend on the mere terday, to-day, and forever,” said subjective state of individual feelthe writer of the epistle to the He- ing and views, but are the result of brews, after labouring through a reflection and reasoning. Terms, long and masterly argument, to il- then, which the schoolmen have lustrate and enforce the doctrine of employed, in reference to the docatonement by the blood of Jesus. trine of the atonement, if they are So would we say, at the present significant of things, and things time. While the relation of God taught in Scripture, may well be to man, as lawgiver, sovereign, and retained. There is no merit in that judge exists ; and of man to God, as love of novelty and passion for his subject, and accountable to him change, that would discard any for all his actions, and thoughts, and thing because the schoolmen said, affections; the doctrine of the or believed, or taught it. Nor, on atonement must be of fundamental the other hand, do we fear to reimportance. Man, born as he now ject or oppose any terminology, is, with predominating carnal appe- which they or their adherents have tites, will ever be a sinner, and employed, provided, on examina“ without the shedding of blood tion, it be found to be either unthere can be no remission of sin."
meaning, or erroneous, or superflu. Yet “it is impossible for the blood ous, or antiscriptural. of bulls and goats to take away We suppose ourselves to agree sin.” The Lamb of God” only can substantially, in regard to the doc"take away the sins of the world." trine of the atonement, with the If Jesus then, be not “the same great body of the Protestant divines, yesterday, to-day, and forever,” as who have treated of this subject, one expiatory, atoning sacrifice, since the commencement of the then will ruin, endless and remedi. Reformation. We believe in the less, befal our guilty race, who have vicarious sufferings of Christ for sinned, and for whom no atoning sinners. We do not believe in his sacrifice has been made. Surely death merely as a martyr to the “ there remaineth no other sacrifice cause of truth, and that it merely for sin ;” and only “ judgment and serves the cause of moral suasion, fiery indignation must be expected and thus contributes to our salvaby adversaries !”
tion. Nor do we believe, that the We rejoice therefore, in the ve- example of constancy, fortitude and ry deep sympathy which pervades obedience, which he exhibited by the churches, on this great subject. his death, is all that makes him a Not because we are sticklers for Saviour on account of his sufferings. all the old terminology and modes We believe fully, that there is othof explanation, which the schools er influence, besides that of moral of former days, or their adherents suasion in any form, exerted by his in later times, have employed. We death upon our salvation. We do do not place any value upon terms, not deny the influence of moral farther than they are significant suasion from his example, in exci
of things; yea, and of intelligible ting men to virtue, and in directing · things. What one mind has con- and animating their efforts. We
ceived, can be communicated to believe in it fully. And so we do, in the influence of the examples of ings and death were a substitute for all the apostles and martyrs, for the the punishment which the sinner like end. But we believe, that deserved. Nothing can be farthet Christ's sufferings were a substi- from our design than to deny this; tute for those which sinners deser- for this we believe to be the disved ; that they were vicarious, that tinctive and essential trait of the is, that they were in the room and great doctrine in question. But stead of those sufferings which sin- we do not maintain, nor do we beners deserved ; God accepted them lieve, that the sufferings of Christ in lieu of the punishment which were the same in kind, as the sinbelievers must have suffered, un- ner deserved ; nor the same in quanless they had obtained forgiveness; tity, as he deserved. Not the first, and that the death of Christ does, because Christ had not a guilty in this way, have a direct bearing conscience, that “worm which upon the pardon and acceptance of never dies" in the sinner's breast; a penitent sinner with God, and not he knew his sufferings were to be merely exercise a moral influence brief, and that he should come out in persuading him to forsake sin, from them, and of course he was and repent, and thus obtain pardon. not in despair, like the sinner in This last we admit, to a certain ex
the world of woe.. Not the second, tent; but it is very far from being because he suffered but a short peall which we admit and believe. riod, even if you include his whole We admit, with the great mass of life within the pale of suffering; he all the reformed churches, the doc- suffered as man, and not as the imtrine of a true and real expiation mutable and impassible God; and made by the death of Jesus ; and he could not, therefore, undergo believe with the prophet, that the sufferings, within this period, equal Lord “laid upon him the iniquity in quantity to the sufferings which of us all,” that is, we believe that all the redeemed must have endurthe sufferings endured by Christed, had they been forever cast off. were accepted by our Lawgiver and A substitution does not involve the eternal Judge, in lieu of the pun- notion of an exact quid pro quo, an ishment due to our sins. Such, we equivalency in all respects both as have no doubt, is the meaning of to kind and quantity. Nay the vethe prophet himself, in the sentence ry term itself scarcely ever implies just quoted. The word rendered this. We speak of an exact equidiniquity, (v) means also conse- alent, rather than of a substitution, quences of sin, viz. affliction, suf- when a quid pro quo in all respects fering, as well as the cause of sin, is had, in case of an exchange. We viz. crime or moral turpitude. do not believe in the necessity of a
We are thus explicit, in our de. strict, literal quid pro quo, in such clarations, because we know the a moral transaction as that of the sensibility of the religious public to atonement. Enough, that the law be such, on this subject, that when is honoured; that God is satisfied we profess, (as we do not scruple it is so; and that he is now willing to profess) that we reject some to accept penitent sinners,as though terminology and modes of explana- they had obeyed. Enough, that the tion which have been often adopted awful consequences of sin are held and insisted on, with relation to the up, in the most striking and impresdoctrine of the atonement, we in- sive manner, by the death of Christ. cur the danger of being charged Enough, that better purposes have with rejecting the doctrine, that the been answered by this death, than sufferings of Christ are to be regard- would have been accomplished by ed as vicarious, or that his suffer- carrying the law into literal execu
tion. This is satisfaction, (to use of deduction from their import. the language of the old school,) in So little did those who were inspirits highest and best possible sense. ed to speak on the all-important We need no weighing in scales, ad- subject of the atonement, indulge justed even by particles of dust, the in the distinctions and minuteness exact quantity of suffering which of systematic theology. Christ must undergo, in order to We have said enough to shew, make out a literal quid pro quo for that we are neither opposed to any the justice and penalty of the law. views because they are old, in reWe believe in no personal and lite- gard to the topic under consideraral transfer of guilt, of moral tur- tion; nor attached to any because pitude, on the one hand; or of ho- they are new. We would fain folliness on the other. All these low the simple biblical view of it, things, we believe to be the result free from all additions made by huof excessive and tenuous specula- man refinements, and equally free tions on the doctrine in question ; from all interpretation forced upon the result of a priori, and not of the Scriptures by philosophy and scriptural reasoning.
reasonings a priori. But then we trust that most of We repeat it, that we are sinthose who have indulged in such cerely rejoiced to see such a deep excessive speculations, did, after sensibility pervade the Christian all, hold fast to what is essential in public, in regard to the doctrine of regard to the atonement. While, the atonement. It is an omen of therefore, we decline to speculate good to the cause of Christianity. with them in these minima, we do But, on the other hand, it is not difnot exclude them from our fellow- ficult to perceive, that it is fraught ship, nor from our Christian confi- with some danger also. Even to dence and affection.
discuss the subject of atonement, Whenever we read or hear senti- is, at present, putting to hazard a ments, in respect to the atonement, man's good name, if not his standwhich involve the idea that the suf- ing in the church. If he departs ferings of Christ must have exactly from the beaten path, the cry of equalled the penalty of the law, had wanderer is raised. If he refuses it been executed upon believers, to use old names, and old forms of we always feel compelled instinc- expression, he is in danger of betively to ask, Then what gain has ing thought heretical. Scarcely accrued to the universe, by his can one venture even to discuss death? The quantity of suffering, minor points relative to this subon the whole, is not diminished; ject, without finding some one to and where then is mercy, the very cry out against him. This is unidea of which is, relaxing the de- fortunate with regard to discovermands of strict justice? Moral ing what is true, and discouraging equivalency or satisfaction is what to those who are inclined to pursue we expect, and what we think we investigations of such a nature. find in the scriptural representa- -Still, there are minds, deeply tion of the atonement. But even enough engaged in this great cause, here, the sacred writers indulge in to venture upon the pursuit of what no refined and minute speculation. is scriptural, and upon the rejection There is scarcely any one passage, of what philosophy has added to which, construed agreeably to the the scriptures. We rejoice that laws of sound interpretation, con- there are ; and after all the various veys directly an idea of this nature. speculations, in one form and anothIt follows rather from the collation er, indulged in by not a few who of many passages, and in the way have had extensive influence in the VOL. I.-No. V.