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the doctrine of atonement, is obvious from Gal. iii. 19, where Moses is spoken of as a mediator, inasmuch as he was the medium of divine com. munication as to the old covenant. For the same reason Jesus is called mediator. God's minister between Him and sinful man, delivering the Gospel, or the word of reconciliation, to mankind, as Moses delivered the Law to the Jews.”-If the appellation Advocate given by the Apostle John* prove any thing respecting the efficacy of our Saviour's present interposition in rendering God merciful, it proves too much,—that the death of Christ had not the efficacy assigned to it. I understand the words of the Apostle as implying, 'If any man sin, let him not despair: one still lives, lives in the enjoyment of peculiar intercourse with God, of peculiar proofs of his approbation, who has done every thing which was requisite to assure us of mercy and forgiveness; and on his declarations we may safely and securely rely: we have a friend, who came to heal the broken hearted, who died for us, and who now lives for ever with the Father,--Jesus Christ the righteous.'
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. I HAVE now examined all the modes of expression, and most of the leading texts, in the New Testament, that are generally thought to countenance the doctrines which I oppose, as unscriptural, injurious to the divine character, and baneful in their moral tendency. I am able to discover nothing in the slightest degree inconsistent with those delightful representations of the mercy of God, which I have quoted, or referred to, in the preceding pages; and I do not hesitate, therefore, in declaring, as my full and firm conviction, that the death of Christ made no change in the divine purposes, dispositions, or dealings towards mankind, further than as it tended, (by operating as a powerful motive on the well disposed mind, and by assuring the most importapt promises and declarations,) to render men fit to receive the blessings which he was sent to offer.--I now hasten to conclude, by stating a few observations, principally derived from Sykes, Henry Taylor, and Ludlam,writers who were not Unitarians.
| John ii. 1. The original word is trapakantos, several times employed by our Lord (in John xiv. xv. xvi.) in reference to the holy spirit.
(1) Though I consider the term atonement, at-one-ment, as really corresponding to reconciliation, I cannot refuse assent to the opinion of Sykes, that it ought not to be used respecting the purposes of our Saviour's death, since it is not the language of Scripture, and the substitution of one word for another is too apt to mislead the most wary. (Scripture Doctrine, p. 347.) The word atonement is used once only in the Public Version of the New Testament (Rom. v. 11), and then as the translation of xararnayn, which is elsewhere rightly translated reconciliation, as it ought to have been here.
(2) “ Satisfaction is a word never once used in Scripture. It was without doubt well-pleasing to God, and in that sense a satisfaction to Him, that Christ loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, Eph. v. 2; and God manifested His good pleasure in rewarding him for it. But punishment is so far from being a satisfaction to Him, that He calls it his strange work, Isa. xxviii. 21. And the punishment of an innocent person must be an abomination in his sight: nothing can be a satisfaction to God, but righteousness.” Taylor's Ben Mordecai, Letter VI.
(3) Grotius, Stillingfleet, and other learned men assert, that "there is a necessity of God's “ vindicating his honour to the world, upon the " breach of his laws; if not by the suffering of “ the offenders themselves, yet by the suffering “ of the Son of God, as a sacrifice for the expia“ tion of sin, by undergoing the punishment of “our iniquities :" " which,” says H. Taylor,
appears to me the same thing as to assert, that God is not able to forgive sins, swpeav, freely.” Gale goes still further, and asserts, " that God is under a necessity of punishing sin, “ without a satisfaction: and he were inevitably
unjust if he did not punish it.” “From whence, then," continues Taylor, “ does this new invented necessity arise, which limits and restrains the absolute right and free mercies of God? Is it a doctrine of Scripture? By no means: the Old and New Testament are ignorant of it. Hear what Isaiah (xliii. 25,) says, ' I, even I, am he, saith the Lord, that blotteth out thy transgressions FOR MINE OWN SAKE, and will not remember thy sins: and again, (ch. 1. 2.) • Is mine arm shortened at all, that it cannot redeem ? or haye I no power to deliver ?' And the New Testament declares, that God forgives us FREELY: and there is not one text in either of them, that speaks of the sufferings of Christ as a punishment; or one that says, that they were intended to vindicate the authority of God's laws; much less mentions the necessity of such a vindication, and that God could not forgive sins without it. This is all human invention. Dr. Sykes says very truly,. When I look over every passage* that mentions the effect of Christ's death, or what he did, or why he suffered, I do not find the authority of God's laws mentioned among them. And can that be supposed an end of the sufferings of Christ, which is not once mentioned to us; at the same time, that we are immediately and directly concerned in it, and perhaps we only ?'
* “ The principal texts wherein the ends of Christ's sufferings and death are mentioned,” are enumerated by Sykes, p. 402; and I shall here refer to them for the benefit of the reader. Matt. xx. 28. Mark x. 45. John xii. 32. iii. 14, 15. 2 Cor. v. 15. Gal. i. 4. iii. 13. Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14. Eph. v. 25—27. Col. i. 21, 22. Eph. ii. 14–16. 1 Thess. v. 10. Rev. v. 9. 1 Pet. ii. 24. Heb. ii. 14, 15. ix, 15. 1 Pet. ii. 21.
+ In another part, (p. 70,) Sykes says, “ It may justly seem unaccountable, that the sacred writers should never mention so rial a point, as God's sending His Son into the world, and letting him suffer in order to consult the honour of His laws, or to vindicate His own honour, if that were the reason of Christ's sufferings, Now what is not even mentioned in Scripture as the reason of Christ's sufferings, should not be asserted as a Scripture doctrine."
(Scripture Doctrine, p. 352.)” Taylor's Ben Mordecai, Letter V.*
(4) The doctrines of satisfaction and vicarious punishment render it requisite to suppose, as the advocates for them say, that he endured suffering
as under the charge of guilt;" and they go further, and say, that “ he was oppressed with innumerable and abominable crimes,” that he had " a painful sensation of them," and that he plainly became "an object of God's wrath."After quoting these expressions from Hervey's Theron and Aspasio, and Venn's Complete Duty of Man, W. Ludlam continues, “ Here are EVANGELICAL PARADOXES enough to solve one we create many. Thus we find perfect innocence and real guilt united in Christ. No consciousness of sin, yet a painful sensation of it.” “He offered himself to God without spot and without blemish; yet at that very time God beheld in him a deluge of iniquities. Lastly, he in whom God was well-pleased, was made the BUTT of His infinite indignation." Ludlam afterwards quotes some further representations from these writers, respecting the necessity of supposing that our guilt was imputed to Christ, in order to
* “ Men may glean up scraps of Scripture,” says Ludlam, suit any purpose,-compare the tenor of what is said by these writers with the tenor of what the Apostles say. We find nothing in their writings about Christ's being justly or truly punished; about imputation of sin, or a charge of guilt; about standing in our law-place as a substitute, or obligation to punishment; about commutation of persons and penal satisfaction ; yet all this is dignified by some with the title of EVANGELICAL PRINCIPLES." Essays, Vol. I. p. 129.