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infallible as Roman Councils, determined the limits of Infinity by affirming that the justice of God demands the temporal and eternal punishment of man, and can only be satisfied by the sufferings and death of Christ. How marvellous that men, who appealed to Reason against Rome, should thus dogmatically determine the Creed of Posterity!
To the Reformers came the priceless opportunity of restoring the simplicity of Galilee; but, fascinated by Pauline mysticism, they evolved from the doctrines of Election, Predestination, and Justification by Faith, that chaotic theosophy which Anglican Christians may now freely study in the Articles of their Church.
Turning towards those ecclesiastical fossils, we learn that the virtuous actions of uninspired men are sinful and displeasing to God;? that Confucius, Socrates, Buddha, and Aurelius cannot, according to the Scriptures, escape perdition ;2 and that Election is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons,'in whom we inevitably recognise the lineal descendants of the Pharisee who thanked God that he was so much better than his neighbours. 4
What, therefore, is the orthodox theory of the Atonement? That God created man in simplicity and ignorance, placed at his disposal the means of his Fall, left him defenceless against the wiles of Satan, condemned the innocent by cursing posterity, denied forgiveness to the penitent, unless appeased by blood, consecrated the heathen rite of human sacrifice by the crucifixion of his Only Son, limited the boon of expiation to a chosen few, and finally effaced all that is noblest in Humanity by teaching men to seek His favour, not by righteousness, but through the vicarious sufferings of an innocent man, judicially murdered to satisfy divine justice !
1 Art, xiii.
3 Art. xvii.
2 Art. xviii.
Happily for mankind the results of modern research fully vindicate the Deity from these injurious imputations, and release all Christians from the obligation of belief in a Gospel of blood, unknown to Jesus of Nazareth. The facts of Science, more authentic than the voice of Prophets, now tell us that man has inhabited the earth throughout countless generations of progression from lower to higher conditions of Humanity; his Fall is therefore a myth, and the Atonement, erected on this foundation of sand, the pious fiction of an age unconscious of the buried secrets reserved by Nature as a future revelation to mankind.
As our inquiries, therefore, result in absolute conviction that both Judaism and Christianity are of merely human origin, we are necessarily confronted by the unsolved problem of Man's true relationship with the Infinite; but, before discussing this momentous question, we for the present say to our readersau revoir.
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