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that the world has been raised from the real barbarism of Pagan civilization. The true way to redeem the wretched is to suffer for them. And where this is done voluntarily, so far from being contrary to justice, it is something higher and better than mere justice; it is mercy, and in precise analogy with all God's dealings that thus—and it might almost be said, only thus, are the degraded to be raised, the wretched relieved.
Enough this to remove, we think for ever, the grand Unitarian objection to the doctrine of Atonement through the voluntary vicarious sufferings of the Lamb of God. All nature may and must fall far short of an adequate illustration of this doctrine. But so far as it can go, it teaches all the principles upon which the doctrine is founded as fixed laws of the divine government, and therefore just and reasonable. We may say with Bishop Butler: “Let reason be kept to, and if any part of the Scripture account of the redemption of the world by Christ, can be shown to be really contrary to it, let the Scripture, in the name of God, be given up; but let not such poor creatures as we go on objecting against an infinite scheme, that we do not see the necessity or usefulness of all its parts, and call this reasoning.”
From the facts of the case the sufferings of Christ must have been vicarious. Any reasonable man, even, who reads the four gospels, cannot doubt the substantial truthfulness of the life, teachings, sufferings and death of Christ. Even Rousseau confesses that “ When Plato described the imaginary good man, with all the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he described exactly the character of Jesus Christ. Yes,” he adds, “if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus were those of a God.” Napoleon Bonaparte appears to have seen further and more clearly in the same direction. But we will not just now ask for more than this to be conceded. Nor will we discuss here how great were the sufferings he endured—what it was that wrung from him the bloody sweat in the garden—or the expiring cry of agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" We
merely take the general characteristic of him, that he was " the man of sorrows. We will not
into the causes of that grief, or why it is, that “meriting all the rewards of virtue, he seems oppressed with the shame of conscious guilt"-we ask not here whether these things came by a direct divine infliction, or through some mighty hidden law, by which purity such as his, brought into contact with sinfulness such as ours, must sympathetical shrink, and bleed, and pine, and bear an unknown weight of suffering in beholding the guiltiness of man. Suppose it the intense and sympathetic consciousness of others’ guilt that made him feel as if it were his own. Still we should feel disposed to take up the words of that ancient Greek litany, and cry, "By thine unknown agonies, oh! Lamb of God, have mercy
upon us !!
The Scriptures seem to intimate that there was something far more than this ; but let us take any view possible of the facts of the case and we cannot account for the phenomenon of such suffering holiness, except upon the principles of vicarious suffering. Whether we receive the blessings of his vicarious Atonement depends on ourselves, but we must receive the doctrine that his sufferings were vicarious, by a philosophical necessity. Our only point just now is this: The holiest Being who ever trod this earth was the greatest sufferer: emphatically, the man of sorrows. On the one hand, he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners; on the other hand, he bears the shame of sin. It is sin that causes all his grief—makes him groan in spirit, being troubled, and finally breaks his very heartstrings on the cross. He suffers—his sufferings arise from sin, but not from his own sin. What then remains but this view of the case ? He is treated as if he were a sinner, on account of our iniquities. He drinks the cup of trembling which our sins had filled. He receives into his own heart a sword, which the guiltiness of man had caused to be uplifted. He endured sufferings which our sins merited. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” Thus far, at least, all is plain and clear as a matter of simple fact.
We have avoided all attempts to enquire into the sources of Christ's sufferings and anguish. But it is clear that physically he did not suffer so much as Paul or Peter, while yet we all know that he really suffered far more. It seems to us equally clear, that one great source of the sufferings of Christ was the very purity and holiness of his nature.
This great doctrine, which forms the corner-stone, so to speak, of the Old Theology, is one of the most practical of truths in its bearing upon all that is vital in religion. It certainly must encourage all those who would be followers of the great Master, to be willing to suffer for others, well assured that this, and not reviling them, is the chief way to do them good. It will, at the same time, encourage those who believe in it to rely on the perfect gratuitousness to them of that forgiveness and redemption which is offered them through Christ. This is the only doctrine which can afford settled peace to any man properly alive. to his own guilt and utter unworthiness in the sight of his God. Dr. Johnson found this out in his last hours, and Hannah More and Wilberforce in middle life. The sooner and the more implicitly we rely for salvation upon the free gift of eternal life in the Son of God, the sooner and the more completely shall we find that we have attained to that knowledge which forms a key to the whole of the New Testament, and without which the mysteries of the Christian religion can never be unlocked by any man. Unitarianism has--as Dr. Dewey, we believe, once publicly declared among his brethren " forgotten that man is a sinner. It is a system that might do, if men were all as good as angels to begin with, only then they would not want it. But it prescribes for the sick just as if they were whole, and thus destroys them. Theology, like wine, improves with age, if of the right kind at first. Its forms and modes of expressing itself may be changed and modified, because the meaning even of words is fluctuating. But "no man having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new, for Le saith, the old is better.”
NOTICES OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES EXPLAINED. By Joseph ADDISON ALEX
In two volumes. (New York: Charles Scribner, 377 Broadway. 1857.)
This work, as the title indicates, proposes no more than the explana , tion of the history, leaving practical improvement and other uses to be made by those who may avail themselves of the exposition. It is certainly a valuable contribution towards the proper understanding of the Acts; while, at the same time,
we cannot but regard it as both unnec:ssarily and undesirably prolix. We think moreover, that the attempt to adapt it to the wants of both the student and the general reader, has resulted in making it too popular for the former, and too critical for the latter. The views of the author, expressed in the introduction, as to the general scope of the book of Acts, we consider original, just and valuable,
These views are thus stated: “It is not a history of the twelve apostles, most of whom are barely named in the first chapter. It is not the biography of Peter and Paul, as apostles by way of eminence ; for each of them is prominent in one part only, and thể whole life of 'neither is recorded in, detail. It is not a general history of the apostolical period, as distinguished from the ministry of Christ himself; for many interesting facts belonging to that subject are omitted, some of which have been preserved in the Epistles. But the book before us is a special history of the planting and history of the Church, both among Jews and Gentiles, by the
gradual establishment of radiating centres or sources of influence at certain salient points throughout a large part of the empire, beginning at Jerusalem, and ending at Rome.” These views he proceeds to develop and illustrate in connection with an analysis of the book.
LECTURES ON THE APOCALYPSE. By ROBERT RYLAND, President of Richmond College. (Richmond: Worthảm & Cottrell, 203 Main street, 1857.)
This is a work of at once lofty and humble pretensions. It proposes, with some confidence, to explain the Apocalypse; while, at the same time, it “lays no claim to originality in the views” expressed, and professes to be little more than a condensed statement of the interpretation of Mr. David N. Lord. Indeed, the author frankly says that his work is designed only for those whose means and leisure are limited, and advises all other persons not to examine his at all, but to have recourse to the larger and more original investigation. The motive and spirit of the author in this regard are certainly worthy of all praise. But we cannot help thinking that the subject treated of belongs to that large class, on which compends and abridgements must, from the nature of the case, be unsatisfactory and inadequate-must be such as to make their use economy neither of time nor money. Thus, for instance, in a work proposing the interpretation of symbols, it does not suffice simply to state that such a symbol represents such a person or thing, that a certain symbolic seene sets forth a certain real occurrence: the inquirer needs the reasons for believing these statements. Unless, therefore, the interpretation is so obvious and necessary as on presentation to be its own witness, other proof of its correctness is demanded, or else it is no more than an hypothesis, which may or may not be the true solution. Now, we have not examined Mr. Lord's work on the Apocalypse; and, for aught we know, he may present such reasons for his interpretation as to necessitate its
reception. But Mr. Ryland's work gives little more than results, and as these are not so clearly true as to command assent from their intrinsic self-evidencing character, they must be received, if received at all, simply upon the authority of Mr. Lord and Mr. Ryland a course to which we are sure that the latter of these would strenuously object. It is true that Mr. R. states quite clearly in the introduction, the general principles on which his interpretation is based ; and these principles, we regard as being in the main, and as far as they go, correct. His reasons also for regarding certain symbols as representative of persons and things of certain particular classes or kinds seem to us quite conclusive. But how are we to know that certain symbols represent the particular individual persons and things which he says they represent?' Take as an example, the interpretation of Rev. vi: 12, 17. Suppose we admit, that the earthquake symbolizes a political revolution, that the darkening of the sun, and the moon's becoming blood represent the beginning of a despotism and its cruel exercise, and that the fall of stars sets forth the overthrow of such a dynasty-admit all this as proved, we cannot see how the conclusion is attained that these symbols respectively represent the French Revolution, the resulting and for some time prevalent despotism, and its overthrow “at the fall of Bonaparte in 1815, and of Louis Philippe in 1848.” The correctness of this is not self-evident, and whatever Mr. Lord may do, Mr. Ryland does not even attempt to demonstrate it; so that it seems to have the worth of no more than an hypothesis presented as a possible solution. Some quite strong reasons of a positive character against the conclusions announced in this book occur to us, as indeed some do against the possibility of any dogmatic statement of the meaning of the Apocalypse ; but we deem it sufficient to have shown the inadequacy of the book to its proposed object-an inadequacy, as we think, inherent to its very plan. The style of the work is neat and perspicuous ; its spirit earnest and reverent; the practical lessons which it presents truthful and good.
BIBLICAL COMMENTARY ON THE New Testament. By Dr. HERMANN OLShausen, continued after his death by Dr. John Henry Augustus Ebrard and Lic. Augustus Wiesinger, revised from the English translation, after the latest German editions, by A. C. Kendrick, D. D. vol. v. (New York.)
The present volume extends from Ephesians to Titus inclusive. Olshausen's work was carried through Thessalonians, when it was arrested by his death. Its completion has been undertaken by Dr. Ebrard and Augustus Wiesenger, both former pupils of Olshausen and sympathising in his views. Wiesinger is the author of the Exposition in this volume, of Philippians and Titus. The Editor, while characterizing his work as sound and able, admits him to be "sometimes over minute and prolix," and has occasionally attempted condensation, without however sacrificing any important thought. "On the whole, the present volume seems to be on the plan and in the spirit of its predecessors, and when the sixth volume shall have been completed, the whole will constitute a complete and most valuable Commentary on the New Testament.
THE PLENARY INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, by ELEAZER LORD. (New York, M. W. Dodd, 506 Broadway. 1857.)
Apart from the question of its success, any attempt to fortify the Holy Scriptures against rationalistic infidelity is, in one aspect at least, a good omen. Accordingly, we find some pleasure in the appearance of such a work as the present, even though we doubt whether it adds to the argument for plenary inspiration. The author's position is that the very words of the original Scriptures were given to the writers directly by