Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

ferent modes of reasoning, and different results of interpretation, are no doubt to be found among our several authors. We all make our appeal to the records of Christianity: but we have voted no particular commentator into the seat of authority. And is not this equally true of our opponents' church? Their articles and creeds furnish no textual expositions of Scripture, but only results and deductions from its study. And so variously have these results been elicited from the sacred writings, that scarcely a text can be adduced in defence of the Trinitarian scheme, which some witness unexceptionably orthodox may not be summoned to prove inapplicable. In fine, we have no greater variety of critical and exegetical opinion than the divines from whom we dissent : while the system of Christianity in which our Scriptural labours have issued, has its leading characteristics better determined and more apprehensible, than the scheme which the articles and creeds have vainly laboured to define.

The refusal to embody our sentiments in any authoritative formula appears to strike observers as a whimsical exception to the general practice of churches. The peculiarity has had its origin in hereditary and historical associations: but it has its defence in the noblest principles of religious freedom and Christian communion. At present, it must suffice to say, that our Societies are dedicated, not to theological opinions, but to religious worship: that they have maintained the unity of the spirit, without insisting on any unity of doctrine: that Christian liberty, love, and piety are their essenrials in perpetuity, but their Unitarianism an accident of a few or many generations;—which has arisen, and might canish, without the loss of their identity. We believe in the

utability of religious systems, but the imperishable characor of the religious affections ;-in the progressiveness of pinion within, as well as without, the limits of Christianity.

ur forefathers cherished the same conviction : and so, not having been born intellectual bondsmen, we desire to leave our successors free. Convinced that uniformity of doctrine can never prevail, we seek to attain its only good, -peace on earth and communion with heaven,—without it. We aim to make a true Christendom,—a commonwealth of the faithful,by the binding force, not of ecclesiastical creeds, but of spiritual wants, and Christian sympathies : and indulge the vision of a Church that “in the latter days shall arise,” like

the mountain of the Lord,” bearing on its ascent the blossoms of thought proper to every intellectual clime, and withal massively rooted in the deep places of our humanity, and gladly rising to meet the sunshine from on high,

And now, friends and brethren, let us say a glad farewell to the fretfulness of controversy, and retreat again, with thanksgiving, into the interior of our own venerated truth. Having come forth, at the severer call of duty, to do battle for it, with such force as God vouchsafes to the sincere, let us go in to live and worship beneath its shelter. They tell you, it is not the true faith. Perhaps not : but then, you think it so; and that is enough to make your duty clear, and to draw from it, as from nothing else, the very peace of God. May be, we are on our way to something better, unexistent and unseen as yet; which may penetrate our souls with nobler affection, and give a fresh spontaneity of love to God and all immortal things. Perhaps there cannot be the truest life of faith, except in scattered individuals, till this age of conflicting doubt and dogmatism shall have passed away. Dark and leaden clouds of materialism hide the heaven from us: red gleams of fanaticism pierce through, vainly striving to reveal it; and not till the weight is heaved from off the air, and the thunders roll down the horizon, will the serene light of God flow upon us, and the blue infinite embrace us again. Meanwhile, we must reverently love the faith we have: to quit it for one that we have not, were to lose the breath of life, and die.

sembre

[graphic]

NOT

The Jewish Passover no

In an essay on “ the one great end Dr. Priestley makes the following ring in 1 Cor. v. 7,) “ Christ, our " This allusion to the paschal lam! death of Christ is called a sacrifice these two (viz., sacrifice and the pa inconsistent ideas. The paschal sacrifice in the Old Testament, e it is called “ the sacrifice of the L only be called a sacrifice in this sense, and not in the proper a there was no priest employed of, no burning, nor any part o stances were essential to ever was sprinkled upon the doormore than a token to the de there is no propitiation or at paschal lamb is very far fro or said to be killed on accou

Every reader, I appreh manner of celebrating the casion” spoken of " in th this verse,' argues Dr. Pin its strictest sense ; for to which it is applied, a of a proper sacrifice.

• Theological Repositor vol, vii. pp. 243, 244.

NOT E.

The Jewish Passover not a proper Sacrifice.

In an essay on “ the one great end of the life and death of Christ,” Dr. Priestley makes the following observations on the words (occurring in 1 Cor. v. 7,) Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us :" “ This allusion to the paschal lamb makes it also probable, that the death of Christ is called a sacrifice only by way of figure, because these two (viz., sacrifice and the paschal lamb) are quite different and inconsistent ideas. The paschal lamb is never so much as termed a sacrifice in the Old Testament, except once, Exodus xii. 27, where it is called “ the sacrifice of the Lord's passover.” However, it could only be called a sacrifice in this place, in some secondary and partial sense, and not in the proper and primary sense of the word; for there was no priest employed upon the occasion, no altar made use of, no burning, nor any part offered to the Lord; all which circumstances were essential to every proper sacrifice. The blood indeed was sprinkled upon the door-posts, but this was originally nothing more than a token to the destroying angel to pass by that house ; for there is no propitiation or atonement said to be made by it: and the paschal lamb is very far from having been ever called a sin-offering, or said to be killed on account of sin.”*

Every reader, I apprehend, understands this description of the manner of celebrating the passover, to refer to the particular “occasion” spoken of“ in this place” (Exod. xii. 27). "The writer of this verse,' argues Dr. Priestley, “could not use the word sacrifice in its strictest sense ; for his own narrative of the very celebration to which it is applied, describes it as destitute of all the essentials of a proper sacrifice. The allusion to the blood sprinkled upon the

• Theological Repository, vol. i. p. 215, and Priestley's Works, by Rutt, vol. vii. pp. 243, 244.

door-posts, as "a token to the destroying angel to pass by that house,” immediately connects Dr. Priestley's assertions with the Egyptian passover. By cutting out this allusion, and otherwise breaking up the passage in quotation, Archbishop Magee has contrived to conceal its character as an historical description of a single occasion, and to give it the air of a general account of the Jewish paschal ceremony in all ages. Having accomplished this, and obtained for himself the liberty of travelling for a reply over the whole Hebrew history and traditions, he says ; “ Now in answer to these several assertions, I am obliged to state the direct contradiction of each ; for, 1st, the passage in Exodus xii. 27, is not the only one, in which the paschal lamb is termed nai, a sacrifice, it being expressly so called in no less than four passages in Deuteronomy (xvi. 2, 4, 5, 6), and also in Exodus xxxiv. 25, and its parallel passage xxiji. 18.-2. A priest was employed.-3. An altar was made use of.

-4. There was a burning, and a part offered to the Lord: the inwards being burnt upon the altar, and the blood poured out at the foot thereof.”* The last three of these “ direct contradictions" establish nothing but this Prelate's habit (not adopted, we may presume, without urgent necessity) of misrepresenting his opponents in order to confute them: for it is quite needless to observe that, in the Egyptian passover, of which alone Dr. Priestley speaks, there was neither priest, altar, nor burning : and though the Archbishop should be able to detect all these elements in a festival of King Josiah's time, he will have proved no error against the passage which he criticises. In his first contradiction, he would have gained an advantage over his opponent, had not his eagerness induced him to strain his evidence too far. A more modest disputant would have thought it sufficient to reckon three successive verses (Deut. xvi. 4, 5, ") in which the same phrase is simply repeated, as a single instead of triple authority: the other citation from the same passage is not to the point, as will presently be shown : and in one of the verses quoted from Exodus (xxiii. 18) the word ni does not occur at all in relas tion to the passover. So that Dr. Priestley having discovered to passages too few, the Prelate makes compensation by discovering mo passages too many.

Having said thus much in reference to Archbishop Magee sa. ness to his opponent, I will add a few strictures on the reasontogos which he supports his general position, that the passover wa

proper sacrifice. He adduces two arguments from facts. 1. The word 73}, sacrifice, is a –2. The word 7372, Corban, a sacred offer 3. The slaying of the lamb took place at the 4. The blood was offered at the foot of the entrails were burnt as an offering on the alt

(1.) It has been already stated, that A properly adduced two passages, as applyir passover. The first of these is Exod. " Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sa neither shall the fat of my sacrifice rer cond clause here undoubtedly refers to th " sacrifice” occurring in it is not the J ginal ; nor is the Hebrew word the s dered in the first clause. The phrases criminated, in the two parts of the v supposing that both allude to the pas ference in the former is to the sacri unleavened bread, which being conti naturally conjoined with it in the p

The second irrelevant passage therefore sacrifice the passover ur and of the herd.” Since the pas the herd,” it is evident that the a wider sense,* to denote the je of unleavened bread, when hey This more comprehensive mea with Josephus and the late Scriptures themselves; and ments by which the passove proper sacrifice. An exam days thou shalt eat unleaven over ; and in 2 Chron. sons) gave unto the pri

[graphic]

cattle, and 300 oxen."

• This is admitted by a bishop Magee was familiar the subject of the passou armento lectas in sacris 15

proprie appellatur פסח

-Outram de Sacrificiis,

* Magee on the Atonement, vol. i. pp. 291, 292, 5th edit.

« EdellinenJatka »