« EdellinenJatka »
fect, and Adam lap reason from the seer experience to tha
e, as there must have been between Adam pure and per
Id Adam lapsed and lost. And is it presumptuous to rom the seen to the unseen, from the part which we ce to that which we can only conceive? If the Tects are unredeemed, the suspicion is not unnatural,
known effects ar
I sum up, to
They appear to
op, then, this part of my subject by observing, that any inconclusive appeals to nature, the advocates of ous scheme are chargeable with this fundamental ency. They appear to deny that the justice and
lence of God can be reconciled with the phenomena nature; and say that the evidence must be helped out by resort to their interpretation of scripture. When, having heard this auxiliary system, we protest that it renders the case Sadder than before, they assure us that it is all benevolent and just, because it has its parallel in creation. They renounce and adopt, in the same breath, the religious appeal to the universe of God. 2. A nother inconsistency appears, in the view which this
ives of the character of God. It is assumed that, at the æra of creation, the Maker of mankind had announced the infinite penalties, which must follow the violation of his law; and that their amount did not exceed the measure which his abhorrence of wrong required. “And that which he saith, he would not be God if he did not perform : that which he perceived right, he would he unworthy of our trust, did he not fulfil. His veracity
instice, therefore, were pledged to adhere to the word that had gone for
pe forth: and excluded the possibility of any free and itional forgiveness.” Now I would note in passing,
s announcement to Adam of an eternal punishment that this annou
he over his first sin, is simply a fiction; for the warn
unconditional forgiveness »
impending over his first sin, is simply
wrely die;"* from which our progenitor must have
. Gen. ii. 17.
been ingenious as a theologian, to extract the idea of endless life in Hell. But to say no more of this, what notions of veracity have we here? When a sentence is proclaimed against crime, is it indifferent to judicial truth, upon whom it falls ? Personally addressed to the guilty, may it descend without a lie upon the guiltless ? Provided there is the suffering, is it no matter where? Is this the sense in which God is no respecter of persons ? Oh! what deplorable reflection of human artifice is this, that Heaven is too veracious to abandon its proclamation of menace against transgressors; yet is content to vent it on goodness the most perfect. No darker deed can be imagined, than is thus ascribed to the Source of all perfection, under the insulted names of truth and holiness. What reliance could we have on the faithfulness of such a Being? If it be consistent with his nature to punish by substitution, what security is there that he will not reward vicariously? All must be loose and unsettled, the sentiments of reverence confused, the perceptions of conscience indistinct, where the terms expressive of those greau moral qualities which render God himself most venerable, are thus sported with and profaned.
The same extraordinary departure from all intelligible meaning of words is apparent, when our charge of vindictiveness against the doctrine of sacrifice is repelled as a slander. If the rigorous refusal of pardon, till the whole penalty has been inflicted (when, indeed, it is no pardon at all) be not vindictive, we may ask to be furnished with some better definition. And though it is said, that God's love was manifested to us by the gift of his Son, this does but change the object on which this quality is exercised, without removing the quality itself; putting us indeed into the sunshine of his grace, but the Saviour into the tempest of his wrath. Did we desire to sketch the most dreadful form of character, what more emphatic combination could we invent than this ; rigour in the exaction of penal suffering ; and indifference as to the person on whom it falls ?
Ruler of creation
in truth this system, in its delineations of the Great of creation, bids defiance to all the analogies by which and the Christian heart have delighted to illustrate ure. A God who could accept the spontaneously
sinner, and restore him by corrective discipline, unced not worth serving, and an object of con
If so, Jesus sketched an object of contempt drew the father of the prodigal son, opening his
when he drew
w order to continue
The overlook man by corrective di
mer he” (“the Deity of the Unitarians”) “must show no mercy,
continue true; or he must show no truth, in order to exercise mercy.
erlook man's guilt, admit him to the enjoyment of his favour, and proceed corrective discipline to restore his character, he unsettles the foundations of ' equitable government, obliterates the everlasting distinctions between right and wrong, spreads consternation in heaven, and proclaims impunity in Hell. Such a God would not be worth serving. Such tenderness, instead of inspiring filial D irection, would lead only to reckless contempt."- Mr. M`Neile's Lecture,
P. Sur æly this is a description, not of the Unitarian, but of the Lecturer's own creed. It certainly is no part of his opponents' belief, that God first admits the guilty to his favour, and then “proceeds" " to restore his character.” This arrangevont by which pardon precedes moral restoration, is that feature in the orthodox
of the Divine dealings against which Unitarians protest, and which Mr. thed
himself insists upon as essential throughout his Lecture. M'Neile
“We * he says, “ that before man can be introduced to the only true process of improvement, he must first have forgiveness of his guilt," What is this “first” step of pardon, but an "overlooking of man's guilt ;" and what is the second, of s sanctification,” but a “restoring of character;" whether we say by "corrective discipline," or the “influence of the Holy Spirit,” matters not. Is it said that the cuilt is not overlooked, if Christ endured its penalty ? I ask again, whether
rice regards only the infliction of suffering, or its quantity, without caring about Direction ? Was it impossible for the stern righteousness of God freely to for
enitent? And how was the injustice of liberating the guilty mended by
ts of Ehe innocent ? Here is the verdict against sin,—“The soul that the torments of
shall die.” And how is this verdict executed ? The soul that had
not die; and one “that knew no sin" dies instead. And this is called ion of truth and mercy; being the most precise negation of both, of onception can be formed. First, to hang the destinies of all mankind
volition of their first parents, and then let loose a diabolic power to break it down ; to vitiate the human constitution in punishment
cet continue to demand obedience to the original and perfect seert the absolute inflexibility of that holy law, yet all the while
the offenders a method of escape, which violates every one of I makes it all a solemn pretence; to forgive that which is in itself condition of the suicide of a God, is to shock and confound all
sinneth, it shall die.” And sinned does not die; and one " the a divine union of truth and mercy : which any conception can be forme upon a solitary volition of the on that volition to break it down for the fall, and yet continue to de moral law; to assert the absolute have in view for the offenders its provisions, and makes it all a solen unpardonable, on condition of the suicide
arms to the poor penitent, and needing only the sight of his misery to fall on his neck with the kiss of welcome home. Let the assertions be true, that sacrifice and satisfaction are needful preliminaries to pardon, that to pay any attention to repentance without these is mere weakness, and that it is a perilous deception to teach the doctrine of mercy apart from the atonement; and this parable of our Saviour's becomes the most pernicious instrument of delusion; a statement, absolute and unqualified, of a feeble and sentimental heresy. Who does not see what follows from this scornful exclusion of corrective punishment? Suppose the infliction not to be corrective, that is, not to be designed for any good, what then remains as the cause of the Divine retribution? The sense of insult offered to a law. And thus we are virtually told, that God must be regarded with a mixture of contempt, unless he be susceptible of personal affront.*
(3.) The last inconsistency with itself, which I shall point out in this doctrine, will be found in the view which it gives of the work of Christ. Sin, we are assured, is necessarily infinite. Its infinitude arises from its reference to an Infinite Being; and involves as a consequence the necessity of redemption by Deity himself.
The position, that guilt is to be estimated not by its amount or its motive, but by the dignity of the being against whom it is directed, is illustrated by the case of an insubordinate soldier, whose punishment is increased, according as his rebellion assails an equal, or any of the many grades amongst his superiors. It is evident, however, that it is not the dignity of the person, but the magnitude of the effect,
notions of rectitude, without affording even the sublimity of a savage grandeur. This will be called “blasphemy;" and it is so; but the blasphemy is not in the words, but in the thing.
Unitarians are falsely accused of representing God as “overlooking man's guilt." They hold, that no guilt is overlooked till it is eradicated from the soul ; and that pardon proceeds, pari passu, with sanctification.
• See Note B.
such an instance, more sternly trea curs the risk of superadds to the
which, not resu tional arranger easy to form
agent; and still less 912 immoral dee
n determines the severity of the sanction by which, in I instance, law enforces order. Insult to a monarch is ernly treated than injury to a subject, because it in
risk of wider and more disastrous consequences, and us to the personal injury a peril to an official power lot resting on individual superiority, but on convenrangement, is always precarious. It is not indeed
form a distinct notion of an infinite act in a finite s and still less is it easy to evade the inference, that if
moral deed against God be an infinite demerit, a moral ed towards him must be an infinite merit.
Passing by an assertion so unmeaning, and conceding it for the sake of progress in our argument, I would inquire what is intended by that other statement, that only Deity can redeem, and that by Deity the sacrifice was made ? The union of the divine and human natures in Christ is said to have made his sufferings meritorious in an infinite degree. Yet w e are repeatedly assured, that it was in his manhood only hot ho endured and died. If the divine nature in our Lord had a joint consciousness with the human, then did God suffer and perish ; if not, then did the man only die, Deity being no more affected by his anguish, than by that of the malefactors on either side. In the one case, the nerfections of God, in the other the reality of the atonement, vust be relinquished. No doubt, the popular belief is, that Creator literally expired; the hymns in common use de
it : the language of pulpits sanctions it; the consistency of creeds!
eds requires it; but professed theologians repudiate the th indignation. Yet by silence or ambiguous speech, courage, in those whom they are bound to enlighten, rading humanization of Deity ; which renders it imof common minds to avoid ascribing to him emoinfirmities, totally irreconcileable with the serene of the Universal Mind. In his influence on the
Je is no Spirit, who can be invoked by his agony
idea with indignation. they encourage, in the this degrading humanizatio, possible for common tions and infirmities. perfections of the Unive worshipper, He is no Spi,