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and bloody sweat, his cross and passion. And the piety that is thus taught to bring its incense, however sincere, before the mental image of a being with convulsed features and expiring cry, has little left of that which makes Christian devotion characteristically venerable.
II. I proceed to notice the inconsistency of the doctrine under review with the Christian idea of salvation.
There is one significant scriptural fact, which suggests to us the best mode of treating this part of our subject. It is this; that the language supposed to teach the atoning efficacy of the cross, does not appear in the New Testament till the Gentile controversy commences, nor ever occurs apart from the treatment of that subject, under some of its relations. The cause of this phenomenon will presently appear ; meanwhile I state it, in the place of an assertion sometimes incorrectly made, viz., that the phraseology in question is confined to the epistles. Even this mechanical limitation of sacrificial passages is indeed nearly true, as not above three or four have strayed beyond the epistolary boundary, into the Gospels and the book of Acts: but the restriction in respect of subject, which I have stated, will be found, I believe, to be absolutely exact, and to furnish the real interpretation to the whole system of language.
(1.) Let us then first test the vicarious scheme by reference to the sentiments of Scripture generally, and of our Lord and his apostles especially, where this controversy is out of the way. Are their ideas respecting human character, the forgiveness of sin, the terms of everlasting life, accordant with the cardinal notions of a believer in the atonement? Do they, or do they not, insist on the necessity of a sacrifice for human sin, as a preliminary to pardon, to sanctification, to the love of God? Do they, or do they not, direct a marked and almost exclusive attention to the cross, as the object to which, far more than to the life and resurrection of our Lord, all faithful eyes should be directed ?
system, that the Deity
perfection, pardor the Bible is one So copious is its containing it we lating to the s thee," said Mos of this people, ac
Now to the fundamental assertion of the vicarious
that the Deity cannot, without inconsistency and imon, pardon on simple repentance, the whole tenor of
is one protracted and unequivocal contradiction. us is its testimony on this head, that if the passages 8 it were removed, scarcely a shred of Scripture re
the subject would remain. “ Pardon, I beseech Id Moses, pleading for the Israelites, “ the iniquity
people, according to the greatness of thy mercy, and As thous
tiast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until "; and the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word."* Will it be affirmed, that this chosen people had their eyes perpetually fixed in faith on the great propitiation, which was so close their dispensation, and of which their own ceremon tal was a type ?—that whenever penitence and pardon are tamed amongst them, this reference is implied, and that as this faith was called to mind and expressed in the shedding of blood at the altar, such sacrificial offerings take the place, in Ludy ism, of the atoning trust in Christianity? Well then, let us quit the chosen nation altogether, and go to a hea
then people, who were aliens to their laws, their blood, their hopes, and their religion ; to whom no sacrifice was appointed, and no Messiah promised. If we can discover the dealings of God with such a people, the case, I presume, must be deemed conclusive. Hear then what happened on the banks of the Tigris. “ Jonah began to enter into the city,” Nineveh,) " and he cried and said, yet forty days and Nineveh u be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, roclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest
o even unto the least of them.” “Who can tell,” the decree of the king ordaining the fast,) “ if God will
I repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that turn and ra
not? And God saw their works, that they turned evil way; and God repented of the evil that he
• Numb. xiv. 19, 20.
we perish not? And God from their evil way; and
had said he would do unto them; and he did it not.”* And when the prophet was offended, first at this clemency to Nineveh, and afterwards that the canker was sent to destroy his own favourite plant, beneath whose shadow he sat, what did Jehovah say? “ Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night and perished in a night; and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand?”+—and who are not likely, one would think, to have discerned the future merits of the Redeemer.
In truth, if even the Israelites had any such prospective views to Calvary, if their sacrifices conveyed the idea of the cross erected there, and were established for this purpose, the fact must have been privately revealed to modern theologians; for not a trace of it can be found in the Hebrew writings. It must be thought strange, that a prophetic reference so habitual, should be always a secret reference; that a faith so fundamental should be so mysteriously suppressed ; that the uppermost idea of a nation's mind should never have found its way to lips or pen. “But if it were not so,” we are reminded, “if. the Jewish ritual prefigured nothing ulterior, it was revolting, trifling, savage; its worship a butchery, and the temple courts no better than a slaughter house." And were they not equally so, though the theory of types be true? If neither priest nor people could see at the time the very thing which the ceremonial was constructed to reveal, what advantage is it that divines can see it now? And even if the notion was conveyed to the Jewish mind, (which the whole history shows not to have been the fact,) was it necessary that hecatombs should be slain, age after age, to intimate obscurely an idea, which one brief sentence might have lucidly expressed? The idea, however, it is evident, slipped • Jon. iii. 5-10.
† Jon, iv. 10, 11,
ugh after all; for when Messiah actually came, the one thing which the Jews did not know and believe about him that he could die at all. So much for the preparatory
discipline of fifte
There is no re in our thoughts, ments of prop!
else would I giv
the sacrifices of
is no reason then why any thing should be supplied houghts, to alter the plain meaning of the announce
prophets and holy men, of God's unconditional ess on repentance. “ Thou desirest not sacrifice,
uld I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering ;
acrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a cantrite na
utrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."* “ Wash Jou, make you clean,” says the prophet Isaiah in the name of the Lord; “put away the evil of your doings from before min á eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”+ Once
'When I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die ; more,
he tu rn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robhed, walk in the statutes of life without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.”I Nor are the teachings of the Gospel at all less explicit. Our Lord treats largely nd expressly on the doctrine of forgiveness in several parables, especially that of the prodigal son; and omits all allusion
propitiation for the past. He furnishes an express on of the terms of eternal life; “ Good master, what thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he
him, why callest thou me good; there is none good that is God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep
ndments.” And Jesus adds, “ if thou wilt be perind sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and
ve treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”'
1. i. 16–18. Ezek. xxxiii. 14–16. $ Matt. xix. 16—21.
said unto him, why callest ti
e shalling in the Ghost,
Garething good cod was
This silence on the prime condition of pardon cannot be explained by the fact, that the crucifixion had not yet taken place, and could not safely be alluded to, before the course of events had brought it into prominent notice. For we have the preaching of the Apostles, after the ascension, recorded at great length, and under very various circumstances, in the book of Acts. We have the very " words whereby," according to the testimony of an angel, “ Cornelius and all his house shall be saved;" these, one would think, would be worth hearing in this cause : “ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power ; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem ; whom they slew and hanged on a tree; him God raised up the third day, and showed openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify, that it is he who was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."* Did an Evangelical missionary dare to preach in this style now, he would be immediately disowned by his employers, and dismissed as a disguised Socinian, who kept back all the “peculiar doctrines of the Gospel.”
(b.) The emphatic mention of the resurrection by the apostle Peter in this address, is only a particular instance of a system which pervades the whole preaching of the first missionaries of Christ. This, and not the cross, with its supposed effects, is the grand object to which they call the attention and the faith of their hearers. I cannot quote to you
* Acts x, 34-44.