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to the most ignominious of all deaths, the death of the cross. But with all humility and reverence, allow me to ask, can this notion be tolerated for a moment, without violence to the most cominon understanding ? can our minds be so fettered by prejudice, as to suppose, that in this only wise God our Saviour, we can discover a triple divinity-three infinite agents ! three infinite objects of worship ? for with their lips, at least, the advocates of this doctrine will assent that God and Christ are one, though this creed and doctrines altogether completely negative the assertion.Christian reader be not deceived by sophistry, backed by the sanction of learning and high episcopal authority, for with the voice of reason the divine scriptures unite with that sacred voice in the heart, which even idolatry and priestcraft cannot stifle, in calling upon us to bow down reverentially before the Lord our Maker, even the one Jehovah Jesus, ascribing to him, the supreme self existent divinty, all honor glory and power, under a solemn sense of our accountability to him, and to him only.
Admitting the validity of these preliminary observations, it will I think, appear self evident that we cannot subscribe to this popular figment of the reformed church, without sacrificing our consciences to the dictum of fallible men; and this will as certainly influence the dispassionate inquirer to seek for a more rational and satisfactory solution of the subject than the commentators and expositors of the present day can possibly afford him. I am not aware of the reason why the translators of the sacred oracles should, in our common versions of the Bible, capriciously render the Greek word at one time reconciliation and at another atonement, and that even in the same chapter ; yet such is the fact. In adopting the true rendering, viz; reconciliation, the subject opens on our minds with lucid clearness; we then discover the force of the apostle's expression, when he says, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;" for we then become impressed with an assurance, that all the reconciliation or atonement treated of in the scriptures can be only applicable to fallen man himself; because God being love in its essence, can never sink under the dominion of that anger and ire, which retained would disgrace the lowest of finite intelligences; and that unconnected with any substituted victim he is ever ready to reinstate the returning prodigal in his favour, who in an unconditional surrender to his authority is reconciled to the yoke of his humility, resignation and self-denial, which, as he advances in states of purity and holines, he will experience to be easy, delightful and profitable.
Under the Jewish economy we find the same notion of recon. ciliation or atonement universally established. Had a member of their community been betrayed into any species of evil, by which he had excluded himself from church fellowship, he was required to make an atonement for it through the medium of the priest, by the sacrifice of some animal, proportional in value to the magnitude of the crime; or in other words, this ceremony was a test of his reconciliation, the seal of his pardon; and he was, by this means, qualified for re-admission as a member of the temple or synagogue; nor was the institution restricted to sins of commission, but extended to sins of omission, yea, even to involuntary errors, of which the offender was altogether unconscious; nor could his restoration be effected, but by evincing his reconciliation to church discipline by the hand of the priest; by the immolation of an animal, if patible with the secular situation of the indi. vidual, by birds of different kinds where an animal was unattainable; or even by an handful of meal, were the offender in poor and indigent circumstances. By these means the sincerity of the person thus reconciled was made evident to the congregation at large; and as such, he was again admitted to the privileges and immunities of the synagogue.
It is evident that this wise institution had its origin in the idea of a covenant, which covenant obviously implied a solemn compact entered into between two contracting parties. Thus the covenant instituted between Jehovah and the Hebrews could never suffer interruption on the part of the Lord, because he himself declares, “I the Lord change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” An infraction of this established covenant could therefore only take place on the part of the creature, who, in submitting to that legal process, which under a shadowy dispensation, typified latter things to come; and in exhibiting by external rites and ceremonies, as best adapted to a carnal and sensual people, a conviction of his disobedience, and desire again to be reconciled to his heavenly Benefactor, was re-admitted within the pale of the church, and replaced amongst his brethren in the society of the faithful. It is true, that in the perpetration of any flagrant sin, the expiation could only be rendered efficacious by the death of some unoffending victim. But this was not singular, for history informs us that this was a mode of procedure by no means confined to the Jews, for we learn, that agreements or covenants of every description among the eastern nations could only be ratified by blood ; and that it was this constant custom and practice to confirm any part or covenant by the sprinkling of blood.
But the inquiry in which we are at this time most interested, is, how is this doctrine of atonement to be applied in the moral re
novation of our nature, and from the paths of sin and error, restoring us to the favor and regard of our heavenly Father? It is answered, not by the substitution of a victim, for that would leave us just as it found us, if the heart remained unchanged; not by the sacrifice of bulls or of goats; not even by sacrificing our bodies for the sins of our souls; not by vainly attempting to appease the imaginary wrath of the incensed Father, in whom no such detestable passion as anger ever resided ; but by washing and making ourselves clean, by ceasing from evil and learning to do well, by coming into his presence, and offering on his altar, in holy worship, our best and sanctified affections; these united with our fervent prayers will come up before him as fragrant incense; and as he wills mercy and not sacrifice, we cannot so effectually recommend ourselves to his favor, we cannot so assuredly secure our own peace and happiness, as by offering up the oblation of pure and penitent hearts.
This then is the atonement, this is the reconciliation exacted from us by our heavenly Father and Benefactor, which renews and repairs the broken covenant; thus by repentance is the christian brought back from the love of himself and the world, to the love of the Lord and his neighbour; and the God of love and mercy never averted his face from the true penitent when he felt an earnest desire to cast away the carnal weapons of his rebellion, throwing himself on the Divine clemency, and in the language of the humble publican, smiting upon his breast, with saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Such then is an epitomized analysis of the view which the members of the New Church in general take of the doctrine of atonement or reconciliation. Instead therefore of recognizing this God of Israel as revengeful and implacable, like a Moloch delighted with the punishment of his frail and erring creatures, they are enabled to behold him in a much more exalted and endearing character; for, they can see with holy rapture and delight, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to save and redeem it; that he ever loved us, not because we first loved him, but that he first loved us; and that by his death and triumphant resurrection, our glorified Redeemer hath led captivity captive, and by the conquest of hell, hath, through the gate of death, opened to us the portals of eternal life and happiness.
Lastly if it be admitted, that Jesus is equal to the Father, if in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily ; if our Lord's word is to be relied on, when he says, “I and the Father are one,” to whom be it enquired could he atone, were such atonement necessary, but to himself? Denying this just inference, we deny at
once his divinity and lapse into the Arian heresy, and denying his divinity, we become palpable Humanitarians or Socinians; and as a mere man, his death could be of no more efficacy in the work of human redemption than the death of Moses or one of the prophets.
I am, Gentlemen,
Thos. F. CHURCHILL.
To the Editors of the New Jerusalem Magazine. GENTLEMEN,
It is quite impossible for any ordinary mind to compra hend what your Correspondent *** means, when he says, that to believe that the Lord dwells in a Divine Body " is to acquiesce in interpretations which contradict the very first principles on which the Theology of the New Church is founded.” I beg to refer him to the following passage from the Divine Love and Wisdom No. 18, and to add, that I believe there is no one in the New Church who advocates the absurd doctrine which teaches, that the Lord still dwells in a material body, and this appears to be the only sense in which the term Divine Body can be offensive; they are too plainly taught, that it was made a Divine substance, thus substance itself, at the resurrection, and consequently could be no longer material. I can hardly conceive this to be the error *** means to correct, but should it be, I think he is certainly mistaken in supposing that such exists ; should it not be, let him lose no time in giving us his own interpretation of a matter, which he regards as, and which truly is, of so much importance; otherwise he will be only endeavouring to overțum our present conceptions of the Divine Nature, without furnishing us with any thing to supply its place.
I am, Gentlemen,
XANTHUS. ** That there are infinite things in God any one may affirm in himself, who believeth that God is a man; and that inasmuch as he is a man, He hath a body and every thing appertaining to a body; thus that He hath a face, a breast, an abdomen, loins and feet, for without these He would not be a man; and that forasmuch as He hath these, He hath also eyes, ears, nostrils, a mouth and tongue;
and also the organs that are within a man, as the heart and lungs and their dependencies; all which taken together make man to be a man. In created man those things are many, and viewed in their contexture are innumerable; but in God-man
they are infinite, there being nothing wanting, whence He hath infinite perfection. The reason why a comparison is made between uncreated Man, which is God, and created man, is, because God is a Man, and it is said by Him in the first chapter of Genesis,
man in this world was created after his image, and according to his likeness, verses 26, 27."
Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 18.
Review of Books.
A Sermon occasioned by the decease of the Rev. Joseph Proud,
formerly a Minister in the General Baptist connexion at Norwich, but since that period for many years a Minister in the New Jerusalem Church; including a concise account of his life and labours ; By the Rev. Edward Madeley, Jun. London, 8vo. pp. 38, Price 1s.
We noticed in our last number, in the obituary department, the removal from this world into a better, of that valuable and most useful Minister of the New Church, the Rev. Joseph Proud. The Sermon before us is a spirited and affectionate tribute to the memory of this good man, and we doubt not but it will be read by the members of the church with that feeling and interest, which must have been felt at the time of its delivery. From the perusal of this discourse we are enabled to correct an error which passed in our last respecting the age of Mr. Proud. We stated in our obituary that he was in the 80th year of his age ; but this is a mistake as we find that he was ir his 82nd year. We select from this Sermon the following account of his Life and labours."
The Rev Joseph Proud was born at Beaconfield in Buckinghamshire, on the 22d March, A. D. 1745. Exhibiting, in his youth, the marks of a superior genius, his talents were directed to the ministry, under the auspices of his father, who was himself, for many years, a minister in the connexion of the General Baptists. Our departed friend commenced his pulpit exercises in the year 1768, being then twenty-three years of age; and having continued to preach with zeal and ability for the space of seven or eight years, he was admitted by ordination into the regular ministry of the General Baptist Denomination. His first engagements were at Wisbeach in Cambridgeshire; but he was shortly removed to the city of Norwich, where a commodious chapel was erected purposely for him, by the late Mr. Hunt, then of that city, but latterly of Gissing in the county of Norfolk, and whó acted with him as his colleague in the ministry. His labours were eminently successful; nor were they exclusively confined to the city of Norwich; for the adjacent towns and villages shared the benefits of his exertions. He continued an acceptable minister in the General Baptist Connexion till the year 1791, a period of twenty-five years; during which he published twelve small works on religious and moral subjects, which had a considerable circulation. In the year 1789, two gentlemen zealous to promote the rising cause of the New Jerusalem Church, travelled through England, at their own expense, for the express purpose of promulgating the heavenly doctrines of that Church, both by preaching and the distribution of books. On their arriving at Norwich, Mr. Hunt allowed them, repeatedly, the use of his