Page images
PDF
EPUB

sermon

new

ment accomplishes its object of re- ployed to express them, is so close deeming the sinner, while it main- and indissoluble, that the latter cao tains the honour of the violated law rarely be changed without changing and promotes the best interests of the former. Common christians, the universe. It is obvious, there. finding in Dr. M.'s fore, that so partial a discussion of modes of expression, and only a the atonement must omit or notice few scattered fragments of the old slightly, many views of importance, phraseology, would be apt to susand many topics which would de pect that along with the common mand a minute examination in a work language he had rejected the commore extended and complete. We mon belief, and with his peculiar have no doubt that much of public language introduced a theory entireprejudice has arisen from this cir- ly his own. cumstance : and equally contident If any looked with a suspicious are we, that if Dr. M. had given a eye upon the frequent references in full statement of his views on the Dr. M.'s sermon to German writers, whole subject, there would not have we beg leave to say that there are been more than one solitary point, orthodox men in Germany as well and that too, in the opinion of many as in America, and that most if not wise and good men, unimportant all of the German authors quoted as and untouched by the pen of inspi- authority were the advocates of ration, on which he would be found evangelical sentiments. The Unito differ from the general be- tarianism of some German works lief. But it will not surely be de. ought not to bring into suspicion mander, that every sermon should and neglect all the productions of contain the entire creed of its au- that country, any more than the ibor.

heresies of Priestly and Belsham Another peculiarity in Dr. M.'s should interdict the writings of sermon is, that he has discarded the Newton and Scott, and all the dicommon and consecrated pbraseolo- vines of England. gy on this subject, and has employ- The considerations which we ed a new diction of his own. He have suggested will be sufficient to bas called the atonement a "eyin- explain the reason why the sermon bolical transaction, and represented of Dr. M. has been regarded with so the death of Christ as a “tragedy," much suspicion, and has been so excomprising scenes of the deepest and tensively misunderstood and mismost awful interest; a spectacle the represented. The appearance of most awful and impressive that the a sermon by Dr. Dana, and another Deity bimself ever exbibited on the by Prof. Stuart on the same subject, theatre of the universe. We admit has suggested the expediency of anthat Dr. M. may have been impru. alyzing these successive publicadent and unfortunate in rejecting the tions, in order to ascertain by canold, and adopting a new phraseolo did and careful comparison, in what vy. Not, however, that he had not respects they agree, and in what a right to employ wbat language he they are at variance with one anothchose,-nor that the language be er, and with standard writers on the has adopted is less appropriate than atonement. We wish it to be disthe common modes of expression, tinctly understood, that in doing but because the strongest prejudi- this, our object is altogether pacific; ces and the most sacred associations

that we

come forth, not as conwere linked with the customary troversialists to exasperate, but as phraseology. No man of extensive friends to conciliate ;

that we observation, needs to be told, that propose not to vindicate or refute in common minds the connexion be. any religious opinions contained in tween ideas, and the language em- the sermons before us, but to show

But as

that they substantially coincide with ture obedience can be more than his im. each other, and with those works

mediate duty for the time being; it can

never make amends for past disobedience. to which we have been accus.

The good of the universe requires that tomed to appeal, as giving a clear the majesty of the law be maintained in. and able exbibition of the orthodox violate, any this is impossible, let him do faith.

what he will, without the full execu

tion of the penalty of the law upon him. In executing our design, it will

pp. 17, 18. be necessary, instead of following the train of thought in any one of According to Dr. M.'s views the sermons before us, to take up then, take away the atonement, and in order all the most prominent top- you take away from the sinner his ics comprised under the general only bope. subject of the atonement.

Dr. D. pursues a similar train of neither of our authors has fully reasoning, wbich leads him directly discussed all these topics, and as on

to the same result. many of them they make only passing remarks, we shall be obliged immutably holy and just. These attri

God is holy and just ; ipfinitely and to content ourselves in some instan

butes imply that he must have a perfect ces with detached sentences and and irreconcilable aversion to all sin: and obvious inferences.

must manifest that aversion to his crea1. We shall in the first place tures. But how can this be done, if sin

be pardoned without an atonement? compare the sentiments of these

Would not the great Jehovah, in this case, authors on the necessity of an atone- practically deny himself?

Would not ment.

the lustre of his glorious attributes be aw. It seems not to have been the ob- fully eclipsed and tarnished ?

Further, as the Sovereign of the uniject of either writer to enter upon

verse, God has given his intelligent creaa full discussion of this particular tures a law. This law, while it requires topic. Still no one of them bas en- perfect obedience, must likewise be enfor. tirely omitted it. Dr. M. starts ced by penalties. Nor is it enough that

these penalties be denounced ;-they must on the supposition that an atone

be executed on those who incur them by ment is necessary, and then pro- transgression, or on a surety. ceeds with a train of observations supported by reason and scripture,

Thus far we have been listening to show the grounds of this necessito the language of Philosophy. She ty. His object is to ascertain the infers from the nature of the divine precise difficulty in the way of ex-government, and the character of its tending salvation to the sinner with author, that pardon cannot be disout an atonement. Having come

pensed to transgressors without an to the general conclusion that this

atonement. Turning away from difficulty arises from what is requi- her oracles, however, and appealred of the traosgressor in order to ing to the scriptures alone, Prof. S. support “ the good order and hap

declares, piness of God's kingdom,” he proceeds :

It is the Lamb of God which taketh

away the sin of the world; there is no This is an obstacle to his forgiveness,

other name under heaven given mong which the sinner himself can never re

meo whereby we must be saved, nor is He has committed deeds which

there salvation in any other. can never be recalled. lle is a transgres- And he adels,sor of the law, and must forever stand guilty. What is done can never be

When those who doubt, admonish us undone. All he can do, will be to re

that it would be unbecoming in respect to pent of the past, and cease to do evil in future. His repentance, though certain. his character, to suppose that the suffer

the Supreme Being, and derogatory to ly proper, cannot change the pature of ings of Christ, an innocent victim, were his past transgressions, nor repair the in- deemed by him to be necessary or accepjury they have nccasioned. And no fu- table; I answer with Paul: "For it BE

move.

or

CAME him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in order to bring whether we speak of the character

the same course of reasoning; for many sons to glory, to make perfect the Caplain of their salvation, through suffer

of God, the nature of his law, ings."'-pp. 39, 40.

what the God of the universe re.

quires, we only use different lanWhether Prof. S. has by these

guage

in reference to the same gentexts, fully met the Unitarian objec- eral subject. After the comparison tion concerning the necessity of an

has been made, no one can fail to atonement, or not, there seems to

see that there is a perfect coinci. be no room to doubt that he inten- dence of sentiment among these ded to do so. For ourselves we

writers in regard to the necessity of can see nothing in these passages

of

an atonement. Nor need we add scripture that bears decisively on

any thing to show that in this sentithe point. That there is salvation

ment they accord perfectly with the in Christ, and that there is salva. christian public, and with all approtion in none other; that it was not ved writers of the present day. derogatory in God to inflict suffer.

2. The second point of inquiry ings on the Captain of our Salvation, is, whether an atonement has been and that it was fit that he should be

made? made perfect by sufferings, is not, as As Dr. M. takes it for granted we can see, equivalent to a necessi- that an adequate atonement has ty that he should suffer for the been made, and only makes occapurpose of sustaining the law and sionally a passiog allusion to the government of God under a dispen- subject, we cannot be expected to sation of pardoning mercy. But give a formal statement of his views this is the necessity which the Uni- by particular citations. Passages tarian objection denies, and to sup- are not wanting however, which port which, if the dictates of philos- speak his sentiments. After stating ophy and common sense are not

the grand obstacle to the siuner s enough, other texts more decisive salvation, he adds ;to the point than those quoted by Prof. S. might be easily cited. Be To remove this difficulty, or to enathis however as it may, ihe fact that ble God righteously to paruon the repentProf. S. stated this objection of Uni- ing singer, the atonement must give the

same support to law, or must display as tarians and entered into a formal impressively the perfect holiness and jus. refutation of it, is decisive that he tice of God, as the execution of the law deems it groundless. We should on transgressors would...... If such an have been gratified had he stated expedient can be found, then an adequate

atonement is possible, otherwise it is and answered the objection with greater precision.

Now such an expedient, the text repOn this point then, all these wri- resents the sacrifice of Christ to be. It is

a declaration of the righteousness of God, ters conduct us to the same result,

so that he might be just,"might secure though Prof. S. aims to lead us

the objects of distributive justice, as it be. by the light of inspiration, while comes a righteous moral governor to do, Dr. D. and Dr. M. endeavour to " and yet might justify,' or acquit and illumine our path with the glimmer- exempt from punishment, “ him that be. ings of philosophy;—a philosophy, lieveth in Jesus.”—pp. 20, 21, however, whose torch has been Dr. D. attempts to prove in a lighted at the fires of heaven.

It is

more formal manner than Dr. M. with the fact whether they do thus that Christ died as an atoning sacriagree, and not with the manner in fice. He argues it from “ the sacwhich they come to this agreement, rifices appointed under the ancient that we have been concerned. It

dispensation ;-the anguish and horis obvious, however, that Dr. D.

ror of the Redeemer's soul pre. and Dr. M. pursue substantially vious to his death; the institution

not.

The question

AND

EVANGELISTS MEAS

TO

CON

of the sacramental supper; and the Jews.” pp. 32, 33. most plain and unequivocal express. then is not, bow we may understand ions of scripture."

the language of scripture, nurtured, Being ready before hand to admit as we have been in the bosom of specthe Dr.'s conclusion, we feel no dis- ulative philosophy, but how would position to cavil at his arguments. a Jew naturally construe it? What We will take the liberty, however, IDEAS DID THE PROPHETS, APOSTLES to refer him to the use Prof. S. makes of the appointment of sacrifices un

VEY ?der the ancient dispensation, and The way being thus prepared, ask him if it does not afford a better Prof. S. makes his appeal to the law example of logical deduction, than and to the testimony in a manner the use he makes of it himself. so direct and conclusive that it must Prof. S. infers from these sacrifices, carry conviction to the mind of evnot that the susserings and death of ery reader : and without multiply. Christ actually were substituted in ing passages be concludes, ". if what the place of the execution of the I have adduced does not establish law, but simply that the divine econ- the fact, that the sacred writers did omy would adinit of such a substitu- mean to inculcate the doctrine in tution. Referring to this system he question, then plainly, the many says,

scores of additional texts which Here, we are presented with a case of might be quoted, will not prove it ; substitution, aclual su istitution by the ap- nor any language, I must add, which pointment of God ;-a case in which a it would be in the power of a human beast is slain instead of the criminal being being to einploy." p. 36. punished who made the offering of it, and who had himself incurred the penalty of

After proceeding thus far in exthe Mosaic law. And who will venture

hibiting the views of our authors to pronounce that a similar arrangement on this part of the subject, it is alunder the general goveroment of God in most superfluous to remark that respect to man, is impossible. pp. 24, 25.

each of them supposes an atoneWhen Prof. S.

passes

the

ques- ment adequate to the wants of a tion of possibility, and comes to that fallen world, to have been made by of fact, his work is done with a mas- the great atoning victim of Calvary. ter's hand.

The question how it is that the in“I must ask, at the threshold, carnation and death of Christ posbefore what tribunal must the sess an atoning efficacy, will in question be brought. I am bold another place be so far considered as to aver that philosophy is not a com- to exhibit their particular views in petent judge to decide it.” After

gard to it. illustrating this position in a lucid 3. The third point on which we manner, the Prof. adverts to the sball endeavour to exhibit the principles of interpretation which views of these writers, relates to apply to this particular question, the character of the Saviour. first by the general remark • that It may indeed be difficult to asevery speaker and writer, intend certain with precision an author's ing to be understood, employs, and sentiments on a subject of which he necessarily employs, language in the is not professedly treating. But we same sense, in which those whom

presume enough may be found in he addresses use and understand it; the writings before us relating to and secondly, by the more partic- this topic, to satisfy even the most ular remark, “ that all the writers scrupulous of our readers. Prof. of the Old and New Testament, S. tells us that the suffering Sawere Jews : and that the scriptures, viour" was “ the eternal Word, with very

little exception, were God manifest in the flesh ;” and that originally addressed to Jews," or to “ in our nature be offered an expichurches which in part consisted of atory sacrifice for sin.” Such dec Thus he say

larations of his sentiments, though order to show more fully the harunconnected with the reasons of mony of our authors among themthem, do nevertheless tell what selves on this topic, or to show their those sentiments are ; and this is coincidence with all approved writhe particular object of our inquiry. ters of modern times, but shall Would any learn more fully and proceed to compare them on other from direct argumentation, let them points of doctrine. go to his letters addressed to Mr. 4. The fourth point to be considChanning, and there they will find ered is the question, does the transinferences and deductions of their gressor obtain salvation solely on the own unnecessary.

ground of the atonement. Several remarks from Dr. M. are Some may be ready to say, if an sufficiently explicit on this subject, atonement is absolutely necessary, though their original design was to as has been shown, then salvation, illustrate the impression which a if it comes at all to the sinner, must Saviour bleeding for sinners is cal. of course come on the ground of the culated to make on the moral sym•

atonement. That such is the truth pathies of man.

we readily admit; but still there

are reasons for considering the quesThe atonement was a transaction, without a parallel in the history of the

tion thus stated. Our object, let it divine government. The Son of God, the be remembered, is not to defend any Lord of glory, himself descended to this particular sentiments, but to bring lower world. He veiled his Godhead in a human body, and humbled himself to together by way of comparison the dwell with men. He toiled and bore re

sentiments of the sermons under proach, and suffered from pain and weak consideration. Let it be rememness and hunger. He condescended to in- bered too, that all do not readily construct men, to be their physician, their

cede to what we have just admitted. friend, their very servant;-he washed his disciples' feet, he was obedient to ev

There are those who, while they ery ordinance of God and man, he fulfill allow the necessity of an atoneed all righteousness. p. 22.

ment in general, admit it as a parDr. D.'s language is more direct tial and not the sole procuring on this subject, not because he be- cause of salvation. They are of lieves in the union of a divine and that number who are disposed to human nature in the person of put "new cloth unto an old garChrist, more strongly than the oth- ment.” Such, however, are not ers, but because he made it a part the sentiments of the sermons beof his design to enumerate the qual

fore Salvation by grace is a ifications which must meet in him theme in which they all agree. who undertakes, as a surety to make They agree, too, in going to the Biatonement for human transgres] ble to learn that salvation may be sion. Having male a brief enu

even thus obtained. Philosophy meration, he adds :

may lead to the conclusion that the It is scarcely needful to say, that in the

sinner cannot be pardoned without the whole universe, one being, and one

an atonement, as Dr. M. and Dr. D. alone is found, in whom all these quals have both argued ; but she can never ifications meet. Jesus Christ is that be- say that an atonement will procure ing-He is the Sovereign Lord and prof his pardon. Reason alone' says prielor of his own life ; having power lo Dr. M. can never disclose the conlay it down and power to take it again. To crown all, he is truly and properly

dition of the sinner's acceptance God,-God manifest in lne flesh. p. 7. .

with his Sovereign.' "An Offend] To all this we add our most hear

ed God will make his own terms : ty assent; and we ask if Prof. S.

and who can tell what they will be, and Dr. M. have not done the same.

till he reveals them ?!? The reyWe shall not dwell longer here, in

elation has been made ;--" the glad

tidlings from heaven” have reached VOL.VI.No. 9,

61

us.

« PreviousContinue »