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this is its meaning,~“ If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave thou thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."--Math. v. 23, 24. The offending party is here required to be reconciled to him whom he had offended; that is, to appease him, and to submit to the terms of accommodation which he should propose. Our being reconciled to God accordingly means, his displeasure being turned away from us, and that we regain an interest in his favour. Even our translation sufficiently shows what is intended by God's reconciling the world unto himself, his “ pot imputing their trespasses unto them."-2 Cor. v. 19. In Rom. v. 9, 10, we find our reconciliation to God by the death of his Son, and our being justified by the blood of Christ, and being saved from wrath through him, represented as the same thing. But how we can be saved from the wrath of God, by Christ, if he was never at enmity with us, is a thing utterly inexplicable. It is a wretched spectacle to see a man, whose abilities qualified him, had they been under proper direction, to place in a striking point of view, those subjects which were abstruse, employed in scattering darkness upon the face of day, perverting the clearest doctrines of Christianity, and opposing the truths to which he had repeatedly subscribed.
Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, in his “Key to the Apostolic Writings,” and in his “ Scripture Doctrine of the Atonement,” pretends to give the Scriptural statement of the Atonement and Sacrifice of Christ. In one place he tells us “ That whatever is expressive of a pious and virtuous disposition, may be rightly included in the notion of a
sacrifice, as prayer, thanksgiving, expenses, labours, &c."* Again, that “Obedience, or doing the will of God, was the sacrifice of sweet-smelling savour, which made atonement for the sins of the world; in this sense, that God on account of his (Christ's) goodness and perfect obedience, thought fit to grant unto mankind the forgiveness of those sins that were past, and, further, created a glorious and perfect dispensation of grace, exceeding any which had gone before, in means, promises, and prospects, at the head of which he set his Son, Jesus Christ.”'t « The blood of Christ is his perfect obedience and goodness.”I The substance of his argument, with respect to sacrifice, is, that because prayer, thanksgiving, &c. are sometimes figuratively called sacrifices, therefore, there is no real sacrifice mentioned in Scripture. But every man who knows any thing of the nature of language, knows, that metaphorical terms imply the reality of those subjects from which they are taken. Dr. Taylor could not be ignorant, that vicarious sacrifices constituted an essential,
daily part, of Divine worship, under the Jew. ish dispensation, at the time when those figurative sacrifices he mentions, were also offered. Those vicarious, or atoning sacrifices, though typical of a better sacrifice, were real, and not metaphorical. But it is one of the rules of controversy employed by these writers, to turn realities into metaphors, and metaphors into nothing. The obedience of Christ was certainly necessary to our redemption ; for the law we had broken requires not only satisfaction for our past offences, but also perfect obedience for the future; but that obedience could constitute
• Scripture Doctrine, Chap. II.
f Key, No. 148.
Key, No. 146.
no part of the atonement. It was himself that our Bles. sed Saviour gave for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, of a sweet-smelling savour.-Eph. v. 2. “He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”—Heb. ix. 26. The obedience of Christ, which, metaphorically may be called a sacrifice, consisted of an infinite number of acts; but his Atonement, which is his real sacrifice, consisted but of one act. “He needeth not daily to offer up sacrifice, for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”—Heb. vii. 27. “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.”-X. 10. “The blood of Christ is his perfect obedience and goodness.” Where our author found this sentence, we know not. We are certain there is no such declaration in the Scripture, though there can be little doubt that many free-thinkers would rejoice to find such a sentence there, that they might cbarge the sacred writers with nonsense.
This writer declares the following parallel to be the best explanation he can give of our Redemption by Christ. “ There have been masters willing, now and then, to grant a relaxation of study, or even to remit deserved punishment, in case any one boy, on behalf of the whole school, would compose a copy of Latin verses. This at once showed the master's love and lenity, was a proper expedient for promoting learning or benevolence in the society of little men, training up for future useful. Ress—and, one may say, that the kind verse-maker purchased the favour in both cases; or that his learning, industry, goodness, and compliance with the governor's will and pleasure, were a just ground and foundation of the pardon and refreshment, or a proper reason of granting them.” We shall not here stop to inquire how it could possibly take place that, a Reverend Divine should deliberately degrade the awful mystery of our redemption; a doctrine which even the blessed Angels approach with veneration, and which almost the whole Church of Christ, from the days of the Apostles to our times, have considered a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel, by such & comparison.
The man who could dishonour Christianity, and disgrace the sacred office of its ministers, by such conduct, whatever his talents were, was certainly no ornament to any body of men who take the Christian name. It is sufficient to observe, that according to him, our Saviour's soul was never made an offering for sin ; that it never pleased the Lord to bruise him, and to put him to grief for our offences: that he never bore our sins in his own body on the tree; that we are, in no respect, healed by his stripes.
This writer uniformly preserves the phrases, and explodes the doctrines of Scripture, or, as Dr. Magee expresses it, “ His system is nothing more than an artificial accommodation of Scripture phrases, to notions utterly repugnant to Scripture doctrine." In perfect conformity to his own Socinian principles, Mr. Belsham very justly observes, that “ Dr. Taylor has, in general, well explained the Jewish phrases (viz. propitiation, sacrifice, redemption, &c.) in his admirable Key." In other words, Mr. Belsham was perfectly satisfied, that while he denied the doctrine altogether, (and in doing this he was by much the honester man), Dr. Taylor should lose the doctrine, in his pretended explanation of it. Dr. Wetherspoon, in his Ecclesiastical Characteristics, sarcastically, but with great justice, observes in his ironical style, “ We are also well satisfied, that Dr. T-r of Norwich, and such like first-rate writers, should make pompous collections of Scripture texts, as their truly laudable intention is, by altering Christianity, to recon.
cile it to moderation and common sense; and to find out a meaning to words, which the writers of them, as living in the infancy of the Church, had not discernment enough to intend.” Mr. H. Taylor, in his Ben Mordecai's Apol. ogy, differs from Dr. Taylor, in his explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement, in this, that while the latter placed it entirely in Christ's meritorious obedience, the former takes also into it his intercession for mankind, so that according to him, Christ's obedience and his intercession for sinners eonstitute the Atonement. The proper Atonement of Christ, by his sacrifice on the cross, is equally neglected by both of them.
Dr. Priestley, in his Theological Repository, pronounces, “That all men naturally apprehend the Deity to be propitious; that no nation whatever, either Jewish or Heathen, ancient or modern, appear to have had the least knowledge, or to betray the least sense of their want of any expedient of satisfaction for sin, besides repentance and a good life."* Whosoever has any knowledge of the law of Moses, knows, that besides the sacrifice of expiation, which was offered annually, on the great day of Atonement, for the sins of the High Priest, and of the whole congregation of Israel, an expiatory sacrifice was offered every morning and every evening, for the same purpose. “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."-Heb. ix. 22. His declaration therefore, that the Jewish nation had no knowledge or sense of their want of any expedient of satisfaction for sin, besides repentance and a good life, is confronted by the opposite
· P. p. 401, 44, 416.