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him, a piacular sacrifice, – a satisfaction of divine justice.
Once more. “This,' says our Lord, 'is my blood of the New Covenant."* By this we are probably to understand that the blood or death of Jesus was the ratificaton, sanction, or seal, – the evidence or surety - ofthat New Covenant of which he was the Mediator. But the animal that was slain or sacrificed, among all Oriental nations, in ratification of a Covenant, was never considered as a piacular, but always as an eucharistical sacrifice.† They were not indeed exclusively sacrifices of thanksgiving, as were some others; but they were directly opposed to expiatory offerings. If Jesus, therefore, was literally a sacrifice of either of these three kinds, -federal, a sacrifice in ratification of a covenant; - paschal, an offering made at the passover; — or piacular, a sacrifice for sins; – he could not have been either of the two. If he was a paschal, he could have been neither a piacular nor a federal sacrifice: if a piacular, neither a federal nor paschal: if a federal, neither a paschal nor a piacular. But a literal construction of the passages in question, makes him either or all of them indifferently. Is not this alone sufficient proof that he was literally neither? Is it not sufficient proof that a metaphorical construction of these texts must be adopted, since a literal construction arrays them in such direct contradiction to each other, to the plain declarations of God in other parts of the scriptures, and to known incontrovertible facts ?
Before answering these questions affirmatively we ought perhaps to pause, and ask ourselves whether it is according to the authorized usages of language to give a figurative interpretation to expressions so direct, and apparently so plain, as the sacred writers use in most of the texts which we are considering. This is undoubtedly a proper inquiry, and it ought to be faithfully pursued. At the same time, however, we ought to look back upon the ground that we have already gone over, and seriously consider that, having shown that a literal interpretation of the texts in question makes them directly contradictory to other passages of scripture, — to known facts — and to themselves;— no other alternative now remains to us than either to give them a figurative construction, or to reject them as false, because thus contradictory.
* Matt. xxvi. 28. + Jahn's Arch. sec. 383, supported Exod. xxiv. 4--8.
Bearing this consideration in mind, then, do we not find expressions similar to many of these in question, in ordinary use, in our own times, in the frigid zone of an occidental and modern language? We say, of the intemperate man, that he gives himself up to his appetites; of the sensualist, that he sacrifices himself upon the altar of his passions: and by this we mean that they abandon themselves respectively to vicious indulgences though their vices are their destruction. The parent suffers for his children. The patriot, with a generous devotion, gives himself up as a sacrifice to his country, when he endangers and loses his all — his life itself, in its defence. But by this language no one understands that the parent, or patriot, literally offers himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his family or his country. Civil liberty is secured, even its best estate, by the sacrifice of our natural rights. The great cause of phi
VOL. VII. — NO. LXXXI.
lanthropy is served only by the philanthropist's taking upon himself a part of the sufferings of those whom he travels and toils and watches to bless. Yet, by the use of such language, nobody is led into the belief of a literal sacrifice, or a literal vicarious suffering. As we go back into the depths of antiquity, we find, in writers of the highest authority, language still more bold, though of the same general character. Says Cicero, speaking of his efforts and privations in saving his country from the conspiracy of Catiline,- In this season of your alarm I have passed over many things in silence: I have made many concessions: I have undergone much: I have healed many of the public maladies, as it were by my own sufferings. Again, • If the consulship be granted me only on this condition, that I endure every kind of affliction, and pain, and even torture, I will bear them not only with fortitude but cheerfully, provided that by my sufferings I may secure the dignity and salvation of yourselves and of Rome. How far is this language below Isaiah's: “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed. *
Josephus, an author of the same nation, and nearly of the same age, with the writers of the New Testament, uses language in relation to the fortitude shown by the Maccabees, under their tortures, and the benefits derived to Israel from their sufferings, which equals, if it does not transcend, the strongest expressions of substitution and expiatory suffering used by the sacred writers in speaking of our Lord. After his long account of their firmness and their death, under the tor
* Isaiah liji. 5.
tures inflicted by command of Antiochus, he says: "These men, therefore, having been sanctified of God, have attained this glory — (of standing by the throne of God and enjoying a happy eternity) — and not this glory only; but it was through them, having become, as it were, the ransom of a sinful people, that the enemies of our nation were defeated, the tyrant punished and the dishonor of our country wiped away:— and, by the blood of these pious men, and the propitiation of their death, Divine Providence effected the salvation of oppressed Israel.* This last example of the figurative use of sacrificial language being from a Jewish writer, who is speaking of men that devoted themselves upon the altar of their religion and their country, is particularly illustrative of the language of other Jewish writers, when speaking of one who also devoted himself to dishonor and death for the benefit of his brethren; and who also, having been sanctified by the Father,† was, in consideration of this obedience unto death, highly exalted by him,I and crowned with glory and honor. But we need not go abroad for examples of the use of sacrificial language in relation to men and things, to the full as bold and as strong as the sacred writers use in relation to Christ. The sacred writers themselves, especially those of them who most frequently use this language in respect to Christ, use it not less frequently in connexion with other subjects; and that, too, without ever having been understood as speaking literally.
Does Peter say that Christ suffered for us ?'|| He * See Josephus. De Maccabæis,' sec. 17.-See also 2 Maccab. vii. 37, 38. in the LXX. John x. 36. I Phil. ii. 8, 9. Heb. ii. 9. || 1 Pet. ii. 21. suffered in such a sense that we also may follow his steps.' But, if he suffered as a literal sacrifice to God, as an expiation for sin, does it not follow that we must suffer for others as a sin offering — that the servants to whom these words are addressed, should suffer as a sacrifice to God for their master's sins ? Did Christ
become poor, or live in poverty, for our sake ?** Paul, also, 'endured all things for the elects' sake, that they also might obtain salvation.’t Can a stronger text be produced, from the New Testament, to prove that Christ was delivered to death for our sake, than this of Paul, to a very different purpose: "For we, who live, are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake.' Didf Christ suffer in our behalf, or for our sake ? Paul says to the Philippians, “unto you it is given, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but to sufer for his sake. Does he say to the Christians at Ephesus that • Christ hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God?'S To those at Rome || he says, “I beseech you, therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.' To the Philippians he says, " 'If I be offered upon the sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all:' and to Timothy hở says, when he feels that his labors must soon close, 'I am now ready to be offered,' or more correctly, I am already poured out as an offering ** What is meant, by this language, but that the aged Apostle was exhausted, that he had worn himself out, in the discharge of the duties of the office to which he been called of God? Can we suppose
* 2 Cor. viii. 9.
2 Tim. ii. 10. $ Eph. v. 2. || Rom. xii. 1. 1 Phil. ii. 17.
2 Cor. iv. 2. ** 2 Tim. iv, 6.