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plaining), have ventured to expunge all these doctrines out of the scriptures, for no other reason than that they are not able to comprehend, them; and argue thus:“ The Scriptures are the word of God: in his word no propositions contradictory, to reason can have a place; these propositions are oontradictory: to reason, and therefore they are not, there. But if these bold assertors wouldi claim any regard, they should reverse their argument, and say,These doctrines make a part, and a material part, of the Scriptures, they are contradictory to reason; no propositions contradictory to reason can be a part of the word of God, and therefore neither the Scriptures, . nor the pretended revelation contained in them, can be derived from him. This would be an argument worthy of rational and candid Deists, and demand a respectful attention; but when men pretend to disprove facts by reasoning, they have no right to ex. peot an answer."*

In the common use of words, an atonement signi. fies, either a recompense made for damages suffered by another, or a satisfaction given to another, for unjust and criminal conducts by which his rights have been invaded, or his authority, insulted, It is in the last sense of the word that the Scripture represents the death of Christ as. an Atonement to the justice of God for the sins, of men.

Atrociously criminal as our rebellion a. gainst the Almighty is, it is impossible that it could af. fect either the blessedness, or the real honour of God. The reason of this, however, is to be found in our natu.

View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion, by Seame Jenyns, Esg. Prop...

ral weakness, not in our want of malignity.

For did the natural powers of the sinner correspond with his intentions, he would subvert the throne, and the moral government of God, as certainly as every rebel against his lawful sovereign, aims his stroke at the power and prerogative of his prince. Now the sufferings and death of the Son of God, though limited to a short duration, through the infinite dignity and glory of his Divine Person, who united our nature to himself, were of such tran. scendent worth and efficacy, that they satisfied the claims of Justice, and, as the obedience and sufferings of him who was God, magnified the law and made it honourable; so that no stain is left upon the Divine government, and God is just, and at the same time the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. In this awful dispensation, the sanctions of the Divine law, the strictness and purity of God's moral government, and the fatal consequences of rebellion on the happiness of moral agents, are exhibited to all the rational beings in the universe, with a dignity and splendour, to which the history of God's universal empire furnishes nothing that is equal.

It has often been objected to the doctrine of the Atonement, that it supposes God to be implacable and relentless; and, that we owe the love of God to the sacrifice of his. Son, who turned away his anger, and purchased

But this is entirely a mistatement of the doctrine of the Atonement. It only supposes God to be the vindicator of those laws, which, for his own glory, and for the happiness of creation in general, he has imposed upon rational beings; and that he will not allow his own honour, and the interests of his obedient subjects, to be sacrificed to the impunity of those who, forgetful of the rights of their Creator, and of the duties

his grace.

they owe to their fellow subjects, dare to disturb his government, and break that chain by which the harmony of the universe is preserved." It supposes God to be that just Governor and Judge, who will not suffer the interests of all intelligent beings to be destroyed by the madness and impiety of a part, and who prefers the misery of that part, to the misery of all. The Scripture is so far from teaching us, that the love of God was purchased by the Atonement of Christ, that it represents the love of God as the great cause, and the Atonement of Christ as the effect it produced. 6 God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John, iii. 16. As God never punishes because he takes pleasure in punishing, but, when he does it, he punishes for the vindication of his own laws and government, and for the support of that comely order he has established, in every part of his great empire; so has he recommended his unbounded love to us, in not sparing his own Son, but giving him up for us all, that by his Atonement as a means, our forfeited hopes might be restored, and our sins forgiven.

It is again objected, that there is no apparent fitness in the Atonement of Christ, as a means of our salvation, unless by appeasing a Being, who otherwise would not have forgiven us. The man who refuses to believe in the doctrine of the Atonement, because he can discover no apparent fitness in it for his salvation, were he to act consistently, would neither eat, nor drink, till he were able fully to understand, by what secret virtues in meat and drink, his body was nourished ; nor would he, in sickness, make use of medicine for the recovery of his health, till he lly comprehended the manner by which his cure might be effected. To this objection, therefore, it is a sufficient answer,

“ I know not, nor does it concern me to know, in what manner the sacrifice of Christ is connected with the forgiveness of sin. It is enough, that this is declared by God to be the medicine through which my salvation is effected. I pretend not to dive into the counsels of the Almighty. I submit to his wisdom; and I will not reject his grace, because his mode of vouchsafing it is not within my comprehension.”*

Another objection against the doctrine of the Atonement, arises from the pretended sufficiency of repentance to remove the consequences of our guilt, and to procure the pardon of our sins. That adults can receive no benefit from the Atonement, without repentance, is certainly a doctrine taught us in the Scripture; and also, that the repentance which the Gospel acknowledges to be genuine, is always attended with forgiveness. But the Scripture no where teaches us, that mere repentance either car, or will, prevent the awful consequences of our transgression of God's laws; and every declaration of the necessity, or of the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, teaches the contrary. The constitution of the world in which we dwell, loudly proclaims that repentance is utterly unavailing, to prevent the evil consequences which result from sinful habits. No man who, by his intemperance, or by his extravagance, has ruined his constitution, or his fortune, ever found that repentance was sufficient to recover them. And, if mere repentance cannot arrest the ruinous consequences, which by the fixed laws of God, in this world, rise out of vicious habits, there cannot be eren

• Dr. Magee on the Atonement and Sacrifice, p. 27, First Ed.

a rational ground of presumption, that in the eternal world it will prevent that death, which is the proper wages

of sin. Mr. H. Taylor contends that “God is never said to be reconciled to the world, because he was never at enmity with it. It was 'the world that was at enmity with God, and was to be reconciled by coming to the knowledge of his goodness to them.”* The world was at enmity with God, and yet, it seems, according to this writer, that God was in a state of perfect friendship with his enemies. Had he never read such declarations as these, “The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men."-Rom. i. 18.

66 Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”—Gal. iii. 10. It is a subject that would have employed all the talents of this writer, and they were certainly very considerable, to have shown how the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against sinners, and how the curse of God rests upon them; and yet that God was never at enmity with them. It is probable that he has mistaken the God of the Scriptures, for the Deity of the Epicureans, to whom all actions are indifferent. But "God is never said to be reconciled to the world.” It is true, that in our version, the force of the word translated reconciled, is less accu. rately marked than in the original. But Hammond, Whitby, Le Clerc, and many other commentators, have sufficiently shown, that the word, in the original, signifies, to reconcile one's self to another; to obtain the favour of, or to appease; and our Saviour's comment upon it shows that

• Ben Mordecai's Apology, p. p. 692, 694.

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