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Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation (rns zaraλλays); to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling (narahhάoowv) the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed to us the word of reconciliation (τns natakhays)." Of the proper import of this term, καταλλαγῆς).”* we have before given our opinion. We have seen that reconciliation and atonement are synonymous, and that to confine the effect expressed by these terms to man, is contrary altogether to the scripture usage of them, as well as to a consistent interpretation of the passages in which they occur. That salvation implies the removal of man's moral enmity to God is frankly admitted; but this is not inconsistent with firmly maintaining that it also necessarily supposes and requires the removal of God's legal enmity to man. The party offended must be reconciled as well as the offender, before any real or permanent friendship can be effected; and this we contend is what the language we have quoted above is designed to express. The reconciliation or atonement spoken of, is said to be effected by the death of Christ; whereas the removal of the enmity of man's heart is more properly the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also represented as something synonymous with the non-imputation of trespasses, which itself is decisive of the sense in which it is to be understood; for, while the imputation of guilt presents a legal barrier to reconciliation on the part of God, it interposes no
2 Cor. v. 18, 19.
moral barrier on the part of man. Besides, the phraseology of the first of the texts is itself sufficient to determine the point:-'by whom we have now received the atonement.' To speak of a person's receiving the boon of reconciliation to God, in the sense of the removal of all legal offence, is intelligible enough; but to speak of his receiving the laying aside of his own enmity to God is, to say the least, uncouth and unnatural phraseology.
Allied to these, and to much the same purpose, are those texts which ascribe propitiation to the work of Christ: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (orTngiov) through faith in his blood." 'Jesus Christ the righteous-he is the propitiation (inaouós) for our sins." 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (aoo) for our sins.". The corresponding verb is also used:-'God be merciful (indoor) to me, a sinner.' 'A merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for (iάonsola-to propitiate) the sins of the people." The use of these terms by the Septuagint translators of the old testament, to denote the mercy-seat and the taking away of wrath by means of sacrifice, has already been mentioned. Nor does this application rest solely on their authority, for the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews gives it his high sanction, when, treating of the furniture of
3 Rom. iii. 25.
41 John ii. 2. 6 Luke xviii. 13.
5 1 John iv. 10.
7 Heb. ii. 17.
the ancient tabernacle, he speaks of 'the cherubims of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat (rò iλaorngov). The mercy-seat sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice, was that to which the pious Israelite looked when imploring the pardon of sin. Over it hovered the Shekinah, or symbol of the divine presence, with reference to which Jehovah, as propitiated by sacrifice, was understood to dwell between the cherubim, and to commune with his guilty children from above the mercy-seat. Can anything more satisfactorily determine the sense in which we are to understand the work of Christ? His death is that by which the wrath of God is appeased; by which Deity is propitiated; the grand propitiatory, with reference to which alone it is, either that God can regard man with benignity, or that man can ever approach God in the hope of being accepted.
To the same purpose are all those passages before cited, in which ransom and redemption are spoken of in connexion with the work of Christ. These terms are correlative in their import, the former denoting the sum paid for the emancipation of a prisoner or captive, the latter marking the deliverance or escape which is thus effected. The use of them with reference to man's salvation, of which we shall adduce instances immediately, shows that this salvation is brought about by the interposition of a substitute who procures the liberation of the prisoner by pay
ing his debts, or the emancipation of the captive by tendering his ransom. Men by their sins are brought under obligations to the law and justice of God, which God can neither gratuitously fall from demanding, nor men of themselves ever implement, for reasons that have been already assigned. To the law of God they are debtors; they are the prisoners of divine justice. Their salvation is not a simple discharge without compensation-not a mere manumission without price. Neither is the salvation of guilty men an act of power only, effected by the interposition of an arm full of might to secure their escape. Gratuitous favour and almighty power are both, doubtless, concerned in it; the grace of God being perfectly free as regards the persons saved, who themselves give no price for the redemption of their souls; and the omnipotence of Christ being exerted on the footing of his legal purchase to rescue them from the thraldom of sin. But there is more than grace and power. There is a price paid, a ransom laid down a price, a ransom, every way equivalent to the redemption for which it is offered. In proof of these assertions, observe the following texts: 'The Son of Man came to give his life a ransom (úrgov) for many,' 'Justified freely by his grace through the redemption (διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσews) that is in Christ Jesus.' 'In whom we have redemption (άohúτgwow) through his blood."" "Who gave himself a ransom (avíkurgov) for all.'
Mat. xx. 28. 10 Rom. iii. 24. 11 Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14.
12 1 Tim. ii. 6.
gave himself for us that he might redeem (λurgwonra) us from all iniquity.'" "Ye know that ye were not redeemed (vrgwenre) with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ."" These passages, and there are many more to the same purpose,―abundantly show that the salvation of sinners is effected by a process of commutation, that it is something for which an adequate price is paid without the payment of which it could not have taken place. It is vain to attempt to throw ridicule on this view of the subject, by representing the idea of a pecuniary compensation as too sordid and degrading a principle for the divine Being to act upon; for the truth is, that commutative equity is involved in the essence of true righteousness. Neither will it avail our opponents to assert that as man is the captive of Satan, if price for his deliverance is paid at all, it must be to the Evil One. Man is certainly the slave of Satan, but this is only a secondary view of his bondage. Who is it that delivers him over to Satan, on account of his sins ? Is it not by divine justice that he is bound over to punishment? The prince of darkness is only the executioner of God's righteous sentence. It is to God the debt of obedience or suffering is due. It is God who has the right to detain him in prison. The detaining power is the equity of the divine law and government, but for which Satan could not hold him in thraldom a single moment. The passages, thus, without controversy, prove the