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matter of express revelation, when it is declared, that often expose themselves to great personal risk of life, the death of Christ was "a demonstration of the right and even sometimes perish in the attempt; yet the eousness of God,” of his righteous character and his claims of humanity are considered sufficient to justify just administration, and therefore allowed the honour- such deeds, which are never blamed, but always apable exercise of mercy without impeachment of justice, plauded. No man's life, we grant, is at his own disor any appeal or relaxation of his laws. If it be meant posal; but in all cases where it is agreed that God, the in this allegation of mystery, that it is not discoverable only being who has a right to dispose of life, has left how the death of Christ is as adequate a display of the men at liberty to offer their lives for the benefit of justice of God, as though offenders had been personally others, no one questions the justice of their doing it. punished, thi also is clearly in opposition to what the Thus, when a patriot army marches to almost ertain apostle has said, in the passage which has been so often destruction to defend its coasts from foreign invasion referred to, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propi- and violence, the established notion that the life of tiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his right- every man is placed by God at the disposal of his eousness,” ELS EVDELFLV TNS dikatoouuns avtå, for a de- country, justifies the hazard. It is still a clearer inmonstration, or manIFESTATION of his righteousness; stance, because matter of revelation, that there are nor surely can the particulars before stated, in explana- cases in which we ought to lay down our lives for tion of this point, be well weighed, without our per- the brethren,” that is, for the church and the interests ceiving how gloriously the holiness and essential recti- of religion in the world. Christians are called to purtude or God, as well as his rectoral justice, were illus- sue their duty of instructing, and reforming, and saving trated by this proceeding ; this, surely, is manifestation, others, though, in some cases, the active services into not mystery
which they may be led will shorten life; and in times For, generally speaking, it cannot be a matter of of persecution it is obligatory upon them not only to difficulty to conceive how the authority of a law may be ready to suffer but to die, rather than deny Christ. be upheld, and the justice of its administration made No one questions the justice of this, because all see manifest, even when its penalty is exacted in some that the Author and Lord of the lives of men has given other way than the punishment of the party offending to them the right of thus disposing of life; nor do we When the Locrian legislator voluntarily suffered the ever hear it urged, that it was unjust in him to require loss of one of his eyes, to save that of his son, con- them to submit to the pain of racks, and fires, and demned by his own statutes to lose both, and did this other modes of violent death, which they certainly did that the law might neither be repealed nor exist not deserve, and when, as to any crime meriting public without efficacy; who does not see that the authority and ignominious death, they were, doubtless, innocent. of his laws was as much, nay more, impressively sanc- These cases are not adduced as parallel to the death of tioned than if his son had endured the full penalty ? Christ for sinners; but so far they agree with it that, The case, it is true, has in it nothing parallel to the in the ordinary course of Providence, and by express work of Christ, except in that particular which it is appointment of God, men suffer and even die for the here adduced to illustrate; but it shows that it is not, benefit of others, and in some cases the morally worthy, in all cases, necessary for the upholding of a firm go- the comparatively innocent, die for the instruction, and, vernment, that the offender hiinself should be pu- instrumentally, for the salvation of the unworthy and nished. This is the natural mode of maintaining au- vicious. There is a similarity in the two cases also in thority; but not, in all cases, the only one; and, in other particulars, as that the suffering danger or death that of the redemption of man, we see the wisdom of is in both matter of choice, not of compulsion or necesGod in its brightest manifestation securing this end, sity; and that there is a right in the parties to choose and yet opening to man the door of hope. The strici suffering and death, though, as we shall see, this right justice of the case required that the righteous charac- in benevolent men is of a different kind to that with ter of the Divine administration should be upheld; but, which Christ was invested. in fact, by the sufferings of our Lord being made the Some writers of great eminence on the doctrine of only means of pardon, it has received a stamp more atonement have urged also, in answer to the objection legible and impressive than the extreme punishment before us, the suffering of persons in consequence of of offenders, however awful, while it connects love the sins of others, as children on account of the crimes with justice, and presents God to us at once exact in of their parents, both by the natural constitution of righteousness and affectingly gracious and merciful things and by the laws of many states; but the subject “ The judge himself bore the punishment of transgres- does not appear to derive any real illustration from sion, while he published an amnesty to the guilty, and these examples; for, as a modern writer well observes, thus asserted the authority, and importance, and worth “ the principles upon which the Catholic opinion is deof the law by that very act which beamed forth love fended destroy every kind of similarity between these unspeakable, and displayed a compassion which knew cases and the sufferings of Christ. In all such instances no obstacle but the unwillingness of the criminals to of the extension of punishment, persons suffer for sing accept it. The eternal Word became flesh; and ex- of which they are innocent, but withoui their consent, hibited, in sufferings and in death, that combination of in consequence of a constitution under which they are holiness and mercy which, believed, must excite love, born, and by a disposition of events which they proand, if loved, must produce resemblance."(9) “Mercy bably lament; and their suffering is not supposed to and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss have any effect in alleviating the evils incurred by those each other.” Thus the vinculum, that which connects whose punishment they bear.”(1) the death of Christ with our salvation, is simply the In all the cases mentioned above, as most in point in security which it gives to the righteous administration this argument, we grant that there is no instance of of the Divine government.
satisfaction by vicarious punishment; no legal substiAn objection is made by the opponents of the doc- tution of one person for another. With respect to hutrine of atonement to the justice of laying the punish- man governments, they could not justly adopt this ment of the guilty upon the innocent, which it will be principle in any case. They could not oblige an inno. necessary briefly to consider. The objection resolves cent person to suffer for the guilty, because that would itself into an inquiry how far such benevolent interpo- be unjust to him; they could not accept his offer, were sitions of one person for another, as involve sacrifice he ever so anxious to become the substitute of another, and suffering, may go without violating justice; and for that would be unjust to God, since they have no when the subject is followed in this direction, the ob- authority from him so to take away the life of one of jection will be found to be of no weight.
his creatures, and the person himself has no authority That it has always been held a virtue to endure in- to offer it. With respect to the Divine government, a conveniences, to encounter danger, and even to suffer parallel case is also impossible, because no guilty man for the sake of others, in certain circumstances, can- could be the substitute for his fellows, his own lite benot be denied, and no one has ever thought of control-ing forfeited ; and no higher creature could be that subling such acts by raising any questions as to their jus-stitute, of which we are fully assured by this, that if it tice. Parents and friends not only endure labour and was necessary that Christ, who is infinitely above all make sacrifices for their children and connexions, but creatures, should suffer for us, in order that God might often submit to positive pain in accomplishing that to be just in justifying the guilty, then his justice could which their affection prompts them. To save a fellow- not have been manifested by the interposition of any creature perishing by water or fire, generous minds creature whatever in our behalf, and, therefore, the legal (9) ERSKINE on Revealed Religion.
(1) Hill's Lectures. S
obstacle to our pardon must have remained in full , suffering as he was in virtue, and when, according to force. There can be no full parallel to this singular and them, he sustained a personal character only, and not only case: but yet, as to the question of justice, which a vicarious one? For this difficulty they have, and can is here the only point under consideration, it rests on have, no rational solution. the same principles as those before mentioned. In the As to the passage in Ezekiel xviii. 20, which Soci, case of St. Paul we see a willing sufferer; he chooses nians sometimes urge against the doctrine of Christ's to suffer and to die “ for the elect's sake," and that he vicarious passion, it is briefly but satisfactorily an. might publish the Gospel to the world. He knew that swered by Grotius. “ Socinus objects from Ezekiel, this would be his lot, and he glories in the prospect. • The soul that sinneth it shall die; the son shall not He gave up cheerfully what might have remained to bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father him of life by the constitution of nature. Was it, bear the iniquity of the son.' But in these words God then, unjust in God to accept this offering of generous does not teach us what he must necessarily do; but devotedness for the good of mankind, when the offer- what (in a particular case] he had freely decreed to do. ing was in obedience to his own will? Certainly not. It no more, therefore, follows from hence, that it is unWas it an unjust act towards God, that is, did it violate just altogether for a son to bear any part of the punish. the right of God over his life, for St. Paul to choose to ment of his father's crime, than that it is unjust for a die for the Gospel ? Certainly not. For God had given sinner not to die. The place itself evinces, that God to him the right of thus disposing of his life, by making does not here treat of perpetual and immutable right; it his duty to die for the truth. The same considera- but of that ordinary course of his providence which tions of choice and right unite in the sufferings of our he was determined hereafter to pursue with respect to Lord, though the case itself was one of an infinitely the Jews, that he might cut off all occasion of comhigher nature, a circumstance which strengthens but plaint.”(2) does not change the principle. He was a willing substitute, and choice was in him abundantly more free and unbiassed than it could be in a creature, and for this reason, that he was not a creature. His incarnation was voluntary; and, when incarnate, his sufferings
CHAPTER XXI. were still a matter of choice; nor was he, in the same sense as his disciples, under the power of men. “No
REDEMPTION.-SACRIFICES OF THE LAW. man taketh my life from me; but I lay it down of myself.” He had the right of doing so in a sense that no It has, then, been established, upon the testimony creature could have. He died not only because the of various texts, in which the doctrine is laid down, Father willed it; not because the right of living or not in the language of metaphor and allusion, but dying had been conceded to him as a moral trust, as in clearly and expressly, that the death of Christ was The case of the apostles; but because, having himself vicarious and propitiatory; and that by it a satisfaction the supreme power of life and death, from his bound- was offered to the Divine justice for the transgressions less benevolence to man, he willed to die; and thus of men; in consideration of which pardon and salvawas there, in this substitution, a concurrence of the tion are offered to them in the Gospel through faith ; Lawgiver, and the consent of the substitute. To say and I have preferred to adduce these clear and cogeni that any thing is unjust, is to say that the rights of proofs of this great principle of our religion, in the some one are invaded; but is, in this case, no right was first place from those passages in the New Testament invaded, than which nothing can be more clear, then in which there are no sacrificial terms, no direct alluwas there in the case nothing of injustice as assumed sions to the atonements of the law, and other parts of in the objection. The whole resolves itself, therefore, the Levitical piacular system, to show, that independinto a question, not of justice, but of the wisdom of ad- ent of the latter class of texts, the doctrine may be mitting a substitute to take the place of the guilty. In established against the Socinians; and, also, that by the circumstances, first of the willingness of the sub- having first settled the meaning of the leading passages, stitute to submit to the penalty, and secondly of his we may more satisfactorily determine the sense in right thus to dispose of himself, the justice of the pro- which the evangelists and apostles use the sacrificial ceeding is fully cleared; and the question of wisdom is terms of the Old Testament, with reference to the to be determined by this consideration, whether the end death of Christ, a subject in which, from its nature, of punishment could be as well answered by this the opponents of the atonement find a freedom of retranslation of the penalty to a substitute as if the prin- mark and license of criticisin, by which they are apt to cipals themselves had personally been held to undergo mislead and perplex the unwary. This second class it. This, when the whole evangelical scheme is taken of texts, however, when approached by the light of the into account, embracing the means and conditions by argument already made good, and exhibited also in that which that substitution is made available, and the con- of their own evidence, will afford the most triumphant comitants by which it is attended, as before explained, refutation of the notions of those, who, to the denial is also obvious—the law of God is not repealed nor re- of the Godhead of our Lord, add a proud and Pharisaic laxed, but established; those who continue disobedient rejection of the sacrificial efficacy of his death. fall into aggravated condemnation, and those who avail We shall not, in tire first instance, advert tothe sacritheinselves of the mercy of God thus conceded, are fices under the patriarchal dispensation, as to the origin restored to the capacity and disposition of obedience, of which a difference of opinion exists, a subject on and that perfectly and eternally in a future state of which some remarks will be offered in the sequel. existence; so that, as the end of punishment is the among the Jews, sacrifices were unquestionably of maintenance of the authority of law and the character Divine original; and as terms taken from them are of the Lawgiver, this end is even more abundantly ac- found applied so freqnently to Christ and to his suffercomplished by this glorious interposition of the com- ings in the New Testament, they serve farther to expassion and adorable wisdom of God our Saviour. plain that peculiarity under which, as we have seen,
So unfounded is this objection to the doctrine of the the apostles regarded the death of Christ, and afford vicarious sufferings of Christ; to which we may add, additional proof that it was considered by them as a that the difficulty of reconciling those sufferings to the sacrifice of expiation, as the grand universal sin-offerDivine justice does not, in truth, lie with us, but with ing for the whole world. the Socinians. Different opinions, as to the nature and He is announced by John, his forerunner, as "the end of those sufferings, neither lessen nor heighten | LAMB OF GOD;" and that not with reference to meekthem. The ext:ne and emphatic sufferings of our ness or any other moral virtue; but with an accomLord is a fact which stands unalterably upon the record panying phrase, which would communicate to a Jew, of the inspired history. We who regard Christ as suffer the full sacrificial sense of the term employed—“ the ing by virtue of a voluntary substitution of himself in Lamb of God which TAKETH AWAY the sin of the onr room and stead, can account for such agonies, and, world.” He is called “our Passover, sacrificed for by the foregoing arguments, can reconcile them to jus- us." He is said to have given “ himself for us, AN OFtice; but, as our Lord was perfectly and absolutely in- FERING and A SACRIFICE to God, for a sweet smelling nocent, as “ he did no sin," and was, in this respect, savour.” As a Priest, it was necessary he should distinguished from all men who ever lived, and who have somewhat to offer; and he offered himself, “ his have all sinned, by being entirely "holy and harmless," own blood,” to which is ascribed the washing away "separated from sinners," how will they reconcile it to Divine justice that he should be thus as pre-cnunent in
(2) De Satisfactione.
of sin, and our eternal redemption. He is declared to without warning, which unquestionably they never have put away sin by the SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF,” gave. to have “ BY HIMSELF purged our sins," to have The force of this has been selt, and &s, in order to “ SANCTIFIED the people by his own blood,” to have avoid it, the two points, the expiatory nature of the “ offered to God one saCRITICE FOR SINS." Add to Jewish sacrifices and their typical signature, have been these, and innumerable other similar expressions and questioned, it will be necessary to establish each. allusions, the argument of the apostle in the Epistle to As to the expiatory nature of the sacrifices of the the Hebrews, in which, by proving at length, that the law, it is not necessary to show that all the Levitical sacrifice of Christ was superior in efficacy to the sacri- offerings were of this character. There were also fices of the law, he most unequivocally assumes, that offerings for persons and for things prescribed for puri the death of Christ was a sacrifice and sin-offering, for fication, which were incidental, but even they grew without that it would no more have been capable of out of the leading notion of expiatory sacrifice, and comparison with the sacrifices of the law, than the that legal purification which resulted from the forgivedeath of John the Baptist, St. Stephen, or St. James, ness of sins. 1: is enough to show, that the grand and all martyrs and sufferers for the truth, who had re- eminent sacrifices of the Jews were strictly explatory, cently sealed their testimony with their blood. This and that by then the offerers were released from very comparison, we may boldly affirm, is ntterly un- punishment and death, for which ends they were apaccountable and absurd on any hypothesis, which de- pointed by the lawgiver. nies the sacrifice of Christ; for what relation could his When we speak, too, of vicarious sacrifice, we do death have to the Levitical immolations and offerings, not mean, either, on the one hand, such a substitution if it had no sacrificial character ? Nothing could, in as that the victim should bear the same quantum of fact, be more misleading, and even absurd, than to pain and suffering as the offender himself; or, on the apply those terms, which, both among Jews and Gen- other, that it was put in the place of the oftender as a tiles, were in use to express the various processes and mere symbolical act, by which he confessed his desert means of atonement and piacular propitiation, if the of punishment; but a substitution made by Divine apostles and Christ himself did not intend to represent appointment, hy which the victim was posed to sufhis death strictly as an expiation for sin :-misleading, ferings and death instead of the offender, in virtue of because such would be the natural and necessary in- which the offender himself should be released. In this ference from the terms themselves, which had acquired view, one can scarcely conceive why so able a writer this as their established meaning; and absurd, because
as Archbishop Magee should prefer to use the term if, as Socinians say, they used them metaphorically, “vicarious import," rather than the simple and estathere was not even an ideal resemblance between the blished term " vicarious ;" since the Antinomian nofigure, and that which it was intended to illustrate. tion of substitution may be otherwise sufficiently So totally irrelevant, indeed, will those terms appear to guarded against, and the phrase "vicarious import” is any notion entertained of the death of Christ which certainly capable of being resolved into that figurative excludes its expiatory character, that to assume that notion of mere symbolical action, which, however our Lord and his apostles used them as metaphors is plausible, does in fact deprive the ancient sacrifices of prufanely to assume them to be such writers as would their typical, and the oblation of Christ of its real effinot in any other case be tolerated; writers wholly un- cacy. Vicarious acting is acting for another; vicarious acquainted with the commonest rules of elocution, and suffering is suffering for another; but the nature and therefore wholly unfit to be teachers of others, not only circumstances of that suffering in the case of Christ in religion, but in things of inferior importance. is to be determined by the doctrine of Scripture at
The use of such terms, we have said, would not large, and not wholly by the term itself; which is, only be wholly absurd, but criminally misleading to however, useful for this purpose (and therefore to be the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, who were first preserved), that it indicates the sense in which those converted to Christianity. To them the notion of pro- who use it understand the declaration of Scripture, that pitiatory offerings, offerings to avert the displeasure of Christ “died for us," to be that he died not merely for ihe gods, and which expiated the crimes of offenders, our benefit, but in our stead ; in other words, that but was most familiar, and the corresponding terms in for his having died, those who believe in him would
The bold denial of this by Dr. Priestley personally have suffered that death which is the penalty might well bring upon him the reproof of Archbishop of every violation of the law of God. Magee, who, after establishing this point from the That sacrifices under the law were expiatory and Greek and Latin writers, observes, “ so clearly does vicarious, admits of abundant proof. their language announce the notion of a propitiatory The chief objections made to this doctrine are, first, atonement, that if we would avoid an imputation on that under the law, in all capital cases, the offender, Dr. Priestley's fairness, we are driven, of necessity, to upon legal proof or conviction, was doomed to die, and question the extent of his acquaintance with those that no sacrifice could exempt him from the penalty. writers.” The reader may consult the instances given Secondly, that in all lower cases to which the law nad by this writer, in No. 5 of lis Illustrations appended to not attached capital punishment, but pecuniary mulcts, his Discourses on the Atonement; and particularly the or personal labonr or servitude, upon their non-paytenth chapter of Grotius's De Satisfactione, whose learn- ment, this penalty was to be strictly executed, and ing has most amply illustrated and firmly settled this rone could plead any privilege or exemption on account view of the heathen sacrifices. The use to be made of of sacrifice; and that when sacrifices were ordained this in the argument is, that as the apostles found the very with a pecuniary mulct, they are to be regarded in the terms they used with reference to the nature and efficacy light of fine, one part of which was paid to the state, of the deaih of Christ, fixed in an expiatory signification the other to the church. This was the mode of arguamong the Greeks, they could not in honesty use them ment adopted by the author of "The Moral Philosoin a distant figurative sense, much less in a contrary one, pher," and nothing of weight has been added to these without due notice of their having invested them with objections since. a new import being given to their readers. From ayos, Now much of this may be granted, without any prea pollution, an impurity, which was to be expiated by judice to the argument; and indeed, is no more than sacrifice, are derived ayvisw and aylašw, which denote the most orthodox writers on this subject have often the act of expiation ; kudaipw, too, to purify, cleanse, adverted to. The law under which the Jews were is applied to the effect of expiation; and usw denotes placed was at once, as to them, both a moral and a the method of propitiating the gods by sacrifice. political law; and the Lawgiver excepted certain ofThese and other words of similar import are used by fences from the benefit of a pardon, which implied exthe authors of the Septuagint, and by the evangelists | emption from temporal death, which was the state and apostles; but they give no notice of using them in penalty, and therefore would accept no atonement for any sirange and altered sense; and when they apply such transgressions. Blasphemy, idolatry, murder, thern to the death of Christ, they must, therefore, be and adultery were those “presumptuous sins” which understood to use them in their received meaning. were thus exempted, and the reason will be seen in the
In like manner the Jews had their expiatory sacri- political relation of the people to God. In refusing fices, and the terms and phrases used in them are, in ihis exemption from punishment in this world, in cer. like manner, employed by the apostles to characterize tain cases, respect was had to the order and benefit of the death of their Lord; and they would have been as society. Running parallel, however, with this poliguilty of misleading their Jewish as their Gentile tical application of the law'to the Jews as subjects of readers, had they employed them in a new sense, and the theocracy, we see the authority of the moral law
kept over them as men and creatures, and if these "fine" for the trespass; but it is arded," he shall bring
presumptuous sins" of blasphemy and idolatry, of for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish, murder and adultery, and a few others, were the only and the priest shall make atonement for him, with the capital crimes, considered politically, they were not ram of the trespass-offering, and it shall be forgiven the only capital crimes considered morally; that is, him.” Thus, then, so far from the sacrifice being the there were other crimes which would have subjected fine, the fine is distinguished from it, and with the ram the offender to death, but for this provision of expiatory only was the atonement made to the Lord for his tresoblations. The true question then is, whether such pass. Nor can the ceremonies with which the trespass sacrifices were appointed by God, and accepted instead and sin-offerings were accompanied agree with any of the personal punishment or LIFE of the offender, notion but that of their yicarious character. The wor. which otherwise would have been forfeited, as in the shipper, conscious of his trespass, brought an animal, other cases; and if so, if the life of animal sacrifices his own property, to the door of the tabernacle. This was accepted instead of the life of man, then the no- was not an eucharistical act, not a memorial of mertion that they were mere mulcts and pecuniary penalties cies received, but of sins committed. He laid his hands falls to the ground, and the vicarious nature of most of upon the head of the animal, the symbolical act of the Levitical oblations is established.
transfer of punishment, then slew it with his own That other offences, besides those above mentioned, hand, and delivered it to the priest, who burnt the fat were capital, that is, exposed the offender to death, is and part of the animal upon the altar; and having clear from this, that all offences against the law had sprinkled part of the blood upon the altar, and in some this capital character. As death was the sanction of cases upon the offerer himself, poured the rest at the the commandment given to Adam, so every one who bottom of the altar. And thus, we are told," the priest transgressed any part of the law of Moses became shall make an atonement for him as concerning his guilty of death ; every man was accursed, that is, de- sin, and it shall be forgiven him.”. So clearly is it voted to die, who“continued not in all things written made manifest by these actions, and by the description in the book of the law;" "the man only that doeth of their nature and end, that the animal bore the puthese things shall live by them,” was the rule; and it nishment of the offender, and that by this appointment was, therefore, to redeem the offenders from this pe- he was reconciled to God, and obtained the forgiveness nalty that sacrifices were appointed. So, with reser- of his offences. ence to the great day of expiation, we read, “For on An equally strong proof that the life of the animal that day shall the priest make an atonernent for you, sacrifice was accepted in place of the life of man, is to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your afforded by the fact, that atonement was required by sins; and this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, the law to be made, by sin-offerings and burnt-offerings, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all for even bodily distempers and disorders. It is not their sins, once a year." Levit. xvi. 30–34.
necessary to the argument to explain the distinctions To prove that this was the intention and effect of the between these various oblations ;(5) nor yet to inquire annual sacrifices of the Jews, we need do little more into the reason which required propitiation to be made than refer to Lev. xvii. 10, 11, “I will set my face for corporal infirmities, which, in many cases, could against that soul that eateth_blood, and will cut him not be avoided. They were, however, thus connected off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is with sin as the cause of all these disorders, and God, in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar who had placed his residence among the Israelites, in to make an atonement for your soul: for it is the sisted upon a perfect ceremonial purity, to impress blood that maketh an atonement for THE SOUL.” Here upon them a sense of his moral purity, and the necesthe blood, which is said to make atonement for the sity of purification of mind. Whether these were the soul, is the blood of the victims, and to make an atone- reasons, or whatever other reason there might be in ment for the soul is the same as to be a ransom for the the case, and whether it is at all discoverable by soul, as will appear by referring to Exodus xxx. 12– us, all such unclean persons were liable to death, 16, and to be a ransom for the soul is to avert death. and were exempted from it only by auimal sacri“They shall give every man a ransom for his soul unto fices. This appears from the conclusion to all the the Lord, that there be no plague among them,” by Levitical directions concerning the ceremonial to be which their lives might be suddenly taken away. The followed in all such cases. Lev. xv. 31, “Thus shall ye “soul” is also here used obviously for the life; the separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, blood, or the life, of the victims in all the sacrifices, THAT THEY DIE NOT in (or by) their uncleanness, when was substituted for the life of man, to preserve him they defile my tabernacle which is among them.” So from death, and the victims were therefore vicarious.(3) that by virtue of the sin-offerings, the children of Israel The Hebrew word, rendered atonement, 19, signi- have suffered for their uncleanness, and that by substi
were saved from a death, which otherwise they would fying primarily to cover, overspread, has been the subject of some evasive criticisms. It comes, however, in tuting the life of the animal for the life of the offerer. the secondary sense, to signify atonement, or propitia- Nor can it be urged that death is, in these instances, tion, because the effect of that is to cover, or, in Scrip- threatened only as a punishment of not observing these ture meaning, to obtain the forgiveness of offences.
laws of purification, for the reason given in the passage The Septuagint also renders it by ežilac kojai, to ap- just quoted; for the threatening of death is not hypopease, to make propitious. It is used, indeed, where thetical upon their not bringing the prescribed atonethe means of atonement are not of the sacrificial kind, ment, but is grounded upon the fact of defiling the but these "instances equally serve to evince the Scrip
tabernacle of the Lord which was among them," ture sense of the term, in cases of transgression, to be
which is supposed to be done by all uncleanness as that of reconciling the offended Deity, by averting his such, in the first instance. displeasure; so that when the atonement for sin is
As a farther proof of the vicarious character of the said to be made by sacrifice, no doubt can remain that principal sacrifices of the Mosaic economy, we may inthe sacrifice was strictly á sacrifice of propitiation. stance those statedly offered for the whole congregation. Agreeably to this conclusion, we find it expressly de- Every day were offered two lambs, one in the morning clared in the several cases of piacular oblations for
and the other in the evening, " for a continual burnttransgression of the Divine commands, that the sin offering.” To these daily victims were to be added. for which atonement was made by those oblations weekly, two other lambs for the burnt-offering of every should be forgiven.”(4)
Sabbath. None of these could be considered in the As the notion that the sacrifices of the law were not light of fines for offences, since they were offered for vicarious, but mere mulcts and fines, is overturned by no particular persons, and must be considered, therethe general appointment of the blood to be an atonement fore, unless resolved into an unmeaning ceremony, piafor the souls, the forfeited lives of men, so also is it
cular and vicarious. To pass over, however, the contradicted by particular instances. Let us refer to monthly sacrifices, and those offered at the great feasts, Levit. v. 15, 16, "If a soul commit a trespass, and sin
it is sufficient to fix upon those which are so oíten through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord, he
alluded to in the Epistle to the Hebrews, offered on the shall make amends for the harm that he liath done in solemn anniversary of expiation. On that day, to the holy thing, and shall add a fifth part thereto, and other prescribed sacrifices were to be added another shall give it to the priest." Here, indeed, is the proper
ram for a burnt-offering, and another goat, the most
eminent of all the sacrifices, for a sin-offering, whose (3) Vide OUTRAM de Sacrif. lib. i. c. xxii. (4). MAGEE's Discourses, vol. i. p. 332.
(5) On this subject, see OUTRAM De Sacrificiis.
blood was to be carried by the high priest into the inner offerer, teaching him moral lessons, and calling forth sanctuary, which was not done by the blood of any moral dispositions ? we answer, that this hypothesis other victim except the bullock, wirich was offered the leaves many of the essential circumstances of the ce. same day as a sin-offering for the family of Aaron. remonial wholly unaccounted for. The tabernacle and “ The circumstances of this ceremony, whereby atone- temple were erected for the residence of God by his ment was to be made for all the sins of the whole own command. There it was his will to be approached, Jewish people, are so strikingly significant, that they and to these sacred places the victims were required to deserve a particular detail. On the day appointed for be brought. Any where else they inight as well have this general expiation, the priest is commanded to offer been offered, if they had had respect only to the offerer; a bullock and a goat as sin-offerings, the one for him, but they were required to be brought to God, to be offered self and the other for the people; and having sprinkled according to a prescribed ritual, and by an order of men the blood of these in due form before the mercy-seat, appointed for that purpose. “But there is no other to lead forth a second goat, denominated the scape- reason why they should be offered in the sanctuary goat; and after laying both his hands upon the head of than this, that they were offered to the inhabitant or the scape-goat, and confessing over him all the iniqui- the sanctuary; nor could they be offered to him withties of the people to put them upon the heart of the out having respect to him, or without his being the obgoat, and to send the animal, thus bearing the sins of ject of their efficacy, as in the case of solemn prayers the people, away into the wilderness; in this manner addressed to him. There were some victims whose expressing, by an action which cannot be misunder- blood, on the day of atonement, was to be carried into stood, that the atonement, which it is affirmed was to the inner sanctuary; but for what purpose can we be effected by the sacrifice of the sin-offering, consisted suppose the blood to have been carried into the most in removing from the people their iniquities by this sacred part of the Divine residence, and that on the translation of them to the animal. For it is to be re- day of atonement, except to obtain the favour of him marked, that the ceremony of the scape-goat is not a in whose presence it was sprinkled ?"(9) To this we distinct one; it is a continuation of the process, and is may add, that the reason given for these sacred serevidently the concluding part and symbolical consum- vices is not in any case a mere moral effect to be promation of the sin-offering. So that the transfer of the duced upon the minds of the worshippers; they were iniquities of the people upon the head of the scape-goat, to make atonement, that is, to avert God's displeasure, and the bearing thein away into the wilderness, mani- that the people might not • DIE.” festly imply, that the atonement effected by the sacrifice We inay find also another most explicit illustration of the sin-offering consisted in the transfer, and conse- in the sacrifice of the Passover. The sacrificial chaquent removal, of those iniquities."(0)
racter of this offering is strongly marked; for it was, How, then, is this impressive and singular ceremo- CORBAN, an offering brought to the tabernacle; it was nial to be explained? Shall we resort to the notion of slain in the sanctuary, and the blood sprinkled upon mulcts and fines? but if so, then this and other stated the altar by the priests. It derives its name from the sacrifices must be considered in the light of penal passing over, and sparing the houses of the Israelites, enactments. But this cannot agree with the appoint- on the door-posts of which the blood of the immolated ment of such sacrifices annually in succeeding genera- lamb was sprinkled, when the first-born in the houses tions_“this shall be a statute for ever unto you." The of the Egyptians were slain; and thus we have another law appoints a certain day in the year for expiating the instance of life being spared by the instituted means of sins both of the high priest himself and of the whole animal sacrifice. Nor need we confine ourselves to congregation, and that for all high priests, and all ge particular instances-“almost all things," says an aunerations of the congregation. Now, could a law be thority who surely knew his subject, " are by the law enacted, inflicting a certain penalty at a certa time, purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there upon a whole people, as well as upon their high priest, is no remission." thus presuming upon their actual trangression of it? By their very law and by constant usage, then, were The sacrifice was also for sins in general, and yet the the Jews familiarized to the notion of expiatory sacripenalty, if it were one, is not greater than individual fice, as well as by the history contained in their sacred persons were often obliged to undergo for single tres- books, especially in Genesis, which speaks of the vipasses. Nothing, certainly, can be inore absurd than carious sacrifices offered by the patriarchs, and the this hypothesis.(7)
book of Job, in which that patriarch is recorded to have Shall we account for it by saying that sacrifices were offered sacrifices for the supposed sins of his sons, and offered for the benefit of the worshipper, but excinde Eliphaz is commanded by a Divine oracle tooffer a burnithe notion of expiation ? But here we are obliged to offering for himself and his friends, " lest God should confine the benefit to reconciliation and the laking deal with them after their folly.” away of sins, and that by the appointed means of the On the sentiments of the uninspired Jewish writers shediling of blood, and the presentation of blood in the on this point, the substitution of the life of the animal holy place, accompanied by the expressive ceremony for that of the offerer, and, consequently, the expiatory of imposition of hands upon the head of the victim, nature of their sacrifices, Outram has given many the import of which act is fixed beyond all controversy, quotations from their writings, which the reader may by the priest's confessing, at the same time, over that consult in his work on Sacrifices. Two or three only victim, the sins of all the people, and imprecating upon need be adduced by way of specimen. R. Levi Ben its head the vengeance due to them.(8)
Gerson says, "the imposition of the hands of the offerShall we content ourselves with merely saying that ers was designed to indicate, that their sins were rethis was a symbol; but the question remains, of what moved from themselves, and transferred to the animal.” was it a symbol ? To determine that, let the severai Isaac Ben Arama—"he transfers his sins from himself, parts of the symbolic action be enumerated. llere is con- and lays them upon the head of his victim." R. Moses fession of sin-confession before God, at the door of his Ben Nachman says, with respect to a sinner offering a tabernacle-the substitution of a victim--the figurative victim, “ It was just that his blood should be shed, and transfer of sins to that victim-the shedding of blood, that his body should be burned; but the Creator, of his which God appointed to make atonement for the soul - mercy, accepted this victim from him as his substitute the carrying the blood into the holiest place, the very and ransom; that the blood of the animal might be shed permission of which clearly marked the Divine accept- instead of his blood; that is, that the blood of the aniance-the bearing away of iniquity--and the actual mal might be given for his life.” reconciliation of the people to God. If, then, this is Full of these ideas of vicarious expiation, then, the symbolical, it has nothing correspondent with it; it apostles wrote and spoke, and the Jews of their time never had or can have any thing correspondent to it but and in subsequent ages heard and read the books of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, and the communi- the New Testament. The Socinian pretence is, that cation of the benefits of his passion in the forgiveness the inspired penmen used the sacrificial terms which of sins to those that believe in him, and their reconci- occur in their writings figuratively; but we not only liation with God.
reply, as before, that they could not do this honestly, Shall we, finally, say that those sacrifices had respect, unless they had given notice of this new application of not to God to obtain pardon by expiation, but to the the established terms of the Jewish theology; but that
if this be assumed, their writings leave us wholly at a (6) MAGEL's Discourses.
loss to discover what it really was which they intended (7) Vide CHAPMAN's Eusebius. (8) Leviticus xvi. 21.
(9) OITRAM De Sacrificiis,