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the range of religious discussion has given rise to such painful and unprofitable controversy as the subject of the atonement. Departing from the meaning of the Hebrew and the Greek, where the word in both languages occurs, the one expressive of covering-the other of propitiation, certain writers have deduced from interpretations of their own laying down, statements which are palpably opposed to every thing which, on this subject at least, Christianity was intended to teach. In the writings of the apostles we find the Greek term ilasmos distinctly applied to Christ, and as it is admitted to signify propitiation, or sacrifice, or atonement, and equivalent moreover, as an author says, to the meaning of the original Hebrew word, when applied to an atoning sacrifice; what is the inference or conclusion but that Christ is that propitiation, and the very substance of those inferior sacrifices which typified his coming? Was it then for the champion of Socinianism to proclaim, as he has had the rashness to do, “ that the doctrines of atonement, incarnation, and the Trinity, have no more foundation in the scriptures, than the doctrines of transubstantiation and transmigration ?” This was certainly a discovery for which the followers of the Unitarian creed are indebted to Dr. Priestly, in the face of a revelation, however, which distinctly calls upon us to “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Or if in the present day, the writers on that side of the question are disposed to give a more qualified exhibition of their views on the subject of the atonement, it is utterly impossible to suppose that their most delicate interpretations can be in accordance with the spirit of Christianity, rejecting as they do the Divinity of Jesus, which in our opinion is that which throws over the sacrifice of his humanity its unspeakable value. Nor is our own view of this important doctrine of the atonement opposed, simply to the articles of the Unitarian creed on the subject, but almost equally so to the opinions of others, who, admitting the death of Christ to have been a sacrifice, or propitiation for sin, maintain at the same time, that in itself it possessed no efficacy to secure its removal; but that this is the result of its application merely because of the sovereign appointment of God. It matters little as to with whom an opinion like this originated. It is thought, however, to have come from Augustine. Be that as it may: and notwithstanding that subsequently, and in our own times, it has received the support and the sanction of many learned names, such as M’Knight, and Whitby, and Magee, we are not to be deterred from investigating for ourselves the scriptural import of a doctrine so momentous and fundamental as the one in question. If therefore the sacrifice of Christ derived all its efficacy to procure the expiation of sin from the mere sovereign appointment of God, without supposing any

value to have attached to the sacrifice itself, why upon the same principle of reasoning might there not have been something of a different kind appointed, and have saved the Son of God such a plenitude of sufferings, and which should equally have secured the salvation of men, because of its being a part of the sovereign arrangements of Heaven? The brazen serpent which Moses was commanded to put upon a pole—was certainly in itself possessed of no efficacy whatever to effect a cure for the wounded Israelites. It was at best but a mere piece of brass ; so that when any of the wounded individuals looked to it and were made whole, their own common sense would dispose them to believe that their cure was the result of a divine intervention, and that the figurative serpent suspended before them was merely to be the test of their obedience to a divine command. In this particular instance it was not the thing looked at that cured them. It might have been a piece of wood as well as a piece of brass, and the cure have been equally effectual, inasmuch as it came from a quarter where its power was omnipotent. But what is it but something like trilling not only with the blood and the sacrifice of Christ, but with the very favourite expression itself of these writers, the sovereign appointment of God, to allege, that his sacrifice in the same sense is passively instrumental, and no more? It was unquestionably as a remedy for sin, the sovereign appointment of Heaven, but there was that in the sacrifice itself, as well as in the righteousness of the Redeemer, that rendered it pleasing to God: and therefore when the atonement of Christ is spoken of in the gospel, it is spoken of as that one, itself a plenitude of blessings to guilty man. Even Bishop Butler in his “ Analogy of Religion,” has penned the following sentence.--Speaking of what we would term the efficacy of the death of Christ,

“ How, and in what particular way it had this efficacy, there are not wanting persons who have endeavoured to explain; but I do not find that the scripture has explained it.” Probably not we might reply-but it is plain enough that the scripture a hundred times speaks of the value of the sacrifice, without alluding to any thing like an arbitrary appointment of it, apart from the consideration of its value. “The blood,” it is said “of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth from all sin." - How shall we

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escape if we neglect so great salvation ?” What made it great but the attributes put forth to effect it, and the expenditure of a blood so intrinsically valuable? And hence the “How much sorer punishment of which they shall be thought worthy who have trodden underfoot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing! If this mean any thing at all, it means that there was that in the death and sacrifice of Christ, apart from the sovereign appointment of the remedy so valuable that nothing else is to be compared with it; and that to reject which, is to expose the soul to all the terrors of unrevoked condemnation. But the hypothesis, which we are attempting to combat, if fairly carried out, would lead us to this, that the death of Christ was not indispensably necessary in order to the salvation of men, inasmuch as any other appointment, if it had been merely the appointment of God would have been sufficient for the purpose. For ourselves we have always apprehended that a God of infinite wisdom must of necessity have devised the best mode, and that if one connected with less of suffering on the part of his dear Son could have been found out, that Son had been spared. The atonement of the scriptures moreover supposes what these individuals would argue away, viz. a necessary connexion between the sufferings of the atoning person and the bestowment of pardon; or that the efficacy of the sacrifice is measured by the dignity and character of the sufferer. Now in our preceding observations we noticed that Christ being God, and taking into union with his divine nature the human, or his manhood, it was this mysterious association of the two that gave to the latter all its value as a sacrifice ; so

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that if this be admitted we are then thrown back upon our former belief, that as a sacrifice for sin was demanded, so a sacrifice of value was provided. This is both allowing the appointment of Heaven, and at the same time the adaptation of a peculiar remedy to a specific disease, according to the wisdom of Heaven; by which exhibition of a sacrifice, “ God can now be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus."

The views then, in reference to the atonement of Christ, which the scriptures will warrant us to cherish are, that Christ became a substitute in the place of fallen inan--for him rendered satisfaction to divine justice--that his death was a proper atonement for sin, so that, in this

way, soever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” This is the atonement presented under the Christian dispensation. It is an atonement connected with bloodshedding, and emphatically it is this blood that maketh atonement for the soul. It

opens a way ance to man of the blessings of redemption. Atonement is not redemption, but the foundation of it. It is the satisfaction which Christ bas presented to the claims of divine justice,-redemption is the bringing back of the sinner from a state of bondage and condemnation, so that though atonement has been effected, the blessings of redemption are experienced only by those, to whom the Spirit of God has given a disposition to receive and enjoy them. Hence they are said to be adopted—“For as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” They are delivered from the condemning power of the law;—“ There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ

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