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profession. It is really unaccountable, that the dominion of priestcraft and superstition should, so long, and in so many different ways, be perpetuated, in this enlightened age and country. That people should read the scriptures in their own tongue, be conversant with the history of our blessed Lord, of his benevolent professions and miracles of mercy; read his solemn and reiterated commands to his followers, to do unto others, as they would be done by, and yet, suppose his religion would forbid the entertainment of strangers, is truly astonishing ; more strikingly marvellous is the consideration,
that the good woman was undergoing a preparatory afiliction, for the sacramen. tal commemoration of our Savior's sufferings and death. May we not venture to suggest, that if their profession of religion had embraced the sentiment, that his death was designed for the good of all men, natural and revealed religion would have co-operated, and the one served to strengthen and do honor to the other?
2. This exhibition of superstition is commendable, in comparison with many instances of it, discoverable in the Christian community. There was no inquiry, whether the traveller was a professor or not; whether of one denomination or of another. In this respect, the profession and practice were inpartial. But how often is it the case, that a man, or his helpless family, is left to the mercy of the elements, or put to the most cruel death, for a supposed heretical faith ? How frequently, even at this day, do we see neighbors and former friends, standing at scornful distance from each other, on account of different views on religious subjects ? Brothers will be at variance, parents and children contend and almost fight, and husband and wife exercise the bitterest feelings, merely for difference of opinion! All these things are the unholy offspring of priestcraft and superstition. An abuse of the kindest blessings, generally produces the worst consequences. A noble institution dishonored, is an
almost irreparable injury. Not so with a mean profession; that only forms a contrast of something better. But a mistaken judgement makes abused Christianity coalesce with the most mischievous institutions, and from that circumstance, draws inferences unfriendly to the whole, and confirmed infidelity is the consequence. O, ye professors of our holy religion, strive to cultivate peace and good will among men, that the cause of our Lord be not wounded and dishonored by your means.
3. The Universalist, on whom the beggar called, hesitated not a moment in opening his door, and bidding him welcome. O, ye of like profession, imitate his example.
Of all men, you are under the greatest obligation to be liberal and merciful. It is hoped that this recorded instance of Christian generosity, so honorable to our holy profession, will be duly noticed and imitated, by the readers of the Intelligencer, their example prove salutary with others, till Christianity universally prevail, and the reign of human wretchedness be exchanged for scenes of rational rejoicing and delight.
From the Christian Disciple. WAS JESUS CHRIST A LITERAL SAGRIFICE ? In reading the New Testament, especially the epistles, we meet with language like the following, in relation to the author and finisher of our faith.". “This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many, for the remission of sins."*_“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”-“For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us." "Who, his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree." "Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice
* Matth. xvi. 28. Luke xxii. 20. † John i. 29.
| 1 Cor. v.7. | 1 Pet. ii. 24.
to God."* “We are sanctified through the offering up of the body of Jesus Christ." "This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins.”_"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the Eternal spirit offered himself, without spot, to God, purge your consciences :''_"He appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself.” “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many :" with many
other passages, not, perhaps, more strong and prominent, but of the same general character.
The question very naturally arises in the mind of a serious reader of the scriptures, whether this language is to receive a literal, or a figurative construction. This is an important inquiry. If we say it is to be construed strictly or literally, the quence seems irresistibly to follow, that Jesus Christ was offered, or that he offered himself, as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of either a part or the whole of the human race : that by his blood the Creator was rendered propitious to his creatures ; or that Jesus was, in the words of the Westminster divines literally and properly, “a sacrifice to satisfy divine Justice and we must receive that as the doctrine of the scriptures, and convert it as we may to our spiritual nourishment; and to the correction and elevation of our views of the divine character and government. But if on the other hand, we are to give all this sacrificial language a metaphorical or figurative construction, the doctrine just stated will derive from it no support; and we shall be left free to understand it in a manner which shall accord with the known and ordinary principles of the moral government of God: with those views of his character which are given us in other parts of the scripture ; and with the ordinary acceptation of the same or similar language applied by the sacred writers to other persons and things.
* Eph. v. 2.
+ Heb. X. 10. 12. ix. 14, 26 28. † Vide Mark xiv. 24. 1 Cor. xi. 24. 2 Cor. v. 21. 1 John ü. 2. iv. 10.
Westminster Catechism, Q11. 25.
In relation to the exposition of the scriptures there is no question more important than this now before us, whether the sacrificial language used by the sacred writers in respect to Jesus Christ is to be construed strictly or metaphorically. We ought, then, to come to the question as those who are to give an account ;-who are to answer, at a future day, for our use or abuse of the treasures of heavenly wisdom which are entrusted to our charge :-for our use or abuse of those high faculties, to which the Divine Being has addressed the revelation of his character and purposes contained in the sacred volume; and as those who ought to be ready to answer for that easy credulity which believes too much, not less than for that cautious skepticism which at last believes too little.
We begin the inquiry, then, by remarking that, if the passages in the New Testament which speak of Jesus as a sacrifice to God, when strictly construed, shall be found to harmonize with each other, and with other plain passages of the scriptures, and with known facts, then they may be construed literally: altho, at the same time, if, when understood figuratively, they be equally harmonious with known facts, with other parts of scripture, and with the usages of language, they inay also be construed figuratively: and, in that case, it might still remain a question whether a figurative or a literal construction should prevail. But if these several passages, when construed literally, be found to contradict other passages of 'scripture, or certain known facts, or each other, then, the literal must be abandoned for a metaphorical construction.
How then, in the first place, does the effect produced upon the mind by understanding literally the several passages quoted from the New Testament, in the beginning of this article, and others like them, harmonize with language like the following? “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for
the sin of my soul ?"* "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; burnt offering and sin offering thou hasť not required.”+ "Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering." "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but, whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."S “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrightous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him, even to our God for he will abundantly pardon.”! These are but a few from a multitude of texts in the Old Testament either expressly declaring, or plainly implying, that our Heavenly Father, who is also our Judge, is ready to forgive the penitent merely in consideration, or on condition, of his repentance and reformation : and that a literal sacrifice, either of man or beast, considered as a religious act, or any thing more than a security, or a test, of allegiance to the Jewish theocracy, is not what God requires at the hand of his creatures. The same impression is deepened when we find this language quoted from the Old Testament into the New: "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not ;-in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast no pleasure :'( and when we hear Jesus himself approving and confirming the opinion of the scribe,** that to love God and our neighbor is more than all whole burnt offering and sacrifice.-From this latter class of texts, according to the only construction of which they appear to be capable, we infer irresistibly that pardon is ready and free to the penitent, and that it depends, in no case, upon the condition of any offering or sacrifice for sin : while, from the former class, if construed literally, the conviction seems equally irresistible that Jesus, our Lord, has become
* Mich. vi. 7. I Ps. li. 16.
leaiah lv. 7.
+ Ps. xl. 6.