« PreviousContinue »
pect of restraint, and exclaim, IS A LIE IN ANY CASE JUSTIFI- shall we suffer ourselves, or our ABLE?
friends, to risque our lives, our NOTHING ought more to ex- property, our health, in order cite our surprise, than that there barely to keep our word ? This are found among those, who style mode of proving their point has themselves Christians, men, who two very serious defects. In the can decide the question," wheth- first place, it needs proof, that er a lie is in any case justifia- this expediency is a proper law, ble,” in the affirmative ; or can by which to try the question : even doubt concerning that de- and in the next place, it needs cision, the basis of all moral ex- proof, to establish the fact of excellence. The question is, may pediency in given instances. not lying, in certain cases, be pre- Against us, who maintain that ferable to speaking the truth ? a lie'is never justifiable, it is of. This to be sure is a strange ten alleged, that scripture has question, but it is the real one authorised lying in some cases, to be determined ; for I shall because it has recorded, without not suppose that even those in censure, examples of good men, the affirmative would consent to who have violated the truth. utter a falsehood, if the truth Admitting that no censure, eithwould equally answer their pur- er direct or implied, (which perpose.
haps it will be difficult to show) The word of God is the stan- has been passed; this of itself dard to which a Christian will prove nothing. Noah's ought, in all questions, to appeal. drunkenness is recorded withThose, however, who maintain out comment; but what tippler that a man may in certain cases ever justified himself from Noviolate the truth, decide the ah's example ? Paul and Barnaquestion by the law of expedi- bas quarrelled ; but who ever ency. They tell you that in considered their example, as Ngeneral a man ought to speak censing others to do the same. nothing but the truth, because to Some have declared that Rahab do otherwise would destroy all was justified in her lying to the confidence, and hazard the very spies. Paul declares that she being of society. At the same was justified by her faith. The time they put an extreme case, conduct of men becomes an exthe exigence of which demands ample to us then only, when they the speaking of falsehood rather act in obedience to a just law; than truth. By exigence here and the examples in scripture is meant, that the truth would are for us to follow so far, as they be productive of mischief, and comport with the divine law, and falsehood of great good. To no farther. If the scriptures this good, however, the scrip- forbid lying, then no examples tures would give another name to the contrary are authoritative. If you expostulate with them on Let us then hear the word of the manifest wrong of violating God on this subject a scriptural precept in order to “ The mouth of them that suit some particular emergency, speak lies shall be stopped. they grow impatient at the pros. He, that telleth lies, shall not
tarry in my sight. These six bound to give us a rule, and things doth the Lord hate ; yea, from scripture too, which shall seven are an abomination unto enable us to know on what occahim; a proud look, a lying sions we may lawfully break our tongue, &c. A false witness shall word. This has never been not be unpunished ; and he, , done, but every man is permitthat speaketh lies, shall not es- ted, according to them, to lie cape. Remove far from me whenever he thinks that he can vanity and lies. Lord, who shall justify himself in so doing. But abide in thy tabernacle ; who has God thus directed us conshall dwell in thy holy hill? He, cerning our moral conduct ? Has that walketh uprightly, and he left it to men, in this great worketh righteousness, and affair, to be their own lawgivers speaketh the truth in his heart, and judges ? Let us beware, Deliver my soul, O Lord, from that we do not deceive ourselves lying lips, and from a deceitful as well as others. tongue. Lying lips are an It is altogether foreign to the abomination to the Lord. purpose to say, that by speakWherefore, putting away lying, ing truth we may sometimes speak every man truth with his hazard our best interests, and neighbour. For without are even our lives. The same might dogs, and sorcerers, and whore- be said of our adhering to the remongers, and murderers, and ligion of Jesus. If we may desert idolaters, and whosoever loveth our duty because of temptation, and maketh a lie. All liars shall right and wrong are then interhave their part in the lake, changeable, as circumstances which burneth with fire and may happen. The truth is, brimstone ; which is the second when a man has once settled it death.”
in his mind, that he may violate These passages exbibit to us the truth in extreme cases ; the character of lying, and the such cases, to him, will occur sentence pronounced upon those, very often, and he will soon conwho are guilty of it. The scrip- clude it expedient to break his tures no where contain an ex- word, whenever it meets his inception to what is here deliver- clination. Our best interests, ed. Every thing contained in moreover, are not to be found in them, respecting this point, is this state of existence; nor are decisive; referring to all per- they to be sought in neglecting sons, cases, and times. Such is our duty, and in the commission the immense importance of of sin. We best pursue our intruth, that the whole moral terest, when we most faithfully world depends upon it ; and such keep the commandments of God. is the amazing obliquity of ly. To obey him is always truly ing, that Satan himself is de expedient. clared in the word of God to be Let those parents, who are in the father of it ; and we know too the habit of making promises to well its fatal effects on our first their children, with no intention parents and their posterity of fulfilling them, and which
Those who maintain that ly- perhaps they cannot fulfil, reflect ing is sometimes allowable are on what they do, and the conse
quence of such examples. No- ence of his life : that his death, thing can justify such conduct or the shedding of his blood , had in those, who are under the nothing peculiarly meritorious in strongest obligations to be scru- it, except that it was obedience in pulously exact, and solicitously the most trying circumstances. watchful in all their behaviour, This seems to fall far short of from which their offspring may the scripture representation of take a bias toward that, which is the atonement. The vicarious good or evil. The practice of sacrifices under the Mosaic disdeceiving children with regard pensation evidently pointed to to food, medicine, and other something more ; and they were things, to which they are oppos- only “the shadow of good ed, is op this ground, highly cen- things to come, of which Christ surable. Not only does the pa- was the substance. He offered rent destroy his own veracity in himself up once for all, for the the eyes of the child, but teaches sins of the world. And “ withthe child to undervalue truth, out shedding of blood, is no re. and prepares him to act accord- mission.”+ However highly we ingly.
may speak of Christ, as an exWhatever attempts may be ample to believers, if we exclude made to justify or palliate a lie, thé merit of his blood, as the that Being, who requires truth the ground of pardon and justiin the inner parts, cannot be fication, every pious soul might deceived as to its turpitude ; nor complain with Mary," they have will he fail to retribute according taken away my Lord, and I know to his own laws, and his own de- not where they have laid him." clarations.
C. D. Christ made a proper expiation
for sin : therefore it is said, in view of the sinner, “ Deliver him
from going down to the pit, I ATONEMENT,
have found a ransom,” (in the
Heb.) atonement. As atonement for sin is a dis. But as some make too little of tinguishing trait in the Christian the atonement ; so there are religion, it is important rightly others who make too much of to understand the nature of it. it. Not too much, as to its gloIt is the foundation of the believ- rious effects. That is impossier's hope, and peace, and joy. ble. But they include things in * We joy in God, through our it, which are repugnant both to Lord Jesus Christ, by whom reason and scripture. They we have now received the consider that in Christ's dying atonement.*
for the world, there is a transfer Some have considered the of the sins of men to the person Saviour, especially those who and character of Christ, and a deny the divinity of his nature, transfer of his righteousness to merely as an example of holiness, them. But sin and holiness are opening the way to pardon and personal, and therefore not transjustification only by the obedi. ferable qualities. Such a pro* Rom. v. 11.
| Heb. ix. 22. Job xxxiii. 24.
cess is impossible in the nature might be made the righteousness of things. One person may suf- of God in him."* But here the fer for another, but he can never word sin is used for a sin-offering ; be a sinner for another. It is as it is said in another place, sometimes replied, however, in “ Christ hath redeemed us from view of such a subject, that the curse of the law, being made 6 with God all things are possi. a curse for us ;" where his be. ble.” This is true of all things ing made a curse is explained to that do not imply a contradiction mean his ignominious death, in their own nature. The idea “ Cursed is every one that hangof transferring sin is not more eth on a tree.”+ repugnant to reason than it is to in the Levitical law, the priest scripture. Christ is said to die, is commanded to bring a young the is just for the unjust.” But bullock, without blemish, unto if there had been a mutual trans- the Lord, for a sin-offering," fer of moral character, he could (Heb. for a sin:) Now, as this be no longer just, nor they un bullock without blemish was ą just ; Christ is said also to be type of Christ, the great sacri“ exalted to give repentance and fice, it was very natural for Paul, forgiveness of sins." If there while treating of the antitype, to is a transfer of our sins to Christ, make use of a similar term, by we can be subjects neither of re- which we ought to understand, pentance nor forgiveness. We as in the former case, a sin-offercould lay claim to an exemption ing. With this explanation, it from punishment from the purin perfectly accords with what the ty of our characters.
same apostle says to the HeIt is important to expose the brews, “ Christ was once offered fallacy of this principle, as some to bear the sins of many."S And have inferred from it thé erro- to the Romans,“ Who was deneous doctrine of universal sal- livered for our offences." vation. And if the premises are If, then, the atonement is true, viz. (that the sins of man- something more than the mere kind are transferred to Christ, sinless example of Christ, or his and his righteousness transferred perfect obedience to the divine to them) I see not why the con- law, and something less than a sequence will not follow : for it mutual transfer of character beis said, he tasted death for eve- tween Christ and a sinful world, ry man." If the sins of man- we shall not be likely to mistake kind are transferred to the Me- its nature. Christ, in opening diator, they are no longer their the way to pardon and justificaown. They are exempted from tion, was substituted in the room desert of punishment in the most of sinners. He voluntarily took literal and unqualified sense, and their place. He assumed their justice has no farther claim upon condition, but not their character. them. But this is not the scrip. He partook of the cup of afflictural idea of the atonement by Christ. It is true, it is said,
* 2 Cor. v. 25. + Gal. ii. 13. “ He hath made bim to be sin | Lev. iv. 3. Heb. ix. 28. for us, who knew no sin, that we Rom. iy. 25. Vol. III. No. 11. PPP
tion, but not of iniquity. He shepherd, and against the man experienced the displays of that is MY FELLOW, saith the wrath due to sin, but at the same Lord of Hosts." time was “ holy, harmless, un- God in this way having testidefiled, separate from sin- fied his utter abhorrence against ners."'* This idea of the atone- sin, and Christ having volontariment makes the scriptures plain. ty, in his own person, on our ac“ Surely he hath borne our count, experienced the wages of griefs, and carried our sorrows; it, which is death, the way is yet we did esteem him stricken, open, without any reflection upsmitten of God, and afflicted. on the divine justice, or any But he was wounded for our ground of suspicion of the ditransgressions, he was bruised vine character, as conniving at for our iniquities; the chastise- sin, or looking upon it with less ment of our peace was upon detestation than his tremendous him, and with his stripes we threatenings had indicated, for are healed. He made his grave pardon and justification to be with the wicked, and with the proclaimed to all who would rich in his death, because he had thenceforward forsake sin and done no violence, neither was accept of the Saviour; who any deceit in his mouth. Yet it would believe in his divine mispleased the Lord to bruise him, sion and character, imbibe his he hath put him to grief ; when heavenly temper, copy his exthou shalt make his soul an of- ample, and “ adorn his doctrine fering for sin, he shall see his in all things.” Hence, it is seed, he shall prolong his days, said, “ Christ is the end of the and the pleasure of the Lord law for righteousness to every shall prosper in his hand.”+ one that believeth.” God can
Consider Christ as a vicarious “ be just, and the justifier of sacrifice, or substituted in the him which believeth in Jesus." room of sinners, and all the evils The Son of man is “ lifted up, that came upon him are a mani- that whosoever believeth in him festation of the wrath of God should not perish, but have eteragainst sin. And this wrath is nal life.” “Look unto me, and manifested in a more striking be ye saved, all the ends of the manner, than it could be by earth."
OMICROS. scourging all mankind out of existence. The' divine wrath against sin appeared in the uni
QUESTIONS RELATIVE TO versal deluge, in the conflagra
CHURCH GOVERNMENT, PROtion upon the plains of Sodom,
POSED AND ANSWERED. and in the frequent plagues in the camp of the murmuring
QUESTION I. Israelites; but it never shone in
Ir a council called by a church a light so awful and convincing,
for the purpose of ordaining a as in the death of Christ, when
man to be her pastor, find him the prophecy was fulfilled,
to be, in their opinion, heretical, " Awake, O sword, against my
and therefore refuse to ordain
him, do they, by such refusal, * Heb. vii. 26. + Isai. liii. 4, 5, 9, 10.