« PreviousContinue »
1. That the SACRIFICE OF ANIMALS lying at the door.” Nor shall we find, was of divine institution.
on this hypothesis, the account given by II. That they were originally offered the apostle of this transaction in the and accepted as piacular and vicarious. least more intelligible. He informs us
III. That they had a direct reference that Abel's was the more ercellent sacrito the death of our Lord and Saviour fice, and that it derived its superiority Jesus Christ.-P. 102.
from the faith with which it was He maintains his first position
offered, &c.-Pp. 111-112.
4. This conclusion is capable of still by the following arguments,
further confirmation from the direction 1. I find that the FIRST and only given to Cain, when he had failed to thing mentioned in the religious services obtain the divine favour by his offering of the primitive family, and which was of the fruits of the ground. God received with the divine approbation, remonstrated with him on the unreasonWAS ANIMAL SACRIFICE. Cain presented abieness of his resentment because his an offering of the fruits of the ground; offering had not been accepted : “why,” Abel a sacrifice of the firstlings of his he was asked, “art thou wroth ? and Aock and of the fat. Cain's offering was why is thy countenance fallen? If thou rejected, and Abel's was accepted. doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ?
2. The probability that Abel offered his and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at sacrifice in conformity with a divine the door.” This latter part of the institution, is greatly increased by the address, it will be seen, points out the fact, that, at this period, a constant and nature of the sacrifice which Cain ought familiar intercourse was kept up between to have offered, and the only means God and his primitive family. This which were still left him, of finding is evident from the instruction given acceptance with God.-P. 115. them respecting their clothing; the 5. We are brought to the same conclumarked and visible difference between sion, with a force of evidence amountthe manner in which the offering of ing, I should almost say, to demonstraCain and Abel were received ; the tion, by the account given of the offerings remonstrance with Cain, on his unrea- of Cain and Abel, by the inspired author sonable resentment against Abel on of the Epistle to the Hebrews. “ By account of that difference, &c.
Faith," says the apostle, “ Abel offered 3. But I further add, that this account unto God a more excellent sacrifice than of the origin of ANIMAL SACRIFICE, Cain."--P. 119. answers all the circumstances connected
6. I add, finally, that the universal pracwith the instance of it which we are now tice of ANIMAL SACRIFICE in all ages, considering.
and in all parts of the world, before the On the supposition of ANIMAL SACRI Christian era, taken in connexion with FICE being a human invention, it the preceding account of Abel's sacrifice, appears difficult to reconcile the state attaches the highest degree of probability ment of facts, connected with the first to the opinion that it was of divine instance of its being offered, with such origin. an hypothesis. If God had given po I assume the fact, conceded on all direction or command upon the subject, hands, of the universal practice of the offering of Cain would have appeared offering victims in religious worship in far more likely, as we have seen, to all heathen countries. Such a custom obtain the divine approbation, than the must have arisen either from the combloody victim of Abel. There would mon principles of human nature ; or seem, also, to be something mysterious, from one common source. That it if not unintelligible, in the remonstrance is not a common dictate of our nawhich God made with Cain for the ture is, I think, too obvious to need unreasonableness of his anger upon the proof. We may admit that possibly occasion. If he had presented the some individuals might have thought the more rational offering, he had cause to offering of sensitive animals in sacrifice be displeased at the reception it had would be a likely way of propitiating the met with : and if he had no guide but favour of their gods, and that their the dictates of his own mind, to know example might induce others to adopt what offering would be acceptable, he the same practice ; and that, hence, had done well in presenting the fruits many nations might ultimately copy it. of the field rather than the firstlings of But this would, at most, be only a very the flock; and he must have been at a partial and limited practice. It is loss to know what was meant by “ sin impossible that it should have taken place in all nations, and become univer- Such is the doctrine of the Atonesal.-P. 120-121.
ment: and if other doctrines have in We regret that our limits will
them a portion of glory, “ this exceeds
in glory," and will continue to be held not allow us to extract the whole in admiration while the Lamb sits on of Mr. J's reasonings on this head, the throne, and one of the redeemed is which are every way deserving of left to say, “Worthy is the Lamb that serious perusal.
was slain to receive power and riches, The following is Mr. J's con
and wisdom and strength, and honour
and glory and blessing."--Pp. 287. clusion of his third Section : I have now brought to a conclusion
The following extract closes Mr. my argument from scripture, that the
Jerram's work. death of Jesus Christ was an Atone That to look for salvation in any ment and Vicarious Sacrifice for the other way than by the Atonement sins of mankind; and that remission of Jesus Christ, implies an expectation, of sins is never granted but in relation either that the established order and to it. And if any truth may be con nature of things may be changed; or sidered as standing on an immoveable that the penalty may be fully discharged basis, it is this. We have seen, not by the offender, and he survive the payonly that the usual objections alleged ment. It appears, I think, from what it are without foundation, but also that has been said, that the goodness, as well it is supported by the authority of every as justice of God, forbids his remitting dispensation of mercy from God to the penalty annexed to a breach of any man, from the first expulsion of our of his laws. To do so, would, in effect, primeval parents from Paradise, to the be to repeal that law; it would be to last discourse of our blessed Lord, after annihilate that, which his wisdom had he had made the great sacrifice, and before determined to be essential to the was risen again from the dead. The well-being of his creatures ;-a mutadoctrine is asserted or implied in a bility of conduct which cannot attach train of scripture texts which perhaps to Him, “ with whom there is no it would be vain to look for on any variableness nor shadow of turning." other: it is expressed in every variety We ought never, therefore, to forget, of language, plain and metaphorical, that the execution of a just penalty, or narrative and doctrinal. Not only has its equivalent, is as essential to the it a pre-eminent place in almost every character of the Deity, and as much a book in the Bible, but it was set forth part of his goodness, as the appointment in the symbols of every religion of the of just and righteous laws; they are world for four thousand years, was one and the same thing. Now, as all embodied in every rite and ceremony have become obnoxious to the penalty, of the law, introduced in every possible it follows, either that we must sustain form into the gospel, and was the chief it in our own person, or in our subsubject of a whole treatise in the New stitute, or that it may be evaded. If Testament. Animal sacrifice, which the last, whether by tears of penitence, had continued nearly from the creation or in any other way, then the established to the coming of the Messiah, ceased order of things may be set aside, the when this Atonement had been made; general system of the universe be deand from that time, this became the ranged, the interests of every intelligent grand theme of the gospel, and occu being in existence be disregarded, and pied as prominent a place in the new the immutability, wisdom, and gooddispensation as sacrifice had done in ness of God himself be arraigned ;the old ; and the effect of preaching and all this for the sake of a rebellious this doctrine has been the conversion subject, who had presumed to lift up of millions of the human race, and the his arm against the everlasting God, complete transformation of their prin and renounce allegiance to the universal ciples and conduct. Nor has it yet lost King! But if the penalty be paid in its power : it is still the great instru- our own person, then justice takes its ment used for evangelizing the world; course on the individual transgressor. and still the powers of darkness yield Whether the sinner will survive that to its force; nor will it lose its virtue punishment, and, having“ payed the till “ the kingdoms of this world be utmost farthing," come out from his come the kingdom of our Lord and his prison-house, is not now the question. Christ."
This is matter of pure revelation, and
an enquiry of greater importance cannot ground of forgiveness, is totally out of engage the thoughts of him, who ven- the question,-unless it can be shown tures his soul on the issue. If he make that repentance does away the evil a wrong conclusion, the consequence of transgression, which no one has ever will be unspeakably dreadful and yet pretended. It appears, however, irremediable. There remains, then, that a commuted equivalent penalty is but one way for the sinner to escape not inconsistent with the principles of punishment; and this is, by a transfer moral government, nor injurious to the of the penalty from him to a substitute, collective interests of the system. In provided one could be found willing considering the death of Christ as “a and sufficient to bear it. That such a sacrifice for sin," we look upon it transfer is not incompatible with public as such a commuted penalty.--fully justice has, I think, been proved; answerable to all the indispensable whether a proper substitute could be claims of public justice. We do not, found is another question,-a question however, pretend to ascertain the exact which probably could never have been demerit of sin, nor the precise value solved by any à priori reasoning. And of the atonement. It is sufficient for we may well be thankful that, in an us to know that he, who understands affair of such magnitude, we are not the evil of the one, has appointed the left to the deductions of reason. Reve other as its complete remedy; and lation, as we have seen, comes in to our hence we hesitate not to call the death aid, and directs us to “ one mighty to of Christ, “a full, perfect, and sufsave;"—and who is represented as the ficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaconly one equal to the task of redeeming tion for the sins of the whole world.” sinners to God; for “ there is no other The doctrine, then, of the vicarious name under heaven given among men sacrifice of Jesus Christ being the only whereby we must be saved," but that condition and consideration, on account of Jesus Christ. “ To trample," there. of which God ever pardons sin, is as fore, “ under foot the Son of God, and consistent with the constitution and account his blood " common, must be course of nature, as displayed in God's to cut off all hope of salvation, and to moral government of the world, as it is incur the risk of not surviving the pay- with every part of his revealed word. ment of the penalty of sin. One, and Revelation and moral government have only one way is pointed out in the both the same author; and, as they scriptures :-we cannot avail ourselves must, so we have seen, they do, speak of it, and reject it at the same time; the same language. In one, the lanand, therefore, if we deny the virtue guage is clear, decisive, and copious ; of Christ's sacrifice to exempt the sin- in the other, it is more obscure, and ner from punishment, we make our conveyed in intimations and analogies; selves responsible for all our transgres- but still, as far as the latter can be sions, and must inevitably bear our understood, it is consentaneous with curse. Under these circumstances, we the former; and presents nothing which should do well to ponder the question, can fairly be placed in collision with it. which God himself has asked : “ Can God and nature both declare that rethine heart endure, or can thy hands be pentance cannot constitute a sinner strong, in the day that I shall deal with righteous; and, wbile the latter bears thee?"
testimony that it is possible, nay, that it Upon the whole, then, it appears that is not improbable, that a compassionate the moral government of God, and the Father may make an effectual interpowelfare of the whole human species, are sition to rescue man from ruin ;-the involved in the due execution of the former assures us that he hus " set forth penalty denounced against sin : and his Son to be a propitiation for our that, to pardon transgression at the sins," in order that whosoever beexpense of the threatening, would be an lieveth in him should not perish, but evil of incalculable magnitude. The have everlasting life ;” and we, therepenalty is of equal importance with the fore, fully believe that, in Christ Jesus, law it enforces : remit the one, and you “ we have redemption through his give up the other. Forgive sin upon blood, the forgiveness of sins, according milder conditions than are necessary to to the riches” of God's grace and support the authority of the law, and mercy to a ruined world. you commit a proportionate injury on I have now brought to a conclusion every being comprehended within God's my argument on the Doctrine of the moral government. Repentance, as the Atonement; and have, I trust, satisfactorily shown that, when divested of notion that sacrifices were intended as extraneous matter, and placed on its a species of symbolical language, will scriptural ground, as being a necessary be drawn from their very Nature and consideration or condition in the re- Form, from their Origin, and from the mission of sin, it is not liable to the Sentiments of those who practised them. objections usually alleged against it: 1. The nature, form, and circumbut, on the contrary, that it rests on the stances of a sacrifice carried an obvious immoveable basis of the inspired import upon their very first aspect. The volume ; and is, in no respect, at selection, presentation, and immolating variance with the constituted order and of the unoffending animal, the regard fitness of things. It is the grand sub- paid to its blood, its consumption by ject of Revelation. It is the only fire, the solemn ceremonies which acFoundation of Hope. It is the ever- companied, and the particular confeslasting Song of the Redeemed in sions and supplications of the worHeaven.--Pp. 325—330.
shipper,--must have powerfully im
pressed the ideas of sin and guilt, the Dr. Smith's Discourses appear desert of punishment, the substitution to have been preached as Sermons; of the innocent, and the pardon of the they are however rather controver- transgressor. When men were accus. sial Essays, and are very deficient tomed to symbolical actions, such a in that heart-stirring application. significancy would be more readily which is the grand ornament of
apprehended and more solemnly felt,
than under our circumstances and habits. the pulpit: at the same time as
The refinements of advanced society, addressed to an assembly, consist- and the general use of letters, have ing principally of Ministers, a criti. made us far less sensible to the language cal disquisition is certainly defens- of living signs than the ruder children ible. Dr. Smith's Work consists of nature have always been. How of Four Discourses—1, on the
much more must the impression on the
heart have been increased, when the Sacrifice of Christ; 2, on the Priest
first sacrifice was offered: when the hood of Christ; 3, on the Atone.
parents of our race, recent from their ment made by Christ; and 4, on guilty fall, were abased by the divine the Redemption effected by Christ. rebuke, driven from their blissful seat,
Having given Mr. Jerram's and filled with dismay at the threatening general statement of the Doctrine
atement of the Doctrine of DEATH! A threatening piercing of the Atonement, it may not be
through their souls, but of the nature
and effects of which they could form improper to select some portions
none but vague ideas. But when, diof Dr. Smith's statement of the
rected by stern authority, to apply some Nature and Design of the Sacrifice instrument of death to the lamb which, of Christ.
with endearing innocence, had sported I. It will be necessary to premise around them, an act of whose effects some remarks on the general nature they as yet knew nothing,--they heard of the ancient sacrifices, and the mat- its unexpected cries, they beheld the ters of fact or the positions in doctrine appalling sight of streaming blood, and which were connected with them. struggling agonies, and life's last throes,
A SACRIFICE, properly so called, is --they gazed upon the breathless body, the solemn infliction of death on a -and they were told, THIS IS DEATH: living creature, generally by effusion how stricken must they have been with of its blood, in a way of religious wor- horror such as no description could ever ship; and the presenting of this act to paint! When, further, they had to go the Deity, as a supplication for the through all the other process of the pardon of sin, and a supposed mean sacrifice, their hands reluctant, and their of compensation for the insult and hearts broken, and all their soul crushed injury thereby offered to his majesty down by the sad consciousness that and government.-Pp. 3, 4.
these borrid things were the fruit of their He then states the rite of sacri.
sin, and yet contained the hope of
their deliverance ;--who can imagine ficing to have been
the extremity of their feelings ? a symbolical action, adapted and intended 2. The origin of sacrifices we have to convey important instruction. good reason to regard as from Heaven, • I. Our arguments in favour of the and not of men. In the institutes of the Levitical law, the express divine Let us in imagination view the striksanction is indisputable: and if we go ing scenery of a patriarchal or a Levitical back to the remotest times, we shall sacrifice. A victim is selected, the best find indications of the same authority. of the flock or the herd, without blemish The approbation of God is solemnly or defect. It is brought before the recorded to the sacrifices of Job and altar of the Lord; its owner lays his Abraham, Noah and Abel. But, in hand upon its head; its life's blood flows religious institutions, the Most High has upon the ground; it is divided and ever been jealous of his prerogative. burned with fire ;-while the conscious He alone is competent to prescribe the sinner sees his own desert, and prays,terms on which he will hold communion Now, O Lord, I have sinned, I have with sinful beings; and he regards as committed iniquity, I have rebelled : vain and presumptuous, every pretence thus and thus have I done. But I return of honouring him which he hath not in repentance to thy presence; and be warranted. The sacrifice of blood and this my expiation!' death, if an idea so revolting could have Could it have been difficult to per.. sprung up in a sinner's mind, could
ceive the solemn meaning of this signinot have been offered to God without ficant action? Or was it possible for a impiety, nor would he have accepted it, serious and thinking mind to avoid had not his own authority previously recognizing and deeply feeling principointed the way by an explicit pre- ples such as these ?-That sin is an scription.
offence against the blessed God, most The goodness which pitied our first
heinous in its evil nature, aggravated in parents, in their fallen and degraded
its inseparable though varying circumcondition, furnished them with clothing stances, and absolutely insufferable from the skins of animals. It cannot, before his holy presence :- that the by any reasonable presumption, be essential righteousness of Jehovah rensupposed that those animals had been ders it necessary and inevitable that sin killed for food. The strong probability, should be punished :—that death, in all therefore, is that the gracious Being who its tremendous meaning and extent, is promised the Messiah as the woman's the proper punishment of sin :that seed, confirmed the promise, and illus the sinner is totally unable, by any trated the doctrine of forgiveness through powers or resources of his own, to him, by the institution of sacrifices.
escape the punishment due to his 3. The sentiments of those who offence :-yet that God is full of mercy, practised sacrificial rites are in favour
and graciously willing to pardon the of our position.
guilty offender :--that the way of parThe ancient heathens universally attri don is through the substitution and buted to sacrifices both significancy and sufferings of a piacular victim :--and efficacy. The oldest representations that, on the part of the suitor for pardonof their sentiments and manners bearing mercy, there must be such a prothis testimony Of the classical pro prietorship in the victim as to create a ductions of the western nations, the beneficiary interest; and such a moral works of Homer are the most ancient : disposition as cordially acquiesces in and who, that has read his two exqui. the punitive acts of divine justice. site poems, can be ignorant that by
In treating of the Priesthood sacrifices, performed or promised, the gods were to be appeased, and the par.
of Christ, after an extended series don of offences procured? The primi- of critical observations, he thus tive idea of atonement, buried as it proceeds,was under idolatrous corruptions, dis. In all these aspects does the writer graced by superstitions, and polluted of the Epistle to the Hebrews present with atrocities, was not totally lost. the reasons, relations, and effects of the Having thus established
office which Christ sustains as the High that the intention and use of the ancient Priest of his church. To what an exsacrifices was to be a SIGNIFICANT tent has this survey carried us! Yet it REPRESENTATION of spiritual and im- is but a mere sketch, and, in respect portant truth, and that in this view they of most of the particulars, it has been were understood by those who practised concise and abrupt. We have found
our Lord and Redeemer described as II. We have next to inquire, what the PRIEST, the Great Priest, the High truths were displayed in this symbolical Priest, – Sole,- Supreme ; - divinely
appointed in a manner consonant with