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P. 310.-(1) Peter says (Acts iii. 17,) “I wot, that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers ;” and Paul, (1 Cor. ii.) “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
P. 311.—(2) Emlyn would change the order of the construction thus: “Both Herod and Pontius Pilate were ga. thered together against thy holy child, Jesus, whom thou hast anointed to do what thy hand and counsel determined to be done.” · P. 312.—(3) The word translated atonement, is not so rendered in any other passage, and never occurs in the Septuagint, in speaking of the atonements under the law, nor elsewhere. The word used is ayaqw, to purify or sanctify; and shackouds, which, in the sense of rendering propitious, occurs only three times.-Inasngiov, rendered propitiation, in our Bible, is uniformly employed by the Septuagint, to express the mercy-seat.
TO ATONE, (for at one,) to agree, or be at one. .. . “He and Aufidius can no more atone
Than violentest contrariety.”—Shaks. Coriol. “If any contention arose, he knew none fitter to be judge, to atone, and take (make) up their quarrel, than himself.”— Drummond.
“He seeks to make atonement
Johnson's Dictionary. To these may be added: 'a most Christian and pious work, to endeavour an atonement,' i. e. a conformity or reconciliation, between the Protestant and Catholic Churches.—Heylin.
“Since we cannot atone you, you shall see justice decide.”Richard II.
“To atone your fears with my more noble meaning.”Ti
“I was glad, I did atone my countryman and you.”—Cymbeline.
“I would do much to atone them.”--Othello. “To make atonements and compromises.”-Merry Wives.
P. 316.-- (4) “Who, for the joy (csvili rñs yapãs) that was set before him.”—Heb. xii. 2.
P. 318.(6) “A strict vicarioas substitution, or literal equi. valent, is not contended for: no such notion belonging to the doctrine of atonement.”—Magee, 1. 355.
This is not the only instance, in which the reader will observe a contrariety between vulgar declaimers and leamed men of their own persuasion. Perhaps the learned are growing ashamed of the obvious consequences of some of their tenets, while preachers continue to enlarge on them, for stage effect.See Wardlow, and Magee, quoted under Sermon XIII.
P. 323.—(6) Though the passover, as instituted by Moses, and afterwards annually solemnized, partook of none of the characters of a sacrifice, yet the celebration of this great festival, which lasted for several days, was afterwards accompanied by many sacrifices and offerings in the temple; but these were burned offerings, and offerings of flour and oil; and sacrifices of bullocks, goats, rams, &c. It is plain, that these made no part of the passover, which consisted in eating a lamb at home, as appointed in Exodus xii., Deuteronomy xvi. It was killed by the master of the family, and no part was allotted to the priest. · P. 324.—17) “ It was first imagined, that God redeemed us from the devil, by abandoning to him the life of his son. The change in the system of atonement did not take place till after the reformation, when Luther, in order to combat with more advantage the Popish doctrine of human merit, advanced the merit of Christ in opposition to it.”-Priestley.
ROMANS V.-11. “We also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom we have now received the atonement.”
AGREEABLY to my promise, I now resume the consideration of this text. Having explained the ambiguous terms and metaphorical expressions, which have occasioned the principal em. barrassment on this subject, I shall proceed to inquire into the purport of the doctrine itself. I intend, first, to state what it does not import; and secondly, what it does.
In the first place, we may be assured, that no true doctrine can impeach the divine moral character; and that no principle, which casts an imputation on the divine character, can be true; for there is nothing, of which we can be more certain, than the purity, equity and benignity of our heavenly Father. This conviction results
from the exercise of all those rational powers, and moral principles, with which he has endowed our nature; from the authentic declarations of his prophets, and from the fact of our redemption by his Son; which we all acknowledge to be a dispensation of free grace. This conviction of the moral character of God we should ever hold fast; nor ever suffer it to be shaken by any speculations. It is the fountain of all our hopes, and the ground of our own moral character. Without this, there would be no faith, hope, nor charity; no purity, truth, nor brotherly love. Without this, we could not love God. This conviction we should especially keep in mind, while treating of what is called the atonement; for it has been the source of the grossest calumnies against the Most High.
If, therefore, the common doctrine of the atonement or propitiation, imply, that God is not naturally propitious placable and merciful, it contradicts every principle of natural and revealed religion. He requires nothing to make him merciful to us, but to be merciful ourselves; nothing to make him placable, but that we be meek, lowly, and forgiving; nothing to make him propitious to us, but that we be kind and tenderhearted to one another. With respect to himself, he requires only, that we walk humbly before him. Any construction, therefore, of this doctrine, which represents God as implacable, should
be rejected without further inquiry; without exposing your religious feelings to be degraded by sophistical arguments, and fanatical harangues.
The more learned and enlightened divines of different churches, disclaim the imputation of implacability to the Almighty. The most distinguished writer on this subject,* asserts, that " the sacrifice of Christ was never deemed, by any, who did not wish to calumniate the doctrine of the atonement, to have made God placable; but merely viewed as the means, through which to bestow forgiveness, chosen by divine wisdom;" and that the notion of infinite satisfaction, is a calumny on his church.
Yet many, who profess to be zealous members of that church, represent the Deity as an inexorable judge, who, rather than not have satisfaction, will inflict the penalty on the innocent instead of the guilty; and as a harsh and merciless creditor, exacting payment to the uttermost farthing from the surety, when he cannot, or does choose, to have it from his debtor. This, you will see, is not only contrary to reason, but even to every idea of justice, which it pretends to vindicate; and most of all, to every representation of God in Scripture; especially in the parables of Christ himself; and you must all be so well persuaded, that it is also contrary to the whole current of
* Dr. Magee, Archbishop of Dublin.