Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

acquiesce, not doubting but that, though not pere haps at present, we shall in time be able, without any effort or straining, to explain all particular expressions in the apostolical epistles, &c." (Hist. of Cor. vol. i. p. 279.)-Here is a plain confession on the part of Dr. Priestley, that those enlightened theories, in which he and his followers exult so highly, are wrought out of Scripture only by effort and straining : and that all the powers of this polemic Procrustes, have been exerted to adjust the apostolic stature to certain pre-ordained dimensions, and in some cases exerted in vain.

The reader is requested to compare what has been here said, with what has been already noticed in Numbers I and XIV, on the treatment given to the authority of Scripture by Dr. Priestley and his Unitarian fellow-labourers.

NO. XXXII.-ARGUMENTS TO PROVE THE SACRI

FICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

BY H. TAYLOR AND

DR.

FIGURATIVE, URGED
PRIESTLEY.

Page 30. (b)– The several arguments enume. rated in the page here referred to, are urged at large, and with the utmost force of which they are capable, in the 7th Letter of Ben Mordecai's Apology, by H. Taylor.—Dr. Priestley has also endeavoured to establish the same point, and by arguments not much dissimilar. Theol. Rep. volo. i. p. 121-136.

NO. XXXIII.-ON THE SENSE ENTERTAINED GENE

RALLY BY ALL, AND MORE ESPECIALLY INSTANGED AMONGST THE JEWS, OF THE NECESSITY OF PROPITIATORY EXPIATION.

Page 31. (1)– The last of the three arguments here referred to, is urged by H. Taylor (Ben. Mord. pp. 784, 785. 797) as applied particularly to the notion of vicarious sacrifice: but it is elear from the whole course of his reasoning, that he means it to apply to all sacrifice, of a nature properly expiatory; that is, in which by the suffering and death of the victim, the displeasure of God was averted from the person for whom it was offered, and the punishment due to his offence remitted, whether the suffering of the victim was supposed to be strictly of a vicarious nature or

not.

Such a notion of sacrifice applied to the death of Christ, this writer ascribes to the engrafting of Heathenish notions on Jewish customs ; whereby the language of the Jews came to be interpreted, by the customs and ceremonies of the Heathen philosophers, who had been converted to Christianity. Whether this notion be well founded, will

S

VOL. I.

appear from the examination of the origin of sacrifice, in the second of these Discourses, and from some of the Explanatory Dissertations connected with it. But it is curious to remark, how Dr. Priestley and this author, whilst they agree in the result, differ in their means of arriving at it. This author traces the notion of sacrifice strictly expiatory, to heathen interpretation. Dr. Priestley on the contrary asserts, that the Heathens had no idea whatever of such sacrifice. He employs almost one entire

in the Theological Repository (vol. i. p. 400, &c.) in the proof, that in no nation, ancient or modern, has such an idea ever existed: and, as we have already seen in Number V, pronounces it to be the unquestionable result of an historical examination of this subject, that all, whether Jews or Heathens, antient or modern, learned or unlearned, have been “equally strangers to the notion of expiatory sacrifice; equally destitute of any thing like a doctrine of proper atonement.To pass over, at present, this gross contradiction to all the records of antiquity, how shall we reconcile this gentleman to the other? or, which is of greater importance, how shall we reconcile him to himself: For whilst in this place he maintains, that neither antient nor modern Jews ever conceived an idea of expiatory sacrifice, he contends in another, (ibid. p. 426) that this notion has arisen from the circumstance, of the simple religion of Christ having been “ entrusted to such vessels, as were the Apostles :" for, adds he, “ the Apostles were Jews, and had to do with Jews, and consequently represented Christianity in a Jewish dress,”-and this more particularly, “ in the business of sacrifices."-Now, if the Jews had no notion whatever of expiatory sacrifice, it remains to be accounted for, how the cloathing the Christian doctrine of redemption in a Jewish dress, could have led to this notion. It is true, he adds, that over the Jewish disguise, which' had been thrown on this doctrine by the Apostles, another was drawn by Christians. But if the Jewish dress bore no relation to a doctrine of atonement, then the Christian disguise is the only one. And thus the Christians have deliberately, without any foundation laid for them, either by Heathens or Jews, superinduced the notion of an expiatory sacrifice, on the simple doctrines of the Gospel : converting figurative language, into a literal exposition of what was known never to have had a real existence!!!

essay

To leave however this region of contradictions, it

may not be unimportant to enquire into the facts, which have been here alleged by Dr. Priestley. And it must be allowed, that he has crouded into this one Essay, as many assertions at variance with received opinion, as can easily be found, comprized in the same compass, on any subject whatever. He has asserted, that no trace of any scheme of atonement, or of any requisite for forgiveness save repentance and reformation, is to be discovered either in the book of Job; or in the Scriptures of the antient, or any writings of the modern Jews; or amongst the Heathen world, either ancient or modern.-These assertions, as they relate to Job, and the religion of the Heathens, have been already examined ; the former in Number XXIII, the latter in Number V. An enquiry into his position, as it affects the Jews, with some farther particulars concerning the practices of the Heathen, will fully satisfy us, as to the degree of reliance to be placed on this writer's historical exactness.

With respect to the sentiments of the antient Jews, or in other words, the sense of the Old Testàinent upon the subject, that being the main question discussed in these Discourses, especially the second, no enquiry is in this place necessary : it will suffice at present to examine the writings of the Jews of later times, and we shall find that these give the most direct contradiction to his assertions. He has quoted Maimonides, Nachmanides, A barbanel, Buxtorf and Isaac Netto, and concludes with confidence, that among the modern Jews no notion has ever existed, “ of any kind of mediation being necessary, to reconcile the claims of justice with those of mercy:" or, as he elsewhere expresses it, of “any satisfaction beside re

« PoprzedniaDalej »