« PoprzedniaDalej »
dental events. But whilst in these cases, in which moral character could have no concern, the purifying rite of atonement was enjoined, to render both things and persons worthy and approved instruments of the divine worship; so in those where moral character was concerned, the atonement made by the sacrifice for sin, qualified the transgressor for the divine service, by removing what had been offensive from the sight of him, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ; the repentance of the offender aided by the pious observance of the enjoined rite, averting the divine displeasure, and effecting a reconciliation with his offended sovereign : whilst those who were guilty
presumptuous and deliberate defiance of the divine authority, were cut off from all connexion with their God, and no atonement whatever allowed for their transgressions. Episcopius seems to state the case very satisfactorily“ Sacrificia pro peccato, ea erant, quæ offerebantur ad impuritates expiandas, sive eæ essent morales, sive physicæ aut potius ceremoniales. Morales impuritates voco, istas quæ animorum sunt: id est, quæ culpam aliquam ex animæ sive ignorantia, sive errore, sive imbecillitate ortam in se habent: impuritates enim, quæ per superbiam, &c. contrahebantur, sacrificiis expiari non poterant. Physicas sive ceremoniales impuritates voco, fæditates, sive maculas illas corporis, quæ nulla culpa hominis contrahi possunt; quales sunt quæ
ex leprosi, mortui contractu," &c. Inst. Theol. Lib. III. Sect. II. cap. iii. vol. i.
This view of the matter, seems to give to the whole of the Levitical atonement, a consistent and satisfactory meaning. The atonement, in all cases, producing the effect of fitting for the divine service :-this, in such as involved no consideration of moral character, (as in the consecration of inanimate things, or the atonement for persons labouring under corporeal impurities,) could consist only in the removal of the external impurity, for in such cases this impediment alone existed : whilst in those, in which moral character was concerned, as in cases of sin, whereby man having incurred the displeasure of his God, had disqualified himself for the offices of his worship, the unfitness could have been removed only by such means, as at the same time removed that displeasure, and restored the offender to the divine favour :-or in other words, the atonement was in such cases an act of propitiation. And to such cases it is, that it may be applied in the strict sense of the word reconciliation ; so that the doctrine of atonement, as far as relates to sin, is nothing more than the doctrine of reconciliation.
As to the manner, in which the sacrifice for sin may be supposed to have operated, to the effecting this reconciliation, this is of no concern to the present enquiry. That a reconciliation was thereby effected, insomuch that the penalty of the transgression was remitted, and the offender re
stored to the privileges which he had forfeited by his offence, is abundantly manifest. The instances in scripture, in which the effect of the atonement is expressly described as the removal of the divine displeasure, are too numerous to be recited. Let a few suffice.-In Exod. xxxii. 30, 32, Moses addressing the Israelites, after the great crime which they had committed in worshipping the golden calf, says, ye have sinned a great sin ; and now I will go up unto the Lord ; peradventure I shall make an ATONEMENT FOR YOUR SIN: and these words he immediately after explains, by his
prayer to God, that he might forgive their sin. Again we find a stop put to an infliction of punishment, by the atonement made by Aaron for the people, in the rebellion of Korah. And Moses said, take a censer ; and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from the Lord ; the plague is begun : and Aaron took as Moses commanded him; and made an atonement for the people—and the plague was stayed. Numb. xvi. 46, 47, 48. The atonement made by Phinehas, and the effect of it, are not less remarkable: God says of him, he hath TURNED MY WRATH AWAY from the children of Israel, (while he was zealous for my sake among them) that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy-he was zealous for his God, and made an ATONEMENT for the children of Israel. Numb. xxy. 11, 13.
The instances of atonement here adduced, are not indeed of the sacrificial kind; but they equally serve to evince the Scripture sense of the term, in cases of transgression, to be that of reconciling the offended deity, by averting his displeasure ; so that, when the atonement for sin is said to be made by sacrifice, no doubt can remain, that the sacrifice was strictly a sacrifice of propitiation. Agreeably to this conclusion, we find it expressly declared, in the several cases of piacular oblations for transgression of the divine commands, that the sin, for which atonement was made by those oblations, should be forgiven.*
Doctor Priestley and H. Taylor have of late endeavoured to subvert this notion, by representing sacrifices merely as gifts, and atonement as nothing but a ceremonial purifying and setting apart from common use, for the divine service, without any idea whatever of propitiation : see Theol. Repos. yol. i. p. 199–205. and B. Mord. p. 799–805. How far this theory is invalidated by the observations contained in the present Number, it remains for the reader to judge. I shall only add, that Doctor Sykes, whose authority both these writers are in general very willing to acknowledge, does not hesitate to pronounce the sacrificial meaning of the word na atonę
* See Levit. iv. 20, 26, 31, 35. v. 10, 13, 16, 18. vi. 7. xix. 22. Numb. xv, 25, 26, 28. Consult also Hallets Notes and Discourses, vol. ii. p. 270-274.
ment, to contain the notion of propitiation ; deriving it, as has been here done, from the original signification of the word 75 to cover, that is, “ to remove or take away anger or offence, hy so covering it that it may not appear:” (Essay on Sacrifices, pp. 152, 158, 159,) and “ to make atonement for sins” he says
“is to do something by means of which a man obtains pardon of them." (p. 306.)
How strongly the propitiatory import of the sacrificial atonement, contended for in this note, was attributed to it by modern Jews, has been already amply detailed in Number XXXIII.-In Doctor Laurence's Sermon on the Metaphorical character of the Apostolical Style, (pp. 17. 32.) there are some good observations on the Targum of Jonathan, tending to confirm the position, that the ideas, of atonement, and of forgiveness, were held by the Jews in the time of our Saviour, as perfectly equivalent,
NO. XXXVII.-ON THE EFFICACY OF THE MOSAIC
PAGE 33. (6)- For the purpose of reducing the sacrificial atonement to the simple notion of external purification, it has been thought neces