Obrazy na stronie

such as proceeded, not from human frailty, but from a deliberate and audacious defiance of the divine authority, which appears to be the true meaning of presumptuous sins, as may be collected from Numb. xv. 30, 31. Exod. xxi. 14and v. 2. compared with xviii. 11. Deut. i. 42, 43. xvii. 12, 13. xviii. 22, and various other

passages. See Pec. Doct. vol. i. pp. 229, 230. also Maim. Mor. Nev. part 3. cap. 1. And hence it appears, that so far as the for

as the force of the original term is considered, the efficacy of the atonement was extended to all sins, which flowed from the infirmities and passions of human nature; and was withheld only from those, which sprung from a presumptuous defiance of the Creator.

The word axro.ws, used by the LXX in the translation of the term, though it seems to imply an involuntary act, is yet by no means inconsistent with this exposition. The force of this term, as applied by the LXX, is evidently not incompatible with a perfect consciousness of the crime committed, and is used only in opposition to ex8rWS, by which they every where describe such an act as

from a strict investigation of the exact sense of these Hebrew words, as well as from a copious enumeration of the opi. nions of the great Jewish doctors, to confirm his position, that in the word ayonuata, as used by the apostle, (Hebr. ix. 7.) sins of every description are indiscriminately alluded to. See Danz. Funct. Pontif. Max. in Adyt. Anniv, in Meuschen's Nov. Test. ex Talm. p. 1007-1012.

is entirely spontaneous and deliberate, which in the words of Episcopius is performed, plena voluntate; or as he again explains it, which is done wil. fully, and with a fixed and deliberate purpose of transgressing. (Inst. Theol. Lib. iii. sect. ii. cap. 3. Ø 9, 14.) Ax8o1w5 then is not to be considered, as denoting an act strictly speaking involuntary; but as opposed to what was deliberate and wilful : it is therefore applied with propriety to all sins of infirmity. The use of the word EX80ws in Hebr. x. 26, throws abundant light on the force of this expression. See Ainsworth on Lev. iv. 2. See also the authorities adduced by Elsner, Observat. Sacr. vol. i. p. 494.

But 2ndly, the conclusion, which has been here derived from the signification of the original word, is fully confirmed by the cases of atonement referred to in the text; since the offences there described are clearly such, as can by no means be brought within the description of sins of ignorance: it being impossible that a man could deny, or keep back, that which was entrusted to him by another; or take from another his property by violence or deceit; or deny upon oath, and withhold from the proper owner, what he had found, without a consciousness of the guilt. Besides, it is to be observed, that neither in these, nor in the case of the bond-maid, is it said that the sin was committed in ignorance : but, on the contrary, the very expressions used in the original, unequivocally mark a consciousness of crime in the several instances alluded to, as may be seen particularly in Outram De Sacrif. lib. i. cap. xiii. 9 4. where this point is fully established in opposition to Episcopius. These crimes indeed of fraud, perjury, violent injustice, and debauchery, the writer in the Theol. Rep. seems disposed to treat as venial offences, being criminal, as he says, but in a low degree. (Vol. iii. p. 412.) But for the purpose

of proving, that no atonements were appointed for transgressions of the moral law, it would be necessary to shew that these acts were not in any degree criminal : this however he has not attempted, and is consequently in the conclusion compelled to admit, (p. 414.) that the Levitical atonements extended to violations of the moral law. Sykes also, it must be observed, is obliged to confess, that the cases here alluded to, are cases of “known and


wickedness.” (Scr. Doct. of Redemp. p. 331.) Hallet expressly says, “it is certain, that there were sacrifices under the law appointed to make atonement for moral evil, and for moral guilt; particularly for lying, theft, fraud, extortion, perjury, as it is written, Lev. vi. 1, 2, &c."— Notes and Discourses, vol. ii. p. 277, 278.

Now, that these atonements in cases of moral transgression, involved a real and literal remission of the offence, that is of the penalty annexed to it, will appear from considering, not only the

rigorous sanction of the Mosaic law in general, by which he, who did not continue in all the words of the law to do them, was pronounced accursed, (Gal. iii. 10. Deut. xxvii. 26.) and consequently subjected to the severest temporary inflictions ; but also the particular cases, in which the piacular sacrifices are directly stated, to have procured a release from the temporal punishments specifically annexed to the transgression: as in the cases of fraud, false-swearing, &c. which, with the punishments annexed by the law, and the remission procured by the piacular oblation, may be seen enumerated by Grotius (De Satisfact. Chr. cap. x.) and still more fully by Richie. (Pecul. Doct. vol. i. p. 232–252.) Houbigant also speaks of it, as a matter beyond question, that in such offences as admitted of expiation under the Mosaic law, a release from the temporal penalty of the transgression was the necessary result of the atonement: on Levit. v. 4. he describes the effect of the atonement to be,“ ut post expiationem religione factam, non sit amplius legum civilium pænis obnoxius.” Hallet says, that the sacrifices “ procured for the offender, a deliverance from that punishment of moral guilt, which was appointed by the law;" and instances the case of theft, in which though the offender was liable to be cut off by the miraculous judgment of God, yet the sacrifice had the virtue of releasing from that immediate death, which the law had denounced against that particular sin. Notes and Disc. p. 276—278.

That the remission of sins obtained by the Levitical sacrifices, was a remission only of temporal punishments, cannot weaken the general argument; as the sanctions of the law, under which the sacrifices were offered, were themselves but temporary. The remission of the penalty due to the transgression was still real and substantial: the punishment was averted from the offender, who conformed to the appointed rite: and the sacrificial atonement was consequently, in such cases, an act of propitiation. The sacrifices of the law, indeed, considered merely as the performance of a ceremonial duty, could operate only to the reversal of a ceremonial forfeiture, or the remission of a temporal punishment: that is, they could propitiate God only in his temporal relation to his chosen people, as their Sovereign: and for this plain reason, because the ostensible performance of the rite being but an act of external subinission and homage, when not accompanied with an internal submission of mind and a sincere repentance, it could acquit the offender only in reference to that external law, which exacted obedience to God as a civil prince. In such cases, the Jewish sacrifices, merely as legal observances, operated only to the temporal benefits annexed by the Levitical institution to those expressions of allegiance : but, as genuine and

« PoprzedniaDalej »