Obrazy na stronie

tion* of its mystical nature would pass down through the branches of the Abrahamic family, and so by the line of Esau descend to the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. And thus eventually, the Phenician sacrifice, founded upon the typical sacrifice of Isaac, would derive from that, a relation to the great offering of which it was the model ; and from its correspondence with the type, acquire that correspondence with the thing typified, for which Mr. Bryant contends, but in a form more direct.

Thus then in this mystical sacrifice of the Phenicians which, taken in all its parts, is cer

* Were we to accept of Bishop Warburton's idea of the scenical nature of the intended sacrifice of Isaac, representing by action instead of words the future sacrifice of Christ, (whose day, as that writer urges, Abraham was by this enabled to see,) we might here positively pronounce, that a precise notion of that future sacrifice did actually exist in the time of Abraham : and that a foundation for the tradition was thus laid in an anticipated view of that great event. But without going so far as this ingenious writer would lead us, may it not fairly be presumed, that, in some manner or other, that patriarch, who enjoyed frequent communication with the deity, was favoured with the knowledge of the general import of this mysterious transaction, and that from him there passed to his immediate descendants the notion of a mysterious reference at least, if not of the exact nature, of its object. On this subject see Warb. Div. Leg. ii. p. 589— 614; and Stebbing's Examination of Warburton, p. 137 149; and his History of Abraham.

tainly the most remarkable that history records amongst the heathen nations, we find, notwithstanding the numerous fictions and corruptions that disturb the resemblance, marked and obvious traces of a rite originating in the divine command, (as the intended sacrifice of Isaac indisputably was,) and terminating in that one grand and comprehensive offering, which was the primary object and the final consummation of the sacrificial institution,




Page 35. (1) — Not only are the sacrificial terms of the law applied to the death of Christ, as has been shewn in Numbers XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX; but others, which open up more fully the true nature of atonement, are superadded in the description of that great sacrifice, as possessing in truth and reality, that expiatory virtue, which the sacrifices of the law but relatively enjoyed, and but imperfectly reflected. Reasonable as this seems, and arising out of the very nature of the case, yet has it not failed to furnish matter of cavil to disputatious criticism: the very want of those expressions, which in strictness could belong only to the true propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, being made a ground of objection against the propitiatory nature of the Mosaic atonement. Of this we have already seen an instance in page 356, with respect to the words* λυτρον, and αντιλυτρον. The expression, BEARING SIN, furnishes another: the author of the Scripture Account of Sacrifices, (p. 146.) urging the omission of this phrase in the case of the legal sacrifices, as an argument against the vicarious nature of the Levitical atonement.

Such arguments, however, only recoil upon the objectors, inasmuch as they supply a reluctant testimony, in favour of the received sense of these expressions, when applied to that sacrifice, to which they properly appertained. But from this these critics seem to entertain no apprehension : and their mode of reasoning is certainly a bold exercise of logic. From the want of such expressions, as being of vicarious import, they conclude against the vicarious nature of the Mosaic sacrifices: and, this point gained, they return, and triumphantly conclude against the vicarious import of these expressions, in that

* In addition to what has been already offered upon the meaning of these words, I beg to refer the reader to the judicious observations, in Mr. Nares's Remarks on the Version of the New Testament by the Unitarians, p. 125— 130: and to those of Danzius, in his treatise De ATTPS: Meusch. Nov. Test. ex Talm. pp. 869, 870.

sacrifice to which they are applied. Not to disturb these acute reasoners in the enjoyment of their triumph, let us consider, whether the terms employed in describing the death of Christ' as a propitiatory sacrifice, be sufficiently precise and significant, to remove all doubt with respect to its true nature and operation.

To enumerate the various passages of Scripture, in which the death of Christ is represented to have been a sacrifice, and the effect of this sacrifice to have been strictly propitiatory, must lead to a prolix detail, and is the less necessary in this place, as most of them are to be found occasionally noticed in the course of this enquiry; especially in p. 222, and Numbers XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII.

There are some, however, which, as throwing a stronger light upon the nature and import of the Christian sacrifice, demand our most particular attention ; and the more so, because from their decisive testimony in favour of the received doctrine of atonement, the utmost stretch of ingenuity has been exerted, to weaken their force, and divert their application. Of these, the most distinguished is the description of the sufferings and death of Christ, in the liid. chapter of Isaiah. We there find this great personage represented as one, on whom the Lord hath laid the iniquity of us all; as one, who was numbered with transgressors, and bare the sins of many; as one, who consequently was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; and who, in making his soul an (oux) offering for sin, suffered the chastisement of our peace, and healed us by his stripes. Thus we have here, a clear and full explanation, of the nature and efficacy of the sacrifice offered for us, by our blessed Redeemer. And as this part of Scripture, not only seems designed to disclose the whole scheme and essence of the christian atonement; but, from the frequent and familiar references made to it by the writers in the New Testament, appears to be recognized by them, as furnishing the true basis of its exposition; it becomes necessary to examine, with scrupulous attention, the exact force of the expressions, and the precise meaning of the Prophet. For this purpose, I shall begin with laying before the reader the last nine verses of the chapter, as they are rendered by Bishop Lowth in his admirable translation, with the readings of the ancient versions, and some occasional explanations by Vitringa, Dathe and other expositors.

4. Surely our infirmities he hath borne*:

And our sorrows he hath carried of them:
Yet we thought him judicially stricken;
Smitten of God and afflicted.

[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »