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piety, they contrived to inflame the minds of their hearers with a spurious devotion, by their discours, es from the pulpits, and their unwearied efforts to disseminate their sentiments by private conversation. They accommodated themselves to the ignorance of the lower classes ; they adapted their doctrines to the gross conceptions, the prejudices and the passions of the multitude; they imposed upon the credulity, and succeeded in ensnaring the consciences of vast numbers in their own delusions. The Pharisees professed a strict adherence to the ceremonial law, an accurate observance of the traditions of the elders, and a patriotic attachment to the liberties and independence of their country; and while they urged the doctrine of a future state, they taught that salvation was secured to the Jews, upon the sole condition of obedience to these external rites, which they uniformly represented as entitling them to covenanted mercy.
In the course of a few years after the ascension of our Saviour into glory, great numbers of the Jews embraced the Christian dispensation; and several of the new converts were affected with the “ leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Several carried along with them from the old to the new dispensation of grace, those false principles which are equally opposite to both. They who had no inward experience of the power of godliness, whatever may have been their profession, formed very inadequate conceptions of the deep depravity and misery of man, of the evil of sin, and of the method of sala vation through a Redeemer. These expected justification on some one of the three following grounds.
1. Some supposed that the Jews should be justified on account of the piety of the patriarchs *.
* Kim. Com. Hos. iii, 2. Pococke. Miscel, 170, 171.
2. Others supposed that their knowledge of the law would justify them *.
3. Several imagined that justification proceeded upon the ground of their punctual performance of those rites which had been enjoined upon them in the law given by Moses t.
Such was the degrading idea which they had formed of the divine holiness, and the proud opinion which they cherished of their own excellence, that they imagined the righteousness of his moral goveroment would be amply supported by awarding to them exemption from punishment, and the felicity of heaven upon one or other of these terms They also laboured to impress the Gentiles, who discovered an inclination to receive revealed religion, with a belief in the justness of those crude sentiments. Such pernicious doctrines required refutation. They called for a demonstration, from the scriptures of the Old Testament, for which the Jews professed the most perfect reverence, of those great principles, upon which the salvation offered in the gospel, and purchased by the Redeemer, necessarily depended.
The inspired apostle, accordingly, provides an antidote to the poison, in this epistle written from Corinth, to the church of Christ in Rome, and transinitted by Phebe, a sister remarkable for her piety, and her services to the church of Cenchrea, of which she was a member, in the year 58.
After an affectionate salutation, in which he magnifies his own holy and extraordinary office, the Apostolate, he exhibits the righteousness of God, requiring that wrath be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men I. By
* Rom. ii. 13. 17–29.
CHRISTIAN's MAGAZINE. an ample induction of facts, and with arguments of conclusive power, he proves both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God* By an inference necessary from these premises, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified, he prepares the way for a declaration of the righteousness of God manifested in justification by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. It is thus, and thus only, that God is just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesust. In the fourth chapter he illustrates, by an explanation of the case of Abraham, the nature of faith, and justification by imputed righteousness; and in the fifth, he proceeds to a discussion of the benefits flowing from justification. After enumerating a variety of Gospel blessings, the apostle, in the 8th verse, di-, rects the Romans to the spring from whence the system of grace, with all its invaluable blessings, flow—the love of God manifested in the death of Christ. “But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He then immediately states that the death of Christ procures our reconciliation with Godwe were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and declares the infallible certainty of the salvation of all who are partakers of reconciliation-much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved. Upon this footing believers have indeed cause to rejoice in the Lord. The apostle accordingly adds in the 11th verse, IVe also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the Atonement.
The doctrine of the Atonement affords joy to believers, and is worthy of their attention. * Rom. iii. 9. 19,
As we propose to devote a series of Essays under this head to an 'elucidation of the doctrine, it will be necessary, in this early stage of the discussion, to inform our readers what ideas we annex to the word Atonement, as employed in a religious acceptation. Correct definitions of the expressions employed in designation of any important subject, are recommended no less by the nature of the case itself, than by the best writers on the art of reasoning. We apprehend also, that in order to comprehend what we shall hereafter offer in proof of the fact, that Christ has made atonement for sin, and in illustration of its nature and extent; recourse must be frequently had to the definition which shall now be given of the term in which we express the doctrine.
By the Atonement we mean,
That which effectually removes the offence of sin, and procures for the sinner reconciliation with God.
The common acceptation of the word Atonement, certainly supports this definition. It is uniformly employed to signify adequate reparation for an insult or an injury, in order to restore to friendship parties at variance. It occurs only once in the scriptures of the New Testament, and that is in the text which stands at the head of this Essay. Katandang is the Greek word which is thus rendered. The translators were constrained by the nature of the subject, to render it, in every other instance in which it occurs, by the English word-Reconciliation, instead of Atonement * This is exemplified in the verse which precedes the text under review, and which forms with it one argument. The corresponding verb and participle are used in that verse,
and translated-Reconciled. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled, (Karnanaymeer *,) to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, (Karadayertes, *,) we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement, (Katedraymy t.)
From this passage it appears, that reconciliation with God, and eternal salvation, are inseparably connected ; and that both are of equal extent with atonement in the New Testament acceptation of that word. It also appears, how little is their acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures who make a separation between atonement and reconciliation, by assigning to the one a different extent from that which is assigned to the other. Such separation is grossly absurd. God is merciful and just. An adequate atonement cannot, therefore, possibly fail of producing reconciliation with him.
The Old Testament acceptation of the word Atonement, also supports our definition.
The Hebrew word is adu. This root signifies to cover, as the primary idea, and from it are derived the Saxon coffre, the French couvert, as well as the English coffer and cover. The Hebrew caper or. copher, is first applied to the pitch which covered the ark of Noah, and secured it from danger by , water, Gen. vi. 14. It denotes also Hoar-frost, which covers the ground, Exod. xvi. 14.-The Cypress, or Camphire tree, which covers from the heat by its shade, Song. i. 14.-A covered bowl or bason, Deut. xiv. 26.—The young Lion just forsaking his covert, Jer. xxv. 38. —And a small village, as a covert or retired place in the country. Josh. xviii. 24.
* Atoned for.