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him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Rom. c. iv., v. 22, 23, 24, 25. • Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life ; for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Rom. c. v. 18.
Again, Elias Hicks says, “ And these, (viz. those who believe that the atonement was for the sins of the whole world,) are bold and daring enough to lay this cruel and unholy act in the charge of divine justice, as having purposely ordained it to be so; but what an outrage it is against every righteous law of God and man, as the Scriptures abundantly testify,” &c.
On this passage we shall only remark, that we have proved before, that Elias Hicks by making this “ cruel and unholy act," the means of abolishing the law and atoning for the sins of the Jews, has 6 laid it in the charge of divine justice," fully as much as though he believed with the apostle John, that Jesus Christ was “the propitiation, not for our (the Jew's) sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.”
It is a little remarkable that, from his abundant testimony in the Scriptures, he could not have produced some passages more relevant and forcible than those he has selected. They make directly against him: for although he charges the Jews with committing this “ cruel and unholy act,” yet he grants that it was an atonement for their legal sins, which seems like giving them a reward for slaying the innocent.
“ And much," he says, “ might be produced to show the wickedness and absurdity of the doctrine, that would accuse the perfectly just, all wise, and merciful Jehovah, of so barbarous and cruel an act, as that of slaying his innocent and righteous Son, to atone for the sins and iniquities of the ungodly.”
" The doctrine,” to which Elias Hicks attaches this wickedness and absurdity, is that of the atonement of Jesus Christ. We are not aware, however, that “ the doctrine," or any of
its believers, bring this gross accusation against the Supreme b Being. His letter makes this " barbarous act,” the appointed means of abolishing the law, and of atoning for the sins of the Jews, who committed it; and hence he would seem, from his own reasoning, quite as fully to make the accusation, as those to whom he wishes to impute it.
We regret that he cannot refer to the doctrine in question,
without branding it with epithets which must be painful to all pious Christians. Throughout the whole letter, the subject is not once alluded to, without an attempt lamentably obvious, to present it in a forbidding, or even disgusting form. Chistian charity would, we should suppose, induce him to respect the feelings of those who sincerely believe, according to Scrip. ture testimony, that it is the only medium which God hath appointed for reconciling to himself a guilty world.
“ Surely,” he says, “is it possible, that any rational being that has any right sense of justice or mercy, that would be willing to ACCEPT forgiveness of his sins on such terms."
The words “such terms,” evidently mean the vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ-Once more then to the Bible. Does it not tell us in the plainest language that can possibly be used, that this propitiation is the medium of redemption that these are the terms upon which forgiveness of sin is offered ?
Paul says to the Romans, 6 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” To the Corinthians, “For he hath made him to be sin (or, a sin offering) for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” To the Galatians, “ Who gave himself for our sins, that he might de. liver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” To the Ephesians, “ Be ye kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."-" To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." To the Colossians, “ And you that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your minds, by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death; to present you holy and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight." To Timothy, “ For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
To Titus, “ Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." To the Hebrews, “ By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”-“ for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Peter declares, “ Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but by the precious blood of Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” “Who, his ownself bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed.” “For Christ also, hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
After reading these and many other portions of holy Scripture which we could adduce if necessary, can any one doubt that God does offer us forgiveness of sins upon “ such terms," (as Elias Hicks calls the propitiation of our Redeemer), and upon none other; yet he queries, whether “any rational being that has any right sense of justice or mercy, would be willing
to accept it." 3 But Elias Hicks by using the word ACCEPT, must neces
sarily suppose that “such terms” might be offered for how could a man accept what was not tendered to him ?-And yet,
although it is God who offers, man, the sinner, may refuse to * accept them. And why not accept them? Because he says
66 such terms are wicked and absurd, and an outrage against
every righteous law of God and man." 3 Does he suppose then, that the Holy, Wise, and Just God,
has offered, or could offer to us, the forgiveness of sins upon such terms, that if man has any right sense of justice and mercy, he would not accept them? How destitute then of any right sense of justice and mercy, does the reasoning of this letter make Him to be, who, as the Bible declares, does offer to our acceptance " such terms."
Elias Hicks, as we have before stated, asserts that upon no such terms" forgiveness of sins was offered to the Jews; that is, “ by the hands of wicked men slaying an innocent and righteous one." Now we should like to know, whether he considers those Jews who accepted " such terms,” to have been destitute “ of any right sense of justice or mercy ;” to have been “ standing in direct opposition to every principle of justice and honesty, of mercy and love, and to have been poor, selfish creatures, unworthy of notice.” It would follow from his reasoning on this subject, that those Jews who utterly rejected the atonement which, Elias Hicks says, expiated their sins, and persecuted Jesus Christ unto death, were the most
just and honest among their nation, and the least selfish in in their views.
Again : says Elias Hicks, “ Would he not rather go forward, and offer himself wholly up to suffer all the penalties due to his crimes, rather than the innocent should suffer ?”
As regards the sufferings of Jesus Christ, they were entirely voluntary, as the Scriptures abundantly shew; consequently the latter clause of this sentence loses all its force. He freely and of his own will, gave himself a ransom for us -a sacrifice well pleasing unto God.
What now is the penalty, or “all the penalties, due to man's crimes ? Let the Bible answer: “ Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil”-“Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power"-" To be cast into hell”—Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”-6. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”-66 To be cast into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone”-_The smoke of whose torment ascendeth for ever and ever.”
Is it not, then, a plain inference from the language of this letter, “ that any rational being that has any right sense of justice and mercy, would rather go forward, and offer his soul up to suffer all these penalties,” than accept the forgiveness of sins through the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ? And yet the Scriptures, as we have before shown, assert that these are the terms upon which that forgiveness is offered.
“ Nay,” says Elias Hicks, “ was he so hardy as to acknowledge a willingness to be saved through such a medium, would it not prove that he stood in direct opposition to every principle of justice and honesty, of mercy and love, and show himself to be a poor selfish creature, and unworthy of notice ?”
Here, the words “such a medium,” refer to the atonement, as must be evident from the context. What, then, saith this sentence? Was any rational being so hardy as to acknowledge a willingness to be saved through that medium, which the Holy Scriptures declare to be the only medium of salvation that God hath appointed, viz. the coming, sufferings, and death of the Son of God, as a sacrifice for sin ; would it not prove that rational being to be standing in direct opposition to every prin. ciple of justice and honesty, of mercy and love, and show him to be a poor selfish creature, and unworthy of notice ?
Now, if man would thus debase and degrade himself by accepting, or by merely acknowledging a willingness to be saved through the offered medium ; what must HE be who could ordain and appoint that medium? We tremble when we reflect upon the inferences which result from the reasoning contained in this letter. Does it not make the pure and infinite Jehovah, the Judge of the spirits of all flesh, to be standing in direct opposition to every principle of justice and honesty, of mercy and love, and to be a poor selfish creature, and unworthy of notice!!
Let the reader contrast the sentiments avowed in this letter, with the views and feelings of a truly awakened and penitent sinner.
Humbled in the dust under an agonizing sense of the amazing weight of his sins, and the just punishment which they m erit; conscious of his utter inability to extricate himself from the dreadful situation into which his iniquities have plunged him; the repenting sinner casts about him a look of anxious inquiry, and exclaims in the anguish of remorse, " Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?!'
Conscious of his utter unworthiness and nothingness in the Divine sight, he “ dares not so much as lift his eyes to heaven," but s smiting upon his breast,” cries out “God be merciful to me a sinner." Fully aware that his multiplied crimes have brought upon him all the penalties of the violated law, and that the just sentence of everlasting condemnation is upon him, he can most truly and sincerely adopt the language, “ A Saviour or I die, a Redeemer or I perish for ever.”
Would such a man talk of not accepting the forgiveness of his sins, on the terms of the propitiation of Jesus Christ? Would he consider the doctrine of the atonement as wicked and absurd; as an outrage against every righteous law of God and man? Would he go forward and offer himself wholly up to suffer all the pangs and woes and torments which he feels to be due to his crimes, rather than be saved through that medium which the Bible declares, God has offered him ?
Far, very far from this. With what humble, reverent gratitude and joy would such a suppliant sinner listen to the glad. dening assurances of the gospel, « That when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly”—that God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ; " that being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him ;" * for if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
How fully, how emphatically, would these gracious declarations, prove “ glad tidings of great joy," to such a sinner as we have described, and how different would every feeling and sentiment of his soul be, from the language of this letter.