Imágenes de páginas

"scripture, every where, declares, that "without sincere prayers and thanksgiv"ings, without repentance, faith, and obe

dience, all sacrifices, were not only un"profitable, as to the favour of God, and "his pardoning mercy; but also detestable "in his sight: and when the prophets una- "nimously agree, that it was not any thing "in the most numerous) expensive, or "pompous sacrifices that had any effect t* with God, but only doing justly, loving cc merCy} and walking humbly with God'."

§. 30. Answ. I acknowledge, that the scripture every where declares, that, without repentance and sincere obedience, all sacrifices were not only unprofitable, as to God's favour and pardoning mercy, but detestable in his sight; and that it declares, likewise, that the sacrifices of the wicked, were an abomination to the Lord, and that the most numerous, expensive, and pompous oblations, unaccompanied with repentance and obedience, doing jujlly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, would not avail to procure the favour of God, or to avert deserved punishment.—But, as far as I can find, neither scripture, nor prophet, any where declare, (as the Dr. fays, they do,) "that it was not any thing in the most nu

tc merous,

* See Scripture-doctrine of Atonement examined, Chap. VI, §. 119.

"merous, expensive, or pompous sacrifices "(whether of good or of wicked men) "that had any effect with God, but only "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking "humbly with God." On the contrary, it is frequently declared, that the sacrifices of good men, as well as their piety, were acceptable to God, and actually accepted by him; and had such effect with him, that they were the real means of obtaining blessings from him. See Gen. iv. 4.—viii. 19. Levit. chapters v, and vi. 1 Sam. xxvi. 19. Job xlvi. 8, 9. Psal. xx. 3. Isai. lvi. 7. Ezek. xliii. 7, &c.—To which let me add, that this doctrine of the Drs if it were true, would prove too much, even that the institution of sacrifices was altogether useless, and, therefore, unreasonable, and the more so, because it was burthensome.

§. 31. But notwithstanding the scripture has declared, that sacrifices, without repentance and sincere obedience, were unprofitable, as to the favour and pardoning mercy of God, and even detestable to him; yet I cannot fee, how this declaration should be an undoubted confirmation, or any confirmation at all, of the Drs opinion about the symbolical nature of Jewish sacrifices; unless we lay it down for a maxim, that where two things are mentioned as being concerned in the production of one effect, and it is said, that that effect cannot be proG 4 duced duced by the one without the other; there the thing, of which it is said, that it cannot produce the effect without the other, must, in all cases, be understood to be a symbol or emblem of that other thing. For unless this be admitted as a maxim, it will not follow, that sacrifices were symbols of repentance and obedient disposition, merely because it said, that " sacrifices, "without these, were unprofitable as to "the favour and pardoning mercy of God, "and even detestable to him." But this maxim, upon the truth of which the truth of the Dr's argument depends, is evidently false, as might be shewn from many instances of real facts, if it were needful. I (hall only mention two, viz. moisture is a known cause of the fertility of the earth; but, without heat, it can conduce nothing towards the fertility of the earth: and yet it cannot with any truth, be hence inferred, that moisture is a symbol of heat. —Again, to take an instance from a case, that is pretty similar to that which we are considering; the performance of the external dutys of religion is one mean, whereby an interest in the favour and pardoning mercy of God may be secured: but the performance of these external dutys, unaccompanied with repentance, faith, and obedient disposition, instead of contributing, in any degree, towards the securing an interest in the blessings mentioned, is utterly unprofitable, and even detestable in the sight of God: and yet it cannot be hence inferred, that the external dutys of religion are symbols of repentance, faith, and obedient disposition. But though this inference cannot be drawn from these premises, yet there is the fame reason for drawing it from them, that the Dr. had for drawing his inference, concerning the symbolical nature of Jewish sacrifices, from the scripture's declaring that " all sacrifices, without repentc tance and obedient disposition, were un"profitable, as to the favour and pardoning "mercy of God, and detestable in his "sight." Wherefore, if the inference be faulty in the one case, it must be equally faulty in the other. Upon the whole, we may, I think, truly conclude, that this declaration of scripture, upon which the Dr. builds so much, is so far from being an undoubted confirmation, that it is no confirmation at all, of his opinion concerning the symbolical nature of Jewish sacrifices.

§. 32. That which appears to me to have been true matter of fact in this case, is this; to the making atonement for sin, under the law of Moles, both repentance, expressed by a verbal confession of the sin, and, likewise, the oblation of a sacrifice, were made necessary by the appointments of that law; and, for this reason, atonement ment could not be made for any sin by either of the two, without the other. Repentance was necessary, in this affair, as a moral qualification in the sinner for pardon. The sacrifice, likewise, had its use and end in it, as an oblation to God for the sin which had been committed.—And may we not conceive of all this in a rational way, without supposing the sacrifice to have been a symbol either of repentance or of penitent address to God, and without contradicting any one single dictate of reason, or common sense? Surely this is very possible. Repentance, without doubt, was the only moral turn or disposition of mind, that could fit and qualify the offender for favour and pardon. This will be readily granted. And as to the sacrifice; (about the nature of which there is much dispute;) might not this have been a very fit and proper instrument of divine government, instituted with a view to render the grant or conveyance of pardon to the offender, consistent with the wisdom, goodness, security, end, and rectitude of divine government, by preserving a due difference between the treatment of the penitent offender, and the treatment of all other persons, who had behaved in another way than he had done? The possibility of conceiving thus of the meaning, design, and efficacy of such sacrifices as were offered to make atonement for particular

« AnteriorContinuar »