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death, and he was numbered among the transgressors; and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah, c. liii. We have quoted the whole of this remarkable prophecy, because it is so directly in point, that, was there not another text in the Bible to prove that the predetermined object of the Saviour's coming was to offer an atonement for sin, this of itself is amply sufficient to establish the fact, and is a most triumphant refutation of all the cavils that have ever been arrayed against the doctrine of the propitiation of Jesus Christ. It asserts, in the most positive manner, that the sufferings of Christ were not on his own account, for he hath done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth : that they were for the sins of others; he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, for the transgression of my people was he stricken: that on his part they were perfectly voluntary; he poured out his soul unto death; he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors: that they were well pleasing to the Father, and consistent with his will, for the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. It pleased the Lord to bruise him and to put him to grief; therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death. With these assertions, the testimony of Christ, and his apostles fully accords, as will be seen by the following texts: “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matt. c. xx. v. 28. “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be.” c. 26. “But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Matt. c. xxvi. 56. As expressions similar to these frequently occur in the narratives of the evangelists, we may remark, that they positively assert certain things to be done, in order that the purposes of the Almighty, as predicted by his inspired prophets, might be duly accomplished; and the things asserted thus to be done, relate not only to the birth and life, but to the minute particulars of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus. To return to our quotations—“O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken—ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory.” Luke c. xxiv. v. 25, 26. “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.” v. 44. “And he said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suf. fer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” v. 46. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John, c. iii. v. 14. “I lay down my life for the sheep; therefore doth my Father lore me because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself—I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again, this commandment have I received of my Father.” c. x. v. 15, 17, 18. Je. sus saith to Pilate, “thou couldst have no power at all against me, ercept it were given thee from above.” c. xix. v. 11. “Ye men of Israel hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know—HIM being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts, c. ii. v. 22, 23. “But those things which God before had shewed, by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, HE hath so ful. filled.” c. iii. v. 18. “For of a truth against thy Holy Child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered
together, for to do trhatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” c. iv. v. 27.
We have quoted but a small part of the abundant testimony which might be adduced from the sacred volume, relative to this interesting subject; and we would ask our readers, whether they can reconcile this language of Scripture with the assertions of Elias Hicks, where he argues, that God did by no means send his Son into the world purposely to suffer death, but only to live a righteous and godly life, and thereby to be a perfect example. If we believe the truth of the Bible, we must be directly at issue with his sentiments on these points.
The coming, and sufferings, and death of the Son of God in the flesh, were events, over which mere human power could have no control—He took upon himself flesh, and in due time, laid down his own life, expressly declaring, “No man taketh it from me, I lay it down of myself.” The Scriptures say, he was delivered up to the Jews by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and that whatsoever they did against him, the Divine hand and counsel before determined to be done. Now Elias Hicks says, that it was not the purpose and will of God that he should be put to death by the Jews, but merely, that he should set us a goos' example, by living a righteous and godly life. Here is an instance of direct contradiction ; and we can be at no loss in determining which account to believe. But, says Elias Hicks, “if it was the purpose and will of God, that he should die by the hands of wicked men, then the Jews by crucifying of him, would have done God’s will, and of course, would all have stood justified in his sight, which could not be.” We say, this mode of reasoning is inadmissible, and if E. H. carries it throughout, he must, in numerous instances, impute the greatest injustice and cruelty to his “benevolent Creator.” We shall notice the case of Pharaoh, as one of many. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron unto him saying, “Go in, speak unto Pharoah king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.”—But saith he also, “And I will harden Pharoah's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt; but Pharoah shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” He not only hardened his heart, that he should not let the people go, but he further says, “And indeed for this very cause, have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power, that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Now to apply the reasoning of E. H. to this case. We will form an argument in his own way; viz: If it was the purpose and will of God to harden Pharoah's heart, that he should not let the people of Israel go, then Pharoah, by refusing to hearken unto the voice of Moses, and keeping them in bondage, would have done God’s will, and of course would have stood justified in his sight; and hence all the punishments inflicted by the Almighty upon Pharoah, in consequence of his refusal to let the children of Israel go, were cruel and unjust. The argument in this case, is exactly parallel to that instituted by Elias Hicks to prove that it was not the purpose and will of God, that Christ should suffer death for mankind; and if we admit his reasoning to be sound, we must charge the Almighty with injustice and wanton cruelty, in punishing Pharoah, or else deny the Scripture account altogether. The ways of God are above our ways, and beyond the ken of our puny powers, and it becomes us rather to believe and adore, than to be pronouncing dogmatically what must, or must not, result from the fulfilment of his eternal purposes. The Omnipotent Ruler of the universe, “declareth the end from the beginning,” and “ordereth all things after the counsel of his own will.” There is no position more universally admitted, than that He is the great First Cause, “by whom all things consist;” and yet those who believe this, are far from supposing that He is the author of moral evil, though they know that it abounds in the world. How far he ordains, and how far he permits, in the great plan of the moral government of man, is not for us to decide, any further than it is revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures: and although these declare that God hardened Pharoah's heart, that he should not obey the command, yet, it would be impious to conclude, that God is thereby implicated in the sin of Pharoah's rebellion. The Jews, were completely free agents in the crucifixion of Christ. They were wicked and hardy enough, voluntarily to become the actors in putting to death the Lamb of God —not because they were disposed to fulfil the “determinate counsel of God;” but for the very contrary reason, because they were “of their father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning.” And shall finite man presume to say, that because the Divine Being overruled their actions, and brought good out of evil, that he was an accomplice in their guilt, or that their wickedness was diminished 7–No, their intentions were as diabolical as those of any murderer could be, and for these they stood deeply and justly convicted in the sight of Heaven, and for these they were punished. The reasoning of Elias Hicks, which we last quoted, is therefore wholly inadmissible, and contradicts the testimony of the Scriptures. He tells us in the preceding sentence, what Christ came into the world for, viz.: “To live a righteous and godly life, (which was the design and end of God's creating man in the ning) and thereby be a perfect example to such of mankind as should come to the knowledge of him and of his perfect life.” The assertions in this sentence amount to this: 1st. That Christ came only to live a righteous and godly life, and to be a perfect example; 2d. That the benefits of his coming were limited to such as should come to the knowledge of his perfect example; 3d. That the design of the Almighty in creating unan in the beginning, was to live a righteous and godly life, and thereby to be a perfect example—Ergo, the design and end of God's sending Jesus Christ into the world was the
same, precisely, as his design in creating Adam. Thus, according to the assertions of Elias Hicks, the end of God's sending his Son in the flesh, was for no higher, or more important purpose, than the birth of the very meanest of the human species; for it must be evident, that it is the purpose of God, in sending every man into this world, that he should live a righteous and godly life, and thereby be a good example, and glorify his Creator. Hence all those mighty preparations, which for hundreds of years had been making, to open the way for the advent of the Messiah; which began immediately after the fall of Adam, and were continued through the patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations; and all those sublime predictions which are contained in the books of the prophets, setting forth the glory and majesty of the Redeemer's kingdom, terminated in an event, no more important or beneficial to mankind, than the birth of any mortal, peccable being. Is this consistent with the Scriptures? No-These assertions of Elias Hicks strip our blessed Lord of his eternal Divinity and Godhead and level him with mere man—his scheme cuts us off from all hope in the atonement; takes away the great and glorious objects for which Christ came and suffered in the flesh, and sweeps from the sacred page the most precious and consoling doctrines of the gospel. We are confirmed in these views by the manner in which he speaks of his death, which he says, “was permitted to be, as it had been with many of the prophets, and wise and good men that were before him, who suffered death by the hands of wicked men for righteousness sake, as ensamples to those that came after, that they should account nothing too dear to give up for the truth’s sake, not even their own lives.” Here, he associates the Son of God with “prophets, and wise and good men that were before him,” as being his equals. He makes his death exactly similar to theirs, which is to say, that Christ was a mere martyr. This is not the language of the Bible. Elias Hicks does not use one solitary sentence, throughout the whole letter, which would characterize our blessed Lord as the propitiation, the Saviour, the Mediator or Intercessor for a guilty world, although he writes the letter for the very purpose of giving his “views of the sufferings of the Son of God, and what was the object of the shedding of his blood on the cross, and what benefits resulted to mankind by the shedding of his blood l’” But although he has just assured us that Jesus Christ was B