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have attempted to hide themselves from the presence of their benevolent Creator. Adam says, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid.” Where would have been the occasion for this fear, if they had made satisfaction for the crime, and manifested sorrow and repentance ?
The next sentence is predicated upon no better authority, viz. “Which (viz. their making satisfaction, &c.) seems to be fairly implied by the sequel of the interview between them, for it is said he clothed them with coats of skin to hide their nakedness, which is an emblem of durable clothing," &c.
Clothing them with coats of skin was certainly no evidence of their having made satisfaction ; because, while in a state of innocence and purity, before they sinned, they were naked and needed no clothing. The necessity for clothing was a consequence of their sin ; and the wearing of it must have been a constant and painful memento of their fall from their primeval state of happiness. The Hebrew word signifies the skins of beasts,” and we should rather think these emblematic of the ascendancy which the animal passions had obtained over them by their fall, than of the pure and holy covering of the Lord's Spirit, which Elias Hicks would make them to signify.
Again, says Elias Hicks, “ their nakedness was not an outward one, but a nakedness of soul.”
The Bible says, " they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." This proves beyond a doubt that their nakedness was an outward nakedness, else why say “they were not ashamed ?” We would ask Elias Hicks, if it was not an outward nakedness, how could he clothe them with coats of skin ? Could “a nakedness of soul,” be removed by covering them with garments made from the skins of beasts?
He proceeds : “ And inasmuch as those idle promulgators of original sin, believe they are made sinners without their consent or knowledge, which, according to the nature and reason of things, every rational mind must see is impossible, so likewise they are idle and ignorant enough to believe they are made righteous without their consent or knowledge, by the righteousness of one who lived on the earth near two thousand years before they had an existence; and this by the cruel hands of wicked men slaying an innocent and righteous one."
We would request our readers particularly to notice, that the subject treated of in this part of the letter, (from the sentence which we have just quoted, to the concluding paragraph,) is undeniably the Christian's belief in the doctrine of the propitiation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We should recollect, too, that Elias Hicks has before granted the principle of atonement, by admitting that the crucifixion of the outward body of flesh and blood of Jesus on the cross, was an atonement for the legal sins of the Jews; and of consequence, he makes the Jews righteous, touching those points of the law wherein they had transgressed, (or their legal sins,) “ by the righteousness of one who lived on the earth,” nearly fifteen hundred years after that law was given; “ and this by the cruel hands of wicked men slaying an innocent and righteous one;" he is therefore as much chargeable with being " idle and ignorant” in doing so, as those are who hold up the propitiation of Jesus Christ, for the belief of Christians. We do not, however, consider his statement to be correct, as we are not acquainted with any Christians who believe they are made righteous without their consent or knowledge, through the atoning blood of the Son of God.
While we reverently and gratefully acknowledge the advantages purchased for mankind by his precious sufferings and death on the cross, we are far from believing that this alone, constitutes the whole work of the Christian's salvation. We believe most sincerely, that his death was the procuring cause of the more full and general diffusion of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes the glory of these gospel days; and that obedience to the influences of this Spirit, is necessary to complete the work of sanctification. Yet we can no more separate the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and the mediation and intercession of our adorable Redeemer, from that most acceptable sacrifice which he made of himself for the sins of the whole world, than we can assert that this sacrifice alone, justifies the sinner while he continues in his sins. The outward offering and the inward work are necessarily and inseparably connected, as cause and effect, and are both essential to man's salvation.
We have already cited many texts of Scripture, which agsert that our blessed Lord and his apostles taught the very doctrine which Elias Hicks stiles us “idle and ignorant" for believing; and the only defence which we shall make on the occasion, is to ask the question, Who is most likely to be right, Jesus Christ and his apostles, or Elias Hicks ?
The following language of Paul, “who was not a whit behind the very chiefest of the apostles,” comes directly to the point mentioned in the last quotation from the letter : “ And, therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now, it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on
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 “ 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 un
“ 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 Being. His letter makes this 6 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 Scripture 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, “ 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 deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” To the Ephesians, 6 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."
But Elias Hicks by using the word ACCEPT, must necessarily 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 "such terms are wicked and absurd, and an outrage against every righteous law of God and man.”
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 "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 their views.