Imágenes de páginas


CHAPTER XXI. Vicarious Punishment explained, and Proofs that it was

inflicted on the Piacular Victims. IIAVING shown that all the kinds of sacrifices appointed by the law of Moses had respect to God, we proceed to a more particular discussion of the Piacular Victims, respecting which we have affirmed, and are about to prove, that they were the subjects of Vicarious Punishment. Vicarious punishment is any evil inflicted upon one being to expiate the guilt of another, with a design to save the sinner himself from punishment, and to procure the pardon of his sin. There is nothing of vicarious punishment in those evils which a man, in consequence of his sins, suffers in any person connected with him : as when parents on this account are bereaved of their children. For the end of vicarious punishment is to procure pardon for the offender; who equally fails of obtaining it, whether he is punished in his connections, or in his own person.

And all vicarious punishment is intended for the advantage of the sinner; but a contrary result is produced by that punishment, in which the calamity of another always causes loss, grief, or disgrace, to redound to the sinner himself.

Vicarious punishments are of two kinds. One, when the same kind of punishinent as the offender has deserved is inflicted on the substitute; as if any one should give himself up to die, in order to deliver another from death:--the other, when the punishment inflicted on the substitute is different from that which the offender has deserved; as if any one were to go into exile, in order to redeem another from

slavery. The only difference between these two cases is, that in one there is a commutation of persons only, and in the other of persons and punishments : but this difference prevents not their being both equally within the description of vicarious punishment.

II. The vicarious punishment inflicted on the piacular victims accomplished the expiation of sins, as a condition prescribed in the law, without which God would not remit those offences on account of which he commanded the victims to be slain. For though they were chiefly of the lighter kind, yet God would not pass them by without any sort of punishment, lest such entire indulgence should operate as an encouragement to sin. While he commanded the greater transgressions, therefore, to be expiated by the blood of the sinner himself, he required the smaller ones to be atoned for, and their pardon to be sought and obtained from him by the blood of a victim. Hence it is evident that the piacular sacrifices included a condition of pardon, which was not ineffective and useless, but which at once afforded an apt representation of God's justice and holiness and displeasure against sin, and was well calculated to excite and maintain a reverence for his holy laws.

III. But that I may not appear to have hazarded unwarrantable assertions, I hasten to a more particular discussion of the subject propounded at the commencement of the chapter. And here I request the reader's attention to the following remarks. In the first place, the sacred writers frequently speak of sins which have not been expiated, as of a taint by which the sinner is dreadfully defiled :* and hence the expiation of sins is often designated by terms which convey the idea of purification.* Secondly, it was the custom of the Hebrews, on the solemn day of atonement, in obedience to the command of God, for the sins of all the people to be transferred, in a symbolical representation, to the goat that was to be led away into the wilderness: in consequence of which that animal was so polluted with the defilement of those sins, as to communicate a similar pollution to the person who led him away. This is evident from the command that every one who had performed that office should undergo a purifying ablution before his return to the camp. Thirdly, the rite by which the sins of the people were transferred, was the imposition of the high priest's hands upon the head of the goat, accompanied with a solemn confession of those sins: in which it is obvious that the high priest acted as the representative of the people, whose sins he confessed and whose pardon he implored. Lastly, the piacular victims whose blood was carried into the sanctuary, and whose bodies were burned without the camp, had performed over them the same rite of imposition of hands with c nfession of sins, and derived from that rite the same pollution as the emissary goat. In proof of this it is sufficient to observe, that the carcasses of these victims were immediately to be carried forth without the camp, and that the persons who burned them were so defiled by performing that office, that they were forbidden to return to the camp without bathing themselves in water, Wherefore, as the same rite, by

* Levit. xviii. 20. Psal. cvi. 39. Jer. ii. 23. Ezek. xx. 7. 18.31. xxii. &.

Matt. xv. 18. 20.

Such are the Greek words καθαριζω and καθαρισμος; Ηeb. 1. 3. ix. 22. xxjii. 1. I John i. 7. and the Hebrew D3 and 179 which are sometimes rendered in the Septuagint by xalagitw; Deut. xxxii. 43. Isaiah vi. 7. xlvii. 11. Psal. xvi. 30. xix. 12. li. %,

which the sins of the people were laid upon the emissary goat, was also performed upon these victims, and as in both cases there was the same subsequent indication of communicated pollution, it is reasonable to conclude, that the sins of the guilty were as much transferred to these victims as to that goat. There was this material difference,-that by being led alive into the wilderness, and carrying away the sins of the people that were laid upon him, as if never more to return into the presence of God, the goat exhibited a representation of atonement effected and pardon obtained; but the other victims to which we refer, expiated the sins transferred to them by their own blood. And there could not be a more evident instance of vicarious punishment, than for the sins of the offerers first to be transferred, by a symbolical rite, to the victims about to be slain, and then to be immediately expiated by the blood of those victions to which they had been transferred. The translation of sins has been evinced in the preceding statement, and the price of expiation is determined by the law, which declares, " it is the blood that maketh an atonement for " the soul."*

IV. The reason why imposition of hands communicated pollution to the victims which were burned without the camp, rather than to any others, perhaps was, that they were the principal of all the piacular sacrifices. For they were never offered, except for the high priest himself, or for the whole family of Aaron, or for the whole congregation; whose sins, as we have before observed, were more aggravated, and deserving of severer reprobation, than those of other individuals.

* Levit. xvii, 11.

It is of little importance, however, in what manner, the victims of which we are now treating were defiled; whether by imposition of hands, as in the case of the emissary goat, or by the tacit appointment of God, irrespective of that rite. The fact of their pollution is certain. No reason can be imagined why God should appoint, that those which were evidently the principal of all the piacular victims should become impure during the sacrificial process, unless he designed, in this impurity communicated to the bodies of the victims, to exhibit a symbolical repre sentation of the transfer of sins also from the offerers to those victims. And this was the more evident, because the offenders themselves were purged by the same act by which their piacular victims were polluted. Nor can it be doubted that those victims, which by their blood expiated the sins that had been laid upon them, were the subjects of vicarious punishment.

V. But, it will be said, the only tendency of these remarks is, to show that vicarious punishment was inflicted on those victims which were burned without the

camp. This is admitted ; but the principle of all piacular sacrifices being the same, we are obliged to form the same conclusion respecting them all; especially respecting the sacrifice of Christ, which was typified by these victims in a more eminent degree than by the rest. For to his sacrifice is to be attri, buted every thing that was prefigured in any of its types, especially in the more remarkable ones; and nothing is to be abstracted from it, that may have been wanting in those which were more obscure, The antitype must include all the characters of all the types, as far as they are to be considered as types. And a stronger indication of vicarious punishment in

« AnteriorContinuar »