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religious world, there appears now some length; to recite also the forms to be a general leaning among the of expression referred to, with the view most able of our theologians, to of determining their true scriptural imhold 'fast to the simple scriptural port; and then to enquire how far the form of the doctrine in question, for the Death of Christ are consistent
various Theories devised to account regarding the whole as a matter of with these facts, and with the plain depure revelation, and not to be judg. clarations of the scriptures. It was ed of by the maxims of natural re- the rule of Newton, in his philosophiligion.
cal researches, to reject every expla. The author of the discourses, nation of an event inconsistent with which are named at the head of the phenomena that attended it; and, to this article, would be entitled to adopt the same rule on the present
occasion, will probably be regarded some apology for our long delay to review his work, on the interesting safe." p. 4.
by every mind as at once fair and subject in question, if it were proper and expedient for us to make
The author next proceeds to state apologies of this nature. Circum
various interesting facts, which the stances beyond our controul, have been the only occasion of our
scriptures disclose to our view, re
lative to his subject. We shall give delay.
a brief summary, with remarks as Mr. Dwight is one of those in.
occasion may require. vestigators, whom we have just named with approbation. His great the result of accident. The proofs
1. The death of Christ was not aim, through nearly the whole of adduced are Acts ii. 23. iv. 27, 28. that part of his treatise (if we may
2. It was the subject of prophecy. so call it) which is devoted to the
Various passages from the New investigation of the question, For
Testament are cited under this what purpose did Christ die? is to head, which are conclusive in regive a scriptural view of the end and object of his death. The gen- do not, however, feel so well per
gard to the point in question. We eral plan, which he has pursued suaded, as Mr. Dwight appears to throughout his book, we will pre- be, that Gen. iii. 15, has particular sent in his own words.
reference to the death of Christ; “ As this (viz. the object answered although we believe with him, thai by the death of Christ's is a point of the serpent which tempted Eve, mere revelation, it can be determined was the “ Old Serpent,” the devil, only by a reference to the scriptures; who was a murderer from the beand he, who examines them atten- ginning. The original Hebrew of tively for this purpose, will perceive this verse is difficult and obscure; that the sacred writers have adopted and if our translation gives a correct two different modes of presenting the
view of its meaning, it still is in our subject to the mind. They have recorded a series of facts relative to the apprehension, far from being cerDeath of Christ, which no believer in
tain that the death of Christ is spethe scriptures can controvert. They cifically intended by it. We should have also, in various forms of phrase- be more inclined to believe, that ology, directly declared the great end the general contest between the for which he died. It will be admitted Prince of Light and the prince of that these facts, and these forms of darkness is the object of the sentiphraseology rightly interpreted, are perfectly consistent with each other; former over the latter is predicted,
ment; and that the victory of the and that no explanation of this event, which is not consistent with both, can
while intimation is at the same time be true. In attempting to answer this given, that the latter will not be inquestion, it is my design therefore, to active, nor destitute of the power of detail the facts connected with it at inflicting some wounds.
3. The death of Christ was ab- in its highest sense. Our criticism solutely necessary. In a general has not respect to the thing at respect, we accede to the proposi- which Mr. Dwight is aiming, but tion. There are different kinds of to show, that the terms absolutely necessity, if we may so speak. God necessary do not express, in the is necessarily holy, just, and good, most definite manner, exactly what because a self-existent and all-per- he meant, if we rightly understand fect being cannot be otherwise. In him." such a sense, we conceive the death 4. It has excited a very deep inof Christ cannot well be affirmed to terest in the heavenly world. be necessary. Indeed, we can well Here Mr. D. quotes 1 Pet. 1, conceive of no other necessity, in 10—12, in order to show that the the case before us, than that of sufferings of Christ, and the glory fitness, propriety; that is, all things that should follow “ had been early considered, more important ends revealed in heaven, and had occuwere accomplished by the death pied the deeply interested attention of Christ, than would have been of its exalted inhabitants.” The accomplished without it. So in- fact may indeed have been so; we finite wisdom has judged ; and we have no authority to contradict it. are bound to presume, that it has But neither are we persuaded, that so judged for good reasons. The from this passage we have any to death of Christ is a matter too se. affirm it Peter wrote his epistle rious in its nature, to have taken more than a score of years after the place without sufficient reason. sufferings and death of Christ. He
Indeed, Mr. Dwight himself has speaks of the angels then, (at the led the way to such a view of the time when he wrote,) as eagerly subject, in the second paragraph searching into the mysteries of a under the present head, where he Saviour's death; eis ä Émiðumoudi states, that the necessity did not öygedos rapaxúfas, into which things originate either from the fact that the angels ARE DESIROUS to look. the death of Christ was predicted, This cannot prove that they had nor from any arbitrary appointment been thus engaged before the comof God. We come then, after all, ing of the Saviour, or before his singly to the ground, that the ends sufferings and death. to be accomplished by the death of The facts that an angel came Christ were the grounds of its ne- from heaven, to comfort the suffer. cessity; ends which infinite wis- ing Saviour in the garden of Gethdom decided could be best accom- semane, and that angels descended plished in this way.
To this we to roll away the stone from the entirely accede. But to say that mouth of his sepulchre, may prove the death of Christ was absolutely that he who ruleth in heaven was necessary, and to construe dão as interested in the person of Jesus, meaning it was necessary,
is some- and sent ministering servants to what more indefinite than this wri- perform offices of kindness to him. ter is usually wont to be. In fact This cannot show to us, what was Gği often means such a kind of ne- the state of the angel's minds, who cessity as results from circumstan- were sent on these errands, in reces, or such an obligation as duty spect to the death of Christ. Esimposes upon any one. For exam- pecially the fact, that an angel ple, Matt. xviii. 33. xxiii. 23. xxv. rolled
the stone from the 27. Mark xiii. 14. Luke xiii. 14. mouth of Jesus' sepulchre, and Heb. ii, 1. We admit, that it is that two angels, in that sepulchre, also employed in other cases, to de- announced to the disciples the ressignate that which is unavoidable, urrection of Jesus, would rather
prove their interst in his resurrec- ry; and brevity demanded of our tion than in his death ; if indeed it author to abstain. could prove either. In all these 6. Various titles are given to cases, however, as they were the Christ, in reference to his death, simple ministers of God, sent to which are given to no other person. perform these offices, the subjec- The examples produced are, Lamb tive views which they may have of God, Redeemer, Saviour, Deliv. had respecting the death of Christ, erer, Ransom. Saviour, Deliverer, can only be a matter of indirect de- and Redeemer too, he might have duction from circumstances of such been called, had he been commisa nature.
sioned to accomplish only by some In the quotations, which our au- peculiar instructions, moral suasion thor further makes, from Rev. v., and example, the liberation of men the first part at least, applies only from the power and penalty of sin. to those who had been “ redeemed God, who brought Israel out of by a Saviour's blood;" which sure- Egypt, is often called their Redeemly could not include the angels, and er. But the Lamb of God seems therefore does not apply to all the necessarily to imply his death ; and inhabitants of heaven. And if the ransom, under circumstances in sequel is of more extensive import, which it is employed, may perhaps and embraces them all, (which be classed with it. however is very doubtful, as most 7. Many persons of real piety, probably all the redeemed are who went to heaven, lived and died meant) yet the adoration of heaven before the death of Christ. This goes rather to show the views which head, we presume is intended by the heavenly world entertained of the author as preparatory merely the person or dignity of the Lamb, for the one which follows, and than to prove the subjective feel- might have been united with it. As ings which they had respecting his it now stands, it does not in any sufferings and death.
way, of itself, carry forward the de Indeed Mr. D. himself tells us, sign which the author has in view. in the next paragraph, that “hith- There is one idea, however, erto the songs of heaven had been thrown out upon this head, which occupied in praising God for the we shall briefly notice. It is this, display of his perfections in crea- viz. that the view of the saints in tion and providence; but that now, ancient times, respecting the death the upper world had learned a new of Christ, were exceedingly impersong-an ascription of praise and fect, because “no prophecy of blessing to the Lamb that was Scripture is of its own interpretaslain," p. 8. But if the death of tion;" for so Mr. D. renders idias Christ, had been early revealed in minúCews. He adds, by way of ex heaven, and had for ages been the planation, that “it is not adequately theme of earnest contemplation understood, until it is fulfilled.” there, how can it be, that it had If by adequately, our author means, never before called forth a song of that when events have come to praise from its blessed and benev- pass which were anciently predictolent inhabitants ?
ed, those who are witnesses of the 5. A similar degree of importance actual events, will have a better is attached to this event, by the sacred and more complete view of them writers. The quotations to prove than those who lived before this this are appropriate; and they might happened, we accede without any be indefinitely extended so as to hesitation. But if, as many have comprise no small part of the New- maintained, Mr. D. supposes that Testament. But it was unnecessa• the ancient predictions were not
intelligible either to the prophets as signs of ideas which they had themselves who uttered them, or not. In fact, the statement of to the people to whom they were prophecy is a revelation of future addressed; then we ask, What events, and yet that this revelation purpose did they subserve ? Proph- is intelligible, neither to him who ecy is either to instruct or to con- makes it, nor to those to whom it sole men, to whom it is addressed. is made, is not far from the regions But prophecy unintelligible can of palpable contradiction. We ensurely do neither. And if the pro- tirely dissent from such a view of phets who were inspired, did not this subject. understand their own words, how We do not however, tax Mr. D. are succeeding generations, not in- with such a view. But we cannot spired, to understand them ? If you accede to his version of ιδίας επιλύsay, “ By the fulfilment of them;" GEWS. The sequel shows, that the we ask, the fulfilment of what I meaning is, no prophecy is of, that By your own statement, it is the ful- is, springs from, a man's own power filment of something unintelligible, of explaining, that is of pointing by any of the rules of language. out, disclosing things future, for the Where then do you come at a rule, writer goes on immediately to show to make out a meaning with which that this power was communicated you compare any particular event by the Holy Ghost, and not posthat has happened? After all then, sessed by man as he was in himself it seems you do put a gloss on the considered. words, by some rule or other of in- 8. Pious persons before the terpretation ; and then you say, death of Christ, felt a deep interest there is fulfilment. Surely, now if in that event. The quotations unyou have made out a meaning for der this head, seem to clash with the prophet's words, in order to the doctrine laid down in the precompare a certain event with it, the ceding one. Here Mr. D. labours, prophet might at least have been (and with success,) to show that equally able to make out one for pious persons in ancient times had himself, since he was inspired, and such views of the sufferings and uttered ideas which were in his own death of Christ as to feel a deep mind.
interest in them. They did interLook at the subject in another pret phrophecy, then, and it comlight. Words are the signs of forted and edified them, long before ideas. The prophet's words are the the events took place to which it signs of his ideas. They are signs refers. then of ideas entertained by men, 9. Christ knew that he was to and communicated for men, and suffer death. This is briefly but addressed to them. If you say, sufficiently proved, by citations “No; they are the signs of the from the Scriptures. ideas of the Spirit, and not of the 10. His death was not deserved. prophets ;" we reply, in the lan- In proving this, Mr. Dwight has guage of Paul, “the spirit of the shown that he had neither transprophetsis subject to the prophets.” gressed any of the precepts of the Inspiration destroys neither their Levitical law, nor any of the rules free-agency, nor their rationality, of the Roman government. At nor does it change the native col- the hand of God, he did not deserve ouring of their style. In using death; for he was sinless, and perwords, then, while inspired, the fect in his obedience. The whole prophets used them, as at other is forcibly and appropriately illus times ; that is, they used them as trated and confirmed. signs of ideas which they had, not
To be continued.
LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE.
The Rev. Joseph Torrey, of Royal- der of Religious Freedom-“A Key ton, has been elected to the Protessor- into the Language of America, or an ship of Languages and Belles Letters, Help to the Language of the natives in the University of Vermont. A sys- in that part of America called New. tem of reform in the instruction and England. Together with brief obdiscipline of the University has been servations of the Customs, Manners made out, and is before the Trustees and Worship, &c of the aforesaid Na. for consideration.
tives in Peace and War, in Life and
Death. On all which are added SpirRichard Randall, M. D. has been
itual Observations." appointed Professor of Chemistry, in the Medical Department of Columbian Boston Ath.- The North American College, in place of Edward Cutbush, Review states that the number of vol. M. D. resigned.
umes now at this institution, with Mr. Thomas Campbell, the poet,
those daily expected, is about 23,000; has been unanimously appointed Lord and the number of ancient and modern Rector of the University of Glasgow.
medals and coins 13,437, inany of which
ara very rare and valuable. The presThe Rhode Island Historical Society ent property of the Atheneum in books, have put to press the following rare buildings, &c. exceeds 100,000 dollars. works, by Roger Williams, the foun. The building cost over $13,000.
swered: In a letter by the Rev. C. F. The Gospel the Wisdom of God.
Frey. G. & C. Carvill, New-York. A Sermon preached at Salem, Feb.
Analysis of the Principles of Rhet. 14, 1827, at the ordination of the Rev.
orical Delivery, as applied in Reading John P. Cleaveland. By William B.
and Speaking. By Ebenezer Porter,
D. D. Andover.
America; or a General Survey of delivered in Newburyport, March 20,
the Political situation of the several 1827; at the Dedication of the New powers of the Western Continent; Brick Church, in Titiomb street. By
with Conjectures on their Future Pos. L. F. Dimmic. Newburyport: c. pects. By A. H. Everett, Esq. pp. Whipple.
364, 8vo. Cary & Lea, Philadelqhia.
A Treatise on Diet: with a view to Inspiration of the Scriptures: A Sermon, delivered at the ordination of Establish on Practical Grounds, a sys. the Rev. Messrs. Scales an Crosby. tem of Rules for the Prevention and By Rev. Justin Edwards, of Andover.
Cure of the Diseases incident to a Dis. Boston.
ordered state of the Digestive Func. Means of Regeneration; A Dis
tions. By J. A. Paris, M. D. F.R.S. course, by the Rev. Gardiner Spring, Fellow of the Royal College of PhysiD. D. of New-York. John P. Haven. cians, &c. &c. Philadelphia. Rob. National Preacher, Vol. I. No. II.
ert H. Small. 1826. 8vo. pp. 210. Sermon XV. By Leonard Woods, Boston. Hilliard. 1827. Zvols. 8vo.
Poems by Mrs. Felicia Hemans. D. D.; on the Duties of the Rich.
The Book of Nature. By John Ma. MISCELLANEOUS.
son Good, M. D. F. R. S. &c. of The object of the American Society Philadelphia. In two vols. 8vo. Bos. for Meliorating the Condition of the tun. Wello & Lilly. 1826. Jews, explained, and Objections An