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of the Blessed Spirit, begun the work; but a personal sight of Christ was necessary to complete it.
The Christian of the present day may trace in his own experience the features of Job's case. He has been awakened to a concern about the salvation of his own soul. This concern has produced an habitual attention to the duties of religion, and he has fully received, as he
supposes, the Gospel of the Grace of God. But he is afflicted in various ways. He seeks for comfort in his religion, and fails of finding it. He mistakes the object and design of his distresses. He is tempted to think hardly of God's dealings with him. Comforters, such as those who visited Job, being themselves ignorant of the ways of Divine compassion, by their misrepresentations, add to his distress instead of alleviating it. He is reduced almost to the borders of despair. In his extremity the Revelation of God in his word, (for direct communications are now unnecessary and not to be expected) applied to his case by “the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Christ,” shows him wherein he has erred, points him to the cross of Christ, and comforts him by the exhibitions of grace which it furnishes. Thus, by degrees, he becomes established in the faith, and is prepared to join in the song of the redeemed, “ WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN.”
The doctrine “of the justification of man,” as maintained by our church, viz. That “We are
MAN IS JUS
accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works and deservings," reaches back from age to age, to the very
time of the fall. Bp. Horsley has maintained its universal prevalence among the faithful under every dispensation, when he
THAT TIFIED BY FAITH, WITHOUT THE WORKS OF THE LAW, WAS THE UNIFORM DOCTRINE OF THE FIRST REFORMERS. IT IS A FAR MORE ANCIENT DOCTRINE: IT WAS THE DOCTRINE OF THE WHOLE COLLEGE OF THE APOSTLES. IT IS MORE ANCIENT STILL: IT WAS THE DOCTRINE OF THE PROPHETS. IT IS OLDER THAN THE PROPHETS: IT WAS THE RELIGION OF THE PATRIARCHS.” As a proof of this assertion I add, It is the religion inculcated throughout the book of Job.
EVIDENCES OF A PATRIARCHAL CEREMONIAL
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Should my correspondence with you be found to bear no resemblance of the mines of the Western Hemisphere, from which British industry and skill promise to extract the precious metals in rich abundance ;-should it rather resemble those streams of the east, from whose sands the patient workman, by careful and persevering toil, separates some grains of gold, -yet neither my labour in writing, nor yours in reading my papers, will be altogether lost. Let the useless sand be washed away by the stream of time into the ocean of oblivion; but let the precious grains which are intermingled with it, be preserved. And if the latter should prove, compared with the former, ever so minute in quantity and few in number, your pains will be remunerated; for the doctrine of a crucified Saviour is more valuable than the finest gold.
In an early part of my correspondence with you I promised that, if your patience were not exhausted, I would, before I concluded the series, collect some traces of a patriarchal Ceremonial Institute to be found in the book of Genesis. I Row address myself to a fulfilment of this promise ; and though I shall be thereby obliged to lead you again over ground which you have before trodden, the walk may not be unprofitable, as a recapitulation on the subject I propose, will bring into one view the doctrine I have maintained, that salvation by a Divine atonement has been the revealed religion of fallen man under every dispensation in which he has been placed.
I go back then to the earliest trace of that religion in what is recorded as having occurred immediately after the Fall. In the interview which took place between God and his guilty and miserable creatures, at the time of their expulsion from the earthly paradise, I have attempted to show you what I consider to be evidence of a Divinely instituted ritual, illustrative of the gracious revelation of the promised woman-born Redeemer. If I have not deceived myself, we have, in the short notices which Moses has recorded, intimations of the institution of sacrific rites, of an appointed place where those rites were to be performed, and of symbols of His presence whose wrath they were intended to propitiate, and whose favour they were intended
to regain. I have maintained that the doctrine of
appeasement by the blood of animal-victims could not be the spontaneous product of the human mind, even if no traces of that doctrine had been found till long after a consciousness of guilt had perplexed it with inquiries about the means of atonement; and how much less likely is it, that such a mode of reconciliation with their offended God should have suggested itself to Adam and his partner in transgression at their first discovery of their need of pardon! Is it to be supposed that the criminals could have suggested, or if they could, would have ventured to suggest, at that awful moment, to their offended and injured Maker, a plan by which all his attributes were to be secured from impeachment, and themselves saved from the consequences of their heinous transgression ?*
The Divine institution of sacrific rites, immediately on the fall, derives confirmation from the short history of Cain and Abel. In the act of worship performed by the children of Adam, which led to the first overt discovery of the enmity which was predicted as unavoidably to exist between the seed of the woman and that of the serpent, we have some further particulars as to time, place, and circumstantial items, in the accepted sacrifice of Abcl. His offerings con
Magee on the Atonement, p. 283 and 307. First Edition.