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conscience; a new way of approaching God in prayer; new resources in the day of affliction ; new supports and consolations in the hour of death. Let it then be distinctly understood, that it is not for a single and insulated doctrine that we are now contending ;—for an opinion, which inay be detached from the articles of faith, and no injury ensue to the rest ;—it is for the first link in the chain,—the key-stone of the arch,—the foundation, on which the temple of truth is built.—Chap. I. Sect. I. pp. 3, 4.
Mr. Jerram divides his Treatise into four sections, which are subdivided into chapters ; and, for the information of our readers, we here detail the contents of the volume before us.
The first section comprises two chapters,- one upon the importance of the doctrine of Atonement, and the other a general statement of the doctrine, with a plan of the Treatise : in which it is the endeavour of our author
I. To remove the principal objections brought against the doctrine.
III. To shew that it is not inconsistent with the constituted order and fitness of things.
The second section is divided into four chapters, the respective topics of which are arranged under the following heads, and contain a refutation of the objections usually urged against the doctrine of the Atonement. · It is alleged, 1. That both the truth and importance of this doctrine may be denied from certain supposed omissions to mention it in the New Testament. 2. That there is no necessity in the case to require it. 3. That it is in direct contradiction to many plain passages of the Holy Scriptures. And, lastly, That it is founded on an unauthorized assumption of the expiatory and vicarious nature of sacrifices.-Sect. II. p. 13.
We are fully persuaded with our author that the sacrifice of animals was of divine institution ; nor have we any doubt that from their first appointment they were expiatory and vicarious, and had a direct reference to the sacrifice of our Lord upon the cross. Mr. Faber's admirable " Treatise on the Origin of Primitive Sacrifice" has, we think, triumphantly established this point in opposition to the hypothesis of Mr. Davison and all other opponents. Mr. Jerram has given us a succinct account of this question in the fourth chapter of the second section of the work now before us. His third section is devoted to the scriptural evidence in support of the doctrine of the Atonement; and contains five chapters, in which we see-chap. i. “A Collection of Passages of Scripture which are supposed to contain or illustrate the doctrine of the Atonement:" chap. ii. “Remarks on the above passages of Scripture : " chap. iii. "Argument from the Epistle to the Hebrews :" chap. iv. “ Argument from our Lord's explanation of his sufferings after his Resurrection :" chap. v. " Argument from the death of Christ being the constant subject of the Apostles preaching, and the great instrument of their extraordinary success.” In the fourth section it is maintained that “the doctrine of the Atonement is
not inconsistent with the constituted order and fitness of things. The first chapter of this section teaches that
I. The argument from analogy is against the notion that sin will be forgiven on repentance;
II. And that the same argument “is, that sin will be punished, unless averted by some foreign interposition."
The last chapter of the Treatise shews us that “analogy is not against the doctrine of a substitute bearing the penalty of sin.”
Such is a table of the general contents of Mr. Jerram's volume. How he has executed his design our readers shall judge for themselves from the extracts which we purpose to make.
The deplorable perverseness of “an evil heart of unbelief” is never so glaringly manifested as by the resistance which Socinians are wont to make against the overpowering evidence of the Scriptures to the doctrine of the Atonement: nor is the fond wisdom of false philosophers more palpably identified with other foolishness, than when it rejects the vicarious sufferings of Christ, because the line of mere human reason is too short to fathom the “great mystery of godliness.” And yet we think it may admit of a question whether the injudicious refinements of orthodox believers have not proved as prejudicial to the doctrine, which forms the theme of the volume on our table, as the objections of heretics, and the assaults of infidels.
I cannot dismiss this subject, (writes Mr. Jerram,) without lamenting the evil which has resulted from carrying points of doctrine beyond the clear and plain statements of the Holy Scriptures. There is a constant tendency in our nature to be “wise above what is written;" and to push arguments, and to draw inferences, which are altogether unauthorized by any fair construction of the word of God. The result has been pernicious, not only in the strife and debate, which have so often afflicted the church of Christ, but in giving the greatest advantage to its common enemies. They have associated these extravagant notions with Christianity itself; and gloried in their victory over their feeble opponents, as though they had gained a triumph over truth itself. This has in no case, perhaps, been more remarkable, and more to be regretted, than in the attacks which have been made on the doctrine of the Atonement. Many of its advocates have exceeded all the limits which the Scriptures and sober criticism prescribe, and have spoken so incautiously of the Supreme Being in his character of Judge and Moral Governor, with the view of establishing the necessity of an exact equivalent, even to the minutest calculation, being given to his violated laws, as apparently to divest him of love and mercy, and to transform him into a being, not only of inflexible justice, but of inexorable wrath, without feeling the least relentings of compassion towards the returning prodigal. These representations have been insidiously identified with the doctrine of the Atonement, and exhibited as belonging to its very essence: and when its adversaries have established the doctrine of the divine goodness and compassion, they seem to think they have given a fatal blow to the doctrine of the Atonement, and that little else remains than to enjoy the honours of a triumph. But when this doctrine is placed on its plain scriptural ground, and stripped of the ill-judged appendages with which some of its injudicious friends have encumbered it, it remains untouched by such arguments, and will retain its place till truth itself meets with a victorious adversary.-Pp. 10, 11.
There is so much good sense in this plain and perspicuous statement, that we marvel not a little at our author's transgression of his own prescribed rule. That it has pleased God, “out of regard to Christ's sacrifice, to offer pardon and salvation to every penitent sinner,” (p. 5) is an everlasting truth written with a sun-beam in ten thousand passages of Holy Writ!
Let it be remarked too, (says our author,) that the truth of this doctrine does not rest on one or two insulated passages of Holy Scripture, but on such a body of accumulated evidence as can scarcely be brought in support of any other revealed truth. If no Christian would feel it respectful to the Divine Author of the sacred volume to doubt the truth of any doctrine clearly revealed, though it were supported by only one or two texts of Scripture, surely no one will hesitate to receive a doctrine which is confirmed by such numerous and independent passages as those just recited; passages deduced from the Old Testament and the New, from each of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, almost every Epistle, and the Revelation of St. John: issuing from the lips of prophets, apostles, and the son of God; and selected from subjects, some of which are directly on the doctrine; others clearly implying it; and not a few proceeding upon it, as the foundation of all that is valuable to us in possession, or vast and everlasting in hope.--P. 200.
We cordially agree with Mr. Jerram in this excellent observation : we think it quite impossible to overrate the weight of scriptural evidence to the doctrine of the Atonement! It is the Alpha and the Omega of the oracles of God! Yet, we venture to doubt whether it be allowable to say with our author that the sacrifice of Christ “is the only condition and consideration, on account of which God does actually forgive sin," or even “the indispensable condition and consideration, on account of which he does forgive the penitent.” (p. 6, 7.) We know that Christ " appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" but, we would beg leave to remind our readers that the bloody death of our Redeemer may not be the only condition and consideration in the pardon of our iniquities, and we refer them to the 14th verse of the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which runs thus: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," (Topogeveykev apwuov,) "purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God ?" Now, we presume to think that the meritorious obedience and the perfect righteousness of our immaculate Redeemer are as much connected with the expiation of human guilt as his vicarious death. It is unquestionably certain that many texts of Scripture speak of the sacrifice of the Son of God as the marvellous means, through which our sins are remitted, and our reconciliation purchased ; “for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins.” (1 Thess. v. 9, 10.) But there are other passages of the inspired volume, which refer to the righteousness of our blessed High Priest, as one of the qualifications necessary to fit him for his hallowed office: and much caution, therefore, should be exercised, in this vital question, as in all others, that we do not so interpret one part of Scripture as to make it contradict another. We know, and we earnestly contend that salvation is impossible unto sinners without remission of sin; that redemption in the decree of God is impossible without effusion of blood; and that our redemption was, therefore, wrought by the blood of our Redeemer, by the Lamb slain to take away our sins ! But then, we cannot forget the characteristic mark of that Lamb which was “ without blemish and without spot ;” and we remember where it is declared that “such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Heb. vii. 26. “By his knowledge shall my RIGHTEOUS servant justify many," is the statement of Isaiah. God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. “Wherefore," says Pearson, “ there was no other brother but that Son of Man, which is the Son of God, who was like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, which could work this redemption for us. (Creed, Fol. Edit. p. 74.) We are redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamnb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. i. 18, 19.) The expiation of our sins is effected, it should seem, by the merit, death, and sufferings of the Holy Son of God; and the vicarious obedience is equally necessary as the vicarious sufferings of our righteous advocate, to satisfy the Divine Justice.*
Wherein then (asks Usher) stands Christ's satisfaction to God's justice, which is the first part of his priesthood ?
In yielding (the Bishop replies) that perfect obedience, whereupon dependeth the whole merit of our salvation.—Dan. ix. 24; Eph. i. 2, 14, 15, 16.
How was our Saviour to make satisfaction for our debt?
1. By performing that perfect obedience, which we did owe. 2. By suffering that punishment due unto us for our sins, that so he might put out the handwriting between God and us, and set us free.
Hitherto of Christ's sufferings : what is the other part of his satisfaction ? · His perfect righteousness, whereby he did that which we are not able to do, and absolutely fulfilled the whole law of God for us." — Bishop Usher's Body of Divinity, pp. 170, 171, 174.
To the same point is the unambiguous testimony of our Church in her Homilies.
God sent his only Son our Saviour into this world to fulfil the law for us, and by shedding of his most precious blood to make a sacrifice and satisfaction. .... So that in our justification, there is not only God's mercy and grace, but also his justice, and it consisteth in paying our ransom, and fulfilling of the law. . . . . So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that do truly believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death. He for them fulfilled the law in his life..... God shewed his mercy unto us in delivering us from our former captivity, without requiring of any ransom to be paid, or amends to be made on our parts, which thing by us had been impossible to be done. And whereas it lay not in us to do that, he provided a ransom for us, that was, the most precious body and blood of his own most dear and best beloved Son Jesus Christ, who,
See Bishop Horsley's Sermons, Serm. VIII.
besides this ransom, fulfilled the law for us perfectly: and so the justice of God and his mercy did embrace together, and fulfilled the mystery of our redemption.—Homily Sermon, on Salvation by only Christ our Saviour, Part I.
If the righteousness of Christ be thus as indispensable as his death to the expiation of our iniquities, is Mr. Jerram correct in saying that his sacrifice is “the only condition and consideration on account of which God does actually forgive sin ?” (p. 6.)
These remarks, however, have kept our readers too long from the pages of Mr. Jerram, and we entreat our author to believe that they have been dictated only by an anxious desire to remove from his excellent treatise even the smallest appearance of defect : and we shall be much surprised if, in a second edition, our hints be altogether disregarded. The whole of the third section of the volume on our table, touching the “ Scriptural Evidence of the Doctrine" of Atonement, we recommend to the attention of the young student in divinity, for we know not where he can meet with a more useful manual. Of its merits he may form a correct judgment from the following extract.
Such, then, are the proofs from Scripture texts, and the doctrine of sacrifice, of the inseparable connexion between the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation of the sinner. Not only do most numerous passages of the sacred volume, expressed in almost every variety of language, plain and figurative, direct and incidental, narrative, doctrinal, and interwoven in its very texture, declare this; but also the whole fabric of sacrificial rites and the Levitical priesthood, constituting the religion of the faithful, from the first man down to the coming of the Messiah ; and most minutely, and in all its prominent parts, referred to by writers of the New Testament, and directly applied to Christ, and that in such language as could not fail to excite in the minds both of Jews and Gentiles, whose whole religion had hitherto consisted of sacrifice, the idea of expiatory, propitiatory, and vicarious atonement, declares with a tone and emphasis not to be resisted, that the remission of sin is never granted but out of regard to the all-sufficient atonement of the Son of God. P. 245, Sect. III. c. 2.
We regret that our limits forbid us to quote any passages from Mr. Jerram's next chapter, in which he has ably handled the "argument from the Epistle to the Hebrews," and demonstrated with peculiar happiness that
The sacrifice which Christ made for the sins of the world was of the same nature as those under the Mosaic dispensation, and a necessary condition in the remission of sin.—P. 265.
It has been stated, with the marvellous assurance characteristic of their schools, by the impugners of the doctrine of the Atonement, that our Lord was silent with respect to it, when it was most natural for him to have taught it, if it had been a doctrine of truth. To this allegation we say, in the first place, that it is nothing to the purpose; that our Saviour might have wise reasons for his silence ; and that the validity of the objection shall be granted, when the silence of one witness shall be deemed competent to outweigh the positive testimony