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having died for the remission of their sins. The latter, namely, that Jesus suffered death and pain in his human capacity as an atonement for the offences of others seems totally inconsistent with the justice
ascribed to God, and even at variance with those
principles of equity required of men; for it would be a piece of gross iniquity to afflict one innocent being, who had all the human feelings, and who had never transgressed the will of God, with the death of the cross, for the crimes committed by others, especially when he declares such great aversion to it, as is manifest from the following passages. Matthew, ch. xxvi. vers. 37, 39, 42 and 43: “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. And prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup [meaning death] pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Mark, ch. xiv. ver. 36: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Luke, ch. xxii. vers. 42 and 44: “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly ; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.” John, ch. xii. ver. 27: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” Do not these passages evidently shew, that Jesus in his human capacity (according to the Trinitarian phrase) felt averse to death and pain, and that he earnestly prayed that he might not be subjected to it? Jesus, however, knowing that the will of the Father rendered such death unavoidable, yielded to it as predicted. John, ch. xi. vers. 17 and 18: “Therefore doth my Father bove me because I lay down my life that I might take it again: no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this commandment have I received of my Father.” Matthew, ch. xxvi. vers. 53 and 54 : “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scripture be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” The iniquity of one’s being sentenced to death as an atonement for the fault committed by another is so palpable, that although in many countries the human race think themselves justified in detaining the persons of those men who, voluntarily making themselves responsible for the debt or the persons of others, fail to fulfil their engagements; nevertheless, every just man among them would shudder at the idea of one’s being put to death for a crime committed by another, even if the innocent man should willingly offer his life in behalf of that other.
/ In endeavouring to prove Jesus's atonement for sin by his death, the Reverend Editor urges, “Is he called the Saviour of men, because he gave them
moral precepts, by obeying which they might obtain the Divine favour, with the enjoyment of heaven as their just desert? or, because he died in their stead, to atone for their sins and procure for them every blessing, &c. * If Jesus be termed a Saviour merely because he instructed men, he has this honour in common with Moses, and Elijah, and John the Baptist, neither of whom, however, assumed the title of Saviour.” We find the title “Saviour” applied frequently in the divine writings to those persons who had been endued with the power of saving people, either by inculcating doctrines, or affording protection to them, although none of them atoned for the sins of mankind by their death. Obadiah, ver. 21 : “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” Nehemiah, ch. ix. ver. 27: “And according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.” 2 Kings, ch. xiii. ver. 5: “The Lord gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians.” How could, therefore, the Editor, a diligent student of the Bible, lay such a stress upon the application of the term “Saviour” to Jesus, as to adduce it as a proof of the doctrine of the atonement; especially when Jesus himself declares frequently, that he saved the people solely through the inculcation of the word of God *, John, ch. xv. ver. 3: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Ch. v. ver. 24: “He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life.” Ch. vi. ver. 63: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life:”— wherein Jesus represents himself as a Saviour, or a distributor of eternal life, in his capacity of divine teacher. lso is of course justly "termed and esteemed a aviour, for having instructed men in the Divine will and law, never before so fully revealed. Would it degrade Jesus to revere him as a Divine Teacher, because Moses and the Prophets before him delivered to the people divine instructions Or would it depreciate the dignity of Jesus, to believe that he, in common with several other prophets, underwent afflictions and death Such an idea is indeed unscriptural, for God represents the Christ as a Prophet equal to Moses, Deut. ch. xviii. ver. 18. Jesus declares himself to have come to fulfil the law taught by Moses: (Matthew, ch. v. ver. 7 :); Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil;” and strictly commands his disciples and the people at large to obey whatever Moses had taught. Ch. xxiii. vers. 2, 3: “Saying, the Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” I am sorry that I cannot, without offending my conscience, agree with the Reverend Editor in the opinion, that “If Jesus be esteemed merely a teacher, the greater degree of honour must be given to Moses, for it was in reality his law that Jesus explained and established.”
It is true that Moses began to erect the everlasting edifice of true religion, consisting of a knowledge of the unity of God, and obedience to his will and commandments; but Jesus of Nazareth has completed the structure, and rendered his law perfect. To convince the Editor of this fact, I beg to call his attention to the following instances, found even in a single chapter, as exhibiting the perfection to which Jesus brought the Law given by Moses and other Prophets. Matthew, ch. v. vers. 21, 22: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, ..shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Vers. 27, 28: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery.” Wers. 31, 32: “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” Verses 38, 39: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Vers.