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reasonable mind that it is a doctrine as I do, with our church, that it is 'a full, of truth. In prosecuting this design, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole
perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, he begins with stating its intimate world. I may go further, which 1 do and inseparable connexion with the not, and express my belief that this death Christian system, and then endea- is an exact equivalent, in point of suffering, vours to disencumber it of extra- for the penalty of man's transgression : neous matter, confining it to the
may refine even upon this, and contend
that there was, to the most minute numethree following propositions: first, rical calculation, an equality between the that the death of Christ was an sufferings of Christ and the punishment expiatory sacrifice ; secondly, that due to every sin, of every individual who God, out of regard to it, may in and that if more or fewer than this num
shall be ultimately saved by Jesus Christ : perfect consistency with his moral go- ber had been intended to be saved, a provernment, pardon sin ; and, thirdly, portionably greater or less degree of sufferthat it is in consideration of this ing must have been endured: but no part expiatory sacrifice that he actually orthodox Christian contends with the op
of this is common ground, on which the does pardon sin. Mr. Jerram thus ponents of the doctrine of the atonement: avoids all dispute about the term it is peculiar to Christians among them“ satisfaction as implying a full selves, and the whole may be affirmed or equivalent to Divine Justice for denied, without in the least affecting the the demerit of sin, and main- authority.
grand question, as resting on scriptural tains that whether the notion of “I cannot dismiss this subject, without satisfaction be or be not true, it lamenting the evil which has resulted from does not affect the scriptural doc- clear and plain statements of the Holy
carrying points of doctrine beyond the trine of the atonement. The sub- Scriptures. There is a constant tendency ject is of so much importance, that in our nature to be wise above what is before we proceed, we must allow written ;' and to push arguments, and to Mr. Jerram to state his own views, authorized by any fair construction of the
draw inferences, which are altogether unand the grounds on which he places word of God. The resułt has been perthe doctrine.
nicious, not only in the strife and debate
which have so often afflicted the church " I lay the more stress upon this point, of Christ, but in giving the greatest adbecause the enemies of this doctrine direct vantage to its common enemies. They their principal efforts against the particular have associated these extravagant notions notions which some Christians attach to with Christianity itself; and gloried in the specific quantum of merit in the their victory over their feeble opponents, atoning sacrifice: and when they have, as as though they had gained a triun,ph over they think, invalidated these, they imagine truth itself. This has in no case, perhaps, they have demolished the doctrine of the been more remarkable, and more to be reAtonement, as held in common by ortho- gretted, than in the attacks which have dox Christians. They contrive, in this been made on the doctrine of the atoneway, to shift the doctrine from its scrip- ment. Many of its advocates have extural foundation, and place it on the pe- ceeded'all the limits which the Scriptures culiar notions of some classes of Chris- and sober criticism prescribe; and have tians. The true state of the controversy spoken so incautiously, of the Supreme is this. The adversaries of the doctrine Being in his character of Judge and Moral assert, that nothing is wanted to make Governor, with the view of establishing way for the pardon of sin, on the repent. the necessity of an exact equivalent, even ance of the offender, but the mere mercy to the minutest calculation, being given to of God : that the death of Jesus Christ his violated laws, as apparently to divest is not an atoning and expiatory sacrifice, him of love and mercy; and to transform and has nothing to do with that pardon him into a being not only of inflexible and that God confers this blessing through justice, but of inexorable wrath, without Christ, as he does other ordinary favours. feeling the least relentings of compassion It is on this point that we are at issue; towards the returning prodigal. These for we maintain, on the contrary, that God representations have been insidiously idenhas thought fit to require, as a condition tified with the doctrine of the atonement, or consideration, in order to his pardoning and exhibited as belonging to its very sin, something distinct from the repent. essence: and when its adversaries have ance of the offender; and that this is, the established the doctrine of the Divine death of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is goodness and compassion, (a doctrine an atoning and expiatory sacrifice. I may which no one calls in question, they seem believe more than this respecting the to think that they have given a fatal blow merit of Christ's death. I may maintain, to the doctrine of the atonement, and
that little else remains than to enjoy the it; such as the precise adjustment honours of a triumph. But when this of penal suffering for sin in the ground, and stripped of the ill-judged ap- manner of a human equivalent. We pendages with which some of its injudi- must not thus far press our impercious friends had incumbered it, it remains fect analogies; and indeed there is untouched by such arguments, and will re- something, to say the least, painful tain its place till truth itself meets with a victorious adversary.” pp. 5–11.
and incongruous in supposing the
Almighty Father thus calculating, After perusing this clear and as it were, the exact demerit of each well-arranged passage, we feel call. sin, and laying the aggregate of pu. ed upon to consider how far we nishment with specific minuteness agree with our respected author in on the adorable Sacrifice. The his general view of the subject. We transaction takes quite another comcan have no question as to his first plexion in the Divine word. general position, that God has The only point left then is as to thought fit to require (using the the term • satisfaction.” As Mr. word require as an inference from Jerram has no scruple in using this the fact that it was appointed, term himself, he is not chargeable and therefore was required,) as a with being defective in his view of condition or consideration in order the doctrine implied by it. He is to bis pardoning sin, the death of willing, however, to decline the use Christ, and not merely the repent of this particular term in his arguance of the offender, as an atoning ment, and to fall back upon the and propitiatory sacrifice. Yet even less defined position. We doubt in this preliminary proposition—so whether he practically gains any difficult is it to speak rightly of thing by this concession. Those Scripture mysteries, otherwise than who object to the term “ satisfacin direct Scripture words—we might tion," will scarcely less object to urge that require may be too strong Mr. Jerram's more general defia word, as appoint may be too weaknition. The precise word, we ada one ; “ it behoved Christ to mit, is not to be found in the Scripsuffer ;"—and that both condition tures; but the doctrine is : and as and consideration remind us too the term is naturalized in theology, much of the character of human and, we may add as churchmen, contracts to be fully applicable to adopted by our own church, we the eternal purposes of the incom- should be unwilling to relinquish it, prehensible Creator. These, how- even in arguing with an opponent. ever, are the defects of man's un- We would not, indeed, contend for derstanding and man's language; a term, not essential because not and if we must define the matter, scriptural ; we would not unchrisand lay it down as a proposition, tianize a believer in the doctrine of we know not that we could greatly the Trinity, because he did not use improve upon our author. But what the particular word Trinity: but, in ever of definition may be required popular estimation, words are things; in a didactic treatise, it is some and when we acknowledge in our serconsolation that in practical divi. vices, and believe it to be a scripnity it may be very safely avoided, tural truth, that Christ made upon confiping ourselves chiefly to the the cross, by the oblation of himself, Scripture fact, that thus and thus it “ a full, perfect, and sufficient sacriwas; rather than arguing on human fice, oblation, and satisfaction for grounds, that thus of necessity it the sins of the whole world,” we must be.
think it a doubtful courtesy to Agreeing, then, with Mr. Jerram yield the term even where the in the general doctrine, we also idea is retained, but still more agree with him in his disclaimer of should we refuse to relinquish the the speculative subtleties built upon term, if either in truth or appearChrist. OBSERV. No. 339.
ance, the doctrine itself should In reference to the first of seem disparaged. Mr. Jerram is these objections, it is replied, that willing to accept less, for the sake it would prove nothing if true, as of gaining more: but happily in our every thing was not meant to be view his book proves more than he found every where, and one part of verbally asks; for if he can persuade inspiration is as authoritative as the Socinian by his arguments to another ; but that it is not true, admit that the Scripture sanctions since both in the Gospels and the the doctrine of “an atoning and Acts of the Apostles, the alleged expiatory sacrifice," whether as “ a negative portions, the doctrine is condition or consideration," he will both implied and expressed; a fact not be far from admitting, he can- clearly substantiated by evidence. not but admit, that the Divine The second objection, that an atonejustice was thus “ satisfied.” Satis. ment is unnecessary and contrary faction does not imply an equiva. to the Divine attributes, involves lent ; it rather implies “ magnifying our author in a long and elaborate the law and making it honourable. chapter ; a chapter on which we In human affairs, where no equiva. did not venture, as we never do on lent is offered for the most dispa- à priori arguments in matters of raging conduct except a mere apo revelation, without trembling. The logy, the offended person often says, plain fact of the atonement we unand with sincerity, “ I am satisfied.” derstand, we receive, we rejoice in ; With how much higher propriety it is so, for so it is written ; but may the term be used in reference when, even in an honest desire to to the subjects under discussion. defend truth and refute objections,
Having thus stated the doctrine, we begin to define what may, or may our author next considers the objec- not, comport with the attributes of tions against it. It might be thought the Most High, we are ever in danthat the more natural way would ger of darkening counsel with words have been to proceed to the proof without knowledge. One man, by of the doctrine, and then to answer his d-priori views of the Divine objections. Mr. Jerram's reasons attributes, confirms himself in his for the method he has adopted seem Arminianism, and another in his to be, that, the doctrine having been Calvinism ; one argues that love clearly stated, the objections to it leads to such and such conclusions, are the next in order; and these and another that justice leads to the having been weighed and answered, opposite. The Universalist and the the proof comes with additional Socinian especially affect this àforce, and it certainly is most for priori ground; and when we see the the benefit of the reader that the orthodox meeting them upon it, it last thing on his mind, should not is not without some fears that they be the controversy, but the cumu. may be foiled in using man's wealative evidence for a truth which pons, while they are invulnerable in he had already seen, was impugned the panoply of revealed truth. Are without just reason.
we then to grant the Socinian his The objections are arranged under a priori conclusions ? Far, very far four classes; namely, the alleged from it: we think them quite unsilence of the New Testament on the founded; and more thanks, theredoctrine, in certain parts where it fore, to those defenders of truth ought to be found ; its alleged in- who, like our respected author, consistency with the Divine attri- prove them to be so. If any reader, butes ; ils alleged contrariety to not content with the simple Scrip. express passages of Scripture ; and ture fact that thus and thus is the the alleged untenable assumption of doctrine, has speculated upon the the piacular and vicarious nature of questions, How can it be? how sacrifice.
bears it upon the character and attributes of God ? we think we can is no suitable vehicle for its exhi. confidently promise him much satis- bition ; and such was the case in faction in reading the chapter before the instance of fallen, guilty, impeus. The theme abstractedly is nitent man, till an atonement was always perilous; but Mr. Jerram's made. Besides, who can dare to discussion of it is safe, and to our define what is or is not compatible minds quite convincing: though if with the love of God to man? And any person should still say he is here, let the Socinian, if he can, unconvinced, the doctrine itself suf
burst through the irrefragable arfers nothing, for we have a full right gument from analogy, in the sorrows to retire back from man's argument of infancy, the innocent suffering to God's authority; for be the doc. with the guilty in public calamities, trine to our feeble intellect likely or the tower of Siloam, slavery, tynot, it is not the less scriptural. Still ranny, the partial diffusion of reliit is not unimportant for the refuta. gion and liberty, and a thousand tion of an opposer, and for the satis- similar mysteries. Let the objector faction of an inquiring mind, to shew reconcile these with the abstract that Scripture mysteries, though not idea of the Divine benevolence; discoverable by reason are not op:
and we shall be at no loss to reposed to reason; and that what God concile also the atonement with it. has taught us in his word as actual Neither the one nor the other proves fact, is consistent with what we may that God is not infinitely merciful ; infer from it by legitimate inference. but only that man cannot with his
The following is Mr. Jerram's finite powers affirm in what way the mode of argument in this chapter. Divine goodness will in any given You object, that “ satisfaction, or case be exercised. And, besides atonement for sin,” implies that all this, we live under a moral gothe Infinite Being can receive in- vernment; so that, as Mr. Jerram jury or compensation; neither of observes, which is possible. But, replies the “ Though it may not be necessary that author, though God is impassive, an atonement should be made for the pure yet, as a moral Governor, he may pose of inducing the Supreme Governor in his office, if we may so speak, re
to exercise mercy towards offenders, it
may, notwithstanding, be indispensably ceive injury and demand atonement:
requisite in order for his displaying that besides which the objection con- mercy, consistently with the moral gofounds good and evil, and makes vernment which he has established among virtue and vice matters of indiffer
men. Mercy must be exercised, therefore,
in such a way as to leave all the motives ence ; nay, would lead to the con
for obedience unimpaired and untouched. clusion that God must not interfere, The individual must never have it to say, should all his creation rise in hosti: 'I have been pardoned at the expense lity to his laws, because his own
of the whole system of government which
God had previously ordained in the world, happiness would still be uninjured,
and so as entirely to supersede the sancand his glory unimpaired. To a tions of, and therefore to annihilate, future second objection, that the doctrine happiness and misery, as offering motives is opposed to the goodness of God,
either to hope or fear.'' who needed no extraneous induce- The argument from analogy, alment to be merciful, Mr. Jerram luded to above, may be applied to shews that the doctrine does not the objection, that Jesus Christ imply that God wanted an induce- could not have been a vicarious ment, but just the contrary. His sacrifice, because the justice of God love was the fountain of the atone- would not allow punishment to fall ment. (See for example, Rom. v.
upon the innocent.
Yet does not 7-9; ì John iv. 9, 10; 2 Cor. i. 3; the son often suffer for the conduct 2 Thess. ii. 16; Heb. xiji. 20.) Mr. of the father ? do not the Jews to Jerram also shews that the senti- this hour suffer for those who said, ment of love may exist, where there nearly two thousand years ago,
“ His blood be upon us, and our to cherish towards our merciful children?” This difficulty rests as Creator. Nothing can be more heavily upon the Socinian scheme, contrary to truth and Scripture, than as the alleged difficulty of vicarious to convey an impression - we write sacrifices upon the orthodox. But with solemnity-as if God were a the analogies, it is replied, are not tyrant, who could not be appeased analogous; we admit, not altogether but by blood; for though the Scripso, though sufficient for the con- tures teach, that “ without the shedclusion; but even the difference ding of blood there is no remission;" strengthens that conclusion, as Mr. yet they expressly impute this very Jerram has shewn in the following blood-shedding, this vicarious atonestriking, and, we think, original ar- ment, as we have already seen, to gument.
the love of God, and not to any less “We will, however, admit that the gracious attribute. analogy between the innocent bearing the But we must pass on to the third guilt of others, in the course of Divine class of objections ; namely, those providence, does not hold in every point derived from the alleged contrariety with Jesus Christ suffering the Just for of the doctrine to express passages the unjust.' Christ was innocent to an extent that can be asserted of no merely of Scripture itself. This objection, human being; nor was he connected with if well founded, would be fatal ; us by the customary ties which unite but we know of no such passage. man with man. But these differences strengthen our case, and make it still more
The whole Jewish economy was of evident that the sins of others were im- a vicarious complexion; its sacriputed to him; and that it is consonant fices were typical; and, taking the with justice that they should be so. Taking the fact that the most innocent Epistle to the Hebrews (an Epistle and holy of beings was also the greatest much impugned by the Socinians) of sufferers—that the immaculate Saviour as our clue to the Mosaic ritual, we was emphatically the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,'—and that of an atonement those passages
can readily reconcile to the doctrine these sufferings were inflicted by the hand of God, and that it pleased the Father which, as to the letter, speak of the to bruise him,' we ask, in what way are mercies of God to man without disthese facts to be accounted for? Here tinct reference to it. The following we have innocence suffering, and that by discriminating remarks of our author this was unjust? Those who assert this, would, of themselves, take in all these charge injustice upon God: those who passages. deny it, acknowledge that innocence may “ It may be safely admitted, that projustly suffer. But all suffering is penal – mises of pardon are made, where no direct it is ihe wages of sin-and the conclusion allusion is found to the doctrine in quesis unavoidable, that, in the case of Christ's tion. When there is a well-understood sufferings, the sins of others must have principle of action, which has been clearly been imputed.” pp. 51, 52.
established, which lies at the foundation In the course of this valuable of an entire system, and which has again chapter, our author justly reproves need to make mention of that principle on
and again been referred to, there is no the morbid fastidiousness of the
every occasion when it is acted upon : it Socinian, who objects to the employ would be taken for granted, as a previment even of scriptural expressions ously established proposition in mathein describing the anger of God, and matics, in future reasonings and deduc
tions: and this is precisely the case in the his displeasure against sin; such as subject before us. Christ is represented his being "a consuming fire;” but as the Lamb slain from the foundation of at the same time, we cannot but the world.' The sacrifices of the patriarthink ca ion necessary to those chal dispensation--of Abel, of Noah, of who hold the orthodox doctrine, to the expiatory sacrifice of Christ.
Abraham, and of Job, all had regard to
The beware of harsh and exaggerated doctrine of the atonement is the basis of expressions; expressions not war- the Mosaic dispensation; all the ceremoranted by holy writ, nor consistent nial defilements of the Jews which were
typical of moral transgressions, were with those affectionate, yet reveren
cleansed by sacrifices of atonement ; and tial feelings, which we ought ever the blood of bulls and of goats, as will