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from the people their iniquities by a symbolica) translation to the animal. For, it is to be remarked, that the ceremony of the scape-goat, is not a distinct one: it is a continuation of the process, and is evidently the concluding part, and symbolical consummation, of the sin-offering.* So that the transfer of the iniquities of the people upon the head of the scape-goat, and the bearing them away to the wilderness, manifestly imply, that the atonement effected by the sacrifice of the sin-offering, consisted in the transfer and consequent removal of those iniquities. What then are we taught to infer from this ceremony ?—That, as the atonement under the law, or expiation of the legal transgressions, was represented as a translation of those transgressions, in the act of sacrifice in which the animal was slain, and the people thereby cleansed from their legal impurities, and released from the penalties which had been incurred: so, the great atonement for the sins of mankind, was to be effect. ed by the sacrifice of Christ, undergoing for the restoration of men to the favour of God, that death, which had been denounced against sin ; and which he suffered in like manner as if the sins of men had been actually transferred to him, as those of the congregation had been symbolically transferred to the sin-offering of the people.
That this is the true meaning of the atonement effected by Christ's sacrifice, receives the fullest confirmation from every part of both the Old and the New Testament: and that thus far, the death of Christ is vicarious, cannot be denied without a total disregard of the sacred writings.
It has indeed been asserted, by those who oppose the doctrine of atonement as thus explained, that
nothing vicarious appears in the Mosaic sacrifices." With what justice this assertion has been made, may be judged from the instance of the sin-offering that has been adduced. The transfer to the animal of the iniquities of the people, (which must necessarily mean the transfer of their penal effects, or the subjecting the animal to suffer on account of those iniquities,)—this accompanied with the death of the victim; and the consequence of the whole being the removal of the punishment of those iniquities from the offerers, and the ablution of all legal offensiveness in the sight of God:—thus much of the nature of vicarious, the language of the Old Testament justifies us in attaching to the notion of atonement. Less than this we are clearly not at liberty to attach to it. And, what the law thus sets forth as its express meaning, directly determines that which we must attribute to the great atonement of which the Mosaic ceremony was but a Type : always remembering, carefully to distinguish between the figure, and the substance; duly adjusting their relative value and extent; estimating the efficacy of the one, as real, intrinsic, and universal ; whilst that of the other is to be viewed, as limited, derived, and emblematic.
It must be confessed, that to the principles, on which the doctrine of the Christian atonement has been explained in this, and a former discourse, several objections, in addition to those already noticed, have been advanced. These however cannot now be examined in this place. The most important have been discussed ; and as for such as remain, I trust, that, to a candid mind, the general view of the subject which has been given, will prove sufficient for their refutation.
One word more, my young Brethren, and I have
• No. LXXII.
c No. LXXIII.
done. On this day we have assembled to commemorate the stupendous sacrifice of himself, offered up by our blessed Lord for our redemption from the bondage and wages of sin: and on next Sunday, we are invited to participate of that solemn rite, which he hath ordained for the purpose of making us partakers in the benefit of that sacrifice. Allow me to remind you, that this is an awful call, and upon an awful occasion. Let him who either refuses to obey this call, or presumes to attend upon it irreverently, beware what his condition is. The man, who can be guilty of either deliberately, is not safe.
Consider seriously what has been said, and may the God of Peace, that brought again from the
dead, our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever-Amen.
NO. I.-ON THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF CHRIST, AND THE SPECIES OF ARGUMENTS BY WHICH THIS ARTICLE OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE HAS BEEN OPPOSED.
Page. 2. (a) EXEYWOEV EQUTOV—strictly, emptied himself-viz. of that form of God—that Glory which he had with God before the world was—see Phil. ii. 6, 7, compared with John xvii. 5.-see also Krebs. Observ. Flav. p. 329. Fortuita Sacra, p. 217–219. Elsner. Obs. Sac. ii. p. 240—245. See also Schleusner, on the word ExevwOEV. On the whole of the passage from Philippians, I would particularly recommend the observations of the Bishop of Lincoln, Elements, &c. vol. ii. p. 111-115. Middleton likewise (Doctrine of the Greek Article, p. 537–539.) deserves to be consulted.
It has indeed been pronounced, in a late extraordinary publication, distinguished at least as much by strength of assertion as by force of argument, that “ a person, who has not paid particular attention to the subject, would be surprised to find, how very
few texts there are, which even seem, directly to assert, the PRE-EXISTENCE OF CHRIST.”—How this matter may appear to those who have “not paid
particular attention to the subject,” I leave to the author of this work to determine. With those, who have, it is unnecessary to say, what must be the reception of an observation so directly opposed, not more to the plain and uniform language of Scripture, than to every conclusion of a just and rational criticism applied to the sacred text. Bold, however, as this writer appears in assertion, he seems by no means deficient in prudence ; for, whilst he affirms, that even those few texts, (as he chooses to represent them,) furnish no real support, to the doctrine they are adduced to confirm ; he has, on this, as on almost every other position throughout his book affecting the interpretation of Scripture, declined exposing his proof to hazard. We are referred, indeed, to“ the Commentary of Grotius, Dr. Lardner's Letter on the Logos, Mr. Lindsey's Apology for resigning the vicarage of Catterick, and the Sequel to that apology, Hopton Haynes on the attributes of God, and Dr. Priestley's history of early opinions.” These, we are told, will completely overturn the unscriptural notion of the pre-existence of Christ. And this they are to accomplish, by shewing, that all such passages, as contribute to its support, “ are either interpolated, corrupted, or misunderstood”(see Mr. Thomas Belsham's Review of Mr. Wilberforce's treatise, pp. 272, 273.) Entrenched behind this oddly marshalled phalanx, this gentleman feels perfectly secure. It seems indeed somewhat strange, that, encouraged
by such powerful aid, he has not thought fit, to offer a single text, in support of his own opinion ; nor a confutation of any one of those, which have been urged by his adversaries in defence of theirs.
In the face however of this polemic array, and in defiance of those extraordinary powers of modifying Scripture which we find here ascribed to it,