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heaven on the other: of any moral revolution throughout our portion of the universe, of which this public execution is but the outward signal. The historians drop no hint that its sufferings, its affections, its relations, were other than human :-raised indeed to distinction by miraculous accompaniments, but intrinsically, however signally, human. They ascribe no sentiment to the crucified, except such as might be expressed by one of like nature with ourselves, in the consciousness of a finished work of duty, and a fidelity never broken under the strain of heaviest trial. With this view of Christ's death, which is such as might be entertained by any of the primitive Churches, having one of the Gospels only, without any of the Epistles, we are content.”*
Again we remark, as we did when examining Dr. Channing's view, that the facts which do not suit the theory of these writers, are quietly dropt out of view. Not a word is said of Gethsemane, or of the loud cry, “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani !” But these two facts, when replaced in the story, utterly destroy Mr. Martineau's fancy sketch of that “serene countenance, and that “heavenly light." The picture drawn by the Evangelists, and that drawn by Mr. Martineau, are utterly unlike. He, therefore, disqualifies himself, at the outset, by his unfaithfulness, for offering any answer to the important question, “What meaneth this ?”
We pass, next, from the Unitarian leaders, English and American, to a different class of men. Clergymen like Robertson may admire Dr. Channing, but cannot follow in his steps while they remain ministers of the Church. Nor can they, so easily as Nonconformists, misrepresent Scripture. A Dissenting minister of any denomination can read to his people only such parts of Holy Scripture as he chooses to select; but the services of the Church bring all the Gospels and all the Epistles so constantly before the congregation, that few clergymen would have ventured to make such statements from the pulpit, as we have quoted from Dr. Channing and Mr. Martineau. Hence those ministers of the Church of England who, to a certain extent, sympathize with Dr. Channing and Mr. Martineau, express themselves in very different language. Yet the chief object with them seems to be to get rid, as far as may be, of that great doctrine of substitution, (“ He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," &c.) which was the very corner-stone of the theology of Augustine, Anselm, Luther, Jewell, and Hooker.
The most popular and straightforward of this class, indeed, declares, and probably declares with sincerity, that he has no wish to evade, or get rid of, anything that the Bible has said. The Rev. Charles Kingsley thus writes :
* Rev, S. Martineau's Sermons, p. 83.
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“God the Father so loved the world, that He sent His Son into the world, that the world by him might be saved. God the Son so loved the world, that he came to do his Father's will, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. That is enough for us. Let it be enough, and let us take simply, honestly, literally, and humbly, like little children, everything which the Bible says about it, without trying or pretending to understand, but only to believe.
"We can believe that God made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, though we not only cannot, but dare not try to explain so awful a mystery. We can believe that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was a propitiation for sin; though neither we nor any man on earth can tell exactly what the words 'sacrifice' and 'propitiation' mean. And so with all the texts which speak of Christ's death and passion, and that atonement for sin which He, in His boundless mercy, worked out this day. Let us, instead of puzzling ourselves as to how the Lamb of God, takes away the sins of the world, believe that He knows, and that He lives, and cry to Him as to the Living God,—'Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us, and take our sins away.'
“Instead of tormenting our minds as to the how and why of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, let us turn our hearts to the practical question, What shall we do ?”*
This passage, at the first glance, seems to be all that we could wish. But, on a second reading, we are forcibly reminded of another clergyman of the same school, who, on taking possession of a living, not very long ago, “read himself in, and declared "his assent and consent" to the Thirtynine Articles; but added, in the face of the congregation, that “there were some of them which he did not profess to understand.” Whether a man can properly be said to receive a doctrine, when he tells you that he does not know what is meant by it, is surely at least doubtful. Anselm and Hooker believed the words of Scripture with an intelligent and thankful belief. Mr. Kingsley advises us to believe those words, simply because they are in the Bible,“ without trying or pretending to understand them.” To our minds this is far from being satisfactory. A blind, unintelligent belief, in grown men, is very much like no belief at all.
But even this is less objectionable than the attempts of another writer of the same class, to understand, and to explain, the passion of Christ in such a way as to get rid of the idea of substitution, and to make Christ merely the representative of the human race, without any real sin-bearing. Mr. Llewellyn Davies thus writes :
“If any one asks, What is the meaning of the Cross, and of Christ crucified ? the Scriptures teach us to return this as the first answer: God was showing, in the suffering person of His only
* Rev. C. Kingsley's Sermons on Discipline, p. 54.
begotten Son, that His goodness and forbearance towards men are boundless; that His love is not repelled or exhausted, but rather quickened, by the sin and misery of mankind, and that He invites men to reconciliation and trust.
" St. Paul says, 'Because One died for all, all died in Him; and He thus died for all, that those who live should not henceforth live to themselves, but to Him who died and rose again for them.' St. Paul does not say that Christ died instead of all, but as the head and representative of all. In virtue of this relation, it is to be assumed that when He, the Head and Representative, died, His members—those comprehended in Him-died also. He died and rose again, that His death and rising might be a law to them ;-that they might die and rise with Him.
“God's giving up His Son is a proof of love; but the fact that His Son, in whom God is well pleased, is in such a way and to such a degree the Head of mankind and the brother of every man, that He will not allow them to be separated from Himself,—this fact, when it is clearly apprehended, gives us the sense of justification.
“The Atonement is set forth in the Son of God, and Son of Man, who in declaring His relation to us, and making Himself one with us in our sin and darkness, shows us the Father loving us, and Himself owning us as beloved brothers, whose flesh and blood He is not ashamed to partake."*
Here we have one Broad Churchman trying to understand and to explain what another Broad Churchman had told us it was wiser and better to leave in mystery. But Mr. Llewellyn Davies evidently fails. If the Lord Jesus knew and felt that He had merely a certain amount of bodily suffering to go through, which would last some twenty or four-and-twenty hours and no more, and if He knew that on the third day he should rise and live again, having wrought out a great salvation,—what should have prevented Him from going through those few hours of bodily suffering with that a calmness ” of which Dr. Channing speaks, or that “serene countenance" which Mr. Martineau describes ? But the fact is, that the history, as we have it, flatly contradicts these representations. It is the mental, not the bodily suffering of Gethsemane and Calvary, that we are considering; and for that mental suffering, neither Dr. Channing, nor Mr. Martineau, nor Mr. Llewellyn Davies can assign the slightest reason.
One more, a leader of this school, the Rev. F. D. Maurice, cannot and must not be forgotten. His way of regarding the Cross, and of explaining the doctrine of the Atonement, is thus developed in his Theological Essays :
“ Supposing all these principles gathered together, supposing the Father's will to be a will to all good ; the Son of God, being one with Him, and Lord of man, to obey and fulfil in our flesh that
* Rev. J. L. Davies' “Work of Christ," pp. 26–32.
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will by entering into the lowest condition into which men had fallen through their sin; supposing this Man to be, for this reason, an object of continual complacency to His Father, and that complacency to be fully drawn ont by the death of the Cross; is not this, in the highest sense, atonement ? Is not the true, sinless root of Humanity revealed ? is not God in Him reconciled to man? May not that reconciliation be proclaimed as a Gospel to all men ? Is not the Cross the meeting-point between man and man, between man and God? Is not this meeting-point what men, in all times and places, have been seeking for? Did any find it till God declared it?" (p. 147.)
Is not this " an explanation in which nothing is explained ?” Let us carefully look at its several links.
The Father's will is a will to all good. The Son obeys that will “ by entering into the lowest condition into which men had fallen through sin.”
We pause here, with a natural demand, Why? An earthly sovereign may have a heart filled with benevolence, and he may wish that his son should be like-minded. But if he hears that that son has suddenly left the palace, and gone to dwell in the poorest hovel in the city, amidst vice and want and wretchedness, will he not demand, in astonishment, “ What is your object, your motive ?” Merely to leave a palace to dwell in a garret—to give up wealth, and to embrace poverty—to leave the society of the good, and to consort with the profligate
-is not, of itself, a good action, or a virtue. St. Paul, indeed, assigns a reason for all this. He can discern an adequate motive. And so explained, the act is seen to be one of God. like mercy, grace, and benevolence. But, if we do not take St. Paul's explanation-if we see in the Incarnation, and in the Passion, humiliation and suffering and nothing more, then we wholly fail to see why the Son's sufferings should have pleased the Father's heart. A human parent finds pleasure in a son's endurance and agony only when that agony purchases some great and glorious result. Mere humiliation, mere suffering, without any adequate gain, can give the father's heart no pleasure.
We need not go further. Mr. Maurice's theory, by which the atonement atones for nothing, procures nothing, ends in nothing, breaks down at the very outset. Our question, “What meaneth this ?” receives no answer. The new school, the modern theology, which some tell us is soon to take possession of the Church, fails to give us any intelligible solution of the great problem of the Gospel. Mr. Kingsley meets it in one way, Mr. Llewellyn Davies in another, Mr. Maurice in a third; but all three plainly confess their dislike to the solution which satisfied St. Paul and Augustine, Anselm and Wiclif, Vol. 68.-N0.377.
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Luther, Hooker, and Jewell. The Reason of the Cross is left wholly undiscovered and unexplained in the numerous volumes of Broad Church Theology.
“ The Brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His Person,” voluntarily humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” We ask, Wherefore? What was the purpose-the object ? The answers we receive are of this kind :
“He proved His entire consecration of himself to the cause of God and mankind.”
“We see the consciousness of a finished work of duty, and a fidelity never broken under the strain of heaviest trial.”
“God was showing, in the suffering person of His only. begotten Son, that His goodness and forbearance towards men are boundless.”
« The Son of God obeyed and fulfilled in our flesh His Father's will by entering into the lowest condition into which men had fallen through their sin.” “ For this reason He was an object of continual complacency to His Father; a complacency fully drawn out by the death of the Cross.”
In all these explanations the idea of a satisfaction to God's justice, the idea that Jesus was "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities,” is carefully excluded. Consequently, these writers are forced to adopt the strange conclusion, that the Father was pleased with the Son's sufferings, though those sufferings bad no purpose, no object, no fruit!
If a Christian man, relying on his heavenly Father's support, needlessly exposes himself to torture and death, and bears that torture and death patiently, are we to imagine that the transaction is one which “ draws forth the Father's complacency”? Is suffering a thing to be sought for its own sake, as if, when patiently endured, it was a positive good ?
In short, if Christ did not “ bear our sins in His own body on the tree,” and if " by His stripes we were not healed,” can the whole history of the Saviour's life and death be made in the slightest degree intelligible? We see not how.
MODERN MATERIALISM. WHATEVER be the arena of conflict, to under-estimate the power of an opponent is an error not less fatal than to overestimate one's own. Professor Hitchcock's salutary admonition has lost none of the force it possessed when first uttered