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doctrine it is, so plain and striking, that all mankind, who have had any notion of God's purity, and their own guilt, have joined in the practice of offering facrifices, to avert the wrath of invisible powers; thus giving universal testimony to that great principle of the Law and the Gospel, that without shedding of blood there is no remiffion. And this generai attachment to the notion of expiation disposed the Gentiles to embrace the facrifice of Christ, in whom they found that atonement, which they had all desired; and therefore the prophet scrupled not to call him “ the desire of “ all nations.” But, in this capacity, he is not desirable to the Socinians, who have found out another way of acceptance. They hold, that nothing is necessary, but mere repentance and moral reformation, on the part of finners; and that God, on his part, is bound by his goodness, to forgive them, for nothing. But now, what are we to do with all those declarations of the Scripture, which fpeak of Jesus Christ, as a “ facrifice for sin?”. In answer to which, I may venture to assure you, that the same ingenuity, which proves Jesus Christ to be “ no more than a man,” can as easily prove, that he was no sacrifice. It is true, say they, he is called a facrifice, but only in a figurative expression, as our prayers and praises are called sacrifices. His death was no sin-offering, but only an example of patient suffering for his religion ; an example to us to suffer in like anner, if we are called upon; and this, says our anthor, in his canting way, “ was a noble facrifice indeed.” So that a noble facrifice is no facrifice at all. my brethren, is not this a noble way of interpreting the Scripture? Christ died for our sins: and what does it mean? Nothing at all, but that he died for his own religion! And, if we die in like manner, then we are as truly a sacrifice for him, as he was for us :--and so faith the Quaker, that “the blood of Christ was no more than the blood of any other saint * :” But what faith the Scripture? “ Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Did not the Passover and its blood stop the execution of that vengeance, which fell upon the Egyptians? If Christ then is our Passover, it must follow, that his blood now does for us, what the blood of the pafchal lamb did for the Hebrews in Egypt; but that blood was expiatory, and carried redemption from death with it : and therefore so is his; according to that of St. Paul, “ We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our fins." Was the Passover an example to the Hebrews ? Did it die for its own religion? No; its blood was accepted for the saving of the people of God, when the unbelieving were destroyed; and therefore Christ's blood, as the great antitype before referred to, is accepted for the same end: otherwise he can be no Passover. Indeed, so false is it that Christ's sacrifice was figurative, that there never was any truc and proper sacrifice, but his only. The “ blood of bulls, and of goats, and of lambs," which were offered daily under the Law, and had the appearance of real sacrifices, could not accomplish what it aimed at: it could not purge the confcience from a sense of guilt: and to shew that it had not done fo, those sacrifices were offered repeatedly, day by day, and year by year: but Christ offered himself “ once for all," and by that offering, perfected for ever them that are sanctified." With the merits of this sacrifice, he now appears, as our High Priest, in the presence of God for us, as the High Priest of the Jews went into the most holy place of the temple, once a year, with the blood of the yearly facrifice. We are far from denying, that Christ was an example to us in his death, as well as in his life: but he was not only an example, as the Socinian falsely afferts : he was an “ Interceffor, a Mediator, a temple, a Priest,
* G. Keith quoted these words from Solomon Eccles, a great preacher and prophet of the Quakers. See Lollie's Works, folio, Vol. II. p. 195.
a sacrifice, a ransom, a price of redenption, a propitiation, " an atonement, a lamb sain for the sins of the world * :" he was, in short, all that the Law exhibited: and instead of being a facrifice only in figure, all the sacrifices that had been before him, from the beginning of the world, were the figures, of which he himself, once for all, in the end of the world, was the substance .and reality.
If you wish to see the whole doctrine of atonement confirmed and explained in a single text, consider what the Apostle hath faid, Heb. X. 26, 27. “ If we fin wilfully, after that we have “ received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more « sacrifice for lins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, “ and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." This teaches us, that a fire from heaven is due to finners, and must fall upon those sinners themselves, unless a sacrifice, exposing itself in their stead, shall turn away the indignation that
* Heb. vii. 25. Ibid. ix. 15. John ii. 21. Heb. iv. 14. Ibid. ix; 26. Matt. 83. 28. ; Cor. vi. 20. 1 John ii. 2. Rom. v. 11. John i. 29.
awaits them. Christ is this facrifice, accepted of God as our substitute : but, if we depart from our profession, despising the advantage of this substitution, then we can find no other sacrifice, but must receive the divine wrath in our own persons. When God thall be revealed, as once on Mount Sinai, and that fiery indignation, which is looked for, shall be falling upon the adversaries of the Gospel, then we shall see the necessity of this sacrifice for fin: and, if the sophistry of any seducer shall have tempted us to rely on some other method of salvation, we shall curse the hour, in which we listened to him.
C H A P. X.
U are not to wonder, my brethren, either at the ab
surdity, or wickedness, of these attempts which are made upon your faith : the Scripture hath told us, the time should come, when they “ will not endure sound doctrine,” but be possessed with an itch of novelty: and, as numbers give credit to any falle persuasion, it is natural for them to wish, that you may endure found doctrine as little as they do. With this view, they take all possible pains for the propagation of their false opinions; which Dr. Priestley, in false English, calls the “ spread of truth *.” These opinions, as you have seen, are very flattering to human pride: and it is an old saying, that flatterers are easily believed. No deep reasoning is requisite, when the treachery of your own hearts assist them in their work; the success of which is farther promoted by the cheapness of their publications, which puts them into the hands of the lowest readers. Their books fly about the world, at a penny a-piece; like the seeds of thistles, which, being little and light, are carried about by the winds, and will take root in any foil, (the worse the better) till they overrun the face of the earth'; and this they call the “ spread of truth." O let not the husbandman go to sleep, while the enemy is thus diligent, and successful! You may judge, therefore, that your fituation is dangerous; and when you are convinced of this, it is hoped, you will be on your guard. And now I have endeavoured,
* See the Preface to his Sermon on “ The Importance and Extent of free Enquiry, into Matters of Religion."
as my duty requires, to shew you what the enemies of your faith have to say, in one of their pieces, you may be able to judge of the rest for yourselves. So, for the present, I shall conclude with that advice of St. John-" Beloved, believe not every spirit, but « try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false “ prophets are gone out into the world.” John iv. I.
CATHOLIC DOCTRIN E
Proved by above an
Hundred short and clear ARGUMENTS, expressed in the TERMS
Compared after a Manner entirely New,
Digested under the Four following Titles:
1. The Divinity of Cbrift.
3. The Plurality of Persons.
4. The Trinity in Unity. With a few ReFLECTIONS, occasionally interspersed, upon
fome of the Arian Writers, particularly Dr. S. CLARKE:
To which is added,
A LETTER to the COMMON PEOPLE, in Answer to some POPULAR
ARGUMENTS against The TRINITY.
BY WILLIAM JONES, M. A. F.R.S. RECTOR OF PASTON, IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, AND MINISTER
OF NAYLAND, IN SUFFOLK.