« FöregåendeFortsätt »
The Editor notices frequently my expression of the neglect of duty on the part of man to the Creator and to his fellow creatures, nevertheless he fills up more than two pages in proving this point. He has not however attempted to counteract the force of the passages I quoted in both of my Appeals, shewing that the guilt occasioned by the wapt of due obedience to the precepts in question may be pardoned through repentance prescribed by the author of those precepts as the sure and only remedy for human failure. I therefore beg to ask the Editor to give a plain explanation of the followiny passages selected from my Appeals, that the reader may be able to judge whether or not repentance can procure us the blessings of pardon for our coustant omis ions in the discharge of the duties laid down in the precepts of Jesus. Luke V. 32. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Does not Jesus here declare a chief object of his mission to be the calling of sinners to repentance ? Luke XXIV. 47. “ That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” Did not Jesas by this commandment to his disciples declare the remission of sins as an immediate and necessary consequence of repentance? In Luke XIII. 3. " Except you repent you shall all
likewise perish,” the indispensibility of repen. tance for the forgiveness of sins is explicitly declared.- Is not also the mercy of God illustrated by the example of a father forgiving the transgressions of his son through his sin. cere repentance alone, in the parable of the prodiyal son? Those who place confidence in the divine mission of Jesus, or even in his veracity, will not hesitate, I trust, for a mo. ment to admit that Jesus has directed us to sin cere repentance as the only means of proçuring pardon, knowing the inability of men to give entire obedience to his precepts; and that Jesus would have recommended the lawyer, whom he directed to righteousness, to have recourse to repentance “had he gone and sincerely attempted” to obey his precepts, “ watching his own heart to discern those constant neglects of the duty he owed to the Creator and to his felíow creatures," and then applied to Jesus for the remedy of his discerned imperfections.
- I find abundant passages in the Old Testament also representing other sources than si. cifice as sufficient means of procuring pardon for sin. Psalm LI. 17. “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, OG:d, thou wilt not despise." Ezekiel XVIII. 30.“ Repent and return yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” Proverb XVI. 6. “ By mercy and truth iniquity is purged, and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." Isaiah 1. 18. “ Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crim.. son they shall be as wool.”
To shew the inefficacy of repentance to procure pardon the Editor appeals to buman justice, which, as he says, “ inquires not about the repentance of the robber and murderer; but respecting his guilt. The law indeed knows no repentance." (506) i therefore wish to know when ther or not human justice suffers an innocent man to be killed to atone for the guiit of theft or murder committed by another. It is at all events more consistent with justice that a judge who has the privilege of shewing mercy should forgive the crimes of those that truly feel the pain and distress of mind inseparable from sincere repentance, than that he should put an innocent man to death or destroy his own life to atone for the guilt of some of his condemned culprits.
Inquiry into the doctrine of the atonement.
In his first Review, the Editor began with what he considered “the most abstruse and yet the most in portant of Christian doctrines, the deity of Jesus Christ” and then proceeded to substantiate the doctrine of bis atonement; I therefore followed this course of arrangement in my Second Appeal; but as the Editor has in, troduced the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus first in the present Review, I will also arrange my reply accordingly.
The Editor quotes first Genesis III. 15.“ I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.”- From this passage he attempts to deduce the atonement of Jesus for the sins of men, demanding “ what could a reptile feel relative to the fate of its offspring through future ages? of what indivi. dual serpents did the seed of the woman break the head so as for it to bruise his heel?”_"Je
sus then,” he affirms “is the seed of the woman who suffered from the malice of Satan, while he on the cross, destroyed his power by atoning for sin and reconciling man to God." (page 517) I admit that a reptile as far as human experience goes is incapable of feeling “relative to the fate of its offspring through future ages ;' but I wish to know if a mere reptile could not have the power of conversation so as to persuade a woman to adhere to its advice; whether the ass of Balaam could be possessed of the power of seeing exclusively the angel of God and conversing with its own master Balaam ! and whether ravens could diligently supply the wants of Elijah by bringing him bread and flesh morning and evening ? Are not these occurrences equally difficult to reconcile to “ colomon sense" as the case of the serpent is according to the Editor? Yet we find these stated in the sacred books, and we are taught to believe them as they stand. Can we justly attempt to represent the ass and those ravens also as either angelical or demoniacal spirits, in the same way as the reptile is represented by the Editor to have been no other than Satan? We might in that case be permitted to give still greater latitude to metaphor, so as to take all the facts found in the Bible as merely allegorical representations; but