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ON THỂ DOCTRINE OF THE The prophet has also declared, TONEMENT.
that this was his meaning. Hav
ing said of Christ, “ He hath In a Series of Letters to a Friend.
borne our griefs,” he adds, " and (Cortimed from page 515.)
carried our sorrows ;” and after
wards, " He shall justify many, LETTER III.
for he shall bear their iniquities." The Doctrine illustrated, proved, and
Here a different word is used in defended from Scripture.
the Hebrew (sabal) which always
signifies to carry a load. Christ DEAR SIR,
carried our sorrows and iniquiIt is asserted that, wherities, when he was wounded, Christ is said to have borne our bruised, and chastized or pungriefs and sins, the word in the ished for our sins. St. Peter aloriginal sometimes signifies so says, that “ He bare our sins.” merely to take away. We need (the guilt and punishment of not then imagine that our sins them) “ in his own body on the guilt, and punishment were laid tree.” He freed us from the on hiny, or borne by him, but burden of our guilt by taking it only that he freed us from upon himself, and making satthem, or took them away from isfaction for it on the cross. us.
But the words of Matthew are I answer, though the word objected, who speaks of Christ's here used may sometimes bear healing the sick, as a fulfilment the sense here mentioned ; yet of the words of Esaias, “ HimSocinus himself owns that the self took our infirmities, and phrase, bearing of sins and sord bear our sicknesses." Christ 1098, commonly means bearing did not transfer the diseases of them, as a burden is borne, or the sick to himself, but healed suffering under them. This is them; and so took them away. evidently the meaning of the This shows how the words of threatening, which so often oc- the prophet were understood; curs in Scripture against trans- and applied by the evangelist. gressors, “ He shall bear his in- I answer; the words of the iquity.” Grotius, one of the prophets are in the New Testamost learned critics, says, that ment sometimes applied by in the language of the Scrip- way of allusion, or accommotures, bearing of sins always sig- dation, to events, which the nifies bearing the guilt or suffer- prophets did not primarily and ing the punishment of them. I chiefly mean. Dr. Clark accannot find that it ever has a dif- cordingly observes, that, though ferent meaning. That the phrase the original meaning of Esaias is to be so understood in this is the same with that of the place, is plainly intimated and im- apostle, when he said, “ Christ plied, when it is said, “ The Lord was once offered to bear the sins laid our iniquities upon him.” This of many ;" yet the words of the heavy burden, which would have prophet might also be accommocrushed and sunk the world, was dated to Christ's healing the sick, laid upon him, that he might and in that sense be said to be bear it, and so free us from it. fulfilled or verified. Besides, it
should be considered that vious sense of the apostle's Christ's sufferings have obtained words. What could have been for us our temporal, as well as said more fully in point ? spiritual mercies ; our bod- This last passage, which we ies, as well as our souls, are heal- have been considering, suggests ed by his stripes. His weari. to us another important topic of some labours in going about to argument, often mentioned by do good and heal the sick, and the apostles; and that is, that his tender compassion for them, Christ suffered and died, as an might also, in some sense, be atoning sacrifice for sin. " He termed his taking and bearing gave himself for us an offering their infirmities. All the suffer- and sacrifice to God. Christ our ings in his life, as well as at his passover was sacrificed for us, death, were for our sins, and Through the eternal Spirit he were a part of the price, by offered himself without spot unto which all our mercies were pur- God. Once in the end of the chased for us.
world hath he appeared to put The words of the apostle, a way sin by the sacrifice of himwhich have just been mentioned, self." are a strong proof, that the bur- A sacrifice has been defined by den of our sin and guilt was laid some, "a thing devoted to God. or charged upon Christ, and But the most important, essenborne by him.
• Christ was
tial, and discriminating proponce offered to bear the sins of erties of an atoning sacrifice many ; but to them that look for are wholly left out of this defihim, he shall appear without sin nition. Both the Hebrew and unto salvation.” When he was Greek word for a sacrifice signioffered as a sacrifice, our guilt fies a slain victim. In sacrifices was assumed by him, the punish- for sin the sbedding of the blood ment, due to us for sin, was in- was necessary. Without it there flicted upon him, and borne by was no reinission. A sin-offerhim. But at his second coming ing was a victim slain, and offerhe will appear without sin ; that , ed to God, to make atonement is, without bearing our sins, as for the sins of the person, for when he was offered or sacrificed whom it was offered, that so his for them. Christ was always sin might be forgiven, or not imwithout sin in himself. But, puted to him. when he was offered for us, the In these sacrifices under the burden of our guilt and punish- law the victim was represented, ment lay upon him. But by sat- as substituted in the place or isfying the penal obligation, he stead of the persons, for whom was under, he freed himself from it was sacrificed, and their sins this burden; he bear's it no long- and guilt were represented, as er. So that at his second com- transferred to the victim, which ing he will appear, not only with must bleed and die instead of the out sin in himself, but also with- sinners, in order to make atoneout bearing the guilt and punish- ment, and obtain forgiveness ment of our sins, as he did, when for them. The sin, the crimin. he was offered, as a sacrifice for ality, the fault, was never imagthem. This seems to be the ob- ined to be infused or communi. Vol. II. No. 12.
2 2 2
cited to the victim ; but the that the legal sacrifices were alguilt and the punishment, be- lusions to the great and final longing to the transgressor, were atonement to be made by the represented in a type, as trans- blood of Christ, and not that this ferred to his substitute, who is was an allusion to those.” The therefore said to bear the sins, priesthood sacrifices and atonethat were typically laid upon him. ments of the law were but figSee Levit. xvi. Here
ures of the priesthood sacrifice striking representation of vica- and atonement of Christ, who rious guilt and punishment. was the substance or original,
Now, what was represented in of which the others were only the typical sacrifice, was done in patterns, or typical representatruth and reality in the sacrifice tions. of Christ. Though our sins There were indeed euchariswere infused into him; tic sacrifices, or thank offerings. though the blame-worthiness, These might be unbloody. In implied in sin and inseparable allusion to these, Christians are from it, was not communicated exhorted to "present themselves to him, nor was God displeased to God living sacrifices ; to offer with bim ; though his beloved to God the sacrifice of praise, Son was never more the object which is the fruit of their lips, of the Father's complacency, giving thanks to his name ; and than when he was offered to bear not to forget to do good, and comthe sins of many ; yet the guilt municate, for with such sacrifand punishmentos sin, the obliga- ces God is well pleased." But tion to satisfy justice, by bearing the nature and design of these the curse of the law, was trans- are entirely different from atonferred; assigned to him, and tak- ing sacrifices. The sacrifice, by en upon himself, as our sponsor, which Christ made atonement, and thus, as Paul says, He put it necessarily required the shedaway, or abolished the penal ding of his blood, and bearing bond, which we were under, by our sins, and the curse of the the sacrifice of himself.
law, on the cross. Without this To evade this argument, it has our guilt must still have remainbeen said, “ that Christ is term- ed upon us. ed a sacrifice for sin only in a We have the testimony of the figurative sense, and in allusion apostle Paul again to the point to the levitical sacrifices.” But in hand,“ God hath made Christ what reason have we to give any to be sin for us, who knew no credit to unsupported assertions? sin, that we might be made the We may say with more reason, righteousness of God in him." that the expiatory sacrifices un- The expressions are figurative, der the law were such only in a but the general purport of the figurative sense. For they were passage seems obvious enough. but figures, shadowy or typical To this purpose “God made representations of the sacrifice of Christ to be sin for us," the guilt Christ, the only true, real, and punishment of sin were laid substantial propitiation. “ The upon him, and borne by him in doctrine of the apostle,” says our stead, though he knew no sin Bishop Butler, “is plainly this, in himself, " that we might be
made," or become “ the righteous- served, because God's holiness ness of God;" that the right and justice, his love of righteouseousness of Christ, which is the ness and hatred of wickedness, righteousness of God, might be. and his regard for his own rights come ours; given and imputed and honour, and for the interests to us by God, that so we might of his kingdom, are as much exbe accepted, as righteous in ercised and expressed in the vihim, by virtue of our union to him, carious sufferings of their sponor by the merit of a righteous- sor, as they would have been in ness inkerent in him, but placed the punishment of sinners. If to our account.
those moral truths (as some If this be the meaning of the speak) which are manifested in text, it is a direct and decisive the punishment of the guilty, testimony, that our guilt was are manifested in as strong a transferred to Christ, as the light in the sufferings and death ground of his sufferings; and of Christ in their stead; then that we are justified by his right- the punishment of the guilty no eousness imputed to us.
longer appears to be necessary. But many take the apostle's Nothing stands in the way of meaning to be, that God made their being pardoned, and of their Christ to become a sin offering recovering peace with God. But, for us, that we might be justified unless Christ be considered as by his righteousness. Now it the sponsor of sinners, making has already been observed, that satisfaction for their sins in their the sin offering is represented, stead (which evidently supposes as bearing the guilt and punish- that their guilt or pepal obligainent of the person, for whom tion has been transferred to him) it was offered. Therefore Christ's how can it be reconciled with our being a sin offering for us sup.
clearest and surest notions of the poses, and proves the imputation justice of God, for him to inflict or transferring of our guilt to on Christ the punishment of sin, him.
the curse of the law, for sin, for Farther; the Scriptures teach our sin, when it was not supposus that we are reconciled to God ed to be due to him for any sin by the death of his Son ; that we in him, or imputed to him. This haye redemption through his seems so far from declaring the blood, the forgiveness of sin ; that righteousness of God, that to me the Lord imputeth not sin, but im- it appears inconsistent with rightputeth to believers righteousness eousness, and destructive of the without works of their own. Now foundation of all moral truths. I it seems inconceivable, that the must frankly own that I cannot merit and death of Christ should conceive, how the death of Christ be any reason or motive with can be a reason or ground of God to be reconciled to sinners, God's being reconciled to us, unwho had offended him, unless it less it were considered, as a satbe considered, as a satisfaction isfaction of divine justice for our for their offences. The death of penal debt ; nor can I conceive, Christ turns away God's anger how our debt could be satisfied from sinners, or prevents their for by the suffering of our sponpunishment, though justly de. sor, unless our obligation to make
penal satisfaction, (in order that reconciled to us by Christ. For the ends, for which the punish- in the common language of the ment of sin is necessary, may be Scriptures, our being reconciled answered) were transferred to to God means the same thing. Christ ; that is, in fewer words, When Paul says, we are recunless our guilt were imputed to onciled to God by the death him. If those, who deny such of his Son, he evidently means, imputation, can rationally or in. what he had expressed in the telligibly make it appear, that next foregoing verse, that we God's love of righteousness and are justified by his blood. And hatred of sin are expressed by he has again explained our rehis treating bis own Son, as if he conciliation to God, as importing had been a sinner, by inflicting his not imputing our sins to us. on him the curse of the law, “ God was in Christ reconciling which is due only to sin, when it the world to himself, not imputis supposed, that there was no ing to them their trespasses.” In sin or guilt charged upon him ; the same manner the phrase is to and that this is a good reason for be understood, when the lords of God's being reconciled to sin- the Philistines, speaking of Da: ners, showing him to be just vid, said, “Wherewith should in justifying them ;
he reconcile himself to his Mas, readily attend to them. But, I ter,” i. e, reconcile Saul to him, must confess, this is beyond my regain his favour,“ should it not weak understanding
be with the heads of these men ?" But we are told that the Scrip- The word bears the same sense tures do not say that God is re- in Mat. v. 24, “ When thou conciled to us, but that we are bringest thy gift to the altar, and reconciled to God by the death there rememberest
that thy of his Son. God shewed him- brother hath ought against thee; self reconciled to us by sending leave there thy gift before the his Son, to reconcile us to himself. altar, go thy way, first be recon
I answer. Though God was ciled to thy brother,” i. e. reconnot reconciled to sinners pre- cile thy offended brother to thee. viously to his appointing the The word bears the same meanMediator, to make atonement for ing also I Cor. vii. 11. sin ; yet he had a kindness, a pi- It has been observe: before, ty for them; was willing to be that we were redeemed, or ran. reconciled to them in a way con- somed from death by Christ, by sistent with his own honour and his blood, by his dying for our the interest of his kingdom. sins, receiving the wages, the And he sent his Song to do what just punishment of sin, for our was necessary to prepare and sins, bearing the curse of the open a way for their being par- law in our stead; which neces. doned, and received into his fa- sarily implies that our guilt was
This he did by bearing transferred to him, and borne by the guilt and punishment of him. their sin, as their sponsor.
It may also be added, that Nor is there any weight in the since the wages of sin, or the observation, that the Scriptures curse of the law, was not due to do not say expressly that God is Christ on his own account, it