Page images

The prevalence of sacrifices among heathen nations generally, if not universally, affords evidence that they are conscious of guilt; and feel the necessity of an expiation for sin. If they believed that repentance and reformation would secure their forgiveness and restore them to the favor of their offended God, they would not seek pardon by sacrifice. But as they have ever sought it in this way, it follows that unassisted reason never taught them that they could obtain pardon without this expedient.

It appears by the laws which were communicated to Moses concerning sacrifices, that the trespass offering was of an expiatory nature. When people had transgressed the commandment of the Lord, they were commanded to bring an animal for a trespass offering; to lay their hand upon its head and slay it. The priest took of the blood with his finger and put it upon the horns of the altar; and poured out the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. The priest made an atonement for their sin; and it was forgiven him. See Lev. 4: 5: 6:

The ceremony respecting the scape goat is a striking representation of the transference of sin. The transgressions of the people were confessed over the goat; put upon his head; and he bore them away into the wilderness. By this method atonement was made for the sins of the people. These sacrifices, viewed by themselves, appear inefficacious and unmeaning. "In those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," Heb. 10:3,4. But when these sacrifices are viewed in connexion with their antitype, they appear significant and important. The apostle Paul contrasts the sacrifices under the law with the sacrifice of Christ; and shews most clearly that the latter, both in respect to victim and priest, infinitely exceeded the former. From the contrast it appears that the Jewish sacrifices were types of Christ's sacrifice; and that


from connexion with it, they derived all their importIf those symbols, in connexion with the thing prefigured, were ordained to make a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, it is an unavoidable conclusion that the reality itself is adequate to this purpose.

"He is the propitiation for our sins," &c. 1 John 2: 2. "The word 'laouos is no where found in the New Testament, but in this passage, and in chap. 4:10. But it occurs often in the LXX translation of the Old Testament, where it signifies a sacrifice of atonement. Thus Lev. 6:6,7. Numb. 5:8. Kęíos inaops is a ram for a sin offering. And Ezek. 44:27, goo Degen inaopov is, to offer a sin offering. In considering the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, John, like the other apos tles, followed his Master, who in the institution of his supper, directed his disciples to consider it, as designed to bring to their remembrance his blood, shed for the many, for the remissions of sins. (Macknight.)


"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation," Rom. 3:25. Whether ixangov alludes to the cover of the ark, or whether it expresses the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, its import is the same, or nearly the same, because it was on the cover of the ark, or mercy seat, the atonements were accepted, and pardons were dispensed. Christ, as a propitiatory sacri fice, was represented by the mercy seat. He, "by his atonement, covered our sins, and bore the curse for us; standing between God and the curse of the law for our sakes, that God might look on the law through Christ, as fulfilled by him on our behalf."

[ocr errors]


WHO being in the form of God,-was made in the likeness of men, Phil. 2:6,7. Not only the divinity, but the humanity of Christ has been denied. So mysterious is the union of human and divine nature, that at an early period of Christianity, even in the apostle's time, some attributed to the Savior only one nature. One sect believed him to he only human; another believed him to be only divine. The same unscriptural sentiments, with some modifications, have been continued till the present day. If there be none in the present age, who denies that the Son of God was united with any degrees of humanity, there are those, who deny that the body of Christ was animated by a human soul. As it is designed to exhibit a general view of the nature and character of the Savior, it is necessary to consider his humanity.


Christ is repeatedly called in the sacred Scriptures man, and the Son of man. When Peter denied his Lord, he called him a man, saying, "I know not the When the centurion witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, he exclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God." When Pilate expressed his opinion respecting the allegations brought against Christ, he said, "I find no fault in this man.' The Jews called Christ a man. They accused him of blasphemy, saying, "because thou being a man, makest thyself God." In these and other instances, Christ is called a man by persons, who were not under the influence of divine


inspiration. They spoke of him according to appearance. He appeared to them to be a man. But we are not confined to human appearance for evidence of Christ's humanity. The apostle Paul, who was under the inspiration of God's Spirit, called Jesus Christ a man. Preaching to the Athenians concerning the resurrection, he said, "Because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man, whom he hath ordained." In his epistle to the Romans, he contrasts Christ with Adam. He speaks of the extensive and deleterious effects of Adam's sin; and in view of this, he declares the extensive and beneficial effects of the obedience of Christ. His language is, "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." The phraseology of this passage authorizes a belief that one, in the latter part of the text, means one man, which is Jesus Christ. "For, since by man came death, by man, (i. e. Christ,) came also the resurrection of the dead." "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Christ repeatedly called himself the Son of man. Interrogating his disciples concerning peoples' opinion of himself, he said, "Whom do people say that I the Son of man am?" This appellation is frequently given by the Evangelists to Christ.

The two angels who were sent to Sodom to destroy the place, and to save Lot and his family, had the appearance of men. On account of this appearance they were called men. But it is presumable that they did not actually assume flesh and blood. They probably assumed this appearance because they could, in this manner, more intelligibly communicate information, and avoid the appearance of miraculous interposition. Christ, before his incarnation, appeared at times in the likeness of a man. When be wrestled with Jacob, he appeared as a man, and he was called

a man.

The scriptures give this account of the transaction. "Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face."

Because angels appeared, at times, in human likeness, and were called men; because Christ, in the early ages of the world, appeared in human likeness, and was called a man, though neither he nor they were encompassed by humanity, it does not follow, that Christ, when he abode upon earth, was not invested with human nature; that he only had the appearance of a man, without the reality. He was the seed of the woman. He descended from the house of David. If his conception was different from the ordinary course of nature, this circumstance does not affect his humanity. Adam was formed in a manner different from any of his posterity. But he was not the less human on account of the peculiar mode of his origination. Christ was born of Mary. He, undoubtedly, was nourished as other children. He increased in stature. He ate and drank. After long abstinence from food, "he was an hungred." It cannot be supposed that this was merely appearance; that there was no reality. It seems to be an impeachment of the human understanding to attempt to prove that Christ had a human body. But it is a greater impeachment to deny it.

Some, who admit that Christ had a human body, deny that he had a human soul. As this denial materially affects the character of Christ, it is necessary to investigate this point. When Christ is called in the sacred Scriptures, man and Son of man, there is no intimation given that these words are not to be understood according to their usual and natural import. By the word man, is understood a particularly organized body, animated by rational powers. A human body, which has been deprived of its spirit, cannot with propriety be called a man. Nor is it proper to apply

« PreviousContinue »