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If it be urged that it is inconsistent with common justice to pardon sin that requires the capital punishment of death without an atouement for it, it may be replied that the perfection of divine justice, as well as other attributes of God, should not be measured by what are found in, and adopted by, the human race. Is it consistent with our common notions of justice to visit the sins of fathers on their descendants as God ascribed to himselt? (Exodus XX. 5.) Is it consistent with our common notions of justice to afflict men with infinite punishment for their finite guilt as Jesus declares in Matthew XVIII. 8.? Even in the present case would it be consistent with common notions of justice to afflict an innocent man with the death of the cross for sins committed by others even supposing the innocent man should voluntarily offer his life in behalf of those others? We can have no idea of the perfection of divine justice, mercy, and wrath unless from what is revealed to us: and as we find in the sacred books that sins have been pardoned in consequence of the intercession of righteous men without any sacrificial atonement, should therefore be contented with those authorities and should not entertain doubt as to pardon being bestowed upon those who have had the advantage of the intercession of Je
sus, exalted as he was by God over all prophets and righteous men that ever lived.
Number XIV. 19-20. Moses prayed to the Lord "Pardon I beseech thee the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy and as thou hast forgiven this peo. ple from Egypt even until now; and the Lord said I have pardoned according to thy word." 2 Chrono XXX. 18. 19. and 20. "For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Maunasseh, Issachar and Zėbulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them saying, The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people 'Psalm CVI. 23. "therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach to turn a way his wrath, lest he should destroy." Did not Jehovah here forgive the sins of Israel from the intercession of Moses without having the least reference to the offer, of animal or human blood? Psalm XXXII. 5. "I acknowledged my sin unto thee and mine iniquity have
I not hid; I said I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Were not sins forgiven in this instance also through confession and humility without blood offerings? Psalm CXIII. 2. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" Isaiah LV. 7. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Jeremiah VII. 21. 23. Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices and eat flesh for I spake not unto your fathers nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt; concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them saying obey my voice and I will be your God and ye shall be my people &c." Here we find prayers and obedience preferred to animal sacrifices as means of pardon and no reference direct or figurative to propitiation to be made by human blood; Such an attempt therefore as to represent human blood or that of God in human form in lieu of animal blood as an indispensable atonement for sins, is, I think, unscriptural.
The Editor quotes (page 519.) Heb. X, "It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins; sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices thou hast had no pleasure" And he attempts thereby to prove that "sacrifices considered in themselves then, were never desired by God, they are approved merely with a view to his making atonement for whom God had prepared a body” and that they ceased after he had offered himself a sacrifice for sin." How strange is the idea that "God who preserves man and beast nor suffers a sparrow to fall to the ground without his permission" and by whom sacrifices were never desired for their own sake" should have caused millions of animals to be slaughtered at different times by men under the mistaken notion of their being an atonement for sius while he has been remitting iniquity from eternity referring only to the real and sufficient atonement made by Jesus for the sius of all men that ever lived from the beginning of the world?
How inconsistent is such an idea with the known mercy of that Providence whose unwillingness to receive human sacrifices was such that when Abraham had proved his fide
lity by binding his son on the altar, God stayed his hand from the sacrifice and produced a ram unexpectedly before him which he was graciously pleased to accept as an offering in the stead of Isaac (Genesis XXII. 13.) How can we imagine that God should have received the offering which he himself had thus prepared, with reference solely to the future sacrifice of a being far superior in excellence to Isaac whose life he mercifully preserved?
As to the above cited verses, they rather corroborate the second mode of interpretation noticed in the preceding paragraphs than the doctrine of a real human sacrifice in the Chris ian dispensation; for in verses fifth and sixth, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews declares the dissatisfaction of God with sacrifices and offerings in general terms without limiting them to any particular species whether of man or of animal. The language of the fifth verse "Sacrifice and offering thou would est not, but a body hast thou prepared me," confirms the idea that the divine disregard of mere sacrifice led to the preparation of a body for Jesus, through which he could impart to mankind the perfection of the will and laws of God in a manner consistent with the divine nature, teaching them to yield to God a heart-felt, instead of a