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widely from one another, that no one thing can correspond to any of them throughout ; for then it must exclude all, or at least most of the rest. The same thing, for instance, could not be a curse, and a sacrifice; because every thing accursed was confidered as an abomination in the fight of God, and could never be brought to the altar ; and the killing of the pafchal lamb was a thing essentially different from a sacrifice for fin.. .
These observations appear to me to be a fufficient guide to the interpretation of all the language of the New Testament respecting the death of: Christ, without fuppofing that it had any proper influence upon God, so as to render him propitiousto his offending creatures, or that it made it confiftent with the divine justice to forgive the sins of mankind; which is contrary to a thousand plain: and express declarations of scripture, which represent God. as being essentially, and of himself, merciful and gracious, without the least referoence to any other being or agent whatever, and as forgiving freely, and gratuitously, upon our repentance and amendment, without any other: atonement or satisfaction, I shall therefore content myself with reciting a few of the passages in which the death of Christ is represented in these feveral lights.
Eph. V. 2. Christ also has loved us, and given him felf for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, of a
feveet-smelling favour, Heb. vii. 27. Who needed not daily to offer sacrifice, first for his own fins, and then for the people. For this he did once, when he offered up himself. With the same idea he says, ix. 22. And without shedding blood there is no remision. This view of the death of Christ occurs pretty frequently in this epistle to the Hebrews, but not more than about half a dozen times in all the other books of the New Testament; the principal of which is 1 John ii. 1. And he is the propitiation for our fins. But if the great object of the death of Christ was the establishment of that religion by which the world is reformed, in consequence of which the divine being is rendered propitious to them, how natural is it to represent his death as a sacrifice to God, for that great purpose? Besides, facrifices for fin under the law of Moses are never considered as standing in the place of the finner ; but as the people were never to approach the divine presence, upon any occafion, without some offering, agreeably to the standing and univerfal custom of the East, with respect to all fovereigns and great mer, fo no person after being unclean (which not only moral guilt, but a number of things abfolutely indifferent to morality were fup- . posed to render a man) could be introduced to the tabernacle or temple service, without an offering proper to the occasion,
This idea may explain 2 Cor. v. 21. He made him fin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; because by fin in this place may perhaps be understood a fin-offering. Or it may correspond to Rom. viii. 3. What the law could not do, in that it was wiak, through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful fiesh, and for fin (on account of fin, or on the business of fin, i. e. to destroy and take it away) condemned sin in the flejh. In this case, the sense of the passage will be, that Christ was made, not lin, but in the likeness of finful flesh, that is, he. was made a man for our sakes. .
Many persons are carried away by the found of the word redemption, as if it necessarily implied, that, mankind being in a state of bondage, a price must be paid for their freedom, and that the death of Christ was that price. But the word which we render redemption signifies only deliverance in gene. ral, in whatever rnanner it be effected, and it is frequently so rendered by our tranAators. Belonging to this class of texts are the following, Matt. XX. 28. Mark X. 45. The fon of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a: ransom for many. I Tim. ii. 8. Who gave himself å ransom for all.
In order to judge of the meaning of this expresfion, let the preceding passages be compared with the following, in which the same Greek word is
used, Luke xxiv. 21. We trusted that it had been be who jould have delivered, or (as it might have been translated) redeemed Ifrael. In this case, the disciples certainly meant a deliverance, or redemption, from a state of subjection to the Romans, which they could not suppose was to be effected by purchase, but by the exertion of wisdom and power. Luke i. 68. He has visted, and redeemed his people ; which is explained in ver. 71, by a deliverance from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us. In A&ts vii. 35. Stephen ftiles Mofes a ruler and deliverer, or redeemer, but what price did he pay for their redemption? In the Old Testament also God is' frequently said to have redeemed Israel from the hand of the Egyptians; but he certainly did not redeem them by paying any price for their redemption, and much less by becoming a bondman in their place, but, as it is often expressed, he redeemed or delivered them, with an high hand and an outstretched arm. So also may Christ be said to redeem, or deliver from sin, viz. by his precepts, by his example, and by the precious promises of his gospel; by the confideration of which we are induced to forsake sın..
Stress has been laid upon the word for in the above-mentioned passages, as if Christ dying a ransom for all necessarily implied that he died in the stead, or in the place, of all; but the same word has other fignifications, as because, and so it is ren
dered Luke i. 20. Because thou hast not believed my word. Heb. xii. 2. Who for, or because of the joy that was set before him. It also fignifies on the behalf, or on the account of, as Mat. xvii. 27. That take, and give them for thee and me, that is, on the account of, not instead of me and thee. So Christ died, and gave his life a ransom, not instead of many, but on the behalf of many, or for their benefit. . .
Much stress has also been laid on Christ being said to bear the fins of mankind; as if they had been ascribed or imputed to him, and he had taken them upon himself, and suffered the wrath of God for them. If. liii. 11. He shall bear their iniquities. 1 Pet. ii. 24. Who his own self bare our fins in his own body, on the tree. Heb. ix. 28. Se Christ once suffered, to bear the sins of many.
These, I think, are all the places in which this particular view of the death of Christ occurs. But beside the manifest injustice, and indeed absurdity, of an innocent person being punished for one that is guilty, the word does not signify to bear or take upon another, but to bear away, or to remove, by whatever means ; so that the texts above-mentioned correspond to, 1 John iii. 5, 6. And ye know that he was manifest to take away fin, and in him was no fin..
The phrase bearing fin is never applied in the Old Testament, but to the scape-goat, which was not sacrificed, but turned loose in the wilderness, to