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Were we to judge of this matter by what happens in the prefent life, we fhould be led to believe, that repentance will not, by itself, prevent the penal confequences of fin in the life to come. For when men ruin their fortunes by extravagance, or their health by excefs in fenfual indulgencies, it is well known, that repentance alone doth not remove these evil confequences of their follies and exceffes. In like manner, when individuals incur the penalties of human laws, no wife governor finds it either reafonable in itself, or expedient for the good of the community, to free the criminal from the punishment which the wholesome laws of the ftate have annexed to fuch crimes, merely because he hath repented of them. The punishment of criminals is neceffary to deter others from committing the like offences. Wherefore, if in the prefent life, repentance is never found of itself to remove the temporal evil confequences which God hath connected with vice; also if, men themselves being judges, repentance ought not to prevent the punishment of crimes injurious to fociety, what reafon hath any person, from the prefent constitution of things, to expect that repentance of itself will prevent those penal confequences which God may have thought fit to annex to vice in the life to come? Much more, what reafon hath any one, from the prefent constitution of things, to expect that repentance and reformation will put the finner into the condition he would have been in, if he had always preferved his innocence? The prevalence of propitiatory facrifices in every age and country of the world, certainly fheweth it to be the general fenfe of mankind, that repentance is not of itself sufficient to procure the pardon of fin; but that fomething befides is neceffary to induce the Deity to be propi tious, even to the penitent finner.
I acknowledge, indeed, that the prevention of the bad con fequences of vice, and the removal of these consequences when they happen, which in the prefent conftitution of things, fometimes takes place through the timely affiftance of others, affords a prefumption, that the connection between fin and pu nishment is not so rigid, but that in certain cafes it may be broken. This prefumption, however, goeth no farther than to afford a flight hope, that punishment, even in the life to come,
may poffibly be avoided through fome foreign affistance. But whether any fuch affiftance be actually provided, and what that affiftance is, and by whom it is to be afforded, cannot be known from the prefent conftitution of things. It is God alone who can discover these things to us. Wherefore, if revelation teacheth that God hath been pleafed through the vicarious fufferings of his fon, to prevent thofe penal confequences from coming on finners in the future life, which in the original conftitution of things he hath connected with fin, these things fhould not be objected against because they are not discoverable by human reason. The only thing proper for us to do, is to enquire whether it be really a doctrine of revelation, that through the fufferings of Chrift the penal confequences of fin are, in the life to come, to be prevented from coming on the finner, who having repented of his fins and reformed his conduct, is capable of being pardoned. And if, on enquiry, this is found to be a doctrine of revelation, "Our wifdom is," as Butler obferves, "thankfully to accept the benefit, by performing the conditions which it is offered, without difputing how it was proupon "cured on the part of Chrift.”
SECT. II. Shewing it to be a Doctrine of Revelation, that Chrift hath made atonement for the Sin of the World, by his Death.
That Christ hath made atonement for the fins of men by his sufferings and death, is revealed in all thofe paffages of scripture, where his death is represented as a propitiatory facrifice. For, fince according to the ideas, which in every age and nation, mankind have entertained of propitiatory facrifices, they were believed to have a real efficacy in procuring the pardon of fin, the fcriptures, by calling Christ's death a facrifice for fin, have declared it to have that efficacy; and have taught us to expect pardon, through the efficacy of that facrifice.
To recite all the paffages of the Jewish and Christian revelations, in which the sufferings and death of Christ are spoken of as a propitiatory facrifice, and the pardon of fin is represented as owing to the efficacy of that facrifice, would lengthen this effay beyond bounds. The following appear to be some of the Bb 2 principal
principal paffages, and therefore they merit the reader's attention, Ifa. liii. 6. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 10. When thou shalt make his foul an offering for fin, he shall fee his feed.-John i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh the fin of the world.-Rom. iii. 25. Whom God hath fet forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, for a proof of his own righteousness in paffing by the fins which were before committed through the forbearance of God: 26. For a 26. For a proof also of his righteousness in the present time, in order that he may be just, when juftifying him who is of the faith of Jesus.-Rom. iv. 25. Who was delivered to death for our offences, and was raifed again for our juftification.-Gal. iii. 13. Chrift bath bought us off from the curfe of the law, having become a curfe for us.-Ephef. i. 7. By whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of fins.-Heb. ii. 14. Since then the children participate of flesh and blood, even he in like manner partook of these, that through death he might render ineffectual him who had the porver of death, that is, the devil.- Heb. ix. 25. Not however, that he should offer himself often, as the high-pricft entereth into the holy places every year with other blood. 26. For then he must often have fuffered fince the formation of the world: but now once at the conclufion of the he ages, hath been manifefted to abolish fin offering, by the facrifice of himself. 27. And for as much as it is appointed to men once to die, and after that the judgment; 28. So alfo Chrift, being once offered in order to carry away the fins of many, will, to them who wait for him, appear a fecond time without fin-offering, in order to falvation.— Heb. x. 10. By which will we are fanctified, through the offering of the body of Chrift once.—1 Pet. iii. 18. For Chrift also hath once fuffered for fin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.
Thefe paffages, with many others which might be mentioned, taken according to their plain meaning, in conjunction with what Christ said to his disciples, when he instituted his fupper, to prevent his death and the ends for which he died, from being forgotten in the world; namely, This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins, Matth. xxvi. 28. I fay, thefe paffages teach us, That Chrift's fufferings and death, have, as B. Butler expreffes it, an efficacy additional to, and beyond mere inflruction, example, and government.
To elude, however, the force of the argument, taken from the account given in the fcriptures, of the end for which Chrift fuffered and died, fome have affirmed,
First, That Chrift's death is called a facrifice for fin, not because it was really such a facrifice, but merely in accommodation to the prejudices of mankind, who, from the beginning of the world, expected the pardon of their fins through the efficacy of facrifice. To this the answer is, 1. We know, that Christ's death is not called a facrifice for fin, in accommodation to the prejudices of the Jews, and in conformity to the Mofaic phraseology; but that the Mofaic phrafeology was founded on the Levitical facrifices being types or prefigurations of the facrifice of Chrift. So we are affured, Heb. viii. 5. Thefe ferve with a reprefentation and shadow of heavenly things, fince Mofes, when about to conftruct the tabernacle, was admonished of God; fee, now, faith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern which was fhewed thee in the Mount. For from this it appears, That as the tabernacle which Mofes finished was a copy of the tabernacle fhewed to him on the mount, fo the Levitical priesthood, which he appointed, was a type of the priesthood of Christ: and the service of the Levitical priests, which he appointed to be performed in the earthly tabernacle, agreeably to the pattern. shewed to him in the mount, was a type of the service of Christ, as an high priest, in the heavenly holy places. The fame thing appears from many other paffages in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Wherefore, the death of Chrift was not called by the inspired writers, a facrifice for fin, in allufion to the Levitical fin-offerings; but these were called facrifices for fin, because they were types or prefigurations of the real facrifice of Chrift. 2. If, in the account which the infpired writers have given of Christ's death as a facrifice for fin, they have not alluded to the Levitical facrifices, it will readily be allowed, that they have far less alluded to the heathen facrifices. For thefe not being of divine inftitution, as the Levitical facrifices were, if the facred writers have called Chrift's death a facrifice for fin, in allufion to the heathen facrifices, they have given to thofe fuperftitions an importance to which they were by no means intitled. 3. If Chrift, in fpeaking of his blood as fhed for the remiffion of fin, and his apostles, in afcribing to his death all the efficacy which
Effay VII. the facrifices for fin were fuppofed, both by the Jews and Gentiles, to poffefs, have not expreffed what is true in fact, but only have accommodated their language to the ill founded prejudices and hopes of mankind, they have deceived us in a matter of the greatest importance. And the Epistle to the Hebrews, which was written profeffedly to prove that Chrift really offered himself a facrifice for fin, is a pernicious writing; because, by eftablishing a falfe fact, it hath led mankind to truft for the pardon of their fins to a lie.
Secondly, To deftroy the argument by which Christ's death is proved to be a real facrifice for fin, taken from the account given of it in fcripture, there are fome who contend that it is called a facrifice for fin, in a metaphorical sense only; because he died for the confirmation of his doctrine concerning the pardon of fin to be obtained through repentance, and as an example of patience and fortitude in fuffering for, righteousness sake, whereby his difciples are strongly excited to virtue. The perfons of whom I speak, supposing, it seems, that to the pardon of a finner nothing is requifite but his repentance and reformation, affirm, that Chris's death, by which the reformation and virtue of the world are fo effectually promoted, may be called a facrifice for the fin of the world in a metaphorical sense, with as much propriety as prayer, and praife, and almsgiving, are called facrifices with which God is well-pleased. But not to insist on what is well known, that prayer, and praise, and almsgiving, are nowhere called facrifices for fin, I reply, 1. That if Christ's death hath no other efficacy in procuring pardon for finners, but by promoting their reformation and exciting them to virtue; the fufferings and death of any other prophet or martýr may with as much truth and propriety, as the sufferings and death of Christ, be called a facrifice for fin; and the falvation of penitents may as truly be afcribed to their fufferings and death, as to Chrift's; at least, in as far as their fufferings added weight to their doctrine; and in proportion to the influence which their doctrine, in conjunction with their example, hath had in exciting others to virtue. Yet, nowhere in fcripture are the sufferings of any prophet or martyr, termed a facrifice for the fin of the world; nor is the falvation of finners afcribed to any of them; nor are any of them called faviours. In particular, the