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or the other class of writers must have written that which is not true, and their writings cease to be of any authority. The foundation of our faith is subverted. But we have the testimony of Christ himself that he possessed the divine nature“ He that hath seen me hath seen the father.” John 14, 9. It is impossible for words to be more explicit, and this declaration proves decisively that the writers of the Old and New Testament are consistent in ascribing the creation of the world, the former to God or Jehovah, the latter to Christ.
Let me add farther, that Christ, just before his ascension, gave his disciples this commandment and promise : “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Paul was not of the number of the twelve disciples; but he was miraculously converted by Christ himself, and by this act and by subsequent revelations, Paul was invested with the authority of the other apostles. Now, if these apostles did not write and publish the truth, respecting the character and doctrines of Christ, it would seem that Christ was not with them-he did not guide and direct them in their preaching-he suffered them to err, and mislead their hearers, and the readers of their writings. Where is the man who will venture to cast such an imputation on the Savior? Who will dare to suggest that the Savior failed to fulfil his promise ?
If it should be said that Christ did not promise to give them infallibility, or prevent their falling into a mistake, I would ask, to what purpose would it have been for the head of the church, to designate and authorise apostles, as his representatives, to preach the gospel of truth, and yet permit them to proclaim and publish error ? Would this have answered his purpose? Would this have been compatible with his design, or with his character and dignity? The mind revolts at the suggestion.
We are driven then to this point: we must admit that the writers of the New Testament, either by instructions from Christ during his ministry, or by inspiration, or by the illuminating and controlling influence of the Spirit of God, have communicated to the world the truth that they have made no mistake either in doctrines, or in the interpretation of the Old Testament-in short, that they have preached and written as Christ intended them to preach and to write. We cannot admit the opposite conclusion, without impeaching either the power or the will of Christ, to prevent the apostles from falling into mistakes. And if the apostles were not mistaken, Christ must be considered as God, the creator of the world ; for it is certain, from their declarations, that they considered him as such.
From this view of the subject, it is obvious that the divinity of the Messiah must be admitted ; or the divine authority of the Scriptures must be rejected. I see no mode of evading one of these consequences.
But if we reject the Scriptures as our rule of faith and prac-, tice, we are in a most deplorable situation. We have no other guide that has any pretensions to infallibility. We are cast on the ocean of life, without chart, or compass, or rudder-nay, we are ignorant of our port--we know not where we are bound--we have not a ray of light to guide us on the tempestuous sea--not a hope to cheer us amidst the distresses of this world, or tranquillize the soul in its passage into the next--and all beyond the present state, is annihilation or despair!
Having thus given my views of the character of Christ, I will invite
your attention to the means by which he has accomplished the redemption of men, that is, the atonement. The divinity of the Savior is intimately connected with the doctrine of the atonement and those who deny the one, usually deny the other. They do not all deny that Christ has done something to procure a reconciliation between God and man--they generally admit that he has; but they alledge
that what he has done and suffered has not the nature of a price paid, an equivalent, a satisfaction to divine justice, for man's disobedience. But this is the 'sense in which the word is usually understood. In all good writers and in or-, dinary discourse, atonement signifies a satisfaction given to an offended person by the offender or his substitute; by means of which the offended person consents to overlook the injury or offense, and to receive the offender into favor. In com. mon life, this atonement may be a compensation for an injury, which is deemed an equivalent; or it may be merely a concession or acknowledgement of the offense, which the offended person may consent to receive as a condition of reconciliation.
Orthodox divines maintain that the atonement made by Christ consists in the sacrifice of himself, or in his perfect obedience to the divine law, which God accepts in lieu of the obedience of man, and in his sufferings and death, which God accepts in lieu of the death or everlasting misery of the sinner, to which he is condemned by his disobedience. The atonement then is in the nature of an equivalent given or satisfaction made by Christ, as the substitute for sinners.
On this subject we have no evidence, except what is furnished by the scriptures. That the Apostles considered the redemption as effected by an atonement, as here described, is evident from their declarations. They alledge that Christ was set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; that Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and the sins of the whole world; that is, the means by which God is rendered merciful, and can be just in passing by sins. They alledge that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; that he gave himself for our sins ; that he by himself purged away our sins ; that he bore our sins in his own body on the tree; that by his stripes we are healed; that he was manifested to take away
our sins; that he washed us from our sins in his own blood; that we have redemption through his blood; that he redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. And Isaiah says,
he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all. One would suppose that if these expressions do not convey the idea of substitution for sinners and satisfaction for sins, it would be difficult to find words for the purpose.
But there are declarations in the scripture which may perhaps more explicitly express this doctrine. I refer to the passages, in which Christ is said to have given himself or his life a ransom for man. Paul, writing to Timothy says, “ There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." But we have the declaration of Christ himself to this point. His words as reported by the Evangelists Matthew and Mark, are these. “The Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matth. 20, 28. Mark
It is well known that the word ransom signifies the price paid or equivalent given, for goods or persons captured by an enemy or in his possession, by which their release is obtained—the captor receiving the price or thing given in lieu of the things captured. And it is remarkable that the original Greek word here used, autpov, and that used by Paul, avtidurpov, have no other signification. The same is true of the English word ransom. As among ancient nations, captives were liable to be put to death, a deliverance from captivity was or might be a deliverance from death. The Greek word huspov, is from auw, to liberate, it is that which liberates or procures a release, and this is always an equivalent, or what is deemed by the parties an equivalent for the
persons or things to be released. According to these scripture passages, then, the life of Christ must ex vi termini, have been the price, or equivalent given for the deliverance of many--that is, his life was a substitute for the life of sinners forfeited by their disobedience. The words will bear no other signification.
But there is another word in the original Greek, the force of which seems not to have been duly estimated, and which puts this question beyond all doubt or controversy. The Savior says, the Son of man came not to be ministered to but to minister, και δουναι την ψυχην αυτου λυτρoν αντι πολλων, to give his life a ransom for (instead of, in the place of] many.
The primary sense of avsi is in front, before ; the same which the Latin give to the same word, ante-hence springs the sense of opposite or against—a sense the Greeks retain in avra, the same word differently written. This preposition in Greek, and I believe all prepositions in other languages of the same import, proceed from some verb which signifies to pass towards, or to meet. In Greek, avsi is used appropriately to connect the two terms in barter, exchange, or sale, which ex. press equivalents. It is the same with pro in Latin, with pour and contrein French, and with for in English. The true sense of the preposition in this application, is against; and we express the precise idea of it in our popular phrase, “to set or set off one thing against another." In bargains, whether of sale or exchange, the two things given and taken, are in fact or in estimation, equivalents—the one is given for that which is of equal value to be received. Hence the idea of substi . tutes, when one thing is put in the place of another, and is to answer the same purpose; or one person takes the place of another, to perform the same duties. In our Lexicons avta is rendered pro, loco, vice, contra. Here the order should be changed; contra being the radical sense.
Let any person take a Lexicon and run over the compound words, in which ati is the prefix, and see how exactly they justify these definitions.