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tween the death of Christ and the Jewish sacrifices.-4. The whole scheme of doctrine taught by the apostles, is founded on the fact that the death of Christ, and not our own repentance and good works, is the cause of our salvation.
Plank, in his Introduction to the theological sciences, Pt. II. p. 481, makes the following remarks: “The idea, that we are reconciled to God by the merits of Jesus, was taught so frequently by Jesus and his apostles, and with such energy, and so sedulously interwoven with their practical instructions, that no man can possibly be in earnest who says, that this doctrine was held up by the apostles merely as an empty image, in order to induce the Jews to abandon their ideas about sacrifices to which they were so much accustomed. Even had this been their object, they could not have adopted a more unsuitable measure, as the sequel itself proved.”
XIV. John 16: 8, 10, Ektor—unayw “He (the Comforter) will instruct the world on the subject of forgiveness of sins, which is grounded on my going to the Father (my death, resurrection, and glory).” Aixaloouvn righteousness, has the same meaning in 2 Cor. 3: 9, where it is placed in opposition to 40TOKOLOIS condemnation. 2 Cor. 5: 18, God hath given us the ministry (having committed unto us the word) of reconciliation:
The explanation of dinoloouVn which makes it signify “ the good cause of Christ,” labours under the difficulty that avtov, which must be supplied in v. 8, would have to refer at the same time to two different subjects, to xoguos and XQuotos; whereas if we render the passage thus, “ He will instruct the world on the subject of their sins, their pardon, and their liberation from the power of Satan,” it refers only to the former.
1 Gess' Letters on the doctrine of Accommodation &c, Stuttgard, 1797.
XV. The doctrine of the atonement is a divine doctrine.In the passage just cited, 2 Cor. 5, to which the words in v. 20, “ as though God did beseech you through us,” are yet to be added, the apostolic doctrine concerning the atonement is expressly attributed to God; and in John 16: 8, 10, to the rapaxintos or Spirit of truth, or Spirit of God. Comp. v. 7 and 13. See § 10. Ill. 12, 13.
Note. On the various hypotheses relative to the connexion between the death of Christ and the pardon and salvation of the sinner.
The various hypotheses on this subject, as well those of former times as those of recent date, are collected in Flatt's Inquiries on the doctrine of reconciliation between God and man, Pt. I. $21–31. They may be reduced to three principal classes.-1. Those which suppose that there is an actual causative connexion between the atonement and the pardon and salvation of man, not in any sense dependent on the cooperation of man himself--2. Those who suppose a mediate connexion, a connexion through the medium of the cooperation of man. Reformation is the intermediate cause. The manner in which reformation is supposed to be produced by the death of Christ is various. $ 90. 1. -3. Those who regard the atonement merely as a symbolical representation and declaration of the pardon of sin, of the grace and love of God ; or, which amounts to the same thing, as a memorial of the love of God, from which the sinful family of man might infer, that their transgressions will be forgiven; or as a symbol of any other lesson of instruction. To the latter class belongs the hypothesis of Kant, “that the vicarious sufferings of the Son of God may be considered as a symbol of the sufferings which regenerated (renewed) men must endure an account of their former sins (as it were for the “old man”)—as a symbol of the substitution of the new man
(who suffered during his reformation) for the old man.” ply to this notion, it may be remarked, (a) the afflictions of life, which are, by supposition, to be regarded as punishments of the sins committed before reformation, may just as well be considered as punishments of the guilt incurred after reformation.—(b.) The measure of the afflictions which befall christians, is not always proportionate to the sins committed previously to their change.
Loeffler, in his Dissertation on the doctrine of the atonement, has proposed the hypothesis, that the pardon or reconciliation consequent on the death of Christ, referred only to the past sins of the christians of that day, which they had committed whilst they were yet Jews or Pagans, but that it does not relate to the sins of all men, not to the sins of any
who are christians." Various arguments are adduced in refutation of this hypothesis, by Stäudlin, Paulus,» Süskind,- Flatt,“ Lang, Niemeyer, and Ewald.8 The principal are these-1. The universality of the atonement, which is taught in the N. Testament in the strongest terms. That various passages in the apostolical Epistles, which treat of remission of sins, should refer to new converts from among the Jews and heathen, is very natural, for these Epistles were directed to such persons.-2. If, as Loeffler maintains, the death of Jesus had a reference only to the reception of con
1 See Schmidt, on the christian religion &c, p. 307. Ammon's Ents wurf der wissensch. prak. Theologie p. 211, 216.
2 On the Design and effect of the atonement.
verts from Judaism or paganism into the christian church, it would, for that very reason necessarily have to refer to their future participation in the blessedness of Jesus, and to the sins committed after their conversion ; for these are just as much a hindrance to their salvation as those committed before their reformation.-3. If the apostle Paul had confined the remission of sips through the death of Christ to the state of his readers prior to their conversion to christianity, he could, by a mere statement of the fact, have given a short and most decisive refutation of the objection (Rom. 6: 1) “ that the doctrine of a free, gracious pardon of sin, is detrimental to the cause of virtue.”-4. Deliverance from death as a consequence of the disobedience of our first parents, (the blessed resurrection of christians), is attributed to the death of Jesus. Rom. 5: 17, 19. 1 Cor. 15:21, 22. Heb. 2: 14. Hence, if all christians die, that pardon of sins which results from the death of Jesus, must extend to christians also,-5. Agreeably to Heb. 9: 12, the redemption purchased by the Saviour's death, is “an eternal redemption” alovios automors, and his priesthood "continueth forever, and is unchangeable.” 7:24.-6. The declarations of the apostles, that christians no longer commit sin, such as 1 John 3: 9. 5: 18, evidently refer to wilful sin. See supra $ 56. On the other hand, St. John directs christians to apply to the atonement of Christ for the remission of individual sins. 1 John 2:1, 2. And according to Heb. 10:26, it is only for the wilful sinper that there remaineth no more sacrifice. And it certainly comported better with the general design of the apostles rather to encourage those who had been reconciled through the death of Christ to the practice of christian virtue, than by anticipation, to comfort their minds in respect to the sins which they might afterward commit. But no passage can be found, in which all hope of pardon is denied to the backslider in an absolute and unconditional manner.
The doctrine of the atonement is not prejudicial to christian vir
tue, but tends to promote it.
Such is the nature of that scheme which God devised for the salvation of the human family, that the obedience of Jesus, which was displayed in a distinguished manner by his voluntary submission to death as the substitute of man, confirmed that very principle of the divine justice which might seem to have suffered violence in the pardon of man (1). For, that principle would withhold from man a happiness of which he always proves himself unworthy by his conduct in life, and would denounce upon him the punishment of the law, if God had not mercifully resolved to afford him his aid, in a manner just as peculiar, as were the circumstances which became the occasion of his misery ; circumstances in which no other class of rational beings was ever placed. The consoling doctrine of the obedience and voluntary sufferings of Jesus, comforts the heart of unhappy man, with the hope (2) of pardon and future happiness. But the obedience of Christ, on which our hope of salvation is founded, calls on us (3) to show a similar obedience, though we can never merit so great a happi
1 The objections which have lately been urged against the atonement, and which were called forth by the sermon of Dr. Reinhard on the refore mation (preached 1800), may be found in Köster's “ Recent Protestant Confessions," and Tübingen gel. Anzeig. for 1802. No. 18, 19, p. 140--146, where the reviewer shows that these recent objections are all old.