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hclp us in this all important point of christian faith.
And were we to take the ground, that some late Trinitarians have taken, and say that Christ's humahity was offered on the divinity, and the divine altar, sanctifies the gift, it is our established opinion, it does not help us at all, in this question, but adds many new and serious difficulties; and exposes the doctrine of the atonement, more and more to the ridicule of the unbelieving, and infidel.
Mr. Millard, a professed unitarian, in his last : work, written against Luckey and Harmon, states that Mr. Harmon says, although nothing but the humanity suffered, yet it is not acknowledged to be a human sacrifice." And Mr. Millord tells us, that Mr. Harmon endeavours to state three reasons, to show that this sacrifice is not a mere human sacrifice. His reasons, stated on the authority of Mr. Millard, are :- 1st, that it is a sacrifice prepared by God. 2d, lt was without sin. 3d, It was offered on a divine in altar.” Mr. Millard in his answer, says, “ Mr.: Harmon's two first reasons are nothing to his point, and his last has no foundation in scripture for its support.”
We are bound to acknowledge, that the three arguments advanced above, on the point of the atonement, do not amount to any thing more, than the arguments advanced by the Socinians in general. And we never could see, why Doctor Priestly and Socinius, might not use the same ar, guments, if they supposed they were calculated to assist them in the important point of the atonement.
And if it is a fact that the divine nature could not die; and a sacrifice offered on a divine altar, cannot be esteemed of infinite value; and if no created being can render obedience to God, over and above the obligations they are naturally under to him; and if it is absurd and ridiculous to say, that the Father left the throne, and became obedient to his own law given to man, to make that law honourable, and to work out a righteousness for man. We say, if the four principles last stated, are found to be false, which we firmly believe them to be; and we can further state, we have no manner of confidence in them for life and salvation, than we have in the most fictitious fable.
And should we admit Doct. Clarke's note, to be sound doctrine, viz. that “if Jesus Christ is the Son of God in his divine nature, it would destroy the deity of the Son.” We say, should we admit this, as divinely true, we shall find all our beliefs in the wind, and ourselves in difficulty enough; and we are willing to acknowledge, that every argument in favour of the christian religion which we have esteemed substantial, are swept from under us, and our hopes are shaken to their centre.
We are yet, however, confident they cannot be correct and scriptural. It is, however, proper we should be brought into a close examination, respecting the first and fundamental principles of the gospel of Christ. And with due respect for those who differ, it is our opinion, that these doctrines are erroneous, and have an alarming tendency to destroy the most sublime and substantial principles, on which the christian's hopes are founded.
It becomes in us a duty, therefore, to take a brief survey, and particularly consider the points which we think are essential to the first principles of the christian religion. We consider Bishop Pierson has furnished us with many doctrinal helps, and opened, to the inquiring, and discerning mind, a way to this portion of the treasures of revelation. Should there be found any deficiency in his remarks, we have no doubt St. Paul has left of record, a supply of argument and illustration, to make good our doctrine, and test the soundness of the Bishop's exposition.
It will be borne in mind, that Bishop Pierson, ! presents to our view, the righteousness of Christ, as one of the first things to be considered, in man's redemption, and this point in our judgment; has been too much overlooked. If we look at the blood of atonement, and forget his righteous obedience, we find ourselves in various doubts and difficulties, how we can make this blood appear to be of infinite merit. When we take into the consideration, his obedience to the divine law, it helps us at least one step out of the difficulty which encumbers our progress. The first important point to be considered in man's redemption, is to see how God can be “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus;' as the apostle expresseth it. In considering the character of Christ, in the light we have endeavoured to exhibit it, in this work, we very easily discover his righteous obedience to the divine law, and its high and interesting importance in man's redemption.
The assembly of divines declare, that “ the humiliation of Christ consisted in his being born in a low condition in being made under the law,
and in undergoing the miseries of this life, the ji wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross, les and in being buried, and continuing under the I power of death for a time.” The English church, er speaking of the human and the divine natures of trening our Lord, say, " whereof is one Christ, very God, en and very man; Who truly suffered, was crucified,
dead, and buried, to reconcile his father to us," els &c. These are the declarations of these large bodies
of divines on the point of our Lord's being made le under the law. As We do not undertake to defend every expres
sion quoted in the above cited passages ; yet one
thing is evident, that is, that these churches considje ered that Christ in his human and divine natures
were to be understood under the law, and in short,
this was one of the important reasons of assuming our # nature in order to take man's law place and render * that honor to that divine law, which God's divine : justice, and truth demanded; consequently, we
may see very clearly, the force of the Bishop's - reasoning on the righteousness of Christ, as being
of infirite merit in the sight of God; because on these principles God can be just, in man's redemption and forgiveness. And his divine character, shineth in infinite purity to all intelligent beings, in relation to his inviolable justice and truth, as well as love and mercy. And inviolate all these must be. And inviolate they are, “ if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Saviour:” Every attribute is harmonized, and glorified, unsuperseded, and unclouded.
If we turn from human views, and exposition, to a very few declarations of Scripture, they will e afford us undimmed light upon this subject. We refer to the second chapter, Phillippians, verses, 5. 6. 7. 8.
66 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus :
“ Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God;
“ But made himself of no roputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man;
“And being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
We subjoin three notes of the Rev. Mr. Wesley, on these texts. It will be well to premise, that Mr. W. in his translation, varies in the phra. seology of the texts : as in 7th verse, instead of “ but made himself of no reputation," he has it “ Yet emptied himself.”
6. “ Who being in the essential form, the incommunicable nature of God from eternity (as he was afterwards in the form of a man, real God, as real man) counted it no act of robbery (that is the precise meaning of the words) no invasion of another's prerogative, but his own strict and unquestionable right to be equal with God. The word here translated equal, occurs in the adjective form, five or six times in the New Testament, Mat. xx. 12. Luke vi. 34. John v. 18. Acts. xi. 17. Rev. xxi. 16. In all which places it expresses not a bare resemblance, but a real and proper equality. It here implies both the fulness and the supreme height of the godhead; to which are opposed, he emptied and he humbled himself.
7. Yet--He was so far from tenaciously insisting upon, that he willingly relinquished his claim. He was content to forego the glories of the creator,