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office is to teach men to be recon- head.” It goes on with it, from ciled to God by removing this the days of Abel to those of the fear. We teach the removal of apostles, in the perpetual offering fear because of guilt, by preaching of the sacrifices, which revealed, the expiation of the guilt of sin, in their typical details, the Lamb by the sacrifice of Christ. We of God. I know I am speaking preach the removal of fear because to those who have read, and who of continued sin, by the imparta
have been convinced by the argution of the power of the Holy ments of the deeply-learned Faber, Spirit, to those who have faith in Magee, Smith, Jerram, and others that sacrifice. The doctrine of on this point. When John the reconciliation implies, therefore, Baptist, the connecting link bethree things; that man is a sinner, tween the Jewish and the Christian that sin can be pardoned, and that dispensations, pointed out Cbrist sin can be removed ; and every- to his own disciples, who thereupon thing which revelation relates to left him to follow Christ, he deus of these things, is summed up clared him, with reference to the in that one word, which accurately atonement alone, to be the Lamb expresses the whole truth. That of God. When Christ went up to word is, the Atonement. This word Jerusalem to die, he became our implies the causes, the means, and sacrifice, our passover, only to the result of reconciliation, Its complete the work of his atonement, causes are, the mercy of God, and of which his death was the princithe sin of man— the means, the pal part, and which he undertook propitiation by Christ--the result before the creation of the world. of receiving that propitiation, the When he returned to his glory, his bestowing the Divine aid to sanc- apostles summed up all their teachtify, and to renovate the soul. Alling in this one doctrine, “ We our external services are but proofs preach Christ crucified.” The of our faith in the atonement, which Epistles more especially dwell on reconciles man to God; and there this point, because the history of is no holiness, no true morality, but the redemption of man being comthat which flows from faith in this pleted, the mind is brought under atonement. Faith in Christ, work
the teaching of inspiration, to poning obedience in the heart and life,
der this topic without interruption. by life to God, is the one true reli
When we shall see Christ at the gion. The preaching this doctrine last, we shall “ look on him whom of the atonement, therefore, is your we have pierced.” The piercing first chief duty. It includes every
of his hands, and his feet, was the other. On all occasions when you sign of the completion of his atonespeak to the people, this doctrine ment: and he shall be known as must be, and ought uniformly to
the atoner, when he comes again be, without the exception of any
to judge us.
Such is the manner sermon whatever, the ex
in which the doctrine of the atonepressed, or the implied foundation ment is the beginning, middle, and of all moral inference, and all spi. the end of the whole book of Revelaritual instruction. This is the one
tion. See too in what manner the truth. The pages of Revelation church, in full accordance with the may, in one sense, be said to teach Scriptures, teaches the same truth. this alone; for all its history, facts, Every prayer we offer to God, is and inferences, refer to this, as the
addressed to him in the name of object for which alone, all was
Christ: not alone as our prophet written. The Bible begins with to instruct us, but as the sacred it, when it says, " the seed of the
intercessor of the new coyenant. woman shall bruise the serpent's We approach to God in the name
of Christ, because Christ is the to which it refers must be intermediator, who offers the prayers preted, of their public instruction. of his people. We pray to Christ The object of the author, therefore, as the Lamb of God, who taketh is to enforce reserve in the pulpit, away the sin of the world.
in imparting knowledge to the women, children, the philosopher, people. You will inquire, what and the uninstructed, all join in can be the arguments upon which what we justly call the Common this offensive proposition can possPrayer. In the sacramental ser- ibly be established? I will briefly vices of the church, we thank God inform you of their substance, and for him who made upon the cross as briefly submit to you my reply the great sacrifice, oblation, and to each. satisfaction for the sins of the whole • The arguments on which this world-and so I could go on, to strange novelty is defended are prove to you, that the doctrine of principally three : the example of the atonement is the one great Christ—the moral government of truth, which we always, on all God- and the custom of the Prioccasions, systematically explicit- mitive Church. ly, prominently,and uniformly keep • With respect to the example in view ; as the hope of our souls, of Christ. We acknowledge that he the basis of our prayers, the foun- taught in parables, and that he had dation of all our faith, praise, and many things to say to his disciples gratitude, and the source of all which they could not bear, and that Christian holiness, of which which he did not therefore reveal morality is only a part, because to them. Two considerations, morality is our duty to man, and however, render the conduct of the includes not our duty to God. Christian minister who should
• I am now, therefore, brought preach the doctrine of the atoneto the question-Why have I said ment with reserve, on account of all this? Why have I presumed our Saviour's mode of teaching, to remind you of a duty so well utterly unreasonable and absurd. known, so thoroughly understood, The first is, that the apparent and I doubt not, so long practised reserve of Christ may be accounted by you all? What is the error for, by local, temporary, and ocagainst which I shall warn you? casional circumstances. He had
• The error to which I refer shall not come to the earth merely to be mentioned in the words of the teach the Jews. He had come to writer. It is the inference or con- fulfil a vast number of prophecies, clusion from the preceding reason- especially those which related to ng in his book. It is this:
his death ; and it was necessary • The prevailing notion of bring- that all these should be fulfilled, ing forward the atonement explicit in order that the evidence of their ly and prominently on all occasions, accomplishment, might be added is evidently quite opposed to what to that of his miracles, and that all we consider the teaching of Scrip- the churches after the day of Penture, nor do we find any sanction tecost, should compare the events for it in the Gospels. If the of his life, passion, death, and Epistles of St. Paul appear to resurrection, with the predictions favour it, it is only at first sight.' which had previously recorded
Such is the statement of the them and the Divine wisdom can error to which I allude. The title never be sufficiently admired, of the tract is, On Reserve in com- which, by the manner in which municating Religious Knowledge ; Christ taught, so overruled the and as it is addressed to the clergy, conflicting feelings, and inconsistthe communication of knowledge ent conduct, of he multitude, the
Jews, the Pharisees, and the
pecting the example of Christ, Romans; that they all contributed renders the adoption by the Chrisin the very precise moment of the tian minister of this prescribed predicted fulness of time, to the reserve still more objectionable. death of Christ ; in that exact « The truths which Christ did manner, and through all the mi- not reveal to his followers, benuteness of detail, which was ne- cause they were not able to bear cessary, that the letter of the Scrip- them, were all revealed to them ture might be fulfilled. Sometimes, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, even with all his studied caution for the benefit of themselves, and in speaking to those around him, of the Church, after the day of the truths which they were to re- Pentecost. The express and solemn member hereafter, though they declaration of our Saviour was could not receive them at that it is expedient for you, that I go present time; they took up stones away. If I go not away, the to stone him. If they had done so Comforter will not come unto you. the prophecy could not have been I will send you another Paraclete, fulfilled, which said, a bone of even the Spirit of truth, that he him shall not be broken.” Some- may abide with you for ever. He, times they were so impressed with when he is come, shall guide you bis miracles,--and especially with into all truth. The Holy Spirit that by which it was found that he has come. He has been, he is could maintain large armies, at the with his Church. He has guided, expense of a few loaves and fishes, and He does guide it into all truth ; and thus have headed the Jews so that the Scriptures have been against the Romans,—that they completed; and whatever there were coming by force to make him has been of reserve, either in the a king. If they had done this, the types and shadows of the law, Romans, unless other miracles had which was only one stage in the been performed, and other pro- education of the Church of God, phecies had been previously spok- that education is now ended : and en, might have slain him with the whatever there may appear to have sword, in tumultuary conflict, been of mystery or reserve in the together with his followers, and teaching of Christ, for any purpose then the soldiers might not have whatever, we are now guided into cast lots upon his vesture, nor have all truth : and such mystery, diffigiven him the vinegar and the gall. culty, and reserve is, consequently, When he alluded to the conversion by the teaching of the Holy of the Gentiles, they desired to Spirit, fully and entirely done thșow. him from the brow of the
away. We are the interpreters of hill on which the city was built ; that completed revelation : and the and a miracle was wrought contrary interpreter can have no right to to his general plan of acting, for teach the message of his master his own personal safety. He de
with reserve. pended for that safety till the time • The second argument, upon of his death drew nigh, when the which reserve in our communicating prophecies should be accomplish- religious instruction to the people ed, upon that very reserve and is defended, is–the moral governforbearance, which is now per
ment of God. verted into an argument, to you
• The view which this writer and to me, to lose sight of our first submits to us, of the moral governduty, and to preach with reserve, ment of God, is, that God comthe sacred doctrine of the atone- municates less knowledge to man ment.
than man can bear, in pity to bis • The next consideration, res- weakness, lest man should increase DECEMBER, 1838.
his condemnation, by perverting who were rejecting him, and whom that knowledge. Whereas it is he called liars, children of the expressly declared—“ This is the devil, workers of the works of condemnation, that light is come their father, serpents, a generation into the world, and men love of vipers, who could not escape darkness rather than light, be- the damnation of hell. When we cause their deeds are evil.” All remember these passages—and I my conclusions as a Christian, res- could refer you to many morepecting the moral government of and are then told, that Christ's God, are derived from revelation studiously concealing his Divinity, alone, In that now completed is a part of the moral government revelation, I find no reserve what- of God and an argument to us to ever.
All is sufficiently plain, teach the doctrine of the atoneclear, and simple. All that I can ment with reserve- I am sure you be required to know of God, my will, with me, admire the learning soul, my destiny, is fully revealed of the author, more than his judgto me.
Much of Aristotle is ment. I do not warn you against quoted to illustrate our author's his metaphysics, for I do not position. Much metaphysical rea- clearly comprehend them : but I soning too is used to prove the do warn you against his theology, truth of the anomaly defended by as unscriptural, unchurchmanlike, him. This writer affirms that and indefensible, Christ studiously concealed his • The last argument, by which divinity; and that this concealment the proposition of which I am is a part of the moral government speaking is defended, is no less of God. Whereas we find, that untenable than the others. It is when there was an opportunity derived from a custom in a part of afforded him of asserting his divini- the Primitive Church. ty, without that probability of My Christian Brethren-No causing a tumult, which sometimes one error has done so much harm induced him to speak in parables, to the Holy Catholic Church, as be never forbore to declare it. He the confounding the customs of promised the woman of Samaria, antiquity, with the laws of Christ. for instance, to execute that highest Revelation, the revelation in the office of Deity, the sending down Scriptures I mean, is our only the Holy Spirit. He told his dis- certain guide to truth, in doctrine, ciples he was Lord of the Sab- discipline, or practice. Tradition, bath : that is, that he professed the the medley of writers called the same authority as the Lord who Fathers, the maxims, the customs, appointed the Sabbath. He af. the laws, the enactments, the firmed himself to be the Resur- canons of the early ages, are all, rection and the Life. When he more or less, useful sources of was dying in his human nature evidence; but as authorities for on the cross, he pronounced the conduct, or guides for doctrine, final state of the criminal who was they are to be received or rejected, crucified with him. He told the as criticism or philosophy enable
whose bodily disease he us to decide on their value. There cured, " Thy sins be forgiven are, as you well know, many docthee,” and the Jews justly ex- trines received as truths in the claimed, “ Who can forgive sins Church of Rome, which are conbut God only?" He thus de- fessedly not to be found in the clared his divinity, not only, as Holy Scriptures. The Church of this writer supposes, to those who Rome defends these doctrines on were pious persons, prepared to the very same reasoning by which receive his words, but to the Jews, reserve in preaching the doctrine
of the atonement is defended by ence between one Christian and this writer. The Doctors of that another, than that between the Church assure
us, for instance, confirmed, and the unconfirmed: that Transubstantiation was kept and this is a distinction in practice with reserve, and formed a part of and discipline only, and not in the the Arcani Disciplina. This was degree of instruction. We place a system of discipline, or of reli- the Catechism of the Church in gious instruction, only partially
the hands of children as soon as adopted at the time, when the they can distinguish between good converts to Christianity were made and evil. We teach them to lisp from Heathenism, and when the their first petitions to God, in the Pagans, who would not embrace language of the Lord's Prayer. Christianity, were accustomed to We give them the Apostles' Creed deride its mysteries. I can now as the summary of their belief as only refer you for a more extended soon as they can read. And if this account to Bingham, Newman, is.not sufficient to prove the utter and others.
abhorrence in which we hold the That part of the Arcani Dis- notion of teaching the great truths ciplina which is made the founda- of Christianity with reserve, we adtion of the argument for our preach- mit the youngest child to the pubing the doctrine of the atonement lic worship of a church, in which with reserve, is derived from the each person of the Trinity is wordistinction, which was made in the shipped-in which no mystery is second century, between the can- kept back-in which the Nicene didates for baptism, and the faith- Creed is read every Sunday, and ful who had been already baptized. the Athanasian Creed is read to This difference was then so great, the ignorant as well as to the learnat least in the church of Alexan- ed, to men, women, and chiļdren, dria, that the Lord's Prayer was twelve times in the year. If it taught only to the converts imme- shall be said that this is proving diately before baptism ; and the too much that it is impossible Mystery of the Trinity, and the that children should understand the Apostles' Creed were taught at the mystery of the Trinity, and theresame time. There may, or there fore there ought to have been some may not have been sufficient rea- reserve, I answer, that this is not son for the concealment of some of the question. The question is, its doctrines by the early churches whether we, the teachers of Chris—and they may, or they may not tianity, are to possess the power have been right or wrong in their of withholding at our pleasure, in discipline. It is a matter of very the public worship of God, or in little real importance to us : for the general instruction of the peothe Church of England is as much ple, any part of the mysteries of able to make wise and good laws religion, or the whole counsel of for its own regulation, as the God? Are we to be entrusted Churches of Alexandria, of Rome, with the tremendous power
sayor of any other place whatever. ing to our congregations, ' God has But do let me entreat you, to ob- revealed to mankind certain truths serve how utterly inapplicable all respecting His divine nature, and notion of teaching the doctrine of the manner in which alone the the atonement with reserve, be- fallen race of man can be reconcause of the discipline of certain ciled to Him : but you are ignochurches in the early ages, is, to rant, weak, and unlearned, and I the laws, customs, discipline, and will teach to you these sublime practice of this Church of Eng. truths, with a reserve, of which I land. We make no other differ- will be the judge, and you shall be