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and bitter dissensions, mutual reproach, and anathemas will be no longer known.
A COTTAGE SCENE.
I saw a cradle at a cottage door,
Sad I came
Here on the earth,—that I might safer walk,
WORCESTER ON THE ATONEMENT.
We have long contemplated with grief the very gross, and, as we think, injurious misapprehensions, which have pervailed for ages on the subject of the atonement. The progress of light and spirit of modern inquiry, it is true, have done something to correct these misapprehensions, but multitudes of Christians, we are persuaded, are still very imperfectly informed respecting the real purpose and efficacy of Christ's death. Of those, who are convinced that the popular theory is irrational and unsupported by the scriptures, many, it is to be feared, entertain very indistinct and unsatisfactory views of the true design of Jesus' sufferings. The belief is yet very common that some mysterious efficacy is to be ascribed to those sufferings. There is yet great want of light, great want of just and rational conceptions on the subject. We have been long anxious to see a work adapted to meet this want. Such, in our view, is the treatise of Dr Worcester, recently published.* We regard its publication as exceedingly well timed. The state of public opinion and feeling loudly called for a work of the kind, and we rejoice that it was undertaken by one so well qualified for the task as Dr Worcester. It is not our design, at present, to enter into any analysis of his book. Our purpose in calling the attention of our readers to the subject is simply to recommend the work to their careful perusal. We know of no work so well fitted to assist their inquiries on the important and interesting topic to which it relates. One of its excellences is, that it is eminently scriptural. The author appears to have taken the Bible in his hands, and divesting himself of a reverence for human creeds and systems, and guided solely by a spirit of earnest piety, by a love of truth, and by common sense, a quality too often discarded by theologians, to have inquired into the real import of the several expressions, which the sacred writers employ with reference to the death of Jesus. We think that he has been successful in his inquiry.
* The Atoning Sacrifice a display of Love-not of Wrath. By Noah Worcester.
We mean not to say that we coincide with him in every opinion he has incidently expressed in the work, but his prominent and leading views we believe to be correct. He writes not in the character of a partisan. * In this work I wish,' says he, “to be regarded not as the advocate nor as the opponent of any denomination of Christians, but as the friend of truth and the friend of peace. Indeed I know not that my present views on this subject accord with those of any sect, or any individual Christian. Still I have a hope that many things in the work will be found accordant with the feelings of many good men in every denomination.'
VOL. 1.-NO. II.
This is as it should be. Truth, the truth of God, should be our sole aim, and in pursuit of it all party distinctions should be forgotten. The work is written with great simplicity and plainness, and breathes throughout a spirit of christian love and meekness. We will give one or two extracts, taken almost at random, as specimens of the author's manner, and style of thinking on the subject of which he treats. The leading idea he intends to inculcate, as expressed in the title of his work, is that the atoning sacrifice is a display of love --not of wrath. After quoting several passages to show the different senses in which one person is said to die or suffer for another,' he observes, From the numerous passages which have been quoted, it is very clear that there are several distinct senses, in which one person may be said to suffer or die for another. The question naturally occurs, In which of these senses did Christ suffer and die for sinners? The prevalent opinion has been, that he suffered and died as a substitute for sinners. But to this hypothesis there are many objections; some of which may be briefly stated.
61. The death which Christ endured for us was natural or temporal death; yet all men, the friends as well as the enemies of Christ, are still liable to natural death. How then could Christ's death be a substitute for ours?
62. If it be said, that he suffered “the wrath of God"
our substitute; why are we still liable to penal sufferings ?
'3. The hypothesis that God inflicted on the inno
cent the penal evils due to us, ascribes to God a mode of conduct, and a principle of government, which he forbids men to adopt, and which he himself has positively disclaimed.
64. The principle which the hypothesis ascribes to God, is always unjust and cruel when adopted by men.
65. To interpret the phrases, in relation to Christ, " suffered for us” and “ died for us," as meaning substituted suffering and death, is to depart from all the analogies of the Bible, in the use of such phrases in relation to other persons; excepting merely the cases which relate to forbidden conduct and a disclaimed principle.
"After God had forbidden the Israelites to punish the innocent for the offences of the guilty, and had assured them that this practice did not pertain to his mode of government; is it to be admitted that he adopted this very principle for the display of his justice? If we know in what sense a good shepherd is said to lay down his life for his sheep, we may know in what sense the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us. For he was the good Shepherd, and we were as his sheep gone astray. In seeking our recovery he had to encounter enemies and dangers, and to endure sufferings and death. The object of Christ's mission was the recovery of men from a state of sin and misery, to reconcile them to God that they might become obedient and happy. As in pursuing this benevolent object he exposed himself to suffering and to death, and not only thus exposed himself, but actually suffered and died; it is with perfect propriety,