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I. From those distinguishing characters that accompany salvation, which are given to those for whom he died.
1. They are called his sheep, in John X. 11. I am the good
ning had been, to prefigure that one, wluch was to make atonement for all mankind. And as in this all were to receive their consummation, so with this they all conclude: and the institution closes with the compleiion of its object. But, as the gross perversions, which had pervaded the Gentle world, had reached like. wise to the chosen people; and as the temptations to idolatry, which surrounded them on all sides, were so powerful as perpetually to endanger their actherence to the God of their fathers, we find the ceremonial service adapted to their carnial habits. And since the law itself, with its accompanying sanctions, seems to have been principally temporal; so the worship it enjoins is found to have been for the most part, rather a public and solemn declaration of allegiance to the true God in opposition to the Gentile idolatries, than a pure and spiritual obedience in moral and religious matters, which was reserved for that more perfect system, appointed to succeed in due time, when the state of mankind would permit.
That the sacrifices of the law should therefore have chiefly operated to the cleansing from external impurities, and to the rendering persons or things fit to approach God in the exercises of the ceremonial worship; whilst at the same time they were designed to prefigure the sacrifice of Christ, which was purely spiritual, and possessed the transcendant virtue of atoning for all moral pollu tion, involves in it no inconsistency whatever, since in this the true proportion of the entire dispensations is preserved. And to this point, it is particularly necessary that our attention sbould be directed, in the examination of the present subject; as upon the apparent disproportion in the objects and effects of sacrifice in the Mosaic and Christian schemes, the principal objections against their intended correspondence have been founded.'
The sacrifices of the law then being preparatory to that of Christ; the law it. self being but a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ;
the sacred writers in the New Testament, naturally adopt the sacrificial terms of the cerenonial service, and by their reference to the use of them as employed under the law, clearly point out the sense in which they are to be understood in their application under the gospel. In examining, then, the meaning of such terms, when they occur in the New Testament, we are clearly directed to the explanation that is circumstan. tially given of them in the Old Thus, when we find the virtue of atonement at. tributed to the sacrifice of Cirist, in like manner as it had been to those under the law; by attending to the representation so minutely given of it in the latter, we are enabled to comprehend its true import in the former.
Of the several sacrifices under the law, that one which seems most exactly to illustrate the sacrifice of Christ, and which is expressly compared with it by the writer to the Hebrews, is that which was offered for the whole assenibly on the solemn anniversary of expiation. The circumstances of this ceremony, whereby atonement was to be made for the sins of the whole Jewish people, secm so stri. kingly significant, that they deserve a particular detail. On the day appointed for this general expiation, the priest is commanded to offer a bullock and a goat as sin-offerings, the one for himself, and the other for the people: and having sprinkled the blood of these in due form before the mercy-seat, to lead forth a second goat, denominated the scape-goat; and after laying both his hands upon the head of the scape-goat, and confessing over him all the iniquities of the people, to put them upon the head of the goat, and to send the animal, thus bearing the sins of the people, away into the wilderness : in this manner expressing by an action, which cannot be misunderstood, that the atonement, which it is directly affirmed was to be effected by the sacrifice of the sin-offering, consisted in re moving from the people their iniquities by this symbolical translation to the animal. For it is to be remarked, that the ceremony of the scape-goat is not a distinct one: it is a continuation of the process, and is evidently the concluding part and symbolical consummation of the sin-offering. So that the transfer of the ini. quities of the people upon the head of the scape-goat, and the bearing them
Shepherd, the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. This metaphor must certainly imply, that they, for whom Christ died, are distinguished from the world, as the objects of his immediate care, and special gracious providence: But, besides this, there are several things in the context, which contain a farther description of these sheep, for whom he laid down his life, which cannot be applied to the whole world : Thus it is said, in ver. 14. I know my sheep, and am known of them, that is, with a knowledge of affection, as the word knowledge is often used in scripture, when applied to Christ, or his people. Again, these sheep are farther described, as those who shall certainly obtain salvation; as our Saviour says concerning them, im ver. 27, 28. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they
away to the wilderness, manifestly imply that the atonement effected by the sacrifice of the sin-offering, consisted in the transfer and consequent removal of those iniquities. What then are we taught to infer from this ceremony ?--That as the atonement under the law, or expiation of the legal transgressions, was represented as a translation of those transgressions, in the act of sacrifice in which the animal was slain, and the people thereby cleansed from their legal impuri. ties, and released from the penalties which had been incurred; so the great atonement for the sins of mankind was to be effected by the sacrifice of Christ, under. going for the restoration of men to the favour of God, that death which had been denounced against sin; and which he suffered in like manner as if the sins of men had been actually transferred to him, as those of the congregation had been symbolically transferred to the sin-offering of the people.
That this is the true meaning of the atone ment effected by Christ's sacrifice, *receives the fullest confirmation from every part of both the Old and the New Testament: and that thus far the death of Christ is vicarious, cannot be denied without a total desregard of the sacred writings.
It has indeed been asserted, by those who oppose the doctrine of atonement 29 thus explained, that nothing vicarious appears in the Mosaic sacrifices. With what justice this assertion has been made, may be judged from the instance of the sin-offering that has been adduced. The transfer to the animal of the iniqui. ties of the people, (which must necessarily mean the transfer of their penal ef. fects, or the subjecting the animal to suffer on account of those iniquities)—this accompanied with the death of the victim; and the consequence of the whole ben ing the removal of the punishment of those iniquities from the offerers, and the ablution of all legal offensiveness in the sight of God:-thus much of the nature of vicarious, the language of the Old Testament justifies us in attaching to the notion of atonement. Less than this we are clearly not at liberty to attach to it And what the law thus sets forth as its express meaning, directly determines that which we must attribute to the great atonement of which the Mosaic cere. mony was but a type : always remembering carefully to distinguish between the figure and the substance; duly adjusting their relative value and extent; estimating the efficacy of the one as real, intrinsic, and universal; wbilst that of the other is to be viewed as limited, derived, and emblematic.
It must be confessed, that to the principles on which the doctrine of the Chris. tian atonement has been explained in this, representation of it, several objections, in addition to those already noticed, have been advanced. These, however, cannot now be examined in this place. The most important have been discuss sed; and as for such as remain, I trust that to a candid mind, the general view of the subject which has been given, will prove sufficient for their refutation."
DR. MACEE. VOL. II.
snall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand: but this privilege, without doubt, belongs not to the whole world.
They are also considered as believers, inasmuch as faith is the necessary consequence of Christ's redemption, and accordingly are distinguished from the world, or that part thereof, wnich is left in unbelief and impenitency : Thus Christ says, concerning those who rejected his Person and gospel, in ver. 26. Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.
2. They for whom Christ died are called his friends, and, as such, the objects of his highest love, in John xv. 13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, and they are farther described, in the following words, as expressing their love to him, by doing whatsoever he commandeth them; and, he calls them friends, so they are distinguished from servants, or slaves, who, though they may be made partakers of common favours, yet he imparts not his secrets to them; but, with respect to these, he says, in ver. 15, 16. All things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you; And they are farther distinguished from the world, inasmuch as they are chosen by Christ, and ordained that they should go and bring forth fruit; and there are several other privileges which accompany salvation, that are said to belong to these friends of Christ, for whom he died.
Object. It is ohjected, that what Christ here says, concerning his friends, is particularly directed to his disciples, with whom at that time he conversed and these he considers as persons who had made a right improvement of his redeeming love; and therefore, that redemption which the whole world might be made partakers of, if they would, these were like to reap the happy fruits and effects of.
Answ. To this it may be replied, that whatever promises, or privileges, Christ's disciples were made partakers of, if these do not immediately respect their character as ministers, but as Christians, they are equally to be applied to all believers. Now, that what Christ says to them, whom he calls his friends, is applicable to all believers, appears from their being described as abiding in him, and bringing forth much fruit, under the powerfulinfluence of his grace, without whom they can do nothing; and, when he speaks, in ver. 19, 26. of the world's hating them, because they are not of the world, and of the Comforter's being sent to testify of him, in order to the confirmation of their faith, this belongs to all believers, as such; therefore they are as much described as Christ's friends, for whom he laid down his life, as his disciples, to whom he more immediately directed his discourse.
And as for the other part of the objection, namely, that these had made a right improvement of Christ's redemption: the
reply that may be given to it, is, that none but Christ's friends can be said to have made a right improvement of redemption, and therefore none but such have any ground to conclude that Christ died for them : but this is not the temper and character of the greater part of mankind, therefore Christ did not die for the whole world: and it is very evident, from this character which Christ gives of them, for whom he died, that either they are, or shall be, of enemies, made friends to him.
3. They are called, The Children of God that were scattered abroad, who should be gathered together in one, as the consequence of his death, in John xi. 52. This gathering together in one, seems to import the same thing, with what the apostle speaks of, as a display of the grace of the gospel, and calls it, their being gathered together in Christ their Head, in Eph. .. 10. and one part of them he considers, as being already in heaven, and the other part of them on arth, in their way to it; and he speaks such things concerning them, in the foregoing and following verses, as cannot be said of any but those that shall be saved. Now, if Christ designed, by his death, to purchase this special privilege for his children, certainly it cannot be supposed that he died for the whole world; and elsewhere the apostle speaking, in Heb. ii. 10. concerning the Captain of our salvation's being made perfect through sufferings considers this as a means for bringing many sons to glory, which is a pecila liar privilege belonging to the heirs of salvation, and not to the whole world.
Object. 1. It will be objected to this, that nothing can be proved from the words of so vile a person as Caiphas, who relates this matter; and therefore, though it be contained in scripture, it does not prove the truth of the doctrine, which is
pretended to be established thereby.
Answ. Though Caiaphas was one of the vilest men on earth, and he either did not believe this prophecy himself, or, if he did, he made a very bad use of it, yet this does not invalidate the prediction : for though wicked men may occasionlly have some prophetic intimation concerning future events, as Balaam had, the instrument, which the Spirit of God makes use of in discovering them to mankind, does not render them less certain, for the worst of men may be employed to impart the greatest truths: therefore it is sufficient to our purpose, that it is said, in the words immediately foregoing, that being high priest that year, he prophesied, as it was no uncoinmon thing for the high priest to have prophetic intimations from God, to deliver to his people, whatever his personal character might be; so that we must consider this as a divine oracle, and therefore infallibly true.
Object. 2. If it be allowed, that what is here predicted was
true, yet the subject matter thereof respects the nation of the Jews, concerning whom it cannot be said, that every individual was in a state of salvation, and therefore it rather militates against, than proves the doctrine of particular redemption.
Answ. It is evident, that when it is said that Christ should die for that nation, the meaning is, the children of God in that nation ; for the children of God, that dwelt there, are opposed to his children that were scattered abroad ; and so the meaning is, Christ died that they should not perish, who have the temper, and disposition of his children, wherever the place of their residence be.
4. They for whom Christ died are called his church, whereof he is the Head; and the Body, of whom he is the Saviour, in Eph. v. 23. and these he is said to have loved, and given himself for, in ver. 25. Now the church is distinguished from the world, as it is gathered out of it; and the word church, in this place, is taken in a very different sense, from that in which it is understood in many other scriptures. The apostle does pot mean barely a number of professing people, of which some are sincere, and others may be hypocrites, or of which some shall be saved, and others not ; nor does he speak of those who are apparently in the way of salvation, as making a visible profession of the Christian religion : But it is taken for that church, which is clsewhere called the spouse of Christ, and is united to him by faith, and that shall, in the end, be eternally saved by him; this is very evident, for he speaks of them, as sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word, in ver. 26. And, as to what concerns their future state, they are such as shall be presented to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, in ver. 27. Now, since it was for these that Christ died, it cannot be reasonably concluded that he died equally and alike for all mankind.
And to this we may add, that they are called his people, whom he designed to save from their sins, in Matt. i. 21. and also a peculiar people, who are described by this character, by which they are known, as being zealous of good works, in Tit. ii. 14. and, by his death, they are said not only to be redeemed, so as to be put into the possession of the external privileges of the gospel, but redeemed from all iniquity, and purified unto himself; all which expressions certainly denote those distinguishing blessings which Christ, by his death, designed to purchase for those who are the objects thereof.
II. That Christ did not die equally, and alike for all mankind, appears from his death's being an instance of the highest love, and they, who are concerned herein, are in a peculiar manner, obliged to bless him for it as such. Thus the apostle