Obrázky na stránke

became necessary to the accomplishment of his benevolent purpose respecting our salvation.

This delightful view of the subject appears to me clearly authorized by the Gospel ; and with great propriety the intelligence of such love may be called good tidings. This view of the subject seems also to accord with God's long-suffering conduct towards Adam and his posterity, subsequent to the fall; and with the benignity of the Divine character as revealed to Abraham, to Moses, and to the people of Israel,—both by words and symbolical institutions. I may add, that this view of the subject excludes the awful, the painful, and, to me, unnatural idea of God's displaying avenging justice on an innocent and holy victiin, as necessary to the exercise of forgiving love toward bis penitent children. It is presumed that this supposed example of the mode of Divine forgiveness, has never been, and never can be, imitated by any enlightened and benevolent being in the universe. Yet every Christian is required to forgive, as God forgives! This thought may be further illustrated in a subsequent chapter.


In what Sense did the Messiah bear the Sins of Many? “ The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. liii. 6.

5 For he shall bear their iniquities.” v. 11. - And he bare the sins of many.” v. 12.

“So Christ was once 'offered to bear the sins.” Heb. ix. 28.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." 1 Pet. ii. 24.

All these passages are supposed to refer to Jesus Christ. The first of them will be separately considered; and then I shall endeavor to ascertain the meaning of the others.

“ The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

To one accustomed to regard the atonement by Jesus Christ as a display of God's anger, this text will naturally be deemed a strong proof of the correctness of that doctrine. But it should be recollected, that the inspired writers were in the habit of regarding God's hand in all afflictions, by whatever secondary causes or agents they might have been produced. Satan and wicked men were agents in stripping Job of his property, his servants, and his children; yet Job piously eyed the hand of God .in these events, and therefore said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.—“What! shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil ?” We may therefore say—The Lord laid on Job" the iniquities of the Chaldean and Sabean robbers, who were instruments of his affliction.

Joseph, too, was the subject of great affliction, in being sold for a slave by his envious brethren; and by being cast into prison by the resentment of an impudent mistress. Yet after his exaltation in Egypt, and while his brethren stood trembling before him, lest_he should revenge their wrongs—their father being dead ; Joseph thus addressed them: “ As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive.” So the sufferings of the Messiah were according to the “ determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," " though" by wicked hands he was

“ crucified and slain.” After his exaltation to the right-hand of God, he might have said to the Jewish Sanhedrim, what Joseph said to his brethren,-“ As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive.” The salvation of sinful men was the purpose of God in both cases. But I see nothing of substituted penal suffering in either case, though in both, one suffered for others.

Prior to exhibiting the passages in which others, besides the Messiah, are represented as bearing iniquities or sins, I may briefly state several senses in which one may be properly said to bear the iniquity of another, or of many others :

1. A child may be said to bear the sins of his father, when by his father's dissipation and wickedness, he is caused to suffer poverty and affliction.

2. A good man may bear the sins of the wicked, when he suffers persecution from their hands. In this sense, Christ bore the sins of many; and some Christians believe, that this was the principal idea intended in the prediction : "and he shall bear the sins of many.” This opinion derives some support from the fact, that the conduct of his persecutors was predicted in connexion with the words which have been quoted.

3. A good man may be said to bear the sins of others, when, like Lot, his righteous soul is grieved from day to day by their unlawful deeds. Thus too Christ doubtless bore the sins of many.

4. A good man properly bears the sins of others,


when with meekness he endures their bu ings, and still exercises towards them the sp. ance and forgiveness. Who will deny that bore the sins of many ?

5. A good man may be truly said to bear the others, when, on account of their sins, he is filled with cern for their souls, and not only prays for them, but fri ly exposes himself to reproach, peril, suffering, and death, that he may recover them from the ways of sin and misery. In this sense, all Christians must own that Christ bore the sins of many.

6. An innocent man may be said to bear the sins of others, if their crimes are imputed to him, and he is caused to suffer in their stead. Such a result may be brought about in different ways. It may occur, by the cruel design and deceptive management of guilty agents. Having committed a capital offence, they may conspire and accuse an innocent person of the crime,-and, by false testimony, cause him to be arrested, tried, convicted, and executed. A similar result may occur by mistake. A murder may be committed under circumstances which fix suspicion on an innocent man, and cause him to be arrested; the same circumstances may on trial be deemed adequate proof of his guilt ; and thus, while perfectly innocent of the crime laid to his charge, he may be put to death as a malefactor.

There is still another way in which an innocent person may suffer instead of the guilty. For some reasons of sufficient weight in his own mind, an innocent person may offer bimself as a substitute for a guilty father, son, or friend; the offer may be accepted by the government,


and the innocent may suffer the punishment due to the guilty.

We have now a variety of senses in which one may be said to bear the sins of another.

But the last case, stated under the last head, illustrates more nearly than any other, the sense in which a vast multitude of Christians have supposed that the Messiah bore the sins of many. We have then to inquire, whether this hypothesis is warranted by a fair comparison of scripture with scripture. Various cases will therefore be brought to view, in which one is represented as bearing the sins or iniquities of another.

First. Under the Mosaic dispensation, Aaron and his sons were appointed to bear the iniquities of the Israelites. Thus said God to Moses : “Thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it,—Holiness to the Lord, and it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow, in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Exod. xxviii. 36-38.

The priests were also required to eat of “the meat of the sin-offering in the holy place," as being given to them

to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord.” Lev. X. 17.

Now what do we perceive in either of these cases, which has the least appearance of divine anger, punishment, or substituted suffering ? Was the anger of God manifested towards Aaron or his sons while they faithfully observed the rituals of his own appointment ? Was not the plate of pure gold with the inscription, “Holiness to the Lord,a symbol of the purity of heart which God

« PredošláPokračovať »