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before, in bis time, and afterwards? Was not this, together with a desire of recovering their liberties, and the being misled by some crafty and wicked leaders, that which occasioned their revolt? They might as well pretend, that all the misfortunes which befel the Jews before the coming of Jesus, were owing to his death, as to pretend that - what afterwards befel them, was owing to that event: when it evidently appears that this was brought about by so many concurrent causes.
The doctrine of satisfaction, and the necessity of Jesus's sufferings and death, appears very plainly to have been invented by his followers: his whole conduct, very evidently contradicts it. We are told, that "As Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came, and ?at down with him and his disciples; and when the pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, why eatetb your master with publicans and sinners. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are tick: but go ye, and learn what that meaneth. / mill have mercy and not sacrifice, for I am not come to call the righteous (says he) but tinners to repentance. (1) Nothing can be more express than this declaration
of his; but how contradictory to the present system of ianity
let any one judge. Jesus declares, that they that be whole, need-not
a physician, but only those that are sick. But ians insist, thai
unless, both the whole, and the sick have one, they must be damned. Jesus freely declares, that he came, "Not to call the righteous, but
sinners, to repentance." But ians insist that without faith, they
must be damned, repentance not being deemed by them, sufficient. Jesus declares from Hosea, (2) that God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. But ians contradict him, and strenuously insist, that
God could have no mercy without sacrifice. Is it possible that Jesus should have made such a declaration, if he knew that he himself, was to be made a sacrifice? Nay, a necessary sacrifice, to which he had,
as ians pretend, devoted, and offered himself willingly, and
freely. But it is very plain, that all pretentions of this sort have no manner of foundation; since it was with the utmost reluctance that he suffered. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," sari he. (3) He prayed very fervently, "O my Father! if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." (4) "Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me." (5) Here is what he earnestly desired, and what he besought in the utmost agonies; such as even made the sweat that
(1) Mat. ix. 10. (2) Hojem, ri. 10. (3) Mat. xx»i. 23. (4) Mat. xxri. 39. <u.) Lake xiil. 44.
came from him, "as it were great drops of bloed falling to the ground."
(6) The whole of this transaction, therefore, evidently evinces that he had not made any such agreement; for either he knew his death to be necessary, or he was ignorant of it: if the first, then was his praying to be exempted from that which was necessary; from that to which he had devoted himself, and from that which he came to perform, absurd and ridiculous: and would have been thought so, had any common person acted in the like manner; for how could he so earnestly pray to be exempted from that which he knew was necessary for him to undergo, having freely offered himself. Was the desire of saving the world, a matter of such indifference to him? Was his love to mankind abated? But if he knew not that his sufferings were necessary, or that by his means the world was to be saved: then could he not be that divine person which ians make him; and consequently, if infinite satisfaction was necessary, or the death of God requisite, he could not be the person that could make it; that he could not be God, is plain, not only from his whole conduct, but also from the circumstance of the angels descent from heaven to strengthen him.
(7) Now for God to be either in such agonies, or to stand in need of another's assistance, appears to be such an absurdity, as scarcely ought to be mentioned: for of what service, or use, would the divine nature be, if it could not prevent human frailties and fears, from getting the better of it, nor prevent its triumphing over it? On the whole, I think there redounds no honour to Jesus, from the representation of this whole affair, since he prayed to be excused from it, and besought it with blood sweats, being done contrary to his inclination. "Not as I will, [says he] but as thou wilt. (8) not my will, but thine be done." (9) So that if he was a divine person, he must have had an opposite will to that of the father ; which if so, it will be difficult to make it consistent: snd either the Jews contracted no guilt, since there could be no salvation obtained without his sufferings; or salvation must be made the consequence of an obnoxious wicked act! To these sad dilemmas arc they reduced. "We are told that the whole economy of man's redemption, is every where represented to us as an unsearchable mystery of divine wisdom and goodness, and as the object of our belief, and uot of our comprehension." (10) But as this is the foundation on which the whole superstructure is built, I think that if the same be proved false, every thing that is built thereon must fall; for can that be made a matter of belief, which we not only do not comprehend, but
(6) MtL urn. 44. (7) Luke xxii. 43. (8) M»t. xxvi. 39. (5) Luke xkii. (!•) tf»r. Hiit rul. z. pa. 591.
is contradictory in itself: neither can it be made to answer any end, 01 purpose at all; for as to original sin, they do not pretend that it ia atoned for, it being an article of faith, that every one that is bom are enemies to God, and slaves to the Devil: and children are doomed by the Romish church to Limbo, if they die before baptism, and the reformed, condemn those that are born of parents not baptised, to damnation ; this they do for original sin, of which they are most innocent: so that Jesus's death was of no service, and as to actual sin, we are as subject to be carried away by the flesh as our forefathers; the same inclination, the same proneness to vice, predominates in our weak natures; and experience will teach us, that there is not the least alteration: so that his sufferings wrought in us no cure; and as to any spiritual benefit, it is plain, that by this scheme, the world is in a worse condition than it was before; for the Jews by the' law, and the Gentile* by that of nature obtained salvation: but now, the elect only, are to be saved; and this saving doctrine is contracted to such narrow limits, that it extends no farther than a particular sect; for the Roman Catholics send the reformed of all sects, to the Devil; these in their turn, do the like, not only by them, but by all of different sects; for salvation is engrossed, and made the sole privilege of those within their own pale: and to the rest of mankind, they show no mercy, as appears by their creeds. What was it then, that his death redeemed the world from? Was it the cause of introducing true religion? That was needless, and might have been done without his suffering. But where, or among what sect, or party, is the true religion to be found? Is it in the Romish Church? This the others contradict: is it to be found in many particular sects? This will be denied by all. This being the case, of what benefit were Jesus's sufferings and death? Could they, in fact, show the benefit of it, and demonstrate the cures pretended to be wrought by it, then indeed, they might boast, and have some reason to apply the prophesy to him: but to pretend to impute it to him, without proving the effects, is very extraordinary. How
inconsistent are ians in their doctrines; they tell us that Jesus
atoned and made satisfaction for original sin, and yet declare that children are born with it; which they pretend, is done away by baptism. His death benefitting those only, who received it; all others continuing under its penalty, the same as if he had not suffered : So that to be free from original sin, (for which no one ever thought himself any ways accountable) his death is not sufficielit; the atonement being made to consist in baptism, or in being sprinkled with water: and after all, they place the efficacy of the cure in the imagination : for they will tell you, that Jesus did Lis part, and by his death, freed every one from sin: hut it is necessary, that you think so, otherwise you can receive no benefit from it; j'ou must therefore, first think yourself under God's curse, and indignation, and then imagine Jesus has freed you from it: that is, you must imagine yourself sick, and then imagine Jesus has cured you, and then you are sound and well: but if you have not strength of imagination sufficient, to make you think yourself sick, and consequently, that you stand in no need of medicine, in such case, Adam's eattngthe forbidden fruit, will rise up in judgment against you, and you must be eternally damned. Is not mankind by this redemption scheme, in a much worse condition, than they were before? was this the inestimable blessing the world received by his death? perhaps one of a thousand will be saved, and all the rest will be damned!! Now, how he carried our sorrows and our grief, or how he bore our iniquities and transgressions, or how he made atonement for our sins, or in what manner he justified us, are things, which I confess, I am not able to comprehend.
Almighty God has declared that on our repentance, and turning to him with a reformed life, he would accept and pardon us. (11) Such acceptance, on our repentance aud amendment, being also agreeable to reason, and to God's mercy and goodness, the case must always have been so, had Jesus suffered or not: besides, if Jesus made satisfaction for the sins of the world, the past, present, and future, then can it be of no importance whether we be good or bad; for if that be so, our reward or happiness must be secure thereby, without good works or virtuous actions on our part. But it may be pretended that our reward depends partly on our own merits, and partly on the satisfaction which Jesus made: imputing part of his own righteousness to make up eur deficiency. To this I answer. By this scheme Jesus was only a saviour in part, and the redemption must then be as incomplete as it is absurd: besides that, it takes from him the merits of having saved the world; for if our personal righteousness be necessary, or our repentance and amendment, then cannot his death be of any advantage to us; because upon these terms, as I before observed, we have assurance of being accepted. Nothing can be more contradictory, than, to pretend that a person, and^he a just one too, was to suffer that the wicked might receive reward ; for if that be the case, men would be rewarded without regard to their merits; for personal merits must ne» oessarily belong to the agents, and are connected with the very individual, inherent in himself; and no transfer can be made of them from
(11) ha. Iv. 7. Ezek. xxxiii. tl.
one agenl to another: consequently, to claim another's merits, is the most absurd, and incoherent scheme that ever was invented; that a person pleads another's merits, and pretends to justify himself by faith! Will this plea of justification avail the greatest villain? And shall one, who practices all the moral duties of life, be damned because he lacjss" this faith? Can it be consistent, with either scripture or reason, to make faith the reward of the wicked and that the wicked be rewarded through faith, and to impute it to them for righteousness; whilst they deny the good, who have led a life of goodness and virtue, the reward due to their merits? If God accepts faith, let them trust to it, and let there be no distinction between moral good, and evil. But if good works be deemed necessary, why shall not he who practices them, be benefitted thereby, let him belong to what sect or society, either choice or chance may place him? Shall the merits of one person benefit all that will plead them? and shall not personal acts and righteousness, avail those who practice them? Can any thing be more inconsistent with God's justice and mercy? Thus you see to what absurdities, the scheme of Jesus's sufferings and passion leads them to. But in truth, this is only invention, and entirely ficticious; for let them suppose that the Jews had received Jesus for the Messiah, that they had believed him to be God himself, and that they had paid him whilst living,
the adoration paid to him by ians since his death; what must
have been the consequence? Must the world have been damned? This must have been the consequence! because no atonement, no justification, no imputed righteousness, no faith, could then have been pleaded, and of consequence, all must perish everlastingly. Are they not obliged to us, for performing the act, though wicked, as represented, since it bought them salvation. How ungrateful are they for this benefit? Jesus underwent a momentary pain, and for that they reverence and adore him. The Jews were involved in the same act, they were appointed to the work, they brought destruction and damnation to themselves and posterity, by doing their part: and yet are despised, ill treated, and abused by those very persons, who pretend to reap the benefit! These are (he absurdities attending this incomprehensible scheme : they are in the right,therefore, to call it "An unsearchable mystery." As such, let those who can, believe it.
[To be continued.] -meowing to press of matter on hand for the remaining numbers of the . Jew, being for many reasons determined to close the publication with this volume, w,e are unavoidably restrained, from presenting our rea