Imatges de pÓgina
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make all possible Allowances for the Infirmities of Man: kind. And upon this Reason I take the Nature of expiatory Sacrifices in all Ages to have been grounded, to Thew the great Aversion God has always had to Sin, and to deter Men from Sin, by shewing the great Satisfaction which he required for it. And therefore I do not approve the Reason which a late Author * gives, that the End of Sacrifices was to make Sin costly to the Of fender, and to appease the Consciences of penitent Sinners, by Thewing that God accepted the Death of the Beast in lieu of theirs. For these are only general Ends, but the most principal and particular End which was aimed at in the Sacrifices of Beasts was, that they might be Types and Fore-runners of the great Sacrifice of our blessed Lord, from the Efficacy of whose infinite Satisfaction they received all their expiatory Nature. For as the Apostle argues, Heb. x. 6. It is not possible that the Blood of Bulls and Goas fbould take wa Sins; and therefore these must all have Reference to the infinite Satisfaction of Christ, which alone can. So that these bestial Sacrifices both before and under the Law, were to the Sacrifice of Christ as the Ta bernacle to the Temple. God Almighty was pleased to accept them as expiatory till such Time as that great Sacrifice was finished. But as when the Temple was built, the Tabernacle was destroy'd: So after the Suffering of Christ, these ritual Sacrifices were at an End. Nay, we have rather great Reason to adore the infinite Mercy of God, than to tax him with Severiry, for accepting of such vi, carious Sufferings; for he might in Justice have demanded the personal Suffering of the Offender himself, his Life for every Transgression, which would foon have put an End to the Race of sinful Mankind. To have forgiven all without any Satisfaction, would have been, in Effect, to have given an uncontrollable License to Sin; and to have punished to the utmost Rigor, would have left no Room for Men to adore his Mercy : But by this admi * Discourse concerning natural and revealed Religion, p. zoo.

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rable Mixture of Justice and Compassion, his own Ho-
hour is preserved, and Men's Sins are pardoned.

Neither can I assent to your opinion, that Sacrifices The Origin
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pure Invention of Men; for it is highly, probable Sacrifices that they were at first instituted by God Almighty, and

ent ReveDirections for the Performance of these facrificial Rites Lations, given to the First of Mankind, and so have been handed down to the several Branches of their Posterity ever since. Indeed Grotius and some others are of Opinion, that Sacrifices owe their Original to the Gratitude of Mankind, who in Thanks to God were willing to return back to God some part of the good Things they did enjoy; and that before the Flood there was no Sacrifice offer'd of Animal Creatures. But granting, that Gratitude gave Origin to Eucharistical Sacrifices, we are as much at a Loss to find a Reason for the Piacular, unless we allow they came by the Institution of God. Neither is his Reason convincing, by which he would prove that no Beast was facrificed till after the Deluge ; viz. because Sacrifices are never but of such Things whereof Men used to eat : Now there being no Flesh ear before the Deluge, that Indulgence being afterwards granted to Noah, he concludes, that no Flesh was facrificed. But this Argument is but weak. For it is very much to be doubted whether the Antediluvians did not eat Flesh ; and Bocharths contends strongly that the Grant to Noah, Gen. ix. was not larger than what was afforded to Adam, Gen.i. And befides, in piacular Sacrifices in many Nations, they never ftood upon the Edibility of the Sacrifice; but oftentimes sacrificed Horses or Men. Besides, it is probable that these expiatory Sacrifices of Blood commenced from the first Fall of Mankind, to be the onlinfuge, or vicarious Punishments for the Lives of Adam's Off-spring then forfeited. And then there is some Reason for their Inftitution at that Time; but there is none that I know, for their being set up in the Time of Noah. And when the Scripture says expresly that Abel offered of the Firstlings of his Flock, and the Fat thereof; methinks it is a jejune Interpretation, to say he Offered only Lanan & lac pin

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guifsimum, Wooll and very fat Milk (i. e.) Cream. I am therefore persuaded, and I think upon good Ground, that a Model of facrificial Rités; or at least a Command in general of piacular Sacrifices was given to our first Pac rents, and by them transmitted down to all their Posterity. For otherways it is impossible to give a satisfa&ory Account why we should meet with the same in all Ages, in all Countries from the East to the West-Indies, from Africa to Scythia, and there find Men pra&tising the same piacular Rites almost in an uniform Manner. If their Sacrifices were owing to the Gratitude or Reasoning of the different Inhabitants, they would be as widely different as their Customs and Manners are ; but when we find so many different People that have no Intercourse with one another, doing exa&tly the same Things as if it were by Confederacy, killing the Sacrifice, burning the Flesh, and that too upon an Altar, by the Ministry of a Priest, and with an Opinion that their Sins are discharged by that vicarious Punishment of the devoted Animal, with many other like Circumstances; this must needs prove, that they could not all jump upon these Things by Chance, but had them delivered down to them by some ancient Pres decessor, who was Progenitor to them all.

And as I proved to you before by this Argument * that the Americans did proceed from the Europeans ; so I think it is as plain that they did all proceed from Adam from whom the general System of sacrificial Rites has been propagated to them after the Succession of so many Ages. And here we may fix our Foot, and settle the Commencement of all moral and ritual Religion, and whatsoever we find of them both, though ever so vitiated in the different Parts of the World, esteeming them to be but corrupted Streams of the ancient Revelation afforded to our first Father: And as for those Texts of Scripture which you alledge, they do by no Means undervalue or cast any Reflection upon God's ritual Laws and Sacrifices. But the Design of them is to shew, that

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Men should not place their Obedience only in the ritual
Parts of Religion, whilst they neglect the more substantial
Duties of Morality; and this is a Truth which every ho-
nest Christian, as well as you Deists, thinks himself bound
to believe.

Phil. I confess, what you say does not altogether want
some Probability. But still methinks these vicarious Pu-
nishments seem but insignificant Trifles in Matters of Re-
ligion, because they do not make Men the better or the
more innocent. Indeed if these Expiations either in them-
selves, or as they had Relation to the Death of Christ,
did perfectly take away Sins, then there is fomething in
what you said: but they only leave the Man as they found
him, unless true Repentance did make him better: So that
the Mediatorship without Repentance signifies nothing
at all; and Repentance where they know nothing of this
Mediatorship, must, by all charitable Men, be allowed to
be valid ; and therefore what Need of the Mediatorship
or Satisfaction at all? Repentance after sinning is all that
Man can do, or God can require. 'Tis true, the Debt
we owe to God Almighty by sinning is infinite, and what
then; * If I owe a Million, and can pay but a thousand Pounds,
my Creditor can have but all. 'Tis true, my Body is then suba
ject to Imprisonment, that is to the farther Extent of the Law;
but then that Lav is void of Mercy. So that when I have
done my All, that is, repented; what Need is there of Ex-
piation, when God's Mercy will acquit me, as having paid
what I was able ?

Cred. It is true, that God's Mercy is that blessed At- God's Hotribute to which the Pardon of all our Sins is owing, and nour 10 bo upon which the Mediatorship is founded. This is that confidered which gave Life to the Stipulation between Christ and the diatorship. Father, that He should die for the Sins of the whole World, in which all-sufficient Sacrifice all other Expiacions received their Force and Energy. And it's likewise true, that after Sin committed, Repentance and Amendment is all we can do on our Parts." But then farther, we

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Christians, say that the Mediatorship must do something likewise on God's Part as well as ours. By Sin God's Honour is violated, and our Lives are forfeited; now both these are to be remedied by the Efficacy of the Mediator. Indeed Mercy for God to Pardon, and Repentance for us to amend, is all that is necessary for our Security. But then on the other Side, why must there be no Satisfaction given for the injured Honour of God? God may be as merciful to the World as he pleases, but still he must be just to his own Dignity; for otherways he would devest himself of the Government of the World, and leave impudent Sinners to sin without Controll. And therefore we lay, that therein lies the admirable Wisdom of the Mediatorship, that both parties are thereby satisfied; God has the Security of his Honour, and Man of his Salvation.

Phil. But, Credentius, this Satisfaction, as you call it, in the Mediatorship, is a Business which lies so cross in my Brains, and is pregnant with such a Number of Absurdities, that I can never away with it. And therefore you see, that not only we, but your Brother Christians the Socinians, are so aware of the Grossness of this Doctrine, that they are unanimously agreed upon it, to explode it ; as giving Men such a barbarous Notion of the Deity, as is inconsistent with the Excellency of his Nature.' For Satisfaction does suppose an angry revengeful Temper, which desires to be glutted with the Punishment of the offending Party; which when that is brought about, becomes tame, good-natur'd, and reconcileable. But this is such a pitiful Imbecillity, even in human Nature, as wise Men are ashamed of; and therefore to attribute this to the infinite Purity and Wisdom of God, is no less, I think, than the most daring Blasphemy. But supposing there was such an angry vindictive Nature in the Deity; yet methinks even then he should rather choose to take Revenge upon every one for their own Demerits, which would be agreeable to Justice ; and not make one innocent Person, viz. Jesus Christ

, who had no Sin, as you suppose, to suffer for the Sins of all other wicked Men ; and to lay the deserved Sufferings of so many out

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