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not only renders life uncomfortable, but, if not pardoned, death and eternity too; nay, it gives death a sting which will be destructive of our everlasting peace, and will pierce our souls through with everlasting sorrow. O my dear Benjamin, think of the punishment of sin! the everlasting sepa ration from all outward enjoyments; “ the everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power ;" " the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness.” A gnawing “worm that dieth not." "A fire that can never be quenched." "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish." The society of the "devil and his angels.” “A lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." See, amongst others, the following passages: Job, 7:10. 2 Thess. 1:9. Matt. 25: 30. Mark, 9. 44. Rom. 2:5, 9. Matt. 25:41. Rev. 20:10. The words of the apostle, generally applied to the future happiness of the righteous, are equally true concerning the future misery of the wicked : "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that" hate "him." 1 Cor. 2:9. A celebrated Latin poet, speaking of the wicked in the infernal world, saith, “that if he had an hundred mouths, and an hundred tongues, he could not express the one half of their misery.” The misery of hell is greatly increased by its duration. It is without end. As long as the righteous enjoy felicity in heaven, so long will the wicked suffer misery in hell. The same word is used, in the ori. ginal, by our Lord himself, to express the one and the other. Matt. 25:46. Blessed be God, who sent his only deliver us from the wrath to come.” One or two letters more, my dear Benjamin, and we shall leave the first Adam, and consider "the second Adam from heaven, who gave himself a ransom to deliver us from going down into the pit of destruction.'
" Son to
$ 1. In closing my last, I mentioned that we should have only one or two letters more, and then be favored with the appearance of the Sun of Righteousness. But as it is frequently observed that about the breaking of day it is the darkest, so you will observe, that this and the following letter, which are to introduce the morning Star and light of the world, is the darkest and most gloomy. We have already considered the fall of our first parents, and the misery which thereby came upon themselves ar:d upon their posterity. I now propose to show the utter impossibility of salvation, had not God' interposed with the promise of a Savior.
When Adam was expelled from Paradise, the entrance was guarded by a flaming sword, to signify that all hopes of return, by the way of nature, are cut off for ever. That this is the case will appear, if we consider what is necessary for the restoration of man to happiness. This may be expressed in two words, viz. Justification and Sanctification. The former includes pardon of sin and a title to eternal life, the latter a deliverance from the power of sin and a fitness for the everlasting enjoyment of God. Now, man is utterly unable to accomplish either.
$ 2. 1. He cannot procure the pardon of sin, for he can make no satisfaction for it. We have already seen that all have sinned in Adam, and are also guilty of innumerable actual transgressions. We have also shown that sin and punishment are inseparable God, who hath threatened, is bound by his own word to inflict the threatened punishment. Now, if satisfaction for sin is to be made, it must be by death; because man, upon his revolt from God, was, by the immuta
ble law, bound over to death. Now, either man must perish for ever, or some one, who was not obnoxious to that penalty by nature, should suffer, in his stead, that death which he owed.
§ 3. That the slaying of a multitude of beasts could ever atone for sin, and that they were never instituted for that purpose, I shall show in a future letter. For the present, one passage of Scripture may suffice; Micah, 6:6, 7. * Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?". A God of infinite goodness delights not in shedding the blood of his creatures, nor can we suppose him to be pleased with the effusion of the blood of animals. The institution of the legal sacrifices could not be exemplary to man, nor expiatory. to God. What virtue could the pangs of a dying beast represent to him? No other ends can be imagined but an acknowledgment of guilt, the desert of sin, the debt of death, the necessity of a higher satisfaction, and the raising the worshippers up to a faith in the promise of God, that another valuable sacrifice should be put in the room of the sinner, to take away that sin which the blood of beasts and the eternal groans of men were not able to remove. On this subject, however, I need not to enlarge, for sacrifices have ceased for ages past, and our nation acknowledge that they dare not offer any till they shall have re. turned again to the land of promise, and built again a temple unto the Lord.
§ 4. In the meanwhile, to oppose the Christian belief of the necessity of atonement, and to give an answer to the inquiry, " how shall man be just with God ?" some of our modern writers, as well as authors of other religious de nominations, have boldly asserted that sacrifices were never required to procure the pardon of sin, and that repentance alone is always sufficient." This opinion has been refuted, in a masterly manner, by that pious divine and profound Hebrew scholar, the Rev. J. Oxlee, in his fourth letter to S. M. one of our Jewish brethren and correspondent in the Jewish Repository, vol. 2, page 462. As you may not have an opportunity of seeing that work, I shall take the liberty of transcribing as much as is necessary to the present subject.
Ø 5 "Sir,—The next erroneous statement, on which I beg to animadvert, in your objections to the Messiahship of Jesus, is to the following effect : For, according to our faith, a strict and due observance of the Decalogue and precepts, as ordained by the Almighty, in the law he gave to his chosen people, the Jews, is the only intermediate medium, or mediator, that they require to ensure their salvation in the future state; and they offer in proof thereof, how great a sinner king David was, and yet sincere repentance was the only mediating medium that procured him the Almighty's forgiveness; for, as Jews, they would deem it to im. ply mutability in the Supreme, were they to entertain any belief that sincere contrition and repentance does now require a mediator to render it acceptable to the Almighty. Such are the opinions of the Jews on this head, and such are mine.' (This is a quotation from S. M.'s letter, Jewish Rep. v. 2, p. 148, 285.) “Though the doctrine here inculcated is somewhat confusedly expressed, the meaning I take to be that, with the Jew, a perfect conformity to the law of Moses will ensure his salvation in the next world; and that, for every violation of the divine precepts, whereby eternal life should seem to have been forfeited, no other atonement or expiation either now is, or ever was required by the Al. mighty, than sincere repentance; for the proof of which an allusion is made to the pardon which king David obtained in the affair of Bathsheba. There is not; perhaps, a ques. tion of more vital importance to mankind, nor one which requires a higher degree of learning and candor in order to a right and successful discussion of it, than the manner in which, most agreeably to the will of God, expiation is to be made for sin and transgression. That the Jews of the present age uniformly inculcate, that for every species of sin and transgression, sincere repentance and contrition are a full and satisfactory atonement, I readily grant; but that this notion is repugnant to the analogy of faith, to the patriarchal and Mosaic institutions, to the express testimonies of Scriptures, to the positions of the Talmud, as well as the assertions of several of the most celebrated writers of the Jewish church, I will endeavor to establish on the most un: exceptionable evidence.
“Before I proceed, however, to the general question, I shall invalidate the only apparent proof which you have been able to alledge, of contrition and repentance being clearly accepted by God, without the intervention of sacrifice as an atonement for sin. The pardon to which reference is made in the case of king David, though you have not expressly declared it, is doubtless in the matter of Bathsheba, as that is the only instance in which he deviates so far from inculpability of conduct.
" The circumstance is thus recorded in our English version: "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, the Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.' 2 Sam. 12: 13. That part of the pasuk which relates to the pardon, is thus expounded by R. Isaac Abarbinel: But with respect to the answer of Nathan, who says, “ The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die;" I think, that, as David had said, "I have sinned against the Lord," meaning that the sin-had reference to Jehovah himself, and that in his hand were atonement and forgiveness ; so Nathan re joined, true it is that every thing is in the hand of the Lord; and because mercy and forgiveness are in his hand, he hath put away thy sin, so that thou shalt not die. And this he