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CANDID REMARKS, &c.
I HAVE perused with some care and attention, and, I would hope, with a mind open to conviction, your Scripture Doctrine of Atonement eacamined : but, though I have no objection to make to several things it contains, yet I cannot say that I am satisfied with the whole ; or indeed convinced, by what you have advanced, even in support (if I mistake it not) of your main point : and as this is the case, I persuade myself, as well from your general character, as from what you have said in your preface, that you will not be offended, if I endeavour to discover, with as much clearness, and to correct, with as much candour, as I can, the errors your treatise seems to me to contain.
I am not insensible of the rights of private judgment; as I am satisfied, you, sir, are not : and therefore, as I do not at all doubt, but that you will allow me, without offence, to differ from you ; so I readily own, that I should act against my own sense of things, should I be displeased with you, or with any other persons, merely for differing from me, or taking that liberty, which I myself take, and you and they may with equal reason expect, I should give : which declaration I therefore think proper to make, that it may appear, that, though I am contending for doctrines, which are commonly received, and which are sometimes, perhaps, defended (as well as attacked) with too much eagerness ; it yet may be done with charity for those who see reason to reject them : and I would hope, sir, you will meet with nothing in what follows, but what will be, both as to the matter and manner of it, consistent with this declaration.
I have said already, that there are several things in your treatise, to which I have nothing to object: these therefore I shall have no occasion to take notice of. And as to those parts of it, which seem to me to be liable to objection ; I shall generally consider, or make my remarks upon them, in the same order in which I find them : for I freely own, that I know not that I can consider them in a better: and if it should appear, either that I mistake your meaning in any place, or give not good reasons for differing from you ; I trust, you will find me very ready, botli to acknowledge the one, and to give up the other. As the scriptures seem to me (and I presume they do to you, No. 148,) to lead us to consider, in general, the death of Christ, as a sacrifice for sin, in the same light, in which we are led to consider the expiatory sacrifices under the law; I shall very readily join with you, in the previous examination of what the scriptures say concerning them ; that, forming right sentiments of them, we may be led to do the same with relation to the sacrifice of Christ. Only it will be proper, first of all, to take notice of some things you say with regard to sacrifices in general. Having then proved, “that the sacrifices ‘(spoken of) were of a religious and moral “nature ; and had their effects with God “to whom, and with the persons by whom, “they were offered :' (No. 17.) And having justly observed, that God could not, notwithstanding, be pleased with the mere effusion of blood, or the death of his creatures, &c. you ask, No. 19, ‘ In what * manner then had sacrifices respect to “God 2" to which you answer; “As the “levitical law supplies no answer to this * question, but supposes it was understood, “we must seek for it in other parts of ‘scripture ; and consult the sense of pro‘phets and apostles, who had a clear and “full knowledge of the nature and ends of * divine institutions. Which in such cases “is a just and authentic method of discov‘ering and ascertaining the truth.” I am not against examining any parts of scripture, in order to find out, so far as we can, the sense of other parts of it; but think it in general very proper and necessary so to do : and even with regard to the case before us, it is by no means improper to consult the sense of prophets and apostles, or indeed the writings of any other of the sacred penmen: on the contrary, the more we consult and consider them, the more likely we shall be to find out the truth. But however, when you say, in answer to
the question you had asked, that “the levit‘ical law supplies no answer to it o’ i. e. does not shew us, in what manner sacrifices had respect to God ; I must own, if that be the case, that I do not understand the meaning of several passages in that law relating to this subject : for there seem to be several, which point out to us, with sufficient clearness, the manner in which sacrifices had respect to God. And indeed, where might we reasonably expect to meet with passages more subservient to the understanding the true nature, significancy, ends, or effects of sacrifices, either with respect to God, or the offerers of them, than in those parts of scripture, which more directly and professedly treat of them 2 I grant indeed, that the levitical law does generally suppose these things to be understood; and that is no other than what might be expected, considering the obvious nature, and apparent purposes of the sacri. fices appointed by that law. But, that it supplies no answer to the question referred to, seems to me, to say the least, not so plain as you seem to think it is. To shew however, that this is not said without grounds, I shall not insist upon