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such ; is it not easy to see ; as, that by their death the atonement here spoken of was made; so, that that atonement included in it the notion of transferring guilt 2 But you will, perhaps, still say, “that the ‘sons of Saul suffered for their own crimes; ‘ and that therefore, as the putting them to ‘death was an act of justice, they cannot * be said to have suffered in the stead of others.” But this is a consequence I deny; because the fact is plainly against it: for supposing it to be true, that they were all guilty, and that they suffered, in part, for their own crimes ; it is very evident, that they suffered also for others, and by that means made atonement for them ; so far as to reconcile the Gibeonites to them, and to procure for them the removal of the famine ; and that therefore their sufferings were, in part, vicarious : the granting of which is as much as needs to be desired.*
* It appears from the history here referred to, and is acknowledged by yourself, No. 76, that the effect of the atonement made by the death of Saul’s sons, was (in part however) satisfaction to the injured Gibeonites. From which, as it may save the trouble of doing it hereafter, I would beg leave to observe here ; that in order to make satisfaction to an injured or offended party, it is by no means necessary, that a strict and proper equivalent should be paid or given, No. 113, or that the satis
I go on now to your seventh chapter, in which, though there are some things to
faction should in all respects be full and complete. No one, I suppose, will say, either that the sons of Saul who suffered, were the only Israelites who were concerned in the murder of the Gibeonites ; or that by their death a full and perfect compensation was made, or equivalent given, to that people for the loss they had sustained; and yet we find, that they were satisfied with the death of those persons : they made no farther demands upon the Israelites ; but behaved to them (we have reason to think) as if they had never offended them : not, I say, that the sacrificing of seven persons was a proper equivalent to the Gibeonites for the loss (it is probable) of many more of their brethren ; but because it is what they themselves had fixed upon, and were pleased to accept of, as sufficient for the purchase of their forfeited friendship : for it was certainly a favour (and David no doubt considered it as such) that the Gibeonites were willing, upon such terms, to forget what was past, and to be reconciled to the Israelites. And as their insisting, in this case, upon some satisfaction, shewed their regard to justice, and their abhorrence of perfidy and murder ; and in that view had an obvious salutary tendency : so their accepting of the satisfaction which was made them, was an evidence of a placable and friendly disposition ; which, no doubt, would have its effect too. Which observations I have thought proper to make upon the history before us ; both because it furmishes us with an instance of satisfaction being made by some persons suffering for others, though the satisfaction, considered in itself, was not perfectly full and complete ; and because it may help (if I mistake not) to give us, in general, a just notion of the nature and uses of that satisfaction, which has been made in another and more important instance.
which I have nothing to object, yet there are others, with which, I cannot say, I am perfectly satisfied; and therefore shall take some notice of them. I readily agree with you, sir, (No. 120.) “that the levitical law” (considered, if you please, in any light in which you can justly view it) “did not ex“tend to the world to come : that it gave ‘not the least hope or prospect of a resur‘rection to life, which is the most COIn‘plete justification or discharge from sin ‘(1 Cor. xv. 17, 18.) but, after all rites, ‘services, and sacrifices performed, left a ‘man under the power of death, which is ‘the curse of the law : that its best prom‘’ises entitled a man only to a temporal ‘life; and that its threatening was death ‘without hopes of a revival,’ &c. But when you intimate, that ‘ the levitical sa‘crifices’ (considered apart, I suppose, from the Abrahamic covenant, ibid.) “were ‘ only political institutions, (No. 121.) and ‘had relation only to the # political ‘life and state of a Jew; as they gave him. “a right to live and enjoy all the privileges * of the land of Canaan;’ you seem to me, if I mistake not your meaning, not to have sufficiently considered, that God was not only the King, or civil Governor, but also the God of the Jews ; and that the sacrifices appointed by their law, did not so much concern them, as his subjects in a civil sense, as they concerned them, as his creatures and subjects in a religious one ; and that therefore they gave them a title to life, and the privileges of the land of Canaan, not so much by making atonement for them, as offenders against him, considered as their King (for in what way they had all forfeited their lives, &c. to him, merely as such, it is not easy to say :)
* Your words here are, ‘ In this view levitical sacri* fices had relation only to this present world, and the polit‘ical life and state of a Jew;’ &c. But in the text above, I omit the words, this present world, because it is one thing to say, that the levitical sacrifices had relation only to this present world; and another thing to say, that they had relation only to the political life and state of a Jew : the former may be true, and yet the latter not so : unless it can be shewn, that whatever relates only to this present world, must also relate only to our political life or state ; which, I presume, cannot be done. And this I the rather mention , because, if I mistake not, it shews the conclusion of your second observation (No. 121.) not to be just. Your observation there is, “that the apostle * in the epistle to the Hebrews considers sacrifices, and * the whole ceremonial law, apart from the Abrahamic * covenant ; which covenant he twice repeats as distinct * from the levitical law ; as a more perfect scheme of * religion, and as conferring that justification, to which * the mere levitical sacrifices did not reach. Heb. viii. 7–13. –x. 15–18, &c. Therefore (you conclude ) he ‘considers sacrifices as political institutions.” Had your conclusion here been, Therefore he considers sacrifices as extending only to this present world ; I should not have objected to it : but as it is, it seems to me, as I hinted, not to follow from your premises : because the Abrahamic covenant might be distinct from the levitical law ; be a more perfect scheme of religion, and confer that justification, or raise to the hope of that eternal life, to which the mere levitical sacrifices did not reach ; and yet the sacrifices of that law, considered apart from the Abrahamic covenant, might not be political institutions only : because they might be of use, even so considered, in a religious view. They might, for instance, be a means of preserving the offerers from many evils, which, as offenders against God, they would otherwise have suffered ; and of exciting in their minds just sentiments of the divine holiness, justice, and mercy (which also would have some salutary influence ;) though they did not raise them to the hopes of a better life, nor produce all those effects, which a more perfect scheme of religion. was intended and calculated to produce.
as by making atonement for them, as of. fenders against him, considered as their
God : for in this view, it is certain they had all forfeited their lives, and of consequence the privileges they enjoyed. In other words, the levitical sacrifices (ab
stracting as much as you please from the disposition of the offerers, (No. 121.) were not so much (if indeed at all) a means of discharging them from political penalties