False Views of the Atonement

False Views of the Atonement

It is believed in the church that the Lord was sent by the Father to make an atonement for the human race, and that this was done by the fulfilling of the law and the passion of the cross; and that thus He took away damnation, and made satis­faction; and that without that atonement, satisfaction, and pro­pitiation the human race would have perished in eternal death, —and this from justice, which by some is also called vindictive. (L. n. 18)

What at this day more fills and crams the books of the ortho­dox, or what is more zealously taught and inculcated in the schools, and more frequently preached and proclaimed from the pulpits, than that God the Father, being enraged against man­kind, not only separated them from Himself, but also sentenced them to universal damnation, and thus excommunicated them; but that because He is gracious, He persuaded or excited His Son to descend and take upon Himself the determined damna­tion, and thus appease the anger of His Father; and that thus, and not otherwise, He could look upon man with some favour? Then that this was even done by the Son; so that in taking upon Himself the damnation of the human race, He suffered Himself to be scourged by the Jews, to be spit upon in the face, and afterwards to be crucified as one accursed of God (Deut. xxi. 23); and that after this was done the Father became propitious, and from love towards His Son cancelled the sentence of damna­tion,—but only in respect to those for whom He should inter­cede; and that He thus became a Mediator in the presence of His Father for ever. These and similar ideas at this day sound forth in temples and are reverberated from the walls as an echo from the woods, and fill the ears of all there. But cannot any one whose reason is enlightened and made sound by the Word see that God is Mercy and Pity itself, because He is Love itself and Good itself, and that these are His essence; and therefore that it is a contradiction to say that Mercy itself, or Good itself, can look upon man with anger, and decree his damnation, and yet continue to be His own Divine essence? Such things are scarcely ascribed to an upright man, but rather to one who is not upright; nor to an angel of heaven, but rather to a spirit of hell. It is therefore shocking to attribute them to God! But if one inquires into the cause, it is this:—That men have taken the passion of the cross for redemption itself. From this have these opinions flowed, as from one falsity falsities flow in a con­tinued series. (TCR n. 132)

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