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On page 276 you introduce Romans v. 10, 11. "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.” That man is the person directly reconciled to God, this text declares in terms too plain to admit of doubt, and is abundantly confirmed by the same Apostle, 2 Cor. v. 18, 19, 20—that the means of our reconciliation to God is the death of Christ, none can deny-and that this means produces this effect by faith in his blood, will readily be admitted by all. brother expresses a dark sentence on the word reconciliation; as “that which does reconcile us to God, and which makes it just and honorahle for him to be propitious to us." This meaning, whatever it may be, you tell us is indicated by Heb. ii. 17. "He made an atonement or reconciliation for the sins of the people." You add, “That this is the meaning of the original term, all classic Greek, all synagogue Greek, all ecclesiastic Greek amply testify.” On this permit me to make a few remarks.
1. If this be the meaning of all the various classifications of Greek, why did not our brother render it so in his version of the New Testament? There he translates the words in Hebrews ii. 17., “In order to expiate the sins of the people." Here the sufferings of the High Priest are solely confined to expiate sins, or cleanse from sins-and these were the sins of the people. They had no direct effect upon God to expiate or cleanse from, and make him propitious; but upon the people.
2. The rendering you have just given of the text, “He made an atonement, or reconciliation for the sins of the people,” is not a just translation of the Greek words hilaskesthai tas humartias. You well know that hilaskesthai is an active transitive verb, and signifies to cleanse, or, as you have it, to expiate. This action must pass upon the object tas hamartias, sins; and therefore must read to cleanse or expiate sins. In your reading above, you have no object for the active transitive verb, and have to introduce the preposition for to govern the object.
3. You have admitted that atonement and reconciliation are the same; and therefore atonement is not the cause of reconciliation, nor reconciliation the effect of atonement. Thus we are brought to an agreement again.
You immediately introduce Hebs. ix. 26, to prove your position that the reconciliation in Romans v. 11, applies to God, to make it just and honorable in him to be nroninious tons
6. But now once
ing. And in Hebrews xix. 28. “He will appear the second time without sin," you read it, without a sin-offering. This is M’Knight's translation; and he translates the verse immediately in connexion (26) in the same way. Why did you not follow him in this instance also? I can see no reason you have also given in your new version of Heb. xiii. 11. The same as, “The bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary for sin”-you read it, “as a sin-offering." This is Macknight's translation; and he translates the verse immediately in connexion (26) in the same way. Why you did not follow him in this instance also, I can see no reason-you have also given in your new version of Heb. xiii. 11. The same; as, “The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary for sin-you read it, “as a sin-offering.”
2. You try to establish your novel idea by Genesis iv. 7. God speaks to Cain, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? But if thon doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” By this you represent sin as lying in the way of all friendly intercourse between God and
Now my brother does know, that as the Greek hamartia, sin, sometimes is taken for a sin-offering; so the correspondent Hebrew word hettah, or heltath, sin, is very frequently taken for sin-offering. Exod. xxix. 14. “But the flesh of the bullock thou shalt burn without the camp; it is a sin-offering"-hettath, the same word as is used in Genesis iv. 4. See also Lev. iv. 3.; Exod. xxx. 10,, &c., where the word for sin-offering is hettath. So also Dan. ix. 24. “To make an end of sins" means to make an end of sin-offerings. So Hosea iv.,8. "They (the priests] eat up the sins of my people," means they eat the sin-offerings of my people. Now when the Lord says to Cain, “If thou doest not well,” hettath, a sin-offering is lying at the door; there lies a lamb, a goat, or bullock; go, take it, and sacrifice it onto me as did Abel your brother, and you shall be accepted as he was. Do, sir, as you have your Hebrew Bible and Lexicon before you, turn up Parkhurst on the word hettath, and hear him,,read his comment on Gen. iv. 7., and you will forever relinquish yours. In conclusion he says, “As for the expression of sin lying at the door, it is (to speak modestly, a very strange one, and hardly sense; though I am aware that it is become not uncommon in English, I suppose from this very mistranslation in Genesis.”
3. I have no objection to the idea that sin prevents that friendly in.. tercourse between us and God. But where is sin? Not lying at the door, but in us, and not in God. To remove it from us, is to remove the cause of separation between us and God, and of course the friendly intercourse and union are restored between us and our God. This is the doctrine for which I have been contending throughont this discus. sion, and to illustrate it I borrowed the prophet's figure of sins as a cloud separating between us and God. A cloud obstructs the light and heat of the natural sun from us, but has no effect upon the sun: light and heat remain the same. When the cloud is removed, the rays of the unchanged sun flow to us, and bring to ns their enlightening, quickening, and cheering influence. The figure and application are plain and easy; yet my brother strangely thinks that the wind that removes the cloud, affects the sun as much as us-or, without the figure, that the blood of Christ that removes our sins, affects God as
much as us. If any will think so, I cannot help it. To their own master they stand or fall.
Now because I, for want of evidence, say that I do not believe that the blood of Christ had any direct effect on God so as to propitiate him to us, you are very sorry, and wish me to reconcile this with Rom. iii. 25, 26, as this is your strong hold, to which you, and the orthodox constantly resort; and as you have not designed to notice my former remarks on it; I will now endeavor to be more explicit. I will acknowledge that you have at my suggestion omitted two words, own and also, contained in your new version of this verse, against which I objected, because they were not in the Greek text. As I expect to write no more on this subject forever-on the subject under discussion between us, I hope for indulgence in my prolixity.
Rom. iii. 25, 26. I will give your version of the text, page 277. “Whom God hath set forth a propitiatory through faith in his blood, [a covering, or mercy-seat,] to declare his justice in remitting past sins, &c. To declare at this time his justice that he might be just, and the justifier of the believer."
1. From the old typical mercy-seat, God declared his will and truth, to his people, and from it communicated to them his blessings. So from the true inercy-seat, Christ Jesus, he declares his will to che world; for God spake by his Son, and from, or by him communicates his favors to them that believe and obey the gospel.
2. What does he declare from the true mercy-seat especially? You say, his justice. Our translators, Macknight and a host of others, say, his righteousness. You alone, of all known to me, render it justice. Tnough the word dikaiosune is used near one hundred times in the New Testament, it is not once translated justice, but uniformly righteousness. You very often in your version translate the word justification, as, therein is the justification of God revealed. Against this translation I have no objection. It fully includes my views of the truth intended. The righteousness or justification of God is that plan of God justifying by faith without the deeds of the Mosaic law. This plan is revealed by Jesus Christ in the gospel in all its clearness and fulness. True, it was witnessed by the law and the prophets; for it is written there, “The just by faith shall live." This plan of justification was but obscurely taught by the prophets; but they did teach it, and from their writings the apostle introduced it as a witness to induce the Jews to believe the truth.
3. For what purpose does he declare his righteousness or justification? This is the important point of inquiry: the justification de.. clared is, that God will freely pardon or graciously justify every one that believes in Jesus—that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But the objection is, How can he be just in justifying and pardoning the guilty without the deeds of the law? We believe, says the Jew, that God has required us to be circumcised and to keep the whole law, or we cannot be saved, nor justified. Now, says Paul, (v. 19.) “We know that whatsoever the law saith it saith to them who are under the law-therefore the
law speaks to the Jew only, for they only are under it; and not to the Gentiles, for they are not, and never were under the Mosaic law. The Jews under the law were guilty as were all the world. Therefore, (ver. 20.) by the deeds of the law shall no flesh
be justified in his sight, who sees the defiled heart and conscience. For by the law is the knowledge of sin, and therefore by the law none can be justified. But, says Paul, (ver. 21.) there is a justification without the law made manifest—and this justification is witnessed by the law and the prophets, even by Abraham, David, and all who are of the faith of Abraham-they were all justified without the works of the law. ch. iv. 1-14. Now this justification is by faith in Jesus Christ, and is to be preached and offered to all, both Jews and Greeks, and is actually possessed by all that believe. This is the justification God declares to the world, by or from Jesus Christ, the true mercy.
Will the Jew yet say, how can he be just in justifying without the law of Moses? Paul will ask, how was he just in justifying Abraham who lived before the law? In the same way he is just in justifying the Gentiles who believe in Jesus, as well as the Jews. He has declared it, and who shall reply against God? Every act of God is in accordance with every attribute of his nature. Who will deny it?
To declare God just, and to make him just, are two distinct ideas. The first I receive, and the second, I think, my brother receives; for you introduce this text to prove that the blood of Christ so affected God that he can now be just in justifying the believer. That this is your meaning, you add-Then you have no faith in Christ's blood as afecio ing God, but only as affecting men! You speak correctly; for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, and that word has no where said it to my understanding.
On page 177 you object to the order in which I have placed faith, repentance, obedience, &c. Here I may have erred; but in this i refer you to your observations made to a “precise brother.” In conclusion, permit me to wonder at you, when on the same page you say, Now a person who has no use for Christ's blood but to be reconciled by it, can have no faith in it! What, no faith in it? and yet be reconciled by it! Strange! Can he be reconciled to God by it without faiih in it! You add as a reason of this strange sentiment, For why should he rely upon the death of the Messiah, as it can have no effect upon God! Your conclusion must then be, that none are Christians who do not believe that the blood of Christ has such a mighty effect on God, as to make him propitious, to appease or pacify him, to turn away his wrath, and please him; or, in the language of the poet, "0 turn his wrath to grace." Take heed, my dear brother, lest your zeal for an untenable dogma become as intemperate as that of many, who deny your claims to Christianity, because you hold, in their view, docirines subversive of true religion.
You express much delight that the Christians in the East are opposing my views on atonement. Not all are opposing; for the Palladium, their best and most popular paper, is transferring to its pages my numbers in the present discussion. My dear sir, should the world oppose, as brother Russell has done, by transcribing Buck's 'Theological Dictionary on this article, atonement, I stand unmoved by such attacks. At your request I will publish his number when it shall appear in the Harbinger; but I expect to pay no attention to it myself. Others may. One brother is enough for an old man at the same time. Your old brother in the bonds of peace and love,
B. W. STONE.
Tb. B. W. STONE. BROTHER STONE:
Dear Sir—Permit a single reference or two more to your Hebrew, I have no where said that our translators have translated kaphar, or its Septuagint representative, by the English word comer.
But I do say that the word primarily signifies cover. Moreover, that the English words cover and coffer are derived from it. But you make this rather a figurative meaning, than its literal and common import. Now that kaphar does signify to cover, and that it is frequently translated by words and phrases equivalent to a cover or a covering, I appeal to all our standard Hebrew Lexicons. Parkhurst gives ten acceptations of the word, and he finds cover in them all. Its first meaning with him is “to cover by smearing.” 2d. To annul a covenant by smearing it. 3. To dye or color over. 4. The hoar frost which covers. 5. A vil. lage or place of covering. 6. A vessel with a cover-a covered bason. 7. A covert lion. 8. To atone, to expiate, or appease-I will cover his face with the present-cover our transgressions. Psalm 1xxix. 9. 9. A bribe that covereth the eyes. 10. The lid or covering of the ark. Whence, adds Parkhurst, is derived the English words coffer and cover. All other Lexicons concur substantially with Parkhurst. To cleanse and to purify are its figurative meanings; and these happening to be its most usual scriptural acceptation, we most frequently find it, though not always, so rendered. Concerning this fact there never was any controversy between us.
I have turned up Parkhurst on the word hettath, Gen. iv.7., and find no reason to change my opinion. I do not understand the Lord to say, *Cain, if you do not well, a lamb lies at the door; it coucheth at the door of your tent: you may take and sacrifice it for an atonement, as did Abel thy brother.' But if you will take Parkhurst for authority in this, I will take him for authority to the end of the sentence: for, adds he, “Hence in kal and hiph, to offer for a sin-offering—to expiate, cleanse, or purify by a sin-offering, is the proper meaning of hettath in Ex. xxix. 30.; Lev. ix. 15.; vi. 26., &c. &c. But, as you say you expect “to write no more on this subject forever," I shall hasten to matters more intelligible and comprehensible to our readers—Romans iii. 25, 26.
I am truly sorry that you did not on this all-important passage, and on Heb. ix. 15., give us at least one essay, that we might fully understand you on passages which you adınit are often quoted and much relied on by those who agree with me. Had you given to these passages only half the space occupied by outlandish terms which settle no American's mind on the subject, your readers would, no doubt, have rejoiced with me.