« PreviousContinue »
deed, rush upon the mind as naturally connected with the Scriptural doctrine of atonement. As was said at the commencement, this doctrine appears to be the sun of the spiritual firmament, which gives light and heat to all the inferior planets which roll in the symbolical heavens. And surely a sun from which is emitted such diversified and resplendent rays, must be immensely great, and inconceivably glorious. Hence the Godhead of the Lord Jesus is clearly inferable from the doctrine of the atonement. Surely every one must respond to the language
of the poet,
None but God such Love can show.'
The proper deity of Jesus Christ is so inseparably connected with the Scriptural doctrine of atonement that those who reject the one, seem necessarily to lay aside the other. Hence the various classes of Unitarians, whether they rank among the Arians, Socinians, or Deists, uniformly discard the doctrine of the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and its correlative truths, justification by faith in His name, the new birth, and sanctification by the blood of the everlasting covenant; and as these must be classed among the most distinguishing and vital truths of Christianity, the rejection of the atonement of Jesus Christ tends to sap at once the very foundation of our most holy religion. • Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth.' See how imperceptibly, but not less surely, those undermine Christianity who strike at the Godhead of its Author ! By stripping Him of the robe of divinity they divest Christianity also of its peculiar garments, even of that glorious attire by which alone it is distinguished among other systems of religion. Take away the atonement for the sins of the world, by Jesus Christ, and you reduce Christianity to a system of mere morality, without motive or energy, as powerless to renovate the perverted nature of man, and as inefficacious to pardon and wash away his sins, as heathenism itself.
But let it come supported by its living Head, as “God over all, blessed for ever,' veiling for a short season only the splendor of His divinity in the mantle of humanity, that he might suffer for the sins of the people, and you have an omnipotent arm on which you may lean and be safe. Let Christianity be illuminated by that effulgence which burst from behind the clouds which eclipsed its glories for a few moments while He hung upon the cross, and you behold a bright · light to enlighten the Gentiles,' a pillar of fire,' to conduct you safely through this wilderness to the Canaan above, where the triune God reigns and shines in glory everlasting. Let those meritorious streams of water and blood,' which issued from Immanuel's side, but touch the heart of the sinner, and he is cleansed from his foul leprosy, and leaping, and
walking, and praising God, he goes on his way rejoicing toward the new Jerusalem.
We cannot close this interesting subject without adverting to the invaluable volume of revelation from whence we derive our knowledge of this important and soul-cheering doctrine. That man is guilty and morally diseased, is a truth which may be, and we believe actually is, tested by every man's experience. We feel in our own hearts the rankling of inordinate desire, of irregular passions and appetites; and we see symptoms of the same disordered nature in all with whom we have intercourse. We feel also, that in the same proportion as we suffer ourselves to be led by these unruly passions, we contract guilt and condemnation. So far our experience goes, and no farther.
While we groan under an innate sense of our disease, we see no adequate remedy. Guided, however, by the light of Divine revelation, we look up to the cross on which Jesus Christ expired, and we see issuing from beneath it a stream of
and living water which, we are assured, óis for the healing of the nations. Of this water we drink, and feel that our disease is removed, and a healthy and vigorous action is felt throughout all our moral powers. For a knowledge of this sovereign remedy, as well as the means to make it effectual to our salvation, we are indebted solely to the book of Divine revelation. With what gratitude, therefore, should we receive and study the pages of this holy book!
Nor does this doctrine nullify, but establish, the law. Do we make void the law through faith? God forbid : yea, we establish the law.' If there be no law to condemn, the sinner, he needs no Gospel to pardon and justify him. •By the law is the knowledge of sin. Take away the law and its sanctions, and you render the whole doctrine of atonement perfectly nugatory; for as ósin is the transgression of the law,” if there were no law to transgress, there would be no necessity of the blood of atonement to pardon our transgressions.
Those, therefore, who attempt to annihilate the law under a pretence of exalting the Gospel, by thus rendering the Gospel unnecessary, destroy both law and Gospel at a stroke. Indeed the whole system of the Gospel, as contradistinguished from the law, properly so called, most manifestly presupposes the inefficiency of the latter to save us, and for this good reason-because it is armed with naught but terror for its transgressors; but if it were abrogated by the coming of Jesus Christ, so that it is no longer binding upon mankind, surely its terrors would cease to alarm their consciences, Man's inability in his unregenerate state to obey the precepts of the law forms no valid obection against its perpetually binding influence. On the contrary it is this very thing which renders the Gospel necessary for our salva:
tion: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, hath for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not: after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Note to page 274.— I pray you be ye reconciled to God.' There is a sense undoubtedly, in which Jesus Christ • reconciled the Father to us.' When we understand reconciliation in the sense of being brought into union or fellowship, it is certain that Jesus Christ reconciled the Father to us, and does still reconcile Him to sinners, by His continued intercession; for without the death and intercession of Jesus Christ, no such union or fellowship could have been brought about. Or if we understand it as approving of what is done, then God the Father is reconciled to us through the death of His Son, whenever we repent and believe in Jesus as our almighty Savior. But if we understand by reconciliation any change of disposition, purpose or design in God, in no such sense could Jesus Christ have reconciled the Father to the world. The change must be effected in us ; not in God. We are at enmity with Him; and not He with us: and therefore the enmity must cease on our part, and not on His. Moreover, when it is said that the wrath of God abideth on us,'—that He is angry with the wicked every day,'—that He will render vengeance to His enemies, it certainly supposes that He is dissatisfied with the conduct of sinners; and therefore that the demands of law and justice are by no means satisfied in their behalf--not, however, that we are to understand by such like expressions that God is actuated by a hatred to the souls of sinners, or that He is possessed of that wrathful passion by which an angry man is distinguished; but simply that He is unreconciled to the wicked conduct of sinners, and that He stands opposed to them, notwithstanding all that Jesus Christ has done, and will finally punish them unless they • flee from the wrath to come,' by a timely repentance and reformation.'
REVIEW OF REESE ON THE CHOLERA.
A plain and practical Treatise on the Epidemic Cholera, as it prea
vailed in the City of New-York, in the Summer of 1832; including its nature, causes, treatment, and prevention. Designed for popular instruction. To which is added, by way of Appendix, a brief Essay on the medical use of Ardent Spirils ; being an attempt to show that Alcohol is as unnecessary and mischievous in sickness as in health. By David Meredith Reese, M. D.-Conner & Cooke, New-York.
In our number for October, Vol. III., New Series, we gave an historical account of this frightful disease, from its commencement in India, in 1817, down to its arrival in this country, together with a short account of its ravages on our own continent during the summer of 1832. The high excitement which was produced by the sudden appearance, and desolating progress of this disease, has left indelible impressions upon the public mind, and induced fearful forebodings of its return. Indeed it has already returned. Contrary, however, to its course last year, it has begun its ravages where before it terminated, and is now travelling from New Orleans up the banks of the Mississippi and Ohio; and the probability is that it will again sweep over many portions of our land.
It is not to be wondered at that the appearance and progress of such a desolating foe to human life should strongly excite the attention of professional men. Like the yellow fever, and other epidemics, it has given birth to conflicting theories among different members of the medical faculty, respecting its origin, character, and mode of treatment; showing that even those who assiduously and exclusively devote themselves to the healing art, are often baffled in their estimation of the causes of many diseases which afflict humanity; and also that their efforts, however wisely and diligently applied, cannot prevent the execution of the original decree denounced upon rebellious man,• Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. During, however, the prevalence of this awful scourge, as well as since its temporary cessation, a number of treatises have made their appearance on the character, and the probable means of curing the cholera, respecting the relative merits of which, not being physicians ourselves, we are, of course, incompetent to decide with accuracy. So far, however, as we are able to judge, from what we have witnessed of the character and ravages of this disease, we think very favorably of the treatise before us. The author had ample opportunities of testing his theory by an extensive practice during the prevalence of the epidemic in our city last summer; and though it could not be expected that all would be cured of a disease so new, and of such a malignant character, yet we have reason to believe that Dr. Reese was quite successful in arresting the
disease in numerous instances, and of restoring his patients to health, as well as preventing, by a timely application of remedies, its fatal influence upon the system.
One objection against putting works of this character into the hands of people generally is, that the uninitiated into the science of medicine are unable to understand them. In the treatise before us this objection ceases, in a great measure, to exist. For though it is hardly possible to avoid the use of all the technicalities of the science in treating on the causes, symptoms, and remedies of disease, yet the author has happily succeeded in adapting his style to the comprehension of the generality of readers, so that they may understand and profit by what they read. And those who are accustomed to the author's style of writing will at once recognize in this the same clearness, terseness, and sprightliness, by which his writings are distinguished, as well as the same zealous endeavor to mend the morals, while he labors to enlighten the understandings of his readers.
In front of the title page are the outlines of a map of the city of NewYork, on which are depicted the several places where the cholera at first and mostly prevailed, and where the several hospitals for the accommodation of the sick poor, were located. From this it appears that it commenced its ravages in Cherry and Roosevelt streets, within the circle of the fourth ward, though almost simultaneously it made its appearance in Reed, Washington, and Duane streets, in the third ward, and at that sink of iniquity, a disgrace to a civilized city, the Fire Points, where are congregated, in crude and disgusting masses, those whose steps take hold on hell:' These several places, being at some distance from each other, furnish Dr. Reese with an argument in favor of his theory, that the cholera, though infectious, is not contagious, but is indigenous to any place which is previously prepared for its generation by the infectious state of the atmosphere, from filth and intemperance. It very soon broke out in other sections of the city equally distant from each other as the former, such as Greenwich Village, Bellevue, Laurens street, Corlaer's Hook, Yorkville, Haerlem, and finally in almost all parts of the city. To the reader of this book, the accompanying diagram, with its explanations, will afford facilities in tracing the cholera to the places where it first commenced its attack, and the manner in which it made its frightful progress into different parts of the city, and the adjacent villas.
Having thus presented to the reader a concise view of the origin and progress of the cholera in the city of New York, and stated the
various opinions of professional men respecting its character, the author gives his own opinion in the following terms :
• I conceive the essence of cholera to consist of a retirement of the circulating mass of the blood from the external surface of the body,