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that Christ should suffer in the future world for sinners. On the contrary, the salvation of mankind is always ascribed to his passion and death on the cross. We are said to be "justified by his blood," and "reconciled to God by the death of his son." "Moreover, the same scriptures affirm that the work of atonement was completed by his death on the cross. (Hebrews is., 25—28; X., 12, 14.) When the Saviour was expiring on the cross, he exclaimed, " It is finished," and bowed his head and gave up the ghost. At that moment the atonement was completed, and his sufferings were ended.
2. Others have contended that Christ literally descended into hell, yet not to suffer there the pains of the damned, but to satisfy the law of death. This is the view held by Bishop Pearson in his work on the creed. He says, that as Christ appeared on earth in the similitude of sinful flesh, he went into the other world in the similitude of a sinner, and his soul went to hell, in order to satisfy the law of death.
This opinion is not so revolting as the former, but we strongly object to it as inconsistent and unscriptural, and we are of opinion that the good bishop was induced to adopt it more from the “creed” than the Scriptures. It could not be necessary for Christ to enter hell that he might satisfy the law of death, for that law he had satisfied by submitting to death. Nor did our Lord enter the other world, as the bishop states, “ as a sinner." He died as a " sin-offering," but not as a sinner. He entered eternity as the beloved Sou of God, who was well pleased with him for his righteousness' sake, and his perfect atonement on the cross. When dying, he commended his departing spirit into the hands of his loving Father; and to the expiring thief he said, “This day shalt thou be with me (not in hell but) in paradise." It is remarkable that throughout the whole argument the good bishop never mentions the passage just quoted from the dying words of our Lord. The fact that Christ went directly to paradise on the very day of his crucifixion sets aside all the bishop's reasoning about the Saviour's going to hell to satisfy the law of death.
3. Another view held by some divines is, that our Lord descended into hell to take possession of the infernal dominions, and there to triumph over Satan and his angels. This is the view advocated by Richard Watson, and is founded partly upon the Psalmist's words, in Psalm xvi. 10, and upon those passages in Eph. iv. 8, and Col. ii. 15, where the apostle speaks of Christ spoiling principalities and powers, making a show of them, openly triumphing over them, leading captivity captive, &c. These representations, he thinks, imply a personal descent to the regions of the damned, and a public exhibition of personal triumph, &c. With all due deference to this able divine, we differ from his interpretation. We think the language in Psalm xvi. 10, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," does not comport with his being there in triumph. It seems to be rather expressive, either of a state of suffering, or at least of some disadvantageous state, from which he desired to be delivered ; and he rejoices in the assurance that he should be delivered therefrom: “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." Then, as to his taking possession of hell as a part of his dominion, it was not necessary that the Redeemer's soul should descend to that locality for such a purpose ; for already his spiritual presence filled immensity. Christ is said to fill all things as Mediatorial Governor, and all worlds are put under his dominion, but we never suppose that this mediatorial dominion renders it necessary for his human soul to go to every part of the universe. Besides, it does not appear that Satan and all his angels were locally in hell at the time. Satan and myriads of his angels were on earth during the Redeemer's sufferings. Satan entered Judas and tempted the Redeemer in Gethsemane, and legions of those fallen spirits were going to and fro on the earth and walking up and down therein; so that to triumph over them personally and locally did not require the soul of the Redeemer to enter the regions of hell. Moreover, the time of the Saviour's triumph over the powers of darkness had not arrived before his resurrection. Death was an enemy he had yet to vanquish, and, as Satan is said to have had the power over death, he could not as yet be vanquished. To triumph over these Christ's resurrection was essential. How, then, could he lead captivity captive, when as yet his body was a prisoner in the tomb? How could he spoil principalities and powers, and make a show of them openly, when as yet he himself was under the dominion of death and the grave? The grand event which was to declare him conqueror and proclaim the perfection of his triumph was yet wanting. When the resurrection took place there was a glorious triumph; it was then manifest to earth, to beaven and hell, that his atonement was accepted, and his power as the conqueror and destroyer of hell was proclaimed. * Hell knew this and felt it; and saw in the risen Redeemer that all was lost, and their defeat completed. And when the Redeemer ascended on high he led captivity captive—his own body, once dead, was now alive and glorified, and death, hell, principalities and powers were spoiled and trampled in the dust.
(To be concluded in our next.)
MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES, ANECDOTES, &c.
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PREVAILING CUSTOM OF
VISITING ON SUNDAYS. MR. EDITOR, MY DEAB SIR, -I lately among persons of all ranks. The met with the following essay on Sunday chief advocates for the continuance visiting, published in the last number of of such a practice should, methinks. the “ Literary Magazine," July, 1758.
defend it publicly, that their argu
defend it Dublicly that their This magazine was begun in May, 1756,
ments may be properly examined, if and was avowedly supported by the pen of Dr. Johnson, but was discontinued
(in their opinion) such a custom can as above, being succeeded by “The
admit of any rational defence; and Grand Magazine of Magazines." If you
those who are sufficiently convinced think, from its intrinsic merit, that it
by what is here advanced, should deserves a place in our magazine, I shall
resolve to discontinue Sunday visits be glad to see its sentiments more widely themselves, and discountenance them spread, Yours truly,
in others, as far as they can consistJ. HORNER. ently with decency and prudence.
That the number of such well-disThe sentiments here offered against posed persons may be daily increased the prevailing custom of profaning is undoubtedly the hearty wish of the Sabbath will probably be a satis everyone who is sincerely desirous of faction to every serious reader, and promoting the glory of God and the be productive of much good, especi- good of mankind. ally as it is in everybody's power to Question. Whether it be right for reform one ; and then his own con- truly serious persons to visit on duct will be a tacit reproof to his Sunday? acquaintance, who may probably, The persons here mentioned are through his example, be induced to the truly serious. As to many people, weigh these proceedings attentively, it matters not whether they are at and no longer “ follow a multitude to home or abroad. God is not in all do evil.” It is certainly a matter of their thoughts; they have no concern importance to inquire, whether Sun for their eternal welfare ; they thereday visits are justifiable on the prin- fore are in every place altogether ciple of Scripture and of reason; as and alike unprofitable. But when the conscientious observation of the we begin to discern the things that Sabbath has of late years been so are excellent; when we sincerely much disregarded, and it is now be desire to “obtain salvation, with come the principal day of visiting eternal glory, by Jesus Christ," then, Whether it be proper to fall in with sublime and heavenly subjects; not the prevailing custom of visiting on on low, earthly and temporal matters, Sunday? is a question.
which, having no reference to the Were our companions religious, Creator's honour, are therefore called and were our conversation edifying, thy own. However some people may I should make no scruple to give my act, or whatever they may think, this voice in the affirmative. Every is the express and unalterable law, parlour would then be a little sanc established by the God of heaven. tuary, would echo back the exhorta. Whether it be possible to mingle in tions and second the designs of the modish company and obey this law, pulpit; and we might truly say, " It let those judge who are acquainted is good for us to be here."
with the world. But, alas! where do we find such It breaks the divine command. The company? where do we hear such positive law relating to the Sabbath conversation? The general conver- is, “Remember the Sabbath-day to sation is all impertinence; not so keep it holy." Remember, take parmuch as seasoned with a spice of ticular notice of this injunction. It religion. "They talk of vanity every- is a duty greatly to be regarded, and one with his neighbour.” For which most conscientiously to be observed. reason I cannot think it safe or Upon the due observation of this our expedient, allowable or innocent, disposition and ability to observe the habitually to visit on Sundays. other precepts in good measure de
It is inconsistent with the best ex- pend. “ Keep it holy;" devote it to ample. “I was in the spirit on the holy purposes, spend it in holy exerLord's day," says St. John. I was cises, and not barely an hour or two, filled with the communications of the not barely the intervals of private Holy Spirit, giving me views of and public devotion, but the day, Christ, bright hopes of glory, and the Sabbath-day, the whole day. shedding abroad the love of God in Neither will the whole day be too my heart. But this is incompatible long, if we make conscience of diswith the idle, trifling, insignificant charging the several duties of relichat which engrosses our ordinary gion, reading and meditation, prayer visits.
and praise, teaching our children and Objection 1. Will it be said the instructing our domestics, examining apostle's was a peculiar case? I our hearts and taking heed to our answer, It was a peculiar happy case. ways. All these offices, if properly And will a prudent Christian relin performed, will leave very little, quish the prospect of such unspeaks rather notime, for unnecessary elopeable happiness for the most empty ments. And shall we huddle over and desultory amusement? But I all these important offices, or totally believe it was not peculiar to the neglect some of them, only to indulge apostle, rather the common privilege ourselves in the most unprofitable of all believers, written as a pattern levities-at once doing an injury to for their practice, and to be the plan our spiritual interests, and violating of their expectations.
the divine precept? It is contrary to the divine prohibi “I fear it will be a kind of crucifytion. The negative law relative to ing afresh our blessed Master." This the Sabbath is, “Not doing thy expression we have often read, but own ways, not finding thy own plea think ourselves free from the guilt sure, not speaking thy own words." implied in it, and indeed from the (Isaiah yiii. 13.) “Not doing thy very likelihood of contracting it. But own ways;” abstaining from secular let us be reminded, that we crucify business and all worldly pursuits. our Lord afresh when we give others “Not finding thy own pleasure ;" re occasion to conclude that we have nouncing all those recreations and very little esteem for him; conseamusements which may tend to gra. quently, that he has little or no extify thy taste, not to glorify thy cellency for which we or others should Almighty Lord. “Not speaking thy desire bim. Now what else can the own words;" conversing on spiritual, world conclude, when they see us
giving in to the vanities of a licen- alas ! what a loss must we sustain tious mode on that very day which a loss unspeakable, irreparable is sacred to the commemoration of eternal ! his resurrection? “Surely,” might So that if this practice were not the children of this world say, "if sinful, it must be exceedingly detrithese Christians had any real leve mental; and that not in one only, but rence for their Lord, they would show in various respects. Have we received it on his own day. They would be spiritual good from the public ordiretired, to contemplate and adore nances ? The admonition of Heaven him, or else come abroad to exalt and is, “We ought to give the more earglorify him; but they come abroad nest heed to the things which we to be as frothy in their talk and as have heard, lest at any time we trifling in their temper, as forgetful should let them slip.” (Hebrews ii. 1.) of their Saviour and as regardless of By this practice we not only suffer his honour, as the most arrant world them to slip, but open as it were a ling among us all.” To afford a leak for their immediate discharge. handle for such reflections is to Have we been under edifying imwound the Redeemer in the house of pressions from our private exercises ? his friends.
The unerring direction is, “ Quench "It will grieve the Holy Spirit.” not the Spirit; stifle not the serious (Ephesiansiv.30.) Christians believe desires which he has awakened; that he is infinitely wise, all-gracious allow them their full scope till they and ever blessed; that he dwells in are formed into gracious habits." By their hearts, and is the source of all the practice under consideration we their holiness and all their happiness; pour water instead of oil upon the therefore we pray daily in our Li feeble flame; we extinguish what we turgy, “That the Holy Spirit may should cherish. Is the heavenly not be taken from us." On Sun- seed sown in our breast? These disday, we commemorate the descent sipating interviews are the ravenous of this divine guest, and are in birds which follow the seedsman and a particular manner to implore his devour the grain, so that nothing presence and cultivate his influences. takes root-no fruit of faith, of joy or But can this be done by neglecting love is produced. his express prohibition and breaking Let me only add that, on a dying his positive conimand ? by disre- bed, the misimprovement of all our garding the examples which he has time will be most bitterly regretted ; set before us, and by dishonouring how much more the misimprovement that Saviour whom he delights to of those hours which God himself has honour! Besides, dare any mortal hallowed, has set apart for the noblest to say in his heart, amidst a circle of purposes, and is wont to bless in an polite visitants, “I am now acting in especial manner! “While others a manner becoming my relation to were seeking the pearl of great price, the Eternal Spirit; these sentiments and gathering those treasures of wisand this discourse are suitable to his dom and grace which endure to everdignity, wisdom and glory, a proper lasting life, I, alas! was squandering method of celebrating and honouring away the precious opportunities in the day of his miraculous mission ?" very vanity." To see the curtain of
Should anyone ask, “What is time dropping, to see a vast eternity meant by grieving the Holy Spirit?” opening before us, and to have such it means offending his exalted Ma- reflections haunting our conscience, jesty, and causing him to act as men this will cause misery not to be excommonly act when they are grieved pressed, create anguish not to be and displeased with anyone : they conceived. withdraw from his company and visit Objection 2. Will it be said, in anhim no more. When Samuel was swer to these considerations, “That grieved for Saul's misbehaviour, it company, even trifling company, is a is written, “He came no more to see relaxation. We return to the inSaul." If the Almighty Comforter bestruction of our families and to provoked to deal thus with our souls, our evening devotion with a fresh alacrity, being sick of these triflers," cannon was ever pointed more diA strange argument! It should rather rectly against a citadel to be demobe reversed. The objectors might lished than this text against such truly say, " Being sick of religion and customs. In indifferent matters, let its services, we want such triflers to the Christian avoid singularity. Let afford us some relief." The sincere him dress somewhat like his peighservant of Christ would find no re- bours ; let him make an appearance creation, but feel grief of heart in such suitable to his station; but let him interviews. It must be a real afflic- not follow a multitude to profane the tion to observe his divine Lord abso. Sabbath, or to do any evil. Here lutely disregarded, disregarded on religious persons should by all means the day peculiarly devoted to his be singular; should distinguish themhonour. Every vanity now preferred selves by a becoming zeal for their to him, as Barabbas the robber was God, should set an example and formerly. The true refreshment for shine as lights in the midst of a our souls consists in having our crooked and perverse generation ; faith increased, our hope elevated, otherwise they may do, not themand our views of heaven enlarged. In selves only, but others also incredible contemplating the infinite perfection harm. and glory of our Redeemer, the infi Objection 5. Some people may nite grandeur and fulness of his start, and reply, “If these things are prohibition, and our complete, I so, to what a degree of sinful negmight have said, our infinite security ligence is even the Christian world from wrath and vengeance by being arrived !" With regard to the worldinterested in his merits.
called Christian this is too true; and Objection 3. “Sunday is the best no measure of sorrow can be suffipart of our time for this purpose: cient to bewail the deplorable debusiness is suspended; everybody is generacy. Negligence, or rather obready dressed; all circumstances in- stinacy, in this capital instance, is a vite." It is the best part of our time. melancholy indication of no less disThen let it be devoted to the best of obedience in other respects. beings. Who is more worthy of our Objection 6. " This will be irkchoicest thoughts, affections, hours some, will render our religion a burthan that divinely-compassionate Sa- den." I hope that no one who previour who offered himself in the very tends to seriousness will offer to make prime of his life a bleeding victim for this objection. The sinners in Zion our sins, that his sacrifice might have made it, for which reason they are every recommending circumstance branded, and by the Divine Spirit which could render it acceptable to himself, with infamy that will never God and available for man?
be blotted out. “Oh, what a weariObjection 4. “ It is the universal ness is it! When will the Sabbath custom. To discontinue it would and its irksome solemnities be gone?" render us unfashionable." And can- (Malachi i. 13, and Amos viii. 5.) not you bear to be a little unfashion. This discovers a heart alienated from able for His sake, who was despised God, that has not tasted the good and rejected, who bumbled himself works of grace, and savours not of to death, even the death of the cross, the things that be of Christ, otherwise for your sake? Is it the universal such would be the language: “One custom? Then custom is the idol day thus employed is better than a which we are called to renounce. I thousand.” (Psalm lxxiv. 10.) Is it must say of custom in this case as tedious and burdensome to pass a Elijah said of Baal, “If custom be single day in devout exercises? How, God, follow its dictates; but if Jeho. then, shall we pass, how shall we vah be God, observe his precepts." endure, the ages of eternity, since we It is written in the Scriptures (Ro are assured that those happy beings mans xii. 2), “ Be not conformed to who stand round the Throne, clothed this world." To what does this pro- with white robes, serve their God hibition relate? To such ungodly day and night, for ever and ever, in customs, no doubt. No battery of his temple! In the regions of im