The Atonement, In Its Relations To God And Man -- By: Enoch Fond

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 019:76 (Oct 1862)
Article: The Atonement, In Its Relations To God And Man
Author: Enoch Fond

The Atonement, In Its Relations To God And Man1

Rev. Enoch Fond

This little book has been for a long time before the public. The substance of it was published, in four sermons, almost forty years ago. In 1844 it was re-written; the form of sermons was dropped, a new chapter added, and it was given to the public in its present state. Since that period, it has been extensively circulated, not only in our own country, but in foreign lands. It has been translated into several languages, as the French, the Welsh, and the Low Dutch. In the preface to the last edition of his Controversy with the Unitarians, the late Dr. Wardlaw speaks of it with high commendation.

But in the midst of so much approbation, it has not entirely escaped censure. As might have been expected, the Unitarians early laid their hands upon it; and almost immediately after its publication in its present form, it was

subjected to an elaborate and merciless criticism in the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, vol. xvii. p. 84. “This book,” say the reviewers, “is in itself of little consequence; but from its gross and confident misrepresentation of the truth, it has more of the power due to falsehood, than any book of the kind we know “(p. 138). In the following remarks, we shall have more frequent occasion than we could have desired, to refer to this Review.

The view of the atonement presented by Dr. Beman is that commonly known as the governmental theory; the same that was advocated by Doctors Edwards, Griffin, Emmons, Mr. Burge, and many others. According to this view, the atonement is an expedient of infinite love and mercy, adopted with a view to satisfy the justice of God and sustain his law and government, in extending pardon and salvation to guilty men.

The work before us is divided into five chapters. The first is on the necessity of an atonement. An atonement was necessary, not to make God merciful, but to open a way in which his mercy could consistently flow out to our guilty race. It was necessary, to manifest God’s supreme regard for his law, his holy hatred of sin, and his determination to punish it as it deserves. It was necessary, also, on account of “its practical influence on moral and immortal beings,” in this world, and in all worlds. It is sometimes asked: Why could not God pardon repenting sinners without an atonement? To this it is pertinently replied: None ever would have repented without an atonement. The mere influence of a broken law never brought sinners to repentance, and never will.

Dr. Beman’s second chapter is on the fact of an atonement; which he argue...

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