Dale On The Atonement -- By: D. W. Simon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 033:132 (Oct 1876)
Article: Dale On The Atonement
Author: D. W. Simon


Dale On The Atonement1

Dr. D. W. Simon

The Congregational Union of England and Wales has established, or as we may say, re-established, an annual lecture, or course of lectures, with a view to the promotion of biblical science and theological and ecclesiastical literature. Of these courses of lectures four have now been published: the one whose title is given above is the third. Most readers of the Bibliotheca Sacra will be already acquainted with Mr. Dale’s name.

Like most that Mr. Dale has written, these lectures are very readable. A proof of this is that a fourth and cheap edition has just been published. The style is masculine, and ample use is made of good illustrations. We are inclined, however, to think that readableness has been secured at the expense of some scientific thoroughness, and especially of scientific completeness; and, after all, what we first look for in a scientific treatise is science. If Mr. Dale had held the reins of his rhetorical impulses tighter he would have left himself more space for the discussion of some branches of the subject which are but inadequately treated. Still the very defect to which we have referred will probably fit the book for awakening a wider interest in the subject, though it may prevent it from being of as much service to the theological student.

There are ten lectures and an appendix of notes. The lectures are headed as follows: Introductory; The History of our Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the Fact of the Atonement; the Fact of the Atonement — the Testimony of our Lord; the Testimony of St. Peter; the Testimony of St. John and St. James; the Testimony of St. Paul; General Considerations confirmatory of the preceding Argument; the Remission of Sins; the Theory of the Atonement illustrated by the Relation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Eternal Law of Righteousness; the Theory of the Atonement illustrated by the Relation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Human Race.

The introductory lecture is mainly devoted to a consideration of the necessity under which the Christian mind is laid of endeavoring to construct a theory or doctrine of the atonement. “It is very possible for our theory of the atonemont to be crude and incoherent; but it is hardly

possible to have no theory at all. Some conception, however vague, of the relations between human sin and the death of Christ, and between the death of Christ and the divine forgiveness, will take form and substance in the mind of every man who believes that the teachings of Christ and his apostles reveal the thought of God. To speculate is perilous; not to speculate may be more perilous still.” It may seem st...

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