The Doctrine of The Atonement as
Taught by Christ Himself
or The Sayings of Jesus Exegetically Expounded and Classified.
SECOND EDITION - 1871
by Rev. George Smeaton, D.D.
Professor of Exegetical Theology, New College, Edinburgh
Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats
The present volume is intended to be the first portion of a larger whole, which if completed, will exhibit the entire New Testament teaching on the subject of the atonement. I purposed to survey the whole testimony of our Lord and of His apostles; beginning with the former as fundamental. But as the subject grew in my hands, it was found necessary to reserve, in the meantime, the consideration of the apostolic testimony.
In these pages I have examined, according to the rules of exact interpretation, what Jesus taught on the subject of the atonement, and have given a classification of His sayings and an outline of the doctrine. This seems to be urgently demanded in our times. The necessity of correctly ascertaining, by the only means within our reach, what the Lord actually taught on this point, cannot be overstated, when we direct any measure of attention to modern thought, and to the conflicting views, often as ill-digested by their propounders as perplexing to the minds of others, which are at present given forth on the nature, design, and effect of the Lord's death. The one-sided views on this great theme, held not by scoffers at vital religion, but by earnest men, actually though not willingly deviating from biblical truth, are not to be corrected by any human authority, nor even by an appeal to the Church's past, which yet, as the voice of our mother, is entitled to some amount of deference. They can be effectually confronted and silenced only by the explicit testimony of the Church's Lord. The doctrine will stand there, but will stand nowhere else. And every true disciple has this distinctive feature about him, that he hears the voice of Christ, but a stranger's voice will he not follow.
My task in this work has been simply to determine, by strict exegetical investigation, the import of Christ's words, and to reproduce His thoughts by the exact interpretation of language. I have no other desire than to ascertain what He did say, and to abide by it. The principle on which alone it is safe to carry on investigations into doctrine on any point, is, I am fully persuaded, to go to the Scriptures, not for the starting-point of thought alone, but for the substance of thought as well, or for the rounded and concrete development of the doctrine in all its elements: and these will be found in Christ's sayings, if we but patiently investigate them. It is not, then, to the Christian consciousness that I appeal with some modern teachers, nor to Christian feeling and Christian reason with others, but to the consciousness and sayings of the Great Teacher, and of His commissioned servants, employed as His organs of revelation to the Church of all time.