2 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 13


The Bible Doctrine of the Atonement. By Canon II. C. Beeching and Dr. Alexander Nairne. (John Murray. 2s. 6d. net.)—A short book upon the Atonement which shall be at the same time learned and popular will, we are sure, be eagerly read by many persons whose views in regard to this difficult doctrine have become unsettled as a result of recent criticism. Such a book lies before us at the present moment, consisting of six lectures delivered by Canon Beeching and Professor Nairne, Canon Beeching being responsible for five and 'Professor Nairne for one only. Canon Beeching traces the idea of

sacrifice from its earliest appearance in Hebrew literature to its latest development in St. Paul's Epistles. The prophets, especially Isaiah, had, he declares, and indeed proves, advanced beyond the substitutionary theory of sacrifice, Isaiah teaching that it was the will and purpose of God "that the sufferings of the innocent should be used for the conversion of the guilty as they came to reflect upon them." In like manner Canon Beeching denies that St. Paul, in spite of certain sentences which might give colour to such a theory, taught the substitution of the innocent for the guilty in order to appease the wrath of God. It will thus be seen that while Canon Beeching keeps well within the orthodox line, and declares that the Atonement depends upon the Incarnation, he repudiates that revolting doctrine of pro- pitiation which had its origin in later writings, was read back into the New Testament, and is now being seriously called in question, not before it has caused much pain and distress of mind to many devout persons.