B. H. Roberts’ The Life of John Taylor, which we just released, contains this discussion of Taylor’s An Examination Into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Mediation and Atonement of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (available on PG). The rest of this post consists of an extract from Chapter 42 of the former:
In the main, it is a collection of scriptural passages bearing upon the subject, brought together from both ancient and modern revelations, and arranged in such manner as to develop the necessity, sufficiency, efficacy, glory, power and completeness of the atonement made by Messiah, for the sins of the world. It is not a work ambitious of displaying literary skill, or written with a view to meet the shallow and trifling objections urged against this great, central fact of the gospel by glib-tongued infidels and repeated without thought by their apish followers. It was the object of the author to bring together all the testimonies to be found in holy writ on this subject, as well in modern as in ancient scripture; and most admirably did he succeed, linking the testimonies together with such remarks as make their meanings and bearings clear, and increase the value of the original passages. The student of the great subject of the atonement, will find in President Taylor’s work a most valuable collection of material for his consideration.
In chapter XXIII he will also find a most valuable reference to the doctrine of evolution as believed in by the Darwinian school of philosophers–a school of philosophy which professes to trace living phenomena to their origin, and which, if it were true, would at once destroy the doctrine of the Atonement.
In the appendix to the work, also will be found some interesting information in relation to the ideas of a general atonement and redemption entertained by the ancient heathen nations, traces of which may still be found in the traditions of their descendants. From these facts some noted infidel writers have sought to make it appear that the Christian doctrine of the atonement was derived from the heathens; but President Taylor clearly proves that the heathens originally derived their knowledge of these things from the earlier servants of God, and have preserved those truths, though in a mutilated form, in their traditions. “Exhibiting,” as President Taylor writes, “that the atonement was a great plan of the Almighty for the salvation, redemption and exaltation of the human family; and that the pretenders in the various ages, had drawn whatever of truth they possessed, from the knowledge of those principles taught by the priesthood from the earliest periods of recorded time; instead of Christianity being indebted, as some late writers would allege, to the turbid system of heathen mythology, and to pagan ceremonies.”