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dead;" which both proves that the condition of those for whom Christ died was the subject of the apostle's main discourse, and that the extent of the term all in the latter part of this verse is to be determined by the former, and not the former by the latter.
But "has the little word all lost its meaning?"? No, certainly; nor does what is here advanced suppose that it has. The main design of a writer is not expressed in every word in a sentence, and yet every word may have its meaning. Though I suppose that the term here may refer to Jews and Gentiles; yet that does not necessarily imply that it was the apostle's main design here to speak of the extent of Christ's death.
3. Though our hypothesis supposes that all for whom Christ died shall finally live; yet it does not suppose that they all live at present. It is but a part of those for whom he died, viz. such as are called by his grace, who live not unto themselves, but to him who died for them and rose again.
There are some other passages produced by P. particularly Heb. ii. 9. and 2 Pet. ii. 1. but I am ready to think he himself does not place much dependence upon them. He is not unacquainted with the scope of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, nor of the word man not being in the text. Nor need he be told that the apostle Peter in the context of the other passage, appears to be speaking nothing about the purchase of the Saviour's blood-that the name there given to the purchaser is never applied to Christ-and that if it is applied to him in this in
stance, it is common to speak of things not as they actually are, but as they are professed to be: thus apostates are said to be twice dead, as if they had been spiritually alive, though in fact that was never the case, but barely the matter of their profession., See also Matt. xiii. 12. Luke viii. 18.
ON THE CONSISTENCY OF THE LIMITED EXTENT OF CHRIST'S DEATH, AS STATED ABOVE, WITH UNIVERSAL CALLS, INVITATIONS, &c.
HERE we come to the second question, and to what is the only part of the subject to which I am properly called upon to reply. If a limitation of design in the death of Christ is inconsistent with exhortations and invitations to mankind in general, it must be because it is inconsistent for God to exhort and invite men to any thing, with which he has not made gracious provision by the death of his Son to enable them to comply.
When I deny a gracious provision being necessary to render exhortations consistent, I would be understood to mean, 1. Something more than a provision of pardon in behalf of all those who shall believe in Christ. 2. More than the furnishing of men with motives and reasons for compliance; or ordering it so that these motives and reasons shall be urged upon them. If no more than this were meant by the term;
I should allow that such a provision is necessary. But by a gracious provision I mean that, be it what it may, which removes a moral inability to comply with the gospel, and which renders such a compliance possible without the invincible agency of the Holy Spirit.
What hath been said before may be here repeated, that the doctrine of a limitation of design in the death of Christ stands or falls with that of the divine purposes. If the latter can be maintained, and maintained to be consistent with the free-agency of man, and the entire use of means; then it will not be very difficult so to defend the former. I confess the subject is profound, and that I enter upon it with fear and trembling. It is a subject on which I dare not indulge a spirit of speculation. Perhaps the best way of studying it is upon our knees! I hope it will be my endeavour to keep close to what God hath revealed concerning it. There are doubtless many questions that might be started by a curious mind which it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to solve. Nor is this to be wondered at. The same difficulty attends us in the present state respecting almost all the works of God. No man could solve one half of the difficulties that might be started concerning God's goodness in creating the world, when he knew all that would follow. The same might be said of a thousand things in the scheme of divine providence. Suffice it for us at present, that we know our littleness-that when we come to see things as they are, we shall be fully convinced of all that has
been told us; and shall unite in the universal accla mation, HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL.
That there is a consistency between the divine decrees and the free-agency of men, I believe; but whether I can account for it is another thing. Whether it can be accounted for at all so as to enable us clearly to comprehend it, I cannot tell. Be that as it may, it does not distress me: I believe in both, because both appear to me to be plainly revealed. Of this I shall attempt to give evidence in what follows:
I. The time of man's life is appointed of God."Is there not an appointed time for man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? His days are determined, the number of his months, are with thee; thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come."* And yet men are exhorted to use means to prolong their lives; and actually do use those means as if there was no appointment in the case. God determines to send afflictions to individuals and families; and he may have determined that those afflictions shall terminate in death: nevertheless it is God's revealed will that they should use means for their recovery as much as if there were no determination in the affair. Children were exhorted to honour their parents that their days might be long in the land which the Lord their God had
Job vii. 1. xiv. 5. 14.
given them. He that desired life and loved many days, was exhorted to keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile.* If by neglect or excess any one come to what is called an untimely end, we are not to suppose either that God is disappointed, or the sinner exculpated.
II. Our portion in this life is represented as coming under the divine appointment.f-It is a cup, a lot, an heritage. David spake of his portion as laid out for him by line. The lines saith he, are fallen to me in pleasant places, yea I have a goodly heritage. The times before appointed are determined, and the bounds of our habitation are fixed. It is a satisfaction to a humble mind that his times and concerns are in God's hand: and that he has the choosing of his inheritance. And yet in all the concerns of life we are exhorted to act with discretion, as much as if no divine providence existed.
The purposes of God extend to the bitter part of our portion as well as the sweet. Tribulations are things to which we are said to be appointed. Nor is it a mere general determination-Of all the ills that befel an afflicted Job, not one came unordained, Cutting and complicated as they were, he calmly ac
*Exod. xx. 12. Ps. xxxiv. 12.
† P. calls this in question; (47.) and seems to admit that if this could be proved, it would prove the consistency of the divine purposes concerning men's eternal state, with their obligations to use the means of salvation.
Ps. xvi. 5, 6. Acts xvii. 26. Ps. xxxi. 15. xlvii. 4.