Page images

But beside this offspring of God, given to Jesus that he may save and keep them, as the fulness of his human character, God gave him another son, 10 put away and lose, that when it was sought for, it should not be found.

Hence we are informed, that when all we, like sheep, had gone astray, every one wandering after his own devices, the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all. It is undeniable, that by the Lord here spoken of, is intended the Universal Father: the Him on whom the iniquities of mankind were laid, is the same Father, assuming our nature, taking the name of Jesus, because he saved the people from their sins, and in this subordinate character, he received upon his own sacred person, the iniquities of us all. Now, as we have before found, that sin, as collectively contaminating the ruined nature, is said, in the inspired writings, to be the man of sin, the son of perdition, and as we find this aggregate was given to Jesus, when the Lord laid upon himn the iniquities of us all, and that this constituted a part of the fulness of his character, as made sin for us, inasmuch as the human nature was the fulness of his character as the second Adam, that he may appear the second time without sin, unto salvation; in his sufferings and death he lost this son, that the scripture might be fulfilled. And in this view the scriptures were fulfilled, for thus the sacred oracles declare : “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.” It was for the transgressions of my people he was smitten ; that when thus cut off, he should make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness. Again, thou wilt cast all our sins as a stone into the depths of the sea; and again, when the iniquities of Jacob are sought for, they shall not be found. Wherefore ? Because Jesus should lose them, and thus, when he des. troyed the works of the Devil, he could with safety say, “ Of all that thou hast given me, I have lost none, save the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

This, Sir, is the grace contained in the ministry of reconciliation, given to the Apostles, which was, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses. It is in

consequence of the son of perdition being lost by Christ Jesus, that we have the answer of a good conscience, by his resurrection from the dead, and that we are exhorted to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God by Jesus Christ.

If our Saviour had not lost this son of perdition, God could not say, I have not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor perverseness in Israel.

[ocr errors]

Nor could we Gentiles be presented before him without spot, and blameless; nor could we finally enter, where nothing that defileth can have place. But now, our Saviour is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. · In this view, and in this view only, we are as he is, even in this present world. When our eye is single, our whole body is full of light. The fulness of God, and the fulness of man, constituting the one Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us; this union gives us to see the two natures perfect in one. It is here, in conscquence of the son of perdition being lost, that we become the righteousness of God in him ; and perfect as our Father, who is in heaven, is perfect ; and holy as God is holy. In one word, it is the destruction of that son, which is the salvation of the human family. It is thus that Jesus saves his people from their sins. It was the blood of Jesus, that like a mighty torrent bore away the iniquities of the world : and it is to this purifying blood, that You and I and every child of Adam, are exhorted to look, when called upon to behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

Stranger. Thank you, Sir, ten thousand times I thank you ; I am more than convinced, it is glorious! I never saw it on this fashion ! I am astonished that I never saw it before. But still, dear Sir, there is one observation I would beg leave to make : “ It would have been better for that man, that he had never been born!" how is this ? excuse me, Sir, was this said of Judas ?

M. I do believe it was.

Stranger. How then, I beseech you, if he could be interested in the great atonement, and, by consequence happy through all eternity, could it be said of him, it had been better for him he had never been born ?

M. First, Sir, you must prove that he never could have had any interest in the great salvation, except he had been born. But, this

presume, a gentleman of your good sense, will not attempt to prove. Some eminent men not uniting with me in sentiment, in other respects, agree with me in this particular. A Christian poet asserts,

“Babes thither caught from womb and breast,
Claim right to sing above the rest,
Because they found the happy shore,
They never saw, nor sought before."

Stranger. This is extremely striking; it carries conviction to the soul ; I feel ashamed of my own folly.

M. You need not, Sir, for the things that make for our peace, are not frequently objects of attention ; and indeed, it is God only who can make them manifest.

Stranger. Surely it is strange that all eyes are not open.
M. Sir, I can remember the time when my own eyes were shut.

Stranger. True, Sir, I ask your pardon; from my birth until one hour since, the veil has been upon my heart. But, Sir, do you think it possible for any one to hear the truth thus plainly pointed out, and not see and acknowledge its manifold beauties?

M. Yes, Sir, as possible as for a blind man not to discern colours, no man can see the things of God but by the spirit of God, and it is that spirit which must take of the things of Jesus and show them unto us, or we shall never be able to see them.

Stranger. Your words carry demonstration. Have I your permission to continue this conversation?

M. Assuredly.

Stranger. We are told, that he who believeth shall be saved, and he who believeth not shall be damned. I would be furnished with weapons against every opponent; how are we to understand this text?

M. Precisely as it is written.

Stranger. Your explanation of your text last evening is objected to; particularly where, after asserting that the Galatians were bewitched, you supposed that their bewitchery appeared in their becoming more zealous, in what they called works of righteousness; and it is demanded what authority you have from scripture for so bold an assertion, or how you can determine that their offence or bewitchery, was not manifested by their turning back to a vicious course of life?

M. My answer is ready, and my authority unquestionable ; first, the apostle says, he bear them record they had a zeal for God, that they were diligent in the observance of days, and weeks, and months, and that in a religious point of view. And second, he strictly questions them, “ This only would I learn of you? received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you ?" Surely neither the Galatians, nor any other set of men in the wide world, ever ex

pected to make themselves perfect before God by vicious practices.

Stranger. Certainly not; your answer is perfectly satisfactory. But, it will be asked, can there be any reason urged on this plan, why, consistent with the scripture, “God should not surrender some to a reprobate mind that they may believe a lie, that they all may be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness ?"

M. No, Sir, not even the shadow of reason ; so far from it, that the plan of Universal Redemption, not only admits a possibility of the circumstance you mention, but receives it as a fact. The Christian Universalist firmly believes, that every one who continues in a state of unbelief, is, during his infidelity, given up by “God to a reprobate mind that he may believe a lie, that they all may be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stranger. There may be different ideas of damnation.

M. It is generally supposed that unbelievers in the present state are damned. Is it not?

Stranger. Certainly.
M. Well, Sir, this is my opinion.
Stranger. But it is customary to suppose this damnation eternal.

M. And, Sir, if you can prove unbelief eternal, I will undertake to prove damnation eternal.

Stranger. This, it is thought, can easily be done.

M. I hope not; but before I set my fellow labourers so Herculean a task, I would request them preparatory thereto, to consider first what the truth is which they do not believe; and secondly, what is the lie which they do believe?

Stranger. We should be told in a few words, that faith was in their judgment, giving credit to the divine word because it was divine. We give credit to the word of man, which may notwithstanding be false, because man may lic; but as God cannot lie, there can be no doubt of his word.

M. This idea of faith seems correct; but the present inquiry is not so much what faith is, as what that word is which the race of Adam are commanded to believe, and which they are damned for not believing; and what the lie is, that such damned individuals do believe?

Stranger. Why, my dear Sir, they will tell us, the truth, we are every where commanded to believe, is, that Jesus Christ is the Son Voz. I.


of God, and that he did every thing that was necessary for the justification of all mankind, and that by his Almighty power he will raise us up at the last day. M. Well, Sir, if this be the truth we are commanded to believe, we can be at no loss to determine what the lie is, which these damned individuals believe. If it be true that Jesus is the Son of God, and that in the character Son, he has done all that was necessary for the justification of all mankind; it follows, that to believe he is not the Son of God, is to believe a lie. If Jesus has performed all that was necessary for the justification of all mankind, then to believe he did not perform all that was necessary for the justification of all mankind, is to believe a lie. If to believe that he, by his own power, will raise us up at the great day, is to believe the truth; then to believe he will not raise us up at the great day, is to believe a lie. Suppose it should be found at last that Jesus was not the Son of God, then these people would be found believers of the truth, and then they could not be damned for believing a lie; and suppose it should be found hereafter, that he did not perform in his own person all that was necessary for their justification before God, they would then be found believers of the truth, and so, consequently, could not be damned for believing a lie. And if it be a truth that Jesus Christ has done all that was necessary for the justification of all mankind, then it is a truth that he has finished transgression, made an end of sin and brought in everlasting righteousness; that when all we like sheep went astray, the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all, and that he hath presented all mankind in himself as the second Adam, without spot and blameless. It is also a truth, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses, that he hath blotted out their transgressions as a cloud, and their iniquities as a thick cloud, and that he will not remember their sins. All this is the truth, and all this was necessary to be done by Jesus Christ, in order to the justification of Adam and his posterity before God. Now if all this be done, I would ask hew is it possible all mankind can be eternally damned 2 Stranger. No one believes all mankind will be eternally damned. M. But why not all mankind, as well as any individual among mankind, if what was done by Jesus for the justification of any one, was done for the justification of all? Stranger. Many will say Jesus did not die for all.

« PreviousContinue »