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Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world," is established beyond the possibility of successful contradiction. But how this sacred truth can be reconciled with the doctrine of our opponents, is what we have not yet seen.
Again, he says,~" A door was open, or a foundation vas laid, which had no reference to numbers.'
But the Apostle tells us that “ Christ died for all,”-and that he gave himself a ransom for all.” Pray does not the term all in these passages have reference to numbers ? Surely it has. But did the Almighty “open the door, and lay the foundation', for the salvation of those whom he, from eternity, had excluded from the possibility of salvation! Surely there is an absurdity in supposing this. But farther, for what purpose was the door opened to those whoin God had determined should never come in? Was it that they might come in ? Or, to justify their condemnation ? And could the opening of the door answer either of these ends, on supposition that God had utterly excluded them by his irrevocable dercees ? Surely not. It is not in the art of man to justify an universal atonement, and an indiscriminate offer of life to all, while it is allowed that a great part were reprobated from eternity. Neither can that part so reprobated ever come in, though a thousand doors of mercy were opened. But if the door was opened for all to come in and be saved, then the notion that a part were excluded by predestination is without foundation. Again, he says,— Are we not told in that parable in which the atonement is compared to a supper, that some to whom the invitation is given, shall not taste of it?" p. 110. We are ; but was the reason of their rejection found in an eternal decree of reprobation, or their slighting the invitation with contempt? Now to suppose that he did not intend that they should taste of his supper, when he sent them the invitation, is to represent the God of goodness as using duplicity!
But how does Mr. H. reconcile St. Paul and St. James, in their views of the grounds of justification? In general his method is good; but what does he mean by the following words 1-"Now the faith, which according to Paul, was counted to Abraham for righteousness, was what James de: nominates good works.” p. 112,
By representing the faith of which Paul speaks, and the works of which Jsnies speaks, to be one and the same thing, Mr. H. has confounded faith and works together. Where, as, one is the cause, the other the effect.
Again, the faith of which Paul speaks, and that which James
says he would “show by his works,” are one and the same thing without doubt. And of course the works for whith James contends, are the evidences and fruits of that faith for which both contend. Doubtless one reason why Paul insisted so strongly on faith as the condition of justifi. cation was, that the people to whom he wrote, were predis. posed to trust in their own works, without evangelical faith. And one reason why James insisted on those works which are the evidences and fruits of faith so strongly was, that the people to whom he wrote were in danger of falling into that error which of late is denominated Antinomianism--the making void the law through faith. Neither of the Apostles however confound faith and works together. A clear dis tinction is constantly kept up through all their writings.
Again, speaking of the imputed righteousness of Christ, Mr. H. seems to carry the idea that believers are not righte. ous, but only “ treated as though they were righteous.” That they are righteous before they are born again of the Spirit, no one contends ; but that they are righteous after that work is accomplished, is proved by the whole tenor of God's word, Hence an Apostle says, “Let no man de
ceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous ever as he is righteous.” 1 John, iii. 7.
We readily agree with Mr. H. that in the pardon and justification of the sinner, there is no imputation of Christ's personal righteousness; and if this is what he means by “transfer of character," we have no objection to the sentiment, but to the phraseology. If there is no impartation of character to the sinner, at the hour of justification, he remains the same he was before: he is the same sinner still.But an Apostle tells us that "Exceeding great and precious promises are given unto us, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.” Moreover, that they who are born of the Spirit, are made righteous, and have a new char. acter, is obvious from the Apostle's words, Rom. vi, 22.“Being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness," &c. That there is no imputation of Christ's personal righteousness in justification, is obvious from the following considerations :-1. The robes in which the saints are represented as standing before the throne, are said to be their righteousness.-2. It would argue that Christ's righteousness needs washing; and in his own blood too.
Finally, it is a doubt whether the system of our oppo. nents, does not in a great measure do away the necessity of an atonement. In the first place they tell us that man has no other depravity but what consists in voluntary and actual sin; and in the second place, that we have power by nature to comply with the terms of life; and of course to be saved without grace! What is this but salvation by the merit of works? And what need is there then of an atonement? The pernicious leven of Unitarianism, has already spread to an alarming degree, in many parts of the New England States; and it is to be feared that its progress is not wholly
arrested yet. The Christian public have need to be on their guard. Error generally introduces itself by slow and imperceptible degrees; and as at first is mixed with some truth: And hence it is the more dangerous.
As we have had but very little to say upon the subject of the atonement in this chapter, I shall here take the liberty to make an extract from Dr. A. Clark's Commentary upon this important and interesting subject.- It is found in his closing remarks on the fourth chapter of Romans.
« From a careful examination of the divine oracles, it appears
that the death of Christ was an atonement or expiation for the sin of the world: For him hath God set forth to be a PROPITIATION through Faith in HIS BLOOD, chap. iii. 25. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ DIED FOR the UNGODLY, chap, v. 6.
And when we were ENEMIES we were RECONCILED to God by the DEATH of his Son, ver. 10. In whom we have REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD tlie FORGIVENESS of sins, Eph. i. 7. Christ hath loved
and GIVEN HIMSELF FOR US an OFFERING and a SACRIFICE to God for a sweet-smelling savour, ibid. chap. v, 2. In whom we have REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the FGRGIVENESS of sins, Col. i. 14. And having made PEACE THROUGH the blood of his cross, in the BODY of his FLESH through DEATH, ib, ver. 20, 22,
Who GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, 1 Tim. ïi. 6.
Who GAVE HIMSELF FOR US, that he might REDEEM us from all iniquity, Tit. ii. 14.
By which will we are sanctified through the OFFERING of the BODY of Jesus Christ, Heb. x. 14. So Christ was once OFFERED TO BEAR THE SINs of many, Heb. ix. 28. See also Eph. ii. 13, 16.-1 Pet. i 18, 19.-Rev. v. 9. But it would be transcribing a considerable part of the New Testament, to set down all the texts that refer to this most important and glorious truth."
From these Scriptures, and from the general tenor of God's word, we learn the following particulars with regard to the atonement :-1. As to its nature, it is a sacrifice offered, and a ransom paid down for a satisfaction to divine justice for the sins of the whole world, both original and actual.-_2. As to its design, it is-1st, An expression of God's
justice, and hatred of sin in requiring the death of the criminal, or, the death of an immaculate sacrifice.-2d. An expression of his benevolence and mercy to a fallen and perishing world.-3. To render it just for him to pardon every soul on such conditions as he should see fit to establish.—4. To purchase for, and bestow upon us, the gift of the Holy Spirit-a day and means of grace-free agency, (which was lost by the fall) and eternal life, on the condition of holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end.-3. The medium through which we are to receive the benefits of the atonement, is faith. “For him hath God set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH faith.” Rom. iii. 25. Without this, all that Christ has done for us will not be availing; but, as faith makes him over to us as an atoning sacrifice, so unbelief makes him over to us as a Saviour of death unto death.
The ninth section of the work before us, contains the views of our author upon this subject. And while we ace knowledge with pleasure, that there are many good things in this section, we are under the necessity of saying, that we deem some things contained in this section, to be highly inconsistent, contradictory, and absurd,