תמונות בעמוד

I will not lye unto David. His seed shall endure for ever." Psalm lxxxix. 3, 34. .

Having laboriously proved, that a real union takes place between Christ and his people, Mr. M.C. enters into a long enquiry about the bond of that union, which he concludes to be the Holy Spirit; and then he infers that there is no other bond of union between them, than the Spirit of Christ. “The Holy Ghost is the actual bond of union, and in the strict sense of the words, exclusively the bond of union by which the members be. come identified with the Head, and united to one another.” The Body, p. 44. Hence he infers, that Christ becomes “ a federal Head” to his people who are regenerated by the agency of the Holy Ghost, solely by regeneration, and that he was not the federal head of any elected person before the moment of

his new birth. We admit that the Spirit of Christ is the great agent in bringing sinners into a vital union with Christ and one another; but by a bond of union must be intended something which unites, if it has any meaning; and therefore we conclude that any thing which binds an elect person to Christ in any sense, is a bond of union to him. Now, in the covenant relation which we have proved to exist, the covenant did bind those to Christ who were decre. tively given to him; so that the covenant itself is the only bond of the eternal covenant union. A bond, of which Mr. M'C. appears to have some confused notion, which is not the thing that binds, is no bond. If the covenant between a bridegroom and his bride constitutes not the bond of the marriage union between them, no. thing does. Besides, the word federal is an adjective,de. scriptive of something that relates to a league; and by a federal head must be intended either a head in a league, or a head constituted by a league, or covenant. We affirm, therefore, that it was by a league or covenant, and by that alone, that Christ became the federal head of all who were in the counsels of eternity given to him, " for an inheritance.” He is therefore, contrary to the doctrine of Mr. M'C. at this very moment the federal head of all that shall ever be saved, whether born or unborn; for the Lord calleth them all by their names. Yes, he is decretively the covenant head of every man that the Father hath covenanted to accept and save. We explain the expression of a federal representation to mean such an acting of one person for another, or for others, as he performs for them, in consequence of some covenant; and we affirm therefore, in consequence of the proof of an eternal covenant, and of the omniscience of the Son of God, afforded in the Bible, that Christ did as a fede. ral head, federally represent, or act for, all them that shall ever be saved by his blood, when he obeyed and suffered in our world. We come in collision with Mr. M'C. in this matter of course, for he observes,

“ It is an error to suppose that all who shall be at any time members or parts of a federal system, the development of which is progressive, are therefore recognized in the plan, or known in law as parts of that system from the commencement of its operations. Thus, in the case before us, it is not true that all the elect of God, or in other words all who shall be saved, were individually recognized as members of Jesus Christ, and as included under his federal representation, at the time when his obedience was yielded, or his atonement made. Neither is it true of any unconverted man at any given moment, although he be of the election of grace, and shall therefore finally be saved, that he is known in law as occupying any standing but that which is common to the world that lieth in wickedness.' In other words, they who are in Christ, they who are called and justified and sanctified, these, and these only are recognized as under the representation of the surety: and neither the uncreated nor the unconverted man are in any sense included under the same representation, whatever may be the purposes of God concerning them as respects the future.” The Body, p. 173.

If the Mediator who said, “ Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God," did consent to make “ his soul an offering for sin;" when the Father proposed that his soul should make a propitiatory sacrifice; if he consented to become a sin offering, that he might“ see of the travail of his soul;” and had perfect knowledge as an omniscient being, of all the individual persons who should constitute his sced, according to the divine purpose, then he performed something for them as a head in the eternal covenant transaction, or was a federal representative of them, recognized as individuals appertaining to the elect whole. If in covenanting to undertake the work of saving all whom he shall save, he had respect to "the joy set before him," and that joy was a definite thing; if in performing the work of redemption he intended to fulfil his covenant engagements, and to save all that were fore-ordained to eternal life through him; then again he acted for them as a head, or representative in covenant; which we have shown to be a federal representative. He acted for the benefit of his people in rendering an active obedience to the moral law, which is but an expansion of the covenant of works; and in suffering the penalty of the violated law, so far as to bear all their sins. “ He bare our sins;" and completed a righteousness which he brings near; and concerning which he has declared, “ surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness,” and “ in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." Isaiah xlv. 25. and li. 1, 5, 73 Christ then, in the work of redemption obeyed and suffered for every one and all of his elected people; and if one who acts and suffers for another is a representative, and if one who represents another in consequence of some league, (fædus,) is a federal representative, then Christ in the work of redemption was the federal representative of all his people. If we are not ignorant of the meaning of common words, and of plain declarations of Scripture, we have now refuted the principal error of Mr. M.C.'s new system.

On this field, it is proper, to use one of Dr. Gray's expressions, to put down another spectre; and it is the master one of the Doctor's own conjuration. The Fiend of the Reformation which he thinks he has de. tected, is a double headed monster; a metaphysical, monstrous spectre, one head of which is, “that Adam's sin is imputed to men, BECAUSE they descend from him by ordinary generation;" and the other, “ that Christ's righteousness is imputable to men, BECAUSE he represented them in the covenant of grace.” The Fiend, &c. p. 114. The Doctor has amputated the first head, with the sword of Goliah; and then would frighten us with the remaining head and body of doctrine to which it is attached. He aims unsuccessfully, we think, many of his most vigorous blows with his “naked broad sword” against it, and thinks he has dispatched it to the shades below. He then brings up, what we denominate Gray's Spectre; and although it is a formidable one, yet we expect to make it disappear, by touching “it with the wand of truth.” It is the doctrine, “ That the imputability of Christ's righteousness does not depend in any manner, nor in any degree, on his representative character.” Be. fore the Doctor called forth from the profundity of his genius this creature of his imagination, he proved that Christ really is the representative of the elect in a cove. nant relation: but in Sections V. and VI. he endeavours to show, that while his righteousness shall be imputed to all whom he represented, and to none else; yet nevertheless It Might be imputed to those who shall perish, because the imputability of it depends not on representation, but the inherent nature of it. In entering on this subject he has an excellent caution, which he disregards himself.

“Reader, put off thy shoes from off thy feet for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground! A sacred horror chills my blood through all my veins-Horresco referens. On this sacred central spot, chiefs of mighty armies and high renown have fallen; here the Fiend has ten thousand times triumphed. From this spot branch off in all directions these human systems of theology, which have injured the beauty of the gospel; and been the cause of so much schism, strife, and controversy, and malignant passions in the church of God:-sygtems around which theologians õs Auxos, engage, nor quit the grinning hold, vitamque in vulnere ponunt. Let us therefore pause on this spot, and invoking the spirit of all truth to guide our every step, let us advance with sacred awe and sacred caution.” The Fiend, p. 53.

To compare theologians to wolves, and show them grinning on this sacred spot, while he mingles the command of God with scraps of Virgil, seems very little calculated to impress our minds with that awe which he

deems desirable. To us there appears irreverence in the manner in which he speaks of questions for the Father and Son" to settle among themselves.” But to parti. cularize all the remarkable sayings of this strange and eloquent, uncommonly eloquent, writer, would require, and waste much time. We will give his argument for his new doctrine, and then examine it.

“ By the righteousness of Jesus Christ, I understand his complete fulfilment of the law of works, both by obeying its precept, and paying the penalty incurred by human transgression. But if you ask why it is meritorious? I ask again, what makes light to be light? what makes truth to be truth? Because it is their nature, you will reply-right! And let me add, that it is the glorious nature of righteousness to be meritorious, according to the nature of the law. Now the law of works was of such a nature, that its righteousness, whenever wrought out, was capable of being imputed to all the subjects of that law. If Adam had fulfilled the law, this righteousness would have been imputable to all mankind. This law Jesus Christ actully fulfilled, and produced its perfect righteousness. But the righteousness which the law required, was a righteousness capable of being imputed to every human being; consequently the righteousness of Jesus Christ is capable of being imputed to every man. If he had not produced a righteousness capable of saving every man under the law, he would not have produced the righteousness of the law. Of consequence, the imputability of Christ's righteousness, springs entirely from the nature of the covenant of works. I call this demonstration unassailable!

“The provisions of the covenant of grace have nothing to do with this subject. To whom God will eventually bestow this righteousness-how many he will give to his Son, as the travail of his soul, are questions for them to settle among themselves. They may do what they will with their own. Let no man presume to question them! But the righteousness of the law of works is capable of saving all mankind. If Jesus Christ had not represented a single human creature, still his righteousness would have been what it is, the righteousness of the law. If he had represented the whole, still his righteousness would not have been any thing else than what it is, the righteousness of the law. Should all men reject it, it would still be the righteousness of the law that they rejected; and should all men accept it, it would be nothing more than the righteousness of the law. It was not

« הקודםהמשך »