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proper to give it to any. The Fiend, p. 125. This is monstrous! What, may not God have mercy on whom he will have mercy, provided he treats those justly to whom he shows no mercy? We assert again, that God never has offered the righteousness of Christ to all men; while he has to some; and is he therefore unjust? To whom would he be unjust, should he not offer the righteousness of Christ to every man? Surely, not to Christ, who has not redeemed every man: not to the sinner, who shall receive justice at the hand of God: not to himself, who never intended to save all!
What could have led Dr. Gray into such a wild assertion? Nothing, truly, but his abstract righteousness; and here we have it again.
“My meaning is this, that if God reveals the righteousness of Christ to mankind, he must command them to accept it: and that he would not be a just God if he did not so command them.
“ The reasoning is as follows: God does require of all men the righteousness of the law. It must be so; for if he did not require this, he could require nothing, and all moral law, moral order, moral responsibility, would be at an end. God requires the righteousness of the law; but the gospel reveals the righteousness of Christ as the righteousness of the law; of consequence, God requires men to present to him the righteousness of Christ. Christ's righteousness is the righteousnes of the law: but God requires the righteousness of the law; therefore God requires the righteousness of Christ of every man who hears the gospel sound. Can any thing be plainer? But let us turn it round and around, and again dicies repetita placebit; our admiration will increase with acquaintance.
Suppose God did not require men to present to him the righte sness of his Son--then he would not require them to present the righteousness of his law - that is, he would release them from the obligation of the moral law altogether. Is this possible! Then our high born race, made only for a little while lower than the angels, this glorious race, created in the image of God, must rank with the beasts that perish; no moral law, no moral order, no moral pleasure, no moral reward! Such a state of things is inconceivable.
“ The only possible evasion that the subtlest logician could avail himself of in order to keep clear of this conclusion is, the allegation that God might require men personally to work
out the righteousness of the law, and refuse to allow them the righteousness of the Son. It is proper to treat such subjects with great modesty and fear. Who can say what Jehovah may or may not do? Who shall set limits to the Holy One of Israel: But I cannot conceive the supposition stated, to be at all worthy of God. The justice of God is the justice of a Being of infinite goodness, kindness, mercy-of infinite equity. And can I suppose that such a Being should require a righteousness which is not in the world; and refuse a righteousness which is in the world? Can it be supposed that he should say, I demand the righteousness of the law--here is the righteousness of the law-but I do not demand it.” The Fiend, p. 125.
It is no logical subtlety to assert, that God requires a perfect personal righteousness of every man; for if he did not, he must require either an imperfect personal righteousness or none. If he requires no personal righteousness, then is there no personal transgression, no actual sin among men; and we are chargeable only with original guilt. If he requires any thing less than a per. fect personal righteousness, he allows of some personal sin: and if perfect personal righteousness is not required by law, then is there no legal criterion by which the degree of our criminality can be measured. If there is no measure by which our criminality can be ascertained, it cannot be known even in heaven how much punishment we deserve; nay, if we are not required to be perfectly holy, we need no pardon through the blood of Jesus. We conclude therefore, that since the fall, every man is required to keep the moral law perfectly, and that so far as any one fails of doing it he needs remission of sins. The righteousness of Christ which the believer actually receives, includes a pardon for every thing in which he comes short of perfect personal obedience; as well as an active righteousness, whereby he is accounted to have rendered the righteousness required in the covenant of works as the condition of acceptance with God. A man who has presented in faith the complete righteousness of Christ before divine justice, so as to be delivered from all condemnation, and to be adopted as a child, is still required, (not indeed as a term of acceptance with God) to keep the law perfectly, or else there was no need of a provision for the pardon of his sins committed, after the moment of regeneration and justification. We cannot sin at all after justification, if the law requires no obedience of us.
The sum of what we would say in reply to Dr. Gray is this, God requires his ministers to preach to every man, as they have opportunity; God requires every man who hears the gospel to believe his testimony concerning the Saviour of sinners; he promises to justify and sanctify those who believe; he requires, as a recon ciled God, future personal obedience of all justified persons; and, while he lets them know that the sins they may commit are pardoned, pledges his word, to reward their personal righteousness wrought after justification, by regulating the degree of their glory and happiness in heaven, by the degree of their evangelical obedience. “Little children, these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not: but if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father:"_" who will render unto every man according to his deeds."
Mr. M'Chord will undoubtedly think we belong to those Calvinists, who, to use one of his expressions, “ following out legitimately their individualizing notions, have at length reached conclusions which clap an extinguisher on the light of God's salvation:” nevertheless it may do him and others good, to reply to his objection, that our system includes all the elect who are not regenerated under two covenant heads, Adam and Christ, so as to make them heirs of death and life, at the same time. A federal head, he says, must have a federal body, and by natural generation all mankind belong to the federal body of Adam, until by regeneration they are translated into “the body of Christ.” We answer, that Adam acted as the federal head of the whole human race that was predestinated to be born, until he fell; and from that moment his work as a federal head under the covenant of works was done. He was never after a federal representative of any one. Having broken the covenant he was condemned and all mankind had sen. tence of death passed upon them at the same time.
Now, of a great portion of these condemned persons, Jesus was divinely appointed the Mediator; and from the moment of the league between the Father and the Son, he became the federal head of all that were decre. tively given to him, to be actually rescued from the curse of the broken covenant of works. No man since the apostacy is under the covenant of works as a covenant of life, that requires personal obedience of him as the condition of his being justified by God. It is a violated covenant, that has condemned him already: and surely after the representative work of Adam was completed, (for he is no longer a representative) a new representative might become legally bound to a part of his posterity, under a new covenant made with himself, which provides for satisfying, in relation to them, all the de. mands of the violated first covenant. There is no difficulty, therefore, in conceiving of Christ as the head of his divinely contemplated body, from that moment in which it was said, the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. But it will be said, that before the formation of man, we make two covenant heads, set up in the divine counsels, and include all of the elect un. der each. This is true, for “the Scriptures teach us, that the redemption by Jesus is an essential part of the divine plan, that the two covenants, the two covenant heads, and their respective subjects, and all the result. ing consequences, form but one grand whole, one mighty conception of the infinite mind.” For ourselves, we can discover no absurdity in the assertion, that before the world was made, Adam was predestinated to be, and act as the representative of all mankind for a sea. son: and that a coetaneous decree constituted Christ an official person, to offer himself a ransom for many who were in divine knowledge accounted fallen; and after the ruin of the first Adam, to fulfil his own covenant engagements by actually saving them.
May it be the happiness of Dr. Gray, Mr. M'Chord and ourselves, with our readers, to find in the great day of judgment, that as we were related by the counsels of eternity to one who failed of procuring for us justification; so by the same counsels, we were united in a better covenant, to the Head, whose performance of the condition on which our salvation was suspended, was as infallible as the Word of God.
ARTICLE III. Elements of the Jewish Faith, translated from
the Hebrew of Rabbi S. I. Cohen. Republished by H. Cohen, Richmond, Virginia, 1817. pp. 56. 8vo.
The Jews and Socinians of the present day are nearly of one creed, with this exception, that the latter receive the writings of the New Testament as being of as much authority as the Old, and think Jesus a prophet like Moses; whereas the former reject both. This will be evident to all who are acquainted with Socinian teachers, if we give a brief summary of Jewish doctrine from the book before us.
The children of Abraham according to the flesh, believe, that men must from their nature have some “sense of Deity,” when they reflect on the works of creation; that "the idolaters themselves in days of yore experienced a feeling like this,” but erred in the mode of expressing it; that “although the origin of their thoughts were correct, yet their actions were not so, for instead of propitiating they exasperated, and blundered when they meant to regulate;” and that “although man may, either from his reason, or from his feeling, conclude that he owes a duty to the Supreme Being, he must still remain ignorant of the means wherewith he should fulfil this duty.” After the flood, they say that God revealed all that is necessary for acceptable worship among the nations, to the sons of Noah, in seven prohibitions, against “ idolatry, concupiscence, murder, robbery, feasting on the limbs of a living animal, emasculation, and the procreation of heterogeneous commixture.' p.
5. The Jews believe that every person who holds as sacred these commandments, is a religious person, and will gain eternal life hereafter."