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The passage read for consideration seems to suggest the following subjects for examination and illustration.

I. The Church.
II. The love of Christ to the church. And,

III. What the love of Christ to the church induces him to do for it.

As the labours which we propose to bestow on our subject this evening are designed to favour the doctrine of universal, impartial salvation, the hearer is requested to keep a careful watch, with a view to observe how each argument may bear on this great subject. Not only is it of importance that we endeavour to possess ourselves of a knowledge of the evidences on which universality of salvation depends, but it is of equal importance that due attention be paid to understand the nature of this salvation, than which nothing can tend more to remove existing objections from the candid mind. Pious, candid people all fervently desire the salvation of all men; but not having a clear understanding that the salvation of all stands inseparably connected with the holiness of all, and supposing that those who vindicate universal salvation, do not, at the same time, and to the same end contend for universal righteousness and sanctification, they reject the doctrine as tending to impiety, irreligion, and even to liccntiousness. It is confidently believed that a true sense of the passage under consideration will operate favourably in tending to remove all doubts of this nature; therefore do the more earnestly recommend a most watchful attention to this subject, and to what we may be enabled to offer upon it.

Nor can the reasonable hearer think it strange that we should endeavour to remove the unfavourable views of our fellow citizens from their minds, concerning the doctrine we profess and promulgate, were it only for our own benefit. Universalists have been looked upon and spoken of as a people who have embraced the rankest of all heresies, the most impious tenets, and

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as a people destitute of vital religion, and entire strangers, and even enemies to genuine virtue and morality. . On this account, my friends, you will acknowledge that if there ever were a people who had a just reason to call on the candor of the public to hear their defence of their doctrine, and to judge impartially on the subject, such a claim is ours. It is natural, and even laudable to desire the favourable opinion of our fellow creatures, but this should be sought by deserving it. Had we hypocritically secreted our belief for fear of censure, we might have received the approbation we did not deserve, and escaped the bitter reproaches which an honest declaration of our real sentiments has brought upon us. But we have never doubted that time would do us justice, and that better information would efface all the slurs which a want of charity has cast on our name.

Respecting the church the following particulars may be distinctly noticed.

1. That mankind was the church of Christ before he gave himself for the church.

2. That all men belong to this church, and

3. The moral state which the church was in, when Christ loved it and gave himself for it.

On carefully examining our text we shall easily discover the truth concerning the three particulars here suggested.

First. Christ could not have loved the church until he had one, nor could he give himself for his church until he had one. But our text says; “Even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” Thus it is evident that mankind was the church of Christ before he gave himself for the church.

Secondly. That all men belong to the church of Christ is proved from two arguments furnished in our text, in connexion with other scripture testimony. First, it is indicated in our text that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; and the same apostle is particular in stating that Christ

gave himself a ransom for all men. These two ideas, when brought together, amount to our proposition. If Christ gave himself a ransom for all, and if those for whom he gave himself are his church, then it follows that all men are of his church.

The second argument which our text furnishes, in support of the proposition that all men are of the church of Christ, involves the very objection which an opposer would not fail to urge. We mean the moral condition or state of mankind set forth in our text. The common opinion of our divines supposes that no one can belong to the church of Christ until by sanctification, effectual calling, regeneration or the new birth, the subject becomes united to Christ. But this opinion is by our text disallowed; for it informs us, that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Now that which is already clean needs no cleansing, and that which is holy needs not to be sanctified. It is here evident that our text speaks of the church in a state of uncleanness and unholiness, in which state Christ loved it.

Though this argument may appear novel, yet its validity cannot be denied; for if Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, the unsanctified, unclean state of man is proof that he is the subject of the divine favour. And when we unite with this consideration the fact that Christ gave himself a ransomn for all men, our evidence is complete, and our proposition supported.

In further confirmation of the foregoing arguments, reference may be had to emblems lised in scripture which regard the cleansing of mankind from moral defilement, and also to those passages which call on sinners to repent and turn froin the evil of their ways.

If the scriptures represent the Saviour as a refiner's fire and as a fuller's soap, they also represent the subjects of his grace as

unrefined and unclean. And if the scriptures call on men to repent of their sins, to do justice and to love mercy, it is because they are in a sinful state.

It is of importance that the hearer should understand, that while our remarks go to prove that men are unclean, unholy, and sinful, they are thereby rendered effectual in proving that they belong to the church of Christ. Nor can we conceive of any possible way to avoid our proposition of universality as long as the command to repent is acknowledged to be universal.

As our text asserts that Christ gave himself for the church, the universality of the church seems evidently proved by the testimony which informs us that Christ gave himself a ransom for all nen. Such, therefore, is the importance of such testimony in the case under consideration, that we may be justified in referring to a competent number of passages which prove this point of doctrine.

The prophet Isaiah in his 53d chapter says: “All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”.. Heb. ii. 9. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6, “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 John ii. 1, 2, “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Here, all men, every man, and the whole world, are said to be the subjects of this grace of the Saviour. Will candid hearers say that this is not directly to the subject? Will they contend that the evidence is not altogether sufficient? What would an hon

est Methodist say to a Calvinist, who should contend that Jesus Christ gave himself for none but such as believe in Calvinistic doctrine ? Would he not very justly reply, and say, then the whole world believe in Calvinistic doctrine, for the scriptures maintain that he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, that he tasted death for every man, and gave himself a ransom for all men; but they no where inform us that he gave himself for a Calvinist, or for any other particular denomi. nation ?

My friends, if there were even an appearance of any other sentiment in the scriptures, on this subject, the case would be very different from what it now is. But there is no intimation in the word of truth which gives the least authority for limiting the grace, which is the subject of our present inquiry

You will recollect that Christ did not give himself a ransom for all men in order to make them his church, but because they were his church, and because he loved his church, and that he might sanctify and cleanse his church from all uncleanness, and from all un holiness.

The hearer is now reminded of what we requested in the introduction of these argunents, namely, that a strict attention should be given to ascertain how the arguments shonld tend to the support of universalism, and to illustrate the nature of salvation. If you have duly complied with this request it may be well to make up an opinion on the subject, as far as the arguments go, to which we have attended. The arnount of these arguments seem to be this-All mankind are found to be in a state of sin, Christ gave himself for all, because all belonged to his church, and he gave himself for the church that he might sanctify and cleanse it frorn all sin. If you view these points in any good measure supported, of course you must acknowl edge that universal salvation is thus supported; and you must also be satisfied that the holiness of

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