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sinned under the law are judged by the law; they who have sinned without law perish without ·law.” But because this might seem absurd, if, ' without any judgment preceding, the gentiles ‘should perish, he immediately subjoins, that
their conscience was to them instead of a law, ' and therefore sufficed to their just condem• nation.'? In like manner our Lord says concerning the inhabitants of certain heathen cities, “ It shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment “ for them, &c.”? But “ more tolerable” is widely different from “ salvation with eternal glory."
'Whoever at the great day of final account shall be found to have lived conformably to the “ will of God, according to the light afforded them, ' will be rewarded with eternal happiness through
the merits of the blessed Jesus, and that the rest of mankind will be consigned to everlast‘ing punishment.'3
It may perhaps be sufficient to compare this statement with the words of our Article. "They ‘ also are to be had accursed, that presume to say ' that every man shall be saved by the law or sect ' which he professeth, so that he be diligent to ' frame his life according to that law, and the
light of nature. For holy scripture doth set out ' unto us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby 'men must be saved.'4 If our church meant to state,' that men thus diligently framing their * lives according to the light afforded them' (which
· Calvin. Inst. book ïi. s. 22.
3 Ref. 282. VOL. VII.
? Matt, xi. 20-24.
without revelation, must be “the light of nature' exclusively,) would be rewarded with eternal happiness, through the merits of the blessed
Jesus ;' surely this was the place in which that sentiment should have been explicitly declared ; at least to prevent misconstruction as to the other parts of the article. If however the opinion can be found in any part of our authorized books, we must be silent; or rather recede from our station, lamenting at length to find the articles, which ex animo we subscribed, contradicted by the same authority which requires subscription to them.
But what saith the scripture more directly as to the case of the gentiles, as continuing without revelation, or the promise of a Saviour? “Remem“ ber that ye, being gentiles in the flesh,-at that “ time ye were without Christ,” (xwpis Xplore, ')
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, “ and strangers from the covenants of promise, “having no hope, and without God in the world.”2 Again, “ The same Lord over all is rich towards " all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call “ on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How “then shall they call on him in whom they have
not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall
they hear without a preacher ?"3 And again, the Jews“ please not God, and are contrary to all “ men ; forbidding us to preach to the gentiles, “ that they might be saved."4 If they might have
been saved by the merits of Christ, without hearing of him, believing in him, and calling on him, by ' living according to the light afforded them ;' what need was there that the apostles should labour, venture, and suffer so much, in order that they might hear, and believe, and be saved ? and why should the Jews be so decidedly condemned because they opposed and attempted to hinder such labours? And indeed why should the commission have been given by our Lord,“ to go into “ all nations, and preach the gospel to every crea“ ture?”
And what says the scripture concerning this light afforded them?' “ Ye were sometime dark
ness, but now light in the Lord."2 I send thee “ to them,” (the gentiles, “ to open their eyes, “and to turn them from darkness to light, and “ from the power of Satan unto God.”3 “ hath delivered us from the power of darkness, “and hath translated us into the kingdom of his “ dear Son.”4 “ He hath called us out of dark
ness, into his marvellous light.”5 Indeed the whole word of God describes the state of the gentiles“ as gross darkness.”—Well therefore, viewing these things, might our Lord say, “ If the “ light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that “ darkness !” and, “ Take heed, therefore, that the light that is in thee be not darkness.” 6
Except a man be born again, he cannot see, “ he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”? If outward baptism, or any thing inseparably con
'Mat. xxviii. 19. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Luke xxiv. 47, 48. * Eph. v. 8. Acts. xxvi. 18.
* Col. i. 13. • 1 Pet. ii. 9. • Mat. vi. 23. Luke xi. 35. 7 John isi. 3-6.
nected with it, be meant; this at once excludes all gentiles, at least since our Lord's days, infants as well as adult, from salvation. But, if a new creation to holiness be intended ; if it at all relate to the same subject as the apostle's words do, “with
out holiness no man shall see the Lord; "1 then none can be saved without the renewal and sanctification of the Holy Spirit. The case of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, may illustrate the subject. “He was a devout man, one that feared God “ with all his house, who gave much alms to the “ people, and prayed to God always." God himself said to him, “ Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, “and thine alms are had in remembrance before “ God." Yet even this man was directed to send to Joppa," and call for Peter, who should tell him
words, whereby he and all his house should be “ saved.”? It will not be alleged, at least by his Lordship, that Cornelius did these things, which were inthe sight of God good,' without the influence of the Holy Spirit: yet even these things, while they prepared his heart to welcome the message of salvation, and were “ things accompanying
salvation,” were not sufficient for salvation ; but the words of Peter, received in faith,“ saved him." It behoves those, who contend for the salvation of the gentiles, by their “ living conformably to the ' will of God, according to the light afforded them,' to produce some instances, if it can be done, of gentiles, who had no divine revelations of any kind, “ fearing God," " the one living and true “ God," and “ working righteousness ;” and con
Heb. xii, 14.
Acts x. 1, 2, 22, 31, 32. xi. 13, 14.
cerning whom such things could be truly spoken, as are by the inspired historian stated concerning Cornelius : and then we must either allow that they were saved without the word of God, and without faith in that word, or that God himself was pleased to reveal immediately to them “ those “ words by which they might be saved.” But, if no clear and undeniable example of this kind can be adduced, from among those to whom no part of the word of God hath come;" there is not even the shadow of any argument in support of the opinion, which does not also imply that man may enter heaven “ without holiness,” and without being “ born again.” Now it is certain that such an example cannot be adduced; and nothing is wanting to demonstrate this in respect of any individual who has ever been mentioned in this argument, (Socrates for instance,) but a fair comparison of his character and conduct with those of Cornelius, even before his conversion to Christianity. In respect of such gentiles as had a portion of the word of God, but were not proselyted to the law of Moses ; no doubt many of them have been saved, in the same manner as the believers were who lived before the giving of the law.
Because Nebuchadnezzar received a reward of ‘his good works, we understand that even the ' heathen, if they shall do any thing good, are not ‘passed over in the judgment of God without reward.'1 Nebuchadnezzar had prophetical dreams, in
Jerome, Ref. 392.