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life; and those who are blessed in that seed, will find the contemplation of that blessedness, which they shall be blessed with in him sufficient to furnish a song, which, although never ending, will be
A. If such be your views, you know nothing at all of gospel.
A. Why, Sir, this is gospel: He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.
M. Indeed, Sir, I had thought the literal, simple meaning of the term gospel was glad tidings. Which part of the passage you have cited is gospel, that which announces salvation or that which announces damnation ?
A. Well then, if you please, this is gospel: "He that believeth shall be saved."
M. Believeth what, Sir?
M. What, Sir.
A. That, I tell you.
M. What, Sir?
A. That, I tell you, "He that believeth shall be saved."
M. Believeth what, Sir? what is he to believe?
A. Why that, I tell you.
M. I wished, Sir, to treat this investigation seriously, but as you seem disposed to be rather ludicrous, we will, if you please, dismiss the subject.
A. No, Sir, I do not mean to be ludicrous; I am very serious.
M. Well, Sir, if so, then I beg leave to ask what is it I am to believe, the believing of which will save me?
A. That Jesus Christ made it possible for sinners to be saved.
M. By what means?
A. By believing.
M. Believing what?
A. That Jesus Christ made it possible for sinners to be saved.
A. By believing, I tell you.
M. Believing what?
A. That, I tell you.
Mr. A. could not but be conscious the ground he had taken was untenable. Had he answered in scripture language, that the truth to be believed, and which we make God a liar by not believing, was that Christ had given himself a ransom for all to be in due time testified to all, that he had absolutely tasted death for every man, and that every man should be made alive in Christ Jesus, &c. &c. the inference was unavoidable, nor man nor Devil could undo what God had done, except the same Almighty power had so decreed, and if he had, the power exists not which can set aside the decrees of God.
If the Redeemer did not taste death for all, if he has not purchased all, then those for whom he has not tasted death, whom he has not purchased, have no right to believe he has, and were they so to believe they must indubitably believe a lie. But finding the temper of Mr. A. rise higher and higher every time I repeated my question, I endeavoured to bring the matter to a conclusion, by observing that I was astonished to find a master in Israel, and a writer too, either not able or not willing to answer a simple question, viz. what I am to believe is the foundation of my salvation; what I am to believe procures my justification in the sight of God.
A. And I am astonished at your blasphemy!
M. This is in character, Sir. Men of your description were long since fond of fixing this charge on both the master and his witnesses.
A. Well, Sir, I take back the charge.
But I have, I fear, been unreasonably tedious. And, upon this subject I will only add, that I found in N. P. a confirmation of my faith, and Mr. A. witnessed my triumph, and that there are, blessed be God, numbers in that place to this day, who are steadfast in faith giving glory to that almighty Power who called them into being, who redeemed, and who preserves them.
I have given you this account, wherein I have been again induced to say more of myself than I intended, purely to give you some idea of the Gospel preached by those who are accounted orthodox in this country; and what is very extraordinary, this gentleman with whom I thus conversed is by profession a strong Calvinist, and positively asserts, we must be content to be damned before we can have any reason to think we shall be saved; that the sufferings of the reprobate will constitute a large part of the felicity of the blessed; that those unhappy beings were destined to perdition, condemned to
everlasting burnings before the foundation of the world. Is not this doctrine the doctrine of Devils?
This is a land of liberty. Every one not only thinks but speaks for himself, and although this sun of liberty giveth the good seed, the words of the kingdom not only to take root but to spread and flourish exceedingly; yet this same sun gives life and nourishment to the poisonous weeds of soul-perverting error. I am however persuaded that this new world will be greatly distinguished, by the increase of the knowledge of the blessings of the new covenant. May the God of glory cause this good seed to take deep root downward, and bring forth much fruit upward, to the praise of his great and holy name.
I am more and more convinced, that nothing short of omnipotent power can make the Saviour known. Nothing can be more strictly true than an observation frequently made by moderate unbelievers; when I am labouring by arguments that appear to me as clear as a meridian sun, to convince them of the truth, they coolly reply, "It would be excellent if it were true, but we cannot believe it." They cannot indeed; no man can know the things of God but by the spirit of God. It is this blessed spirit alone, whoever may be the instrument, that can take of the things of Jesus as found in the Old and New Testaments, and shew them to us. The ceremonial law is a grand field in which to find by the teaching of the spirit our heavenly treasure. But with the best intention in the world, it is very easy to err. There is one of the Mosiac ceremonies which I conceive I once greatly misunderstood, and perhaps respecting this law of ceremonies I have yet much to learn. But the ceremony to which I at present particularly advert, to the consideration of which I am led by an observation in your inestimable Epistle, page 5 of that Epistle, is the Scape Goat. Thus you express yourself"The sin of Adam was annihilated in the person of Jesus Christ, for when sin was laid upon him, of which the scape-goat was a figure or type, he bore it away into a land not inhabited !"
We are, my dear Sir, perfectly agreed in believing that when all we like sheep went astray, the Lord laid on the Saviour of the world the iniquities of us all; and that he suffered not only all the misery attached to the threatened death as the wages of sin; but effectually put away the sin by his one sacrifice, that the death belonging thereto may be swallowed up in victory, and therefore when the iniquities of the world are sought for, they shall not be found. My ideas of this scape-goat were once in unison with yours. But
you will pardon me if I take leave to say, I now regard my former opinion as impious. Bear with me, my dear Sir, while I request you to turn your attention once more to the 16th chapter of Leviticus: "And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
"And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scape-goat.
"And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
"But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scape-goat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scape-goat into the wilderness.
"Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat.
"And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their trangressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
"And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.
"And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat into the wilderness."
Now the grand question is, of whom were these goats figures, and of what were the transactions respecting each of them typical? We are at no loss to determine of whom the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, was a figure; of the Lord Jesus Christ, no doubt. He was made sin for us. He was offered once for all, he made peace for us by the blood of his cross, &c. &c. and his blood cleanseth from all sin.
Again, of what were the transactions respecting this offering typical?
"Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil." Nothing can be more clear than the comment of the apostle upon this place: it may be found in Hebrews ix. 7, and onwards. You have no doubt reflected, and with ineffable delight, upon this portion of the book of God. In all this we perfectly agree, and if, on what follows, our conceptions should be different, we will, my dear Sir, agree to differ.
To me it is clearly manifest that the scape-goat was a grand type of the Arch-Adversary, from whom the sin for which the Saviour bled originated, and in these great transactions we are led to the consideration of the complete work of salvation.
Our Saviour was called Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins. I can conceive of but two ways in which this can be effected; first, by the great sacrifice, where our sins are put away from him, on whom they were laid, and of course from us as we are his fulness, and from before the Father as viewing us in And secondly, from us individually by removing evil from our natures, and cleansing us in ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, so that even our vile bodies shall be fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Son of God; that as we have borne the image of the earthly, we may also bear the image of the heavenly.
But when shall this grand work be completed? the former part of this great salvation was completed, when our glorious high-priest entered with his own blood within the veil. The latter will be completed when that is fulfilled, which is written by the prophet Isaiah lxvi. 23, 24.
"And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
"And they shall go forth and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
For their worm (the worm of the carcases) shall not die, neither shall their fire (the fire of the carcases) be quenched, and they (the carcases) shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
A carcase is a dead body, of which the apostle makes such grievous complaint in the 7th chapter of his Epistle to the Romans: "O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this