« AnteriorContinua »
M. Doth not our Lord say, they shall all know him from thç least to the greatest?
Dr. N. Aye, what all, that is the question?
M. The answer is ready; The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Dr. N. Pray, Sir, do you acknowledge the brazen serpent to be a type of Christ ?
M. Certainly, I do.
Dr. N: Well, Sir, you see all who did not look upon the brazen serpent, died of their wounds.
M. They did, Sir, and all who do not believe in Jesus Christ, will die of their wounds, as they did, that is, pardoned by the grace of God.
Dr. N. They did not die, pardoned, Sir.
M. Take care what you say, my good Sir. God, himself, says to Moses of this very people, Behold I have pardoned them; and he adds, As truly as I live, the whole earth shall be filled with my glory. But this, Sir, this very passage, if you are able to give due attention to it, will serve to show you, what it appears, the world in general, are unacquainted with ; that is, the difference between what Christ has done for us, and what the belief of this, effects upon our minds. Let us consider, did looking to the serpent bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? No. Did looking to the serpent, bring them through the Red Sea ? It did not-Did it destroy the host by which they were pursued ? By no means; nor feed them with flesh? no; nor with manna ? no. Did it give them water from the flinty rock? Assuredly no. What then did the people's looking to the serpent do for them? It healed their wounds, and that is all that our looking or believing can ever do. We have not fulfilled the Law by believe ing; the Redeemer hath done this. Our believing did not bruise the serpent's head; the seed of the woman hath done this. Our believing did not put away sin ; Jesus Christ hath put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself. Nor doth our believing redeem us to God; Christ Jesus hath redeemed us io God, by his blood; nor doth my believing, save me from that death which is the wages of sin. It is because Jesus tasted death for every man; because he was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that I do not suffer this death, which is the wages of sin. What then did, or does our believing do? It heals the wounded conscience, and it saves me from the evil that is in the world; and therefore, it is
written, “ He is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe.”
Dr. N. O, Sir! I warn you not to speak peace to mankind, where there is no peace.
M. Thank you, Sir; be assured I will not, I will preach peace to them only through the blood of the cross.
Dr. N. But do not tell them they shall receive any advantage there from, hereafter; if it be not by a saving change applied to them here. Tell them that if they will not come unto hiin, that they may have life here, they shall be eternally damned.
M. Then, Sir, I should tell them a most notorious falsehood; because the Holy Ghost says, they shall be willing in the day of my power.
Dr. N. This, Sir, is the day of God's power.
M. No doubt; every day is the day of God's power, Sir. But that this is not the day adverted to by the Holy Spirit, is abundantly manifest from the people's not being made willing. For, saith the -spirit of truth, they shall be willing in the day of my power.
Dr. N. I am really concerned for mankind.
M. What do you think that believing Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, will sink any individual to hell ?
Dr. N. I do indeed, Sir.
M. Then from pure compassion to mankind, you would prevent my preaching the doctrine, were it in your power.
Dr. N. Certainly I would.
M. And you really commiserate the sinful sons of men, and would bring them home to God if you
could ? Dr. N. I would indeed, Mr. Murray.
M. Good man! What a pity you have not the power of God, or that God hath not so much compassion and love, for the work of his hands as dwelleth in the commiserating bosom of Dr. N-!
This made the proud man feel; and he paused for some time, and at length said:
Dr. N. Well, Sir, I am satisfied that Jesus Christ is my Saviour, and this is sufficient for me.
M. Yes, Sir ; I too believe that he is your Saviour. But, tell me how do you know that Jesus Christ is your Saviour ?
Dr. N. Why, Sir, by the witnessing spirit.
M. But, Sir, if that spirit tells you, that Christ is your Saviour, exclusively your Saviour, that he is not the Saviour of all men, trust it not; it is not the spirit that taketh of the things of Jesus, and manifesteth them to the sinner. It is a lying spirit, and again I say, believe it not. Surely we ought to inquire by what rule we are to determine we are saved, and other sinners lost, while the scriptures declare, “He, Jesus Christ, gave himself a ransom for all.” Thus we parted. And having a safe conveyance I will make up send forward my journal to this day, for your inspection.
I am as heretofore, &c. &c.
BY ANOTHER HAND.
Answer to queries proposed in the preceding letter.
Did I possess those abilities with which your complaisance, not to say flattery, would endow me, I should nevertheless evince the prevalence of vanity, were I even to attempt an explanation of all the questions you have proposed.
There are many particulars, into which it becomes us at least to suspend our inquiries. An ineffectual attempt to penetrate the grand arcanum, not only betrays ignorance, but involves the understanding in a labyrinth of doubt and perplexity.
Could we fathom the eternal mind, Omnipotence would cease to be an object of adoration, since I might in some sense, claim an equality with the being whom I could fully comprehend. Many writers have sought to trace the origin of evil, to illustrate the economy of the Most High; but all such pretenders have done no more than illustrate the pride of their own hearts, justifying the poet who affirms, that
* In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies."
Influenced by these considerations, it might be sufficient to say, it is a proposition abundantly evident from the pages of Revelation, that grace, sovereign, free.grace shall eventually encircle all.
Yet, urged by the frankness apparent in your letter, I hazard a few remarks upon your first question-Thus it is stated :
“ What propriety is there in the word grace, if the party offended requireth full satisfaction before forgiveness, seeing we call it godlike to forgive without satisfaction, and without asking; or if the second person forgives without receiving satisfaction, why could not the first have done the same ?”
I conceive the Deity to be one Omnipotent and incomprehensible Being; and I regard the characters Father, Son, and Spirit only as different manifestations of one and the same infinitely glorious and all perfect essence. At one time Emmanuel saith, the Father and I are one ; at another, my father is greater than I. How shall we reconcile this apparent contradiction. I humbly presume when the Redeemer speaks of the oneness subsisting, he hath immediate reference to Deity, to his own Divine Nature, lo his character Father ; and where inferiority is acknowledged, he then only adverts to, or recognizes the character Son. Isaiah, in one glorious text, includes many of those characters in which the Godhead is exhibited, chapter ninth, verse sixth, “ For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders : and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
If we adopt the idea originated by this passage, inconsistency vanishes; and looking with a single eye we do homage to a perfect whole. Tolerating this view of the triune, the immaculate the Omnipotent Creator, the propriety of the term grace becomes evident, and the abundant grace of our God shines forth clear as the sun in the firmament, exhilarating and warming the mental, as that the i natural world.
Infinite wisdom concerteth a plan, which, in the beautiful order of things he gradually unfoldeth. By different appellations, which he hath rendered familiar to the creature whom he hath formed, he maketh himself known to the children of men : and he hath so far enlarged our capacities, as to enable us to see that in the salvation of the human family, his attributes are not at variance. Justice obtains its full demands ; the soul which sinneth expires, while mercy is exalted and built up forever.
Vol. I. 51
ask when the soul that sinned died? I answer, all our iniquities were laid upon Christ Jesus, thus manifesting God to be a just God, and a Saviour.
The grace then is evident, not in extending the forgivness after the satisfactien is made, for it then becomes an act of justice, but in preconcerting a plan of such consummate wisdom, and benignity. Grace, Sovereign gruce, introduces into being numerous candidates for a blessed immortality, the possession of which immortality, nor men, nor angels, fallen or upright, can eventually deprive them. For it is guaranteed by the oath of Jehovah. When we reflect that all this was brought about without our care or contrivance, that ere ever we were called into existence, our eternal happiness was secured. Such a consideration must enkindle in the soul the ineffable glow of gratitude, and grace ; grace must ever be our deep our exhaustless theme.
It does not appear from scripture, that there was any previous solicitation. Our first parent, so far from prostrating himself before the Most High, after the great offence, hid himself among the trees of the garden : nor, when compelled to quit his retreat, doth it appear that he humbled himself before his offended Creator. His reply, upon being interrogated, considering the character of the questioner, and the questioned, was rather haughty. The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Equally unmerited, and unsought, are the mighty blessings which descend upon the posterity of Adam, and the Apostle puts this affirmation beyond a doubt, when he assures us, that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
Why Jehovah thought proper to manifest his abundant grace, in the second character in the Trinity, I conceive is not for us to determine ; yet it consists with reason and with revelation to say that unerring wisdom, must indubitably have adopted the mode of conduct, which was, in every view, the most eligible, the most conducive to the general good, and the best calculated to exhibit the beauty and harmony of his divine cconomy.
Secondly, you inquire, “ Can material matter or substance, produce immaterial substance ?"
The sacred oracles inform us, that the great etherial Sire of angels, is the Father of our spirits. God himself hath declared all souls to be his, and I know not that any part of animated matter, however arrogant, hath hitherto been able to prove this assertion 100