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were thus exposed. It is then reasonable for us to in quire, what friendship that must be which would exercise itself in inflicting endless, unmerciful punishment? If this be friendship, what is enmity? If it be argued that the subject deserves this unmerciful punishment, and that it is inflicted by justice, though dirrectly contrary to the benevolent principle of friendship, it is acknowledging that the friendship of Christ is directly opposed to justice. According to the Scriptures, Christ was so great a friend to all mankind as to lay down his life for them, and he is said to be the same yesterday, to day and forever. How then can he become unmerciful to those very sinners whom he loves, and for whom he died? The propriety of Notes on this Parable, and their relation to the whole connexion, is easy to be seen; for any punishment which is calculated to purge and cleanse mankind from sin, is perfectly consistent with the love and friendship which our Saviour has manifested for mankind. David was afflicted with the pains and sorrows of hell, and acknowledged that it was good for him that he was afflicted. The goodness of God to mankind is no less evident in the chastisements with which he cor rects his children, than in the smiles of his providence ; for the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief, yet will have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict will
ingly, nor grieve the children of men.'
Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat : Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be which find it.'-Matt. vii, 13, 14.
By the strait gate, we understand the way of life communicated under the law, the word strait having the signification of difficult; the word narrow is also used in describing the gate, or way of life.* The way of life, under the law, in respect to dispensation, was through those shadowy types made use of under that dispensation, or in the priesthood of the law; and the way was so narrow or difficult, that few, very few were enabled to look through the figures of the law, and behold Christ or if possible to make the idea more plain, we say, Christ is the only way of life, as he says of himself,, I am the way,' &c. And although it may seem disagreeable to a Christian who has been taught the unbounded grace of the Saviour, and viewed him as a place of broad rivers, to tell him that this same Jesus was narrow, life difficult to be obtained by him, &c., yet, when we consider that the Christian of the present day enjoys those things which many prophets long desired but obtained not, and that those who had the
*That Jesus had reference to the two dispensations to the close of the Old, and the introduction of the New, where he spake this parable, is rendered highly probable by the connexion in which it stands in Luke xiii, which the reader may consult at leisure. But as the parable is introduced in Matt. vii, the strait gate is, to do all things to others, whatsoever we would that men should do unto us. This is the law and the prophets; this is christianity. A contrary conduct is the broad road in which the many go on to destruction.
brightest ideas of the Saviour, under the law, saw him in respect to the present dispensation, through a glass, and that as darkly as those who now believe, view him, in his glory, which is to be revealed in the ages to come, it will not seem unjust to represent the Saviour, under the law, as a strait difficult and narrow way.
On the other hand, it is just to represent the way of death, which leadeth to destruction, broad, in the same proportion as the way of life is narrow; observing a the same time, that the representations are under the same dispensation. But what is meant in the text by the way and gate, which leadeth to destruction ? Answe. Christ the heavenly man is the way of life, it is evident that the earthly man is the way to destruction; and though the Jews, generally speaking, looked for salvation by the works of the carnal or old man, and though that way seemed right to them, the erd thereof was death to the many who sought salvation in that way. And though many in the present day ma be as uncircumcised in heart and ears as the unbeliev ing Jews, and may boast of their hard earned righteousness, and despise others for the lack thereof, and all these things seem right to them; and though they may fancy themselves alive without the law, yet wher the commandments shall come with divine authority on their minds, the end of all their righteousness wil be death. Happy is the soul that can boast the loss of all these things, and glory alone in the righteousness of the great Redeemer.
The common use of the above passage has been to prove that the number, which will finally obtain salva
tion by Jesus Christ, will be few; and that tne number which will suffer endless, unmerciful punishment will be many.
The number set forth in the Scriptures as the happy subjects of gospel salvation, may be judged of from the promises made to the fathers, in which it is said that all the families, all the nations, and all the kindreds of the earth should be blessed in Christ the seed of Abraham. The only method by which the opposer of universal salvation by Christ, pretends to get along with the promises of God, as stated above, is, by saying the blessing promised, means the temporal blessings of providence, of which all men partake in this life. And though this be the only way to a void the real gospel truth, yet it acknowledges one main point, by which the partial doctrine is destroyed. For it allows that the promises are strictly to all men without distinction. This being the case, the whole is lost on the part of the opposer, by the particular testimony of St Paul to the Galatians, in which he decides the matter beyond all dispute. See Gal. iii, 8:And the Scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.'
By this Scripture we see that the promise is a gospel promise, and that the blessing is justification through faith. If all the nations, all the families and all the kindreds of the earth are finally blessed with justification through faith, in. Christ the seed of Abraham, the opinion that but few of the human race will be saved by Christ, cannot possibly be true. It is remarkable that a doctrine directly contrary to the most plain and positive declarations of Scripture, should ever have gained such general consent, and become incorporated as an essen
tial article in the Christian faith. So extraordinary do I view this particular, that I consider it one of the strongest evidences of the truth of Christianity. Though it may be thought a digression from our subject, I am disposed to notice, in this place, two important evidences of the truth and authenticity of divine revelation, one of which seems to have been designed for the conviction of the Gentiles, of the divinity of the prophecies of old testament, and the other for the conviction of the Jews of the divinity of the new.
1. The first is the very remarkable fulfilment of the prophecies of the old testament, relating to the rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah, by the Jews. The Jews were traditionally educated to believe in a Messiah ; their prophets frequently spake of him, and some of them pointed out the treatment which he would meet with from that very people who anxiously expected nim. Such prophecies, to the common judgment of nankind, must appear not a little improbable; and it is very evident that the rulers among the Jews were ignorant of the meaning of those prophecies notwithstanding they professed to believe in them. The Gentiles might, with seeming plausibility, discredit the prophecies of a Messiah, they being so improbable. For who would expect to see those Jews, who were anxiously expecting their Messiah, fulfil that part of the prophecies which related to their rejecting him, and even puttting him to death? But all these things were actually done by the rulers, doctors, scribes and most religious people of the Jews. Here then the unexpected event took place, and the most improbable part of the prophecies was accomplished in a most signal manner. Of this circumstance the apostle of the Gentiles did not fail to make the best possible use in