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“ in all his ways, and holy in all his works;" that " all “ his works are done in wisdom;" that “ God is Love." We cannot indeed see the wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness of many things, which undeniably he does: and it is not wonderful, that his decrees are a depth, which we cannot fathom: but faith takes it for granted, that “ righteousness and judgment are the basis of his “ throne,” even when “ clouds and darkness are round " about him.” In the mysterious and awful subject before us, we cannot see the reasons, which induce the only wise God, the God of holiness and love, to choose one, in preference to another, or to new create one, rather than another: but let it not be supposed, that there is no reason, or no adequate reason. Now, if it consist with infinite wisdom and perfection, to change the heart of one man, and not that of another: how does it alter the case, whether we suppose, that, being infinite in knowledge and foreknowledge, he determined to do this from all eternity; or whether he formed the determination, at the moment when he effected it? On the other hand, if, either in the present dispensations of God, or in the decisions of the great day, any thing be done, inconsistent with perfect wisdom, justice, truth, and love; will the circumstance, that it was not predes. tinated, make any difference, in the opinion to be form- . ed of it? No doubt Calvin would have allowed, as some of us allow, that God selects' a number of persons, (how large we know not,) without respect to foreseen ' faith or good works;' (both faith and good works being the consequences, not the causes, of his choice;) and • infallibly, &c.'_But whether a greater part of mankind shall perish; and the sense, in which these are infallibly doomed to suffer eternal misery, are subjects, which Calvin, if living, would explain more fully, and with many distinctions, before he would admit them to
be a part of his creed. I feel, however, a consciousness of presumption, in venturing to speak of what so eminent and able a theologian, would, or would not, have admitted.
P. clxxxv. • Universal redemption.' It seems to be the established opinion of his Lordship, that the evangelical clergy, especially such of them as believe the doctrine of personal election, hold what is called particular redemption; whereas in fact very few of thern adopt it. The author of these remarks, urged by local circumstances rather than by choice, above twenty-four years since, avowed his dissent from the doctrine of particular redemption, as held by many professed Calvinists, especially among the dissenters.* In this he has since been surprised, and rather amused, to find, that his Lordship deduces nearly the same conclusions, from many of the same premises, which he before had done! Indeed general redemption,' as distinguished from particular redemption, is the phrase, which he uses, in preference to universal. The latter word might be understood to include other intelligent beings, not of Adam's race; and it seems to lead to universal salvation. But about a word, thus connected, and not directly implying, or leading to any thing, in our view erroneous; it would be futile to contend. Only, it is
Only, it is proper, that it should be understood, " what we say, and whereof we " affirm."
“ God so loved the world, that he gave his only be
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should “not perish, but have everlasting life.”+ Behold the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the “ world.” “ The propitiation, for our sins; and not “ for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world."
. Sermon on election, &c. $ 1 John ii. 1, 2.
† John jii. 16.
# John i. 29
Were it possible, that a preacher could go into other worlds, and address sinful intelligent beings, of other orders, than Adam's race: he could not address them, as we may any of the human race, in every part of the world. He could not say, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus “ Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” But, wherever we meet with a human being, we can, consistently, feel no other embarrassment, in thus addressing him, than in calling to those, who are asleep, after the sun is risen; and exhorting them to arise and go forth to their labour, for the natural light of the world shines and suffices for all.
The infinite value, and sufficiency, of the atonement made by his death, who is God and Man in one mysterious person; the way in which the Scripture calls on sinners, without distinction, to believe in Christ; and every circumstance respecting redemption, show it to be a general benefit, from which no one of the human race will be excluded, except through unbelief. Every exhortation, invitation, and encouragement imaginable, may therefore be used without reserve, in addressing men of any nation and description.--Yet some line must be drawn by all, who do not hold universal salvation. “ He that believeth not shall be damned." The difference then is, in this respect, less between Calvinists and others, than it is supposed. Calvin himself says, 'Re
demption is sufficient for all, effectual only to the * elect.? His opponents say, 'Sufficient for all, effectual
only for believers.' “ Faith is the gift of God:" and the only question is, whether he determines to give faith to one man, and not to another, at the moment; or whether he previously decreed to do it: and, whether he gives faith to one and not to another, because of some seen, or foreseen, good disposition, or conduct, in one above the other, previous to his special preventing grace. If he do no injustice to those, who are left to themselves and continue unbelievers; it could not be unjust to decree from eternity, thus to leave them. Some of us think, that none ever truly believe, except the elect: others suppose us in this to be mistaken, perhaps interpreting the terms elect, and election differently than we do. But all, who allow the truth, and abide by the plain meaning, of the Scripture, agree; that, through this general redemption, believers, and none except believers, among adults, shall be saved.
P. clxxxv. I. 18. “It is, &c.** It is allowed, that, the remedy is commensurate, as to sufficiency: but if * all who partake of Adam's corrupt nature, were to par* take also, of the appointed remedy;'all must finally be saved. It is evident, that all are not recovered to holi. ness in this life; and there is no intimation, that any will be recovered to it, in another life; nay, much to the contrary: yet “without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
P. clxxxvi. I. 23. 'In this, t &c.'t It may be questioned, whether the prophet, in the passage referred to, be not speaking of the whole church, rather than of the whole human race: but, however that may be, it is the expiation itself, which is declared to be universal; and not the actual efficacy or event; which is every where limited to believers.
P. clxxxvii. l. 19. And I, &c.'The effect and
• It is natural to conclude, that the remedy, proposed by a Being of in. finite power and infinite mercy, 'would be commensurate to the evil; and therefore, as the evil operated instantly in producing the corruption of • Adam's nature, which was soon transmitted to his offspring, we may infer • that all, who were to partake of that corrupt nature, were to partake also • of the appointed remedy.'
† Is. liii. 6.
* In this passage, the universal depravity of mankind is asserted, and the • expiation of Christ is declared to be as universal as the depravity of man.' $."
“ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." St. John in his gospel, says, that Christ is “ the true light, which lighteth "every man that cometh into the world."
application is evidently meant in the first of these texts; and if all men be actually drawn unto Christ, as an universal proposition, all will finally be saved: for “him " that cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out.” But is it common to use general language, where an interpretation of the word all, or every, as meaning, what admits of no exception, would be absurd? In the very chapter, from which the second quotation is made, and just before it, the evangelist says of John Baptist, · The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the • light, that all men through him might believe.' Did the sacred historian mean, that all men, or even all Jews, without exception, did actually believe in Christ, through John's testimony? The testimony was intended for a general benefit to all, without exception, who would avail themselves of it: and in the same sense we must understand the subsequent clause, “ That was the true
Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the « world.” With this light he enlighteneth every man,
namely, who doth receive him.'* Christ is the sole Source of all true light, in religion, by which any man in the world ever was, is, or shall be enlightened. But as all men do not actually believe, so all men are not actually enlightened." Then shall every man have praise “ of God.”+ Did the apostle mean, that every individual of the whole assembled world, would at the day of judgment, "receive praise of God?”—“ All seek their “own, not the things of Jesus Christ.”I Was this meant universally? It is undeniable, that those, who hold the universal salvation of mankind, without exception, seize on a few of these general expressions, as the only support of their cause, against the most direct declarations of the whole Scripture; and some circumspection is required in adducing and applying them. • Whitby. + 1 Cor. iv. 5.
Phil, ii. 21.