« ZurückWeiter »
Having looked at a few of the ancient prophecies, and learning that they import the fulness of blessedness for the sum total of the human race, I have to request, that you will either show the misapplication of these citations, or grant, manfully and openly, that you are refuted by scripture testimony, on your own premises, and that the restoration of all men to holiness and happiness, no longer" remains to be proved." Your well wisher,
T. Rev. Joel Hawes,--Hartford.
Sir,--I have already endeavoured to aggroup a few of those passages found in the ancient prophecies, relative to the benevolent designs of our heavenly father, towards his erring offspring. But I have a reason for quoting one more, which will be seen in the sequel. The citation to which I allude, may be found in the close of Isa. 45.
“ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall
Surely shall one say, In the LORĎ have I righteousness and strength ; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Before appealing to the New Testament for an explication of this decisive passage, a few passing remarks may be proper. The evangelical prophet here
calls upon all the ends of the earth, to look and be saved. The coincidence between this call, and the prediction of David, is very striking. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord." Thus, agreeably to the call of one prophet, another answers that the call shall be effectual. The language is not that of an offer, it is a command, and that command shall be obeyed. But the connexion also shows that the oath of God is pledged for the obedience of all to whom the call is made. The Almighty pledges his existence that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, “ In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Not the least intimation is here given of a separation. All shall return from their backslidings, and shall swear fealty to the King of Heaven. This appears to be quoted by Paul in his epistle to the Philippians, 2: 8, 9, 10, 11.
“ And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name ; That at [in] the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth ; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
I shall now quote the acknowledgement of Professor Stuart, of the Andover Institution, on the meaning of this passage. Such a concession, from such a man, is too valuable to be omitted. When opponents concede so much, though intended to serve a different purpose, a fair use of their reasoning is the strong. est mode of maintaining the doctrine, in defence of which their conclusions are so absolute.
Things in heaven, earth, and under the earth, is a common periphrasis of the Hebrew and New Testament writers, for the universe ; (ta pan, or ta panta.) What can be meant by things in heaven, i. e. beings in heaven bowing the knee to Jesus, if spiritual worship be not meant ? What other worship can heaven render? And if the worship of Christ in heaven be spiritual, should not that of others, who ought to be in temper united with them be spiritual also ? Rev. 5: 8, 14. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests ; and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders ; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen, and the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for eyer and ever." If this be not spiritual worship, and if Christ be not the object of it here, I am unable to produce a case, where worship can be called spiritual and divine."
I have produced this testimony from Professor Stuart, to show how much the truth often compels men to avow, when not contending against the doctrine in
debate. And I shall also consider it a complete refutation of the remarks you have made in a subsequent paragraph, on this same passage. But it may also be well to obviate in this place a cavil, (for argument it certainly is not) which is sometimes opposed to the import of this passage. It is said, that the miseries of the damned in hell, tend equally as much to the declarative glory of God, as the felicity of the blessed in heaven. In conversation it might be sufficient to ask for proof of this unwarranted assumption. In the present instance, the assumption will be disproved by scripture and reason. An apostle declares that men come short of the glory of God by sinning. 6 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”This scripture must be sufficient. We ask now, by way of reasoning, if both holiness and sin-happiness and misery, can, in the nature of things, equally glo. rify God? If so, why did the apostles and prophets offer motives for the promotion of the one, and dissua. sives from the other? and why was Christ to save his people from their sins, when God's glory would be equally promoted by sin as by holiness ?
But an apostle has informed us, that no man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Spirit? This single testimony has, and ought to have more weight than ten thousand contrary assumptions. Having already occupied more room than I intended on this subject, I now proceed to your remarks on the 5th chapter of Romans.
“ Again it is said, that as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Upon this passage I remark-1. The whole chapter in which it is found is confessedly intricate, and hard to be understood ;and
you will not be rash enough to risk your eternal destiny on the correctness of a doubtful interpreta
tion. 2. We must suppose Paul is always consistent with himself; but if we allow this verse to mean Uni. versal salvation, it contradicts a multitude of other passages in his writings. 3. There is no proof, or indication that he is on the subject of the saved; for the abounding grace refers to the number of sins for. given-not of sinners saved-unless more are saved in Christ than were lost in Adam. I have not room to analyze the passage, but will only give you the principle which will direct you in interpreting it con. sistently with the context, the argument, the other writings of Paul, and the general tenor of the scrip. tures. The context clearly shows that the meaning of the Apostle is, that the provision of mercy through Christ is for Gentiles as well as for Jews. In other words, justification of life is a gift offered to all men without distinction of nation or character.”
I notice, first, the introduction to this selection from Paul's writings. Again, it is said—&c. If this be not an evident attempt to put the apostle's argument in the back ground, I labour under a most egregious error. You then remark that the whole chapter in which this is found (without naming it) is confessedly intricate! In reference to this observation, I will cite a note on the 19th verse, found in Kneeland's Version.
Though the construction of this paragraph is in. tricate and obscure, nothing can be more obvious than this, that it is the apostle's intention to represent all mankind, without exception, as deriving greater benefit from the mission of Christ, than they suffered injury from the fall of Adam. The universality of the apostle's expressions is very remarkable. The same
many,” who were made sinners through the disobedience of the one, are made righteous through the obedience of the other. If all men are condemned through the offence of one, the same all are justified