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to blind their own minds, and harden their own hearts.
That human blindness and obstinacy proceed not from the direct agency of God, we know ; for revelation assures us, that “God is not tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.” It is certain that God does not influence the human mind to sin ; for the sinner, in the scriptures, is denomi. nated a rebel against God, and is said to incur the divine displeasure, and to make himself a vessel of wrath, fitted for destruction.
A passage from Acts (xiii. 48.) is often produced as an authority for the doctrine of election." When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord ; and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” The Greek word, translated in this place, ordained, does not mean predestinated or fore-ordained, but set in order, disposed. As many as were disposed, believed. As many as maintained a right temper, and were influenced by moral considerations, believed, and made eternal life the object of desire and pursuit.
The term election is used in different senses by the writers of the New Testament. But if predestination, in the Calvinistick ineaning, be not found in the chapters we have reviewed, few, I believe, will assert that satisfactory proof of its truth can be produced from other parts of the sacred writings.
Our minds, then, are prepared to give undivided attention to the plain, the general language of the inspired penmen on the subject of our salvation. They unitedly inform us, that God has committed
talents to our management-enacted laws as the rule of our actions—established by his son Jesus Christ, conditions of our acceptance ; and appointed a day on which we must account for the course of our lives, and hear an impartial sentence pronounced on the manner we shall have improved the powers entrusted to our cultivation. The sacred writers also assure us, that God delights not in the death of the sinner, but would that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved.
Let us, my respected hearers, work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. SERMON XVI.
THE BENEFITS RESULTING FROM THE MEDIATION OF
JESUS CHRIST, ARE APPLICABLE TO ALL MEN.
ROMANS v. 10, 11.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God,
by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life : And not only so, we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
IN a proposed review of the Calvinistick system of divinity, the first of the five propositions, usually denominated “the five points," was our last subject. Your attention is now solicited to the consideration of the second, viz.
2. “ Jesus Christ, by his death and sufferings, made an atonement for the sins of the elect only.”
This article is founded on the Calvinistick views of atonement, by the sufferings and death of Christ. It is therefore expedient to enter into the meaning of the sacred writers, when they speak of the efficacy of the mediatorial agency of our Saviour. This inquiry I will pursue in the following man
1. To examine the representations made in the bible, of the goodness and mercy of God.
2. Consider the meaning of those passages in the New Testament, which mention the efficacy of the sufferings and death of Christ. And,
3. I shall endeavour to show, from the authority of scripture, that the benefits of Christ's mediation are not limited to a few elect individuals, but are extended to the whole family of man.
1. To'examine the representations made in the bible, of the goodness and mercy of God.
No position in divinity, to my apprehension, is more opposed to the general language of the New Testament—none which reflects greater dishonour on the character and moral government of Deitynone which is more apt to mislead men in the highest concerns of religion, than the doctrine, that God requires complete satisfaction to be made to his justice for sin, by the vicarious sufferings of our Saviour, to propitiate his regard to the repenting offender.
This doctrine represents our God as inexorable in his disposition : it deprives him of those moral attributes, which are the proper foundation of our love and gratitude : it destroys all goodness and mercy in the pardon of the repenting sinner ; and supposes that God has introduced a principle in his administrations, which would disgrace any government on earth,
It is inconsistent, we are told, with divine justice, for God to pardon the sinner, unless full satisfaction be made to his violated law. Is it consistent with the attributes of a perfect being to accept the punishment of an innocent being, who offers himself as a substitute for the sinner, and on this account to pardon the real offender? What should we think of that human government, which, refusing to extend a pardon to the humbled violator of its laws, should consent that an individual, whose whole life had been faultless, might take the place of the offender, and perish on the scaffold, and on account of his death, grant life and liberty to the man, who, by his crimes, had brought on himself the sentence of condemnation? If God require full satisfaction for every offence, shall we, in imitation of him, demand that the merited punishment be inflicted on the real offender, or on his substitute, before we forgive one, who having offended, in sorrow supplicates our clemency? On the apprehension, that the presiding Divinity is, in disposition, unrelenting and vindictive, have been founded most of the weak and cruel rites of superstition. Hence human beings were, among ancient Pagans, immolated on the altars of Moloch. Hence the monkish severities and the bodily morti. fications of the papal establishment. Hence the tortures, which the votarists of modern paganism, through the eastern world, voluntarily inflict upon themselves. I may add, the apprehension that the design of religious service is not to form men to a disposition which will render them werthy to