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will, therefore, that men pray every wbere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting,” in connex. ion with many other scriptures, I found we ought to draw near to God, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, without wavering; for he is faithful that has promised.
My faith was, that a part of the human family would be eternally miserable ; but my heart-selt desire was, that God would have mercy upon all, and save them, as it is not in the power of any to save themselves ; aud I thought we ought to pray in faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Now when this contradiction appeared in full view, I was exceedingly straitenes. Being called in the providence of God to be an assistant leader in this church, and to improve in public by prayer, po doubt, has made my trial more sensible. For I consider that great responsibility is on leaders of all degrees, and that it is important they are in the truth; for if they be blind, and leaders of the blind, they will both fall into the ditch. In this house, the time has been, when I have attempted to address the throne of grace, that when I came to that part of my prayer, in which I should extend my desire to that God, whom I viewed unchangeable in all bis purposes and designs, for the salvation of all my fellow creatures ; then, not to think, but to know, that the public well understood, I was devoutly asking God to do that which I firmly believed he never would do, the sensations, which I experienced at such times, have almost sunk me to the floor.
Another inconsistency bas appeared to me in ministers. In their preaching they state the total depravity of man, his inability to save himself, and that it is by the almighty power of God, the heart is changed, and faith is given unto salvation. Then, in the same sermon, they tell, our happiness in another world depends on our conduct in this.
These things have led me to inquire and search dile
rigently into the nature and effect of the atonement, made by Jesus Christ, for sinners. I have talked with many on the subject. In conversation with a reputed divine, he stated that Christ did not die for any but the elect, At another time he stated, the salvation of the elect was secured in the atonement that Christ made, at the time he made it, and that he did every thing, necessary to be done, for the salvation of the non-elect. All that was wanting, was, for them to believe. I asked him, if they ever would believe. He said, no. I asked him, if they could believe. Не said, no. I asked him, if it were possible for God, consistent with his purposes, to save them, He said, no. I then asked him, if God had sent him to preach the gospel to that part of mankind. He said, O yes. This gave me no satisfaction. I again betook myself to the scriptures, as the only standard ; and, my prayer has ever been, that I might be divested of all prejudice or prepossession; that I might, as it were, step out of myself, and, as sar as possible, take a disinterested view of the plan and operation of God in creation and redemption, as it is made known in the revelation, he has given of himself. I have really thought, that if I were guided by his spirit, I should understand him as he meant, for which I have earnestly prayed. And as it respects creation, I read in the Bible. that Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, Rev. iii. 14 ; that we are created in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 10, even in the image of God. But after the creation of man, it is said, the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and gave him the breath of life. This dust part cleaves to its own element, and will return to dust again. That on which it feeds is no food for the spirit or iminortal part. Nothing but him. seif can satisfy this created image. But as the creature was made subject to vanity, he presumer! to enjoy holiness in eating the forbidden fruit. He was carpal, of course he was soid under sin, and died.
Although the creature was made subject to Vauity, it
was not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, Rom. viii 20. Immediately after the fall of man, the glorious promise was made to him, that the seed of the woman, or Christ the hope, should bruise the serpent's head.
I will now give a few of my ideas on the redemption, made by Jesus Christ for sinners.
Though, before I proceed to speak of the atonement, I will state, that I believe mankind in their fallen state, are dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, Eph. ii. 1. 3. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
uoprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not • one,” &c. Rom. iii. 11, 12. “By the deeds of the law,
no man shall be justified in the sight of God; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But the righteousness of God is manifested by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe ; for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Therefore St. Paul concludes, the idea of men's boasting their own good deeds or works, is forever escluded, by the law of faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, and that we are justified freely, by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in bis Son.
Now in regard to the atonement made by Jesus Christ, I believe, it is the effect of God's love to fallen
St. John, iii. 16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ev. erlasting life.” It appears evident from this passage, that what Christ did for sinners, was a consequence of God's love to them. See also verse 17, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." It appears from these texts, that the Fatber's ohject in his Son's coming into the world, was the salvation of
sinners. Rom. v. 8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Here the death of Christ is spoken of, as a commendation of God's love to us; of course, it is an effect of it. I John iv. 9, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." Christ's coming into the world being a manifestation of God's love to us, no doubt, this love existed before he came, so bis coming was the effect of it. Verse 10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Verse 19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” It appears evident from these passages last cited, as well as from many others that might be quoted, that the mediatorial work of Christ was the consequence, and not the cause, of God's love to us ; even when we were yet sinners. And as God is infinite in all his attributes, and unchangeable, it cannot be supposed, that he can love at one time, and at another, hate the same object. Instead of God's being unreconciled to man, it is man considered under the law, that has become upreconciled to God, by sin. It, therefore, became necessary, that the atonement should be for man : that he might become reconc:led to God, experience his love, and be happy.
Cbrist undertook the work that the Father gave him to do; which was, as it is said, Matt. XX. 28, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransoin for many." St. Paul in 1 Timothy ii. Speaking of Christ as the mediator between God and men, says, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testifed in due time,"? as an accomplishment of the will of God, which is, "to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
And in Hebrews ix. 12, 13, 14, the Apostle, speak. ing of the priesthood of Christ, says, “Neither by the
blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls, and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit,offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God ?" Verse 26, “But now once, in the end of the world, hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” St. John saith of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," i. 29. Again iv, 42, “For we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is jodeed the Christ the Savior of the world." vi. 33, “For the bread of God is he wbich cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Verse 51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” And xii. 47. “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”
Romans v. 10, “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.” 2 Cor. v. 18, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and bath given to us the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, ibat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, nut imputing their trespasses unto them; and bath committed vuto us the word of reconciliation." Verse 21, “For he hath nade him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God
Now it is evident from these scriptures, (and there might be a multitude quoted to the same point,) that Christ's errand into the world, was to save the world;
in him "