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ü. 15) says,
acquired sense. -As used in ordinary conversation, this word always means an immoral man; and most persons conceive that such is its meaning as used in the Scriptures, whereas, as there employed, it very frequently denotes simply a Gentile or leathen. All Gentiles, let them be good or bad, in a moral point of view, are, in the New Tostament, called “sinners;" so that a sinner and a Gentile are very often synonymous terms. This I can prove beyond controversy and beyond a doubt. The Apostle Paul in writing to the Galatians (Gal.
“We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.” Here, you perceive, the Apostle designates all Gentiles as sinners ; not, of course, because they were all persons of abandoned character, but because they were excluded from the Old Covenant, and debarred from those marks of the divine favour so abundantly conferred upon the Jews. The Scribes and Pharisees, in order to create an odium against our Blessed Lord, repeatedly reproached him with being “the friend of publicans and sinners.
Did they, by this imputation, mean to accuse him of being the associate and abettor of abandoned men. No; but they accused him of a crime, in the sight of the Jews not less heinous, viz.—the holding intercourse with tax-gatherers and Gentiles-two classes of persons detested by the Israelites—the former, on account of their profession, and the latter, on account of their extraction. So, in like manner, when it is stated, that “Christ was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner" (Luke xix. 7), we are not by any means to suppose that the spotless Jesus sat at meat with the openly wicked, but merely that he partook of the hospitalities of a Gentile ; an act which, in those days, was peculiarly offensive to the Jews, for no Jew considered it proper to sit at meat with a Ileathen. There is one passage, however, not to multiply instances, which incontrovertibly proves that the words Gentiles and sinners are often convertible terms; for Christ, in speak. ing of his own sufferings from the hands of the Jews, says in one place (Matt. xx. 19), “and shall deliver him to the Gentiles, to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him;" but, in another place, (Matt. xxvi. 45), when speaking of the same solemn event, he says to his disciples, “sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners !” thus clearly proving, that our Lord looked upon the terms Gentiles and sinners as synonymous expressions, and here employed them to denote the same individuals. In meeting with this word, then, in the Scriptures, bear in mind that it does not always mean bad men, but merely Gentiles or Heathens, a name given to them by the Jews by way of contempt and reproach.
6. If this be the frequent meaning of the word “sinners”—as I think I have shown that it is-it will materially assist us in arriving
at the meaning of the word “sins"-a word perpetually occurring in the Scriptures. If I have proved that “sinner" does not always mean a moral offender, it naturally and necessarily follows that "sin" is not always a moral offence. We have seen that all Gentiles were contemptuously called sinners by their Jewish neighbours, not because of their immoralities, but because of their exclusion from the old covenant, and the privileges and advantages accruing therefrom ; so, when these same persons are no longer designated by this offensive epithet, and when their sins” are said to be “ remitted," the meaning must be, not that their moral guilt is remitted (for it was not by any means on account of their moral guilt that they were ever called by that name), but solely that they are recovered from an uncovenanted to a covenanted state, and admitted to privileges and advantages from which, as Gentiles, they were hitherto debarred. In one word, there are two kinds of sins spoken of in the Scriptures -moral sins and ceremonial sins; the former of which are remitted or pardoned solely on the ground of repentance and amendment of life, and the latter on professing faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and admission into the Christian church ; and it requires the greatest attention to ascertain which of the two kinds is spoken of in any passage where the word occurs. When we read,“ repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," the sins here alluded to are moral sins, which aro blotted out upon the terms of repentance ; but when we read, "arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins," the sins here alluded to are ceremonial impurities, which attached to all men who were not embraced in the new covenant, but which are removed from all who are admitted into the Christian church by the outward rite of baptism.
I shall best illustrate my meaning by examining one or two passages in which this word occurs, and applying the rule here laid down, and I shall select the most important. Our Saviour, in speaking of tho cup which he gave to his disciples at the last supper, says, “ For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Now, most persons imagine that the sins hero spoken of are moral transgressions, whereas our Lord means ceremonial transgressions ; for we have no warrant whatever for supposing that the blood of Christ is at all efficacious to blot out our moral offences, unless we ourselves repent and turn away from them. All that our Lord wishes to convey by this language evidently is, that he died to abolish the old covenant and establish the new, by which all who are admitted into it aro recovered from the condition of Gentiles to the condition of the privileged people of God.
Peter, in his first Epistle (ii. 24), says respecting Christ,“ who his own self bore our sins, in his own body, on the tree.” In this,
as in the preceding passage, the “sins" spoken of cannot possibly be our moral offences, for, respecting these, the Scriptures, in the most unequivocal terms, declare that every man must bear them for himself. If there be any truth in the Bible more plainly taught than another, it is this—“Every man must bear his own burden.” soul that sinneth it shall die." Every man must give an account of himself to God." “ The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” All which passages proclaim, in accents not to be mistaken, that our trangressions against the moral law shall be visited upon our own heads, and that every man, unless he repent and reform, shall suffer the consequences of his misdeeds.
Wbilst, however, every man must bear his own moral sins, Christ has borne our ceremonial sins ; for he, by his death upon the tree, abolished the old covenant, which treated all who were not embraced in it as “ sinners," and established the now covenant, by which all who are embraced therein are designated as “ saints.”
There are several other remarkable passages in which this word is found, which I should be glad to examine and explain did space permit, but these few, I trust, will be enough to prove that "sin" does not always signify moral guilt, but merely that state to which all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, are represented as being reduced, so long as they are out of the Christian covenant.
7. The word "saints” is another which, like all the preceding, is generally used in an acquired sense. When men in ordinary conversation speak of saints, they always mean peculiarly holy persons, and they fancy that this is what the word always siguifies in the New Testament, in which idea, however, they are quite mistaken. As there found, it generally means merely a Christian, let him be holy or unholy. All Christians are " saints" under the new covenant, just as all Gentiles were “sinners” under the old. That such is the case is a matter easy of proof. Paul, in writing to the church at Corinthi, says, “all the saints salute you." That is, all the Christians at Ephesus send greetings to their brethren in the faith at Corinth. The same Apostle, in writing to the same individuals on another occasion, says, now concerning the collection for the saints”--that is, respecting the collection which he was engaged in taking up for the benefit of the Christians at Jerusalem. He also speaks of this same matter to the church at Rome, in these words“ but now I go to Jerusalem to minister to the saints”—that is, to minister to the wants of the Christians ; and he adds, that he was engaged in making a certain contribution for the poor saints," that is, for the needy Christians. Jude speaks of “ the faith once delivered to the saints," meaning thereby the doctrines communicated
to the primitive Christians; and the Apostle of the Gentiles, in writing to the Philippians, says, “to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi : grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ;" clearly showing that to be a believer in Christ Jesus and to be a saint means the same thing. From these few passages, which I have selected out of a multitudo, you must see that all Christians are denominated saints, not because they were all persons of extreme purity of life—for such was not the case-but because of their being included in the new covenant and favoured with the spiritual privileges and advantages which it confers. Some religious professors of the present day, who arrogate to themselves peculiar sanctity, delight in designating their own fraternity as “ saints,” thereby insinuating that they are somewhat holier than other Christians that differ from them in opinion, without ever reflecting that, in the real import of the word, any or every Christian believer could establish as legitimate a title to the epithet as they. Every man who, upon professing faith in Jesus as the Messiah, has been admitted into the Christian church by the outward rite of baptism, is, in the Scripture meaning of the word, a saint, even though his life should not be distinguished by any remarkablo piety. Peter
saint,” though he not only denied his Lord three several times, but untruly swore that he “ knew not the man.” Judas was a "saint,” though he betrayed his master for the paltry consideration of thirty pieces of silver. All the disciples were
saints," though, like a panic-struck army, they shamefully deserted their leader in the hour of danger.
8. “ Saved” is another word frequently to be met with in the Scriptures, the meaning of which is very much misunderstood. To be“ saved,” as used in the New Testament, does not signify, as men in general suppose, to get to heaven, but to be delivered from certain calamities in this world. In a word, the salvation which is promised as the consequence of mere faith is temporal and not eternal: it is salvation from certain things in this world and not in the next: it is salvation not to everlasting life, but salvation from bodily diseases, from ignorance, from temporal calamities, and from Jewish superstition or heathen idolatry. I trust I shall be able to prove that this is its true meaning, from an examination of a few of the principal passages in which the word occurs. 1. I
say it sometimes means salvation from bodily diseases. Our Saviour, on one occasion, having cured a woman who was afflicted with a loathsome bodily malady, is represented, by the Evangelist Luke (vii. 50), to have said to her, “ Thy faith hath saved thee ;" but the Evangelist Mark (v. 34), in recording this same incident, represents our Saviour as saying to her, “ Thy faith hath made thee whole ;" clearly proving that the Evangelists considered being saved and being made whole of a disease as meaning the same thing. Again ; on one occasion Peter and John miraculously cured a lame man who sat asking for alms at the beautiful gate of the Temple, for which offence they were brought to trial before the Jewish Sanhedrim. Their judges, among other things, asked them by what power or in whose name they had wrought this miracle, to which the two apostles unhesitatingly replied, that they had wrought it in the name of Jesus Christ, and by means of the power communicated to them by him; and added (Acts iv. 12), “ Neither is there salvation in any other that is, neither is there restoration to soundness of health in any other), for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we may be saved ;" that is, there is no other name under heaven, and no other power communicated to men, whereby such miraculous cures could be wrought, except in the name and by the power of Jesus Christ. In this case, as in the former, to be saved means to be cured of a disease. I know that this latter passage is almost invariably misunderstood. I am aware that many, mistaking the meaning of the word saved, habitually quote it to prove that none but Christians will ever get to heaven !-a doctrine at variance with the clearest teachings of holy writ. Are we not assured that “ God is no respecter of persons, but that, in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him ?" And are we not also informed that
will come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God ?” It is not of the manner of getting into heaven, but of curing diseases, that the apostle is here speaking, and we must not wrest the passage from its context to make it prove a doctrine of which the apostle was not thinking at the time.
But, 2d, It also means to be saved from ignorance. In Paul's first letter to Timothy (ii. 4), we read, “ For God will have all men to be saved and brought to the knowledge of the truth.” Here the latter clause of the verse explains the former, plainly showing that to "be saved ” and to be “ brought to a knowledge of the truth” mean the same thing.
In this passage, then, salvation is deliverance from ignorance. But, 3d, It also means to be saved from temporal calamities. We read in the book of Acts (xxvii. 31) that “ Paul said, except these abide in the ship ye cannot be saved,” that is, from drowning. Again, in the same book (ii. 21), Peter says, “ And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The apostle was previously speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem and the awful calamities that would attend it. He predicts that the Jews who would obstinately remain in the city