« EdellinenJatka »
' know of the person from whom it professed to *come, judging whether it was probable such a
message would be sent by him,) we might be 'subject to great uncertainty. The professed
author of the communication may live at such a • distance from us, that we may never have it in
our power to verify his message by any personal conversation with him. We may be so far ignorant of his character and designs, as to be unqualified to judge of the kind of communica'tion that should proceed from him. To esti'mate aright the probable authenticity of the
message would require an acquaintance with his plans, and views, and circumstances, of which 'we may not be in possession. We may bring 'the greatest degree of sagacity to this investigation : but then the highest sagacity is of no avail, when there is an insufficiency of data. 'Our ingenuity may be unbounded: but then we may want materials. The principle which we assume
may be untrue in itself, and therefore fallacious in 'its application. This applies in all its parts to a message
from God.' The able writer of this quotation applies it indeed to the evidence of the message as coming from God; but it is equally conclusive at least, in respect of the nature and real import of a message allowed to have been sent by him.
* It (Redemption) vindicates the justice of God, ' by making every one who disobeys his laws * liable to death and punishment; and it is compatible with his mercy, inasmuch as it provides • the means of avoiding the punishment due to
' Dr. Chalmers.
• wilful disobedience. This is not done by a capricious revocation of the sentence pronounced, ' by an unconditional offer of pardon, or by any 'weak or inadequate compromise. A full satis'faction and complete atonement for the sins of
the whole world are found in the precious blood of the eternal and only-begotten Son of God:
but even this sacrifice, inestimable as it is, and ' universal as it may be, does not necessarily pro'cure salvation for men; much remains to be done by themselves, before they can have any share in the benefits of their Redeemer's death.'1
“ The law is holy, just, and good,” and its awful sentence most righteous; and this apart from redemption ; which indeed was intended to render the rich mercy of God consistent with his glorious justice, in the salvation of sinners. The words compatible with his mercy? may be compared with those of the apostle on the same subject. “ To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein “ he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In “ whom we have redemption through his blood, “the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches “ of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards “ us in all wisdom and prudence.” The grand end of redemption is the display of the glory of God, especially the glory of his mercy and grace; and to render this compatible with the glory of his justice.3—Much indeed remains to be done by us,' that we may partake of the salvation of the gospel ; and, in order to this, much must be done in us, by the new creating Spirit of God. We“ must be born again ;" we must be quick• Ref. 261.
2 Eph. i. 6-8. Rom. ïü. 25, 26.
ened from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.' “ By grace are ye saved, through “ faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift “ of God; not of works lest any man should “ boast: for we are his workmanship, created in “ Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has “ before ordained that we should walk in them." I · Let us beseech him,' therefore, 'to grant us true
repentance and his Holy Spirit:' and, while we own and attend to the duty of working out our
own salvation with fear and trembling,” let us not forget that “ it is God who worketh in us both “ to will and to do, of his good pleasure.”2 The 'condition of man, after the fall of Adam is such, ' that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his
own natural strength and good works, to faith ' and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that will.'3— It ' is acknowledged, that man has not the disposi'tion, and consequently not the ability, to do ' what is good in the sight of God, till he is influ‘enced by the Spirit of Christ.'' The doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 'who sanctifieth all the elect “people of God,' and by whose sacred and omnipotent operation a new creation is wrought, and sinners are made both willing and able to repent, believe, love, and obey, is so important a part of the plan of salvation ; and his work in the heart, by which one man is made to differ from another, is so essential a part of salvation itself; that it is wonEph. ii. 8-10. · · Phil. ii. 12, 13.
• Ref. 61.
3 Art. x.
• ELECTION, ETC.: SCRIPTURES. 197 derful these should not be at all mentioned, in so expressly stating the way of salvation by the gospel.
Were it otherwise, the hardened sinner would 'be confounded with the humble penitent; there
would be no distinction between those, “ the 'imagination of whose hearts is only evil con‘tinually," and those whose “ delight is in the commandments of God.”!
“ There is,” saith the apostle, no difference; “ for all have sinned and come short of the glory “ of God: being justified freely by his grace, " through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”2 "I will put my laws into their mind, and I will “ write them in their hearts." 3 " A new heart “ also will I give you, and I will put a new Spirit “ within you; and I will take away the stony “ heart out of your flesh, and I will give you “ a heart of flesh ; and I will put my Spirit with“in you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, "and ye shall keep my judgments and do them."4 “ For who maketh thee to differ from another ?”5 The two scriptures, which are referred to in the quotation, evidently relate, the first, to what man is by nature, and the second, to what believers are “ by the grace of God.” An important difference there is, but the whole glory of making it is due to divine grace; inclining and enabling the believer to do, what was before his bounden duty; but which he had not the disposition, and 'consequently not the ability,' to perform. Ref. 261.
? Rom. iii. 22-25. Jer.xxxi. 31-33. Heb. viii, 10-12. * Ez. xxxvi. 26, 27. 1 Cor. iv, 7. 6 Gen. vi. 5. Ps. cxix. 47, 70. Rom. vii. 22.
« The works of creation, and the law written in the hearts, &c.?1
On this subject the reader is referred to Book I. Chapter i. Section 4. on the Case of the Gentiles.
* Predestination is always used in scripture in a good sense; no persons are said to be predes'tinated to death, or to punishment, or to un• belief. Nefas est dicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum prædestinare.2 Aug. de Præd. cap. 2.-Even the authors of the Centuriæ Magdeburgenses, « who were
were Calvinists, say, Quoties apostoli ' verbo predestinationis utuntur, (St. Paul is 'the only apostle who does use it,) nihil aliud eo indicant, quam ut inquirentem causas cur ' ad salutem æternam consequendam nulla alia ‘sit via, quam ea quæ a Christo est nobis parata,
docent sic Deo in arcano suo consilio, quo voluit ‘miseriis generis humani mederi, placuisse, eumque ut eo modo fierit ordinasse, et velle ut a se prescriptum ad salutem compendium agnoscamus et apprehendamus.3--Cent. Magd. Cent. ' 1. lib. 2. cap. 4. p. 238.' 4
Ref. 262, 263.
It is unlawful to say, that God predestinates any thing but good.'
3. As often as the apostles use the word predestination, they indicate nothing else by it, than that they may teach one who enquires, why there is no other way to attain eternal salvation except that which is prepared for us by Christ, that so it has pleased God in his secret counsel, by which he willed to heal * the miseries of the human race; and he has ordained that it • should be effected in this way; and willed that we should ac• knowledge and apprehend it as a compendium prescribed by « him unto salvation.'
* Note, Ref. 265.