« EdellinenJatka »
they can form a liturgy or manual, including all the particulars for which we are taught in scripture to pray for ourselves and others, which shall be, in all respects, strictly, and consistently, and in every clause, Anticalvinistic.—And, as “ prayers, “supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks “ for all men,” are so essential to Christianity; it certainly is no inconsiderable circumstance in our favour, as to this argument, that the language of devotion so naturally, and almost unavoidably, at least as far as spiritual blessings are concerned, coincides with our views; while that of the Stoic, who would thank the gods, or ask the gods, for other things, but not for virtue, must inevitably straiten and damp the devotional spirit, as far as the sentiments of our opponents appear prominent in religious exercises.
On Salvation by Grace. After what has been so fully argued in the preceding sections it will not be requisite to enter largely on this subject; but merely to adduce some passages which in a measure militate against our sentiments, and to make a few remarks upon them.
It appears to me, that the word Tõuto ' refers neither to zágıtı nor to wiolews exclusively, but to the whole sentence, Tomyag negizi éole ceowouévou dià tñs widlows, and that the apostle intended to declare that sal
'vation by grace through faith is not derived from 'man, but is the free gift of God through faith in • Christ; as he says in another place, “ The gift of ‘God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our * Lord.” By the expression, “ ye are saved,” St. * Paul did not mean to tell the Ephesian converts, that their salvation had actually taken place, or
that it was certain ; but that they were enabled "to obtain salvation.'
If this criticism be admitted, as probably it ought to be, “ faith” must be included, as one thing spoken of, and therefore “ the gift of God.” -The general proposition, that salvation by Christ is not derived from man, but is the free gift
of God through faith in Christ,' would have had no more to do with the Ephesian Christians, than with any other persons in the world. But can this accord to the context, in which the personal pronouns, we, us, ye, and you, are uniformly used? “God who is rich in mercy, for his “ great love, wherewith he loved us even when we " were dead in sins, hath quickened us together “ with Christ, (by grace are ye saved,) and hath “ raised us up together, and hath made us to sit “ together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus : that “in the ages to come he might shew the riches of “ his grace, in his kindness towards us through “ Jesus Christ. For by grace have ye been saved, “ (5€ reowouévos,) and this not of yourselves, it is the “ gift of God; not of works, lest any man should “ boast. For we are his workmanship, (mbique “ Rom. i. 20.) created in Christ Jesus unto good
“ works, which God hath before ordained that we “ should walk in them.”] Let me beg of the reader to consider attentively, clause by clause, this portion of scripture: and then let him judge for himself, whether it contains nothing more than the general abstract proposition before quoted; in which neither the apostle, nor they to whom he wrote, were any more concerned than other men at large are. The persons intended had been “dead “in sin," “ children of disobedience," “ children of “wrath:"2 but they were now "made alive,” “raised “up together with Christ,” “made to sit in heavenly “ places with him :” they “were saved by grace :” they were “ God's workmanship, created in Christ “ Jesus unto good works." All these circumstances mark a peculiar and appropriate character, change, and experience, as belonging to the persons concerned, and distinguishing them from all those of whom such things could not be predicated. No part of this change of state and character was from themselves, but all was from God and from grace. -It also follows immediately, that they, whom the apostle addressed, had been without Christ, aliens “ from Israel, strangers from the covenants of pro“ mise, having no hope, and without God in the “ world. But now (says he) ye who were some“ time far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but “ fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household “ of God: built upon the foundation of the apostles “ and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner "stone.-Builded together for a habitation of
“God through the Spirit,”! Does not this mean something more than that they were 'enabled to
obtain salvation for are not all, at least all those who have heard or read, or who may hear and read the gospel, if they choose to do it, in exactly the same sense enabled to obtain salva* tion?' If this were all, what advantage had the apostle, and those to whom he wrote, above the unbelieving Jews and gentiles among whom they resided ? or what distinction, except that of which they might take the glory to themselves ?
The words saved and salvation are indeed sometimes used, more exactly according to their import, for complete and final deliverance from sin and all its consequences : 2 and in this sense salvation will not fully take place till the day of judgment. But can any instance be produced, in which these words clearly mean, that
they were enabled to obtain salvation?' Frequently in the language of the New Testament, “ saved,” implies being pardoned, reconciled to , God, and admitted into a state of peace and friend
ship with him. Thus Jesus said unto the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee, “ Thy sins “are forgiven theem Thy faith hath saved thee"céowns. Thus St. Luke says, “ the Lord added “ daily to the church the saved ones—" TS OWGouéves. 4 Thus St. Paul says, “ The preaching of the cross is « to them that perish foolishness; but to us who are “ saved (rõis ow Quévous muiv) it is the power of God.”5
And again,“ We are unto God a sweet savour of “ Christ, in them that are saved and in them “ that perish.”! Again, “Who hath saved us and “ called us with a holy calling, not according to “ our works, but according to his purpose and “ grace."?“ Not by works of righteousness, which “ we have done, but according to his mercy he “ saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and “ renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on “us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour ; “ that, being justified by his grace, we should be “ made heirs, according to the hope of eternal “ life.” 3 In these and other places the word saved is used of what was already past ; and it is as much restricted to the persons spoken of, as language can well restrict it,
- It can scarcely be supposed that every Chris* tian then at Ephesus will be finally saved.4
Whatever the final event may be, as to those “ who, being justified by faith, have peace with “ God through our Lord Jesus Christ ;" it may confidently be maintained, that every true Christian then at Ephesus was brought into a state of acceptance with God, and numbered among his friends and children ; and that the case always was, and always will be, the same, with all true Christians on earth. If any at Ephesus were merely nominal Christians, they were not intended.
The epistle is not directed to "the church at Ephe'sus,' but to the “ saints and faithful in Christ “ Jesus.” The persons immediately addressed had
'2 Cor. i. 15.
? 2 Tim. i. 9.
Tit. iii. 4-.7.
- Ref. 39.