Immagini della pagina

that the reétoral design of the death of Christ extends to all men without exception, in the same manner as the original and after promises, and innumerable blessings that perpetually flow from the Father of lights, are extended to them, and for their use, it at once does justice to the language of scripture, which is frequently universal, while it stands perfectly consistent with every decretive designation of it.

$ 6. The extent of the gospel offer, or sovereign grant of mercy; and that of the reEtoral design of Christ's death, must stand or fall together. If in the gospel ministry reconciliation is held forth to any who are not and will not be reconciled; if God is, in. Christ, making a proposal of reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses unto them; it follows, that the death of Christ has the extent above-mentioned in the plan of divine government. If reconciliation to God is proposed to the world of finners, as it certainly is in the ministry of the gorpel, there must be a rational and true, not a fallacious


“ fhould be imported in both ? Moreover, the scripture doth make a “ signal distinction; when it speaks of his giving himself for his “ church, it says that he fanctified himself that it might be fanctified " through the truth, John xvii. 19. And that he gave himself “ for it, that he might purify to himself a peculiar people, Tit. ii. 14. " and that he gave himself for it, that he might fanétify and cleanse it by the word, and present to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, Eph. v. 25 – 2-. Never in all the scripture “ is it said that he gave himself for all, or for the world, that he " might sanctify or cleanse it, or make it a peculiar people, or “ glorious church, which yet might have been truly faid, if the all

were no more than the all of believers; or the world, than the " world of elect.” POLHill, on the Divine Will, p. 296.

and delufive, ground of reconciliation. And can that be any thing thort of the death of Christ? If the gospel calls to its great supper, " the


and 6 the maimed, the halt and the blind;" if it invites

pray to be excused,” and never come; the provision must have been designed for them; as much designed as a dinner is for one invited to it who sends a message that “ he cannot come.”

many who

$7. The mediatorship, atonement, and merits of Christ, are the foundation of all gospel offers ; and the re&loral designation of them extends to all human characters on earth : but the suretyship of Christ, the exertion of his power, and the application of his grace, is the foundation of justification, regeneration, sanctification, and perseverance; and the decretive designation of them extends only to persons who eventually love God and enjoy heaven; the chosen, the called, the faithful. Every new-covenant bles. fing flows through the mediation and merits of Chrift; when therefore overtures of pardon and reconciliation, righteousness and peace, are made to Inners as such, and not merely to elect finners, can the consequence be avoided, that these bleflings, purchased by the death of Christ, are rectorally designed for them? Must not the provison be equally extensive with the overture? Is the proposal made, delufive or real? If the latter, must not the advantages proposed be the purchase of the mediator ? Or is the overture made founded on the foreseen aver hon of the finner to the thing proposed, and the certainty of a refusal if left in the hand of his own counsel ? And then the proposal would be hypothetical ; thus: If you perform, what it is certain you will not, you shall be saved. That is, if

counsel ? * That illustrious reformer and admirable writer, Calvin, has treated much of predestination and the doctrines of special grace ; but though his works consist of nine volumes folio, I do not think that there is one sentence in them all that militates against the above representation; and in many places he expresses himself in a manner that abundantly justifies it, particularly his coinments on several passages of the New Testament. To instance only the follow. ing : “ Matt. xxvi. 8. Sub multorum nomine non partem mundi " tantum designat, sed totum humanum genus. Rom. v. 18. Etsi palus eft Chriftus pro peccatis totius mundi, atque omnibus indif. « ferenter Dei benignitate offertur, non tamen apprehendunt.”


be. lieve a falfhood, that there is provision made for finners, as such, when, on the supposition, there is provision only for eleEt finners, which election cannot be known as a qualification for believing, God is willing to bestow pardon! But is such a proposal worthy of the great Supreme, or better than delufive? — We conclude, therefore, that the rectoral design of the death of Christ (whatever higher speciality there is in it) extends to all the human race;


The great Mr. Charnock, who for depth of penetration and accuracy of judgment was equalled by few, expresses himself, in his Discourse of the acceptableness of Christ's death, thus : “ 'Tis • susicient for the salvation of all sinners, and the expiation of

all fins. The wrath of God was so fully appeased by it, his “ justice fo fully satisfied, that there is no bur to a re-admillion “ into his favour, and the enjoyment of the privileges purchased “ by, it, but man's unbelief. The blood of Christ is a stream, 6 whereof all men may drink; an ocean, wherein all men may 6 bathe. It wants not value to remove our fins, if we want not " faith to embrace and plead it. ~ 'Tis absolutely fufficient in itself,

not merely to those who have been, or actually shall be, but also such as may be evangelized or discipled – - that is, all the nations, past, present, and future; and with St. John we may affirm, without


" so that if every son of Adam, from Adam himself to the last man " that shall issue from him by natural descent should by faith fue out u the benefit of it, it would be conferred upon them. -- If any u perished by the biting of the fiery serpent, it was not for want " of a remedy in God's Institution, but from wilfulness in them

selves. The antitype answers to the type, and wants no more " a sufficiency to procure a spiritual good, than that to effect the

cure of the body. He is therefore called the Saviour of the « World, 1 John iv. 14. - When the apostle faith, (Rom. x. 9.) “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and « believe with thy heart, thou shalt be saved; he speaks to every

man that shall hear that sentence. If any man believe, this " sacrifice is sufficient for his salvation. — If all men in the world " were united to him by faith, there could not be any more “ required of Christ for their salvation than what he hath already “ acted; for it is a sacrifice of infinite value, and infinite knows " no limits. Since it was sufficient to satisfy an infinite justice, « 'tis fufficient to save an inexpressible number, and the virtue " of it in saving one, argues a virtue in it to save all upon the “ fame condition. If men therefore perish, 'tis not for want of “ value, or virtue, or acceptableness in this sacrifice, but for want of “ answering the terms upon which the enjoyment of the benefits " of it is proposed. If a man will shut his eyes against the light “ of the sun, it argues an obftinacy in the perfon, not


defect “ in the fun itself.” CHARNOCK's Works, Vol. II. p. 564. Lond. 1699. His admirable Discourse on Reconciliation is full of the same sentiment, of which I fall subjoin only a few specimens. “ The world is fundamentally reconciled ; there being a founda" tion laid for the world to be at peace with God,if they accept of " the terms upon which this amity is to be obtained.” Ibid. 170. “ Ifa. liii. 6. The Lord hath laid upon him, &c. He gathered

together the debts of man, put them into one sum, and trans“ ferred them upon Christ, as to guilt and punishment.” Ibid. 212.

66 The

either trembling for the cause of orthodoxy, or throwing dust in the eyes of its enemies by farfetched criticisms : “ He is the propitiation for our “ fins; and not for ours only, but also for the

6 fins

" The intreaty and arguments used to persuade men to the accept“ ance of it, could have no validity without this foundation, that “ a reconciliation is wrought, and the expiatory sufferings of “ Christ accepted by God." Ibid. 219.

I shall here subjoin some extracts from a writer, who, though a layman, poffeffed abilities and acquirements of the firft rank; with a sublime spirit of devotion ; this author is EDWARD POLHILL, Esq. The sentiment of the text, corroborated by Calvin and CHARNOCK, this acute writer defends in the fol. lowing manner.

I argue from the will of God. God's will of salvation as the fontal cause thereof, and Christ's death as the meritorious cause " thereof, are of equal latitude. God's will of salvation doth not “ extend beyond Christ's death ; for then he should intend to save “ some extra Chriftum; neither doth Christ's death extend beyond “ God's will of salvation, for then he should die for some whom God would upon no terms fave; but these two are exactly “ co-extensive. Hence it is observable, that when the apostle

speaks of Christ's love to the church, he speaks also of his giving himself for it,

Eph. V. 25. and when he faith God will have ALL MEN to be saved, 1 Tim. ii. 4. he faith withal, Christ gave himself a ransom for All, ver. 6.

I argue from the covenant of grace, and the promises comprized " therein. If Christ did no way die for all men, which way “ fhall the truth of these general promises be made out ? Whofoever will may take of the water of life. What, though Chrift

never bought it for him? Whosoever believes shall be saved. " What, though there were no aulpov, no price paid for him? “ Surely the gospel knows no water of life but which Christ pur. " chased, nor way of salvation but by a nulpov, a price paid. “ If Christ's death (though of immense valuel had been paid for

none, it had been no price at ali; and if it were paid but for


« IndietroContinua »