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very communicating of the divine testimony to any one would amount to a virtual intimation of his own personal salvation; it would make that salvation as sure as it could possibly be made; and where, in this case, would there be room for that faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen? Thus does it appear, that, if God should choose to save some of the human family by faith in the gospel message, it is necessary to this design that the publication of this message be universal. We must either deny that God has a right to save any by means of faith in the gospel-and who are they that will take upon them thus to limit the Holy One of Israel? or admit that an unrestricted gospel offer is perfectly consistent and indispensable.
The objection we are considering militates as directly against the limited application, as against the restricted intention, of Christ's atonement. It is asked, how can God offer to all salvation by Christ, if this salvation has not been purchased for all? We ask, on the same principle, how can God offer to all salvation by Christ, when, even supposing it purchased, it is his intention not to confer it on all? And when our opponents have given a satisfactory reply to the latter question, we shall have no difficulty whatever in replying to the former. A designed limited application, which our opponents admit, affords no broader a basis for the universal offer, than a designed limited purchase. The difficulty is only, by this means, shifted a step forward, where it presses, not only with all its original weight, but with
that of other encumbrances which it has gathered in its progress.
The ground on which the universality of the gospel offer proceeds, is the all-sufficiency of Christ's atonement. This the universal gospel message supposes and affirms. It is not said in the gospel, that Christ died with the intention that all should be saved, but that his atonement is a sufficient ground of salvation to all, and that all who rest on this ground by faith shall be saved. This is all that the gospel asserts; and there is nothing here but what is true, and fit to be made known to all. Nor is any thing more requisite to vindicate the universality of the gospel offer from the charge of inconsistency or insincerity. The atonement of Christ being sufficient for all, possessing a glorious, infinite, all-sufficiency, it is with propriety made known and offered to the acceptance of all. There is, in this case, no natural impossibility in the salvation of any man. The secret design of God, by which the application is restricted, has no causal influence in producing unbelief. The obstacles to salvation are all moral, that is to say, are such only as arise from the native rebellion and hardness of man's own heart. A sufficient ground of salvation exists; the appropriate means of salvation are provided; and, of course, a proper foundation is laid for man's accountability, so that, in rejecting salvation by Christ, he is absolutely without excuse. 'He that believeth not shall be con
Add to these considerations, that the universality
of the gospel offer is necessary to glorify God. are too apt to limit our views, in this matter, to the interests of man. But the gracious character of Deity, and the beauty of the scheme of mercy, are also concerned in it. By the universal offer, means of salvation are provided for all, and God's willingness to save all that come unto him is widely proclaimed. It is thus made known, that he is 'long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.' He is revealed as 'God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.' And the sincerity of his own remarkable declaration is seen and vindicated,—'As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and
live: turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel.' It is, further, made to appear, that the reason, the sole reason, why men perish in their sins, is not, in any sense, because Christ did not die for them, but because they would not avail themselves of the merits of his death, by believing the record which God has given of his Son. The character of God is vindicated from every aspersion, and the blame of eternal misery is seen to rest with the unbelieving themselves. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.'
4. The universal terms used in scripture, in speaking of the subjects of Christ's atonement, constitute
the most plausible objection to the view we have adopted.
Before proceeding to consider the particular terms and phrases in question, we crave attention to some general remarks, applicable to the whole, and which, in our opinion, ought of themselves to go far, in the way of removing any difficulty that may be felt on that head.
First then, the difference betwixt the old and new testament dispensations, with regard to extent, is deserving of marked attention. The former was greatly restricted; it was almost exclusively confined to one people; and to this limitation the members of the church had been long accustomed. The new dispensation, again, was possessed of an opposite character; it was distinguished by a universal extension of its privileges; it threw down the middle wall of partition by which the Jews were kept separate from the other nations of the earth, broadly maintained that there was no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, and opened its arms to Greek and Jew, Barbarian and Scythian, bond and free. But the previous state of things had given rise to deep-seated prejudices in favour of exclusive privilege, which it was no easy matter to uproot. Although the Saviour had manifested a regard for a Roman centurion, and for a woman of Canaan, and had even plainly declared 'other sheep I have which are not of this fold,' still the exclusive sentiment appears to have retained a firm hold on the minds even of his own disciples. They were Jews, and were manifestly
reluctant to descend to a common level with others, in regard to the enjoyment of religious privilege; a miracle even required to be wrought to convince an apostle that God is no respecter of persons, and to carry home to him the lesson, 'What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.'" If such narrow views were entertained by those who had the best opportunities of correct information, we need not wonder at the bigoted prejudices of others. The preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles awakened the jealousy of the Jews, and to such a length did they carry their opposition, that they even persecuted the preachers, 'forbidding them to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved.'" Take one specimen:— 'And the next Sabbath-day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles: for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.'" Considering such a state of things, it is surely not difficult to account for the use of terms of extensive import, in speaking of
21 Acts xi. 9.
221 Thes. ii. 15, 16.
23 Acts xiii. 44-47.