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ture, of this omnipotent Author of our being, that he is "Love;"" and again, the character in which he proclaimed himself to his servant Moses was that of "the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." Hence we can scarcely fail to conclude, that, as the Father of the whole family of man, he extends over them all, the wing of his paternal care, and graciously offers to them all, his help, his protection, and his mercy. It was on this principle, or on a principle still more comprehensive, that the royal psalmist, after describing Jehovah as "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy," calls upon "all his works, in all places of his dominion, to bless his holy name. And again, on another occasion, he expressly declares that "the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.” The attributes of God, as the Creator and Father of all mankind, were admirably unfolded by the apostle Paul, in his address to the philosophical Athenians: "God," said he, "that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far from every one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring.'
Let it not be imagined that God is the merciful Father of all mankind, only because he makes his rain to fall and his sun to shine, and bestows upon them all a variety of outward and temporal benefits. The Scriptures plainly declare that he wills for them a happiness of a far more exalted and enduring nature. Fallen and corrupt as they are, and separated by their iniquities from the Holy One of Israel," he is long-suffering," "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." And to all mankind he proclaims the same invitation: "Let the wicked
1 John. iv. S.
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." The apostle Paul expressly assures us, that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men;"" that God our Saviour would "have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth," said Jehovah himself, "for I am God, and there is none else." Nor are these expressions to be understood as being of a merely general and undefined character. He who offers deliverance to all men, has appointed for all men a way of escape: he who would have all men to be saved, has provided for all men the means of salvation. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
2. This concluding observation naturally leads to my second proposition, that Christ died for all; and in order to prove this truth, I need only cite the explicit declarations of inspired writers. "My little children," says the apostle John in his general epistle, "these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the rightAnd he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only (that is, not only for the sins of Christians, to the whole company of whom this epistle was probably addressed,') but also for the sins of the whole world." The same doctrine is affirmed by Paul: "There is one God," says he, in his first epistle to Timothy, "and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time;" and again to the Corinthians, he plainly states that Christ "died for all." We may presume it is the same apostle who writes as follows in the epistle to the Hebrews, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste
1 Isa. lv. 7.
2 Tit. ii. 11.
4 Isa. xlv. 22.
5 2 Cor. v. 19.
▾ See Michaelis, Introd. N. T. by Marsh, vol. iii. ch. 30.
10 2 Cor. v.
8 1 John ii. 1, 2.
9 Chap. ii. 5, 6.
3 1 Tim. ii. 4.
6 John iii. 17.
death for every man.' Lastly, in his epistle to the Romans, Paul declares that we are "reconciled unto God by the death of his Son," and, in drawing the comparison between Adam, in whom man fell, and Christ, by whom he is recovered, he argues as follows: "Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life; for as by one man's disobedience many (or, as in the Greek, "the many") were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that, as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord."3 The complete parallel here maintained, between the effects of Adam's transgression, on the one part, and those of the righteousness of Christ on the other, appears to afford a satisfactory evidence of the comprehensive nature of the plan of Christian redemption. The two things are described as being in their operation upon mankind absolutely coextensive; and as it is true, without limit or exception, that all men are exposed to death through the sin of Adam, so it is true, without limit or exception, that all men may obtain eternal life through the righteousness of Christ. Multitudes there are, undoubtedly, by whom this free gift "unto justification of life” is despised, disregarded, and rejected. Nevertheless, among the children of men there are none "upon" whom it has not "come"-none to whom it is not freely offered. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself."4
3. Since Christ died for all men, and has thus placed within their reach the free gift of justification unto life; since such is the natural proneness of mankind to sin, that none can avail themselves of the benefits of the death of Christ, or receive the free gift of God, except through the influence of the Holy Spirit; and since it cannot, without great irreverence, be imagined that the mercy of God in Christ, thus freely offered, should in any instances be merely nominal, and nugatory in point of fact; I cannot but draw the conclusion, that a measure of this influence of the Spirit is bestow
1 Chap. ii. 9.
2 οἱ πολλοὶο
3 Chap. v. 18-21.
ed upon all men, by which they are enlightened, and by which they may be saved.
Christians can have no difficulty in acceding to the doctrine of Elihu, that "there is a spirit in man," and that "the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding;" nor will they fail to form a just estimate of the words of Wisdom, as recorded in the book of Proverbs, "I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you." It will not be disputed by any impartial student of Scripture, that the Holy Spirit was the true enlightener and sanctifier of men, before as well as after the com-ing of Christ in the flesh; and that many, in ancient times, who had only very partial and indistinct views of the Messiah, were delivered by the influence of this Spirit from the power of sin, and fitted for eternal life. Hence it seems a very reasonable inference, that the outward knowledge of Christ is not absolutely indispensable to salvation, and that other persons, who are completely destitute of that knowledge, may also be saved from sin, and from the penalties which are attached to it, through the secret operations of divine grace.
To this argument from analogy may be added another of considerable weight. Between the effects of Adam's sin and those of the obedience of Christ, there is, in various respects, a perfect coincidence. The universality of the plan of redemption has already been deduced, on the authority of the apostle Paul, from the universality of the fall; and it appears to have been provided by the mercy and equity of God, that in both the extent and manner of their operation there should still be a correspondence between the disease and the remedy. Now, as men partake in the disease arising from the sin of Adam, who are quite ignorant of its original cause, so we may with reason infer that men may also partake in the remedy arising from the obedience of Christ, who have received no outward revelation respecting that obedience.
This inference derives substantial confirmation from certain passages in the New Testament. Although Cornelius, the Roman centurion, previously to his intercourse with Peter, might have been aware of the events recorded in the gospel histories, it is obviously improbable that he knew Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of men;
2 Chap. i. 23.
1 Job. xxxii. 8.
yet, that he had received the gift of the Spirit of grace is indisputable, for he was a just man, living in the fear of God.' And what was the remark suggested by the case of Cornelius to the apostle Peter?" Of a truth I perceive," said he, " that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." When the apostle used these words, the truth which he contemplated appears to have been this that among the nations of the Gentile world, ignorant as they generally were, both of the institutions of the Jews, and of the offices of the Messiah, there were individuals, who, like Cornelius, feared God and worked righteousness-who had experienced, therefore, in some degree, the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit-and that such individuals were accepted by the Father of mercies, who is no respecter of persons. It is true that the mercy of God toward Cornelius was displayed after a particular manner, in his being brought to the outward knowledge of his Saviour: but before he obtained that knowledge, he was accepted of the Father; and had he died in his condition of comparative ignorance, we can scarcely doubt that he would have received, with all the children of God, his eternal inheritance, through the merits and mediation of Christ. And such also we may believe to have been the happy experience of all those Gentiles whom the apostle was considering, who might be so influenced by the power of the Lord's Spirit as to live in the fear of God, and to work righteous
That this was, to a considerable extent, the character of some of the more virtuous of the ancient Gentile philosophers, their recorded sentiments and known history afford us strong reasons to believe; and that it was the character of many others also, who were destitute of an outward revelation, we may learn without difficulty from the apostle Paul. "Not the hearers of the law are just before God," says this inspired writer, "but the doers of the law shall be justified For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by
1 Acts x. 22.
2 Ver 34, 35.
3 σε ὁ φοθούμενος αὐτὸν, καὶ ἐργαζόμενος δικαιοσύνην. Colens eum, et exercens virtutem, pro modulo cognitionis, primæ, ex lumine naturæ haustæ. Etiam inter paganos fuerunt, qui recte de Deo ejusque providentià et regimine statuerent. 'Epyalóμsvos dikαioσúvny, recte agens, secundum legem naturæ: Rom. ii. 13-27." Rosenmuller Schol. in Acts. x. 35.