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Christ to be a propitiation, he hath declared his righteousness for the forgiveness of sins. Thirdly: The righteousness of God was not only declared, when Christ was made a propitiatory sacrifice; but continues to be manifested in the acceptance of believers through his name. He appears as just, while acting the part of a justifier towards every one that believeth in Jesus, Fourthly : That which is here applied to the blessings of forgiveness and acceptance with God, is applicable to all other spiritual blessings: all, according to the scriptures, are communicated through the same distinguished medium, and are not less the blessings of grace on that account.""* And lastly, That as we are justified freely through faith, the believer, and the believer only, has the promise of eternal life.
From the premises laid down in the Treatise upon Atonement, the author proceeds to infer the salvation of all men-of all men without any future punishment whatever. Thus he makes all men, however vicious in this world, however impious and impenitent to their last moment, pass immediately from the commission of the blackest crimes, to the rewards of everlasting glory.
This system, though professedly built upon the scriptures, is without the least countenance from the oracles of divine truth. It is remarkably destitute of means for accomplishing the proposed end. While it denies the Godhead of Jesus Christ, and the personality of the Holy Ghost, it leaves us without an atonement and without any direct assistance from divine agency; it takes away the motives to repentance, while it represents God as being always "satisfied” with the worst conduct of his creatures, and sin as not only working for “good to the moral system,” but as being beneficial even to the “ sinner himself;” it addresses no adequate object either to the hopes or fears of the sinner to induce a different course of life, while on the one hand it offers no future reward for a life of piety and virtue, and on the other threatens no future punishment for a life of impiety and wickedness; to say nothing of its denying him the liberty of the will, and resolving all his actions into necessity and the will of God.
It is said indeed that sin shall be burnt up and destroyed. But we answer that we know of no method of saving sinners but that of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, through repentance and faith in the blood of Christ. If there be another method it will follow that there are two ways of saving sinners; .one by grace through faith, and the other, which is a shorter, easier way, by a stroke of justice which shall destroy altheir sins in a moment. The former will undoubtedly be regarded by the sinner as a laborious, tedious way, since it requires much self-denial and bearing a cross, and is a warfare from beginning to end; while the other is accomplished without the trou
ble of a thought, or single virtuous struggle of his own, by an irresistible, infallible exertion of Almighty power, and that at the latest period of his earthly existence! But will any man risk his eternal salvation on this foundation !
But the Treatise before us not only represents repentance as unnecessary to salvation, but endeavours to pour contempt upon the work of the Holy Spirit, in producing conviction of sin, repentance, and the just fear of God. “How often do professed Christians," says the author, "address the Almighty, and say,
hadst thou been just to have marked iniquity, we should, long since, have been in the grave, with the dead, and in hell with the damned.' This address amounts to nothing more or less, than a complimental accusation against God, for injustice.” (p. 123.) In this the sentiment is clearly implied that sin does not deserve either death or hell; and of course we cannot say it is of the Lord's mercy we are not consumed. If we do not deserve death or hell, it will follow that there is no display of mercy in our preservation in this world, or our salvation in the next. And this will be found a full answer to all this author's reasoning from the justice of God in favour of Universal Salvation. For if it would not be just for God to punish us for ever, then it will be an act of justice, and not of grace, to save us for ever. And thus we are unavoidably led to this conclusion, if this scheme of salvation be true, that there is no grace in our salvation, and that no gratitude is due to the author of eternal life!
Concerning the passages of scripture alleged in the Treatise as proof of the doctrine of Universal Salvation, I have only time to remark very briefly, that they have nothing to do with the point in dispute. They are taken away from the analogy of scripture upon the punishment of the wicked. They are taken away from their contexts, which would determine their meaning. Figurative passages are taken literally, and literal passages figuratively.. In this way it is the most terrible threatenings in the word of God are changed into promises of the greatest good. That which was intended to alarm the fears of the presumptuous, becomes a fatal opiate to their consciences. When God says, Because there is wrath, beware! this doctrine cries, peace and safety, and thus deceives and holds them in fatal security, lest they should awake and be saved. Thus in 1 Cor. iii. 15, and 2 Thess. i. 7, 8, 9, are taken away both from the analogy of scripture, and from their contexts, to make them speak in favour of this doctrine. fire," says the author, “which causes the wicked to suffer, has the power of salvation even for the sufferers.” (p. 143.) And thus Mal. iv. 1, which is a figurative description of the calamities coming upon the Jews, is taken for a literal destruction of sin. And in every text where a literal punishment of the sinner is intended, the punishment is taken figuratively, and is made to fall on sin, and not on the sinner.
(To be continued.)
NOTICES OF THE LIFE AND LABOURS OF MARTIN BOEHM AND
WILLIAM OTTERBEIN; AND OTHER MINSTERS OF THE.
(Continued from page 214.) “But our beloved brother, who has gone to his high reward, was not the only labourer in the vineyard. Will it be hazarding too much to say that in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, there were one hundred preachers and twenty thousand people in the communion of the United Brethren ? Many of these faithful men have gone to glory; and many are yet alive to preach to congregated thousands. Pre-eminent among these, is William Otterbein, who assisted in the ordination which set apart your speaker to the superintendency of the Methodist Episcopal Church. William Otterbein was regularly ordained to the ministry in the German Presbyterian Church. He is one of the best scholars, and the greatest divines in America. Why then is he' not where he began? He was irregular. Alas, for us; the zealous are necessarily so to those whose cry has been put me into the priests' office that I may eat a morsel of bread. Ostervald has observed, hell is paved with the sculls of unfaithful ministers.' Such was not Boehm. Such is not Otterbein ; and now, his sun of life is setting in brightness: behold, the saint of God leaning upon his staff, waiting for the chariots of Israel !
“I pause here to indulge in reflections upon the past. Why was the German reformation in the middle states, that sprang up with Boehin, Otterbein and their helpers,' not more perfect? Was money; was labour made a consideration with these primitive men? No; they wanted not the one, and heeded not the other. They all had had church membership as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Moravians, Dunkers, Menonists. The spiritual men of these societies generally united with the reformers; but they brought along with them the formalities, superstitions and peculiar opinions of religious education. There was no master-spirit to rise up and organize and lead them. Some of the ministers located, and only added to their charge partial travelling labours; and all were independent. It remains to be proved whether a reformation, in any country or under any circumstances, can be perpetuated without a well-directed itineracy. But these faithful men of God were not the less zealous in declaring the truth because they failed to erect a church government. This was wished for by many; and among the first, perhaps, to discover the necessity of discipline and order, was Benedict Swoape of Pipe-creek, Frederick county: he became Otterbein's prompter as early as 1772, and called upon him to translate the general rules of the Methodists, and explain to their German brethren, wandering as sheep without VOL. VI.
a shepherd, their nature, design and efficacy. Otterbein, one of the wisest and best of men, could only approve: when urged to put himself forward as a leader, his great modesty and diffidence of himself forbade his acceptance of so high a trust. His journeys, nevertheless, were long, his visits frequent, and his labours constant; so that, after he came to Baltimore, he might be called a travelling preacher, until age and infirmities compelled him to be still. Surely I should not forget his helpers. I may mention once more Benedict Swoape: he removed to Kentucky, and preached until near his death at eighty years of age. There was the brother-in-law of Otterbein, and his great friend, Doctor Hendel, a man of talents, lettered and pious;
and a great preacher. Hendel was first stationed, as a German Presbyterian minister, in Tulpahocking and Lancaster, and his last labours were in Philadelphia, where, late in life, he fell a victim to the yellow fever of 1798. Wagner, a pupil of Otterbein's, was stationed in LittleYork, Pennsylvania, and permanently, thereafter, in Fredericktown, Maryland: he was, we have reason to hope, a good and useful servant of his Lord. Henry Widener, first a great sinner, and afterwards a great saint, was a native of Switzerland: as is usual with his educated countryman, he spoke in German and French with equal fluency. His preaching was acceptable and useful; he had for the companion of his itinerant labours, John Hagerty; and the gospel of our Lord was preached by these men in German and English to thousands between the north and south branches of the Potomac; Widener died in peace near Baltimore. Hagerty is still with us. George Adam Gedding, a native of Germany, has been a most acceptable man in the work: he still lives near Sharpesburg, in Maryland. Christian Newcomer, near Hager's town in Maryland, has laboured and travelled many years. His heart's desire has always been to effect an union between his German brethren and the Methodists. Are there many that fear God who have passed by his house and have not heard of or witnessed the piety and hospitality of these Newcomers? Worthy people!
“I will not forget Abraham Traxall, now in the west of Pennsylvania : a most acceptable preacher of method and energy. Henry and Christian Crumb; twin-brothers born, and twin-souls in zeal and experience: these were holy good men, and members of both societies. John Hersay, formerly a Menonist; an Israelite: he is gone to rest. Abraham and Christian Hersay; occasional itinerants, good men; busy and zealous. David Snyder possessing gifts to make himself useful. Neisch Wanger, a good man and good preacher. Most of these men were natives of Pennsylvania. May I name Leonard Harburgh, once famous, gifted, laborious, useful? He is now only a great mechanic; alas! The flame of German zeal has moved westward with emigration. In Ohio we have Andrew Teller, and Benedem, men of God entrusted with a weighty charge, subjecting them to great labours.
But our German fathers have lost many of their spiritual children. Some have led away disciples after them, and established independent churches; some have returned whence they or their fathers came; and some have joined the Dutch Baptists. Our German reformers have left no journal or record, that I have seen or heard of, by which we might learn the extent of their labours; but from Tennessee, where the excellent Baker laboured and died, through Virginia and Maryland into Pennsylvania, as far eastward as Buck's and Berk's counties, the effects of their ministry were happily seen and felt. We feel ourselves at liberty to believe that these German heralds of grace congregated one hundred thousand souls; that they have had twenty thousand in fellowship and communion, and one hundred zealous and acceptable preachers."
The following paper was found in the hand-writing of Bishop Asbury, and, as it is believed, of the Rev. William Otterbein.
6. To the Rev. William Otterbein.
Quest. Where have you had charge of congregations in America?
Answ. First in Lancaster; in Tulpahocking, in Fredericktown in Maryland, in Little-York in Pennsylvania, and in Baltimore.
Quest. In what parts of the United States have you frequently travelled through, in the prosecution of your ministerial labours?
Answ. In Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Quest. How many years of your life, since you came to this country, were you in a great measure an itinerant?
Answ. The chief of the time since my coming to this continent, but more largely since coming to Baltimore.
Quest. By what means were you brought to the gospel knowledge of God and our Saviour?
Answ. By degrees was I brought to the knowledge of the truth whilst in Lancaster.