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such a display of sovereignty in Jehovah, and is therefore sitting up a plan of salvation more congenial with its own creature importance, rather than submit to the humbling doctrines of the gospel of Christ whereby the sinner is debased, and Christ exalted ; but however men may declaim against the truth of God, they can never take away the same from the pure word of life, in which it stands conspicuous in the front of every disputer of divine sovereignty. "He hardeneth whom he will," and none dare reply against God, or " say unto him, what doest thou." And as this hardening of sinners is an act fully consistent with the holiness and justice of his divine character, who would call Jehovah to account for the wonders of his working, which are to mortals unfathomable mysteries, and not rather fall at his footstool, owning the sovereignty of a God of justice, mercy, and truth.
Jehovah has permitted the entrance of sin, and still permits its continuance in the world, for the display of his own glory ; and by giving men up to the influences thereof, he hardens the hearts and blinds the minds of them that believe not, which is strikingly confirmed by the apostle's language; "and for this purpose God shall send them strong delusions, that they shall believe a lie." And indeed if this declaration had not been made, sufficient is revealed to prove that nothing did ever or can hereafter take place, but that which Jehovah did from eternity purpose should take place, seeing that "he is of one mind, and none can turn him," viewing the end from the beginning; nor can any thing take place without his divine purpose. Seeing he is the Sovereign Ruler and Disposer of all events, and being Jehovah, cannot have a purpose in him which was not his purpose in eternity past, which is herein declared to be in the "damnation of them that believe not." Yes! because his own glory was to shine with undiminished splendour in the display of his justice—" I have created all things for myself," saith Jehovah, not excluding the guilty sinner who was left as Esau to experience the weight of the wrath of God due unto transgressors, " even the wicked for the day of my power:" this is the language of Jehovah!
But passing to the next remark made by Terio, I cannot but express my surprise at the confused ideas put forth concerning the same, in which after desiring scripture proof for the assertion ' I rejoice that there is a hell,' he says, 'I believe there is a hell in which the finally impenitent shall be everlastingly punished, and that there is a heaven in which the saints of God shall enjoy him for ever. Herein I do and will rejoice, (that is, that Terio will and does rejoice 'that there is a hell in which ihe finally impenitent shall be everlastingly punished,' as well as in the following part of the sentence); but then he adds, 'but to rejoice that there is a hell,' I do not, I will not, 1 cannot. This, Sir, appears so complete a contradiction, that 1 think it is impossible to understand the exact meaning of the writer: but it appears evident he dislikes the expression, and I suppose the sentiment.
What is hell, but the place in which the judgments of Jehovah will be displayed on 'the finally impenitent?' And without these subjects, I know not how such a place can be conceived of; and as none but them can possibly inherit eternal torment, I cannot see any objection to the sentiment, although the sentence may appear harsh to the liberal mind; but to come to proof, by turning to the 55th Psalm and the 15th verse, and the 58th Psalm and the 10th and 11th verses, we find the psalmist first expressing his desire "that the wicked may be seized with death, and that they may go down quick to hell;" and then asserts the awful truth, "the righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked: so that a man shall say, verily, there is a reward for the righteous : verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth." And shall not the church of Christ have the same desires now concerning the display of the righteous vengeance of Jehovah, that she had in the psalmist's days? Oh yes! for she longs to see all his enemies put beneath the feet of her Lord and Saviour, that he may be crowned Lord of all.
But I pass on to notice the next declaration made by Terio, which is my chief end in this reply, in which he states 'to assume the idea that 'sin was included in the plan of creation, providence, and grace,' is most certainly soaring above the highest pinnacle of revealed truth, and most presumptuously prying into "secret things which belong to God."' Now, Sir, permit me to inquire into the cause of sin, for no effect can exist without a cause; and as sin is the only ground on which salvation comes, it is necessary for us first to know of the evil, and then we shall value the remedy provided; and as we know the extent of sin, so we shall be led to see the blessedness of salvation wonders, and glorify God in participating in the mysteries thereof, hid from the foundation of the world, but now revealed to the church by the Holy Ghost through Christ Jesus, the covenant fulfiller. Now Terio admits that' God permits men to sin,' but denies the fact that he purposed that act of transgression, by which the world became deluged with this deadly disease; but let us inquire into the fact, and see how far ' this is soaring above the highest pinnacle of revealed truth.' That sin did enter cannot be denied. But upon what ground did it enter? is an important question: we are told, by God's permission, which is truly correct; but did Jehovah comprehend sin when he created Adam or not? Being infinite in wisdom, we cannot suppose him ignorant of so momentous a subject. And if he did foresee sin would be in Adam, (before he created him) and having a divine power to prevent the same, he did acquiesce in its introduction, or it never could have made its appearance. And we must acknowledge that what was the purpose of Jehovah when he (Adam) actually transgressed, was the same purpose which he had from everlasting; because he is Jehovah that changeth not, who cannot know any alteration of principle or disposition: and I am at a loss to understand how sin could be excluded from a plan made for
Vol. VII.—No. 77. Q
the lestoration of the church from sin, seeing also that Jehovah did foresee and permit its introduction. But let us come to the covenant of grace, as it is revealed by God, and see if sin is, or is not, included ; and we find in 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. (David declares) "yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my salvation and all my desire;" and so it is the salvation and desire of the church in the present day. The apostle also, in Heb. xiii. 20, 21. speaks of this everlasting covenant, by which the church of Christ is perfected through the blood of Christ. Now, in the first place, the covenant is represented as everlasting, and consequently, was made before the introduction of sin; as appears also from the purposes of grace and love revealed concerning Zion, in choosing all her children, and predestinating them to the adoption thereof by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, or before sin actually existed, or the church was brought into being ; as is likewise expressed in 2 Thess. ii. 13. "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctitication of the Spirit and belief of the truth." And be it observed, that they were "chosen to salvation ;"" ordained unto eternal life ;" before death was known in the creation, or sin brought forth. Now, salvation is a restoration from guilt, and an exaltation to a state far above all the circumstances of sin and death: now if the church of Christ were chosen to salvation, it is evident they were then comprehended as the subjects upon whom sin should rage; and as Jehovah could have prevented the introduction and reign thereof, sin must of necessity be included in the covenant.—But the revelation by John is striking on the subject, when he, speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ,describes him as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Now, Christ was slain as the fulfiller of the conditions of the covenant of peace, because he became the surety of the church, and he was slain to put away all Zion's sins ; and although we know that Christ was not actually slain until he expired on the cross, yet then, in the covenant decree of Jehovah, which comprehended both the sinner and the surety, and therefore the weight of sin was laid on Christ in that "covenant, ordered in all things and sure," which was made before the foundation of the world; and as sin did not actually exist when Christ was thus slain, it becomes a matter of positive fact, that sin was included in that covenant which he died to fulfil.
But Terio goes on to speak of the mercy of Christ in order to bear up the statements he has made ; but be it ever remembered, that' a God all mercy is a God unjust.' He says, ' that Jesus wept over sinners—prayed for sinners—died for sinners.' But this does not prove that Jesus ever prayed or died for all sinners, for if so, all sinners must be saved, as his death and intercession are effectual; and as to the weepings of our dear Immanuel, I think it will be found on inspection, that they were all marks of the natural affection of Christ, entirely irrespective of the spiritual welfare of those unto whom this affection was shewn ; thus, when we find him coming to Jerusalem, and beholding the city, he wept over it, &c. Lukexix. 41. but the cause of his weeping is immediately declared by himself not to be in the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants thereof, but because of the destruction of that holy place, which was about to come upon them for their rejection of him as the Messiah, (see the following verses of the same chapter.) And so the passage quoted by Terio from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. has reference to temporal, and not spiritual blessings to be enjoyed by the people of Israel. Now, that Jesus died for sinners, and interceded for sinners, is a subject in which I do greatly rejoice, because I feel sensible, without it there can be no salvation; and I delight in the thought, that " he hath by his one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Yes, such was the preciousness of the blood of Jesus, that it needed to be shed but once for the removal of all the guilt of his chosen and sanctified family, and by that one sacrifice they are made perfect, because we are thereby " made the righteousness of God in him ;" and it is a blessed thought also, that they are perfected fur ever, insomuch that they can never be again imperfect, notwithstanding all their backslidings from him, still he loves to the end; therefore, " If my children forsake my law, and keep not my commandments, I will visit their sins with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes; nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not take from them, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." And this view of the faithfulness of Jehovah made the apostle exclaim, " I am persuaded, that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." And one sweet representation given of Christ, is that of a high priest over the house of Israel, who is passed into the heavens, and in this character he intercedes for the household of faith before the throne of the Father, and his intercession must prove effectual to the accomplishment of the divine purpose, even the salvation and ultimate glorification of all those for whom he is thus engaged; because the issue is depending on the love of the Father, in the accomplished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is made known unto sinners by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost. But it is necessary to observe the distinction that exists between sinners, in order to come into the enjoyment of the blessings of the gospel. All are sinners—but Christ did not die for all, and therefore we hear him saying, " I lay down my life for the sheep," but not a word about the goats, who are to stand on the left hand in the- day of judgment, and of whom he shall say, " I never knew you;" and if they were never known by him, surely he never ' wept over,' 'died or prayed for them :' and, indeed, to maintain a sentiment to the contrary, is at once to deny the efficacy and prevalence of the death and intercession of Christ. But in order to make the matter more clear respecting Jehovah's sovereignty in the displays of his grace to those whom he will, we hear our dear Immanuel glorifying the Father for the same,
when he said, " Father, I thank thee that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Not that there was any difference by nature between these two distinct characters, for they were all wise in their own conceit, and prudent in the esteem of their carnal minds; but the difference consisted in some possessing the influences of the Spirit, convincing them of sin, and thereby bringing them with childlike simplicity, and in the dust of selfabasement, to the footstool of the cross for salvation by Christ, ths new and living way; while the rest were left under the influence of their own deluded minds, to wander in the dark mazes of sin and ignorance, supposing themselves to be something, while indeed they were nothing. Nor is the divine mind of Christ less displayed concerning the world that lieth in wickedness, in the prayer he offered to his heavenly Father, when he said," I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me out of the world," John xvii. 9. which gives a most striking display of that grace which has gathered in many sinners to the possession of life and peace, while others are left to perish in their sins.
Now, as Terio professes his love to the doctrines of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, I trust he will compare these things with the infallible standard of truth, and see if they are not so; and then, although they are ' broached by heady, high-minded men,' I am satisfied they have nothing to fear from his pen. Paul knew truly "there is a remnant according to the election of grace," and he knew equally well that he who was of the bond-woman was born after the flesh, and that the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
May the Holy Spirit lead you, together with all his dear family, into an extensive acquaintance with the truth as it is in Christ, is the desire of
Your's in the bonds of the gospel,
Mitchelmersh, June 12, 1830. T. E. R,
If it be asked, how can there be union between Christ and the soul, before the bond of that union be cemented hy the Spirit given from Christ, working faith in the sinner's heart ?—The answer is plain; that the union and oneness which subsists before faith, is through Christ, the federal head and representative of his church, having actually taken the flesh and blood of all the elect seed, who were chosen with him and in him as members and very parts of his body ; yea, as " bone of his bone," and '•' flesh of his flesh:" and to whom grace was given in him before the foundation of the world: but the manifestation of this union, and the sinner's own knowledge of it, is by the faith of the operation of God, at the time of effectual calling.