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sently proceed to enlarge. The power includes the redemption power and the judgment power; and, if it be a consequence of the mediatorial power, that all flesh shall be raised, and that all flesh shall be judged by Christ; then we think it must also be a consequence of this work, that all flesh has been purchased or redeemed by Christ: otherwise, we make the mediation extend itself to all flesh in the procuring of misery, and deny that it extends itself to the providing of mercy. We cannot believe that all flesh will be raised, which is misery—unless we believe that all flesh is redeemed, which is mercy.
And here I will just state what Scripture elsewhere lays down on the doc' trine of universal redemption. We are told often in the Bible, that " Christ died for all"—that he " gave himself a ransom for all"—that he was " the propitiation for the sins of the whole world"—that " God sent his Son into the world, that the world through him might be saved." I grant these passages may be interpreted by saying, that Christ's merits were ample enough for all, though they did not in any sense include all. But without insisting on the degree with which such interpretation spoils and enervates the Scriptures, I will adduce two passages which cannot possibly be thus explained. St. Paul says, " Through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish for whom Christ died." Here we have the case supposed, that a soul may perish which Christ hath purchased. In other words, we find that Christ purchased or redeemed—for redemption is purchasing—that Christ redeemed by his death those who are lost as well as those who are saved. St. Peter is still more explicit. "There shall be," he says, "false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." Here it is manifest, that false teachers, men who inculcate damnable heresies, are, nevertheless, men whom the Lord bought. And this one passage ought of itself to suffice to put the question at rest, whether redemption was universal, or whether it was only particular.
What then can we understand by
universal redemption? and wherein lies the beauty or the merit of the doctrine? We understand by universal redemption, that Christ hath obtained power over all flesh—that just as all flesh belonged to him originally by the rights of creation, so now it belongs to him by the rights of mediation—that he having, in short, by his death 'and obedience, put the whole world in an attitude of reconciliation, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. So that now, when the Almighty looks forth on this lower creation, he beholds no solitary individual for whose transgression an atonement has not been provided; not one who has not full right to draw nigh with boldness and ask for salvation. He beholds, in short, not one toward whom his love may not go forth in the freest and most glorious exercise, seeing that every descendant of man's offending parent hath been brought into the position of ransomed things by man's abundant Surety.
We call this a beautiful doctrine, and we call this a precious doctrine. It is beautiful to think that free as the air and liberal as the sunlight which flows on the just and the unjust, is that grand scheme of rescue which the Bible lays open to apostate man. It is beautiful to know that all those iron barriers of separation that transgression had erected between the creature and the Creator, have been torn down and levelled by our great Immanuel. Every valley is exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; there is nothing to impede, nothing to obstruct; but all who are born of the lineage of Adam may, if they will, approach to the very throne of the Almighty, and ask the bright livery of justified spirits, pleading that they are numbered among the wide ranks of redeemed sinners.
And if it be a beautiful, then it is moreover a precious doctrine. Just think what it is to enter the chamber of sickness. The dying may perhaps have just completed his four score years: and yet during this long term of life, he may have neglected the Gospel, or despised the Gospel. Or he may be in the flower of his days; and consumption may have thrown its wasting fire into his eye : he is hastening to the tomb with a cheek burning with a treacherous lustre, and a heart unwarmed by the knowledge of the Saviour. What can we say to the aged sinner? what can we say to the young victim? I can go to the bed-side, and can speak thus to the emaciated thing: I know thee not; I know not thy sins, thine offences, thine opportunities, thy means of grace; but this I know—a Saviour, a Mediator, a Being who was God as well as man, hath died for thee, and whosoever thou art, Christ hath redeemed thee; therefore I can further say, God waiteth to be gracious; pardon is provided: lift up thy heart, and that pardon shall be thine. Now is there nothing precious in the doctrine i If you take away the doctrine, if you insist in confining redemption to a few, and deny that the mass of mankind are in any way concerned in its benefits, there is no arena of mercy on which we can found a hope for the dying. The tongue is palsied—I dare not tell the trembling sinner that Christ died for him; it may be a falsehood: and shall I tamper with truth under the tremendous circumstances of approaching dissolution? And yet, if I may not tell him that Christ died for him, I have nothing to tell him; there is nothing else on which I can ground a message of consolation. What avails it now to speak of repentance, of God's readiness to forgive? These are visionary things, and these are ideal things, and impossible things, if they be not based on the death of the Redeemer. Therefore if I may not begin by assuring the man of an interest in Christ's death, with all my after exhortations I do but mock him. The raven that flaps its wings over his window is not a more ill-omened thing than the minister who chatters of penitence at his bedside. We believe, then, that redemption is universal; and we find the doctrine to be a wholesome and a comfortable doctrine. We believe it on scriptural warrant; and we believe it also as members of the Church of England. We remember that the catechism and formularies of this Church put into the mouths of each of her children, " I believe in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind." And again she states in her thirty-first Article, "The offering of Christ once made is a perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins
of the whole world." And if this be not the doctrine of universal redemption, just as I have laid it down for you, we must make new laws for the interpretation of language.
I need hardly caution you against confounding universal redemption with universal salvation or universal pardon —the one an ancient heresy, the other a modern sophism. If we call a man pardoned, we mean, not only that pardon has been gained for him, but that it has also been applied to him: whereas the application of the benefit is wholly distinct from the benefit itself. The application involves God's sovereignty, and cannot be called general without impugning that so. vereignty. And as to universal salvation, all men might be redeemed, and yet no man be saved. It does not, I think, follow, that because all are redeemed, any shall be saved. Redemption makes us Christ's property —salvation makes us his own peculiar people. and the whole world might belong to him by purchase, and yet the whole world might be left by him to perish.
Now this brings us to the greatest mystery of our text. We have shown you, that since Christ hath power over all flesh, he must be looked upon as having redeemed all flesh. Then did he not save all flesh ?" Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." The ApPlication OF REDEMPTION, THEN, IS PARTICULAR, THOUGH THE REDEMPTION Itself is General. Thisisthe second truth which I propose to review.
There are many who start from the doctrine of universal redemption, because they fancy it must interfere with the doctrine of election. The truth is, it interferes 'with the doctrine of reprobation, but in no sense with that of election. It does interfere—and we thank God that its interference is so scriptural—with a tenet which some men have been hardy enough to advance—namely, that the Almighty hath appointed to certain final destruction a huge multitude of those whom his creative fiat called into being. We find no such doctrine as this in the Bible; and we may fairly question the piety and the charity of austere and iron-tongued teachers, who can hold up with composure, and even complacency, a picture of Deity bestowing existence upon myriads, whom he has irrevocably determined to give up to endless perdition. If Scripture taught this tenet of reprobation, we should be compelled to receive it as a tremendous token of the sovereignty of the Most High. But why in the absence of the words of inspiration, men should gratuitously fasten such a doctrine on their systems, I can give no account, unless it be that the monstrous notion of exclusive rights, which would make man a despot in politics, makes him also a despot in religion. We are in possession of countless scriptural testimony, that God hath set apart by his free and distinguishing grace, a definite number of individuals, whom, in his own good time, he effectually calls, and whose full salvation is alone secured by the bonds of the eternal covenant. We find abundant proof of this doctrine in Scripture; and we may not pander to the pride of philosophers or learned men, by keeping it in the back ground. The Father hath given an elect number to the Son; and unto this number the manifold benefits of the Son's death will assuredly be applied. The pillars of the earth may be shaken, and the heavens depart and be rolled together as a scroll; but nothing can change the everlasting decree which appoints this company to be heirs of joy. We have no reserve in laying before you election in all its scriptural extent: we would only desire you to keep carefully in mind what it is to which St. Paul affirms that believers are predestinated. "Whom he did foreknow," says the Apostle, "he also did predestinate"—to what ?—" to be conformed to the image of his Son." The preaching of election would never make Antinomians if this assertion were borne in mind; and we should never see the religious world deformed by the anomalies which now scare us in the phrases of "sinful elect," of "lustful elect," of "covetous elect," of " self-righteous elect." If any of these can be considered elect, then we have the divine image of the Son showing itself in features, which would go far to annihilate the whole of his divinity.
Let us begin at the right end. God's
hidden purposes can never be found out, except by following diligently his revealed. "Watch, pray, labour, strive; and then," says Rutherford, "you have the infallible signs of being one of the elect." But if it were possible to introduce the rigour of mathematical demonstration into moral enquiry, then I suppose it would be as certain as any proposition in geometry, that if the feeling of belonging to the elect makes us sluggish, the feeling itself is a lying deceit, and we belong not to the elect. We should look for the image of the Son, and thence infer our election. Alas! many begin with making sure of their election. But while we would most fully preach that the Son gives eternal life to those only whom the Father hath given, we would not preach that all others are abandoned to a predetermined wretchedness. The Mediator hath power over all flesh; he hath redeemed all flesh; and the fact, that salvation is secured to some, in no sense proves that salvation is denied to others. We attempt not to fathom redemption's mysteries. Mysterious it is, and mysterious it must remain while this covering of flesh weighs down thespirit. But we hold it to be a blessed truth that salvation is provided for all men— that God's invitations are addressed to all—that the blood of Christ has been shed for all. And while we know that whosoever will may take of the water of life freely, we can expatiate through an unbounded sphere of loving kindness; and we can hear angel's voices calling to us; and we can ply men with all the inducements of hope, and we can act upon the machinery of their dearest feelings; and yet never be paralysed by the thought of election, and never pause and never hesitate because there comes over us the memory, that eternal life is the gift of those only, whom the Father hath given to the Son.
It remains that we allude very briefly to the third truth which our text contains, namely, that The Universality
OF REDEMPTION IS IN SOME SENSE PRELIMINARY TO ITS PARTICULAR
Application. Power is given to the Mediator over all flesh in order that he may give eternal life to the elect. We are not competent to enter into so sublime a truth, but some of its bearings may be given with effect.
Had Christ by his death redeemed only the elect, then he would have won, so to speak, only a partial victory over Satan; he would have left a huge tract of alienated territory to the undisputed sway of fallen angels ; and there must have been wanting that display of power and efficacy, which is put forth in universal redemption. And hence we may suppose that the universality is a necessary preliminary to the particular application, because God's honour was to be vindicated by the total discomfiture of Satan before his love expanded itself over its chosen and special objects. Thus when all were redeemed it was demonstrated to the universe, that, if God pleased, all might likewise be saved; and the Most High was equally magnified. Justice and power and holiness and truth could then consent to the going forth of mercy; and therefore, most stiictly, that power was given over all flesh in order that eternal life might be bestowed on the elect.
But again, we have endeavoured to show you that had not all flesh been redeemed, the resurrection power over all flesh could not have been possessed by the Mediator; in other words, had the elect alone been redeemed, the elect alone could have been raised. Now, we look forward to the day of judgment as to a scene, when all that appears incomprehensible in God's government of the earth shall be cleared up and explained. We suppose that God's dealings with our race will be then vindicated by a full display of the book of his providence; and when the wicked are driven out into utter darkness, and the righteous attain to the palaces of the faithful, there shall be such a shining forth of every property of Godhead as will cause all the circles of his empire to ring with admiring praises: and just then as we consider the scenes of final judgment necessary to the complete manifestation of the Redeemer's glory, just in proportion as it seems to us essential to the perfect developement of the righteous acts of Jehovah, that the whole human race shall stand in their clothing of flesh and bone, and be tried by the deeds done in the body, just in proportion does the universality of redemption appear necessary as a preliminary to its particular applica
tion. So that the resurrection could not be general unless the redemption be general. There could have been no particular redemption—there could have been none of the stupendous solemnities of the great assize, none of those transactions which shall terminate, and at the same time elucidate the existing dispensation, and, what is more evident, that the salvation of the elect requires the redemption of all men: or, in other words, power was given to the Mediator over all flesh, in order that he might give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him.
But I will not attempt to continue the enquiry further. The subject is altogether one of surpassing difficulty; for where election is involved, man's comprehension must be embarrassed. But without ever attempting to be wise above what is written, we are bound to strive to be wise up to what is written. There is much in the deep things of God which it would be presumptuous to attempt to fathom; but there is much also into which it behoves us reverently to search: and there remain certain points of practical importance, which I shall endeavour, with God's help, to bring before you in my evening's discourse.
For the present I can but ground on the fulness and freeness of redemption which I have striven to exhibit, an invitation to you to draw nigh to that table of the Lord at which this redemption is commemorated. If it be true that Christ died for all, then is that table spread for all. And as to absenting one's self from the communion through a feeling of unworthiness— why, it is our unworthiness which made it necessary that Christ should die for us; and it is, therefore, equally our unworthiness that makes it necessary we should celebrate his agony and death. And now more especially when we are drawing fast on to the close of another year—when every thing around conspires to remind us of the rapid flight of our days, God forbid we should put from us the invitation, and turn churlishly away from this heavenly banquet. Days and years!—we shall soon be free from these measures of time: the sand in the hour glass is sensibly diminishing; and old age but it is so common-place a topic you will scarcely
listen to me. It is too true that the topic is common, and because common it is therefore neglected. Every man knows he must die, and scarce any one believes he will not die. But it is not belief which plays with baubles: it is not belief which scrapes up glittering dust, and puts off the thought of death till to-morrow. There is a professed infidelity of there being no God, and there is a practical infidelity as to their being no death. Think of a man's believing that the house is falling, and yet sitting unconcerned. It is your belief that the body is dying, while you seek not the life of the soul. I charge you then, if you neglect the
means of grace, with an infidelity greater than that of the apostate spirits, and more obstinate than that of the Jews in rejecting Messiah. Satan has whispered to you the lie, as he did to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die;" and you have received the lie, and believed in it and rejoiced in it. If you believe youselves to be dying creatures, then come to Christ that you may have life. I can say to every individual, Christ died for thee; and behold he offers you bread from heaven, of the which, if a man eat he shall never die. "Lord, evermore give us this bread."
Matthew, xi. 21.—" Woe unto thee, Chorazin, woe unto thee Bethtaida: for if the mighty worhs which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would hate repented long ago in suchcluth and athet."
There are some portions of Scripture demanding more peculiarly than others, a chastened and submissive spirit in those who would set themselves to their illustration. When, for example, the decrees and councils of the Most High are, either directly or indirectly, involved in a passage of Holy Writ, then we are bound, in a more than common degree, to throw aside the apparatus of human reasoning, and to receive the engrafted word with the meekness and the docility of children. There is a lawful use of reason in religion, and there is an unlawful; but pious men are so afraid of the unlawful ; that they will scarcely permit us to indulge in the lawful. It never strikes us as a favorable evidence of religion, when we find a professor eager to throw a kind of contempt on reason or science; and I am always inclined to suspect that he is secretly conscious that his own reason is but shallow or his own science defective, when he seeks to magnify religion at the expense of these qualities. We are bound to bring to the study of the Bible all such appliances and research as God may mercifully place within our reach; but then the spirit and the
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disposition in which those appliances are used, should always be those of submission to a supernatural teaching, and a prayerful seeking for Christian illumination.
Now in approaching the consideration of the words of Christ in our text, it is lawful that we bring with us all the strength of our reasoning; but then it is at the same time needful, that we put ourselves in the attitude of finite and imperfect creatures, receiving communications from the infinite and inscrutable Jehovah. There is a mystery inthe verse which adiligent examination may by God's blessing partially clear up; but it were too much to expect that this mystery could be wholly dispersed; and I therefore apply myself to the subject with a full consciousness that it hath heights too lofty for us to scale, but at the same time with the hope that we may ascend the sides, though not touch the summits of these cloud-capt eminences.
We are told in the verse preceding our text, that Jesus began to reproach and upbraid the city wherein most of his mighty works were done because they repented not.
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