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minds, and very far from a liberal way of thinking. They are considered as the dupes of bigotry, and little better than the enemies of mankind. He, indeed, who pretends to be a friend to revealed truth, but is cool and indifferent to its honour and interest; whose extensive charity is such, that he can allow those who widely differ from him in the capital articles of the christian faith, to be safe in their own way; may enjoy his peculiar sentiments without much fear of disturbance. But though such conduct may be applauded, under a false notion of christain candour, and of a catholic spirit; though it may be the way to maintain a friendly intercourse among multitudes whose leading sentiments are widely different; yet it will be deemed, by the God of truth, as deserving no better name, than a joint, opposition to the spirit and design of his gospel. For such a timid and lukewarm profession of truth is little better than a denial of it—than open hostility against it. To seek for peace at the expense of truth, will be found, in the end, no other than a wicked conspiracy against both God and man.— Such, however, as love the truth, will boldly declare against all its counterfeits, and every deviation from it: and, whatever may be the consequence, they will say with him of old ; Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel, let him be accursed. Thus the genuine gospel will always appear like an insult on the taste of the public. Wherever it comes, if it be not received, awakens disgust and provokes abhorrence. Nor can it be otherwise. For its principal design is, to mortify the pride of man, and to display the glory of grace; to throw all human excellence down to the dust, and to elevate, even to thrones of glory, the needy and the wretched; to show that every thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ, is an abomination in the sight of God; and that He who is despised of men and abhorred by the nations, is Jehovah's eternal delight. Isa. xlix. 7. The ancient gospel is an unceremonious thing. It pays no regard to the academic because of his profound learning; nor to the moralist on account of his upright conduct. It has not the least regard to the courtier, because of his pompous honours; nor to the devotee for the sake of his zeal or his righteousness. No : The potent prince and the abject slave, the wise philosopher and the ignorant rustic, the virtuous lady and the infamous prostitute, stand on the same level in its comprehensive sight. Its business is with the worthless and miserable, whomsoever they be. If these be relieved, its end is gained. If these be made happy, its Author is glorified, whatever may become of the rest. Toward these it constantly wears the most friendly aspect, and rejoices to do them good. But the selfsufficient of every rank are treated by it with the utmost reserve, and beheld with a steady contempt. The hungry it filleth with good things, but the rich it sendoth empty array. These considerations may serve to show us the true state of the case, as it stood between Paul and his opponents. The situation of things was much the same between Protestants and Papists, at, and for some time after, the Reformation. Nor will the apostolic doctrine ever sail to be attended with strenuous opposition and foul reproaches, while ignorance of its real nature, and legal pride, prevail in the hearts of men. Many, indeed, are the methods that have been devised, to render the unpalatable truth more generally acceptable, and to obviate the offence of the cross. But what have been the consequences ! The gospel has been corrupted; the consciences of awakened sinners have been left to grope in the dark, for that consolation which nothing but the unadulterated truth could give; and, instead of promoting holiness, the reverse has been awfully manifest. It therefore behoves every lover of sacred truth, to let it stand on its own basis, and not to tamper with it. To leave all its credit and all its success in the world, to its own intrinsic worth—to that authority with which it is clothed, and to the management of that sovereign Being who ordained it for his own glory. But however the doctrine of reigning grace may be despised by the self-sufficient, it will ever be revered by the poor in spirit. For, by it they are informed of an honourable way of escape from the wrath to come, which they know they have justly deserved. To the sensible sinner, therefore, it must always be a joyfnl sound. And though such persons as are ignorant of its nature, tendency, and design, are always ready to imagine that it has an unfriendly aspect upon morality and good works, when preached in its glorious freeness; yet we may boldly affirm, that it is the grand instrument ordained by a holy God, for informing the ignorant, comforting the disconsolate, and rescuing the profligate from that worst of vassalage, the servitude of sin, and subjection to Satan. Such is the benign tendency of the glorious gospell Such is its
friendly and sanctifying influence on the hearts of men It will indeed be acknowledged, that this doctrine may be held in licentiousness by those that profess it. But then it will be as confidently mantained, that whoever holds it in unrighteousness, never received the love of that sacred truth, or experienced the power of it. For, to have a bare conviction of divine truth in the mind, and to experience its power on the heart, are very different things. The former may produce an outward profession; the latter will elevate the affections, turn the corrupt bias of the will, and influence the whole conduct. With the steadiest persuasion, therefore, of the holy nature and tendency of the doctrine of divine grace, as it is in itself, and as it operates on the minds and manners of all those who know it in truth; I proceed to give, not a full display (that is infinitely too high for mortals) but some brief hints concerning that grace which reigns; and of the way in which it is manifested, so as to demonstrate its power, glory, and majesty, in the salvation of sinners. This I shall do by endeavouring to illustrate that important and charming passage, recorded in Romans the fifth and twenty-first; Even So MIGHT GRACE REIGN, THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTo ETERNAL LIFE, By JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. And while the author, conscious of his own insufficiency, looks up to the Spirit of wisdom for divine illumination, that he may write with all the precision and sanctity of truth, in opening the noble subject of the ensuing Treatise; he would intreat the reader to peruse, with candour and impartiality, the contents of the following pages.
THE REIGN OF GRACE.
Concerning the signification of the Term Grace.
That we may proceed with greater clearness and certainty in our following inquiries, it is necessary to consider what is implied in the term, Grace. The primary and principal sense of the word, is free favour, unmerited kindness. In this acceptation it is most frequently used in the inspired volume ; and thus it is to be understood in the words of the Holy Ghost under consideration. Grace, in the writings of Paul, stands in direct opposition to works and worthiness, all works and worthiness of every kind, and of every degree. This appears from the following passages. Now to him that workETH, the reward is not reckoned of GRACE but of DEBT ; Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by GRACE. For by grace are ye saved—not of WORKS, lest any man should boast. Who hath saved us—not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and GRACE. Rom. iv. 4, 16. Ephes. ii. 8, 9. 2 Tim, i. 9.