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or THE UNIVERSALITY OF GRACE, OR THE POSSIBILITY,
OF SALVATION TO ALL MEN.
We believe that Salvation, through Jesus Christ, is freely offered to all men. The Gospel is emphatically good tidings of great joy-embracing all people in its blessed operation. For, “ as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,” Rom. v. 12; so all men stood, or stand, in need of a Saviour. And as the disease, or “ death," reached to all men; so the remedy which was provided, reached also unto all. To this the Scriptures bear ample testimony in divers places; for they expressly declare, that “ As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. xv. 22. And “ 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.” Rom. v. 18.
The declaration to the Children of Israel, as de. livered by Moses, in Deut. xxx. 19, is very striking : “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
The 18th chapter of Jeremiah contains the follow
ing declaration : “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it ; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” v. 7-10. The 18th and 33rd chapters of Ezekiel, are almost entirely taken up with declarations of the same kind.
Our Lord Himself declared ; “ God so loved the world, that He sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And, as if to put the subject beyond all doubt, He added; “ For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John iii. 16, 17. He is the Propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John ii. 2.
The “manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” 1 Cor. xii. 7.
“That was the True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John i. 9.
As the Divine Image was lost by transgression, the means of Redemption were provided. And as “God is no respecter of persons," those means must have been applicable to all who stood in need of them. Else the
remedy was inadequate to the occasion; which we can· not suppose, and which the apostle strongly disproves. The whole human family stood in the same relation to
their Creator. They were equally His by creation, and they were equally in need of his Redeeming Love; without which none could be saved. And as 66 the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, Psa. cxlv. 9., He left none destitute of the interposition of his saving Grace: “for,” says the apostle, “ the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Tit. ii. 11. And, as saith the Scriptụre; Christ “ died for ALL.” 2 Cor. v. 15.
The apostle very strongly reasons from analogy, in Rom. v. that as the effects of Adam's transgression extend to all men, so the benefits of Christ's coming are equally extensive.
If then the premises and conclusion of the apostle are true, it must be admitted that those who never heard the history of Adam's trangression, are affected by it. (Vide Original and Present State of Man.) And who will deny this; since the proneness to sin, and the practice of sin, are abundantly prevalent among those who are destitute of this knowledge? For the grand enemy of man's happiness is not limited in his operations, to any class of the human family. And upon every principle of sound reasoning we must also admit, that the apostle was equally correct in maintaining, that the benefits of Christ's coming were as extensive. If the one was not confined to the historical knowledge of the remotely inducing or procuring cause, why should the other be? The one was a spiritual malady, the other a spiritual remedy. The one originated in the malice of the arch-enemy-the other emanated from the love of God. And who will say that the malady could extend to subjects to whom the remedy could not be applied?-
or that Satan, being allowed to carry on his work with. out being limited to external means, has completely fortified himself in a large proportion of the human family, by keeping out the historical knowledge of certain facts, without which outward knowledge, the love of God in Christ Jesus could not be extended to them?
We believe that the power and goodness of the Almighty are not limited to external means — that, though He condescends to make use of instruments; yet no flesh can glory in his presence. The Divine lan. guage through the prophet Isaiah, is peculiarly striking: I looked, and behold “ there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore mine own arm brought Salvation.” lix. 16. Thus it is that He looks upon those who have none to help them; and thus He interposes his own Almighty arm for their Salvation. His love, unbounded as his power, leaves no corner of the earth unvisited. “ Have they not heard ?” saith the apostle, and then answers the question himself: “ Yea, verily;" asserting that the message of the Gospel had been extended to the very ends of the earth; which could not apply to the preaching of the apostles: nor can it be said, to the present day, as respects the outward propagation of the doctrines of Christianity. And yet it was true of the Grace of God which brings salvation, which has appeared to all men, and teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Tit. ii. 11, 12. These embrace the great duties we owe to God and man. A corroborating testimony is found in Col. i. 23, where the apostle declares that “the Gospel was preached to [or in] every creature under heaven.”
The apostle Peter also, when brought to reflect on the condition of the Gentiles, cut off as they were from many advantages which the Jews possessed, though he had supposed that the Divine favour was limited to these outward means; yet, when he was enabled to reflect on the situation of this part of the human family, and to understand the Divine Character, he exclaimed ; “ Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons : but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." Acts x. 34, 35. This could not apply to the household of Cora nelius alone; nor could it be predicated on the belief of the general diffusion of the knowledge of Christianity, at some remote period of time. For being expressed in the present tense, it applied to the time then present; and including every nation, it certainly applied to those where Christ had not been named. To this also agrees another testimony of the apostle Paul, where he brings into view the Gentiles who had not the Law, yet doing the things contained in the Law, Rom. ii.; and proving, from reasoning on facts like these, that they had “the work of the Law written in their hearts." Here we are to observe, that they had not the full knowledge of the Dispensations of God to mankind, and yet they had the “Law written in their hearts." And He who is just and equal in all his ways, has made known his determination to deal with his dependent creatures, according to the means of improvement conferred upon them. Where much is given much will be required. Hence, they that have the Law, will be judged by the Law; and they that are without the Law, shall be judged without the Law. (Vide of the Scriptures.)