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You will hardly discover any the privilege and power of making thing here injurious to morals. his intercessions efficacious to the This scheme, it is true, approaches ! pardon of sinners. He has accordthat of the Calvinists, but not so ingly been constituted our advonearly as to partake of its defects. cate with the Father, our interIt leaves the attributes of the
cessor, whose obedience and death Deity in their full perfection and have given him free access to the exercise, and secks out no me- throne of grace, and rendered his thod of salvation in which the intreaties in our behalf available to moral agency and absolute obe- our forgiveness and salvation. dience of man are not necessary. “We are saved, and ransomed, and Whatever the influence of the pardoned,” says Emlyn, “hy his death of Christ may have been, blood, as that was the highest init had no part in satisfying divine stance of consummate obedience justice, in making God more pla- even to the death of the cross;' with cable, or discharging the debt of which the holy God was so pleased, the sinner; and it can operate that he exalted him to his right only in favour of those, who walk hand, and constituted him the only in the footsteps of Christ, at- advocate, through whose mediation tain purity of heart and life, and he would grant pardon and other use the freedom and privileges favours to repenting sinners. His they enjoy to the glory of God. pardon is free in respect of any
2. A second view embraces strict merit ; therefore it is for his the reasons why God was pleased own sake;' but in respect of the to accept the sufferings of Christ, mediation interposed, it is for
an inducement to pardon Christ's sake' also. So that pardon sinners. The foundation of the is immediately obtained by Christ's whole is believed to be his obe- intercession." Here we have dience and goodness. The merits an account of the manner of salvaof Christ's death, in the sight of tion through Jesus Christ. His God, consisted in his having obedience is the first and princiconformed in all things to the di
pal step. As a reward for this, he vine will, submitted to innumera- has received power to obtain the ble trials and sufferings while on pardon and salvation of the peniearth, and finally resigned him. tent, who forsake their sins, and self to the cruel death of the
become his worthy followers. He endured the persecu- Others have similiar views, extions of men with unyielding cept that they believe the obedifortitude, returned good for evil
ence and righteousness of Christ to all his enemies, set an example to be of themselves immediately of perfect holiness to the world, available with the Deity to the braved every danger in establish- forgiveness of sins. Although ing the truth of his doctrines, and Christ has been exalted to the to accomplish his work of obe right hand of the Father, as tesdience and righteousness, he even tified in the Scriptures, and alyielded up his life.
though bis intercessions may be These deeds and traits of cha
necessary to the prosperity of racter were so rare, so disinterest his church, and to the accomplished, and so exalted in their nature ment of the great purposes of his and influence, that God was graciously pleased to reward him with
* Emlyn's Works, vol. ii. p. 102.
dispensation, yet what he has al- most proper expedient to comready done is sufficient to enlist municate it, and our redemption the divine mercy in behalf of sin- by Christ will stand in a just, ners, and to ensure their for clear, and beautiful light, it we giveness. Many instances are duly consider, that truth, virtue, recorded in holy writ, which / righteousness, being useful, and show that God has rewarded the doing good, or which is the same prayers and pious services of cer- thing, obedience to God, is the tain persons, by conferring fa. chief perfection of the intellectual vours and blessings on others. nature. Intelligent beings are From analogy it may be inferred, of all others the most excellent; that without any inconsistency and the right use of the power of with the order of providence or intelligence is the very highest sense of scripture, the same thing glory and excellence of intellimight take place in regard to gent beings. Consequently, righChrist, whose piety and goodness teousness, goodness, and obedi. were so eminent.
ence, must be of the highest But these minor differences are of esteem and value with the Fa. little importance since they all look ther of the universe, a most pure to the obedience and holy practice and perfect Spirit; the only powof Christ as the efficacious ground er, if I may so say, that can preof pardon. The question is, whe- vail with him, and the only acther this mode of viewing the sub- ceptable price for parchasing any ject throws any obstacles in the favours or blessings at his hands. way of piety, and morals? Is it a And it must be the most sublime discouragement to obedience and and perfect display of his wisdom a good life to believe, that by these and goodness to devise methods, Christ has rendered a most accep- and erect schemes for promoting table service to God; and that righteousness, virtue, goodness, without these no man can hope for and obedience, because this is the salvation thus purchased for the most effectual way of promotpenitent transgressors? Is not the ing the truest excellency, honour, contrary true? Will not men be and happiness of his rational creamore likely to imitate the example tures. For which reason, he of Christ when they feel assured, cannot in any other way exercise that his virtues, his deeds of his perfections among the works goodness and love, his generous of his hands more nobly and worsacrifices, his bumble submission, and ardent piety, were the avail- This argument is rational, able means by which God was scriptural, and forcible. Place pleased to accept him as a Saviour, the subject in what position you and to pardon and bless a wicked world ? This will not be denied. Taylor's Key to the Apostolic
John Taylor has some excellent Writings, chap. viii 151. “This remarks bearing upon this point, work,” says Bishop Watson, “is the appropriateness of which is greatly admired by the learned, as a sufficient apology for quoting containing the best Introduction them at large. “ The love and to the Epistles, and the clearest obedience of Christ,” says he account of the whole Gospel “will appear a very just founda- sc'ieme, which was ever written.” tion of the divine grace, and the
Tracts, vol. iii.
will, and it must nevertheless be ject to the penalty of disobeditrue at last, that a doctrine, ence; nor can they ever be reconwhich assigns the highest rewards ciled to his good government, till of heaven to the exercise of righte their minds are renewed, their ousness and a cultivation of the
sins forsaken, and their characters moral powers, will be eminently changed. When this is done, a firted to encourage good morals, i reconciliation will be brought and quicken the pious affections. about, not on the part of God, This will hold true of the above but of men. To produce this opinion respecting the way of sal- reconciliation, that is, to suppress vation through Christ, whether all opposition to the wise and that opinion be an acenrate de- righteons laws of God, was the duction from the sense of scrip- grand object of the Saviour's ture or not. So far from invali- mission into the world. dating, it helps to enforce every God is the author of the whole; moral precept, not only insisting and every thing in the economy on a holy life as a necessary pre- of redemption is to be traced to paration for enjoying the benefits his love, and not to wrath or vinof Christ's death, but by main- dictiveness, for no snch emotions taining that the power of conter. can exist in the divine nature. ring these benefits has been
important truth granted on the same considera- presents itself in the whole tenonr tion.
of scripture, and the whole mor3. A third opinion is that, ral work of creation, than that: which regards the agency of « God is love." The very reason Christ in the salvation of sinners why he sent his Son to be a Reas operating on men alone, and deemer and a Saviour is declared not on God. The Calvinistic to be, that he loved the world. The scheme inculcates the notion, that well being and happiness of his the determinations of God were creatures contribute as much to influenced, the rigour of his his glory, as the beauty,' order, justice remitted, and his mercy and perfection of his works. In called into action, by the suffering what can a holy God delight more, and death of Christ. This same than in beholding the creatures, doctrine teaches, that God was whom he has formed with high thus reconciled to his rebellious and varied powers, enjoying the children, and induced to receive
felicity, which results from the them into favour; whereas, the noblest exercise of these divine uniform declaration of scripture gifts, and which exhibits in a brilliis, that God" has reconciled us to ant light the power, wisdom, and himself by Jesus Christ," and benignity of their author? that “God was in Christ reconci- When they have unwisely forling the world unto himself.” * saken his counsels, and brought This is consistent with the charac
misery upon themselves, it does ter of the Supreme Being. He not excite anger in their heavenly is unchangeable, and never was Father, but compassion and at variance with his creatures.
mercy. Evil and misery are deThe wicked have broken his | fects in his moral creation, which laws, and by this reason are sub- regard for his own glory, and for
the perfection of his works, * 2 Cor. v. 18, 19.
prompts him to rem: ve.
the wicked he cannot communi. | in making known the terms of cate the felicity of the blessed, till pardon, or rather the condition, they cease from their wickedness. in which pardon can be of any When they are changed, created service to us; and also in sending anew, reconciled to God in holi- Jesus Christ to afford us every ness, turned from darkness to possible aid and inducement to light, from the bondage of iniqui- accept these terms. Repentance ty to the freedom of truth and and obedience are the conditions, righteousness, then God can bless and the sole conditions, on which them with spiritual gifts, and God has professed a willingness make them partakers of the rich to accept sinners. His language is, treasures of his goodness. Jesus
“ Let the wicked forsake his way, came to work this change, and
and tie unrighteous man his put men in a condition in which thoughts, and let him return unto they might receive the rewards the Lord, and he will liave mercy and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon him, and to our God, for lie on those only, who are free from will abundantly pardon."* Here sin.
the promise of pardon is extended Now, as before observed, no to such as forsake their sins. The person can be placed in this con- Prophets preached repentance, dition till he is released from his John the Baptist preached repenmoral imperfections, whether tance, so did the Saviour, and so these have arisen from the did the Apostles. It is, indeed, frailty of his nature, neglect of impressed upon us throughjut the duty, or wilful transgression. sacred oracles, as a truth never to Here we perceive the necessity be overlooked, that God will free. of the pardoning mercy of God. ly forgive those, and those only, But the scriptures testify, that who sincerely repent, who f.rsake God pardons us freely, which
their sins, and walk in the ways of could not be true, if le were
holiness. He asks nothing more; influenced by any thing in the he demands only what the sinner nature of an equivalent for sin,
can render ; his sovereign mercy a price, or the payment of a debt. will supply the deficiency. ParSalvation is a free gift of God's don is not promised through Christ love and favour, or, as the Apos- to the incorrigible sinner; but tle expresses it, we are “justified when, in consequence of what freely by his grace, through the Christ has done, men become holy redemption that is in Christ in faith and practice, their past Jesus." And it is the sense of sins will then be no longer imall scripture, that God pardons puted to them, but will be blotted us freely, when we are reconciled out by the special favour of God, to him. He could not pardon us according to his promise. before, without violating the By these reflections we are rectitude of his own laws; and conducted to a distinct under. if he could, we should have no standing of the agency of Christ ability to enjoy the blessings of in the redemption and salvation of salvation, while in a state of sinners. He has been an instru. wickedness and rebellion.
ment in reconciling transgressors Here again we discover the to their Maker, and thus causing compassion and goodness of God, them to accept the conditions on
Rom. Mi, 24.
*Isaiah, Ir. 7.
which God has signified his rea- many incitements to repentance diness to pardon the guilty. The and a good life. whole has consisted in turning The same may be said of his them from ignorance to know- doctrines, the character which he ledge, from evil to good, from exhibits of the Supreme Being, blindness of mind and hardness the requisitions of the law and of heart, to a love of God and the effects of divine mercy, the reverence of his glorious attri- terms of pardon, and especially butes, from the degrading thral. the great doctrine of a future state dom of sin to the heavenly at- of retribution, the accountabletainments of a pure religion, and ness of man for all his actions, and the joyful hopes of an immortal the certainty that every one will felicity. Christ has been instru- hereafter be judged, and rewardmental in the salvation of sinners ed or punished, according to the by conquering the power of evil use he makes of his present enin the human heart, and subdu- dowments and privileges. And ing the spirit of opposition to the lastly, the sufferings of Christ divine will.
during his whole life, and especi. This purpose he has accom- ally at the time of his conplished in various ways. Every demnation by his murderous perthing done by him, which has a secutors, his death under the tendency to reconcile men to most aggravating and cruel cirGod, constitutes a part of his cumstances, his triumphant resurgreat work. His instructions, his rection, his appearance to his preaching, his wonderful Sermon disciples afterwards, and, to on the Mount, his appropriate crown the whole, his glorious asand beautiful parables, his ad- cension to heaven in the previce, counsel, warnings, threaten. sence of many witnesses ; these ings, promises, have their res- were events of the greatest mopective important effects. His ment in giving power to his miracles repeatedly performed religion, converting sinners to to prove, that he was the Son of faith in its doctrines and a knowGod in a high and peculiar sense, ledge and practice'of its precepts, and that he acted by the aid, and thus redeeming them from and guidance, and power of iniquity, and procuring the salvahis Father and our Father, tion of their souls, by making these hold a distinguished place them fits subjects for the parin the work of redemption doning mercy of God. through Christ, by convincing Hence redemption through men of the truth of his doctrines, Christ is not a consequence of his and strengthening their confidence death alone, nor of any in the divinity of his character. single act, but of all he did, The holy and perfect example of taught, and suffered during his Christ, his piety and humble sub- ministry on earth, in connexion mission to God, his deeds of good- with the part he may still be act. ness and love, his disinterested ing in his exalted station. It has and unceasing benevolence, his pa- been truly observed by Henry tience in adversity and fortitude Taylor, and others, that the under every trial, his invariable Scriptures do not speak of our uprightness of conduct and excel- salvation by the death of Christ lence of temper, all these are so alone. We are there said to be