Page images
PDF
EPUB

which was a day of vengeance, and not of grace, that was hastening on, and near ac hand, though hid from them, and was the occasion of Christ's compassionate tears and wishes.

NUMB. XXVIII. John i. 7. The fame came for a witness

, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.

A

Considerable argument in favour of the

extent of Christ's deach to all men, is thought to arise from the obligation which is, and always was, upon all persons to whom the gospel is, or was revealed, to believe in Christ, that he came to save them, and died for them; for if he died not for them, they are bound to believe a lye ; and if condemned for not believing, they are condemned for not believing an untruth' I observe,

I. That the argument is most miserably lame and deficient. The thing to be proved is, that Christ died for every individual man and woman, that have been, are, or shall be in the world. The medium by which

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

this is attempted to be proved is, the obligacion that lies on such to whom the gorpel is revealed, to believe that Christ. died for them ; and the conclufion is, that therefore Christ died for all men. Now the gospel has not been, nor is it revealed to all men, only to some; wherefore was there any truch in the medium, the conclufion would not follow. The argument itands thus; all men to whom the gospel is revealed, are bound to believe that Christ died for them: Some men have the gospel revealed to them, therefore Christ died for all men. The weakness and fallacy of such an argument must be seen by every one: A moft miserable argument this, which proceeds upon a partial revelation of the gospel to an univerfal redemption. I observe,

II. That the obligation to believe in Chrift, and so the faith to which men are obliged, are in proportion, and according to the nature of the revelation of the gospel, which obliges them. Now the gospel revelation is either external or internal : The external revelation is by the word, and the ministry of it; which respecting Christ, lies in these things, that he is really and properly God, and truly man ; that he is the son of God, and the mediator berween God and men ; that he is the Messiah, who is actually come in the flesh; that he died L 3

and

and rose again the third day ; is ascended inco heaven, and fits at the right hand of God; and will come a second time, to judge the world in righteousness; and that by his obedience, sufferings and death, he is become the Saviour of linners, and chai none can be saved but by him. Now let it be observed, that this revelation is general, and not particular, and does not necessarily oblige persons 19 whom it comes, to believe that Christ is their Redeemer and Saviour, and that he died for them particularly ; though the Spirit of God may, and does bless it to many, for the begetting a special faving faith ; and it may, and does, lay a general foundation for special and appropriating acts of 'that grace ; yet it only requires an historical faith, or bare affent to the truth of the said propositions. Now such a faith is not saving; men may have this, and yer be damned ; yea, the Devils themselves have it. It follows, that men may be obliged to believe, and yet not to the saving of their souls, or that Chrift died for them. Besides, this revelation is not made to all men ; and therefore all men, such as Indiáns, and others, are not obliged to believe in Christ, nor even to give a bare affent to the truth of the abovetaid things, much less to believe that Christ died for them; and indeed, How all they believe in bim of wbom tbey buve not beard? and bow mall

tbey

they hear without a preacher u? And perhaps all are not obliged to believe, who live in a land where this revelation does come; as those who have not their natural reason and hearing, or the due and proper use and exercise of the same; such as infants, ideoté, 'madmen, and those who are entirely deaf; only such to whom this revelation is made, and are capable of hearing and understanding it, are obliged to faith in Christ by it; as were the Jews of old, who were condemn'd for their unbelief; pot because they did not believe that Christ died for them, to which they were not obliged; but because they did not believe him to be God, the Son of God, the true Messiah, and Saviour of linners. The internal revelation of the gospel, and of Christ through it, is by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him ; whereby a soul is made sensible of its lost state and condition, and of irs need of a Saviour, is made acquainted with Christ, as the alone Saviour, boch able and willing to save to the uttermost, all that come to God by him ; whence it is encouraged to venture on him, rely upon him, and believe in him, to the saving of its soul: Now such an one ought to believe, and pone but such an one, that Christ died for it. This faich all men have not ; 'ris che

u Rom. X. 14.

I 4

faith believe

faith of God's elect, the gift of God, the operation of his Spirit, and the produce of almighty power.

Now, according to the revelation is the faith men are obliged to, and what is produced by it : If the revelation is external, or the gospel comes in word only, the faith men are obliged to is only an historical one; nor can any other follow upon it ; and that Christ died for every individual man, is no part of the revelation. If the revelation is internal, a special spiritual appropriating faith is the result of it ; but then this revelation is not made to all men, nor are God's elect themselves, before conversion, bound to believe that Christ died for them ; and when they are converted, to believe that Christ died for them, is not the first act of saving faith ; 'tis the plerophory, the full assurance of faith, to say, He bath loved me, and hath given bimself for me*. Hence,

III. Since there is not a revelation of the gospel made to all men, and all men are not bound to believe in Chrift, much less to believe that Christ died for them ; ie foliows, that no such absurdity can arterd the denial of universal redemprion, that some men are bound to believe a lye : Nor will it be the condemnation of the Heathens, that they

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »