« PreviousContinue »
God might be just in forgiving sin. Thus Paul to the Romans and to the Hebrews represents redemption for sins in the death or blood of Jesus. This redemption or deliverance is what is usually, though improperly, called “the merits" or "worth" of his death. Certainly it is the efficacy of his death; for on this redemption justice rests its plea while consenting with mercy in forgiving sin. God has, then, set forth the person and blood of his Son as a mercy-seat, that he might be truly just, and appear so before the universe, in forgiving sins committed against him as Lawgiver of all rational and moral intelligences.
If I am tedious here, brother Stone, it is because I delight to be tedious upon this basis of the basis of the whole remedial system. I pretend not to fathom the ocean, nor do I aim at comprehending the wonderful ways of the Infinite Intelligence; but when God speaks I must listen, and when he explains himself it is a sin not to endeavor to understand him. He has spoken often and through various persons on this transcendent theme. If it be orthodoxy or heterodoxy I care not; but I do believe that man is fallen-that the wages of' sin is death that death has passed through all generations of men because that all have sinned—that sacrifice had its origin here-that God sent man out of Eden not clothed in silk, or cotton, or the bark of trees, but in the skins of slain beasts—that all the blood of all slain animals never took away the deep stain of the least human sin against God's moral lawthat the Jewish sacrifices and all divinely ordained sacrifices were but types of the sin-offering of my Lord the King--that the New Covenant has in it a real remission of all sins because mediated by Emanuel and sealed by his own blood—that God, as King, cannot now be just in forgiving sin—having, as lawgiver, said, “The soul that sinneth shall die," but through the death of his Son. I moreover believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin--not our tears nor our penitence, but his blood; and that blood must be seen, believed, and acquiesced in according to God's own appointed way. Hence the command, “Believe, repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins."
I admire your scrupulosity about Bible terms and Bible ideas. It is a scrupulosity dear to every feeling of my heart. I venerate the man that venerates the word of God. God himself honors with special tokens of his favor the man that “trembles at his word." You know I have never been solicitous of reputation at the hands of downy and stall-fed orthodoxy. I never have courted such popular applause. Well, then, I am not to be suspected of any leaning that way. But after placing myself in every attitude favorable to an impartial consideration of all these great points, I do, while deprecating much of their unauthorized, though consecrated jargon on trinity, unity, atone. ment, sacrifice, &c. &c. and lamenting the frequent caricatures, rather than expositions of the true doctrine, by weak and conceited expositors, of that school; nevertheless, the true and proper divinity or godhead of my Lord Messiah, and the real sin-expiating value and efficacy of his death, and of his death alone, based upon his peerless worth and divine majesty, are the rock of my salvation-the basis of all my hopes of immortality-the very anchor of my soul amidst the shakings of the earth, the upheavings of the ocean, and all the tumults and debates of the people.
A religion not honoring God the Father of all-not relying upon the person, mission, and death of the WORD INCARNATE—not inspired, cherished, animated, and inflamed by the Holy Spirit dwelling in my soul, is a cheat, a base counterfeit, and not that athletic, strong, and invincible thing which armed the martyr's soul amidst all the terrors that earth and hell could throw around the name of the Redeemer, his cause, and people.That this religion may be the solace of your heart, and the strength of your soul while passing through the dark valley and the deep shadows of death, is the prayer of Yours, most benevolently,
A. CAMPBELL. P.S. I hope to get through in one or two letters more.
NOTES. (1.) “Passed by.”—The word paresin, found here, is not found in the Greek scrip: Liires, Old Testament or New. It ought to be rendered as Macknight has it-"in passing by." A similar sentence is found in Micah vi. 18.-"Who is a God like to lijee, that par. doneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of thine heritage?" To "pass by” iniquity is 1100 to punish it. Thus the sins of the ancient saints, from Abel to the days of John the Baptist, were passed by till expiated by the redemption that was in the death of Christ.
(2.) Many minor points in your letter are passed by-such as, my omitting the word oon before justice. This I have done not from a conviction that it ought not to be there,
because it is not essential to my views, and to save unnecessary debate. Still wlien you notice the fact of my omitting it, I must say that it is necessarily implied in autou in the force of the passage; for the demonstration of justice is that he might be just; consequenily it is for a proof of his own justice or righteousness Take another example of minor points not replied to: Your cominent on the words "faith in his blood," being obviously a misconception of my meaning, I passed in silence. I do not mean the belief of his blood, but confidence in his blood Thousands believe in the blood of Christ as a means of faith and reconciliation, who have no considence in his blood as the justifying means of their personal redemption. Now I not only believe in his death as a means of faith, or reconciliation, but I also confide in it as the essential cause of my redemption and deliverance from sin; without which God could not, with all my faith in the fact of Juis death, righteously justify me. Father Stone, is this your faith in his blood? If so, we are virtually of one faith in this fundamental truth.
(3.) Nothing in this epistle is more obvious to my mind than that Paul represents justification as an act of favor resting upon the virtue or significance of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The justice of God in condemning and absolving sinners, as love wgiver and Judge, occupies the first 24 verses of this chapter. Paul argues his justice VOL VN. S.
in both cases He justifies him in condemning because of the wickedness of the Jew and the Greek. Then he justifies him in justifying freely through bis grace because of the redemption that is in Clirist Jesus.
Permit me farther to slate that apolutroosis denotes the redemption of a captive from death by paying a ransom for bim. Jesus, says Paul, "gave himself not merely as a lutron, but as an antilutron for all." And the Saviour himself says, (Matth. xxii. 28.) "The Son of Man gave his life a ransom for inany.' Here it is lutron anti polloon The Greeks say, any price paid for the ransom of a captive was called lutron; but where life was given for life, it was usually called antilutron. I do not, indeed, regard the term as literally used to represent a price paid for the deliverance of a captive from slavery or death in the vulgar sense; but as a lise given for the life of many.
EXPOSITION OF ROMANS V. 12-18.
Bacon COLLEGE, Harrodsburg, Ky., 2ed April, 1841. In this passage Paul contrasts the effects resulting to the human family from the sin of Adam, and the atonement by our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the 12th verse he states the first member of the comparison"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” But before completing the comparison, which he does in the 18th verse, he makes a digression that occupies the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th verses, illustrating the strange assertion made in the close of the 12th verse, and enlarging ou the main point which he has in view.
Having asserted that death passed upon all men, for that all have șinned,” he immediately proceeds to explain how the death of infants and idiots can be the result of sin; although they never did, and never could sin, “after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who was the type of him that was to come.” In doing this, he admits in the 13th verse, that where there is no law there is no transgression; but argues that previous to the introduction of THE LAW there existed in the world a law, the transgression of which by the whole human family, in the person of our first parents, constituted the sin that brought death on the whole human race. In this respect he makes the first Adam, in whoin all die, a type of the second Adam, "the Lord from heaven," in whom all are restored to life.
After thus adverting to the goodness of God in making the restoration of mankind by Chris: co-extensive with their fall in Adam, he gives us clearly to understand, that, although this is truth, it is not the whole truth-but that, whilst all are delivered from the condemnation in which they were involved by the offence of one, to the many
there is a superabundance of gain over and above the whole loss-viz. to them who receive abundance of favor, and of the gift of righteousness," and who shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Having thus vindicated the superabundant goodness of our benignant heavenly Father by his beloved Son,
"In whom the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost”the Apostle, in the 18th verse, completes the comparison begun in the 12th. “Therefore, as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all
or THE MANY.
men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to (an adjudication to life) justification of life.”
In this instructive and beautiful paragraph, it is most manifest that the gain by Christ, as contrasted with the loss in Adam, is viewed in two lights-viz. with reference to the all, and THE MANY. ference to all, the account at least balances; but with respect to the mæny, there is a superabundance of favor. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all have been adjudicated to life. In whatever sense, and to whatever extent, all have been condemned in Adam-in the same sense, and to the very same extent, have all been justified in Christ. But the many gain in him what they never did, and never could lose in Adam, (for Adam had it not,) a heavenly life. And herein is the superabundance of favor through Christ, on which the Apostle so beautifully expatiates.
In this view of the subject we may see very clearly the absurdity and deistical tendency of the notion, that by the sin of Adam the whole human family lost heaven, and were made liable to the pains of hell forever. If this were so, there would not be even a shadow of truth in the Apostle's reasoning in this paragraph, either as regards the all
In that event, the loss, even to the saved, would exceed the gain, by the whole amount of their sufferings in the present life. And as for the rest, to them it would be all loss, without even one particle of gain. How directly opposed to the Apostle's argument such a state of things would be, is too obvious to need illustration.
Thus we discover clearly a radical mistake made by the Universalist in his interpretation of Roin. v. 18., and also of 1 Cor. xv. 22. These passages clearly prove that all men are justified in Christ, in the same sense, and to the same extent, as they are condemned in Adam. But to sustain the doctrine of the Universalist, it would be necessary to prove that all men are condemned to the pains of hell for ever on account of Adam's sin. If this can be proved, I am unable to see how any man can fairly interpret the two passages of scripture so as to avoid the doctrine of universal salvation.
But when we view the whole matter in its true light, as exhibited by the Apostle, and see the whole race, which was condemned to death in Adam, adjudicated to life in our Lord Jesus Christ, we have no difficulty in understanding how he “is the Saviour of All men”although multitudes will be ultimately consigned to "everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels;” not, however, in consequence of Adam's sin, but of their own wilful rebellion, and THAT ALONE.
Herein also do we see how strictly and emphatically true it is, that Christ is the life of men. Since the race forfeited life in Adam, and by his one offence, no man has ever breathed one breath of life, whether temporal, spiritual, or eternal, but in and through the second Adam, “who is the Lord from heaven," "He is the Saviour of all men,” the light and life of every man that comes into the world. And the very fact that a human being exists, proves to the intelligent student of scripture that God wills his salvation, having redeemed him by the blood of his Son. Let none, therefore, imagine that he can perish otherwise than through his own voluntary rebellion against God, and his rejection of the offered mercy. And, on the other hand, if
LIVING ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.
presumptuous sinner, unmindful that he has been redeemed by the precious blood of God's dear Son, perseveres in his unnatural rebellion, and refuses to "purify his soul in obeying the truth,” let him not dare to hope that he shall escape “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.”
In the blessed hope of immoriality, your fellow.servant in the gospel,
ON LIVING ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT-No.IV.
SEEING the Apostle has so unequivocally and unconditionally, under the high authority of his name, proclaimed to the Romans-to the metropolis of the great Empire,— If you, professors of the faith of Christ, live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if through the Spirit you do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live'-behooves it not us to inquire most accurately, not merely into the import of the terms life and death, here contrasted, but into the ideas here attached to the phrases "living according to the flesh" and "living according to the Spirit”?
Professions will not suffice-not even the highest and most sacred. Professors are yet many, while the approved are comparatively few. Nor is it enough that we commence sincerely, and consecrate our persons to the Lord in the most solemn and significant forms. If this be all, we shall never enter the crystal gates into the heavenly city. Those that are born must grow; those that enter the stadium most wrestle; those who enlist must fight; and those who commence the Christian race must run with perseverance in the appointed course, else they never can gain the prize: in one word, they who would live forever must walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh.
What, then, it is asked, means "living according to the flesh”? What else, we ask, in return, but obeying its impulses-not merely the animal impulses of the body, but the impulses of both mind and body, as controlled by that unrighteous and unholy selfishness inherent in fallen and degraded human nature; obeying them, too, even at the risk of all the consequences of divine indignation and wrath? And, then, what can living according to the Spirit" import, but our obeying the impulses of God's holy Spirit, in full contradiction of those impulses of the flesh, as before defined? The simple question now is, What are those impulses of the Spirit which the Christian obeys? If we are to walk according to them, we must know them. They are therefore intelligible and moral, addressed to the understanding and the will. For this reason they must be written or spoken, and must be heard