Page images
PDF
EPUB

unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation--to declare his righteousness in the forgiveness of sins that he might be just, and the justifier of him, that believeth in Jesus. Mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other. The manifold wisdom of God is displayed in the gospel, in that his justice and grace are both glorified. The justification of sinners is not only consistent with his righteousness, but an exercise and expression of it.

Though the righteousness of Christ is not inherent in a believer, yet, according to the gracious constitution of God, all, who are united to Christ, have his righteousness so placed to their account, that they are invested with the rights and privileges of righteous persons, on account of their relation to Christ as their sponsor. They are freed from the guilt of sin; Christ having made satisfaction to justice for them. They are accepted as righteous, and entitled to the reward of eternal life, promised to the righteous, as if they had never sinned. And they are wholly indebted to the grace of God for the benefits of redemption. Grace formed the plan of their salvation. It would have been just, if the rigour of the law had been executed; if a Mediator had not been admitted. But God of his mere grace not only admitted, but also provided a Saviour; authorised his Son to be the Redeemer; sent him into the world, to execute this arduous office, and to give his life a ransom for those, who were lost. The grace of God is also exer

cised in applying the blessings of the gospel to the redeemed; in sending the call of the gospel to them; in enabling and persuading them to comply with it; iù working faith in them, uniting them to Christ, conferring on them the gift of his righteousness; in bestowing the benefits of redemption on them freely, without respect to any merit or worthiness in them. In a word, in giving them grace and glory, and all good things, freely of his grace, through the mediation of Christ.

But the rights of justice are not violated, nay, its glory and majesty shine in this astonishing display of sovereign grace; shine with greater lustre, than was seen before. Though justice did not require the salvation of fallen man; neither did it stand in the way of our salvation, if such satisfaction were made for sin by our Sponsor, as would declare the righteousness of God in the forgiveness of sin, and prevent those evils, which would arise, if sin should be unpunished. When, therefore, the Son of God was appointed to bear the guilt and punishment of sin in our stead; then the justice of God was manifested in exacting this satisfaction of him. Then he did not spare his belov ed Son, but delivered him up to death, as an atoning sacrifice. As our offended Sovereign, God was wonderfully gracious in giv ing his own Son to be our Medi

ator and Redeemer. But as the supreme Judge and executor of the law, he was strictly just in the condign punishment of sin, though it fell on the Son of his love. The justice, as well as the grace of God, is displayed in the

justification of believers. Hay ing, in sovereign grace, given them faith, united them to Christ, given them an interest in his righteousness, and the rights and privileges of the gospel; as a righteous Judge he imputes this

that both are inseparably connected and implied in the justification of sinners.

A Christian of the Ancient School. To be concluded in our next.

AL ASSOCIATION. Messrs. Editors,

to them, and accordingly justi- QUESTION CONCERNING GENERfies them in the forensic sense, declares them free from the imputation of sin and guilt, and pronounces them as right

eous.

According to Paul, righteousness without works is imputed to the sinner in his justification. What righteousness can this be, but the righteousness of Christ? But it has been said, that "by the imputation of righteousness," Paul means no more, than the non-imputation or forgiveness of sin. For the words of David, quoted by him, as describing the blessedness of the man, to whom righteousness without works is imputed, are, "Blessed is the man, whose trangressions are forgiven, and to whom the Lord will not impute sin." I answer. Nothing more can be argued from these words, than that they, who have righteousness imputed to them, are the same persons, with those, described by David, to whom sin is not imputed. Righteousness is imputed to those, who are forgiven; and sin is imputed to all those, to whom righteousness is not imputed. Indeed in the language of scripture the forgiveness of sin often implies also the imputation of righteousness, without which none are forgiven. comparing the words of David and Paul, we must conclude, not that the imputation of righteousness means no more, than merely a non-imputation of sin; but

By

Ir is impossible for me to express the peculiar satisfaction I feel in the late proceedings of the General Association in Massachusetts, as exhibited in the

last No. of the Panoplist. The explanations there given of the design of the institution have removed from the minds of many the objections, which had arisen against it. For my own part, I am resolved to promote, as far as I am able, the important ends proposed by the General Association, and should immediately hope for a connexion with that body, did my circumstances permit. My only difficulty is, that I belong to an association of ministers, whose views on this

subject are different from mine. I am acquainted with many indi vidual clergymen, who labour under the same difficulty. I request that your attention may be directed to this subject. It is my wish, and the wish of many brethren, that, if possible, some suitable method may be pointed out, in which, notwithstanding the abovementioned difficulty, we may directly promote the design and enjoy the advantages of

the General Association.

Messrs. Editors,

INQUIRER.

IN No. 3. Vol. II. p. 122, and No. 1. Vol. III. p. 14, of your excellent work, I find two letters

on the death of infants. In of salvation from faith in Christ, these letters it seems to be taken for granted, that the doctrine of the salvation of those who die in infancy is taught in the word of God. If you will be pleased in a future No. to show on what scriptural evidence this doctrine is supported, either in respect to the deceased infants of believers or of unbelievers, you will oblige one who reads, with increasing pleasure, your instructive publication. B. T.

[blocks in formation]

In the preceding part of this chapter, the writer endeavours to show that the Mosaic law furnished no grounds of justification for sinners. He asserts that the covenant made with Abraham, was a covenant of grace, of which faith, not works, was the condition; that the promise, that in his seed all nations should be blessed, had respect to the blessing to come on the Gentiles through their faith in Christ, and not to their union with the Jews in the ceremonial observance of the Mosaic law; and that this covenant, having been made, and sealed with the seal of circumcision, could not, on the principles, which regulate human contracts, be disannulled This I say therefore, that the covenant which was confirmed before, in, or through Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul; which on the theory of his opponents, it had done, having changed the condition

to an observance of its own institutions. This we suppose to be the amount of the apostle's reasoning. He goes on, in the 13 verse, to consider an objection, which some might urge against the tendency of his argument. If the law be not to be obeyed, as a condition of justification, what then is its use? Whereto serveth the law? He answers, It was added because of transgression, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator. We would offer the following paraphrase of these words. The complete fulfilment of these gracious promises, made to Abraham, was reserved, till the coming of THAT seed of his, for whom they were more peculiarly intended, and through whom the blessings contained in them were to be dispensed to the nations. In the mean time, the posterity of Abraham, while sojourning in Egypt, became corrupted from the worship of the true God; turned aside to the idolatry of the Egyptians; and were in danger of entirely losing sight of their covenant relation to God. Because of this transgression; to prevent its fatal effects; and to preserve them from idolatry for the future, the Mosaic law, containing a system of rules for the regulation of their worship, was added; not as a new dispensation, and designed to abrogate the former; this was impossible; but to serve as a means of preserving in their minds a sense of their covenant relation to God, and an expectation of the eventual bestowment of the blessings, which this covenant secured. It was

[ocr errors]

in short, a system of discipline, intended to teach them the necessity of an atoning and propitiatory sacrifice; and thus to keep their views directed to the promised Seed; and likewise to preserve them a distinct people, separated to the service of God, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made; thus, in the natural course of things, keeping the door open for the introduction of the better hope. Hence it appears, that the Jewish law, so far from being a new, independent dispensation, and laying a new foundation for justification, was, in fact, a temporary expedient, so to speak, perfectly subordinate and subservient to the gospel, or covenant with Abraham, which the apostle affirms to be the same thing when he says, that the gospel was preached to Abraham.

I will here remark, in passing, that this text, in my judgment, presents an insurmountable difficulty in the way of those, who contend that the covenant with Abraham was a mere temporal covenant, relating only to the earthly Canaan. The 20th verse is extremely obscure in its connexion, and uncertain in its inport. I shall offer, what appears to me the plainest solution of the difficulties in volved in it; only premising that it does not appear so clear to my mind, as to render me very confident, that it is the true one. The apostle had just been show ing that the law was subordinate to the Abrahamic covenant; that it was not an independent, disconnected system; but a subordinate part, a codicil, so to speak, of the latter. Having observed that it was established

through the intervention of a Mediator; the mention of the word Mediator, seems to have furnished him a hint for an additional enforcement of his doctrine. Now a Mediator is not a Mediator of one, but God is one. This is perfectly in the manner of St. Paul, to depart from the principal subject, whenever a new idea is suggested to his mind by the casual use of a word, or phrase, related to such idea. A Mediator is not, c. As if he had said, "the manner, in which this law was proclaimed and established, furnishes additional evidence, that it was connected with, and subordinate to the covenant with Abraham. Of that covenant Christ was the Mediator. So likewise in ordaining the Jewish law Moses, the type of Christ, acted as Mediator between God and the people.

This shows, that it was of the nature of a covenant, where two parties enter into a contract; and not, strictly speaking, of the nature of a law given by a prince to his subjects. For in the establishment of laws, properly so called, there is but one party, the lawgiver; the consent of the subject not

being necessary. Therefore the Jewish law, being ordained by the mediation of Moses, acting as a type, and in the room of Christ, must have been a part, an under part, so to speak, of the former covenant, of which Christ was Mediator. Deity, considering that covenant, as still in force, and the Jewish nation, as a party to it, would not introduce these temporary and subsidiary provisions without their formal consent. He therefore employed Moses to negociate the terms between them. The argument, in short, stands thus:

The Jewish law was a temporary therefore is, that the Mosaic institution, connected with, and subordinate to, the covenant with Abraham. For, had it been an original, independent law enjoin ed upon men, there would have been but one party in its establishment; for God the lawgiver is one; and the consent of men had not been required. But to the establishment of this law there were two parties. For there was a Mediator employed, which necessarily supposes two parties; for a mediator is not a mediator of one. The conclusion

law was of the nature of a cove
nant; that it was considered, as
closely connected with the for-
mer; and as a subordinate part.
of the same; not designed to ab
rogate that, and furnish a new
ground of justification; it did
not touch this subject at all; but
to regulate the manners of the
people in the earthly Canaan ;
to secure them in possession of
the blessings of it; and gradual-
ly to prepare them for the com-
ing of the Messiah, the promised
Seed.
J. C.

.Selections.

EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM

DR.

DODDRIDGE, ΤΟ MR.

PEARSALL, OF TAUNTON.

"THERE was a German, who laid himself out for the conversion of the Jews, lately in London, one of the most surpris ing linguists in the world he formed a resolution, when but five years of age, of learning the languages in use amongst the Jews, without any reason that could be assigned; so that the pure Hebrew, the Rabbinical, the lingua Judaica, which differs from both, and almost all the modern languages of the then European nations, were as familiar to him as his own native tongue. With this furniture, and with great knowledge of God and love to Christ, and zeal for the salvation of souls, he had spent twelve of the thirty-six years of his life in preaching Christ in the synagogues, in the most apostolic manner, warning the Jews of their enmity to God; of their misery, a rejected by him; of the only hope that remains for

Vol. III, No. 3.

them, by returning to their own Messiah; and by seeking from him righteousness of life, and placing their souls under the sprinkling of the blood of that great sacrifice. God blessed his labours in many places! In Germany, Poland, Holland, Lithuania, Hungary, and other parts through which he had travelled, more than 600 souls owned their conversion to his ministry, many of whom expressed their great concern to bring others of their brethren to the knowledge of that great and blessed Redeemer; and besought him to instruct their children, that they might preach Christ also."

Dr. Doddridge adds, that he heard one of his sermons, as he repeated it in Latin; that he could not hear it without many tears; and that he told him that sermon converted a Rabbi, who was master of a synagogue.

[Gen. Mag,

« PreviousContinue »