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lieveth on him shall not be ashamed, for there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher ?" If there be any force in the Apostle's reasoning, I do not see how it is possible to escape the conclusion, that they who have never heard of Christ, cannot call upon him, cannot believe in him, are not saved through him.
That the heathen have any consistent or arailable ideas of redemption through the substitution of another, might be conjectured by those who have only heard of their sacrifices and ceremonies, but all who have dwelt among them are soon convinced to the contrary. There is nothing in the word of God, nothing in the history of modern heathenism, which favours such a belief. The Apostle in the passage already quoted implies that there are those who have not enough knowledge to avail themselves of the benefit of the Saviour's mediation.
2. That the redemption of Christ is not applied to the adult heathen, seems to be implied in the very nature and tendency of Christianity. In its nature it is perfectly distinct from every other religion - its legitimate tendency is to prepare the sinful soul for heaven. It is not simply through the removal of guilt, but through a radical change of character, that the ungodly are to be admitted to eternal happiness. Now Christianity is the only religion which embodies those grand doctrines through the influence of which the Holy Spirit renews the soul, and thus qualifies it for heaven. The very price at which it has been propagated proves its necessity. What sufferings have been endured - what rivers of blood have been shed, and that by God's most approved servants, in revealing it to the ignorant !
3. The same truth was declared to the great Apostle of the Gentiles as one reason for his mission, and it is frequently referred to by him and his fellow Apostles as a practical axiom of their lives. “ Delivering thee,” saith the Lord to Paul, “ from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee to open their
eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of pro mise, having no hope and without God in the world.” — Eph. ii. 12.
Acts xxvi. 17, 18, “ That at that time,” saith Paul to the Ephesians, “ye were without
“ We are of God,” says John,“ and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” - 1st John, v. 19.
Speaking of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter says, “neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” -- Acts iv. 12.
4. The established plan of the Spirit's operation leads to the same conclusion.
It is unnecessary to mention that the redemption of Christ is rendered available to the sinner only through the agency of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Though we do not understand the precise mode of his operation, yet the means he employs to unite the soul to Christ, and to carry on the work of sanctification, are revealed. • The entrance of thy word giveth light.” “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” “Seeing ye have purified your
souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit.”
When there is but little correct knowledge, as in the case of the disciples of our Lord before the day of Pentecost, and probably of many before the gospel dispensation, we can understand how the spirit of God can perform his work. But ing the
where gross ignorance or universal error reigns, how is it possible for the soul to be enlightened ? If such a work can be accomplished at all, it must be done by counteracting or in some way, suspend
laws of our nature. The cases which have been adduced, in which the Spirit appeared to operate upon the minds of the heathen, are so exceedingly limited, - only three or four having ever been discovered, - and these are of so doubtful a character, that it does not appear safe to consider them an exception to the rule mentioned. That the change of feelings they are represented to have experienced, was the work of the Holy Spirit, is by no means certain ; and if so, that it was any thing more than a preparation for the gospel, which without the gospel had never resulted in the regeneration of the soul, is exceedingly questionable.
It may be God's plan to meet those who are conscientious in the discharge of such duties as the light of nature or whatever other knowledge they enjoy suggests, by sending them the gospel, and thus teaching them the right way. This would appear to be the case from the instances which have been cited, and also from the example of the first pagan convert under the present dispensation. At least no instances to the contrary have ever been adduced. This, from
God's word and dealings, appears more tional than the supposition that he will save any without a knowledge of the only way
of Salvation which he has appointed. If it be true, it decides the point under consideration. It shows that to be savingly interested in the benefits of the atonement, a knowledge of that atonement is necessary, where the subject is capable of exercising faith.
The argument which has been urged against our present reasoning, from the probable salvation of infants and idiots, is nullified by the facts that the condition of the heathen and of infants or idiots, is entirely dissimilar. The one is covered with guilt, — the other has no personal sin. The one has the capability of believing as well as sinning,
- the other has neither. But what is much more conclusive than human opinion, the Bible never classes the two together, but considers them as perfectly distinct. While much is said of the guilt and condemnation of the one, scarcely any allusion is made to the other. Thus we see that the heathen are condemned by their own laws that the word of God sanctions this condemnation - and that the mediation of Christ, so far as
can perceive from scripture testimony, secures to them no reversal of destiny. To these considerations others must be added corroborative of the same affecting conclusion.