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evil world. Christ knew that no man is under a natural necessity of sinning, and therefore he requires all his followers to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect, and to keep themselves always in the love of God, which is sinless perfection. Neither the law, nor the gospel allows any person to be imperfectly holy in this world.
4. If Christ was really man; then God is able to keep men from sinning consistently with their moral agency. Many suppose, that God cannot restrain men from sinning, without destroying their moral freedom and accountability. They think, that if God should govern their hearts, or control their wills, he would destroy their moral liberty, and make them machines. But how does this appear Christ was a man, and like all other men, a free moral agent. Yet God held his hand, and directed all the motions, and exercises of his heart, so as never to suffer him to have an evil thought, or to do a sinful action, in perfect consistency with his moral liberty and freedom. And if God could preserve Christ from sinning through all the changes, trials, and sufferings he endured, we may justly conclude, that he is able to restrain all other men from sinning, without obstructing or infringing upon their moral agency. Men are always perfectly free and voluntary in their thinking, speaking, and acting, though the preparation of their heart and the answer of their tongues are from the Lord, and under his constant influence and control.
5. If Christ was really man; then there is no absurdity in the doctrine of the final perseverance of saints. This doctrine is often called absurd and absolutely denied, notwithstanding all the scripture says in favour of it, because it is supposed to be inconsistent with the free agency of christians. It is said, that God cannot cause them to persevere in holiness, while he allows them to act freely and voluntarily. But why not? He allowed the man Christ Jesus to act freely and voluntarily through the whole course of his life; and yet caused him to be perfectly holy and harmless and uncontaminated by the world all the
while he lived in it. It is said, that whilst christians remain moral agents, they must be able to apostatise and fall away; and God cannot prevent it, consistently with their free agency. But was not Christ a free agent and able to apostatise, and neglect the great work which he had undertaken ? He certainly was as able to neglect, as to perform his great work. But God held his hand and heart under his irresistible influence, which entirely prevented his negligence and apostacy, and caused him to persevere in holiness and obedience, until he finished his work, without infringing or restraining his free agency. And cannot God as easily hold the hands and hearts of all christians under his irresistible influence, which shall infallibly prevent their apostacy, and cause them to endure to the end, so as to secure the salvation of their souls ? The perseverance of the man Christ Jesus proves not only the possibility, but the certainty of the final
perserverance of saints, which is so plainly taught in the bible.
6. If Christ was really man; then there is no reason to suppose, that men possess a self-determining power, or a power to act independently of the divine influence and control. Those who maintain this opinion, suppose that men could not be really in a state of probation in this life, if they were not possessed of a self-determining power, and able to act independently of any divine influence or control over their free and voluntary actions. They say it is absurd to suppose, that men can be in a state of probation, while their actions are decreed, and are under the controlling influence of the Deity. But was not the man Christ Jesus in a state of probation ? And were not all his actions decreed? And did he not always act under the superintending influence of his Father? We are told, that "God created all things according to his eternal purpose which he proposed in Christ Jesus.” It was decreed from eternity, that he should be come incarnate; that he should be born in Bethlehem; that he should preach; that he should work miracles;
that he should suffer and dié to atone for the sins of the world, and in a word, that he should do and suffer all that he did do and suffer, till he ascended to heaven. And in executing his decrees respecting Christ, God the Father guided every step he took, every word he said, and every action he did ; and yet he was, strictly speaking, in a state of probation through the whole course of his life. Now, if Christ could act freely, voluntarily, and virtuously, in a state of probation, without a self-determining power, and under the constant and controlling influence of the Deity; then it is easy to see, that mankind may be in a state of probation in this life, though all their actions are decreed, and are under a constant divine influence. If a self-determining power be necessary to render mankind free, voluntary, and accountable agents in this probationary state ; then it is not easy to see why a self-determining power is not as necessary to render them moral agents in a future state. They will all undoubtedly be free agents in a future state, and absolutely confirmed in holiness, or sin. But how is it possible for God to confirm men in either sin or holiness if they possess a self-determining power? If saints and sinners in a future state should possess a self-determining power, it is impossible for those, who maintain the principle of self-determining power, to tell why saints in heaven may not become sinners ; and sinners in hell become saints. The doctrine of a self-determining power is not only unscriptural, but perfectly absurd.
7. If Christ was really man; then his conduct is a proper example for all men to follow. Accordingly, the apostle Peter tells us, that Christ left us an example, that we should follow his steps. Though his human and divine nature were personally united ; yet this personal union with the Deity did not render him, as some have supposed, impeccable, or incapable of sinning. If this had been the case, he would not have been in a state of probation. But notwithstanding his personal union with the Deity, he was really man, and as much
in a state of probation as other men. His conduct through the whole of his probationary state, is a proper example to all mankind. His conduct as a child, is a proper example to all children. His conduct as a youth, is a proper example to all youths. And his conduct as a man, is a proper example to all men. As he walked, so all men ought to walk. As he was in this world, so all men ought to be while they live in it. The Socinians suppose, that God's principal purpose in sending him into the world, was to set a perfect example of virtue and piety to mankind.
But though this was not the principal purpose he came to answer; yet it was undoubtedly one purpose for which he came. His example is a criterion, by which all his followers may determine how far they walk worthy of their vocation, and act up to their profession. And when they are in doubt how they ought to conduct in any situation or circumstance of life, let them ask how they suppose Christ did act or would have acted in their present situation, and follow his real or supposed example.
8. If Christ was really man; then he is well qualified to perform all the remaining parts of his mediatorial office. In particular, to perform the part of an inter
So says the apostle expressly. « But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." It is because the second person in the Trinity is united to the man Christ Jesus, that it becomes him to intercede with the first person in the Godhead. It was in his mediatorial character, as God-man, that Christ interceded with the Father for his disciples and all his followers in the 17th of John. The union between the human and divine nature in the person of Christ, qualifies him for his delegated government of the world, from his resurrection to the end of time. He is to reign till the work of redemption shall be finishedand then to deliver up the kingdom to the Father. And the union between the humanity and divinity of Christ, qualifies him in a peculiar manner for being the Supreme Judge of the world. He can make a visible appearance, and administer judgment in mercy.
9. If Christ be really man; then those will be unspeakably happy, who shall be admitted into his visible presence, and dwell with him for ever. This blessed ness he has promised to all his sincere followers. 6 Let not your
heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”. And as he says in another place," that they may behold his glory.
Saints will be probably placed nearer to the personal presence of Christ, than the angels, which will afford them a felicity superiour to that of any of the heavenly hosts.
Finally, if Christ was such a glorious and amiable man, then it must be the highest glory of men, to become christians, and name his name, exhibit his moral image, and devote themselves to that glorious cause, for the promotion of which he suffered and died.