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that they received all their blessings, not on the ground, but only in consequence of the blood which Christ shed

on the cross.

3. It is agreeable to the dictates of reason and scripture to suppose, that God may act as a sovereign in bestowing any favours upon mankind, except forgiveness. This favour he cannot bestow, in a way of sovereignty, because the rectitude of his government, and the beauty of his vindictive justice must be displayed in forgiving the transgressors of his law. If he could have consistently forgiven sinners without an atonement, in a way of sovereignty, he might have saved all the human race, in this plain and easy way. Why then did he not adopt this plan of salvation? He has not adopted it; and no reason can be given why he has not adopted it, but because he knew that nothing but an atonement for sin, could render it consistent with his vindictive justice, to forgive the transgressors of his just and holy law. Accordingly, he gave his only begotten and dearly beloved son to suffer and die on the cross in the room of sinners; by which he has displayed his vindictive justice as clearly as he could have done, by actually inflicting the penalty of his law upon the whole human race. So that he can now be just in justifying all penitent believers, through the vicarious death and sufferings of the Divine Redeemer. This plan of redemption has rendered it consistent for God to grant forgiveness to all true believers through the blood of Christ; and to grant any other favour to them, and to the rest of mankind, as an act of mere sovereign goodness. Thus it appears, that God can and does bestow innumerable blessings upon both believers and unbelievers, not on the ground, but only in consequence of the atonement of Christ.

Though we feel satisfied, that we have established this important point; yet since "an opinion has gone forth," that we have not established it; there seems to be a propriety in saying something to weaken, if not to destroy the influence of that vagrant opinion, which has appeared in the shape of a formidable objection.

Though the objector concedes, "that it is no part of his system that Christ obeyed in our room to supersede the necessity of our obedience, as he suffered in our room to supersede the necessity of our sufferings:" and though he still further concedes, "that we are not rewarded for two things at once, (Christ's obedience and our own) but rather that two persons in different senses are rewarded for the same thing;" yet he insists, that we are rewarded and receive every blessing, whether temporal, spiritual, or eternal, on account of Christ's righteousness, in distinction from his atonement. He says we have no righteousness of our own, which satisfies the demands of the law, and therefore we have no righteousness which God can approve and reward, only through the legal reward of Christ's perfect righteousness. But who ever heard of a legal reward before? It is a solecism. No law, human nor divine, ever promises a reward to those who obey it. The Governour may offer a large reward to any man who shall apprehend a robber; but this offer is no law, because it has no precept, nor penalty. It does not command any man to go after and apprehend the culprit, nor threaten to punish him if he neglect it. He is liable only to the loss of the reward, which is no punishment at all. And it is equally true, that no divine law promises a reward to the obedient. God did not promise to reward Adam, if he should perfectly obey the law of Paradise. It is true, there may be a federal reward, or a reward promised to the fulfilment of certain conditions in a mutual covenant. Such a reward was promised to Christ, if he fulfilled the conditions of the covenant of redemption; and such a reward he has partly received, and will fully receive at the consummation of all things. But this is no legal reward. The notion of a legal favour or reward, is altogether unfounded and visionary. No reward is an expression of distributive justice, but only an expression of discretionary goodness. This our Saviour beautifully illustrated by the conduct of a master and the conduct of an householder. "Which of you," he says to his hearers, "hav

ing a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by when he is come from the field, Go, and sit down at meat? And will not rather say unto him, make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and aftewards thou shall eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant; because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: We have done that which was our duty to do." Here Christ discards the idea of a legal reward in the most pointed terms. And in the parable of the householder, he represents a reward as being, in its own nature, perfectly gratuitous. The parable is this. "An householder went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idleand said unto them, Go ye also into my vineyard; and whatsoever is right I will give you. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right that shall ye receive. At even his steward calls the labourers, and gives them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it they murmured against the good man of the house, saying, these last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong; didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way. I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own?

's thine eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." There can be no doubt, that this parable was designed to illustrate the absolute sovereignty of God, in bestowing both temporal and eternal rewards upon mankind. If pardon and justification both signify the same as forgiveness; and if believers after they are forgiven stand as fair to be rewarded, as if they were innocent; then we may safely conclude, that believers are forgiven solely through the atonement of Christ, but are rewarded merely in consequence of his atonement. Though a multitude of texts have been heaped together to prove the contrary of this conclusion, yet they are all perverted and misapplied, being construed upon the false principle, that believers are rewarded through the medium of the legal reward of Christ's righteousness. The objector appears to be more of a superficial and sophistical, than of a metaphysical reasoner, in arguing from a false principle, against plain and undeniable facts.


1. If God the Father forgives or justifies believers solely through the redemption or atonement of Christ; then it is easy to see how all the blessings which God has ever bestowed, or ever will bestow upon all percipient creatures, have flowed and will flow, directly or indirectly through the medium of Christ. God the Father created all things according to his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. His plan of redemption comprized all creatures, all objects, and all events. If he had not formed this great and comprehensive design of redeeming some of the fallen race of man, he would not have created the heavens and the earth, nor given existence to any rational or irrational beings. The whole work of creation was designed to be subordinate and subservient to the great work of redemption. And he concerted this plan in order to lay a foundation to bestow the largest and


richest favours upon the whole universe, that infinite wisdom, power, and goodness could bestow. Accordingly, Christ is represented as the medium of the most perfect union and blessedness of all holy beings in heaven and earth. This the apostle teaches both in his epistle to the Ephesians and in that to the Colossians. To the Ephesians he writes, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved: in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in ONE all things both which are in heaven and are in earth, even in him." Again he says in the same epistle, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." And to the Colossians he says,

Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his


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