« PreviousContinue »
that Christ gave himself to redeem his people from all iniquity, and purify them to himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works, (Tit. ii. 14.) and not understanding that our natural obligations to perfect obedience are not capable of being dissolved, (Mat. v. 17.) and not understanding that our obligations to all holy living are mightily increased by the grace of the gospel. (Rom. xii. 1.) Indeed, they seem to understand nothing rightly, but to view every thing in a wrong light; and,
instead of considering Christ as a friend to holiness; as one
that loves righteousness and hates iniquity, (Heb. i. 9.) they
make him a minister of siu, (Gal. ii. 17.) and turn the grace
of God into wantonness. All their notions tend to render their
consciences insensible of the evil of sin; to cherish spiritual
pride and carnal security, and to open a door to all ungodli
show ING A Dooh of MERCY is op EN ED BY JESUS GHRIST FOR A G UILTY. Wo R L D.
I come now to another thing proposed, viz. HI. To show more particularly what way to life has been opened, by what Christ, our mediator, has done and suffered. In general, from what has been said, we may see that the mighty bar which lay in the way of mercy is removed by Jesus Christ; and now a door is opened, and a way provided, wherein the great Governor of the world may, consistently with the honour of his holiness and justice; his law and government, and sacred authority, and to the glory of his grace, put in execution all his designs of mercy towards a sinful, guilty, undone world. But to be more particular, ().) A way is opened, where in the great Governor of the world may, consistently with his honour, and to the glory of his grace, pardon, and receive to favour, and entitle to eternal life, all and every one of the human race, who shall cordially fall in with the gospel-design; believe in Christ, and return home to God through him.
What Christ has done, is, in fact, sufficient to open a door for God, through him, to become reconciseable to the whole world. The sufferings of Christ, all things considered, have as much displayed God's hatred of sin, and as much secured the honour of his law, as if the whole world had been damned; as none will deny, who believe the infinite dignity of his divine nature. God may now, therefore, through Jesus Christ, stand ready to pardon the whole world. There is nothing in the way. And the obedience of Christ has brought as much honour to God, and to his law, as the perfect obedience of Adam, and of all his race, would have done: the rights of the Godhead are as much asserted and maintained. So that there is nothing in the way, but that mankind may, through Christ, be received into full favour, and entitled to eternal life. God may stand ready to do it, consistently with his honour. What Christ has done is every way sufficient. Mat. xxii. 4. All things are now ready. And God has expressly declared that it was the design of Christ’s death, to open this door of mercy to all; John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoev ER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That whosoever, of all mankind, whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, rich or poor, without any exception, though the chief of sinners, that believes, should be saved; For this end, God gave his only begotten Son. He set him forth to be a propitiation for sin, that he might be just, and the justifier of him, (without any exception, let him be who he will,) that believeth in Jesus. Rom. iii. 25, 26. Hence, the apostles received an universal commission. Mat. xxviii. 19. Go, teach ALL NAT1o Ns. Mark xvi. 15, 16. Go oye into All the world, and preach the gospel to every cre ATURE. Accordingly, the apostles proclaimed the news of pardon, and peace to every one ; offered mercy to all without exception, and invited all without distinction. He that beliveth shall be saved; Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, were declarations they made to all in general. To the Jewish nations they were sent to say, in the name of the King of heaven, I have prepared my dinner; my aren and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready :
come unto the marriage. Mat. xxii. 4. And as to the Gentile nations, their orders ran thus, Go ye, therefore : into the highways, and as many as ye find, bid to the marriage, (ver, 9.) To the Jewish nation God had been used to send his servants the prophets, in the days of old, saying, Turn ye, turn ye s why will ye die? Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Ho, every one that thirsteth come. Isa. lv. 1. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live, (ver. 3.) And now orders are given that the whole world be invited to a reconciliation to God through Christ. Whosoever will, let him come; and he that cometh shall in no wise be cast out. Thus Christ has opened a door; and thus, the great Governor of the world may, consistently with his honour, be reconciled to any that believe and repent. And thus he actually stands ready. And now, all things being thus ready on God's side, and the offers, invitations, and calls of the gospel being to every one, without exception; hence, it is attributed to sinners themselves that they perish at last; even to their own voluntary conduct. Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. John v. 40. and they are considered as being perfectly inexcusable. John xv. 22. Now they have no cloak for their sin. And all because a way is opened, in which they might be delivered from condemnation; but they will not comply therewith. John iii. 19. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. And therefore, in scriptureaccount, they stand exposed to a more aggravated punishment in the world to come. Mat. xi. 20. 24. Wo unto thee, Chorazin, wo unto thee, Bethsaida, &c. And thou, Capernaum, which art eralted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell, &c. It shall be more tolerable for Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for these cities; because they repented not. + And how, because the door of mercy is thus opened to the whole world by the blood of Christ, therefore, in scripture, he is called the Saviour of the world. I John iv. 14. The Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. John i. 29. A propitiation for the sins of the whole world.— 1 John ii. 2. That gave himself a ransom for ALL. 1
Tim. ii. 6. And tasted death for EveRY MAN. Heb. ii. 9. The plain sense of all which expressions may, I think, with-out any danger of mistake, be learnt from John iii. 16. God ...so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoev ER believeth in him should not perish, but have evertasting life”. And indeed, was not the door of mercy open.ed to all, indefinitely, how could God sincerely offer mercy to ... all ? Or heartily invite all? Or justly blame those who do ...not accept : Or righteously punish them for neglecting so great salvation ? Besides, if Christ died merely for the elect, that is, to the intent that they, only upon believing, might, consistently with the divine honour, be received to favour, then God could not, consistently with his justice, save any besides, if they should believe: For without shedding of blood, there can be no remission. Heb. ix. 22. If Christ did not design, by his death, to open a door for all to be saved conditionally, i.e. upon the condition of faith, then there is no such door opened: the door is not opened wider than Christ designed it should be; there is nothing more purchased by his death than he intend
ed: if this benefit was not intended, then it is not procured;
if it be not procured, then the non-elect cannot any of them be saved, consistently with divine justice. And, by consequence, if this be the case, then, (1.) The non-elect have no right at all to take any, the least encouragement,from the death. of Christ, or the invitations of the gospel, to return to God through Christ, in hopes of acceptance; for there are no grounds of encouragement given. Christ did not die for them in any sense. It is impossible their sins should be par
* “I am ready to profess,” says the famous Doetor TwissE, “ and that, I suppose, as out of the mouths of all our divines, that every one who hears the gospel, (without distinction between elector reprobate,) is bound to believe that Christ died for him, so far as to procure both the pardon of his sins and the salvation of his soul, in case he believes and repents.” Again, “As Peter could not have been saved, unless he had believed and repented, so Judas might have been saved, if he had done so.” Again, “John iii. 16, gives a fair light of exposition to those places where Christ is said to have died for the sins of the world; yea, of the whole world, to wit, in this manner; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Dr. Twiss E on the riches of God’s love to the vessels of mercy, &c.
doned, consistently with justice; as much impossible as if there had never been a Saviour: as if Christ had never died; and so there is no encouragement at all for them; and therefore it would be presumption in them to take any ; all which is apparently contrary to the whole tenour of the gospel, which every where invites all, and gives equal encouragement to all. Come, for all things are ready, said Christ to the reprobate Jews. Mat. xxii. 4. And if the non-elect have no right to take any encouragement from the death of Christ, and the invitations of the gospel, to return to God through him, in hopes of acceptance, then, (2) No man at all can rationally take any encouragement until he knows that he is elected; because, until then, he cannot know that there is any ground for encouragement. It is not rational to take encouragement before we see sufficient grounds for it; yea, it is presumption to do so. But no man can see sufficient grounds of encouragement to trust in Christ, and to return to God through him, in hopes of acceptance, unless he sees that God Inay, through Christ, consistently with his honour, accept and save him, and is willing so todo. If God can, and is actually willing to save any that comes, then there is no objection. I may come, and any may come ; all things are ready: there is bread enough, and to spare. But if God is reconcileable only to the elect, then I may not come. I dare not come: it would be presumption to come till I know that I am elected. And how can I know that Why, not by anything in all the Bible. While an unbeliever, it is impossible I should know it by any thing in scripture. It is no where said, in express words, that I, by name, am elected, and there are no rules of trial laid down in such a case. And how can I, therefore, in this case, ever know that I am elected, but by an immediate revelation from heaven? And how shall I know that this revelation is true? How shall I dare to venture my soul upon it The gospel does not teach me to look for any such revelation, nor give any marks whereby I may know when it is from God, and when from the devil. Thus, an invincible bar is laid in my way to life. I must know that I am one of the elect, before I can see any encouragement to believe in Christ; because none but the elect have any more business to do so than the devils; but if