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ence of Christ render us deserving of heaven, or undeserving of hell. When God justifies believers on Christ's account, he considers them still as ungodly: as ungodly he punishes them still in this world; and as well might he punish them with everlasting destruction in the world to come, were it not for his gracious promise to the contrary. Grace reigns with unabated lustre in our justification, and in the whole of our salvation, notwithstanding its reigning through righteousness, because it is through a righteousness not our own.

Merit is ever personal. In the nature of things it cannot be otherwise. Another's having been righteous, doth not make me righteous, if I have not been so myself; nor can the sufferings of another make me faultless wherein I have been a sinner. - Can a robber or murderer become innocent, because an innocent attorney or friend of his hath suffered the penalty he deserved ? Certainly it is impossible. He must be, notwithstanding this, as vile, as great a criminal, as blame-worthy, as ever he was. And so are all mankind, notwithstanding the sufferings, and notwithstanding the obedience of Christ.

Debts may be discharged by an attorney. Damages of any kind may be repaired by a third person. But moral turpitude is not to be wiped away in this manner. Ill desert is never thus removed. Merit, and demerit, are things not to be acquired or lost by proxy. The consequences of the good or evil actions of one person may devolye upon another; not the righteousness or the criminality of them.

Our crimes were not transferred to Christ; only the sufferings for them. He suffered as a lamb, without blemish and without spot. So his righteousness is not transferred to us ; only the benefits of it.

He was numbered with transgressors, and treated as a sinner

though innocent. We are numbered with the righteous, and treated as the friends and favourites of the Most High, though ungodly, He deserved the praises of heaven, when he was made a curse-when forsaken and expiring on the cross. We deserve the pains of hell, when delivered from the curse of the law, and received into the embraces of everlasting love. There is no transfer of merit, or of demerit, one way or the other, only of their fruits and consequences.

Justice admitted of laying on Christ the sufferings due for our sins, because it was by his own free consent, and because the necessary ends of punishing would thereby be answered; not because he deserved those sufferings. So, on the other hand, justice now admits of our being saved on his account, not because, on any account, we deserve salvation, but only beeause by giving us remission of sins and the happiness of the righteous, no injury will be done, no damage will accrue to the universe. There is nothing to oblige God to have mercy on any of mankind only his own wis. dom and goodness. He can do it without any unrighteousness; and therefore so it seemeth good in his sight. Hence we are pardonedwe are justified-we shall be glorified, freely by the grace of God, notwithstanding the ample foundation laid for all in the plenteous redemption which is in Jesus Christ.

All that now remains, is to point out some of the doctrinal and practical uses, of this important subject.

In the first place; we may hence learn, that the ar. gument for the certain salvation of all men, from the sufficiency of the satisfaction and purchase of Christ, is inconclusive. According to the common notion of a literal satisfaction and strict purchase in the atonement and obedience of our Saviour, similar exactly to satisfactions and purchases in matters of meum and tuum (i. e, mine and thine) between man and man, this argument of the Universalists, on which the greatest stress is laid by some, would be exceedingly plausible: to me it appears, it would indeed be absolutely unanswerable The argument stands thus. God is obliged in justice to save men as far as the merit of Christ extends : but the merit of Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; therefore God is obliged in justice to save all. The minor proposition I dare not deny. I question not the sufficiency of the merit of Christ for the salvation of all mankind. I have no doubt but that, in this sense, Christ“

gave himself a ransom for all; tasted death for every man; and is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.The only thing therefore which I have to dispute in this argument, is the obligatoriness of the Redeemer's merit, on the Supreme Being : or, that it is of such a nature as to afford any ground to denund salvation from God, as of just debt. Had the believer any right to challenge pardon and eternal life, upon this footing, I see not but that all mankind would have the same. If the merit of Christ be such as obliges God, in point of justice to save all believers; and if that merit be sufficient for the salvation of all men ; why is not God obliged in justice to save all men, whether believers or not ?-He may be under engagements to some and not to others by gracious promise, predicated upon faith; but if tlie obligation be in absolute justice, it must be solely on account of the merit of Christ ; and is no greater after a man has faith than before. And if there be merit enough in Christ for all, it obliges, and inust obtain the salvation of all, though all men have not faith. That alters not the case. Faith, or the want of faith, alters nothing in point of justice ; only in point of promise: unless the obligatory merit be in faith

itself, not in the atonement and righteousness of Christ. It God cannot in justice luy any thing to the charge of the elect, nor inflict any punishment upon them, because Christ died for them: and if, in point of merit, Christ died for all men; God cannot in justice lay any thing to the charge of any man, nor punish any man.

Thus the doctrine of certain universal salvation is established at once ; and established upon orthodox principles.

The argument, indeed, proves too much. More a great deal than any good man would wish : more, one would think than any man in his senses could believe. It turns the tables entirely respecting obligation and grace between God and man. According to it, all the obligation is now on God's part; all the grace on ours ! He is holden and justly stands bound to us; we are free from all obligation to him! All the debts of all mankind, both of duty and suffering, are forever cancelled! Christ hath done all their duty for them, as well as taken away all possible criminality from them! If they now love or serye God it is of mere gratuity ! They are not at all obliged so to do! If he bestow upon them all the good in his power, to all eternity, it is of debt absolute debt, in the highest sense of the word! He can do no more for them than by a merit of condignity hath been purchased for them, and is of absolute right due to them! These admirable consequences will follow from this notion of the atonement and merit of Christ, as necessarily as the doctrine of universal salvation. An argument which thus overthrows every thing all law, as well as all grace, must certainly be fallacious, whether we were able to discover the fallacy of it or not. Yet some, it is said, are not to be terrified by such frightful consequences.

They adınit them, and plead for them. They allow, at least, and maintain, that men are not justly punishable by the Judge of all the earth, whatever iniquities they may commit; and that, in fact, no man is punished of God at all, nor ever will be. Su firmly are they established in the belief that the foregoing argument is demonstration, and can never be confuted.

But must not the weak place in this invincible argument, be made manifest to all men? I cannot but flatter myself, the attentive candid Universalist must feel this film ground give way under him The hope of salvation built upon the idea that the holy sovereign of the universe is obliged in justice to pardon and save the vilest of sinners, is certainly a very forlorn hope.

That believers themselves do not deserve eternal life, nor even deliverance from eternal death ;-that God is under no kind of obligation, for value received, even to them, on any account whatever, seems plainly implied in our text, and hath been sufficiently illustrated, I conceive, in the preceding discourse. And if so, certainly he cannot be obliged in justice to save all

Salvation is sincerely offered to all, if they will thankfully l'eceive Christ as their Saviour, and penitently return, through him, to their Creator and their God. With regard to giving them a heart, or making them willing to do these things, Gud hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. Surely by sending his Son into the world, that the world through him might be saved," he hath not brought hiaiself so infinitely indebted to mankind as to be in justice obliged to save all the world, whether they will or not.

Secondly. Hence we may see, that the Socinians have no reason to object against the doctrine of atonement, as though it were irreconcilable with the doc

men.

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