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old non-conformist, yet I should not have supposed he would have adopted his reasoning as his own.
Peter. Why not?
James. Because it is your avowed persuasion, that sinners AS SINNERS are invited to believe in Christ for salvation. Thus you have interpreted the invitations in Isai. Iv. 1-7. and various others ; carefully and justly guarding against the notion of their being addressed to renewed, or as some call them, sensible sinners.Thus also you interpret 2 Cor. y. 20. of God's beseeching sinners by the ministry of the word to be reconciled to him. But your old friend would tell you
that God will never invite a sinner to rest for salvation on that blood that was never slied for him, or on that satisfaction that was never made for him.-I should have thought too, after all that you have said of the warrant which sinners as sinners have to believe in Christ, you would not have denied it to be their duty, nor have adopted a mode of reasoning which, if followed up to its legitimate consequences, will compel you to maintain either the possibility of knowing our election before we believe in Christ, or that in our first reliance on his righteousness for acceptance with God we are guilty of presumption.
John. I conceive, my dear brethren, that you have each said as much on these subjects as is likely to be for edification. Permit me after having heard, and candidly attended to all that has passed between you, to assure you both of my esteem, and to declare that, in my opinion, the difference between you ought not. to prevent your feeling towards and treating each other as brethren. You are agreed in all the great doctrines of the gospel; as the necessity of an atonement, the ground of acceptance with God, salvation by grace only,
&c. &c. and with respect to particular redemption, you both admit the thing, and I would hope both hold it in a way consistent with the practice of the primitive ministers; or if it be not altogether so, that you will reconsider the subject when you are by yourselves. The greater part of those things wherein you seem to differ, may be owing either to a difference in the manner of expressing yourselves, or to the affixing of consequences to a principle which yet are unperceived by him that holds it. I do not accuse either of you with doing so intentionally: but principles and their consequences are so suddenly associated in the mind, that when we hear a person avow the former, we can scarcely forbear immediately attributing to him the latter. If a principle be proposed to us for acceptance, it is right to weigh the consequences : but when forming our judgment of the person who holds it, we should attach nothing to him but what he perceives and avows. If by an exchange of ideas you can come to a better understanding, it will afford me pleasure: meanwhile it is some satisfaction that your visit to me has not tended to widen, but considerably to diminish your differences. Brethren, there are many adversaries of the gospel around youy who would rejoice to see you at variance : Let there be no strife between you. You are both erring mortals; but both, I trust, the sincere friends of the Lord Jesus. Love one another!
THE CONSISTENCY OF THE
Particularly that of Salvation throúgh a Mediator, with
BY ANDREW FULLER.
F there be a God who created us; if we have all sinned against him; and if there be reason to be. lieve that he will call us to account for our conduct, all which principles are admitted by Mr. Paine ;* a gloomy prospect must needs present itself, sufficient, indeed, to render man " the slave of terror." It is not in the power of this writer, nor of any man litig who rejects the bible, to assure us that pardon will have any place in the divine government; and however light he may make of the scripture docrine of hell, He that calls men to account for their deecis, will be at no loss how or where to punish them. But allowing that God is disposed to shew, mercy to the guilty, the questinn is, Whether his doing so by or without a mediator be most consistent with what we know of fitness or propriety?
That pardon is bestowed through a mediator in a vast variety of instances among men, cannot be denied; and that it is proper it should be so, must be evident to every thinking mind. All who are acquainted with the common affairs of life, must be aware of the ne
• Age of Reason, Part I. p. 1. Part II. p. 100.
cessity of such proceedings, and the good effects of them upon society.*
It is far less humbling for an offender to be pardoned at his own request, than through the interposition of a third person : for in the one case he may be led to think that it was his virtue and penitence which influenced the decision; whereas in the other he is compelled to feel his own unworthiness; and this may
be one reason why the mediation of Christ is so offensive. It is no wonder indeed that those who deny humility to be a virtue,t should be disgusted with a doctrine, the professed object of which is to abase the pride of man.
As forgiveness without a mediator is less humbling to the offender, so it provides less for the honour of the offended, than a contrary proceeding. Many a compassionate heart has longed to go forth, like David towards Absalom ; but, from a just sense of wounded authority, could not tell how to effect it ; and has greatly desired that some common friend would interpose, and save his honour. He has wished to remit the sentence; but has felt the want of a mediator, at the instance of whom he might give effect to his desires, and exercise mercy without sceming to be regardless of justice. An offender who should object 10 a mediator, would be justly considered as hardened in iinpenitence, and regardless of the honour of the offended : and it is difficult to say what other construc. tion can be put upon the objections of sinners to the mediation of Christ.
Again: To exercise pardon without a mediator, woukl be fixing no such stigma upon the evil of the of
* See Pres. Edwards’ Remarks on important Theological Controversies, Chap. VI.
| Volney's Law of Nature, p. 49.
fence, as is done by a contrary mode of proceeding. Every man feels that those faults which
be overlooked on a mere acknowledgment, are not of a very heinous nature ; they are such as arise from inadvertence rather than from ill design ; and include little more than an error of the judgment. On the other hand, every man feels that the calling in of a third person, is making much of the offence ; treating it as a serious affair, a breach that is not to be lightly passed
may be another reason why the mediation of Christ is so offensive to the adversaries of the gospel. It is no wonder that men who are continually speaking of moral evil under the palliating names of error, frailty, imperfection, and the like, should spurn at a doctrine, the implication of which condemns* it to everlasting infamy.
Finally: To bestow pardon without a mediator, would be treating the offence as private, or passing over it as a matter unknown, an affair which does not affect the well-being of society, and which therefore requires no public manifestation of displeasure against it. Many a notorious offender would doubtless wish matters to be thus conducted, and from an aversion to public exposure, would feel strong objections to the formal interposition of a third person. Whether this may not be another reason of dislike to the mediation of Christ, I shall not decide; but of this I am fully satisfied, that the want of a proper sense of the great evil of sin, as it affects the moral government of the universe, is a reason why its adversaries see no necessity for it, nor fitness in it. They prove by all their writings that they have no delight in the moral
* Rom. viii. 3.