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in case you leave town without calling, I may send these researches in an epistle to my friend and fellow servant in the ministry of reconciliation.
I shall direct this investigation, to make the following particulars evident.
1st. That you are right in granting that atonement and reconciliation are synonymous.
2d. That you are right in the statement that atonement is universal as a scripture doctrine. But,
3d. That you are not correct in disallowing salvation to be as universal as atonement or reconciliation,
1st. As synonymous terms with atonement and reconciliation, I will add, Propitiation and Ransom. These four words are undoubtedly of similar signification in scripture, as will appear from the following quotations. Lev. 6, "And the Priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord; and it shall be forgiven, for any thing of all that he hath done, in trespassing therein." 16, 34. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins once a year.' 8, 15. "And he slew it, and Moses took the blood and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it." II. Chron. 29, 24. "And the Priests killed them, and they made reconciliation. with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel." Ezekiel 45, 15. "And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel, for a meat offering and for a burnt offering, for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord." Lev. 23, 27. "Also, on the tenth day of this sevenh month shall be a day of atonement." Heb. 2, 17. LI Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.' "" I John 2, 1. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Mat. 10, 28. "Even as the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
ransom for many." I Tim. 2, 6. "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." The foregoing quotations, though but a few of the many which might be adduced, are undoubtedly, sufficient to show that these four words are applied to the same subject, and that no material difference is observable in them.
That the general subject may appear still more evident, I will here add the word redemption as synonymous with the four preceding words. The scriptures which show that this word is similar in its use with the others, are the following. Heb. 9, 12. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. "" Verse 15. "And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death for the redemption of the trangressions that were under the first Testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Rom. 3, 23, 24. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the re demption, that is in Christ Jesus."
2d. I proceed to show that you are scripturally correct in believing in the
propitiation, ran Universality of atonement, reconciliation,
The proof of this propo sition rests on the validity of scriptures already quoted.
The Apostle John, says, as we have seen, "If any man sin we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." St. Paul says, that the one mediator gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." To the Hebrews he says, "But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the Angels for the suffering of death, now crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.” Col. 1, 19, 20, "For it pleased the father, that in him all fulness should dwell, and (having made peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." II. Cor. 5, 19. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." These and many more scriptures make it so evident that Atonement by Christ is Universal, that there is no way to account for the contrary sentiment in our
opposers, only, that they find it necessary to shut their eyes against this part of the word of" God. Those who, pursu ant to that unaccountable tradition of Christ's dying to redeem a small elect only out of the whole family of man deny the Universality of Atonement, never appear willing to meet you on the plain literal testimony of scripture, when reasoning on this point. They are obliged to say that the word all does not mean the whole, or they will turn you off by shifting the subject. But the plain fact, after all the vain twists and turns made by the craftiness of deceivers, is this, the mediator, who gave himself a ransom for all, is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. And there is no more excuse for denying this fact, than there is for denying Christ wholly. As the word of God expresses that Jesus, by God's grace, tasted death for every man, to say there is one for whom he did not taste of death, is to deny the word of God as directly as to say that he did not taste death for any. I have no doubt, dear brother, but this proposition is as evident to your mind as it is to mine, and you have marvelled a thousand times why it should be so, that any who at all believe in Christ, should deny what is so plainly declared in God's word. I have marvelled too, and still marvel at the force of tradition. But, sir, while we see motes in our brother's eye, may it not be, that beams are in ours? I proceed,
3dly. To show that you are not correct in disallowing salvation to be as universal as atonement or reconciliation.
Here I wish to bring your mind directly to the query which I stated in conversation. What is the difference between Reconciliation and Salvation? How can you manage this question? Let us reduce the query to an individual. Can one single person be reconciled to God and not be saved in the sense of scripture? "Thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins." What difference is there between being reconciled and being saved from sin? Is not sin all the unreconciliation there is in man?
Here, dear sir, is as plain a fact, and as destitute of ambiguity as any subject of human contemplation. All I ask of you, is, not to do in this case, as I observed our opposers do in the other case, (viz.) Shut your eyes against this part of the word of God. Lift your desires to God, that you may examine this subject une mbarrassed by prepossessions,
Let us search for the object of atonement, as declared in the word of truth. See Rom. 5, 18. "Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Can you, sir, believe that any man can be justified unto life by the righteousness of Christ, and not be saved from sin? See also the passage in Rom. 3, 23, 24, which I have already quoted to show the use of the word redemption. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I am confident that you will not contend that any who are thus justified freely by grace will fail of salvation. See Rom. 8, 30. "And whom he justified them he also glorified." Look at the word Salvation. See Isaiah 52, 10.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God." St. Luke 3, 6. "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." I Tim. 2, 4. "Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth." Can those scriptures be broken? Or must they be understood differently from what they say? You very justly contend that atonement is Universal, because the scriptures so declare it, in positive terms. You marvel at the professed Christian who denies this fact; but I now call on you to consider if you do not justify those who deny the universality of Atonement, by disallowing the natural force of the word, when you do the same thing yourself when you cannot avoid universal salvation in any other way.
And what is it, dear brother, that drives you to such shifts? Do you think it an honor to our blessed Saviour to have millions for whom he died remain in sin and rebellion against him eternally? You cannot believe thus. Have you the least desire that even one of your fellow creatures should miss of salvation? This cannot be. Tell me, sir, if you can account for your denying universal salvation, in any other way, than you account for the conduct of our brethren of a different persuasion, who deny the universality of atonement?
I trust that you will, by no means surmise that I make this communication to you from unfriendly motives, for I assure you that I feel nothing unfriendly towards you, or
An Attempt to Illustrate the Doctrine of Election, Sc. 169
any order of professors in the world. My sincere prayer to God is, that we may be brought to see eye to eye and rejoice in the return of the captivity of Zion. I wish to hold myself open to conviction as I have no interest to support, by arguing falsly. I shall be happy to receive whatever you may be pleased to communicate in return for this in the spirit of love and friendship; and if I need rebuke, let the righteous smite me and it shall be an excellent oil. Yours in faithfulness.
AN ATTEMPT TO ILLUSTRATE THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION, AS STATED BY St. PAUL TO THE ROMANS.
ON account of the very different views, entertained by christian people, in relation to the doctrine which we are about to consider, this attempt seems not altogether unnecessary. It also being evident, that a spirit of general inquiry, into the nature of those subjects which relate to the spiritual concerns of mankind, is now moving the minds of the different denominations of Christians among us, it is therefore conceived expedient, that those scriptures, about which inuch has been written rather calculated to obscure the truth of gospel grace and salvation, than to manifest those things in which the happiness of man is so deeply interested, should be so clearly illustrated that the honest inquirer after truth may find it easy to obtain the object of his inquiry. We would not wish to suggest, however, that the scriptures under consideration are inexplicit, or that what may here be presented to the public, can in the least claim the merit of making this scripture doctrine of election more easy to be understood than it is already rendered in the writings of St. Paul, were it not for the injudicious method by which too many deceive themselves on this subject, which is done by framing a system of doctrine by the help of a few detached passages taken from the general theme of the Apostle and dissociated from every thing with which that divine author Connected them.