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scripture, and is to be made, without hesitation or reserve, by the ministers of the gospel. It is in the embrace of this universal and unconditional offer to all, and as made to all, that the elect become partakers of its benefits. Hence the just condemnation of all rejecters of the gospel.
They reject the salvation freely offered to them, which would be theirs for the taking of it, and “this is their condemnation."
The question then is not concerning the sufficiency of Christ's redemption for all, or the universality of its offer the certain justification of all who accept it, and condemnation of all who reject it; but it is, what was the purpose of God in giving his Son, and of the Son in offering himself for the sins of men ? Was he given, did he give himself, to redeem all, or to redeem his people? We think the answer of the scriptures is plain : “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph v. 25). To the same effect are several passages already quoted, and that might be quoted. The passages also which attribute the saving work of the Spirit to Christ, clearly limit the efficacy of his redemption to the subjects of that work — Christians are "quickened together with Christ” (Eph. ii. 5). “Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. i. 3). " According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesns Christ our Saviour' (Tit. iii. 5, 6). Moreover, it is the uniform testimony of scripture that we receive from Christ, not a mere possibility of reconciliation, forgiveness, justification, salvation, but these very gifts themselves. But those who receive these blessings are the people of God, the elect only. In short, both in the light of reason and scripture, the following statement of President Edwards appears unanswerable :
" From these things it will inevitably follow, that however Christ in some sense may be said to die for all, and to redeem all visible Christians, yea the whole world by his death, yet there must be something particular in the design of his death, with respect to such as he intended should be
actually saved thereby. As appears by what has been here shown, God has the actual salvation or redemption of a certain number in his proper absolute design, and of a certain number only; and therefore such a design can only be prosecuted, in anything God does, in order to the salvation of men.
God pursues a proper design of the salvation of the elect in giving Christ to die, and prosecutes such a design with respect to no other, most strictly speaking; for it is impossible that God should prosecute any other design, only such as he has. He certainly does not, in the highest propriety and strictness of speech, pursue a design that he has not. And indeed, such a particularity and limitation of redemption will as infallibly follow from the doctrine of God's foreknowledge as from that of his decree.” — Treatise on the Will, Sec. XIV.
A single remark is due before leaving this subject: Whatever opinions any may entertain of the doctrines of our church on this subject, it is believed that no body of Chris. tians more exalt Christ in their public teachings and worship, or in their inward spiritual experience. This is freely admitted by all parties in any degree familiar with the tone of our thinking, feeling, and preaching. Whatever may be true of other bodies, among us Christ is everywhere lifted up as the substance and essence of our religion, the central object of faith, the spring of all that is sweet, holy, and heavenly in religious affections, “the power of God unto salvation.” Nowhere is Christ more constantly and demonstratively set forth as having provided a full and free and finished salvation for all who will accept it, as the author and finisher of faith, the beginning and end of all piety. Explain all this as we may, it is not to be overlooked in estimating the tendency and effect of the doctrines they hold in the premises. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
It is also to be remembered that many of the objections urged against Particular Redemption presuppose that the gift and sacrifice of Christ, in order to put lost men in a salvable state, is a matter of justice, not of grace. They are groundless on any other hypothesis. But this hypothesis subverts the gospel, and destroys the very foundations of Christianity.
THE OFFICE OF THE Spirit.
In regard to that branch of soterology which respects the work of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctification, it is, of course, held to be co-extensive with the depravity of the soul and its enslavement to sin. The Spirit removes the perverseness, pollution, and impotence for acts spiritually good in the soul, which, as we have already seen, possess the natural man, darkening the intellect, corrupting the affections, infusing into the will an invincible bias to evil; altogether constituting a bondage to sin from which the mighty power of God's Spirit alone can deliver it. The sum of our faith on this point is stated, to our full satisfaction, in the following language of our Confession:
“ 1. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ, yet so as that they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
“2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, and being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it” (Confession of Faith, Chap. X).
According to this, man is passive in regeneration, which is the work of God upon and in him, and active in conversion, which is his own act of turning to God and embracing Jesus Christ. But, in what is properly the act of God upon him he cannot be active. He is the object on whom the work is wrought, and so necessarily passive. But the siinul
taneous effect of this work is his own active turning to God.
It is to be observed withal, that the work of grace in the human soul, though supernatural, is not miraculous. Though above nature, it is not contrary to nature, nor in contravention nor suspension of its laws. The Spirit operates upon the soul with a secret and resistless efficacy, and yet without violence to, yea, in perfect harmony with, the laws of all its faculties, cognitive, sensitive, and voluntary. But while thus in sweet accord with the laws of our rational and accountable nature, it is “even according to the working of the mighty power which God wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Eph. i. 19, 20)."
It is in place to say a word as to the relative priority of faith and repentance in the soul, not in the order of time, but of nature. They are co-instantaneous beyond dispute. But it is disputed which is the logical antecedent or condi'tion of the other. The definition of repentance in the
Shorter Catechism happily expresses our view of this question. “Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor
? It has been quite a fashion with some parties to charge Old school Presbytrrians with holding that depravity is a "physical ” state, and therefore that regeneration is a "physical” change, meaning by the word “pliysical ” something like material or corporeal. What we and the great body of Christians hold is, that the work of the Spirit on the soul in regeneration is immediate, producing an immediate change in its moral state or dispositions, so that it freely and sweetly is persuaded and attracted by the objective evangelical truth and motives which it previously rejected. This is in opposition to the doctrine of regeneration by the mere suasory influence of such external truth and motives, without any antecedent interior change in the soul itself. But this change is moral, i.e. in the moral nature and state; not physical in any sense inconsistent with this. It is true that some old standard writers used the term “physical” to denote the immediate character of the work of the Spirit on the soul, and in contrast to moral; this word being used by them in the sense of a mere external suasory influence. In this sense they pronounced the work of the Spirit physical, not inoral. But this only means that it must be wrought upon and change that qúous, or native moral state, whereby we are “children of wrath " (Eph. ii. 3).
after new obedience.” The point to be noted in this definition is, that repentance flows out of, and therefore presupposes our “ apprehension of, the mercy of God in Christ." Of course, such“ apprehension," in order to be effective, must be a believing, confiding apprehension. So while faith and repentance are inseparable, like the fire and its heat, yet faith is the logical antecedent or condition of repentance. We think the whole scope of the scriptural exhortations to repentance, carries an express or implied reference to the mercy of God in Christ,” as the constraining motive thereto. "Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you” (Acts iii. 19, 20). · Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. lv. 7). In the nature of the case it must be so. For nothing is genuine in religion which is not inspired by love to God. And can genuine love exist towards a being to whom we dare vot trust ourselves, or whose honor and glory we know demand our destruction and misery? So there can be no real, cordial trust in God on the part of sinners which has not its root in faith in Christ as the expiation for our sins.“ Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. xi, 6). How can the convinced sinner believe that God is the rewarder of those who seek him, otherwise than as he beholds him in Christ “ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their tresprasses ?” There may be legal and slavish repentance without faith in Christ, inducing a hard, reluctant service of God in "dead works." Evangelical and saving repentance can only be the daughter of faith in Christ; a faith, however, which instantaneously begets it, which works by love, and purifies the heart. VOL. XXI. No. 81.