Page images

merits of Christ, that free thoughts may perform their part in discharging the debt; to lessen the pardon of sin, that some ground may be laid for human boasting, and room be left for apostasy from grace, the creditor not having received his proper demands, and that the main branch of redemption may be left for the sinner to complete, that his free thoughts may make the Saviour's satisfaction void or valid, by the task that he performs or not performs; and by this means all the glory of redemption redounds to the creature; for it is well known that he that completes an undertaking gets the glory. But the surety declared with his dying breath, “It is finished;" if so, the proper debt must be paid; satisfaction and pardon do stand together according to God's law. Let this author look, and he will there find, that a sinner who had sinned, when his sins came to his knowledge, he was to bring a male kid of the goats without blemish, an offering to the Lord; “And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt-offering before the Lord; it is a sin-offering.” Then, says this author, how is the doctrine of pardon established, if the goat dies in the sinner's room? The answer is, the goat is God's gift; the law that favours the sinner thus is God's law; therefore atonement is made and forgiveness is established : “And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering; and he shall burn all his fat upon the altar; and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

If Mr. Skinner will examine the following texts, he will find redemption and pardon coupled together; which pardon is intended to bring the mean man low, and humble the haughty, that the Lord alone may be exalted. “ He [God] hath made us accepted in the beloved; in whom we have rerlemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Here is redemption and pardon, and both of free grace: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, atonement, or sacrifice, to make satisfaction and reconciliation, that we through faith in his blood might see how God declares his righteousness, or justice, in the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time God's righteousness, or justice; that God might appear just to his law in the eyes of men, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? Rom. iii. 25, 26. In short, Jesus was made the surety of a better testament, and as such his perfect life and passive death was what law and justice demanded; and it was a full payment of the proper debt. If the Saviour be viewed as a sacrificing priest, he hath, by his one offering, made an atonement, and perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

The elect, for whom he undertook, and for whom he laid down his life, had no hand in procuring the surety,


priest, or sacrifice, nor had they any hand in the work which was finished on the cross; therefore redemption and forgiveness, shedding of blood and remission of sins, are both applied to them. But with the children of the bond-woman the matter may be otherwise; they can perform • what God requires, God doth not demand im' possibilities of them, they may all be glorified saints ‘in heaven if they will;' therefore they need neither surety, priest, sacrifice, nor forgiveness; and it is well for them that they have such a stock of power, in hand; and it is well for such helpless sinners as I am, that God hath given us all things in Christ.

This author owns “God is a sovereign, and may dispose of men as he pleases, undoubtedly he may,' and he certainly does. Israel sought righteousness by the works of the law, and stumbled at Christ; the elect Gentiles sought it not, yet attained to it. Others, as soon as they hear of Christ, shall obey him, and others shall be taken at the gospel's going forth; by day and by night shall it pass over, and be a vexation only to understand the report. Christ is found of them that sought him not; and others shall seek him and shall not find him. To babės the gospel is revealed, from the wise and prudent it is hid; and what shall we say to these things ? But he adds,

* This docs not prove that he has created any • man on purpose to punish him, merely to display • his sovereignty. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but

your evil

" that the wicked turn from his ways and live: turn ' ye, turn ye, from

ways; for why will ye • die?' Ezek. xxxiii. 11. I answer, God hath created all things, and for his pleasure they are and were created, Rev. iv. 11. “ The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Some are predestinated to life, and some are not; and this we declare, that none but the elect ever was or ever will be saved; “ And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the fire,” Rev. xx. 15. This author mentions a second sort that may augment the number of God's elect by doing what God commands, which according to his account, is easy; but we know that salvation is by grace, by the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be justified, and that there is nothing to be added to or taken from God's work of salvation, which is finished. Nor can any be added to or taken from the number of God's elect, which number as well as persons are complete in Christ. Beside, if

any of this second sort could, by doing what is supposed to be so easy, enter the kingdom of God, there would be salvation in every free-thinker that performs his task; whereas the scriptures declare, that there is salvation in no other name but in Christ Jesus; and that by grace men are saved through faith, not of themselves; it is the gift of God; not by works, lest any man should boast.

God punishes men for sin, and will display his sovereignty both on the vessels of wrath and the

vessels of mercy; and if Mr. Skinner had never been guilty of any other acts of rebellion but the publishing of these free thoughts,itcontains enough, should God judge him out of his own mouth, to silence and condemn him, if he be the brightest freethinker in the world; and this he will confess if ever he should be brought to see or feel the severity of the law, or have his soul impressed with the truth, holiness, immutability, and justice of God; but, alas! a corpse feels no lash, and the blind see no`danger; hence human insensibility and infidelity can wantonly sport, while angels damned believe and tremble, James ii. 19. God punishes men for sin, not merely to display his sovereignty; and it is well if this author has none about him ; by the disobedience of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; and as all are born in sin, so all are by nature the children of wrath. But Mr. Skinner quibbles at this; then he must prove the sentence of the judge, of the law, and of his own thoughts and conscience, to be unjust. All men are brought in guilty by the law; condemnation came on all men by Adam's sin, and the old Adam's image God will ever despise, and in that

mage all the children of the flesh die, for they are not the children of God. God will give grace to whom, and withhold grace from whom, he pleaseth:

My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;" My word shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in that whereto I send it;" he hides these things from the wise and prudent, he

« PreviousContinue »