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» above, and that is a universal saving light in all
The sentiments of the Apologist are, as follow :
The fifth and fixth propositions are chiefly levelled against “ the doctrine of absolute reprobation.” P. 110. “ Arguments against it.”—“Itis a novelty"-" highly « injurious to God, because it makes him the author 6 of fin.” P. 112: “ It makes God delight in the « death of finners.”_" It renders Christ's mediation « ineffectual.”_" It makes the Gospel a mock, and “ the coming of Christ an act of wrath.”
The reason of my mentioning these things, is, not to defend the doctrines of predestination and reprobation, as some have stated them, but, to fhew hereafter, with what consistency Mr. Barclay dwells upon these things.
He goes on to observe" That Christ's redenp«tion is universal, according to the Scriptures, and
proves, it as he thinks, by the Gospel's being ap“ pointed to be " preached to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15;
“ by reprobation making repenting and * believing impossible ;”” by God's willing all men “ to be saved, and his commanding us to " pray “ for all men," 1 Tim. ii. 3, 4, 6. Here he fyllogizes upon the word " pollible,” not observing the difference between a natural and moral impoffibility; the one admitting guilt, the other not admitting it : But, though different, the one may be as certain, in its consequences, as the other. He endeavours to prove it also from, Heb. ii. 9. where it is said, that is Chrift tasted death for every man.
every man.” Sect. After having spoken of “the mistakes of others," he remarks, the reason of mens having fallen into such “ mistakes, in denying that Christ has died for all
men, is because the way and manner by which the “ efficacy of Christ's death is communicated to all " men, has not been understood." Then he renounces the “ Pelagian error, which denies any unful feed of
ik Adam to have been derived from him by his po
sterity,” and “the Semi-pelagian, which makes “: God's grace as a gift, following upon man's merit " or right improving his nature, according to the
known principle, Facienti quod in fe eft, Deus non denegat gratiam God does not deny grace to him to who doth what he can."-" The Arminians,” he observes, “ though they have well opposed the Calvi* nifts, yet have not wisely established their own « scheme.” Latter end of the gth Sect.
“ The more full discovery of the Gospel," (fays he) " is reserved for our age, and its publication and -** defence committed to a few despicable and illiterate
men, who are for the most part mechanics." Sect. x, “ That what they affert, and can prove from the testi
mony of the Holy Scriptures, are the following " things,” Sect. xi. 1. That there is a day of visi& tation to all, whether Jew or Gentile, Turk or Scy«thian, Indian or Barbarian, of whatsoever family or * country; during which day or time, it is possible « for them to be laved, and to partake of the fruit of « Christ's death. 2. That for this end God has « communicated and given to every man, a measure “ of the light of his own Son, a measure of "" a measure of the Spirit. 3. That God's salvation “ is wrought by this light in all, but that this may be “ refifted and refused, and therefore becomes their * .condemnation." Then we have a list of “ the “ happy consequences of this his doctrine, which he “ represents as the most confiftent, reconciling, com“ fortable, honourable, rational, and advantageous “ discovery, in the world.”
From the eleventh to the nineteenth section, he asks “ seven questions for the elucidation of the sub“ ject,” and afterwards endeavours to “ support the “ following propofitions--1. That there is day or «' time of vifitation, wherein it is possible for every “ man to be saved, Sect. xix. xx.2. That God has
“ given to every man a measure of saving, fufficient, " and supernatural life and grace, Sect. xxi. xxii,
3. That this faving, spiritual light, is the Gospel, “ even that very Gospel whereof Paul was made a
6 minister, and is preached in every creature under 4 heaven." Col. i. 23, &c.
These three propofitions he labours to prove, then quotes fome passages from other authors, undertakes to answer some objections, and concludes, with an air of assurance, that “he had irre 5 fragrably eftablished his fyften."
I am not conscious of any false representations, in this analysis of the Apologist ; nor does his wary de fender find any fault with it, which, it is most likely he would have done, if it had not been a fair and honest account of his opinions.
2. We will next examine Mr. Barclay's arguments
froin Scripture, for this universal, saving principle, though we have before shown, we apprehend, that it is not the Gospel of the Apostles, and the Qua kers acknowledge it cannot be described by lan, guage.
Mr. Barclay, and his defender, labour to prove it from “That was the true light which lighteth every « man that cometh into the world.” John i. g. From whence they infer, that “every individual man who s cometh into the world, is savingly enlightened by “ this true Light, and has Christ within him.”
As this pallage is one of the strongest they can bring, for the support of their system, and they dwell so much upon it, in all their controverfies with their opponents, we will fairly and accurately examine the whole paragraph.
Whether John, in his introduction to his Gospel, (as some very learned writers, and several of the Fa. thers, have suggested) intended to oppose the errors of Y
the Gnoftics, or certain ancient hereticks, who cor: rupted Christianity with many strange notions concerning Æones, or spirits, which were imagined to be emanations, or productions from the Deity, and whom they supposed to be denominated by different naines, and to possess different properties and offices, I would not take upon me to determine ; as there is no express mention of any such design, in his history. But, the suggestion certainly seems to throw a light, at the first view, upon the beginning of his Gospel : For, fuppofing
“one, Light," and the “ Aoroz, or word,” to have been thought by these mistaken people, different Powers or Spirits from one another, and from Jesus Christ, or the Creator, and that John meant to state the subject, so as to oppose their fancies, it gives a peculiar beauty and force to several fingular expressions, which the Apostle has often introduced *.
He asserts, then, that the “ Logos, or word,” was not one of these Æones, but “God;" ver. 1, nor was the Creator different from the “ Logos,” but the same, “ for all things were made by him ; ver. 3. neither was the “ Life" a distinct Spirit from the * Logos,” for “ in the word was Life”; nor was the
Light” a different being from the “ Life,” for “this “ Life was the Light of men : ver. 46. It was the source of all the true knowledge of God, and a future state, that had ever been, or was then revealed, to any of his people, for the life and happiness of their souls : It had, when John wrote, diffused its falutary influence upon the Gentiles as well as Jews. “And “ the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness
• See Michaelis's Theological Lectures, P. 248.
+ Some think the “ life" here spoken of is the human life of the" word." He, by becoming fleth, enlightened men in the true knowledge of God. Macknigh:.
« comprehendeth * it not." ver. 5. This may more particularly, as some think, refer to the Jews, who, by reason of their darkness, or ignorance, with respect to the true knowledge of God, and the kingdom of heaven, did not fully comprehend the nature of our Lord's mission and religion, nor, in general, receive his doctrines, and submit to his authority; the light met with a more general and cordial reception among the Gentiles, than it did with the inhabitants of Judæa: Or, fuppofing, it refers to the whole world, whether Jew or Gentile, then it points out to us, that the greatest number of mankind, who were either overwhelmed with darkness, by the traditions of the Jewish elders, or by idolatrous superstitions, neither understood, nor believed, nor received, this Light.
Then the Apostle produces the testimony of the Baptist: “He was sent from God, to bear witness « of the Light, that all men” (all sorts of men, who fhould have an opportunity of examining his testimony, whether Jews or Gentiles; the sall” here cannot be extended farther, without a manifest abfurdity) " through him might believe.” Ver. 6, 7. Here
Perhaps this word shouid be rendered“ reftraineth.” In the middle voice the word is indeed used for to perceive, te underfland, to find, and to comprehend with the mind. Acts iv. 13. Aets xxv. 25. Chap. x. 34. Eph. iii. 18. But I don't recollect that it is used, in the active voice, in this sense, throughout the New Testament, unless it be in this place. See Mark ix. 18. John xii. 35. Rom. ix. 30. 1 Theff. v. 4. i Cor. ix. 24. Phil. iii. 12, 13. In the passive, John viii. 3, 4.
The Septuagint renders the word Wy clausit, coercuit, detinuit, impodivit, 2 Chron. íx. 20. 1 Kings xviii. 44. by Xatemaplars. Chryfoftom, Beza tells us, translates it by words which fignify, to obscurt, or qu. rwhelm. The Latin to the Perfic version renders it, et tenebræ lucem non extinxerunt.
In this view the sense is beautiful. Notwithstanding the thick clouds of prejudice, which hung over the minds of the Jews (and, perhaps, Gentiles also), opposed the progress of the Light, it burft through them, with its meridian lufre, and suffered not itself to be ponfined, much less extinguished.