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The passage read for consideration seems to sug gest the following subjects for examination and il lustration.
On I. The Church.
indiget II. The love of Christ to the church. And,
III. What the love of Christ to the church induces him to do for it.
As the labours which we proposé to bestow on sale our subject this evening are designed to favour the
topil doctrine of universal, impartial salvation, the hear-iken er is requested to keep a careful watch, with a view to observe how each argument may bear on this great subject. Not only is it of importance that
and we endeavour to possess ourselves of a knowledge of the evidences on which universality of salvation depends, but it is of equal importance that due attention be paid to understand the nature of this song salvation, than which nothing can tend more to remove existing objections from the candid mind. Pious, candid people all fervently desire the salvation of all men; but not having a clear understanding that the salvation of all stands inseparably connected with the holiness of all, and supposing that those who vindicate universal salvation, do not, at the same time, and to the same end contend for universal righteousness and sanctification, they reject the doctrine as tending to impiety, irreligion, and even to licentiousness. It is confidently believed that a true sense of the passage under consideration will operate favourably in tending to remove all doubts of this nature; therefore do we the more earnestly recommend a most watchful attention to this subject, and to what we may be enabled to offer upon it. Nor can the reasonable hearer think it strange that we should endeavour to remove the unfavourable views of our fellow citizens from their minds, concerning the doctrine we profess and promulgate, were it only for our own benefit. Universalists have been looked upon and spoken of as a people who have embraced the rankest of all heresies, the most impious tenéts, and
ein seria as a people destitute of vital religion, and entire minatus.
strangers, and even enemies to genuine virtue and morality. On this account, my friends, you will
acknowledge that if there ever were a people who ach. I had a just reason to call on the candor of the public the ele to hear their defence of their doctrine, and to judge
impartially on the subject, such a claim is ours. to ker. It is natural, and even laudable to desire the fato for 'vourable opinion of our fellow creatures, but this tion, the should be sought by deserving it. Had we hypo1. wild critically secreted our belief for fear of censure, we s bezre might have received the approbation we did not porezi deserye, and escaped the bitter reproaches which abut an honest declaration of our real sentiments has sont brought upon us. But we have never doubted that is that time would do us justice, and that better innitue formation would efface all the slurs which a want al more of charity has cast on our name.
Respecting the church the following particulars they may be distinctly noticed.
1. That mankind was the church of Christ before he gave himself for the church.
2. That all men belong to this church, and
3. The moral state which the church was in, play when Christ loved it and gave himself for it.
On carefully examining our text we shall easily discover the truth concerning the three particulars "here suggested.
First. Christ could not have loved the church until he had one, nor could he give himself for his church until he had one.
But our text says; Even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it." Thus it is evident that mankind was the church of Christ before he gave himself for the church.
Secondly. That all men belong to the church of Christ is proved from two arguments furnished in
our text, in connexion with other scripture testipre mony. First, it is indicated in our text that Christ
loved the church and gave himself for it; and the same apostle is particular in stating that Christ
Saviour as a refiner's fire and as a fuller's soap, de sub
gave himself a ransom for all men. These two
ren in support of the proposition that all men are of the church of Christ, involves the very objection which an opposer would not fail to urge. We mean the moral condition or state of mankind set forth in our text. The common opinion of our divines supposes that no one can belong to the church of Christ until by sanctification, effectual calling, regeneration or the new birth, the subject becomes
Ch united to Christ. But this opinion is by our text disallowed; for it informs us, that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Now that which is already clean needs no cleansing, and that which is holy needs not to be sanctified. It is here evident that our text speaks of the church in a state of uncleanness and unholiness, in which state Christ loved it.
Though this argument may appear novel, yet its validity cannot be denied; for if Christ gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, the unsanctified, unclean state of man is proof that he is the subject of the divine favour. And when we unite with this consideration the fact that Christ gave himself a ransom for all men, our evidence is complete, and our proposition sup. ported.
In further confirmation of the foregoing argu-o the ments, reference may be had to emblems used in scripture which regard the cleansing of mankind from moral defilement, and also to those passages which call on sinners to repent and turn from the evil of their ways. If the scriptures represent the they also represent the subjects of his grace as
2. Ts' unrefined and unclean. And if the scriptures call on men to repent of their sins, to do justice and to
it is because they are in a sinful state. It is of importance that the hearer should undermen at stand, that while our remarks go to prove that
men are unclean, unholy, and sinful, they are Per is thereby rendered effectual in proving that they : 27 m2 belong to the church of Christ. Nor can we cone terceive of any possible way to avoid our proposition
of universality as long as the command to repent is acknowledged to be universal.
As our text asserts that Christ gave himself for the church, the universality of the church seems evidently proved by the testimony which informs us that Christ gave himself a ransom for all men. Such, therefore, is the importance of such testimony in the case under consideration, that we may be justified in referring to a competent number of passages which prove this point of doctrine.
The prophet Isaiah in his 53d chapter says: "All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Heb. ii. 9. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the arigels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
Tim. ii. 5, 6, “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 John ii. 1, 2, “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And 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.” Here, all men, every man, and the whole world, are said to be the subjects of this grace of the Saviour. Will candid hearers say that this is not directly to the subject? Will they contend that the evidence is not altogether sufficient? What would an hon
est Methodist say to a Calvinist, who should con tend that Jesus Christ gave himself for none butelkti such as believe in Calvinistic doctrine? Would he not very justly reply, and say, then the whole world believe in Calvinistic doctrine, for the scriptures maintain that he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, that he tasted death for every man, and gave himself a ransom for all men; but they no where inform us that he gave himself for a Calvinist, or for any other particular denomi.
at we nation?
My friends, if there were even an appearance of any other sentiment in the scriptures, on this subject, the case would be very different from what it now is. But there is no intimation in the word of truth which gives the least authority for limiting the grace, which is the subject of our present inquiry
You will recollect that Christ did not give himself a ransom for all men in order to make them his church, but because they were his church, and because he loved his church, and that he might sanctify and cleanse his church from all uncleanness, and from all unholiness.
The hearer is now reminded of what we request: ed in the introduction of these arguments, namely, that a strict attention should be given to ascertain how the arguments should tend to the support of universalism, and to illustrate the nature of salvation. If you have duly complied with this request it may be well to make up an opinion on the subject, as far as the arguments go, to which we have attended The amount of these arguments seem to be this--All mankind are found to be in a state of sin, Christ gave himself for all, because all belonged to his church, and he gave himself for the church that he might sanctify and cleanse it from all sin. If you view these points in any good measure supported, of course you must acknowl dge that universal salvation is thus supported; ad you must also be satisfied that the holiness of