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all men i embraced as their salvation, which will tend to do away the objection that this doctrine tends to impiety and irreligion.
Our next labours, according to promise, will be directed to set forth, in its true character, the love of Christ to the church.
That this subject may the more clearly be seen, let us ask the question, why did Christ love the church? Answer negatively; 'not because of its moral holiness, righteousness and perfection, for these were wanting. If the church had been morally clean, Christ would not have given himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it. Our minds are therefore directed to the consideration of the divine testimony which so fully represents the love of God to sinners. St. Paul, in the 5th of Romans reasons as follows; “For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. : But God commendeth his love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” On this passage let us remark; it was the ungodly for whom Christ died, it was the ungodly whom God loved, and the death of Christ was designed to commend that love to the ungodly. My friends, did you ever hear a Universalist preacher express his senti.. ments more clearly or more boldly than they are set forth in this truly wonderful passage? If it were possible to make the accusation of licentiousness lie against us for preaching the love of God to sinners, is it not plain that the whole force of the accusation must fall on the testimony last quoted? If God can, consistently, love the ungodly, if Christ could die for the ungodly, and that in order to commend the love of God to the ungodly, what could a Universalist say more? Was there even one who did say more? or was there even one that could think beyond this declaration of St,
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To the Ephesians, the same apostle+speaks of the the great love wherewith God loved them, even when they were dead in sin. And the beloved sideda John says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.” These passages are designed to set forth the great and glorious truth that the death of Christ was the consequence of the divine love to sinners, which corroborates the words of our text; "even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” This important
Izbris subject being clear, let us still continue the question, why Christ loved the church? It has been ay the proved that he loved the church, and it has likewise been proved that he did not love it because it was of a holy character, it being in a sinful state. It remains therefore, that we endeavour to understand the true reason why he loved it. This answer is easily found. It is found in the righteousness of God. God is love, and love is righteousness, Hatred is the opposite of God, and is sinful. It is no more in the nature of God to hate than to sin, which is impossible. The divine love is towards all creatures. The “Lord is good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." This is perfect and infinite righteousness. This love of God was commended to us in that Christ died for the ungodly: Christ is the righteousness of God to us. And in order to be so, he must love us,
for love is righteousness. All the reason that we are not righteous is because we do not love as God does. He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law, for love is the fulfilling of the law.'
The answer of this question is found also in the emblems:which the scripture uses to represent our relation to Christ. St. Paul says to the Corinthi, ans ;
" I would have you to know that the head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.” In this constitutional union we learn the reason why Christ loves mankind; for “we are members of his
postiele body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” The apostle red they says; “No man even yet hated his own flesh; but ind the le nourisheth and cheriseth it, even as the Lord the that we church." And in this connexion he signifies that nt his sent Christ must love his church, or be at variance with
himself. “He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” Ese panies Selain : Again, the apostle says; “For this cause shall a
man leave his father and his mother, and shall be ben joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one also he flesh; this is a great mystery; but I speak concernThis image ing Christ and the church." What emblem could
the apostle have chosen in all nature which could It best carry the mind more directly to the original law id it be of moral nature, or with greater force impress it Drei te with a sense of the constitutional love of Christ to
mankind?. The sweet and endearing relations of father, and of mother, cords of pure silver set with innumerable precious jewels, are passed by, in the choice of this figure, and the sacred arcanum of sexual relation judiciously chosen, to represent a relation and connexion, in which Christ and we are one. It was God who “said, it is not good that man should be alone;" it was God who con; stituted the man the head of the woman, and Christ the head of every man.
In view of these reasons why Christ loves the church, it is clearly understood that all those things which are so much relied on, among professors
generally, such as repentance, faith, good works, To regeneration, as necessary to secure the love of
Christ, are entirely out of the question. Not because they are unnecessary things; but because they are all the fruits and effects of the love of Christ, and therefore not the causes of that love. Our lovely children, who appear like olive plants around our tables, are the fruits of conjugal love, not the cause of the connexion from which they sprang. So are repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; a new heart, and all the virtues which adorn the doctrine of God our Savjour, the fruits of the divine love, according to the
holy dictatcs of which Christ gavc himself for the church.
Having taken this view of the love of Christ to mankind, the hearer may proceed to make some calculation, as to the tendency of the arguments in support of universal salvation, and also their testimony concerning the nature of the salvation ete, which divine love has designed for the human sch family: As it is clear to every candid mind, that witin there is no partiality in the love of God towards direk sinners, so it is equally clear, that if that love has het designed and secured the salvation of one sinner, rent it has equally designed and secured the salvation spot, of the whole world. And as it is evident that this siould love of God, which is the foundation of man's sal- tae ti vation, is the eternal law of holiness and the very in this perfection of righteousness, so the salvation which to it designs for man, is a salvation from sirt, and all sina moral uncleanness, to sanctity and holiness. This, sed the my friends, is a subject, which we are the most de ich m sirous that you should understand both for the king as purpose of endearing the truth to your hearts, and wo of removing the accusation of licentionsness, which laten is so constantly urged against the doctrine of uni-. (clean versal salvation. But arguments more directly to the ind this purpose will be employed in setting forth what sed top was promised under our last head of doctrine, twin which is to show what the love of Christ to the ordin church induces him to do for-iţ..
We have already hinted at some of the particu. hehen tars of this subject. It has been noticed that Christ she wa gave himself for the church because he loved it, se for and it is worthy of remark that the true character Rich of the lawful husband is indicated in this particu- lany th lar. It is true, to our imperfection and disgrace melean be it mentioned, that an unlawful connexion may Atle
. by other means be effected, but the honest, the he fact virtuous man obtains the companion of his heart lies to by giving himself as the just and true value of ach ste what he receives. Christ loved the church and deve ta gave himself for it.
If the church had been worth Warn
dan spot or wrinkle, a glorious church.
less, it would have been unworthy of him ; and if olak unworthy of him, surely would it have been unwor
thy of his love. But blessed be God, Christ loved the church, he knew its worth, and he gave himself for it; it was all he could give, it was all there was to give, for in him it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell.
It is said in our text, that Christ gave himself for the church, “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.”
Here are three important truths evidently em
braced in this part of our text, which it may be in e necessary to notice.
1. The sin and uncleanness of mankind have not destroyed the value of the moral workmanship of God, which may be cleansed and be as holy and as glorious as in its created state.
2. The word of divine truth, revealed in the stgospel, is represented by water designed for this
work of cleansing men from sin; and,
3. It is indicated in our text, that Christ has determined to present his church to himself free from If, according to common opinion, sin had changed the nature of man, and rendered him totally depraved, entirely destitute of the moral image in which he was created, then would there have been nothing for Christ to love, unless he could love sin, which none will allow; nor would there have been any thing to sanctify and cleanse, unless sin and uncleanness can be made holy, which is impossible.
The fact is, sin is represented as a spot, which adheres to a garment, and defaces its beauty. And as such stains may be taken out of the cloth, 80 we are taught that sin may be washed away, as we learn from the following ascription ; "To him
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