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are no where required to believe in them, or on them. They are Do where styled the Saviours, or Redeemers, of Mankind.
On the contrary, we are expressly told, that there is no other Saviour of Men, but Jesus Christ; and that there is Salvation in no other. There is, therefore, something in Christ, wholly different from any thing in these men; and that something constitutes bis peculiar and essential character, as the Saviour of Mankind. As Christ is expressly declared to have been the Propitiation for the sins of men, to have made his soul an offering for sin, and to have redeemed us with his blood; and as we are said to have Redemption, even the forgiveness of our sins, through faith in his blood; it is unanswerably evident, that in this wonderful particular He differs totally from all other persons, of whom we have any knowledge. To disbelieve his atonement, therefore, is to refuse belief in his peculiar, distinguishing, and essential character, as the Saviour of Mankind. Of course, this scheme shuts out all the benefits of Christ's Redemption; and places mankind again under Law. But by works of Law no flesh can be justified; and, therefore, by this scheme no flesh can be saved.
There are, indeed, Unitarians of both these classes, who acknowledge the atonement of Christ; but who yet in effect deny it, by the necessary consequences of their leading principles. Concerning these men I have no more to say, at present, than that the hearts of some persons are sounder than their heads; and that, although their leading principles by their proper influence destroy the hopes of salvation, yet, as all errors, which are imbibed, are not obeyed, and, as among such errors the leading principles of men may, for aught I know, be sometimes included; I am disposed to entertain better hopes concerning them, than I should feel myself authorized by these principles, considered by themselves, to indulge.
3dly. Practical Unbelief, also, equally cuts off the hope of Salvation.
We become partakers of the benefits of Christ's Redemption only by exercising evangelical, or cordial, faith in him, as the Redeemer. It is to no purpose, that we believe the several records, given us in the Scriptures concerning his incarnation, life, preaching, miracles, death, resurrection, and exaltation. It is to no purpose, that we believe him to be a Divine Person, the real and all-sufficient Saviour; able, willing, and faithful, to save unto the uttermost all that will come unto God by him. All this, and all other, speculative faith is to no purpose; if we stop here. It is indeed a step towards Salvation, and a necessary step; but it is one step only; and, if no more be taken, we shall never arrive at the end of the Christian progress.
In addition to this, we must with the heart confide in Christ, and his Righteousness; and cheerfully trust our souls in his hands. This, the practical unbeliever does not; and, so long as he continues to be of this character, cannot do.
Let every practical, as well as every speculative, unbeliever, ihen, remember, that by his own choice, by his voluntary refusal lo receive Christ as his Saviour, he cuts himself off from justification, and consequently from immortal life. Every one of these men has broken the Law of God, and sinned against him in innumerable instances of great and dreadful iniquity. Every one infinitely needs forgiveness, and salvation. At the bar of God, how terrible will be the remembrance of this voluntary perdition ; this suicide of the soul ?
Repent, therefore, every one of you, and believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. Repent
Behold, now is the accepted time! behold, now is the day of Salvation! If Repentance, if Faith, be not now your duty; they can never be. Now therefore, if you intend ever to hear his voice, even while it is called to-day, harden not your hearts. Boast not yourselves of to-morrow; for you know not what evils
0 another day may bring forth. Now you are called to repentance, faith, and holiness; and invited to eternal life. To-morrow you may be summoned to the grave, and to the judgment. To-day you are before the mercy-seat, surrounded with blessings, in the presence of a forgiving God, and at the feet of a crucified Saviour. To-morrow, nay, this very night your souls may be required of you ; your probation ended; your account given; the final sentence pronounced against you; and your souls consigned to suffering
; and sorrow, which shall know no end.
THE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM GROUNDED
RELIGION OF NATURE, AND INTRODUCED BY CHRIST.
DIVINITY OF CHRIST.
PROOF FROM THE NAMES GIVEN TO HIM.
Romans viii. 3, 4.
For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned Sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful Acsh, and
of a sin-offering, hath condemned sin in the flesh, (the thing impossible to the Law, because it was weak through the flesh :) That the righteousness of the Law may be fulfilled by us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Dr. Macknight's Translation.
In my last discourse I endeavoured to show, that Man could not be justified, and of course could not be saved, by works of Law. The plain and necessary result of the establishment of this doctrine is, either that he cannot be saved at all; that is, he cannot be happy in a future existence; or that he must be saved by some other than the Legal, Dispensation. The Scriptures inform us, that the latter part of this alternative is the true one: and declare, that Salvation, or future happiness, is attainable by Man. This subject, then, infinitely interesting to every child of Adam; this subject boundlessly great, sublime, and glorious ; immensely honourable to God, and inestimably beneficial to man; becomes the next object of our inquiry.
It ought, perhaps, to be observed here, and certainly ought to be remembered, that our preceding investigation has been confined chiefly to what is commonly called ?he Religion of NaTURE. By this I intend the same with that, which was the ReliGION OF Adam in Paradise ; or, generally, the Religion of beings placed under Law only. The truths to be believed, and the duties to be done, by beings, placed under the Law of God, constitute the System, which we call NATURAL RELIGION. This Religion is found no where, clearly explained, and solemnly sanctioned, except in the Scriptures. In them it is presented to us in its perfect form, and with its proper lustre. In all the exhibitions of Philosophy it is defective, mutilated, and deformed with superadded features, created only by the imperfect reasonings, and wild imagination, of Man. In the Scriptures it is disclosed in its native beauty, freed from every defect and every mixture.
On this system, CHRISTIANITY, properly so called, is erected. By Christianity I intend The Religion of fallen Beings; a Religion furnishing effectual means of Redemption from their Apostasy, guilt, and punishment ; and of their restoration to the favour of God, to virtue, and to future happiness. The means provided for this end; the truths to be believed, and the duties to be done, by such beings, in order to their escape from sin, condemnation, and misery, and their attainment of justification, holiness, and happiness ; constitute the sum and substance of the Christian Religion.
To such beings as we are, fallen from the favour of God, pol. luted with immoveable guilt, and destined to die for ever, under the Law which we have broken, such a Religion is plainly of infinite importance. From the bare contemplation of the subject one would think, that the tidings, communicated by such a Religion, must be welcome to Mankind, beyond degree. Every thing which they need; every thing which they can reasonably
wish; every thing which can purify, adorn, or bless, them; which can make them useful and comfortable here, or happy and glorious hereafter; it announces from the mouth of God. By such beings it ought certainly to be received as tidings of great joy unto all people.
In the text the great and commanding doctrines of this Religion are briefly declared; and these are the following:
I. That it was impossible for the Luw to condemn, or, in other words, destroy, sin in men, while in the state of nature, or under the legal Dispensation.
II. That God has accomplished this great work by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, as an offering for sin.
III. That this was done, in order that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled by those, who under the influence of the Gospel live lives of new obedience.
It will be easily seen, that these three great propositions contain the substance of Christianity; that they teach our Ruined Condition under the Law; our Recovery by Christ; and our Du[y and Obedience in the Christian character.
The first of these propositions, that it was impossible for the Law to destroy sin in Man, while in the flesh; or to furnish Redemption to apostate beings ; has been already considered at length in the preceding discourses. This is the state, in which Christianity found Man, and took the charge of his concerns. On this state Christianity is erected, as on its proper foundation; and but for this state appears, in my view at least, to have neither use, explanation, nor meaning.
The second proposition is now to become the subject of discus. sion. As it is a proposition of vast extent, and contains a great many particulars of vast importance, demanding severally a minute examination; it will furnish an ample field for courses.
In this proposition it is asserted, that God has accomplished the great work of destroying sin in Man by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, as an offering for sin.
The first inquiry, excited by this assertion, is, Wuat is THE CHARACTER OF THE Person, thus sent?
The second, WHAT HAS HE DONE? and,