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est Methodist say to a Calvinist, who should con tend that Jesus Christ gave himself for none but 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 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 alt 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 edge that universal salvation is thus supported; and you must also be satisfied that the holiness of
all men is 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 sentiments 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. Paul?
To the Ephesians, the same apostle speaks of the great love wherewith God loved them, even when they were dead in sin. And the beloved 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 subject being clear, let us still continue the question, why Christ loved the church? It has been 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 righteous-d ness 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 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
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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, regeneration, as necessary to secure the love of =as Christ, are entirely out of the question. Not be
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cause 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 Savfour, the fruits of the divine love, according to the
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