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AVOWED SENTIMENTS OF THE BISHOP ON REDEMPTION,
AND PREDESTINATION, EXAMINED.
The Bishop's arowed Sentiments on REDEMPTION,
§ 1, 2. The subject stated. $ 3. The revealed character of God. § 4,5. The actual state of
mankind. $ 6. A revelation of the divine character to sinners. $7. Though under no obligation in justice, it became his mercy to do this. $ 8. The foundation of the gospel call. $ 9. What is required of the sinner. § 10. God's right to influence the heart. $ 11. The exercise of this right, no hardship upon any.. § 12, 13. The grounds of obligation to obey the gospel.
§ 14 16. This point further discussed. $ 17. The price of Redemption. § 18. Redemption itself.
The design of God in the sacrifice of Christ. § 20. As a Governor; and $ 21. As a Sovereign. 22. Though this price is an adequate basis of recunciliation ; yet § 23. None
will be reconciled to God until they are divinely influenced. 24. Calvin's view of Redemption. 25. That the benefits of
Christ's passion extend to the whole human race ; and $26. That every man is enabled to attain salvation, examined. $ 27-28. That the remedy is of equal extent with the evil, examined.
§ 1. Under this head we are taught by his Lordship, that the benefits of Christ's passion extend to the whole human race and that universal righteousness and pardon are the effects of Christ's obedience. As most terms are capable of different acceptations, as already shewn under
the foregoing discussion, according to the connexion in which they stand, it is not my present design so much to controvert the use of the general expressions 'the whole human race,' and ' universal righteousness and pardon,' as to examine the sentiment intended to be conveyed by them in their present situation. For this purpose, it will be proper to produce the passages themselves. • The doctrine of universal Re• demption, namely, that the benefits of Christ's
passion extends to the whole human race; or, ! that every man is enabled to attain salvation
through the merits of Christ, was directly
opposed by Calvin, who maintained, that · God from all eternity decreed that certain
individuals of the human race should be saved, • and that the rest of mankind should perish
everlastingly, without the possibility of attaining • salvation.* Again, “It is natural to conclude, • that the remedy, proposed by a Being of infinite
power and mercy, would be commensurate to • the evil'; and therefore as the evil operated • instantly in producing the corruption of • Adam's nature, which was soon transmitted to • his offspring, we may infer that all, who were 'to partake of that corrupt nature, were to
partake also of the appointed remedy.--All ' nations of the earth, past, present, and to come,
* Refut. p. 184.
• without any exception or limitation, shall be
blessed in the promised Messiah, that is, for ' his sake, and through his mediation.'*_'Uni<versal sin and condemnation were the conse.
quence of Adam's disobedience, and universal • righteousness and pardon the effect of Christ's 6 obedience.'t
§ 2. A great number of passages are also introduced to prove, that in the New Testament,
every expression which can denote universality . is applied to the merits and sacrifice of Christ.' This is readily admitted, but the interpretation of them must be such as not to contradict, but to harinonize with other passages equally plain, and with the general tenor of scripture: for as we believe that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God,” we must admit that there is a perfect agreement between the parts, without any real discrepancy of meaning, while it is equally certain, that there is in reality a harmonizing principle. I shall, therefore, in the first place, produce what appears to me to possess that character; and, in the next place, examine his Lordship's declarations on the subject.
§ 3. In my apprehension, the harmonizing principle is found in the revealed character of God,
* Refut. p. 185, 186. Ib. p. 189.
Ib. p. 187.
in connexion with the actual state of mankind. Without just views of these two points properly compared, we are always in danger of verging to opposite extremes, and of losing sight of the “ golden mean.” Now the revealed character of God, in reference to mankind, is that of a gracious sovereign, on the one hand; and that of an equitable governor, on the other. Both these are alile essential. According to the former, “ he worketh all things,” worthy of him, “ according to the counsel of his own will,” he creates, preserves, new-creates, adorns, and glorifies; all which are worthy of his goodness, wisdom and mercy. According to the latter, he rules in righteousness, and does nothing but what is right: his laws are holy, the obligation of conformity to them is founded in equity and truth. The physical powers of man are adequate to what is required, if properly employed; and when not so employed, the fault is exclusively in himself.
§ 4. The next thing to be considered, is the actual state of mankind. With all Christians, who hold the necessity of Redemption by a mediator, it is an acknowledged fact, that mankind are in a state of apostacy, or, that "man is very
gone from original righteousness;" and, in consequence of this apostacy, that "man is of his own nature inclined to evil.” But no
defection or infection of our nature, deprives man either of his playsical powers, or of his uncontrolled freedom to act according to the dictates of his own mind : and the obligation to act aright, therefore, continues unimpared. Were it possible for apostacy from rectitude to exonerate man from obligation, this most absurd consequence would follow, viz. that a creature could at any time by an act of rebellion render hinself lawless, or,
“ without law to God;" and, of course, place himself beyond the bounds of divine jurisdiction!
§ 5. Notwithstanding the sinfulness of mankind, they have a capability of enjoying the chief good, God all-sufficient; and they continue under obligation to seek that good. Possessed of understanding and free will, they are bound to choose the best object within the circle of their knowledge, adapted to promote their moral improvement and future happiness. But as man could never possibly recover his original righteousness, any more than he could recall a past transaction, and the sanction of the law continued in force-hence the necessity of a substitute in a plan of redeeming mercy. As the Equitable Governor required his law and government to be respected and honoured, without which they must be regarded as unmeaning cyphers; the Gracious Sovereign found a method of