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to secure his own happiness. Now, if man, as a moral agent, is obliged to put forth his moral powers in a particular direction in order to secure his own happiness, his salvation must be a matter of conditionality. The following series of propositions will lead us to the same conclusions :
1st. Man being a moral agent, or, as some express themselves, a free agent, which with us means the same thing, he cannot be saved only through his own consent or choice of his own free will.
2d. As man can be saved only through his own consent or choice of his own free will, salvation, so far as choosing or refusing, accepting or rejecting is concerned, depends upon man's own choice or act.
3d. As salvation depends, in the above sense, upon man's own choice or act, it is conditional beyond all dispute.
If we have succeeded in establishing the doctrine of man's moral agency, we see that the conditionality of his salvation follows as a matter of course. But we will not rest the proposition on this one argument, founded on man's moral agency, but proceed by remarking,
2. If salvation is not conditional, then it cannot be the sinner's own fault that he is not saved now, nor can any reason be given why he is not now saved, unless it be said that God is not able or willing to save him. If salvation is not conditional it follows that the sinner can do nothing to induce salvation, on one hand, or to prevent it on the other; it cannot therefore be his fault that he does not now enjoy the salvation of God. And on this principle, the cause why man is not saved now is not to be found in the sinner, nor can he by any thing he can do, ever render himself any more the subject of salvation than he now is. Why then are not sinners now saved? If it be said, because God cannot now save them, we ask when will he be more able to save than at the present time? And if it be said that God is able but is not now willing to save, we reply, if he is immutable he will never be more willing than he now is, since, if salvation is not conditional, no change nor work on the part of the sinner can take place which can be urged hereafter as a reason for a different procedure on the part of the divine administration. Such are the fatal conclusions to which a denial of the condi
tionality of salvation must lead, while our theory of moral agency, and a conditional salvation is unincumbered by such consequences. Man being a moral agent and salvation being conditional, the sinner may always find the reason in himself why he is not saved.
3. If salvation is not conditional, and yet certain, it follows, that to be the greatest sinner, is to secure the greatest salvation! This conclusion cannot be denied ; and we do not know that universalists wish to deny it-perhaps they will glory in so grand a consequence of their doctrine; but we will submit it to the candid reader whether or not it is consistent with reason and the word of God, and tends to the moral restraint and improvement of mankind. But the scriptures shall settle the question of the conditionality of salvation.
4. The scriptures speak on this subject too plain to be misunderstood or misapplied. A few quotations however must suffice. Matt. xix. 16, 17. “ And behold one came and said unto him, good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, if thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments.” Mark xvi. 16. “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” John iii. 36. “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.” Rev. ii. 10. - Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” John vi. 40. “ This is the will of him that sent
me, ery one, which seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life." Verse 47. “Verily, verily I say unto you he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” John v. 40. “ Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.”
John iii. 14, 15. “So must the son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Rev. iii5. “He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my
Father and before his angels.” Verse 21. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne." The above quotations abundantly show that salvation, eternal and everlasting life, crown of life, the robe of white, an ac
knowledgment of our discipleship before the Father and his angels, interest in the book of life, and a seat with Christ in his throne are conditionally promised in the scriptures, and if these do not express the final salvation of men, we know not in the use of what expressions and figures the ultimate salvation, even of any, is taught in the Bible. We think we have now proved that salvation is conditional. This argument may be thus stated.
1. Whatever is conditional may be lost, or forfeited by a non-compliance with the conditions on which it is suspended.
2. Salvation is conditional, and therefore it may be forfeited and lost; and if the sinner can forfeit the salvation of his soul, and come short of the interest he has in the gospel by a non-compliance with its conditions, the doctrine of the certain salvation of all men cannot be true, and the endless punishment of a portion of the human family, such as do not comply with the conditions of the Gospel, is certain, unless a shelter is sought from it in the absurd doctrine of annihilation, which has neither reason nor scripture for its support; and even in such an alternative the doctrine of universal salvation must be given up.
IV. The scriptures teach that there is a possibility and even danger of coming short of salvation. Heb. iv. 1.“ Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” On this text Dr. A. Clark remarks thus : “Seeing the Israelites lost the rest of Canaan through obstinacy and unbelief, let us be afraid, lest we come short of the heavenly rest through the same
Heb xii. 15. “6 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace
of God.” On this text Mr. Morse in his reply to Mr. Parker, page 15, has given the following comment. “ The apostle left out one word which should have been inserted, if he meant to state any thing to Mr. P's. purposethat word is endlessly. If the Apostle had said 'lest any man endlessly fail of the grace of God,' we should be obliged in candor to admit it as evidence of never ending wo. As it is, it affords no such evidence." In reply to this very extraordinary comment we say,
1. Mr. M. has down a ru of evidence here which, if applied to his own theory will ruin it forever. According to
his remark, “ endless wo" cannot be proved without the use of the word endless, and if so, endless salvation is not taught in the scriptures; there is not a blessing promised in all the Bible in the use of the word endless. To place this matter in a clear point of light, we will apply Mr. M's own words to the promise of God, which he quotes, and on which he much relies. On page 10, he quotes the promise of God made to Abraham, as repeated, Acts iii. 25. “In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed." Now, hear Mr. M. “The apostle,” (God in this instance,) "left out one word which should have been inserted if he meant to state any thing to” Mr. M's "purpose--that word is endlessly. If the Apostle,” (God in this case,) “ had said, in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be endlessly blessed, we should be obliged in candor to admit it as evidence of never ending” happiness. “As it is, it affords no such evidence." Mr. M's remarks will apply equally well to every other promise which can be adduced in proof of universal salvation.
2. Mr. M's pert remark may be retorted upon himself in view of the same text which gave rise to it, thus: “Had the Apostle said, lest any man fail of the grace of God” for a season, for life, or for a limited period in eternity, “we should be obliged in candor to admit” that it furnishes no “ evidence of endless wo. As it is, it furnishes clear evidence. In the text, nothing is said of times or seasons, but the expression is unqualified, “lest any man fail of the grace of God.” Now, no man, who is saved by grace forever, can be said unqualifiedly to fail of that grace by which he is saved. Mr. M. farther remarks on this text thus : rational being must perceive that there is a great difference between failing of the grace of God at any particular time, and failing of that grace, finally.” This is no doubt correct, and we presume also that they will perceive that as nothing is said in the text of " any partiular time” the apostle warns them against failng of the grace of God “ finally and eter. nally." The expression, “lest any man fail of the
of God, unconnected as it is, with any reference to a particular time or period, clearly implies that the failure is a final one; and for Mr. M. to take it for granted that the Apostle
has reference to some temporary or limited period only, is no better than to beg the whole question at issue.
2. Cor. vi. 1. "We then as workers together with him, beseech
also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." By referring to the closing words of the preceding chapter, we shall see what is meant by the grace of God in this text. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God; for he hath made him to be sin," (a sin offering,) “for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. We then beseech
you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” From this connection we see that by the grace of God is meant, the grace of reconciliation whereby we are “reconciled to God,” which is the proper benefit of the atonement or of Christ's being made an offering for our sin. The benefits of the atonement then, may be received in vain, that is, those for whom it was made, to whom the word of reconciliation is preached, who for a time receive this grace, may, after all, fail to be ultimately benefitted by it. Now we have shown in Chapter III. that the death of Jesus Christ was an offering for sinners, by virtue of which, and by which only, they can be saved; hence, as it is here shown that they may come short of the benefits of his offering for them, it follows that in such case they must be lost for ever. The text under consideration clearly teaches that we may receive the grace
of God in vain ; and can any one, who receives the grace
of God in vain, nevertheless be saved by that grace? Or can any one, who is saved forever by grace, still receive such grace in vain? It is impossible. Should it be said by universalists that the sinner may receive certain gifts of grace in vain, and then be saved by after and more abundant gifts, or that he may receive the grace of God in vain for a season, and then be saved by grace afterwards, we reply that such a position would be fatal to the doctrine of the certain salvation of all men. If any portion of the
of God can be received in vain, another portion may, and all on the same principle. Or if the sinner may receive the grace of God in vain for a season, on the same principle he may receive it in vain longer, and forever. As sinners can be saved only by grace,