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and therefore cannot seek to enter into the gospel dispensation through the Mosaic law. The Jews may seek to enter into heaven, or into the enjoyment of salvation and not be able, because they seek it through the Mosaic law; but it is not possible to conceive that they can seek to enter into the gospel dispensation through this medium. We can just as easily suppose that they wish to be christians while they are Jews, and wish to be Jews while they are christians; or that they are, in point of belief, Jews while they are christians at the same time. This reason is contrary to the plain sense and spirit of the text in two respects, and as this is an essential point we will note it distinctly.
1st. The exhortation, “strive to enter in,” is founded on the fact that “ many will seek to enter in and shall not be able,” which would be no good reason for such an exhortation if they were unable only in consequence of striving in a wrong way. This makes our Saviour say, strive, because many
you Jews will strive wrong. Because others misdirect their efforts is no reason why I should make an effort, but only a reason why I should be sure to yive mine a proper direction, provided I make one ; but if others fail of an important object, because they are not sufficiently enguged, it is a good reason why I should be more engaged and strive.
2d. The text clearly implies another reason, why we should, strive to enter in, than that assigned by Mr. M.; Christ says “strive to enter in, because many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.” Here is a clear distinction marked between striving and seeking : striving implying the greater effort. Now, if many who seek, fail because they are not sufficiently engaged, for want of a sufficient effort, it is a good reason why we should strive. We think we have now shown that Mr. M's exposition of this text is entirely unfounded, that it involves as many absurdities as it contains distinct expressions; and it must appear that a system that requires such an absurd exposition, to dispose of as plain a text as the one under consideration, must be a system of absurdities. But we have yet our own reasons to give for believing that this text has a bearing on the future destinies of men. As the text was spoken in answer to the question,
there few that be saved ?” (a strange question for a universalist to ask,) the sense of the text must be determined by the nature of the salvation, concerning which the enquiry was made. 6 Are there few that be saved ?" This Mr. M.
says relates to temporal salvation, which we deny. Now, on the ground that it is a temporal salvation, to what does it allude ? Are there few that be saved ? How, or from what? There is but one event to which this question can be referred if a temporal salvation be intended, and that is the escape of the christians at the destruction of Jerusalem. This is the rallying point of universalism in the explanation of every text that speaks of judgment or punishment, or that implies them. If it does not relate to this, there is no temporal salvation, of which we have any knowledge, to which it can relate. Now, that it does not relate to this event, we think, will appear as follows: The question, are there few that be saved ?" was asked by one who believed the gospel as preached by Jesus Christ, or by one who did not believe it. If it was asked by one who believed the gospel, then he had already entered into the gospel dispensation, to use Mr. M's language, and to such an one, Christ would not have said strive to enter into the gospel dispensation,” as he supposes. It would be highly absurd to suppose Christ bade one who had already entered into the gospel dispensation to strive to enter in because some who had not entered in, should at a particular time be unable to enter in. It is clear then that if the question was asked by one who had already embraced the gospel, Mr. M's exposition cannot be true. And if the question was asked by one who did not believe the gospel, it cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem or the salvation of christians from that destruction ; for no unbelieving Jew would ask such a question, in relation to this event, for in their view no such event was to take place. We see, then, that Christ would not have answered a disciple thus, in relation to this event, the destruction of Jerusalem; and none but a disciple would have asked such a question in relation to this event, therefore, the question cannot relate to this subject. We hence conclude that the salvation, concerning which the inquiry was made, is that with which Christ came to save the lost, and that the answer, “strive to enter in at the strait gate” im
plies that personal effort which we have to make for ourselves in order to secure eternal salvation, as saith the Apostle. 1 Tim. vi. 12. “ Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life;" and if this be the meaning of the text, it clearly teaches that there is danger of coming short of salvation.
1 Cor. ix. 27. “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest after I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." The only question on which there need be any controversy, in relation to this text, is, What does the Apostle mean by being a castaway? That he contemplates some evil or punishment in this expression, cannot be doubted, but the question is, what is this evil ? That it could not be the loss of character or fortune that he feared is evident, for these he had already sacrificed at the altar of christianity. Nor could it have been the temporal judgments which befel his nation that he feared, for he so perfectly understood this coming event that there could have been no necessity of his suffering himself to be surrounded in Jerusalem by the Roman army. We say then that St. Paul feared being a castaway by coming short of a crown of glory in the future world, which is evident from the connection. Take the last three verses in the connection and this is the only consistent construction that it will bear. The Apostle refers to the publick games, in which men contended for a prize, from which he takes occasion to advert to the effort which the christian should make for an immortal prize. He says man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run, not as uncertainly, so fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body lest after I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” From this it is clear that the apostle was contending for an INCORRUPTIBLE Crown, and that by being a castaway he meant being rejected as not having won this immortal prize ; hence, it is clear that St. Paul really supposed that there was danger of his coming short of salvation, and that he acted in view of this danger, really contending in his christian and ministerial career for an incorruptible
Universalism confines every motive, and the consequences of every act, to a period which lies this side of our
final destiny, but from this subject we see that the Apostle's motives were more lofty, lifting his aspiring soul to the unfading glories of the heavenly world. This class of proof texts might be multiplied to almost any extent, but as we have extended our remarks on those already adduced to such a length, we shall add nó more on this point. We think we have now clearly shown that the scriptures teach that there is a possibility and even danger of coming short of salvation, and if so, the doctrine of the certain salvation of all men cannot be true, and the doctrine of endless punishment follows of course.
V. The scriptures teach that sinners can and do actually resist the means which God employs to bring them to repentance and salvation, and if the means of salvation are resisted, their object is defeated and the unyielding soul cannot be saved. No reliance can be placed upon any means or mode of salvation, only such as are revealed in the scriptures, and if it can be shown that these means are all resisted by some sinners, it will be clear that the salvation of all men cannot be proved as a matter of certainty, and that the endless punishment of such as do resist is, to say the least, a possible issue. The only debatable question, in this argument, is, whether or not the means which God employs to bring sinners to salvation may be resisted, and rendered ineffectual by the sinner, and this point we propose to prove from the declarations of God's own word. So far as God has revealed his own modes of operation, (and no argument can be founded on what he has not revealed,) the following are the principal means which he employs to reclaim and save sinners, viz. the force of truth, the striving of the Holy Spirit, the influence of mercies, and the restraining force of judgments or punishment, all of which are sometimes resisted.
1. The sinner resists the force of truth, and thereby renders the word preached ineffectual, so far as any saving benefit accruing to himself, is concerned. The prophet exclaims, Isa. liii. 1. “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?” The Apostle declares, Heb. iv. 2. “ The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." ji. 16. “ For some when they had heard did provoke.” Acts xiii. 46. “ Then
Paul and Barnabas said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Here the unbelieving Jews are said to put the word of God from them, which clearly proves that they resisted its influence. 2. Tim. iii. 8. “ Now, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses so do these resist the truth." Matt. xiij. 58. “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matt. xxji. 37. « How often would I have gathered thy children togeth
ye would not." These quotations clearly show that sinners do resist the force of divine truth as brought to view in the gospel of the Son of God. This truth indeed is piatter of every day's experience, with universalists as well as others; for notwithstanding the boasted reasonableness and attractive charms of their theory, which they pretend to be commissioned from God to preach, to the overthrow of superstition and priestcraft, they after all find as much difficulty as others in bringing community under the iufluence of their doctrines. This could not be the case, if they are right, did not men resist the force of divine truth.
2. Men resist the strivings of the Holy Spirit. Isa. Ixiii. 10. “But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit.” 1 Thes. v. 19. “Quench not the spirit.” Eph. iv. 30. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” Acts vii. 51. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” These quotations show that men vex, quench, grieve, and resist the Holy Spirit. 3. Men resist the influence of divine
This is implied in the preceding remarks, for as men resist the force of truth and the influence of the spirit, in so doing, they resist the influence of divine mercy; for the gospel, and the influence of the spirit are mercy's own gifts. But a few other instances shall be adduced. Isa. v. 4. 6. What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes.” This text teaches, beyond all dispute, that the mercies bestowed upon the Jewish nation, did not effect their intended object. The dying prayer of our crucified Redeemer for his wicked inurderers, Luke xxiii. 34. was a most striking display of divine mercy and com