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divine law does not inflict endless punishment, or give up our own hope and retire, with the rest of our sinning race, to the shades of despair on which one ray of hope can never dawn. Having thus fairly stated the question at issue we will proceed to prove our own views, in the use of such arguments as to us appear best suited to the object.
I. What has been said, in the preceding chapter in support of the doctrine of atonement, goes equally to prove that the gospel provides for the remission of the righteous penalty of God's holy law. The doctrine of atonement and salvation from the punishment of sin, must stand or fall together. Deny the doctrine of forgiveness and the necessity of atonement vanishes at once ; and the declaration that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life,”' that “he laid on him the iniquity of us all,” that “by his stripes we are healed,” that “Christ suffered for us the just for the unjust,” that “ he was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification,” that he “is the propitiation for our sins," that he “has entered into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us," that “ he ever liveth to make intercession for us," that he “is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him”—we say, deny the doctrine of forgiveness and these declarations can have no meaning ; the cross is made of none effect; the sufferings and death of Christ answer no important end in the economy
of salvation, and his blood becomes as the blood of another man! All, then, that has been said in the preceding chapter, in proof of the doctrine of atonement comes with equal strength to the support of the doctrine of forgiveness. But as some may yet question the doctrine of atonement, as there stated and defended, we will attempt to prove that the gospel proposes salvation from punishment, by arguments independent of those : by which we trust we have fully established the doctrine of atonement.
II. Those scriptures which speak of pardon, forgiveness, remission, &c. clearly prove the point in question. Neh. ix. 17. “ Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness." That pardon, in this text implies deliverance from punishment is clear from
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87 the other expressions with which it is connected. It is not only declared that God is ready to pardon, but that he is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. To be gracious, is to be favorable to those who have no claim on our beneficence; and to be merciful is to be lenient to those who are guilty ; hence, these terms connected, as they are, with pardon, clearly show that remission of penalty is intended. But what farther confirms this sense of the text is, that God's being ready to pardon stands connected with his being slow to anger. By the anger of God, we understand his displeasure towards sinners. Judg. ii. 12. “And they. forsook the Lord God of their fathers, and followed other gods, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.” 2 Kings xxii. 16, 17. “ Thus saith the Lord, behold I will bring evil upon this place, because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with the works of their hands." This anger or displeasure at sin shows itself in punishment. Ps. xc. 7. “We are consumed by thine anger.
" Jer. xxv. 37: “ The peaceable habitations are cut down, because of the fierce anger
of the Lord.” Lam. ii. 22. “In the day of the Lord's
anger none escaped, none remained.” If, then, God's anger is his displeasure at sin, and if this anger shows itself in the punishment of the sinner, how clear is it that when God is said to be slow to anger, in connection with his be.. ing ready to pardon, remission of punishment is intended by a pardon
Ps. xxv. 11. “For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity for it is great.” Here the Psalmist prays God to pardon his iniquity and assigns as a reason for his prayer
that his iniquity is great. We ask, in the pame of reason, what particular good is here sought if it be not salvation from guilt and punishment ? It is not preservation from the commission of sin in future, for the suppliant asks pardon for his great iniquity, which must have been already committed. Now we can form no idea of a blessing under the name of a pardon för past sin which does not imply salvation from the punishment which sin deserves. Isa. lv. 7. “ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” The abundant pardon of God bestowed on the wicked and unrighteous, as expressed in this text must mean some important blessing. Pray what does God do for a sinner when he abundantly pardons him, if he does not remit the puishment he deserves ? Universalists have sometimes asserted, when pressed on the doctrine of pardon, that it means salvation from the commission of sin in future; but this text fully refutes such a notion. Reformation from the commission of sin is here made a condition of the pardon promised in this text. The wicked must forsake his way and the unrighteous must forsake his thoughts, and they must turn unto the Lord before this pardon is available ; hence, the pardon can relate only to past sins. A pardon cannot consist in that which must take place before such pardon can be received. As God requires us to break off from our sins first, to suppose the pardon promised in the text means no more than restraining grace, would be to understand him as promising to save us from the commission of sin, on condition that we will first save ourselves from the commission of sin. Jer. xxxiii. 8. " And I will cleanse them from all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned and whereby they have transgressed against me.” Nothing can be more plain than that pardon is here applied to the removal of past sins, and not to the prevention of the commission of sin in future.
Micah vii. 18. “ Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage ? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. ” The term pardon is here attended by three other expressions which fix its meaning. God pardons iniquity, and to show that the remission of punishment is intended, it is added that he passeth by transgregsion; that he retaineth not his anger forever because he delighteth in mercy. Enough has been said to show that God does pardon sin. Reasons have already been offered for understanding the pardon of an offence to imply the remission of the punishment it deserves, to which we will add the following:
1. We have no authority to use or understand the term,
pardon, in any other sense than that for which we contend. Dr. Webster says its meaning is, “to remit as a penalty," or “to excuse as a fault ;or “the release of an offence, or of the obligation of the offender to suffer a penalty or to bear the displeasure of the offended party," or the “remission of a penalty.” What linguist has ever told us that the word pardon means, to take away the love of sin, or to save from sin by preventing its commission in future, without, in the least, implying a deliverance from the punishment of sin which has been committed? Who understands the word pardon in this sense, when it is employed in the affairs which exist between man and man? Suppose the executive of the state to be vested with authority to pardon criminals convicted of crime and condemned to punishment; and should a convict, in one of our state penitentiaries, solicit his excellency's interference and obtain his pardon, what would be the disappointment of the expecting criminal, should he be informed that a pardon implies no remission of merited punishment; that he must still suffer the full penalty of the law? What wise counselor would hazard his reputation, before the Supreme Court in a plea on executive prerogative, by maintaining that the constitutional right of pardon gives the governor no power to remit any penalty which the law inflicts, but simply to save offenders from the guilt of their crimes, in any way he can, without saving them from any punishment they deserve ; or that it gives him the right to save them from the love of their crimes; or what is still more important, to save them from committing crime in future? It is presumed that no one would plead thus ; and yet every counselor, who embraces modern universalism, must take this ground to be consistent with his own theory.
2. That the term pardon is used in the scriptures to sig. nify the remission of punishment appears from the manner in which the negative particle is associated with it. It is said of wicked Manasseh, 2 Kings xxiv. 4. that “he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood which the Lord would not pardon.” The meaning of this text must be exactly the reverse of what it would be, if it were said that God would pardon the same offence; hence, if the text now means that God would not remit the punishment that Manasseh's crimes de
served, which no doubt is its true meaning, then, when it is said that God does pardon, the true meaning must be that he remits a just punishment. On the other hand, if when it is said that God does pardon sin, it means no more than that he saves the offender from the love of his crimes, or from the commission of sin in future, in this case, in which it is said he would not pardon, the meaning must be that God would not save Manasseh from the love of his sin, or from a repetition of the same bloody and horrid crimes. This consequence we think no universalist will dare openly to avow; and yet it is a consequence which no one can evade, wło denies that pardon implies a remission of punishment.
The above view is farther supported by those scriptures which speak of the forgiveness of sin. This class of texts is so numerous that we can only produce a small portion of them as a specimen of the whole. Mark ii. 5. “ Jesus said unto the sick of the palsy, son thy sins be forgiven thee.” Luke xxiii. 34. "Then said Jesus, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Ps. lxxviii. 38. “But he being full of compassion forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; yea, many a time turned he his anger away and did not stir
up all his wrath.” This last text is deserving of particular atten
The forgiveness of iniquity is here attributed to divine compassion," he being full of compassion forgave them.” If forgiveness does not imply remission of punishment, it must be difficult to see why it should result from the fullness of divine compassion any more than from wisdom, justice, or holiness. But to show more fully what is meant by forgiveness, the text specifies in what way it manifested itself, as well as the source from whence it proceeded : “he forgave them their iniquities and destroyed them not.” Here destruction is marked as the just punishment of their iniquity, and their preservation is represented as the result of their forgiveness. And to show that this is the common mode of the divine procedure, the text adds, many a time turned he his anger away and did not stir up all his wrath.” As forgiveness proceeds from the divine compassion, so punishment proceeds from the divine anger ; hence, by his turning away his anger, is meant his forbearing to punish them for their sins; and by his not stirring up all his wrath, is meant his punishing them less