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were in their proportion as acceptable worshippers, as others who sacrificed in faith. Modern unbelievers stand upon the same footing: all the great essential blessings of the mediatorial scheme assist their well-meant endeavours of living up to their respective degrees of light.
It would be a dry and tedious detail, to enter into the discussion of the several texts of scripture, upon which these propositions depend : but all center in this important and adorable conclusion, That
THERE IS NO HAPPINESS FOR MANKIND BUT BY THE ONE GREAT SACRIFICE, THAT WAS OFFERED UP TO GOD BY HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
Neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is no other na?ne under heaven,
given among men, whereby they can be
saved. Acts, iv. 12. He is the way, and
the truth, and the Use: none cometh to
the Father, but by him. John, xiv. 6.
He is the lamb slain from the foundation of
h the the world. Rev. xiii. 8. The lamb that taketh away the Jins of the world. John, i. 29-.
I Have often endeavoured, with the utmost: candour I am capable of, to find out some colour of reason for the great prepossessions, entertained by several, who call themselves christians, against the doctrine of atonement. My enquiries have ever ended in astonishment. This doctrine is so far the soul and essence of all revealed religion, that, be the scriptures ever so mangled and tortured by ingenuity, yet the general truth still speaks and lives, as it were, in this dismembered state.
And why so many difficulties in admitting the testimony of God upon this comfortable and important doctrine? Is there any difference, with regard to the honour of God, whether he originally made the world such an imperfect state of moral discipline as we find it at present; or whether he suffered it to become come so, with an intention of bringing greater order out of the confusion? Is there any difference, whether he pardons sin and gives grace immediately himself; or appoints instruments of conveying these blessings to us? Is there not a sort of mediatorial scheme running through all nature? Are not our lives given and supported by the instrumentality of second causes? Is not knowledge given us by the mediation of our fellow-creatures, by the several'methods of culture and instruction? And why may there not be a higher instrument of conveying spiritual graces which are of still higher importance?
Do you disclaim this, because there is something mysterious in it? You may as well then disclaim the state of nature; for that has something, as I showed before, still more mysterious in it: you may as well deny the existence of things L 2 around around you; for every thing you see has something in it above your comprehension. *
Or does your ignorance of the nature of this scheme destroy its uses and benefits upon you? That is an ' absurd pretence: we enjoy the uses of plants and animals, though we are ignorant of their structure; we enjoy the uses of the elements, though we understand not their nature; and we enjoy the uses of the heavenly bodies, though we know not the cause of their revolutions.
• Dean Swift's desence of Mysteries is as solid, I think, as it is diverting.
"For my part, fays he, having considered the mat"ter impartially, I can see no reason, which those '« gentlemen, you call free thinkers, can have for their "clamour against religious mysteries; since it is plain, "they were not invented by the clergy, to whom they "bring no prosit, nor acquire any honour. For every "clergyman is ready, either to tell us the utmost he "knows, or to consess that he does not understand "them; neither is it strange, that there should be mys"teries in divinity, as well as in the commonest ope"rations of nature."
Advice to a young Clergyman.
The scripture account is plain and instructive. We are fallen creatures: a Divine person thought it necessary to redeem us into a better state: if this cannot) nothing can, render us willing to comply with his terms and to exert the powers we really possess.
Were it matter of indifference, whether men believed the gospel or not, whether they were not christians in power as well as name; errors in this case were excusable. But our happiness depends upon it: we live within the light and sphere of christian knowledge: and the universal rule is, that men must live up to the respective degrees of light enjoyed by them.
II. If any man can comfort himself in his moral state without reliance upon Christ's atonement, he must either be a brute or an angel. He must either never reflect upon his condition at all, or must have the happiness of saying, I L 3 am